Fans are fans: we’re all of the same stuff

I’m taking a break from life to reflect on a couple of very different, yet incredibly similar things I saw this morning.

As I woke up this morning, I grabbed my phone. I got into the nasty habit of doing this back when I worked at our resource center (think school). Sometimes a teacher would call in sick or I’d need to prepare for a sudden change in plans, so checking my phone helped to alleviate the panic I’d feel when walking through my office door a bit later to discover complete chaos. Nowadays, it is primarily that habit that drives me to grab my phone each morning. I check social media, often landing on Twitter to see what the people are talking about.  On this day, I saw a poll from a friend.

The friend – you may recognize his Twitter handle as “GuyFansofDuran” – had posted a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite. Sounds like a normal poll question we’ve all seen before, right? Well, there was a small twist – the songs were listed by abbreviation ONLY, and they weren’t your simple “AYNIN” or “HLTW” or even “TUA”.  No, these were songs that, for the most part, were more obscure, deeper cuts.  I enjoyed the challenge, figuring out the songs fairly quickly and then choosing my favorite. Others may have had a little more difficulty, taking the puzzles in stride and solving them with the help of Wikipedia or maybe even the discography on DD.com.

I don’t think knowing the abbreviations makes me any different from other fans, by the way. I think I just happened to wake up with all cylinders firing today, for a change! There have been other days where I couldn’t even think of what “MOW” or “DYBIS” could possibly stand for, so, take heed.

I loved that a group of fans could look at abbreviations, work through a bit of a puzzle, and continue to have a discussion over worthy answers. It felt to me as though one would have needed to be pretty astute with their Duran discography to easily grasp the answers. However, if someone really wanted to participate – it wouldn’t have mattered, because the answers could be found online. Even so, from what I could tell, most of the participants were fans I recognized from the community. I dare call them fellow “die hards”, and I appreciate our commonalities.

I enjoyed the banter, even though I knew as I clicked on my choice (which I am leaving vague on purpose) that it would be the least favorite.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the eight years I’ve blogged – we’re all different, and I don’t like choosing the same things as everyone else.

Only an hour or two later, my friend pointed out an example of an entirely different level of devotion to me.  Someone had taken the time to make a .gif that flashes through an animation of each of the album covers the band has created over their career alongside a tweet asking which was their favorite. I didn’t take the time to read all of the answers, but the one that caught my friend’s attention was one that didn’t call out a particular album by name, but by its background color.

Sure, one could make some assumptions based on that answer. I don’t know if the person knew the name of the album but didn’t bother to give it, or maybe they didn’t know the album at all and simply liked the color and imagery. I’ll never know for sure, and it would be a mistake to guess. What I can say though, is that in both cases, people engage on whatever level they’re comfortable. In as much as people took time to answer the poll by figuring out song titles, and sitting through the .gif to find a favorite album – fans were engaging.  A point upon which my friend and I agree.

The best fans aren’t necessarily the ones who know every song, every word, and every note. What does “best” really even mean, anyway? Knowing what “era” specific pictures come from based on hairstyles and clothing doesn’t help to rate the quality of a fan. Some fans might not know anything beyond Paper Gods. Maybe they don’t know that Warren ever played guitar, or that Andy left the band twice. They just know the music, or maybe they only know one album. Fans are fans. There is no good, better or best. Rating one another does very little to encourage people to engage.

Listen, I know how it is between fans. I’ve been at more than my fair share of meet-ups. We greet one another and then ask questions like, “How many shows have you seen?” or “Have you met the band before?” Some pose these questions in order to find common ground, others do it as a sort of fan “sizing up” ritual. I have watched eyes narrow, and then widen, while fans tell tales meant to impress of meeting band members, or narrating accounts from the front row.  It is what is done, and to pretend that sort of thing doesn’t happen or exist is foolish.

What I’ve come to know and accept, is that in the end, none of it really matters. Fans are fans. Sure, some know and have done more. Others might not even have enough experience behind them to know the full history of Duran Duran’s career, but they love that one album with the black and white cover, or the one that looks like a map on the back. That’s great!

-R

We believe in the cold grey lights we dream

Hi everybody! I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday to post. I heard that there’s yet another reason to visit Florida in February (besides sun and warmer weather if you’re looking to escape winter!) – Duran Duran is playing in Miami Beach!

While Duran Duran announced a new show, I was busy and mostly unplugged yesterday. In just two very short weeks, my family and I will FINALLY relocate from the very busy OC, to a much smaller and peaceful town about five hours north. Yesterday we went to inspect our new house and do paperwork, which was joyful. The outside temperature was only in the 50s at our new house, even by midday, which only made me MORE excited to get up there permanently!

While I have been packing and worrying about how I’m going to make this all work (We’re moving just a few days before Christmas – and my youngest still believes in Santa!), I’ve also done a bit of reminiscing. We’ve lived in this house for so long that I can’t really imagine otherwise. It will be strange to be somewhere that my two oldest haven’t lived before, and my anxiety has been on overdrive, thinking about ways I can make the move seem less traumatic. Why? Because that’s what you do when you’re me, I suppose. I’m great at making lists in my head at 3:30 am.

All of the reminiscing has reminded me that not too many years earlier, I was in the height of my glory as a Duran fan. I had gone to the UK with Amanda, as she wrote earlier this week. My time there was fabulous. I saw so many new places, met lots of new faces that have now become dear friends. The experiences were both enriching and inspiring. I think about the shows fairly often. The memories are wonderful, comforting, and still manage to make me smile. Even more so though, I think about the travel we did while there. We were trains a lot. We saw quite a bit of the countryside, experienced winter markets, and tried new things. I fell in love with England and Scotland on that trip, and I really want to go back.

I remember walking through Bournemouth, which is a beautiful little town (as is Brighton and everywhere else I’ve visited so far). We walked along the shops and grabbed dinner with friends.  I can’t even remember the place, but the food was yummy and I was finally starting to relax. It began to rain at some point and so I bought an umbrella (I melt in rain, of course). It was zebra-striped and I had it up until last year, when it broke. I have no idea why I remember that so well, but I do.

Another memory I have from the trip was in Glasgow, after the show that Amanda described on her Sunday post. First of all, my blood is Californian, and I wholeheartedly admit that I froze from the second I got off the train in Edinburgh to the time I got back to California a few days later. I just could not get warm. So, one of my memories is of the cold weather. The arena where the show took place felt like it had its air conditioner on, as opposed to a heater, and I wore my big ski jacket until after the band came on stage, and I still remember shivering as the band busted through “All You Need is Now”.

Then after the show, we’d walked over to a hotel nearby, where there seemed to be a large gathering of Duranies. We grabbed seats and drinks, knowing it would be our final hurrah for that trip. As we sat and sipped, we look out the window and saw it begin to snow. Giant, fat, frosty flakes rained down, and while our driver worried about getting home – I remember thinking how magical the night seemed. I love that memory. I didn’t grow up with snow or even cold weather, so for me it was something out of a dream. Kind of like the rest of that trip, to be honest.

I need to break out of my reverie and get back to shopping online, wrapping, and packing!

-R

 

 

 

I Came By Invitation: UK Tour Memories

I love this time of year.  I’m not talking about Christmas or the holiday season.  (Although, I do love the holidays.)  No, I’m referring to a little trip to the UK that Rhonda and I took seven years ago now to see a few Duran Duran shows.  This time of the year allows me to remember that tour, that All You Need Is Now time and more.  Seven years ago, on this day, we were traveling from Bournemouth to Birmingham to see Duran Duran in their hometown.  We were only half way done with the tour and yet, I would have called it magical already.  It wasn’t perfect tour but it still ranks as one of my very favorites as it is a special one.  Therefore, I thought I would like to  take the time to share some of the best parts in no particular order.

Making it to the Brighton Show:

We were so stressed about this show as there was a large public union strike that was due to take place on the day of our arrival, the day of the show.  We figured that it would cause major delays at the airport and with the train from London to Brighton.  Yet, somehow, someway, we had no problems at all as we breezed through customs and got easily on the train to Brighton.  We were even able to make dinner plans with some friends.

Secret Oktober:

As the show in Brighton started, my jet lag was so bad that I worried that I might actually be dreaming.  There was no way that I was actually seeing Duran Duran play in the UK, right?  I resisted the urge to pitch myself with every song.  Then, the band started playing a few notes that sounded so familiar and, yet, so unexpected.  My brain struggled to comprehend what I was actually hearing.  I turned to the right to look at Rhonda.  Our eyes met in confusion for a nanosecond before excitement burst forth!  We never thought we would actually see the band play Secret Oktober.  So, we responded as anyone else would have–we hugged like we just found out that we had won the lottery.  As we turned back to the stage, I remember seeing Nick chuckling.  Apparently, our reaction was amusing.

Do You Know Where We Are?

The next night’s show in Bournemouth provided one of the funniest moments ever at a Duran show.  One of my favorite things about Duran is how much I laugh because of them.  They are genuinely funny and amusing as heck.  Usually, when Rhonda and I are together, the amusement factor somehow seems to multiply as we encourage the other to laugh at and with the band.  (All from love, people!).  Well, on this night, we cracked ourselves up.  Simon began singing the lyrics to The Man Who Stole a Leopard when I dared to respond to one of the lyrical questions.  He asked, “Do you know where we are?”  My answer had everything to do with being in a different country, confused by a new timezone and lack of UK geography when I said in all seriousness, “No.”  Rhonda lost it.  I feared that she might never stop laughing.  Needless to say, I cannot hear the song in the same way now.

Birmingham Fun:

Everything surrounding the Birmingham show was fun.  For example, we met up with UK friends before the show for drinks.  That crowd traveled to the venue together, increasing our excitement for the show.  I remember how we all packed into train D to head over.  Photos were taken at every opportunity.  It was beautiful.  This, of course, was also the tour in which tweets using the hashtag #duranlive were projected on the screen.  (I still love that, by the way!)  Fans in the audience could share their excitement and other fans not present could give little shoutouts to the band or people in the audience.  I remember swelling with pride as our tweet about having a dream fulfilled flashed on the screen.  It truly felt monumental.

Trains:

The next day featured a long train ride north to Scotland.  Some people might not consider that a highlight but I loved it.  I enjoyed watching the beautiful scenery while listening to Duran music.  If that wasn’t enough, Rhonda and I spent time brainstorming ideas and more for the blog.  I loved that we had concentrated time to work on something we were building together.

The Floor Shook:

Glasgow felt like the perfect final show, not that we wanted the tour to end.  We didn’t.  (We never do.)  I remember freezing as we sat in our best seats for the tour, waiting for the show to start.  Then, the show was amazing with a fabulous Careless Memories with new anime and more.  Yet, again, Leopard stood out because I swear the floor shook as the entire crowd clapped along.  I believed at that moment that I belonged.  That isn’t a feeling I get all that often so I treasured it then and treasure it now.  After the show, Rhonda and I convinced ourselves that going to sleep would be dangerous because of our early departure time.  In reality, I don’t think we wanted the night to end.  We spent the few hours we had left trying to find videos of various songs from the shows, trying to stay with the music.

As I traveled home, I knew that it was a “tour of a lifetime.”  Seven years later and I still think that.  That doesn’t mean that Paper Gods wasn’t amazing because it totally was, more than I could have hoped for.  Rhonda and I keep talking about going back to the UK.  I know that I would love it because if it was half as good as the tour seven years ago, it would be awesome.

-A

Guest Blog: The Gift of the Duran Duran Calendar

I feel like Christmas has come a little early here at the Daily Duranie.  First, we find out that the band is back in the studio.  Then, we received another fabulous guest blogs by one of our favorite people, Nat!  She reminds us all of enjoying and appreciating the little things, even in fandom.  It is a good read.  Enjoy!  -A&R

The holiday season is upon us! I just celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and decorated my home for Christmas. My merry tree is decorated. I’m obsessing over the scent of pine and the taste of egg nog. The shopping frenzy of Black Thursday-Friday is over. While I am loving the twinkly lights and the hopefulness of this season, it can be a difficult time to navigate for me. Gift exchanges are popular now. Years ago, I read Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” and realized that receiving gifts is important to me. So, how do I express love to others using a physical item? My toddler niece is too young to have a list of desired items yet. So, do I purchase needed items like leggings or something impractical like a Disney Princess something? What to get my mom who has everything she wants or needs? Fortunately, one gift I do not need to think about is my annual gift to myself-the Duran Duran calendar.

Every year, around mid-late November, I look forward to DDHQ’s announcement that a calendar will be issued. Yes, folks, there is a 2019 edition available now on the band’s website. As I bought mine, I pondered my annual tradition. Why is this item important to me? I know I value the calendar because I don’t entrust my family to buy it for me. Timeliness is not their forte and I want my calendar in my hands by January first. It’s just a calendar in a world of calendars so what makes the Duran Duran one special?

It’s a work of art. I bought my first Duran Duran calendar in 1984. It reflects that Seven and the Ragged Tiger vibe. Just gazing at its cover brings forth memories of random “Sing Blue Silver” lines. Every year, the calendar has distinct visual elements. Some years, the band elects to use concert photographs. Other times, the band members are carefully posed. One of my favorite calendar photos is of John in a light colored suit, walking down a street. It’s a stunning photograph that could hang on a gallery wall.

It’s a time capsule. Sometimes, the calendar’s visual style mirrors the most recent record that the band recorded. This makes the calendar feel like an extension of the record. As mentioned above, when concert photographs are used, the calendar serves as a tour memento. The monthly photo selection reflects the band member’s birthdays. Simon is always featured in October, just as April belongs to Roger. I look forward to seeing who won June? Is there a pattern? Say, does Nick gets June in 2004 so John gets June in 2005? Does the “loser” automatically get the month of July? Hmmmmm…

It’s a practical tool. Okay, I’ve just spent two paragraphs lavishing about a CALENDAR! At first, I would never write on my calendar. During an “It’s time to lose some weight, Nat” period, I would record my exercise minutes on the DD calendar. The calendar layouts change each year.

Some years are more conducive to recording important events. I’ve struggled with a few layouts because they were so impractical. Yet, even the impracticalness, made that year’s calendar unique. I look forward to the first day of each month to see what the next month will bring. I don’t peek-LOL. It’s amusing when I use the calendar when booking appointments. “Excuse me, Roger, I’m talking to my dentist. Yes, I’m available on 3rd at 5:00 p.m.” I love it when the band uses some European elements and/or words. They are being inclusive to the fan base. Plus, I get to dust off my high school French.

It’s become a tradition (for me). There have been a few years when the band didn’t produce an official calendar. In response, I did what fans do- I pouted for a few seconds! Some awesome graphic designers shared fan-created calendars with me. It’s not the same. It’s flimsy when compared to the heft of an official calendar. When purchasing the annual calendar, at times, I buy another DD item. Other times, just a calendar purchase is enough. Just like a child on Christmas morning, I look forward to this special piece of mail from the U.K. The annual Duran Duran calendar is a gift to me, from me. I will keep buying if they keep producing. Deal!

Enjoy your time with loved ones and don’t forget to treat yourself,

Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

At the End of the Drive

Last weekend, I discovered that Duran Duran is, indeed, back in the studio working on their next project.  Now, we don’t really know if the plan is to complete a whole album, a mini-album like an EP or something completely different.  Many of us assume that the plan is for them to create an album, #DD15, if you like.  I’m good with going with that plan.  I, like many/most/all fans, am all for a full album of new Duran music.  In thinking about this announcement, it got me thinking.  Where do the shows in 2019 come in?  Am I anxious for new music?  Do they feel like they finish a project completely before starting the next?  Is that the way to do it, if so?

Initially when I heard that Duran was getting started on the next project, I thought about how the band finishes one project before beginning the next.  For example, we know that they worked on All You Need Is Now before Paper Gods.  The shows in 2011 and 2012, for instance, belong to the AYNIN era.  As the band now enters the studio, many assume that the Paper Gods era is over and a new one will begin.  I think that.  Then, I wonder where the upcoming shows in 2019 fit.  Are those part of Paper Gods or #DD15?  Did we have shows like this after Astronaut or Red Carpet Massacre or AYNIN?  Without looking, I bet we did and that we lumped any of those shows in with the previous era.  Is that fair?  Not sure.  I wonder if we do this because of the fact that they didn’t or won’t be playing new songs.

No matter how we categorize these upcoming shows or how we label the studio work that is going on, I can’t help but think about the idea that there are beginning and ending marks to each Duran era/project.  Yes, as I just pointed out, the ending point might not be as clear cut as you might think.  Still, their job, their history can be clearly divided between  album projects.  I wonder if they prefer that, if they like that aspect of their job.  After all, they finished shows in 2017 and took a significant break from what I saw.  From my perspective, this is probably a nice way to have a career.  They write an album before touring it.  After that, they take a break.  Sure, some might say that the constant cycle could be boring or could result in losing creativity but it seems like a good way to sustain themselves long term.

In many ways, my life runs in a similar cycle.  I have a school year in which there will be consistent activities before I get a break in the summer.  Similarly, campaigns work that way as well in that once election day is over, there is a brief time of reflection and clean up before a break.  Interestingly enough, other projects like our writing projects haven’t really worked that way for the most part.  Would it be better if they did?  Would it be more positive for us to write for six to nine months then take a break?  I don’t know but I appreciate that Duran’s return to the studio has got my mind thinking a bit.

All this leads me to wonder if I need Duran Duran in the way that I did in 2012 or 2015.  I remember feeling so anxious to get my hands on new Duran music then.  Looking back, I’m sure there were a couple of factors for my desperateness.  First, in 2012, I was looking back to the All You Need Is Now era and realized that I had an absolutely amazing time.  I simply didn’t want it to end.  In all seriousness, I felt like Rhonda and I had worked hard to make this blog something and had started to hold fan events.  It felt like we were onto something and having a break was going to kill it.  I worried if this blog could be sustained without new Duran activity.  On top of that, my Duran-related activities helped me ignore some trauma.

Now, though, I feel like I view my fandom differently.  First of all, I don’t worry about the blog as much.  I know that we can blog for long periods without new Duran material.  I trust in us more now.  Second, I think I see fandom as my place of fun, my escape.  Of course, there are still things that I would love to do surrounding our writing or more fan events.  That said, I have other activities in my life that need my attention, too.  Life does not stand still and I cannot either.  So what does this mean in terms of new Duran music?  Simple.  I cannot wait for the beginning of the next era!  It means new, fabulous music as well as good times!  Who wouldn’t look forward to all that?!  But…I don’t need it desperately as I might of in the past.  Nope.  I am going to be patient and busy with the rest of my life until I can celebrate new Duran.  I look forward to that.

-A