Bowie and Time

Am I sitting in a tin can

It’s hard to imagine, but we’ve already been surviving on this planet without David Bowie for three years. Some say that’s when it all really went to hell….

I’m not so sure I’d go as far to make that claim. However, I know a good many of my friends – including those in that band I tend to talk about here and there – that might! I don’t know where those three years went so fast, but they did.

And here we are.

Find yourself in the moment

Also on this date, but in 2011, Time Magazine published a short Q&A with Simon and Nick, on the heels of the release of All You Need is Now. Here, by the grace of the internet, is the link!

Time Magazine Q&A with Simon and Nick

I read through it as there’s only a few questions. I just have to take a second to marvel at how much my own prospective has changed between 2011 and now. The very first question is in regard to the vision of AYNIN as the “imaginary follow-up to Rio“.
Simon explains that Mark Ronson comes from a fan perspective. Mark guided them to create something that truly was the follow up to their second album. Apparently the third album (SATRT) disappointed Mark as a kid.

I remember hearing all about this over and over during the interviews/press junket for AYNIN. It was all about the “follow-up to Rio” back then. What I didn’t pick up on though, was how artfully the band would put that characterization in Mark’s corner. Rather than accept ownership and say that they wanted to make their own imaginary follow-up, they really hand that over to Mark. I’m not saying that wasn’t indeed the case, but in hindsight – I think the wording may have been very telling.

Like a diamond in the mind

In subsequent interviews since then, particularly during the release of Paper Gods, the band has always been careful to say that they already went “back” for AYNIN, and they wouldn’t want to do that again. I think they know that the album was a fan favorite, but I have often wondered if they felt that it was a bit TOO contrived in parts. I’m thinking of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” or as I think of it – “The Chauffeur, with Different Lyrics”. I like the song, mind you, but it is VERY close, musically, to “The Chauffeur”. Then again, there are other songs on the album, like “Safe”, or even the title track, that definitely hold up on their own and don’t even need to be characterized as a follow-up to Rio.

I’m still tickled I was able to find the the Q&A online, because if nothing else, it gets me thinking about what they could possibly be cooking up for the next one. Obviously, it is incredibly early in the journey. I can’t imagine they’ve had too much time in the studio to do much – but I still enjoy the wide open feeling of possibilities ahead. It is a good way to begin my weekend, which starts NOW.

Until Monday for me…

-R


Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


Cracks in the Pavement

Sometimes, fitting fandom into real life is hard. “Adulting” is tough enough, and squeezing the one true escape I’ve got into all of that isn’t always that simple. I think that’s why there have been times when I’ve conceded and given in to the daily pressures.

I don’t know if I’m the only crazy person out there that sees it this way, or if it’s a common thing. For me, it is as though I immersed myself in Duran Duran for a few years. I wrote this blog, went to many shows (more than I probably had business being at, in hindsight), researched and wrote a paper along with two manuscripts, and spread myself remarkably thin between my husband, children, family, my job at the time, Duran Duran, and friends. At some point, something had to give.

I shed my skin when the party was about to begin

Then late last year, something did. My husband lost his job, and that sent my immediate family into several months of turmoil. I couldn’t ignore what was going on at home, and so my attention turned inward. There’s no pretty way to say this: I was scared. There were a number of really bad things that happened along the way to make the pain even worse for all of us, but my family and I made it, for the most part. He found a great job, and then we needed to think about moving. Who knew that would take six months?!? They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, and “they” aren’t kidding.

At the time, I felt like I was constantly pushing a rather large boulder up a giant hill. That wasn’t unusual for me though. Even in the past, when I was focused on researching and writing – something I completely enjoy – I still felt the boulder threatening to roll backward and flatten me if I didn’t keep up the momentum. I know for sure I’m not the only person out there that feels this way. As we all know, one can only push that boulder for so long, and then they give up. So I think in some sense, I just laid down and let it bowl me over last year.

I’m making a break for the shadows

In the aftermath, I found myself in a rather deep and dark place. I did feel rather alone, despite Amanda checking on me – there were some things I just couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about, or admit to myself. I tried very hard to make it seem like I had it together, when really – I wanted to crawl into bed, hide, and never come out. I don’t even think my husband ever really knew how deep and dark I felt. I love the guy, but counseling is not his forté.

When I get overwhelmed, which I very much was at the time, I try to break down lists into reasonable daily tasks. I’m not really a list maker – to be honest even making the list can sometimes overwhelm the heck out of me, which it did with moving. So I lived day to day, knowing the few things that had to happen on that day, and getting them done. It was the way I survived without having a heart attack, and I mean that with every fiber of my being.

Don’t want to be in public

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for writing the blog, I don’t think I would have even thought about Duran Duran during the past year. I didn’t want to listen to the music, I didn’t want to hear a single Kafe (although I did), I wouldn’t even read interviews or things like that – and I don’t know why. Walt would even bring them up, or bring up the blog, and I’d wave him off. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to think about the band. The boulder had already knocked me flat on my back and was down the mountain. I just couldn’t manage. It has taken me an enormous amount of time just to begin reading the Classic Pop magazine that Amanda sent me for my birthday in November. I’m getting there.

There were moments, and if I’m going to completely rip off the band-aid, I’ll say there were weeks at minimum, where I really did wonder if I wanted to continue in this life. I was pretty depressed. Stupid things would make me feel worse – or I should say – I allowed them to make me feel worse. Even as I type the words here, I feel silly about admitting them to the world. Regardless, for me this is healing, and it’s important. It wasn’t just because Walt lost his job, or because I had to quit mine, or because of issues with some extended family. It was because I felt like nothing, and the longer it went on, the worse it seemed to get. I gained weight, I felt gross and ugly, and I felt old! The very last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone, so I didn’t.

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

This isn’t a story about Duran Duran saving me, though. I didn’t just hear a song and realize how great I’ve got it, sorry to say. It is a story about me saving myself. I don’t know what eventually started turning me around – I still go through days where I feel like a robot, but they are becoming less and less. I think that getting away from the traffic, pressures, and hectic nature of So Cal has helped. I love my new house, but I also love the peace. I spend more time outside now, and I’m looking forward to springtime. I texted with Amanda last weekend, and on Thursday we’re Skyping, which is something I would have totally said no to a few months ago. Mostly, I’m living and breathing.

I didn’t share this so that everyone could pat me and say “there, there”. I don’t need that, and I would rather that not happen, actually. I shared my story for a couple of reasons. The first being that by typing the words, admitting the truth and clearing the air – it really does make me feel better. The second is because I think sometimes it is easy to assume that since Amanda and I are writing every day, that we’ve got it together. I think it’s easy to see people online and assume all is well. That isn’t always the case. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else, though. Amanda said to me last weekend that the community can be very superficial, and she needs something deeper. I get that. Sometimes I do, too. I think we all might.

I’m walking back

Everyone manages “real life” differently. I’m not sure that I’m managing it or if it is managing me, but I’m working on it. I had to be reminded this morning that for most people, fandom IS the escape. It isn’t as though I don’t feel that way, but when you write a blog about being a fan every day – I think it is easy to forget.

I really am looking forward to next month. I do need that escape and to be amongst friends that accept me for who I am. In many ways, those friends have become my family – and I need them. I am looking forward to hugging a few people who are very important to me, and I’m excited to see that band onstage again. That’s a start.

-R


Do Crowds Make You Feel Lonely?

How do you feel?

If you read the blog with any kind of regularity, you may have noticed a couple of Amanda’s blogs as of late. She’s going through a bit of a weird time when it comes to fandom and Duran Duran, and I don’t think she’s alone.

I know I see and experience things a lot differently now than I did eight, ten or even fifteen or twenty years back. My emotions about the band – at least the most basic ones – are still the same. Obviously, I still love the music. I still really enjoy hearing from them, whether in Kafe’s or in interviews. That said, I don’t always get to everything right as it’s posted.

Several years back, my day would stop if Duran Duran posted a new Kafe. Well, I can tell you that I still haven’t listened to the year-end Katy Kafes yet. I was moving at the time, and while I had a moment to glance at each of the year-end lists that DDHQ compiled, I really didn’t have opportune moments to sit and listen to the Kafes. Amanda did though, and shared a few things with me that she heard, and there was definitely some giggling, at least on my end.

How do you deal?

We still get a kick out of talking and writing about Duran Duran. When we actually are able to sit down and talk about the band, there’s still a lot of love and joy there. That’s the point though – we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time talking or laughing together.

Quite a bit of that is due to me, and some of it is a result of not having a lot to actually talk about. We aren’t working on a writing project at the moment. Our energy was, and is, being spent elsewhere. I think that makes up a lot of the “magic” when it comes to fandom: you get out of it whatever you put into it.

Back when I was a newbie in the community, participation-wise, I spent hours online. I chatted with my new friends. We made plans. We giggled a lot. I was sold, hook, line, sinker. The community aspect of being a Duranie couldn’t be beat. I put my heart and soul into it, even before I ever blogged a single word. I loved being a fan, more accurately – I loved being a part of the community.

What do you say?

Shoot ahead about five years to the time when we began Daily Duranie. The blog still carries a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears from me (as it does Amanda’s). Things have changed though. I don’t look at this blog as quite the “end all” it once was. The blog doesn’t take up my entire day the way it once did. For example, I don’t think I’m going to find any sort of a career path because I owned and operated a DD-fan blog. Yes, other people have had success – but I think those people have very different personalities and talents that are far better suited to the industry than mine. I’m open to whatever may, or may not, happen.

Acquaintances smile, but that’s no understanding

At one time, I desperately wanted and needed validation from the band. Now, I don’t just mean a wink from the stage or a quick picture with them. I had ridiculously high hopes that ranged from having one of them write the foreword to a book, to actually being taken seriously instead of being labeled as just a fan. I don’t know how or when that changed, but it did. Obviously, it isn’t something I can prove to anyone just by typing the words in a blog post. All I can say is that at one time, having the band’s respect mattered more than my own personal satisfaction, and now – I’m more concerned with how *I* feel about Daily Duranie than having the approval of someone else. For me, that’s huge.

I suppose to some extent it comes down to wanting to be noticed. It is slightly intoxicating to be noticed out of a crowd by someone I admire. That feeling is also addictive, which is why I believe so many fans wait for the band for hours on end. They too, want that moment. Once they get it, they want it again and again. They’re willing to go out of their own way to get it, too. True confession time: I’ve fallen into that trap myself. It is far too easy to fool myself into believing any sort of attention or recognition is paramount to anything else.

At one time, I looked at fandom with some sort of starry, wide-eyed innocence, it just isn’t the same now. Granted, part of me misses feeling that excited sort of buzz that happens whenever I talk about Duran Duran. The thing is, when I really sit and think about it, that feeling is still there. It isn’t my love for the band that has changed. It’s my feeling about the community.

After a while, you keep falling off the same mountain

Fandom still interests the hell out of the both of us. I just don’t feel quite as connected to other fans these days. I don’t know if that’s the same for Amanda. In a lot of ways, I feel like an island out here in the middle of nowhere. I admitted to Amanda that those feelings of listlessness certainly contribute to my not feeling like I can organize a full convention. It is hard to give back when you feel like you’re mostly alone.

Amanda herself said that she looks to her political activity for the same sort of boost she once received from the fan community (and I don’t mean as bloggers – I mean just as fellow fans). I have to believe this is part of the journey, rather than feeling like we’ve just reached the end point.

-R

PS – I was alerted that there are some links online that seem to be generated from Daily Duranie leading to a site impersonating us that gathers personal and financial data. Here is the real deal: we don’t gather personal or financial data. That’s not who we are, and that’s definitely not what we’re about. You have my word on that. We have never interviewed a band member (other than Dom). If we did – we’d be shouting from the rooftops, and everyone would know. Word to the wise: if it looks too good to be true (no, we didn’t interview Simon!), it definitely is! I apologize for the confusion.


The Lights Turn On

Today is the final day of my “vacation.” I put vacation in quotes because it has not really been a vacation in the traditional sense. No, I did not go to work, at least at the main paying job. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t work. In fact, I took one day off. One. Christmas was the only day that I did not do work for school, for my teaching career. I had a lot of grading to do. It was important to get as much of this grading done as possible for a couple of big reasons. First, the end of the semester is quickly approaching. This means that not only will I have to enter quarter grades but I will soon be giving finals. I will have to grade those, too. Second, I have an extremely busy schedule coming up as I am also working for a campaign for the spring election. This means that I have lots of tasks to do and many meetings and events to attend. Next week, for example, the only days I don’t have campaign related activities are Monday, Thursday and Friday. I’m already tired. Am I sad that this break is coming to an end? Extremely. I could have used a day more or five just to chill.

On top of grading on top of grading, I did get my house really clean, which felt so good as it had been months since that has happened. I also got some other household chores done like cleaning the coffee pot. More importantly to this blog, I finally purchased a plane ticket to Vegas. Of course, I practically have to sell a kidney in order to afford it but I assure myself that it will be worth it. And it will.

This weekend in February literally happens right after the primary here in Wisconsin, which marks the half way point of this campaign I’m working on. What a perfect time to get away! I am hoping that it act as a reward for the hard work so far and give me the break necessary to regroup, recharge to finish out the job. Why do I need a break with shows? Why couldn’t I just take a day or two to relax? Well, did I mention that I spent my entire winter “break” working? That should answer that question. If I am at home or anywhere near home, I will work. It is in my nature to do so. Therefore, I need a serious intervention to get me to stop. The only thing that will do that is a tour or in this case, a mini-tour.

I am not sure exactly why tours or mini-tours provide the complete escape for me but they do. Is it a change of scenery? I don’t think that is it. I have gone to visit friends or family out of state and I still take grading or other work with me. Is it being surrounded by friends? Again, I don’t think that does it. If I was really worried about getting tasks done, I would work on them even around friends. I have done it before. If I had to make a guess at what does it, I would say it is the whole thing. I am away from home, sure. I am also with friends but in a setting in which the band is playing. I have heard many interviews in which John Taylor has said something along the line that when they are on tour it is all about the show. This is a sentiment that I can relate to. When I’m on tour, it is all about that. It is like something all encompassing. My senses are filled with sights and sounds related to having fun, seeing my favorite band, and more. My thoughts become fixed on to fandom related activities and ideas.

Therefore, I’m looking forward to the real break in my working action. If that was not enough, I’m anxious to reconnect with my friends and work on meeting and getting to know others. Speaking of that, it appears that we will be in town on that Thursday night. I’m sure that we will be partying it up somewhere. Watch this space along with our social media to see where and when, if you would like to join us!

-A