To Be a Duranie or Not To Be?

I have observed something interesting in the Duran Duran fandom in the last few months. Some Duran fans do not like the term “Duranie” and would never refer to themselves in this way. This is fascinating to me. I have always called myself a Duranie and never thought much about it. To me, the term equals any other term used to identify fans. For example, my brother and sister-in-law are Trekkies. (I realize that some Star Trek fans prefer the term, Trekker, but the idea is the same.) So why wouldn’t someone want to be called a Duranie?

I am not sure where the term came from or when it started. I did listen to Top 40 Chicago radio as a kid and remember hearing the term then (early to mid 1980s). Even as a young age, I remember understanding that the term was not always used in a complimentary fashion. I knew that some of the DJs were making fun of Duran Duran fans even as they played Hungry Like the Wolf. Could this be part of the reason that some fans don’t like the term? They don’t like it because it was/is used by people to make fun of the fans? I can understand not wanting to be made fun of. Then, there is another part of me that says that I don’t care what people think of me. If they want to make fun of me because I’m a Duranie, go ahead. It won’t change how I feel or that I’m a Duran Duran fan.

I heard rumors that the term started in America. (Is that true? Does anyone know that for sure?) Perhaps, if this is true, that could cause negative feelings toward the term. If the term is connected to American fans, I can understand the rest of the world being annoyed. After all, Duran Duran fans are everywhere and the band themselves are from England. They aren’t an American band so why should the fans there get a nickname to identify them, right?! If the term just reminds people of American fans then that isn’t good. Yet, I wonder and worry if the dislike towards the term has more to do with the stigma involved with being a Duranie or a fan, in general.

It seems to me that fans get a bad reputation. Fans are often seen as slightly crazy, slightly obsessed. People, sometimes, think of fans as people who haven’t grown up. They worry that people who identify themselves as fans might be stalkers who follow the band or celebrity. Maybe they would do something harmful to the famous person/people. Now, obviously, there are fans who cross the line. While it is rare that fans actually want or do harm the subject of their affection, there are people who seem to take it a bit too far. Thus, is it possible that normal fans don’t want to be associated with these fans who have gone too far? Yet, I believe that normal fans have nothing to be ashamed of because we know where the line is and would never think of crossing it. We shouldn’t let those who are unstable ruin something that we enjoy or make us ashamed. I, instead, embrace the fan in me.

Of course, another possibility here is that our fan community has forced this anti-Duranie feeling. Perhaps, people have seen or been in the line of fire with other Duranies. Our fan community is not always one of love and inclusiveness (as much as we like to think otherwise). Duranies can and have had arguments. They do not always get along and have talked about each other, both in public and in private. Thus, is it possible that some fans reject the term because they want to reject this negativity? I think that is possible and is understandable. Yet, again, I refuse to let that type of activity influence me. I realize that this type of behavior happens within the community. While I hate it, I’m still going to do what I want to do and be proud of who I am.

I am a Duranie. While I realize that there are negative connotations to the term, I don’t let that control me. To me, the term means that I’m a Duran Duran fan, nothing more and nothing less.

-A

Touring Traditions

My email inbox has been a flurry of activity lately.  This is very common before a tour as Rhonda and I plot…I mean…plan things out.  I’m a planner.  I don’t need to have every last detail planned out but I want to have enough planned so that I don’t have to think much while I’m on tour.  I want to be able to just enjoy.  Anyway, you can imagine that this tour might be taking a bit more planning than normal since it is much longer than most and is overseas.  As Rhonda and I exchange emails, we can get silly and talk about other things besides an immediate travel detail.  Part of our silliness involves discussions and comments regarding some of our traditions.  Yes, we have traditions, customs.  I guess this is a sign that we have toured too much together or that we have a similar sense of humor and fun.  Now, that we are down to 2 weeks (14 days!!!!  EEK!!!), I have started to really look forward to some of those traditions.

I hope Rhonda isn’t too upset with my revealing of some of those traditions, but I thought it might be fun on a Friday.  The first tradition has been referenced on the blog before and that is the tour binder.  I have this blue binder that has accompanied me on every tour since the first year.  People often tease me about this and tell me that I’m a little obsessive-compulsive.  Well, I suspect that most people secretly appreciate it!  In this binder, I have our agenda, flight information, hotel confirmations, tickets, restaurant info, club info and anything else fun and needed.  The binder is filling up quickly and I still have a ton left to add, including those lovely tickets to 4 Duran Duran shows!  This tradition, obviously, begins for the tour even starts.  🙂  Besides this one, we have a ton that we do on the road.

One of my favorite traditions on the road is what we call the menu.  This started in Chicago in March of 2005 after the group of us had been up for a VERY long time.  We were at a restaurant trying to get some coffee when I picked up a take out menu.  I was looking for something to focus my attention on so that I didn’t fall asleep and had the idea of writing down memories and quotes from the weekend.  I did have a sharpie with me (you never know when you might need one on tour!) and went from there.  Since then, we always try to grab a menu to record our memorable moments in the same way.  I can only imagine how filled this one might be!  Another one of our customs is to do what I lovingly call the “press conference”.  This is done usually after a show or a meetup or some event.  We then discuss what was good, bad, fun, not-so-fun or whatever about the event that we went to.  In many cases, these are done while waiting for a ride or a plane or something.  They are also usually done when we are completely exhausted.  Rhonda and I joked that we could just video blog this time and realized that we wouldn’t want to scare anyone!!!  Part of the reason for these press conference is to remember the details and feelings.  It is another means to document!

Now, you can probably tell why we decided to write a book!  We like to discuss, to analyze, to document these important events in our fandom.  I think the fact that we have developed this traditions shows how fandom leads right into a culture.  For example, I suspect that we are like many Duranies in that we enjoy having a drink or two when we get together.  I would even argue that this type of activity is part of our Duranie culture.  I digress.  The last tradition is done afterwards and that is when I file everything in the tour binder, the menu and more in my Duranie scrapbook.  I want to make double and triple sure that I won’t forget one single moment of any tour!

Of course, we have a few other traditions that we shall keep to ourselves in order to protect the innocent or not-so-innocent!  I suspect that Rhonda and I are not unique with our development of traditions.  I bet lots of other groups of Duranies have their own!  Come and share!  What are your traditions and how did they start?

-A

Too Close To the Sun – The Daily Duranie Review

This week, having skipped it last week…we are reviewing Too Close To the Sun, another exclusive track from the Best Buy version of All You Need Is Now.

Rhonda’s turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  Hello electronica.  This song seems to be the heaviest in various electronica on the album, and I think even a good deal of Roger’s drums are done on electronic toms – nothing really new to the band, but it’s a standout on the song.  (yes, that’s a good thing.  His work is nothing short of excellent on this one)  If I’m wrong on that, well…it wouldn’t be the first time.  🙂  I really began to get concerned in the instrumentation when, about 30 seconds in – I heard the familiar chords from Save A Prayer (listen closely, they are there – they aren’t the familiar melody, but the notes are there!), and my concern was only that they were trying a do-over here (which seems to be the case in many ways on this album as a whole), and that I’d never hear bass or guitar.  That didn’t turn out to be the case, but they are very, very buried, deep in the melody that Nick is completely driving on this song.  I can’t really fault the band for that – but I really do believe one major fault of this band is continuously burying their guitar and bass.  It has always driven me slightly crazy, and even on this album, this song included, they flirt dangerously with those old habits.  That isn’t to say the instrumentation is horrible, it is not.  The melody is clear, the guitar plays a strong supporting role after it really gets going, but I still feel the bass could have been stronger.  Roger’s drums are strong – where’s the bass?  I can “feel” it, but I think we should be able to hear it just a bit more.  There are so many good things about this song, musically speaking – it’s really impressive in it’s own right.  I just wish they’d taken more care with John’s rhythm so that the song didn’t lean so heavily towards the electronics.  They need that balance.  Then, lo and behold – about 2/3 of the way through the song – Dom comes out to play.  I have to admit here that if I didn’t know better, I would swear Andy Taylor came back to the band on this one.   Those riffs are so similar to what I know from Andy, and while I know Dom is an excellent guitarist in his own right, if I close my eyes and daydream a bit, I can almost see Andy playing. (those who say Warren is best can agree to disagree with me, that’s fine – I love Dom’s playing and will continue to sing his praises well after his stint in Duran Duran is over and done)  It starts as a sort of game of tag between Nick and Dom, and then Dom completely takes over, which is a solid blessing for this tune.  He saves the song from being an overly contrived, purely plastic and synthetic song.  The band is better than just that, and they prove it on this one.

Vocals:  Here is where the song completely and flatly loses it for me.  It is a HUGE shame because this song had all the makings of being one of the best on the album, musically speaking.  There is absolutely no reason to have this song sound like a demo, yet due to the vocals, that’s what it sounds like.  While Early Summer Nerves has that lazy, late night feel to it – this song has all the energy of a nightclub going for it, yet nearly as soon as the song begins – the whining sound to Simon’s voice completely skewers it.  He sounds very much as though he’d been gargling with nails, or his voice was completely fried after a good solid 3 weeks singing every night.  I hear nothing but strain, a definite “thinness” to the notes he’s singing (as opposed to sounding full and authoritative), lack of vocal control, and quite frankly a complete lack of intonation.    (that means Simon was out of tune in much of the song, probably due to the lack of control)  There was no reason for it, although I will concede that  perhaps he’s going for some sort of existentialistic type of mood. It doesn’t help the song, and I don’t feel that it really does much to create the mood, and it’s not really sounding experimental  the way that songs sounded on Medazzaland, although he’s trying to sing it that way.  It’s not impressive and I’m disappointed they let it go like this.  Simon is a MUCH better singer than this, which is why I have zero trouble letting him have it on this one.  He knows better, and he can tell me it’s all about artistic license all he wants, I’d wholeheartedly agree if it actually worked for the song, but it doesn’t.  Especially not when you have this strong of a song musically.  Disappointing.

Lyrics: I have to be honest, I have such a hard time listening to this song due to the singing that I am distracted when it comes to the lyrics.  In some ways, I’d swear he was making up a lot of the words on the spot since he seems to be dragging out the verses, but that’s probably not the case.  Who knows.  It seems as though he had a good solid chorus going for it, but each stanza of verse seems to be where he’s ad libbing.  I love the chorus:  “Still looking out for something, some escape from, the antique dark of nothing new, automatic sky”  What the hell does that mean??  I have no idea.  I just like it!  I like the escape part, as if he’s trying to convey what it’s like to take drugs and be risking it all to chase that high.  It does relate to my life pretty darn well (not the drugs part.  LOL), I’m a mom, my day to day excitement doesn’t really change much, and sometimes I just want to break the hell out of the proverbial cage I’m in and see something new.  Hello my trip to the UK!   Interestingly enough, that’s kind of how I feel about the band in general.  It’s my escape and I keep going to shows because for me, it IS my drug.  I’m chasing after that high I feel.  The worst shows are when I come away not feeling it, and then I crave more.  Who am I kidding – I *always* crave more, but I think that if you’re the type of fan I am, you get my point.

Production: Who let Nick out of his cage?!?  😀  I can definitely sense the Nick Rhodes touch of production on this song – and I don’t mean to pick on him here.  Really, I don’t.  The fact is, Nick and Matthew Hager did a good job with it.  The synths do play a lead role, but I have to say – Dom’s guitar is very audible and plays a very smart game.  It reminds me very much of any song on the first two albums – MUSICALLY.  I think the only drawback is that they left the bass on the cutting room floor, and that’s a shame.  The song needs more of it to provide a good balance.

Overall:  This is the one that “got away” on this album.  Instrumentation-wise, this song scores a solid 5 cocktails for me because it’s beautiful.  It’s as electronic as any Duran Duran song should be, and yet it’s got a good solid infrastructure to it so that it doesn’t sound plastic.  No other band out there is able to do what Duran Duran has done for the past 30 some years musically, and this song is proof of that in every way.  It should have been a masterpiece for them.  That said, vocally they couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.  I don’t think I even realized how fantastic the song is musically until today when I’ve sat and listened to it a good 10 times for this review, because the vocals are so distracting.  Like I’ve said, Simon is better than this. A million times over.  (wow I feel like I’m reviewing Red Carpet Massacre all over again!)  To be fair though, I really hated this song until today.  I was dreading the review because I knew it would be ghastly, and I never enjoy that.  That said, I gave it some solid listening time this morning, and I found plenty to like on the song.  The fact that no, it’s not where I think it should be from Simon, hurts it…but it doesn’t completely destroy it for me.  And, on an album where there are 15 tracks, to have one song off kilter for a reviewer who openly admits that A. She’s biased,  and B. She’s not an expert except in her own mind…..well, that can’t be all bad.

Rating:

Amanda’s turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to agree a lot with Rhonda on this one.  Initially, the song excites me.  Roger’s drums immediately draw me and lead me to expect a solid song.  Then, there is that continuous loop of sound from Nick’s keyboards that actually remind me of Planet Earth.  Unfortunately, the comparison really stops there as Nick adds another layer and the vocals begin.  As soon as Simon starts singing, I start to wonder why John is so soft and where the guitar is.  John is there but barely.  Those instruments, particularly the guitar, don’t stand out at all to me until about 3 minutes into the song with a sort of answer and call section with the keyboards, which is very classic Duran.  Yet, something about it feels forced like this was an after thought.  It just doesn’t feel as natural as I think it should.   Roger’s drums continue to impress me even as I find myself wishing that even they were louder and more noticeable.

Vocals:  Oh boy.  Why?  Why did they decide to go this route with the vocals?  Simon doesn’t really sound like himself.  Rhonda mentioned that it felt like a demo, vocally, and I could see that.  To me, the vocals seem unnatural.  Why have Simon sing like he was strained?  Did they want him to sound like his vocal cords were damaged like they were too close to the sun?  The song certainly is not one that I would ever play to anyone to prove that Simon is a solid vocalist, that’s for sure.  In fact, this song makes me think about a little disagreement I had with a friend of a friend on facebook about Simon’s singing (I blogged about it:  Duranie Smackdown).  I defended him (and probably always will) and stated that I thought he was quality.  This person kept arguing with him about how out of tune he is and that anyone could see that.  In this case, the person would have a point and I hate that!!

Lyrics:  The only lyric that ever caught my attention with this track was the line about being “too close to the sun”.  That isn’t good.  That isn’t solid Duran Duran.  Luckily, they already have the lyrics posted on dd.com.  Clearly, the lyrics are reflecting some sort of drug trip, right?  The references to an “escape” and to the “mighty high”  as well as “are you flying” made me make that conclusion.  This is lame.  Too obvious even though the assumed topic of drugs was never mentioned.  Interestingly enough, John had a song called “The Other Side of the Sun” on his solo album, Techno for Two.  Now, this song didn’t have many lyrics at all but John’s solo work always reminded me that he was battling his addiction.  While these songs are not similar, I still get annoyed when I think that Duran isn’t being original in their topics or how they handle their topics.

Production:  Like Early Summer Nerves, I had to wonder who thought it was a good idea to make the keyboards so prominent.  Yes, I know that the answer is Nick.  Clearly.  I think this is a mistake.  While I think the keyboards are decent for this song, I think Roger’s drums need more attention.  Then, there is the bass and guitar.  They are barely noticeable and that is a problem.  I have always felt that the best Duran is when ALL instruments are clear and obvious.  While one instrument might have the spotlight for a few seconds, the others will jump back in the spotlight.  This song has that chance with fabulous drums and a clear spotlight on the guitar, at one point.  Yet, this chance is not taken. 

Overall:  This song is very much like Early Summer Nerves for me.  It has many things going for it but fails to live up to its potential.  The production detracts from the positive musicality and the vocals really impact it negatively.  The topic seems unoriginal despite a couple of neat phrases. 

Rating:

 

Did you hear that pin drop? What about those crickets??

I would venture to guess that the past month has been a bit of a roller coaster for anyone in the DD fan community that has been paying attention or going to a show here or there.  First you’re in the extremely long line to get on the ride….then you’re in the station house in the queue to get on, then you make the very long climb up that first hill, and suddenly you are the bottom again.  The ride goes very fast from there on, and now we’ve just been unceremoniously dumped off the ride.  It’s darn quiet, folks.

It’s not just that there aren’t shows this week, it’s that it seems most everyone is on vacation.  Well, Daily Duranie is NOT on vacation…yet.  😉

The past several months have truly been a bit of a Duran Duran high for me.  When we first began this blogging project, I wasn’t really sure how it was all going to go.  I didn’t really know if I’d have enough to say, nor did I know if anyone would really understand what I was writing and actually “get” it.  Excitedly, I’m able to report that there are many, many of you out there who are not only as obsessed as I, but you’re willing to admit it, too!  I can’t really describe the satisfaction I get from the blog, but it’s added an entirely different dimension to being a fan.   I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d be more excited about getting a new album, or more excited about upcoming shows, or even attending those shows, but somehow having the blog has allowed me the opportunity to experience the band both as a fan and as a writer who just happens to be a fan.  If I ever thought I was getting tired, which I suppose at one point not that long ago I did feel as though I was getting a little tired and “long in the tooth” for being a fan, blogging has renewed that youthful vigor and enthusiasm!

Then there has been Twitter and Facebook.  About 2 years ago, and likely even longer, I admittedly became very critical of the way the band handled, or more truthfully, didn’t handle, their fans.  Purely from my point of view – here was a band that had a fairly loyal fan base for the better part of thirty years.  I’m sure fans have come and gone over the years, but that’s not really the point.  There are fans who have truly been around in support of the band for probably over thirty years now.  Maybe they were even around during the Rum Runner days, who knows.  (I am sure that there’s got to be someone out there who went to some of those gigs at the Rum Runner and is now sick to death of the rest of us who came along only after they became famous and claim the band as our own!)  Yet the band never seemed to make much of a point of reaching out.  They seemed pretty content to play the shows, let their minions handle our requests, and would annoyingly say a very quick “hello” on their website on special occasions like their birthdays…and once in a while they’d even throw us a bone or two by blogging.  We’d drink the news as though we had just spent a year in the desert and found water, and then immediately cry out of thirst for more.  I never felt like the band really noticed, or honestly cared.   Many of us grew fond of saying that we were simply the bands paycheck, and in all fairness, that IS how it felt.  We learned to understand that our roles were simple: they made the music, and we bought it.   No less, no more.   I would presume to say that I became more vocal about the disconnect between the fans and the band as time wore on, and this was well before we even began the blog.  Then suddenly, the game changed.  Apparently Simon joined Twitter last July but never really used his account much, then John joined in the fall.  I have to admit, I was completely surprised by the turn of events.  It’s funny how one simple thing can change your entire perception, but it’s true.

I daresay that John got on the bandwagon in the nick of time (so many puns in one sentence….is that really even fair??), but he did.  I appreciate that he gave the medium a fair chance, and I’m thrilled to see that he realizes it does have it’s place.  Simon followed suit, and while they have completely different styles of tweeting, they are both very valuable to the fans.  I’ve gotten so used to seeing John’s sudden burst of tweets – and I do often comment back – but typically it’s on Facebook because unlike John, I prefer that medium.  (140 characters just isn’t enough.  I’m wordy!)  I realize he doesn’t read them, and that’s OK.  A lot of times I’m commenting for the sake of the other fans on Facebook.  If I’m on Twitter, I’ll take the time to comment, but I still don’t expect an answer back.  It’s good enough to see he’s answering many other fans out there.  I think we’ve all grown to cherish that simple connection, so to speak.  Roger is a Facebook guy, which yes – I adore because if you’ve read my blogs at all – you know he’s my favorite. (please insert hearts and flowers and all that preteen girly stuff here.)  I comment there as well, full-well knowing that once again, nothing I say is really all that exciting, and yet – I’m still satisfied with that.  Mostly.  If he ever did comment back – well, it’d be a good day in my house.  Just saying.  🙂   Heck, I’d say that about any of them.  It’s about the connection.

Oddly though, I think the interaction on Facebook and Twitter has helped them to see the fans as real humans.  I realize that to them – we’ve always been those slightly (some more so than others) crazy people that tend to scream when we see them.  We’re those women (face it people, most of us ARE women) who will show up at the same bar as they do after shows only to paw at them, watch them as though they are a circus act, and try to run our fingers through their hair. (really??  Do people really do that??!!?)  Even so, there are a good many of us out there that haven’t ever participated in any of that, behavior, and most of us are happy just to get a nod or a smile out of them.  In return, I think that we see that they too, are human.  (all but that Nick Rhodes…I’m still thinking he’s alien….and until he joins the rest of the world on Facebook or Twitter…we may never really know for sure.  *envision my evil smile here*)  They have moods, they have feelings, and most of all….they have LIVES that don’t involve the fans.  Imagine that!!

So, this week, John has imposed a vacation from Twitter on himself.  When he first mentioned it, I laughed.  Yes, I really did.  Mainly because there have been numerous times when I myself have had to do that very same thing.  Invariably it’s when they are about to announce a show in my area….but I digress.  Then I commented that I thought it was a good idea, and that I hope he followed through with it.  And I did!  Someone else mentioned that with his addiction, that they didn’t know if he could do it – and I commented back (on Facebook I believe) that the man quit smoking cold turkey.  He can be on vacation from Twitter for a little less than a week, easy!  I hope he’s enjoying himself.  For the rest of us though, I can’t wait until he starts to tweet again because it’s QUIET without him!  Yes, I know Simon has been tweeting off and on…and someday, I’m going to open up about my real feelings about that man, but today is not that day.  (and I hope when that day comes, my good friend Moocher from DDF will be around to read.)

This week, I’ve had to endure by reading a short tweet from Dom (glad he’s enjoying his week off with his kids), and getting ready for my UK trip.  I’d say it was agony, but aside from today (which is crawling along RIDICULOUSLY slow), it’s been good.  I’ve ordered 5 pairs of shoes so far, and bought most of my travel sized stuff for my trip.  My husband has a message for the band though, and that’s to *never* take time off of Twitter again.  🙂

The real question is – will John actually come back from this vacation with a TAN?!?  Is that even possible?!?  😀   (please don’t hurt me, John fans…it was meant as a friendly joke!!) We will have to see…..

-R

Something occurred to me last night…

I was perusing Facebook for one final time before bed (I’m as addicted to FB as JT is to Twitter.  Just saying.  I like Facebook because it’s a little more personal than Twitter – 140 characters doesn’t do it for me, but I can see why John would prefer the quickness and portability, so to speak, of Twitter.)  Anyway, we finally received our tickets to the Birmingham show yesterday, and something was printed on the ticket that made us stop and think a bit.  I believe the saying was something to the extent of “Be aware that there may be people standing around you”.  I’m really not sure what this means.  Here in the US, when we go to shows, it’s assumed (by ME anyway), that of course we’re going to stand up.  The chair is there simply to either put your stuff on – or as a sort of “marker” as to where your personal space should begin and end.  Granted, there are some shows that I end up sitting for more than I’m standing (*cough,cough Hammerstein Ballroom show, “Fan Show” NYC in 2007…*cough, cough*), but 99% of the time, I’m standing whether I’m seeing Duran Duran, Rick Springfield (don’t you DARE laugh), The Fab Four (no really, I did stand – and I squealed too!), or Tears for Fears.  Oddly, I guess I assumed that it would be the same way in England, or anywhere else in the world.  I found it odd that they printed it right on the ticket, but then I recalled something else that really struck me as hilariously funny when I was in England with my husband.  We were getting onto the Tube, and I saw a sign on the wall.  I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it was basically something like “Watch out, if you fall here, you will die.”  Pretty damn blunt, and I loved it.  (this sign isn’t to be confused with the infamous, and far less blunt “Mind the Gap”) The English have a way with words that we Americans completely miss out on, and it’s fabulous.  There’s no guess work with “You are going to die.”  I kind of think that perhaps the warning on the tickets was just that – a warning that people are going to stand, and if you don’t like it – don’t sit there.  Seems reasonable to me!

In any case, as I read my facebook messages I realized that although I speak English…or some variation thereof I suppose, there are still bound to be a few cultural differences between going to a show here and going to a show in England.  Do people still yell for the band the way we do here – perhaps Roger called us “raucous Americans” for a good reason…LOL.  What about carrying signs??  (not that I was planning on bringing signs all the way from home to the show – Sorry Roger, but you won’t see my “Can I Twirl Your Stick?” sign this time around.  No room in the suitcase!!)  Are there bars at the show?  What about before and after the show – do fans get together??  We’re big on ALL of that here in the US, and it’ll be very interesting to see how somewhere else in the world does it.  Mind you, my friends and I want to be respectful, we want to “fit in” and we want to pay tribute to the wonderful country that brought us our favorite band!

Another thing occurred to me sometime between Sunday night and now – and that is, I have to figure out what I’m going to pack.  I can’t possibly fit my entire closet into my bag as I’d hoped. I really cannot take 5 pairs of shoes with me, no matter how badly I want different shoes for each outfit.  It’s disappointing, really.  Then I woke up in the middle of the night last night from a dream where I was digging through a box of clothes, trying to find a black shirt and all I was coming up with were white ones.  Yep, packing anxiety has hit.  😀

Oh, one more thing before I leave you on this fine Tuesday morning – Amanda and I have been working on our plans for Club Reflex.  We want EVERYONE to come on out and see us while we’re in London.  We are meeting at Club Reflex in London, Friday night the 27th of May – we’ll meet at the club at 10:30.  This is a casual thing, meaning we’re just meeting up there and we’re going to dance, have some drinks, meet some fellow fans and have some fun.  We hope you’ll join us!!  We’re still trying to figure out some way of being able to recognize the  DD fans there in the club – as well as have a way for all of you to know who we are – so keep tuned in for more details!

It’s May 2nd!

I had a completely different blog planned for today, as it turns out.  I should really remember not to plan blogs in advance, because every single time I do – something happens and I end up not being able to use the idea.  In this case, I was planning to do a blog about social networking based on a short interview that John and Roger did just after their show at SXSW earlier this spring.  I’d read the interview yesterday, and was writing out a bit of an outline last night when we got the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Talk about changing the game.  Wow.  I guess I wasn’t really expecting that sort of news – and definitely not on a Sunday evening, the first of May in the year 2011.  That’s when things happen though, when you least expect them.  I guess it makes life interesting if nothing else.

It’s been a long nearly 10 years since 9/11 for me.  As regular readers know, I live on the west coast in California, not too entirely far from where John Taylor lives.  He’ll occasionally post pictures of the sunset in his backyard and I’ll chuckle because it’s the same sunset – just a different side of it (I live farther south near the coast).  The pictures are the same, yet just a little different.  It’s all in the point of view. So, I’m pretty far removed from the site of 9/11, yet there was a girl from my town who was killed on that day just because she was on one of the planes that flew into the twin towers.  Her name was Lisa Frost, and her father Tom and I spoke on more than one occasion after LIsa had died.  At that time, I was the president of my local MOMS Club chapter (it’s a club/support network for stay at home moms and their children), and he was a speaker for an event that we were supporting.   He was a very nice man whose life was, at the time, very much destroyed from losing his daughter on that fateful day.  We ran into each other a few times over those next few years, and with each time I saw him he seemed to be doing better and more resolved than the last meeting.  We have a small lake in our town that I occasionally will take walks around, and at the lake there is a tree and monument that was dedicated to Lisa.  Each year on 9/11 i’ll go to visit that tree, and since that first year after 9/11 the amount of cards, flowers and notes has gotten smaller and smaller on each anniversary.  I suppose that happens in time – people move on, lives change, and yes, I think to some degree people tend to forget.  I’ve since lost touch with Mr. Frost, as tends to happen, but I often think of him and his wife – and I have to wonder how he must have felt when he heard the news last night.

As soon as the reports came out about Bin Laden’s death – and believe it or not I first heard of it on Twitter, of course I was elated, and maybe felt even a little bit of validation and closure for Lisa – a girl I’d never known but whose life touched me all the same.  Almost immediately after that first sense of emotion though, I grew wary.  It was clear that once again, our lives were changing right before our eyes.  CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and a handful of stations that I don’t even normally watch began their broadcasts of President Obama’s speech, and I appreciated that he was very matter of fact rather than exuberant.  This news wasn’t about gloating, it wasn’t about bragging, and it definitely wasn’t about celebrating.  This man, Osama Bin Laden, is the image of evil for many.  It’s the source of nightmares.  I would imagine that if you asked someone in line for security at any airport in America (or perhaps even the world) why they had to wait to be screened by security, and what image comes into their head first, Bin Laden’s face would be among the most mentioned.  The announcement last night was about justice, pure and simple.

My own thoughts on the subject are completely irrelevant here since this is a blog about living as a Duranie, but even this worldly event has everything to do with Duran Duran.  They are in the middle of a tour.  Some might even say it’s just the beginning.  They are planning to go to many places on this spectacular planet of ours, and many more fans than I could possibly count are looking forward to their chance to sway in the mood, reach up for the sunrise, be those notorious fans, and live like wild boys/girls.  It’s alarming to think that while all of that could be happening, there are still plenty of other people on this planet that would love for nothing better than to play out their own evil as a type of revenge and retaliation.

In just over two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for Heathrow.  Don’t think I haven’t considered what could happen.  The reality is – ANYTHING  could happen.  I could be hit by a car tomorrow – and if my time is up, it’s up.  That doesn’t stop the anxiety beast in me from thinking overtime though.  (I’m human!)  I have three children that desperately need their mother.  No, it’s true – their father, as wise as he is – can’t seem to remember that children do need dinner from time to time, much less make sure they get to all of their normal activities and to bed by before say – 3am. *sigh*  Those kids need me!  I myself have a future filled with first days of school, graduations, proms, homecomings, first days of college, graduations from college, an empty nest (and a clean house someday!), and maybe even weddings and grandchildren one day.  I hope to live to see all of that in a way my father wasn’t given the chance to finish.  Terrorists be damned.

So yes, I worry.  I’m a worrier by nature if you haven’t noticed.  It’s right up there with planning for me.  Living in the moment is something I do only occasionally….at Duran Duran concerts.  🙂   I will be on that plane headed to London on May 20th, and if some stupid hijacker decides that day is his day – it won’t be good for him.  I will not live my life in fear, nor should any of us.  Too many people died on that day, September 11, 2001, and many days subsequent, for any of us to live in fear.

Sure, this is just a blog about a band – and it might be trivial to worry about a terrorist attack that would ruin my trip (or anyones for that matter), but isn’t that really what it all comes down to?  Don’t we all just want to be able to live?  We just want to be able to go to the grocery store without worrying that some crazy person has a bomb attached to them.  We just want to go to the movies without some guy leaving his car, filled with manure, propane and shrapnel waiting to go off.   Talk about living in the moment – well, that’s the moment.

-R

Twitter Vacation

John Taylor has gone on a twitter vacation.  It is just for a few days.  Yet, I’m finding myself pondering this.  Is it a good thing?  A bad thing?  How will it effect the fan community?  Duran Duran finished their shows in North America on Saturday night in the Dominican Republic.  From here, they are off to Europe with a show in Zurich followed by the shows in the UK (Yay!).  Summer will be filled with Europe dates.  I wonder with Duran moving beyond the US and other North American countries and with John’s twitter silence how fans here are going to deal, assuming that John really will be able to keep silent.  One of the interesting things about John and tweeting is that he really seems to enjoy doing it.  It doesn’t seem to be part of his job but something that he wants to do.  Nonetheless, right now, he is taking a break from it as the band is between North American and Europe tour dates.  I don’t blame him but I will be watching to see how the fans handle this. 

Duran is one band that seems to take a lot of breaks.  Now, being honest, I don’t follow any other bands this closely so it might be that all bands take breaks.  Duran obviously takes breaks to work on albums but they also take them in between legs of a tour, like now.  I can definitely understand that.  I’m sure that many/most/all of them are checking in at home, trying to rest up, etc.  Maybe they are even getting ready to introduce new songs into the setlist (please, oh, please…*coughLateBarcough*).  These breaks, though, sometimes, seem to bring out the worst in us fans.  I worry that this time might be even worse.  Why?  Why would it be worse?  Two reasons, really.  The first and most important reason is that we have all been able to feel closer to the band because of their use of social networking.  They have become more of a constant entity in our daily lives.  The second one has more to do with the nature of our fan community.  I’m sure that there is some negative feelings towards or between those fans who got to see a show or two on this run.  Maybe, there is animosity towards those who have shows coming up.  Perhaps, those negative feelings (fair or not) might be coming from the people who won’t get a show for whatever reason.  In my experience, when Duranies are restless, bored or annoyed, shit tends to hit the fan. 

In the past, whenever there has been downtime, Duranies seem to start to get on each other’s nerves.  I’m not sure why.  My theory has always been that when you have nothing else to focus on, you tend to focus on each other.  Yet, it seems to be relatively calm and peaceful on most message boards I have glanced at recently and I haven’t heard anything too crazy going on in the world of Twitter or Facebook.  People commented about their shows, shared their stories and seem to be accepting of one another.  This also surprises me.  Does this mean that there wasn’t any drama during this leg?  I can’t imagine that.  I’m sure that there had to be some drama somewhere.  I’m not saying that there should be drama or conflicts anywhere just that I’m surprised by this and am preparing for it now that the guys are gone.  Although, I don’t know if the others are taking a break from social networking, too, or if it is just John? 

Could the quiet be a sign that our fan community is growing up a bit?  Could be that everyone really just sticks to their own group of friends so there is less interaction and less conflict?  Could it be that people are being better about this type of thing?  I don’t know.  I know that there has been conflicts in the last month or so.  I can’t imagine that everything has improved that dramatically in such a short time.  Is it that everyone is tired from following all of the action?  That could be.  I obviously welcome this.  I am still preparing myself, though, as I know that the peace can end quickly.  This could be the calm before the storm.  To be honest, that is one thing I’m really looking forward to in the UK.  No known drama.  I’m sure that drama is quite possible there, too, but I’m not as familiar with it.  The trip can be drama-free, at least for my group. 

Thus, as I continue to plan for my trip, I will be missing John’s tweets and will be watching and waiting to see if all of the Duranies can handle the silence and the break.

-A

Birmingham Sites Related to Duran

As part of my birthday gift from my brother, I received a tour guide book on Britain.  Sweet.  I, of course, have already looked through it a bunch and expect that I will be looking through it a lot more in the next few weeks.  Speaking of that, in just 3 short weeks, I will be in Birmingham!  I cannot believe it!  Rhonda and I have been busy trying to get everything ready for our trip.  Obviously, a lot of our plans revolve around those Duran Duran shows that we will be attending.  In fact, our first few days will be a blur as we travel from city to city and go from show to show.  Then, we will have a chance to catch our breaths and see a bit of the country.  I’m looking forward to this almost as much as the shows.  Right now, we plan to return to Birmingham for a day in order to spend a bit more time than what the show schedule allows.  As part of this return, we hope to see some of the Duran related locations.  Unfortunately, a Duran Duran sponsored tour like this does not seem to be featured in any tour guide book that I have looked at.  I also have not been able to find something like this online, either.  I don’t get it. 

I find it fascinating that there is not somewhere, some place to find all of the Duran related locations and how to get to them.  Obviously, I know that some of the sites are no longer there since the band hasn’t lived there for a long time, but still.  For example, I plan to go to the site of where the Rum Runner once stood.  I want to acknowledge their beginnings.  I want to be able to say that I was there.  Other fandoms seem to have this.  For example, fans of TV shows and movies often travel to the locations of where the shows or movies were filmed to see the locations.  As a fan of Roswell (the old TV show), I was able to go to the area in California where the show was filmed and follow an online tour to see where various scenes, episodes and locations were shot.  This online tour not only described where to find the places but also gave an order about which places to see in order to be most efficient.  The guide also described what was significant about each location in case I could not remember.  Why isn’t there something like this for Duranies in relation to Birmingham?  I cannot imagine that Rhonda and I will be the first fans to go there wanting to see places that have/had meaning in the band’s history. 

I know that as part of the Live from London DVD, Nick, Roger and John walked around different parts of the city and talked about what happened, where.  This does not necessarily help me.  Did they provide addresses?  Directions on how to get there?  Not so much.  I have been going through articles and their unofficial biography to write down any locations that were meaningful and then will do searches to figure out exactly where they might be.  This is a lot of work.  Now, I don’t mind doing it, to some extent.  I am, after all, a researcher at heart (I have a history degree.), but I also have a ton of other things to do.  I also worry that my research will not result in me having all of the really important places.  For instance, I have seen pictures of the guys’ childhood homes.  Do I have any chance of really finding them?  Probably not.  I just don’t want to miss this opportunity, especially when I don’t know if it will ever come again. 

Maybe there is some guide out there.  Maybe some fans have something like this and have never shared it publicly.  If this is the case, then, I urge you to make it public or to, at least, send it to the Daily Duranie at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  If people do have information and want to share it with us, we would gladly take the help.  Our hope with this type of visit is to simply embrace the band’s history and to learn a little bit more about where they came from. 

-A

It’s Personal

First, I must apologize for the lateness of this blog entry.  Today’s my birthday and I had been out with friends and was at work before that.  Second, I had an entry all planned out in my head but have decided to scrap that one for today.  I might write about it tomorrow or Sunday, though.  I don’t know why days like this make me emotional, but they do.  Is it because people make a big deal out of birthdays?  Is it because it represents the stopping of one year and the starting of the next?  Is that I had a couple of drinks?  Is it because last weekend I was at Duran shows and in three weeks I’ll be on a plane to London?  Is it all of the above?  Probably.

I have to admit that I have been processing everything that was last weekend still.  I keep thinking about the shows, the drive, the interactions with others and more.  I have been accused once or twice in my life of over thinking and I’m sure I’m guilty of it now.  Yet, sometimes, thinking helps to make decisions, draw conclusions and move on.  Here is the conclusion I have drawn since last weekend.  I’m not inviting anyone else in.  You are probably thinking that you have no freaking idea of what the heck I’m talking about.  Let me explain and maybe, you, too, can relate.

When I first started touring and going to Duran functions, I wanted to meet as many people as I could!  For one thing, I wanted to share my excitement, my love for the band with other people who understood.  Heck, isn’t that why a lot of us sought out message boards in the modern era and penpals back in the day?  I was really lucky to have met Rhonda early on in my touring life.  Although, looking back on it, maybe I wasn’t as I think she spoiled me for life.  As I was saying, the other part of meeting fellow Duranies was to find people to go to shows with.  I figured that I could always go alone but it would not be the same or as fun.  Therefore, over the course of many years now, I have attended shows with a variety of people.  Some of these people are very much like me in my fandom and others, not at all.  Last weekend, I attended my two shows with 3 people I wasn’t sure of as I didn’t really know or understand their Duranie status. 

I believe that all 3 of those people had a good time.  Nothing super dramatic or problematic happened with any of them.  Yet, I have found myself with a burning desire to narrow the group of people I attend shows with.  (I still really want to meet other fans, though!!!!)  Why?  If there wasn’t a problem and people had a good time, why would I limit myself?  Why would I want that?  I want that because it’s personal.  The thing about Duran Duran for me is that they aren’t just another band.  I’m not just a fan of theirs.  There is something more, something deeper.  Obviously, I have made a commitment to this fandom in a much different way than someone who attends their hometown show when the band comes around.  I write this blog and I’m working on a book.  My vacations are tours or to visit other friends that I have met because of the band.  I’m not saying that I’m a bigger or better fan than the new people I went with or than the people who go to hometown shows, but I am different.  I can’t and shouldn’t expect people to be like me.  At the same token, I also need to feel safe in my fandom on tour. 

I feel like I have taken risks every time someone new enters my touring world.  I’ll be really honest here.  Some of the people that were, at one point, part of my Duranie world are no longer.  I have been hurt by many of these situations whether it is that the person used me or whether it was because the person wasn’t being truthful.  I am tired of trying to explain my fandom.  I’m tired of being worried about whether or not I will be treated well and whether or not I will be uncomfortable in any given situation on tour.  I don’t want to spend my time worrying about those issues when I could and should be enjoying a show or shows.  I don’t know how long this will last and I want to be able to really enjoy it while I can.  I want to go to shows with people who get it and get me or can at least appreciate where I’m coming from.  This is personal to me and I’m tired of feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Likewise, I can imagine that non-Duranies would have as much fun doing some of the things I do on tour. 

I know that this probably sounds incredibly vague and I apologize for this.  Let me try to put a twist on it with concrete terms that I think might make more sense.  I was willing to stand in line and in GA for hours last weekend to get a decent spot for the Chicago show.  Not everyone is.  I get that.  If I try to force someone to do that in order to go with me, it probably won’t go too well.  Maybe it will go okay once or twice but after awhile, true feelings with come out.  Maybe then the other person will go but start to feel bitter or resentful.  Maybe I will, too, because I don’t know why someone isn’t enjoying this as much as I am.  Maybe I will feel judged for loving it the way I do.  Maybe I’ll judge them.  It isn’t good for anyone. 

Therefore, I, now, think I will stick to those people I have attended shows with and have had a good time with.  I want to be with people who understand how much all of this means to me or can appreciate it.  I want to feel comfortable and not worried about when it will all fall apart.  I need some security and I need to be able to trust the people I attend shows with. 

-A

Early Summer Nerves – The Daily Duranie Review

It’s Thursday – and that means it’s time for another Daily Duranie Review!!  Today we bring you Early Summer Nerves, which is a track off of the Best Buy exclusive version of All You Need Is Now.

Rhonda’s take:


Musicality/Instrumentation:  This song me of something you might hear late, late, late at night at the after after party of a show by a band that did an awesome show earlier that night in a much bigger setting.  Maybe a band like Duran Duran, but maybe not.  It’s like the last song of the last set in the last bar that the band visited that evening.  It starts off with a lazy yet funky groove (that I completely adore) sound to it – almost as though the band is putting it together as the go along.  Not quite a full out “jam”, more of a drunken “let’s get together and play one for the road”.  Then Nick’s synths kick in around 55 seconds into the song and you realize – “oh wait, this is for REAL!”  It slows right back down as we enter the second course and we’re back to funknation.  (yes, that’s a Nick Rhodes term if I’ve ever heard it – but please don’t confuse it with “groooveworld”)  The song has almost a transcendental type feel to it around 1:50 seconds, almost later Beatlesque – it reminds me of several songs off of either the White Album or Abbey Road – but then it goes right back to lazy funk to finish out the song.  I have to wonder just how much more dirty, gritty funk could be had if it were less electronic/synthesizer and more bass, guitar & drums.

Vocals:  When I first heard this – I was completely appalled at Simon’s voice.  It sounded semi-whiney, VERY strained and way out of his vocal range.  I didn’t think it was necessary – and it sounded a lot like a one-take type of song.  Something they threw on the album just to finish it out.  Oh wait.  It’s on the “Best Buy” exclusive, isn’t it?  Now, before you all throw tomatoes, I have to say I’ve continued to force myself to listen to the song many, many more times since – and it’s honestly growing on me.  I think the vocal strain is probably part of the whole point.  It gives Simon’s voice an almost organic type of feel to it, rather than every note being rehearsed, practiced and polished.  I think the song was meant to feel more like a demo than it was anything else, and it does give the song that lazy type of feel – just like a hot, lazy summers evening…  Or, as *I* prefer to envision it – the last song of the last set, well after midnight (as in we’re almost, but not quite reaching up for the sunrise) in an almost empty bar in the middle of August.  Not one of those fancy schmancy bars either – I’m talking one of those bars with wood floors that haven’t been resurfaced in years, with wood stools and chairs, and the bar is in the middle of the room, with the “stage” set up in the corner of the room.  Just a couple of microphones, a stool, some speakers and some people sitting around nursing the last drinks of the night.  Simon is sitting on that stool, crooning away, and begins whistling the tune instead of singing,  as he gets up off of the stool and wanders out of the bar, onto the sidewalk – swaggering (or staggering, however you so choose to envision the moment) back up to his hotel for the night.  Or morning.   So yeah, I get it.

Lyrics:  You mean there are real lyrics to this song??  A small admission here is that I’ve gotten so into the pure funk of the moment that I have paid almost ZERO attention to what the heck the song is about.  Nice reviewing, huh?  I have to hand it to the musicality because it’s made me completely forget to notice what the band is trying to convey through lyrics.  Does it really matter?  Clearly, it’s about a guy/girl thing…aren’t they all??  It reminds me a little bit of a sort of “walk of shame” set up…  Kind of like the “morning after” sort of song – and the way it’s being sung is perfect for that sort of thing.  I love the line about “now as the memory hits me right between the eyes”.  I don’t know, it reminds me of some long last nights from college!  I can’t help but love ’em.  Perfect for those late, late nights when your head is wrapped up from earlier events that night!

Production: My only real complaint – and it’s not necessarily a complaint as much as it is more of a question – is that I wonder how this song would sound live.  Would I hear more guitar?  Would I feel more bass?  COULD I feel more bass?  Would the song have more swagger live than it does on the CD?  I’m not sure.  I think it might…  I think that for the way the song was arranged and written musically though, the production is perfect.  I still get the swagger, I still get plenty of funk and I think the balance between bass and treble is perfect.  Every track is able to be heard and I don’t feel as though I’ve been slapped in the face with noise…and yes, that matters!

Overall: I completely hated this song the first time I heard it.  I remember it clearly because within one single measure (4 counts) – I was yelling that they’d taken a masterpiece album and – as John had said that they still had time to do – they fucked up the ending.  I couldn’t understand why they bothered to include it on ANY version of the album, much less expect fans to pay for it.  (yes, I really said that.  Out loud even.)  But, then I forced myself to listen again, and again and again because – well – I refused to believe that there wasn’t at least one thing about this song that I couldn’t learn to respect.  I refuse to have another Night Runner on my hands from this group! I’m glad I did that, because in a very short amount of time I found that while this is definitely not a “typical” Duran Duran song in many ways – it’s a gem of its own right.  It’s like finding one of those obscure B-sides you’d never heard before, then playing it and at first saying “Oh god – now I know why I’ve never heard it before, it sucks!” , then with more listens it becomes one of your sentimental favorites.  That’s what this song is like for me.  I don’t ever expect to hear it live – but if I do – I’ll be nodding my head and swaggering right along with the band.

Rating: 

Amanda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to admit that it has taken me a long time to separate the two bonus tracks featured on the Best Buy edition.  This was also true for the interludes.  I just couldn’t separate them.  Perhaps, in this case, it is because neither one hit me in a positive way, initially.  This song is a mixed bag for me, musically.  It has some elements that I love and others that drive me crazy.  For most of the song, it feels like a solid groove, one that creates a kind of mellow feeling to it, thanks to John Taylor’s bass playing.  Then, Nick’s keyboards enter to introduce the chorus and transition back to the verse.  I hate the keyboards.  I find them distracting and feel like they take away from the relaxed jam going on.   

Vocals:  I have tried to appreciate Simon’s vocals here.  I have.  I even heard a little Anyone Out There in the first verse with the line that ends with “night”, which gives me a warm feeling, but, in general, I’m not a fan.  The vocals seem to match the music well, which could be good.  Unfortunately, most of it acts as a compliment to the keyboards that drive me crazy.  Instead of being low and mellow like the bass, he sings in a range that sounds strained to me and concerns me that there might be damage (joking..kinda).  Like the keyboards themselves, I think the vocals hurt the quality of the song.

Lyrics:  Now, there isn’t anything extra special when it comes to the lyrics other than the fact that it took many, many listens for me to catch most of them.  They feel like a classic Duran song, though.  In fact, they could be a combination between something like Save a Prayer and Last Chance on the Stairway with the references to the morning light and trying to impress a girl.  Of course, like many Duran tracks, the hero of the song seems to fail at his task.  It seems to me that Simon does this kind of guy unable to get girl’s attention or affection well.  It has been a theme throughout their career, from the first album to this one and most in between.  While it may be something overdone, it is always done well and does represent a timeless and common situation in the dating world.

Production:  Okay.  I, generally, don’t have much to say about the production but not this time!  Why can’t they turn down the keyboards.  I understand that Nick wants to be featured, wants to be heard.  I get that, but why must they then be so noticeable?  In a song that could be ruled by the rhythm section, I find myself having to focus on the keyboards and keyboards that don’t make me happy.  Maybe they wouldn’t bother me as much if they didn’t seem so loud!  I will say one thing for this–it made what could have been a relaxed song one that feels more like someone’s “nerves” are a little frayed!

Overall:  This song had such potential.  I really like some elements to it.  The bass is great and creates a good atmosphere that is pushed to the side by overpowering keyboards and vocals that coincide.  The vocals actually make it so the lyrics aren’t as noticeable as well and they are classic Duran lyrics!  To me, this song ends up as a weird combination of separate elements instead of one strong unit with every band member working together to create a masterpiece.

Rating:

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!