To Whom It May Concern

Happy Thursday everyone!!

I did something crazy yesterday. After blogging, I went outside. I trimmed and shaped most of our landscaping. It was sunny and warm, the air was fresh and clean, and it was fantastic. Then I came inside and cleaned out the chicken brooder. (The things I type these days…never thought I’d ever write about my own baby chickens!!) I felt really good until about 5:30 when my back announced, out of nowhere, that I was going to pay for what I’d done.

I love aging.

So today, in between taking copious amounts of Advil and teaching an unwilling-to-write-anything 10-year old tween, I need to blog. I had a great idea for blogging last night while I was getting ready for bed. I knew I could write it quickly and then be on my way for the weekend. This morning when I woke up – the idea was gone. Poof.

Again, LOVE aging. It is the best!

I’ve come up with another topic though. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about #DD40. I’ve seen a lot of tweets, spoken to people…and even hoped out loud for things, but I haven’t really blogged about it that much. So here we go.

Dear Duran Duran,

(Like the opening? I figure I may as well address it to the right people. Did I get their attention? Probably not. I think Simon just shut his laptop. *sigh*)

It is 2019. My first question is basic. Are we even gonna celebrate this thing at all? I mean, ever?? Yes, I know that none of you like looking back. I suppose that if this were my own 40th anniversary of something, I might not like looking back at Rhonda, circa 1980 either. In fact, I’ve seen those pictures. In my own case, I look like an awkward 10-year old. May those photos never see the light of the internet. Anyway, I get it. Simon did say we’re all looking old. Why look back when we can look forward, yes?

Fine then. But really? What year are we going to say is the 40th then?? I am confused.

If we ARE choosing to celebrate – and I don’t see any reason to turn down having a good party – then I have some ideas for you. Feel free to use them, and I don’t really need to take, or be given, credit. I’ll know. You’ll know. That’s enough for me. <exaggerated wink, wink>

  1. Your anniversary shows (if I dare be so bold as to assume they’re happening) should be in the UK. Now, I realize the rest of the world is probably ready to throw grenades in my general direction now, and I’m sorry. Facts are facts. You started in the UK, and that should be the place of the party. We’ll come to you.
  2. In keeping with that theme, it would seem to me that having these special anniversary shows that I am formally requesting should coincide, generally speaking, with the time that Simon joined the band and you first did shows with him. Especially since we didn’t celebrate the date you played your first shows AS Duran Duran to begin with. Did that happen by design? Forgot the date? Didn’t care? Simon didn’t want anybody to remember Duran Duran before he got there??? Who knows…….
  3. So when was that time of year that you played your first show with Simon then? Summer? July?? This works for me, and I think it might still work for Amanda. (although I did see that the Democratic National Convention is in Milwaukee during July of next year…) I mean, since I’m typing up these ideas anyway. July of 2020 is a good time. It might be hot, but then, I did survive other summer shows outdoors in the US during Paper Gods.
  4. Hmm…. NO OUTDOOR SHOWS. Can I even suggest that??? This is my blog. YES I CAN! (You just don’t have to listen. I know you’re not. Simon shut his laptop and John threw his phone. Ok then. Fine….)
  5. NO FESTIVALS. <big giant grin here>
  6. I’d like a set (as in more than one because I know they’ll sell out and that would suck for anyone who can’t get tickets!) of dedicated shows where we (you) don’t have to worry about little things like “Does anyone beyond the first ten rows really KNOW “Planet Roaring”, “Shadows on your Side” or even “Late Bar”?? (I had to get that in there, sorry.) Celebrating the band should be about more than just celebrating your hits. Yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream. So is the rest of this list. Yet I keep adding to it….
  7. This next one is probably outside of your realm of influence, but I’m going to beg anyway. What if someone from your camp were to give the dates to a couple of fans who are willing (and very ready as of mid-April!) to organize a real fan party – like a Durandemonium party – during the time of these shows? We don’t need much, just the show dates and a good idea of where they’ll happen so we can pick a place that would be easy to get to/from along the way to shows. I mean, what good is an anniversary without a fan convention?!? While I know we’ve reneged on a couple in the past, if you announce the shows, we will put together the appropriate fan celebrations. Done deal. (Oh by the way…. Amanda? We might be planning a convention. Overseas. Forgot to tell you. Oopsie.)
  8. Aside from shows to commemorate such a tremendous occasion, how about some good stuff for the collectors out there? Reissues? Hard-to-find video from way back when? Photo books? Posters? Things that aren’t priced as though they are coming direct from the Louvre itself? Just saying…
  9. It would be really cool to have a massive one-off where everyone who has been a part of the band could be there. You know, Warren, Dom, Andy (that alone would floor me)…Sterling and Steve Ferrone…the list is lengthy, but you get the idea. I know that’s probably not possible, but then again – most of this list isn’t possible or probable! (Dear fellow fans, do not send me mail saying that the band doesn’t have to listen to me. I already know that. Please find a sense of humor. The band would be crazy to take cues from me) I figured I’d throw out the request here anyway.
  10. Most of all, I think that people like me just want an opportunity to really celebrate the one constant that has been in our lives for 40+ years now. Sure, some of us have gone to shows lately, but I think that having a show or shows in Birmingham that are announced and billed as the #DD40 shows would have special significance, as they should. In all seriousness, the time I spent in Birmingham changed my entire outlook on Duran Duran, and even myself. The idea of going back specifically to see you for the 40th is especially intriguing to me. When I was in Las Vegas, nearly everyone I spoke with about even the possibility of going to the UK next year, was on board and ready to commit to being there. It could be quite a party, and really, isn’t that what this band is all about anyway? 😀

With all the love, joy, and respect possible,

Rhonda

So there you have it. My list. I could have added more on it, like showing up to our convention, or doing meet and greets, or even finally getting the chance to meet them beyond a quick signing….but I was kind and at least partially realistic! We just want to celebrate with the band, am I right? Sure, new music would be great. Old music would be outstanding…but mostly, I think we all just want to be gathered as a fan community, enjoying time with the people who brought many of us together in turn. I have loved Duran Duran longer than almost anything else in my life. Celebrating not only their music, but these guys as the humans they are – seems appropriate. I only hope they don’t let the time slip by.

-R

Dark Sun Rose on the Ridge

Cut clear across the sky

I’m late. I know I’m late, and I’m sorry. (and here comes the strangest sentence I’ve written YET…) I needed to go to the Farm Supply Store for Chick Grit and mealworms.

This morning I learned that chickens can be cannibalistic. I did not know that before this morning, and to be fair – I kinda wish I didn’t know now. However, I came home armed with all the aforementioned supplies, along with bottles to both heal a chick that is getting pecked as well as stop the others from thinking it is also a live buffet.

*sigh* The more you know…

The funny thing, and the topic of this blog for the day, is that as I was driving out of the Farm Supply parking lot, I thought to myself: Wow, cannibalism. That sounds an awful lot like what happens at Duran Duran GA show, or even in our fan community at times.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, no?

String of pearls meet bits of gems

It is true though. I mean, overly dramatic yes, but still true in some sense. I’ve seen it happen on message boards, in Facebook groups, on Twitter and most certainly in person. We tend to go after our own.

Online, it seems to happen when one chick, er, Duran Duran fan, tries to assert themselves over and above whomever is the strongest (read as “most popular”, “well-liked”, etc.). Maybe they call somebody out on their BS, or maybe they just disagree over a song or something even less “important”. At first, maybe there are a few nips or well-placed comments between the two involved. Invariably, someone sends a larger shot over the bow to make their point known to all bystanders.

Regardless of how or whom, the community tends to jump “en force”. The seemingly “weaker” fan is left defending themselves much of the time against a mob of fans willing and ready to defend the more popular fan. As if they really need defending, right? Regardless, eventually the “challenger” crawls away, the fight dies down, and some sort of normalcy prevails. Sometimes, I even see the two who were initially arguing end up as friends. It is as though a sense of mutual respect is spread between the two.

Honestly, I just think it’s weird. It’s also human nature, combined with female territorial instincts. We don’t want other women to have what we have, even when what we have is all in our own damn heads to begin with.

Enter the battle of the lenses

At shows, it is the same way. At GA shows, I’ve seen entire groups band together over one person who threatens to interrupt the balance of a crowd. Maybe that one person is drunk, or refuses to acknowledge personal space, or shoves just a little too much while waiting for the band to take the stage. If it bothers one person, well, maybe not much happens. However, let that bother enough people, or that one person in a group of people who just isn’t going to have it – and the next thing you know – there’s a real problem happening. The weak end up moving. The strong stay in their spot. It is survival of the fittest.

Are we really cannibalistic? Will we really go after our own? I kind of think we do, figuratively speaking of course! I tend to believe in survival of the fittest, even amongst humans. All one need do is observe Twitter for any length of time. The mob mentality is there. Let someone with a less popular point of view dare assert themselves and people will come out of the woodwork to band together and bring the offender down. Drag them into the proverbial street, make them into an example for all to see. I don’t think fandom is all that different.

After all, we’re all friends until we’re not. Whether that point is when the band shows up, or when someone points out that you’ve spent far too long in too many hotel lobbies, the shots are fired, and before you know it – we’re at war with the people who were our friends last week or even last night.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, indeed. I’m off to save my chick from the rest of the flock!

-R

Maybe Things Can Change Only if You Want

Random aspects of our lives

Well, heck. I’ve sat here with this window open on my computer for far too long, without a single Durancentric, fandom idea popping into my head.

The trouble is two-fold: Spring has sprung at my house. We actually had to mow the grass yesterday afternoon, and for the first time since we moved in – I was able to be outside without a jacket or hoodie on. It had hit 60 degrees F, and I was outside with a Punkmasters t-shirt on. Funny. When I lived in So Cal, if the thermometer dipped below about 68, I was in long sleeves. I had to – it wasn’t as though it would get too much colder! Up here, I was proclaiming it nearly beach weather! So, I’m anxious to be outside, getting our chicken coop finished, and begin making plans for the goat barn and pen areas.

Yes, you read that correctly. Just go with it.

Naivete falls from our eyes

Where was I? Oh yes, the second, more somber reason for my writers block. Well, real-life trouble, of course. I need to tread carefully because this isn’t my story to tell. The bottom line is that sometimes, I don’t know how to help someone. It isn’t just a case of someone needing a bed moved, or even a love triangle than needs sorting. More serious than that, addiction, rehab, lying, and scheming all taking their fair share of the story here. You’d think these were themes from a TV show, except this is all happening in real life.

Of course, I think about John. I have other friends who have gone to rehab and have their own 12-step programs, but he is obviously the most well-known. I think about all he has done in the years since, and how he gives back – as do others within the band. On this very date in 2009, Nick attended the Naked Soul art exhibit in Howick Place, London. The exhibit was to benefit Youth to Youth, a charity to end gang violence and drugs in 2009. Clearly, the cause is something they take to heart.

You know there’s no avoiding

John, of course, has remained pretty vocal about addiction and recovery programs. He’s made it less of a horrible secret and more like any other disease, which seems to be the key. The more we talk about it, the less shameful it becomes. Addiction is a disease. The people – the addicts themselves – aren’t terrible people. They’re not losers, they’re not wastes of life. I sometimes think that gets lost in the translation amongst the horrific tales of desperation that coincide with addiction. Before John wrote his book or started really speaking out, my feelings were very different. It all seemed pretty black and white to me. The school drug programs we sat through each year while growing up really did their work on me.

Now, as a grown woman with children, I see shades of grey. If we can’t help one another, what good are we as humans, anyway? Compassion and kindness go a long way. (Consider this my newer, softer side!)

Admittedly, while I have quite a few friends who have faced the disease, I don’t have a lot of personal experience. I’ve never been that close to it, at least not that I know. Compassion though – that’s something I understand. How far that should go, though? I can’t answer that question. It is one thing to be compassionate, it is another to have your life railroaded. Self-care and protection is important. I recognize that the idea of fighting for sobriety must be incredibly overwhelming.

The lesson to be learned

As I said this morning, the one thing I do know about addiction is that it is a continual, lifelong process, fight, or journey. There’s no magic recipe, or rehab that one enters and comes out an immediate, perfect, success. My understanding is incredibly limited, but I hear it is one day at a time. That’s it. One day. The decision to remain sober is active, whether it is minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, or day-by-day. For those of us habitual, control freakish, long term planners, it seems like a potential nightmare.

Unlike many of my other writings, this doesn’t end with a shiny red bow to tie it up prettily before publishing. These are just musings going through my head that somehow found themselves typed and bound into WordPress. I very much dislike not having answers beyond “protect yourself, but be compassionate”. I know how to finish a chicken coop. (words I never thought I’d type to the world…) I can fix something like that.

This though, is tougher. There isn’t just one pat answer.

-R

Just Like That River: My Online Friend Joel.

Hear them shout across the land

I think I have been trying to collect my thoughts since last night, when I heard that a fellow fan named Joel David had suddenly passed away. We knew one another online, but had never met in person. I suppose I’m still shocked this morning.

We had been in the middle of dinner – we’d started late because of that dreaded Daylight Savings Time nonsense (if you’re on Twitter, you know how much I detest it!). Sure, my clock might say 8pm, but my body says it’s 7pm, and that’s that. Walt and I were still sitting at our counter, watching American Idol (yes, I’ve succumbed) and talking over our half-finished glasses of Cabernet. I saw my phone light up and decided to inspect it. My older kids are far enough away now to where I tend to worry more.(I know I shouldn’t, but I’m a mom. Plain and simple.) I picked it up and drew a huge breath, loud enough for Walt to hear.

Durandy’s news that Joel David had died was bright and easily read – right there on my screen. I re-read his short note over, and over again, because out of everyone I knew of in Duranland – I couldn’t quite believe it was Joel that we’d lost. I would hear from that guy nearly every day. Whether it was a comment on Facebook about something I’d written on the blog, Twitter, or connecting on one of DDHQ’s own status updates – Joel was a mainstay in the community. I appreciated his usually sunny-outlook, and his support.

I’ve seen you on TV

I spend a lot of time online. (Although my phone tells me that my screen time was down 25% last week!) I spend a lot of time talking to people on Twitter, among many other things. It is how I choose to remain connected to the world. Most days – I don’t mind that I don’t necessarily know my neighbors or have friends nearby. I am able to open my phone, get to Twitter, and chat away with people whenever I feel the urge, and I like that. Between my trusty laptop and my phone, I’m pretty set. I’m not someone who thrives by having lunches with friends, or shopping dates – although they’re nice – they’re not a necessity for me. Social media though? Yes, it’s a thing.

I’ve had friends – and yes, Amanda is one of them – say to me that they don’t have time to be online. They’ve got careers and real things to do. They want time with actual people, and I don’t fault anyone for needing that. It is important to have people you’re able to call at 3am that can be there. Online friendships aren’t always the same. They’re not necessarily as deep or meaningful. In some ways, I get it.

It’s true that a lot of my friendships might be superficial. I mean, we chat about a band, so sure, it doesn’t seem like we get into the nitty gritty of politics, or childrearing, or personal convictions (but often times, we do). And no, I wouldn’t call my online friends at 3am. But then again, I wouldn’t call anyone at 3am, except for maybe my mom, my sister, and my kids. From my own experience, good phone calls don’t come at that hour…unless maybe you’re very confused about the time difference. (Listen, my math isn’t that great so….)

Regardless, I get the point. Then again, you’re reading a blog from someone who hates using the phone for it’s originally intended purpose. Just saying.

I know what you’re thinking

It’s true. I don’t have a job, much less a career. I have some spare time (although not nearly as much as one might think) on my hands. While I indeed have some personal thoughts about careers and life-choices that I won’t bore you all with here, I think the main point I want to make is that we all choose how to connect with people.

My path is likely different from most anybody else reading this. Different does not mean “less than”. If you’re looking down your nose at me, or the other people who like being on Facebook or Twitter for the pure social aspect, you should probably rethink your own intentions. I’m happy that I’m online. I don’t look at it as a waste of time at all. It is how I choose to interact with people other than my immediate family. For me, various types of social media have been how I have made, and maintained, 90% of the friendships I’ve had as an adult, believe it or not.

When I first really got involved in the Duran fan community, it was through message boards. I met Amanda as a result of one of those boards. When Twitter and Facebook gained in popularity, I made the jump to those platforms. Then the blog and website came along, and we even still have a message board. (albeit I am hard pressed finding time and remembering to go over there a lot – but I try!) I am on and off of Twitter all day. I can scroll through, respond to things in a fraction of a second, and be off again; even while I’m working with my youngest on her math. You’d think I wouldn’t have to stand over her to get work done, but you’d be wrong. Kids are great.

Two, of a billion stars

Joel is one of those people that I would often see a note, or see a new Instagram post from. He was, from what I knew, a happy guy. He would reach out when he had something to say, and he even checked in with me when I admitted being very depressed last year. I loved seeing his pictures, and enjoyed knowing he was a part of this community. Had I not been involved on social media, I would have never connected with him. For that matter, the same can be said for many of you reading this, or tweeting to me or Daily Duranie on Twitter.

I guess my feelings today can best be summed up like this: I’m sad that I won’t see Joel online anymore. He was a friend, and I felt like he cared. I feel terrible for his friends and family. His loss will certainly be felt by a lot of people. Knowing Joel, I am betting he had absolutely no idea that so many of us would respond as we have.

When she shines, she really shows you all she can

By the same token, I am no longer going to feel less important or impactful because I have time to be online, or because I have made friends this way. No, I am not a big career-person, and that’s hard for me to admit. I wanted a career of my own, but it just never quite worked out. I am probably not changing the world in a huge, noticeable way. However, I have done things to make a part of this world – my teeny-tiny little speck on it, anyway – a little better. More importantly, we ALL have, in ways that are both big and small. We don’t always see the impact we have on others, but I can promise it’s there. Have faith in that, as I try to do the same each day.

I don’t go through life assigning importance to people based on some sort of arbitrary sort of list, pondering over whether or not they’ve contributed to society, or causes, at an appropriate level. However, even if I had, Joel never failed to make me smile. In a world and on platforms that are filled with people so angry they can’t even see the good that is out there – Joel spread happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.

Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand

It isn’t lost on me that our Duranie world is the teeniest bit smaller today. Many of us are sad or are struggling. (Shout out to my buddy Alana – I’m thinking of you!! You too Heather – keep on healing, my friend!) Those are healthy and normal feelings to have and share with others. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We’re not ALWAYS dancing on the sand…but aren’t we lucky to have found a community of people who understand when we do?

There’s always something to be thankful for.

-R


John on Jonesy’s JukeBox

Did you know that John Taylor was recently on Jonesy’s Jukebox? This, of course, is the radio show hosted by former Sex Pistols’ guitarist, Steve Jones. If you know your Duran history, you also are familiar with the fact that Steve and John played in Neurotic Outsiders together in the 1990s, one of John’s side projects. Every time I listen or watch the two of them interact, their friendship and affection for each other is obvious. This most recent video is a good example.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t comment on a few parts of the video. First, I love how excited John clearly is to go to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in order to induct Roxy Music with Simon at the end of the month. The love he has for that band is obvious and I so appreciate the fact that John, even with all of his fame and legions of fans, is still a fan himself.

Then, I love that Steve Jones is trying to raise money for St. Jude’s for children with cancer. As John stated, it is a “no brainer” and a great cause. My mother is a breast cancer survivor so this is a cause that definitely speaks to me.

If all this wasn’t enough, John did give a brief update on the studio work the band has been doing. He spoke about Mark Ronson. The idea of Mark being in the studio with the band is one that excites quite a few Duranies. John did not specify his exact role and how much he will be doing with the band. I, for one, am happy that he is there and I will take however much he actually does. I refuse to get my hopes up too much as I am well-aware that Mark is highly in demand and that lots can change between now and a finished product. That said, the idea still makes me smile.

On that note, what did the rest of you think? Did you enjoy John’s appearance? What caught your attention?

-A