Blog Pick from 2011-2012: More on Friendships

One thing I’ve found as I’ve looked back over our blogs for the past seven years is that there were some years that Amanda and I just WROTE. We did crazy amounts of writing each day. Nothing “dialed-in”, nothing that was just fluff. 2011-2012 was that way for us, and it was very difficult to choose something that summed up the year.  We traveled to the UK in December, we hosted a meet-up In Chicago, and we had big ideas (and wide eyes) for what we wanted to do with Daily Duranie.

The theme for this post was friendship. At the time, we had hosted a couple of meet-ups that went over very well, and I was feeling more and more confident about our “place” in the Duran fan community. At the time, I felt like we were accepted and loved. Our goal quickly became one of inclusion – we wanted EVERYONE to feel included and have a good fan experience.  This post is indicative of that.

The real reason Amanda and I began Daily Duranie is simple: We wanted to be liked and accepted. Writing was our way “in”. I don’t think it ever really worked in the way we’d hoped – our circle of friends is incredibly small – but that’s fine. We’ve learned to rely on one another, and we do. Anything else is a bonus. Back then, I think we felt like we could somehow share that vision of being liked and accepted with other people who never felt like they fit in, and that’s why we had hoped to be something in the fan community that would be known for bringing people together.  That initial glimmer of vision is what is written in the words below. I smile a little bit by how naive I was at the time.

I don’t know if our overall vision has changed that much since 2011, but I think the way in which we conduct ourselves certainly has.  We still agree that our “place” in the fan community is not necessarily to report on the news, but to focus on the fan experience. I would say that writing has become less about other people and more about myself – I can’t speak for Amanda on that, though. Time and experience has changed me. Where at one time I wrote hoping to make other people happy – wanting validation and acceptance, now I write with the goal of making myself happy. It isn’t that I don’t worry about what other people think, it is that I can’t. Even so, it’s nice to take a look back and “hear” my innocent, wide-eyed point of view.  

-R

Originally posted October 26, 2011:

While I didn’t get comments here, I did see quite a few comments regarding yesterday’s blog topic on Facebook.  The overwhelming response is that the friendships we make have all the difference in our experience, and I would agree.  (obviously?!?)

The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding.  Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.

When I first found dd.com, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board.  You were either included or you were not.  You were either well liked, or you were not.  The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited.  Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked.  We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish.  Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form.  Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way.  The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens.  I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?

The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience.  Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder.  Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan.  When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse.  Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about.  What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community.  I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone.  I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference.  If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge.  Enormous!

Of course, there are always going to be people who prefer the solo experience.  I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be.  (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!)  I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row.  I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had I been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too.  Who here would not have been?!?  Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case.  I’d have braved it out just fine!  I suppose we all have our limits or standards.  Mine is in the front row!

What about that false sense of friendship?  Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show?  What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen?  They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in?  For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived.  I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.

I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed.  If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.

-R

My Pick from 2010-2011: Semitones and Simon

So, what made me choose this one, originally posted June 1, 2011?  

As I started reading the blogs from our first year, a couple of things became clear: One, this idea of finding the “best” blogs from the year was much more difficult and time-consuming than I’d realized. Two, my memory is very poor.  What I mean by that is simply that when Amanda and I first started discussing this idea, I could think of topics that we’d written about, figuring they only happened a year or two ago.  Wrong. For example, we wrote about fan validation that year – and I would swear it was only a couple of years back!  It’s been seven!! So, my task was arduous. I couldn’t decide if I should go with what was easiest – picking either our first blog or something similar, or if I should just look up the blogs by traffic numbers and repeat what was most popular.  I ended up doing neither. 

I sat down and forced myself to re-read. Now, some blogs I simply glanced over, knowing they weren’t what I was looking for. On the other hand, there were many others I’d forgotten. So I whittled down the year’s worth to three.  From there, I just went with what felt right. 

In this blog, originally titled Semitones and Simon, I share what Simon had explained about his voice.  Interestingly enough though, in hindsight – the blog really isn’t about his voice or semitones. It’s about my own relationship with the band, Simon in particular.  I will just close here by saying that even forty years in, my impression of the band, and my feelings for them, continue to evolve. 

I still like to give any and all of them a rough time however I can, though. That’s not gonna change any time soon.  Enjoy!

 

According to the music sites I visited today, a semitone is an interval equivalent to a half-tone in a standard diatonic scale.  I am pretty embarrassed that I had to even look up the term – it’s something that even as an amateur musician, I should (and do) really know. Basically, for all of you retired high school band members out there like me – they are the sharps and flats.  The half-steps.  Why I couldn’t figure that out on my own this morning probably has something to do with early onset Alzheimer’s, at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.  Won’t matter anyway, because I’ll likely forget the whole thing by tomorrow.  (Yes, that’s my idea of humor!)

What is the whole point of this semitone discussion?  I was greeted this morning on Facebook by a news item from Duran Duran.  Simon had written a blog and it was up for our reading pleasure.  Of course I was interested, and it is very much worthy of reading.  Once again, Simon shocked me.  (this is fast becoming a habit!)  I’m very used to reading Simon’s blogs, scratching my head, reaching for the vodka bottle, reading it again, and still not quite understanding what happened in the translation.  I jokingly say that one has to be under the influence to understand him, and reading his blogs can be somewhat like reading his lyrics at times.  This new blog is not that way at all, and he is kind enough to share details of what is really going on with him at the moment.  He explains that he seems to be missing 6 semitones at the top of his range.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by semitone, but after looking it up – it makes perfect sense.  An octave is made up of 8 full tones and 12 semitones.  Why 12 and not 16? Look at a piano keyboard and count the notes.  That’s my easiest, non-theoretical answer. 🙂   Those black keys are known as the sharps and flats, and they fall in the middle (give or take) between each full tone.  Simon thinks he’s missing 6 of them, and thanks to my fabulous math skills I know that’s about half an octave – which is kind of a lot for a vocalist!  (although this morning in a fit of brilliance I said it was 2/3 of an octave.)  Regardless of the details, the Simon I am learning to admire these days is a far cry from the guy I’ve seen on stage over the years – and not in a bad way at all.  I really kind of like him when he’s not being mean-spirited on twitter. (Which is probably required once in a while.  I’ve seen some of the tweets he gets!)

Simon IS cheeky, he can be funny at times – and similar to the other males I share my life with, he can also be a downright pain in the ass.   Coincidence??  Nah… This Simon though, the one I met the last week in London, is someone new to me.  I don’t mean this to be a crack at Simon, it’s just that the lead singer I’m used to seems to be all about the ego.  Back when I was a teenager, I loved it.  That blondish hair, the way he’d smile slyly into the camera – who could ignore that?  Even into my 20’s, I thought Simon was amazing.  Once I hit 30, and then 35, and now 40, I will openly admit I grew tiresome of the huge ego.  It just seemed like it was time to get real.  I was loathsome of the way I’d hear he’d treat fans – whether they were stories, embellishments or otherwise – and as a result I had pretty much determined that I never wanted to meet him in person.  No reason to open myself up to being ridiculed just because he’s the lead singer in the one band I’ve always loved.  So, I avoided him at all costs.  In no way am I the type of fan who would just walk up to one of the band members outside of a gig and expect them to entertain me.  I may end up at the same bar, but I would never approach because for them, that time is “after work” and just as I wouldn’t appreciate having my boss follow me around after work (although I don’t mind saying that MY bosses live with me and I’m never off of work – just one of the joys of being a stay at home parent!), I recognize that perhaps they should be afforded the same luxury.  If they want to come up and share a beer, glass of wine or a conversation – I’m all about being friendly, but I won’t insist on it by imposing myself on them.  I feel pretty confident with who I am, what I look like, and what I’m worth as a human.  I just don’t need one of my idols to openly reject me because I’m not a supermodel, I don’t have long dark hair, or exotic looks.   I know I’m not the only fan out there that feels that way…right??

It’s funny because this situation has made me see the band in a much different light.  I guess to some extent, I’ve always taken them for granted.  They would always be there, in some shape or form.  It never occurred to me that there would be “an end”, much less would there be an end without any major fanfare.  I figured I’d always know it was coming and would be able to prepare myself, but of course – it never happens that way, does it?  I’ve been home now for a few days, and I’ll find myself in the middle of say, folding laundry or something.  I’ll stop and think “Holy hell what just happened there?”  It’s as though while I was in the UK, I was just a robot going through the motions of every day, and it’s only just now that I realize I flew 10 hours there, spent 9 days wandering around only to see not a single show, then fly 11 hours back.  (gotta love the jet stream)  What just happened?!?  It reminds me very much of how I felt in retrospect after my dad passed.  For an entire month I wandered around this house, going through the motions of caring for a tiny newborn and planning every aspect of my dad’s memorial – and only several weeks after all was said and done did I look back and think “Wait a damn second here.  Did all of that really just happen?”  I’m not emotional, mainly just incredulous that I went all the way to the UK to live out a dream…and walked away before it really happened.  Now of course we’re all wondering when Simon will sing again.  I hope it’s soon, and I hope I have the chance to witness it for myself.

In any case, my heart continues to go out to Simon and I wish I could help – tap dancing here on this blog doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

-R

Amanda and I Write: Looking Back Over Seven Years

It’s Tuesday, which means while you’re reading, I’m at work already.  It’s the first day with students on campus, although today it is just a small group for a Robotics day camp. I was nervous before I left, purely because it’s the start of a new year and I still have a ton of work left to do in order to get ready for Thursday when we have orientation. This blog is just the thing I needed to get my mind off of work a little bit!

Today is September 5th. Eight little days from now, this blog will magically turn seven years old. The first thing that comes to mind as I type that sentence is that I don’t know where the time has gone. It doesn’t feel as though I’ve been writing for seven years, that is for sure.  But by the same token, a lot has happened during that time, I guess. Two albums, more than a few tours and shows, I’ve had a baby, two kids graduate from high school, taken on a new job for the first time in twenty years….and written a lot of words.

Amanda and I spoke last week before each of us went back to the salt mines for the school year, knowing we’d both get far too busy to talk much later.  We agreed to do something just a little different this year in order to celebrate the blog. Over the course of the next week, beginning tomorrow, we’re choosing one blog from each year – 2010-2017 – to highlight and reprint. I have barely begun the process of looking back to pick out blogs to reprint, and it’s much harder than I originally thought! Do I pick a blog that best represents the year, or blogs that I felt were well-written?  What about the poignant ones – like when Simon lost his voice or while Amanda and I were in the UK?  There are 365 days in most years, and to only choose one is challenging.  I don’t know what Amanda will pick for the days that she blogs, but I’ve decided to go with my gut. No rhyme or reason – just the blogs that in re-reading, I decided to share again. So each day, you’ll see something from a different year, and we’ll write something about the blog to reintroduce it.

I’ll probably share more about how I’m feeling as I go, but I just have to say that I’m pretty proud of Amanda and I. I’m not proud of our success or traffic numbers – I don’t care about that stuff. I’m just proud of us and what we’ve written. We’ve stuck through some really hard moments, things that no one but the two of us know happened, and our friendship is solid. (That’s the thing I’m most proud of)

This whole thing started at as no more than another one of my hare-brained schemes that I didn’t really think through. Somehow writing a blog each day sounded EASY seven years ago. Some days, it is, if there’s news, if I’m feeling wordy, and if I’ve got time. I didn’t think too much about how this was all going to happen while we’re supposed to be teaching or working, it’s one of those things that just sounded good at the time. Somehow, we’ve made it work. That isn’t to say everyone loves us, or that we haven’t stumbled along the way, but we’ve stuck with it, persevered, and I think Amanda and I are at a place of peace now. It’s not perfect, but neither are we.  We just have fun and let the rest take care of itself.  “The rest” used to bother me, and sometimes when I least expect – someone will say something online and it will strike a nerve and really upset me.  That’s when I take a minute to remind myself that Amanda and I WRITE. That’s what we do. Each day we offer our words, opinions, hopes, joy and sometimes, disappointment and sorrow. Once we’ve hit “publish”, it’s up to everyone else.  It doesn’t work when I get involved on that end of the narrative, and I’m so much happier when I don’t. These days, I’m just proud of what we’ve done, and content with what I am doing. The rest just takes care of itself.

So with that, I’m excited to look back and see what I can dig up to share!

-R

Happy Birthday Ask Katy, Mark Ronson & Google!

Happy Monday!  So many birthdays in Duranland, beginning with Katy Krassner!  That’s right, Duran Duran’s own Ask Katy is celebrating her special day today, and considering all of the hard work she does for the band as well as keeping the fans feeling connected and up to date – we hope she has a wonderful and restful day! We appreciate everything she does for the band, and it helps to make this world a little friendlier and nicer.

Sharing this date with Katy is also Mark Ronson! (I did not know that!) Mark has done fantastic work with Duran Duran over the years, and I personally thank him for keeping the band true to themselves, but also giving them space to continue exploring new sounds.  It is a delicate balance, and I can certainly appreciate the time and tenacity involved all around. Happy birthday Mark!

Lastly, a little less “connected” to Duran Duran, but vital in every single way – Google turns 19 today. Do you remember life before Google??

It’s funny because just yesterday my husband Walt and I were talking about the web, circa 1995-ish. I can remember working for a company who had just started developing a web page, and the owner tried to explain to me what the web was all about and how it would work. Fast forward about two years, and we had America Online (AOL) at home as our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I can remember the cumbersome method of using the modem to dial in and then hoping I’d get a good connection and keep it!  I think the dial-up modem noise, along with the AOL “Welcome!” greeting, are almost Pavlov’s Bells to anyone from my generation, as a result. Anything I needed was found within the AOL platform though, and as Walt continued rebuilding and upgrading our computer (it seemed like he was constantly doing that!), everything grew faster and faster. Then, around 1998, things started moving from AOL platform to the internet itself. I couldn’t just get on AOL and find the message boards I wanted anymore. At that point, I was dialing into AOL, and then from there I clicked on internet explorer to be able to search for websites. And at that point – there was Google, ready to be used.  And not much later, no one needed AOL as the go-between, we could simply have our own internet connection directly from our computers – and no more dial up modem noise.

Google was just one search engine of many at that point. Yahoo, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, infoseek and Lycos are a few that I remember, along with of course, Google.  Over the years since, many of those first search engines are either gone or they’ve completely changed their business model. Google, on the other hand, expanded. They’ve bought (and sold) companies, and they continue to grow their business model to suit the ever-changing world.  Google is a permanent part of our vocabulary (“google it!”) in the same way that if you’re from the US, a bandage is a “Band-Aid”. It would seem they are here to stay, and it will not be long before most people don’t even realize there WAS an internet before Google, and that once upon a time, all Google did was search for terms!

Google is important to Duran Duran’s history because I’m betting that many of us used it right about the time the reunion of the original five members was announced. We searched the web, looking for information, looking for groups, message boards, websites, and anything we could find – at least I know I sure did! To this very moment, I don’t think a single day goes by when I don’t use Google to find one thing or another, and yeah—a lot of the time it has something to do with Duran Duran. The internet (and Google) has changed our world, both as Duranies and as people.

Makes me wonder what the next nineteen years will bring.

Happy Birthday, Katy Krassner, Mark Ronson and yes, Google!

-R

 

Which Full Album Live Would You Prefer?

I like to check out set lists.  Before the Depeche Mode show, I spent time checking out the set list for this tour.  I guess I’m a little like those TV and movie fans who read spoilers online.  While in the case of Depeche or the Killers, I look at the set lists to have an idea of what they are playing.  Yet, in the case of Duran, I just like to know what they are playing even if I’m not going to be seeing them any time soon.  Naturally, then, I looked at the set lists from last week’s shows.  I like to see if there are any surprises and this time, there were!

At the Croatia show, they busted out a minute or so of the Universe Alone before diving into Save a Prayer.  As soon as I saw that, I wanted to see video since I never thought they would play that song from Paper Gods!  If you haven’t seen it, here is a little video.  The fans there were pretty excited!

Then, they played Face for Today at the Home Festival!  Here is a video of that:

This got me thinking.  How many songs from Paper Gods have they played live?  Let’s check!

Paper Gods?  Yes.  Last Night in the City?  Yes.  You Kill Me with Silence?  Yes.  Pressure Off?  Yes.  Face for Today?  Yes.  Danceophobia?  Yes.  What are the Chances?  Yes.  Sunset Garage?  No.  Change the Skyline?  No.  Butterfly Girl?  No.  Only in Dreams?  Yes.  The Universe Alone?  Yes.  Of course, they have not played any of the bonus tracks.  Ignoring those, they have played all but 3 tracks.  Is that common?  Was that the case of All You Need Is Now?  Astronaut?

For All You Need Is Now, they played every track except for the bonus tracks.  With Astronaut, they played all of the tracks except for One of Those Days, I think.  Red Carpet Massacre was a little different since they played the entire album in order on Broadway.  I was lucky to attend one of those shows, which definitely helped my appreciation of some tracks (Tricked Out!!).  Over the course of my fan career (is that such a thing?  Should it be?), I have also seen every track from the Rio album at some point or another, if I leave out b-sides.

It seems to me that one idea that has come up both in relation to the 40th anniversary and otherwise is the idea of Duran playing shows where they play an entire album.  Personally, I like that idea.  I think a lot of fans do.  Many fans might say that they would like them to play the entire Rio album.  I get that.  It is a fan favorite.  For me, though, I would choose an album that I haven’t seen most of the songs played live.  One of my favorite albums is the first album and there are lot of songs on that one that I haven’t heard.  Of course, I haven’t seen many songs off of Liberty, Medazzaland or Pop Trash.  In fact, there are VERY few songs off of those albums that I have seen live based on when I have seen Duran shows.  I missed the tours surrounding Medazzaland and Pop Trash.

I don’t have a good answer then to the question of which album I would prefer to hear live.  If my goal is to hear more songs that I haven’t before, then I should go with Pop Trash.  If I want a favorite album, then I should go for the first album or All You Need Is Now.  Interestingly, though, I think my final answer might be Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I have only seen a few songs from that album–far less than the first album and it is one that I enjoy.  It might be a good compromise between the never heard and a big time favorite.

What album would you want to see performed in entirety live and why?

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!