Its nail biting time!

I think I’m freaking out.

I just looked at the calendar and realized I have 3 weeks and one day until I leave for the UK.  Again.

Not only am I not ready to leave, I’m not even done planning.  Never mind the fact that one of my cats decided to “baptize” the very suitcase I was planning on using for my trip.   No, I’m not joking.  She’s a naughty one, and her name is Pichu – after the Pokemon. (Ok, so my son went through a Pokemon phase a few years back when Pichu and her brother Smokey came to live with us…)  The funny thing is that Pichu is named aptly, as she does exactly that: pees and chews.  She’s ruined more cords than any other animal we’ve ever had, included our dog Retro – RIP, who completely ate (and I do mean ATE) our then dining room window blinds.  *sigh*  Anyway, Pichu is well known in our house for showing her displeasure by peeing on just about anything including suitcases and dance bags.  She once peed on a pile of my clothing simply because I chose to shut the door (and she was in the room with me).  She gave me a “look”, walked right over and peed on the clothing.  Those who say animals don’t do this sort of thing out of malice haven’t met my cat.  Its miraculous she’s lived this long, and after her little stunt on Friday…well…its just a good thing that I don’t believe in spanking.  My husband has been doing quite a bit of traveling lately and decided not to put the suitcases away, so she let us know how she felt about his traveling, apparently.  What’s more, the suitcases were stacked, and so after we moved the first suitcase – she peed on the one underneath.  Like I said, her long life is nothing short of a miracle.

So, it appears I may need to shop for a new suitcase.  Soon.

In the meantime, I’m biting my nails over the idea of leaving for a week.  You’d think by now I’d be a pro at this, but I am not.  I know how much driving my husband is in for, and I also know that my son will be going through school finals for the first time while I’m gone.  He doesn’t have the best study habits on the planet, so I’m concerned – my husband isn’t necessarily the best at remembering to help out with that sort of thing.  My oldest will probably be just fine, but I know she misses me while I’m gone, and then there’s the little one.  She’s already telling me that she’s going to miss me, and was pretty indignant when I gently broke the news to her that I’d be leaving again for this trip.  She thinks Duran Duran should just come and play at our house.  I really like that kid.  😀  Regardless, I am well aware of what I’m leaving and what will be awaiting me upon my return, hence my nail biting.  Its no wonder I have short nails.

-R

Stress of (and) Contests!

I am 110% stressed.  I admit it.  Last week, I put in about 65 hours of work between my actual job and my volunteer gig.  This week will be much of the same as I have parent-teacher conferences Thursday and Friday, which means that I will be at work for 12 hours both of those days.  Then, I have meetings Monday and Tuesday evening and an all day conference on Saturday.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but we are leaving for the UK in little over 3 weeks and have SO much to do before we leave.  I spent my entire weekend just getting organized and getting things checked off for work, for my volunteer gig, for my household to keep running and for the upcoming tour.  Needless to say, there is part of me that is really looking forward to December 24th as I will be at my sister’s and just relaxing.  That isn’t to say that I’m not looking forward to our trip because I totally am!  Once I’m there, I’ll be totally excited.  It is the getting ready part that is tough.  🙂

I feel like I’m struggling to keep up with Duranland, which is completely unacceptable.  I haven’t put my scrapbook together for the Chicago show.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Katy Kafe that was put up WEEKS ago in October with Simon.  I need some time to be able to watch the Girl Panic video on Tuesday and review it.  (No worries, Rhonda, it will get done!)  This personal craziness has led me to look back to about a month ago when DDM announced its latest contest, which is to design a t-shirt.  The winners would be able to pick out their show of choice to get VIP seats and a meet and greet.  Rhonda and I actually discussed some ideas.  Needless to say, we ran out of time with planning for the Chicago show, doing the initial travel plans for the UK and completing all of our regularly scheduled activities.  (Seriously, can someone find a means of extending the day?  Yes, I know that people in the States got an extra hour this weekend as we set the clocks back.  It isn’t enough.) 

Now, the t-shirt designs have been submitted and voting has begun.  Part of me, obviously, wishes that we could have done one but the other part of me is glad.  Contests in our lovely fandom scare me.  I admit it.  I have seen too many contests turn ugly and ugly, quickly.  There always seems to be concern that the same people are winning and too often it turns to a popularity contest as some members openly ask people to vote for their submission.  Obviously, I’m not judging these people as they just want to win.  I get that.  Yet, to me, this is problematic.  Aren’t the submissions supposed to be anonymous?  Aren’t the winner(s) supposed to be chosen on merit?  Yet, at least, to many within the community that this isn’t how it is done. 

This leads me to wonder why DDM continues to do contests like this.  Why continue to have members vote on each other’s?  Why don’t they take the submissions to the band and let them judge?  Wouldn’t that be better?  Yes, ideally, any community should be able to vote without any problem but that doesn’t seem to be the case, typically, in Duranland.  Then, I always wonder how the contests come to be.  The contests seem to be creative in nature, which, I can understand to a point.  Duran is a band and one that has sought out creativity in themselves and in others.  Yet, in most cases, this creativity is visual in nature and often requiring computers.  They aren’t asking for the finest painting using oils or watercolors.  They aren’t asking for things like writing, either.  I also find it fascinating that they don’t have contests surrounding the usual ways fandom, including ours, expresses itself.  They aren’t picking the best live shot, which many people in the community are fabulous at.  They aren’t looking for cool, new mixes, usually.  Stories that feature them as characters in the best fanfic isn’t a contest.  People aren’t chosen for having the biggest or best collection of ______________.  Knowledge and dedication aren’t chosen for contests, either.  Now, obviously, I don’t have a clue how some of those different expressions of fandom would be judged but it just feels to me that they are ignoring LOTS of members of their fan community. 

Then, of course, there is the question about what people get if they win.  It seems that the easiest thing now is to give tickets and a meet and greet.  That’s cool and all but what about people who don’t get shows close to them?  Are they going to get the people to the show?  Will they pay for the plane ticket, bus/train fare or gas?  At least, this time, people could choose their show.  I also found it interesting that this contest will end long after the North American tour did.  Is there their way of trying to do something for people outside of the US? 

What would you do for a contest?  How would it be judged?  Who would be judging it?  What do you think the winner should receiver?  Should there just be one winner or should there by lesser prizes?  If so, what would they be?  I would love to hear your ideas as I think there could be a lot more to their contests!

-A

Calendars, Tour Books and Collections…Oh My!

I was thrilled to hear/see that Duran will have a calendar for 2012!  I so missed having one for 2011 as I have all of their recent calendars (2006-2010).  This year I decided to pick my favorite picture for any given month to display since there wasn’t a current calendar.  That worked out fine but it wasn’t very functional and often had to remind myself that it wasn’t the current year.  In case you have not heard, their calendar for 2012 will be available to purchase from the dd.com store on Monday, November 7th.  (Happy Birthday to Rhonda!)  Now, I suppose that I should wait to purchase it until I come back for the UK or simply put it on my Christmas wish list since all of my extra money will be going towards the trip, but I probably won’t.  I get too worried that it will sell out, which causes me to buy right away, which is strange because I’m not really like that with anything but Duran.

I admit it.  I like Duran stuff.  They make a lot of money off of me as I’m someone who buys merchandise.  I have a ton of t-shirts, which include ones that I bought at a show and ones that I bought from the website.  I already mentioned the calendar.  I have posters.  I have keychains and I have buttons.  There are tons of bags that have some Duran logo in my closet from various tours and VIP packages.  Heck, I renewed DDM and did the Gold package in order to get the message bag, t-shirt, bookmark, etc.  I am such a sucker for Duran related items.  I am weak.  I admit it.  They must love having fans like me (other than the part that I voice my opinion about what they are doing and sometimes it isn’t all that…flattering or positive). 

I was like this as a kid, too.  Like everyone else of my Duran generation, I had the tons and tons of posters on my wall and saved up money to buy this week’s copy of Bop or Tiger Beat.  I bought every album and singles, when I could.  I even had Duran Duran pajamas!  How cool was I when I pulled that nightshirt out at a slumber party?!  Of course, I purchased copies of Sing Blue Silver, Dancing on the Valentine and their other major videos.  I also saved my money to buy larger books of Sing Blue Silver, the photograph book, and the Book of Words.  How could I not?  I wanted to buy as much Duran as I could, including one of my favorite Duran items of all time…the Into the Arena board game!  I still have my original board game despite it being away from me for awhile.  I bought the game when it came out and even attempted to play it a few times.  The directions still dumb to me but the pictures were pretty!  Anyway, at some point in my childhood, I decided that I should try to move on from Duran for various reasons.  Yet, I couldn’t just get rid of everything so I did the next best thing!  I gave my stuff to one of my good friends!  Years later, then, she asks me if I wanted the stuff back!  Of course, I did!  Thus, items like the board game were returned home to their rightful place.  I went to my first Duran show with this friend and we went to a few more after that together.  Now, I will see her during our UK tour as she will be hosting Rhonda and I and going to the Glasgow show with us! 

My childhood revolved around getting Duran items so it isn’t super surprising that my adulthood is filled with that as well.  One of my more recent items is this tour’s tourbook.  I have the ones for Astronaut and RCM.  (By the way, who didn’t think the Astronaut one was cool as hell?!?!)  I have fond memories of both of them.  My friends and I purchased our copies of the Astronaut tour book in Chicago in March of 2005.  It provided fun reading material as we drove from Chicago to Milwaukee to the show there the next night.  Likewise, I purchased the RCM one in Chicago in May of 2008 but didn’t have fun with it until I purchased one for Rhonda.  Then, I could go through it and highlight the fun parts for her.  We did the same after purchasing copies of the Ask Katy book, “Would Someone Please Explain?” and read it together on a flight to Philadelphia in December 2008.  Therefore, we decided to purchase this year’s tourbook.  Originally we planned to buy it in the UK.  Thankfully, we didn’t as the size is…uh…an issue.  It is 12 inches by 16 inches and is way too long to be user friendly. 

As far as this year’s tourbook content goes, there is some positive aspects and some…I think are lame.  The cover is a shiny silver with a big pink D on it.  It fits with the theme of the album art.  It has many photographs of the band members taken live but they aren’t my favorite as the photos are more artistic and less clear.  They are also in black and white.  That said, there are colored photographs that are quite lovely.  Unfortunately, the crease of the book gets in the way at times, including blocking Nick in one picture and Dom in another.  Lame.  Some of the photographs were those that were used to create the album cover.  Again, I didn’t think they were necessary.  Call me crazy but I would rather have photos of the guys!  Most of the photographs besides the live ones were of the band, either as a group or as individuals.  Yes, most of those photos were quite attractive!  They did include a page with photos of Dom, Anna and Saxy Simon. 

Beyond the photos, they did include some written content, which I was generally disappointed with.  One page included the news story from the Man Who Stole a Leopard.  Really?  That was necessary? Then, there were pages where the band and Ronson discussed making the album.  Typically, this type of content would thrill me.  It didn’t, in this case, because I had all ready heard it on the DVD for the album.  Nothing drives me more crazy than when they recycle material.  The one part of the writing I really did enjoy, though, was when each band member was given the same series of questions.  I loved reading their answers and getting an insight into how they think.  A few answers really stuck out to me.  Clearly, Nick is obsessed with time and getting things done as he listed his greatest fear as running out of time and listed wasting time as his greatest extravagance.  Roger dislikes his nose and thinks that he is lazy.  Simon actually gave much longer answers and told a beautiful story about when his eldest daughter, Amber, was born.  John wishes that he didn’t care what others thought of him.  Very interesting, overall. 

Thus, while the tour book had some great photographs and some lovely insights into the boys, I wished for much more content.  I also wish it was smaller to be easier to store and travel with.  Despite its limitations, I’m still glad that I have it.  I’m glad that I have all of my Duran stuff, including the tourbooks, t-shirts, videos, calendars, bags, posters and board game.  Do you collect Duran?  If so, what is your favorite item?

-A 

Duran and Bling

There seems to be quite a lot of action in Duranland regarding next week’s premiere of Girl Panic!  In order to increase interest and excitement, the band’s official website, facebook and twitter have released a series of teasers clips that Rhonda mentioned yesterday.  Today saw more posts regarding the video.  One post today provides some background to the project and informs people of when and where they can see the completed video (Tuesday on Vevo.com).  It also provides a link to a little behind-the-scenes clip on Style.com.  Then, another post includes a video in which the band shows the use of Swarovski’s crystals.  This video included quite a bit behind-the-scenes clips as well. 

By now, most of us have heard the basic storyline of the video.  Five supermodels are playing Duran Duran in the day in their life style and the band is featured as chauffeurs, bellhops, etc.  This day in the life includes a fancy hotel, jewels, much attention from the press, chauffeurs and everything that would be thought of in a stereotyped view of the rich and famous.  Now, I cannot judge the video yet or, even really, the storyline but it is clear that they are trying to present a certain image about what it is like to be a rich and famous person/group.  (Don’t worry, readers, we will be reviewing the video!)  Today’s clip about the use of Swarovski’s bling emphasizing this image.  Assuming that my conclusion about the image they are presenting is right, I wonder why they decided to present such an extreme representation of being rich and famous.  I also wonder if it is the right choice.

Throughout Duran’s history, they have often presented a jet-set, super-rich lifestyle.  Obviously, the image of Rio is one that has stayed with the band for decades.  Some critics took this image to decide that Duran was not a serious band and a band that did not care about current state of affairs.  Others, including a lot of fans, loved it as it represented a complete escape from their harsh realities.  One thing I always appreciated about that Rio video was the humor woven throughout it as the band presented themselves as uncoordinated dorks.  Is that what the band is going for by having the supermodels represent them and by having them serving the female version of the band?  Maybe.  We will find out.  That said, Duran is at a much different place in their careers.  When Rio was made, they were just climbing towards fame, fortune and success.  Now, Duran is legendary.  They are not the biggest band in the world despite their long-lasting, successful career.  They are also no longer in their 20s.  Now, they are in their early 50’s, except for Nick who will be turning 50 soon enough.

Will this video work for them now?  Will the image they are projecting help with their careers?  Will this rich and famous lifestyle be embraced as an escape or will it seem silly?  Perhaps, the video will make us all see rock stars in a different way.  Maybe, it will question people’s assumptions about what life really is like or is not like for those who fit the category of rich and famous.  I don’t have answers and I am not judging the video before I see it.  These teasers and extra clips have got me thinking, wondering, pondering…This thinking is obviously one thing that I have always appreciated about Duran.  They usually get me thinking.  In many cases, I find myself in agreement with them or in awe over what they did.  Other times, I’m left wondering what the heck they were thinking.  By this time next week, I’ll know which way I have gone with this video. 

One thing I can say, though, about the video so far is that they are really trying to get people’s attention by releasing the teasers and other clips.  They are making a big deal out of the premiere in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time and this reminds me of how world premieres of videos were “back in the day”.  It seemed to be a big deal when a new video was premiered, usually on MTV.  Heck, I still have the world premiere of I Don’t Want Your Love on VHS somewhere.  🙂  Will I remember this premiere as fondly?!

-A

I’m a girl and I guess I’m in a panic….

No, I really don’t think I could be any more “corny” today.  (Actually, I probably could.  Nobody needs to see that though, am I right??)

There are days when it has already been predetermined what I am going to blog about, and this is supposed to be one of those days.  Luckily for me though, Amanda lives nowhere near me and can’t come “get me” if I choose to ignore our plans!  There is just simply too much being posted for this blog to solely be about Simon and John’s appearance on the Morning Buzz on VH1. (I could say something here about how I probably didn’t even say that right – the name of the show anyway – and I really don’t give a damn….but that would be FAR too cornball….)

Their appearance was about 8 and a half minutes in length, and I’ll admit that I was fairly entertained.  I’m always amused by the interviewer(s) who talk to the band because it’s almost ALWAYS a female and they always admit to being huge fans.  Aren’t we all?  😀  I really think there’s some sort of scientific method to determining how big of a fan the interviewer is by the amount of giggling they do within the first 30 seconds of the interview, and in this case, the girl is off the charts.  I applaud that, I do.  I know at times Amanda and I can be really tough on interviewers because we don’t love the giggling and stupid questions, but sometimes it can be charming and aside from one brief moment where I felt that she was gushing WAY too much over Simon – in fact I yelled “Don’t feed the bear!” because she was going on about how gorgeous he is (seriously, he’s got a pretty big ego as it is, doncha think??), admittedly I lived vicariously through her a bit.  I’d probably need to be doing some major self-talk through an interview with them, reminding myself not to gush and reminding myself to remain composed! So, I give her credit.  I think it was especially clear that she was a fan when she asked John to sign her poster at the end of the segment.  I dare to dream.  🙂

Notice I didn’t mention much about the main subject of the interview?  That’d be Girl Panic!  the video…

That video will be premiered on Monday, November 7th.  Happy Birthday to me.  😀  Until then, there have been a series of sneak peeks posted on Duran Duran’s Facebook wall that I’ve watched.  Each snippet is about 10 seconds in length, and so far what I’ve been able to extrapolate is that the video is about 9 minutes in length (Longer is ALWAYS better, although it’s what they do with the length that matters most….*curtsies* Yes, that’s some cheek for ya on this lovely Thursday), and that for some reason, they thought it would be cool to have each of the supermodels play a different person in Duran Duran.  I’m not sure how on board I am with that concept yet, but we will soon see.  I also saw one snippet this morning that reminded me very much of the hallway in the movie “The Shining”…you know, the one with the twin girls?  I would SWEAR they were going for a moment like that, but without seeing the whole video it’s hard to really tell for sure.  They’ve been posting sneak peeks all morning without any sign that they’ll be stopping or continuing, but it’s been interesting to see what they’ve got so far.

I will say this – I’ve yet to see a sneak peek with Yasmin, but out of what I’ve seen so far, I like Cindy Crawford as John the best, although I’m still not sure I like the whole idea.  I can’t wait to see the video and review it though.  Nine minutes can’t be a bad thing!

It was also announced that Duran Duran is coming out with a new 2012 calendar, also due out on Monday via the DD store on their website.  I know many a Duranie who is thrilled to hear this is coming, and I must admit that even I am somewhat tempted.  I’ve never bought a DD calendar, believe it or not!  I have a daily calendar that Amanda created that I use every year – for each day she’s found a photo and a “what happened on this day” tidbit on there.  I love it!

Rumors continue to circulate regarding the possibility of yet another US tour next year.  I’ve heard several dates mentioned – most swirling ’round about springtime.  Mind you, not one single date has been leaked or venues mentioned and already there are many complaints coming from all directions, whether its “Why are they going back to the US AGAIN without coming to X (country) first.  It’s not right!!” or my favorite “They are ignoring my city AGAIN and you know, they always go to LA and NYC.”  I get it. I understand the disappointment, and yes I know that not everyone can afford to travel…and some won’t even drive out of their way to see them, so yeah, it’s disappointing when they won’t play near us in favor of playing in a larger city that will afford them more concert ticket sales.  Or that they made a different choice altogether and say…completely missed St. Louis and a thousand other places which makes no damn sense at all…but hey I’m not complaining.  I’m just saying that I get it.  Vent away, but do it in a way and at a time that makes sense.  None of us even know if they really are for sure coming back that soon, and certainly none of us know where they are planning to play.  Its one of those things that surprise me even though I know it shouldn’t.

In the meantime, I’m working on UK details for the Daily Duranie.  We’ve got hotels – or as we like to call them – places to store our luggage.  (we hardly sleep, so it seems)  We’ve still got to get a flight from Glasgow (or actually Edinburgh since that’s where we’re staying in Scotland) to London the day we fly back to the US, but it’s all working out.  I’m starting to feel a sense of panic (hence the title of the blog today) over the idea of leaving my kids again…especially my little one…but it’ll be fine.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.  We leave in 26 days.  AAHH!!

-R

A Good-Bye

Before anyone starts to freak out or celebrate – it’s not me or Amanda!!!  It’s a message board, and in fact it’s the message board that brought Amanda and I, as well as a horde of other Duranies together.  The message board is DuranDuranFans.com, along with its owner and developer, Master Grand Poombah RobinRobin (her screenname, of course!)….Robin isn’t going anywhere of course, but this post is as much about her as it is the message board.

Back in 2003 (I’m hoping I have the date correct!), RobinRobin did the Duranie world a huge favor and started a little website – the aforementioned (love that word) DuranDuranFans.com, affectionately shortened to DDF.  Those of us who were barely treading water on dd.com along with many, many others in the Duranie Kingdom, found our way onto that message board.  I can remember the very day I wandered yet again onto dd.com only to see a thread from Robin requesting that a few come on over to DDF and check out the message board client she’d set up.  I figured it couldn’t be any worse than dd.com and went over, only to find a much calmer and easier to read set up.  I quickly made friends with a few Duranies, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about planning a convention. Suffice to say, I didn’t go back to dd.com much after that.

In 2004, that convention happened – it was held in New Orleans at Hotel Monaco (the hotel was closed after Katrina due to damage and never reopened).  It was there that Amanda and I first met in person, and truly – it’s where I met most of the Duranies I continue to keep in touch with to this day.  I continued to call DDF my second home for many years following the convention, and I will always be extremely thankful to Robin for the time, energy, support, friendship and emotion she poured into the site.

As time wore on and sites like Facebook grew in popularity, I found myself drifting farther and farther away from DDF, and during the last year I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve visited.  The friends I made there are STILL my friends now – in fact most all of them are my friends on my personal Facebook page and they are the people I am most tickled to read about in my news feed each day.  Embarrassingly enough, I found today that I can’t even remember my proper password for DDF – a sure sign that it’s been far too long since my last log in. For many years that board was the very first place I’d check in the morning.  Forget going to dd.com for the news – DDF would have the best news first!  I can remember spending many an hour trading posts and laughing so hard… my house would be devoid of other family members, and yet I never felt alone.  We had a chat room on the board that for a while became a gathering place on Monday evenings – we called it The Late Bar (aptly named!) and we even had a made up bartender there named Woody.  It’s where I first fell off my virtual barstool, and where I am positive I left my sanity behind.  We had many a game on DDF, one of which being that each Monday, we’d pass the torch from New Moon on Monday.  Actually, it was more like we’d “grab” it from one another and claim to take a band member along with us.  Guess which band member I chose???  😀  Well Roger…. let’s just say you’ve been around the block more than once.  😉  There are stories and threads that when I think back on them, I will still laugh about fondly.  All of those picture threads we had going…the time we found the nekkie pictures of Simon…(yes, we’re grown women.  We sometimes have a difficult time remembering that and yes, my husband would be appalled.  Not surprised, but appalled all the same.)  Reading all of Jessica’s updates from the 2005 tour (AIR HORN)…good times were indeed had by all.  When something happened to one of us, it happened to all of us, whether we wanted it to or not.  In October of 2007, I was shocked out of my gourd with the discovery that I was about to be a mommy to baby #3.  I was about to turn 37 and trust me – having a baby was not something I was anticipating.  My relationship with my husband wasn’t on the best terms at the time and the people I turned to first, even before I told my family, were my friends on that board.  If it hadn’t been for those women, I am not at all sure I would have made it through that time.  They made each day worth living and my sadness, frustrations and anxieties were shouldered by all of us, and I’ll never ever forget that.

DDF was truly a home for anyone who wanted somewhere safe to talk about the band.  We tried our best not to judge, we expected everyone to play nicely in the sandbox, but we respected opinions as best as we could – understanding that we wouldn’t always agree…and there were many times when all we could do was agree to disagree.  Our friendship mattered more than the band, and really, isn’t that the point?

Message boards have waned in popularity since Facebook and other social networks like it began, while groups on Facebook (and perhaps other sites) have sort of taken over where they have left off. It’s a subject Amanda and I cover at length in our book…in fact I’m in the midst of writing that chapter right now and to a degree there’s poignancy and sadness in seeing that DDF has also fallen victim to progress.  DDF and message boards like it have served their purpose well, however.  I’ve made very good friends with people from all over the country that I might not have ever met otherwise, and I have all the hope in the world that these friendships will continue throughout my life.

I raise my glass (or cup of tea because it’s not even noon my time yet!) to DuranDuranFans.com.  Robin, you did an amazing job with that message board, and I will truly miss it.  There just aren’t enough words to explain just how much that website and that message board changed my life.

-R

John Taylor is a big tease!

Sometimes, I just want to reach out and smack them.

Oh, come now – you know that sometimes, you’d do it too if you could!

This morning on Twitter, John sends out a tweet that says “Pondering a map of the US thinking, ‘Where can we play next year…’

Of course, that one tweet got the fans going, and I think they’re on a nonstop tweetathon to John (hee hee, a rhyme!) as to where the band should play next year.  Naturally, John immediately (and smartly so) tweeted a follow up saying that of course they had many other places throughout the world to go first.  I would agree.

The fact is, they’ve been here twice this year.  Do I count myself lucky?  Oh yeah.  Yes I do, because I was able to take advantage of both tours and see some shows.  I’m also painfully aware that they missed many a state here in the US, and fans in those areas were not nearly as lucky as I.  The truth is, they could spend 8 more weeks here and still not get everywhere that the fans feel they need to be.  Like my backyard, for instance.  And yours.   Meanwhile the rest of the world has had nearly nothing by way of tours for several years, and I’m sure the band recognizes that, and hopefully they will be willing to do something about that next year.  I know he mentioned Europe, South America, Australia and Asia…and of course Brazil here in the next couple weeks along with the UK in December.  But after that, they really want to come back to the US again?  They didn’t get enough of the raucous American fan base yet??

I suppose my thought was that they would go to Brazil and the UK, then do Europe and where ever else they wished to go next year…never once thinking they’d come back to the US, and to be fair to John, just because he mentioned coming back doesn’t mean they actually will.  They have a lot of people to please, and there are a few other people in the band besides John that might have a differing opinion.  I suppose the new plan is to tour the hell out of this album until everyone in the world has seen them, bought a copy and knows the words to every song by heart – and I’d have to say, that’s not a bad plan.  The Killers toured Hot Fuss to death until everyone in the US really *did* know the songs by heart, and only then did radio begin to play them.  It’s not a bad plan, even for Duran Duran, because I really think – and I know at least as much as my next door neighbor about the music industry (my next door neighbor is an inspector for Fluor Daniels. Not in the music industry at all.  I don’t even think he listens to music.) – that the key to getting radio play is getting exposure.  The more people know the album, the more people will insist that their local radio station play it.   The only kind of promotion that counts these days is the kind the band does on their own, so it seems.

Like I said, I know at LEAST as much as my neighbor.  😀

Honestly though, what else is really working?  Many people postulate on the boards that the bands promotion is horrible, that their PR people should be fired.  My response is always “What PR people?!?”  Like I know or something…which I do not.  In all seriousness though, the band could do meet and greets for radio stations until the cows come home (and I hear that one lone cow showed up in Atlantic City ’round about encore time….) and that wouldn’t be enough to get radio play.  Leave a Light On isn’t going to be enough to stimulate sales, and I’m not even sure that’s the point.  The point is that the general public isn’t you or even me anymore – they are the ages of our kids (if you’ve got kids…and if not, I’ve got a couple you can borrow for the sake of argument), and for the most part, they don’t even know who Duran Duran is!  If we’re going to talk about people our age, then aside from diehard fans, those people don’t even realize that Duran Duran still plays together.  It’s alarming and I typically have to refrain from reaching out and smacking those people back into reality.  How many times have you mentioned going to see a DD show, or buying the new album only to have someone respond “Oh wow, I remember them!  They’re still together??”   I have had to start working very hard not to wince when people say that.  Or do that eye rolling thing that I hate seeing my kids do….

So while I still think John Taylor is a big ole tease and just likes to start trouble….perhaps continuing to tour this album is the right idea…and hey, if they need a backyard to play in….I’ve got one!

-R

What in the hell keeps us going?

Happy Halloween to anyone out there that celebrates this godforsaken holiday.  It is not one of my favorites these days.  Funny how that changes when you’re a parent!!!   I say that will all of the cynicism and jaded attitude that comes with being a mom.  Candy+tired kids=migraine 4 me tomorrow.   I fear for the teaching profession in the morning, and I apologize in advance to my son’s teachers at his middle school.  My oldest daughter’s teachers are on their own…she’s a teenager and in high school. That’s all I can say.

I’ve had a couple of conversations recently that have coaxed my brain into pondering about why in the hell I’m still a fan.  There are all of the obvious things: the music, the band, the nostalgia, etc. etc. etc.  Those are a given and not what I’m really considering here.  I’m thinking about all of the other things.  The things that we don’t really talk about much on this blog, but are very much a part of the whole Duran Duran ambience.  I’m talking about going to a show, being super excited to see them after X number of years, only to have the setlist shortened by X amount of songs (as opposed to other shows on the same tour).  I’m considering those very much fan treasured meet and greets where one band member or another doesn’t bother to show (granted, there may be good reasons for someone not to be in attendance, but if that isn’t acknowledged by the band or their management…what is a fan to think?), or perhaps those meet and greets where it’s very apparent that one or more wishes that they could be somewhere, anywhere else.  I suppose that in most individual instances, they are easy to explain away, dismiss, or otherwise cast off as not being a big deal and certainly not something to dwell on.  I would stick my own neck out here and say that I myself have said that people need to “get over it” at times.  It’s true.  Quit whining and get on with it…that’s what I try to even tell myself when I’m annoyed. What happens when those kinds of things seem to happen continually or at least often enough to draw comment?  I have friends who have all but walked away from this band as a result of seeing them truly bite the hand that feeds, and at the time, I’ve shaken my head and told myself that those people simply have bad attitudes and don’t really get it.  Of course they were bound to be burned.  Well, is that really the case?  I doubt it.  I think it is probably more of a case where they’ve finally just seen and done enough and don’t have an urge to put up with the B.S. that comes with being a fan.  Let’s just take a second and admit that – there IS B.S. that we all put up with, whether it comes from the band, fellow fans or just life in general. It’s OK to say it and still be a fan (in my mind anyway), so let me hear it!!

Is there really a point where you’ve seen and done enough and just realize its not worth the trouble, and if once you get to the point and cross it – can you come back?  Hell, should you?  Is that where the infamous “end of the line” resides??

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard about a bad fan experience someone had with the band or even their management over the years, I think I’d probably be a pretty wealthy woman right now.  At the very least I’d be able to finance my UK tour.  (I’m feeling a new career coming on here….) To be fair, the good experiences FAR exceed the bad ones that I’ve heard and perhaps that’s the point, which I’ll get at later. The trouble is, where at one time I would almost start to scoff at the “bad” experiences – trying to find a reason behind why something would happen, almost to the point of making excuses for the band (who doesn’t even know me or pay me to do so…), it’s getting to the border now where I’m finding that there are just too many good people out there having the same complaints for me not to notice.  I wish I had the right answers, but I do not.

The fact is, we’re talking about humans here.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “Listen, the band CAN have bad days.  We can’t judge them based on a single incident.  They do have the right to private lives…etc. etc.”  ALL of those things are true.  Goodness knows I’m in a bad mood much of the time (Yes I am indeed a scorpio.  Approach carefully, with coffee in hand.), so I get it.  The trouble is, the impression they leave behind – and I use the word “they” collectively here because I’m not going to single out individual members – is that they don’t give a damn as long as they are kept in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed.  (She  who used this quote this morning should be aware that while I won’t name her publicly I am giving credit in my head privately. :D)  Of course none of us have any idea whether or not this is true.  I would strongly suspect that my writing partner Amanda disagrees wholeheartedly with that sentiment.  I know she believes they really do care about the fans and about the band, that they would have to after so many years. I am not nearly that sure.  I think they all (mostly) need to keep working, whether that’s financially or egotistically speaking, and I think they definitely care about the direction of their careers, but I think they all have their moments because they are all entirely human.  Well, everyone except that little alien they’ve got playing keyboards.  😉  There are days when I couldn’t care less about the blog OR the band because I’ve got other issues (I really wanted to say crap but I’m trying to sound somewhat intelligent today…so far its not working for me.)  The difference being that I don’t get paid to care. (Not that it would change, but I must call a spade a spade)  Regardless, I suspect the same to be true for them.  The difficulty with that of course is that their entire career is played out in public, as well as much of their private lives.  With that I say a hearty “Thank god it’s not me – I might not have a mansion or a private plane, but I can also say what I will, go about my day and not have cameras in my face either!”  It’s an excruciatingly difficult balance that none of us can really understand unless we were them, and we are not.  It’s entirely healthy to recognize that sometimes, they completely screw up and piss us off, and yet we’re still fans.

It’s the end of a tour – the US tour – and for many, it’s a letdown emotionally.  It’s easy to misread the depression of the tour being over and not really knowing the direction from here as anger towards the band.  It’s also easy to feel as though let down because we didn’t see the shows we wanted, we didn’t meet John Taylor’s glance when he was playing right in front of us…..we didn’t get that front row seat we were dying to have….and we didn’t get to sit between Dom & Roger at a bar that won’t be named here…..oh wait, that’s just me.  Moving right along….

At the bottom of the Trick or Treat pillowcase are all the leftovers from the night.  There’s a few crumbs in there and probably some dirt from when I dropped the sack as I was running away from the house with all the fog and the zombie dude saying he was going to eat me and all of my friends.  All of the candy fell out and in the haste of shoving all of it back in the sack so that I could run and catch up with my friends for the next house, I probably threw some dirt and pebbles in there too, and it settled in the bottom of the pillowcase in the seam.  But amongst that dirt and those crumbs…and of course the leftover JuJuBees (I can’t stand those!) is one perfect Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.  That’s what the good times are like as a fan, and that’s why I’m still a fan…even when I think the band should be spanked, and not in a good way!  (Get your minds out of the gutter people, I’m being stern here!)

-R

The End of the US Tour and Embracing the Now

Last night marked the end of the US tour as the band played the final, official show in Atlantic City.  (Yes, I know they are doing some sort of gig in Atlanta tomorrow.)  In many ways, this tour was like any other and, in some ways, it was very different.  It was a usual tour in that the same discussions popped up that always pop up.  People debated setlists, stage setups, ticket sales, album sales, clothes, and more.  People bought tickets and many traveled to one or more shows.  Pictures and videos were posted.  Excitement was felt throughout the fan community.  In those ways, it was a standard 6 weeks tour of the US.  Yet, to me, it felt very different than any other tour.

I remember that there is a scene in Sing Blue Silver where John, I think, talks about how that 1984 was never an assured tour.  I always thought that was a strange quote.  As a kid watching that documentary, I thought he was making a really silly statement as the band was the biggest, most popular band in the world.  What did he think was going to happen on that tour?  What did he think was going to get in the way?  I still don’t have answers to those questions about that tour but I certainly do if I apply that statement to this tour and, frankly, to any tour in the future.

When these tour dates were announced, Duran’s future seemed questionable.  Many people wondered either openly or to themselves about if these dates were actually going to happen.  I saw people consider various shows and decide not to even try because they felt so uncertain about whether or not they would actually happen.  After all, this tour was following a spring and summer in which Simon lost a significant portion to his range, which resulted in tour cancellations.  I could not blame anyone for being cautious.  Then, the shows started and they seemed…well…less than normal in the beginning.  The sets were short and there was information about the band cutting songs in the moment.  For me, and others I’m sure, this raised many alarm bells.  Would Duran be able to perform these dates?  If they did, would they be as good as what people have come to expect from them?  I remember feeling very anxious while I waited for my show.  In some ways, this feeling of anticipation reminded me of years ago when I was SO excited to tour.  Yet, it was different as this time fear was present as well as excitement.  Anxiety was the word of the day.  I didn’t want to voice my concerns because I didn’t want others to feel what I had been feeling and I thought that if I said them out loud they would become more real, more possible.  Luckily, they were able to make it to my show and perform.  They were able to perform all of the shows they have scheduled.  Beyond that, it seemed that they got stronger as the tour went on and became more normal. 

What was interesting to me was watching those fans who were still fixated on things like ticket sales and album sales.  I couldn’t relate.  I get wanting the band to be successful.  I want that, too.  Yet, it seemed to me that they were focusing on less immediate concerns.  None of those external elements of success would be important if they couldn’t perform and if they couldn’t get back on track.  Thus, while I didn’t feel like last week’s Chicago show was the best ever, I still thought it a victory.  They were able to play for two hours in a way that we have all come to expect of them.  To me, that was enough.  Will someday I begin to demand more?  I’m sure.  I think there is a lesson here, though, and one that I don’t want to forget.  The album’s name was a reminder to all of us to appreciate the now and I thought I was doing that in December when the iTunes version came out and I thought I was doing that in April when I saw them in the Midwest but I wasn’t.  I don’t think I really started to do that until I realized and realized deep in my gut that Duran will end someday.  That someday might be years or decades away but it could be tomorrow.  I didn’t really get how important the now was until I almost lost something precious to me, to all of us. 

For many people, yesterday marked the end of a chapter in Duran’s history and in their history as a fan.  For Rhonda and I, it marks the end of the US part and the break before the UK tour.  Did I ever think that I would be going to the UK to see them perform?  Not really.  I went in May because my friends wanted to go.  I figured that it was a good time to do it.  Now, I’m going back because I might not have the chance ever again.  I don’t want to regret something despite the financial cost, despite the time away from work, despite the time away from other aspects of life and more.  I now know what it means to embrace the now.  I’m sure that there will be people reading this blog and thinking that we have it so easy.  We don’t.  We are sacrificing to make this happen.  Frankly, we had to sacrifice to make Chicago happen.  Shows and tours don’t fall into our laps.  The band doesn’t play in our backyards (they are welcome to, though!) so we have gone out of our way for this tour that just finished and for the tour that will be coming up.  This way I know I won’t have any regrets when the end does come.

-A

Duran on TV: Piers Morgan and Craig Ferguson

Last night, Duran appeared on not one but two shows here in the States:  Piers Morgan and Craig Ferguson.  This made for a good Friday night but part of me definitely wishes that only one aired at a night to spread out the good stuff!  Anyway, I was able to watch both live and record them so that I could watch them again to give our usual review.

Piers Morgan:
Obviously, I was thrilled that they were on a show that is an hour long and usually features two guests, one for each half of the program.  Duran was to be featured on the second half.  Of course, they were mentioned in the show’s introduction in the usual way with clips of Rio, pictures from the 80s (1982/1983/1984) and more recently (2007), live clips (1993 era with Warren) and statements of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.  First of all, I’m sick to death of the Rio clips and I’m sick to death of just talking about Duran in terms of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.  It seems to me that it boxes Duran into a typical rock band and nothing deeper, nothing more interesting.  Despite that lame introduction, I continued to watch and hoped for the best. 

Piers introduced Duran by giving some statistics, including 80 million albums sold, 18 US hits, 30 UK hits, the 13th album AYNIN and latest single Leave a Light On.  That’s fine.  I don’t think it hurts to discuss their success and what they have currently going on.  The show featured Nick, Simon and John.  Before I dive into the meat of the interview, as a Duranie, I must comment on how they looked.  I think that all of three of them (where was Roger, by the way?!) looked good.  They had on decent clothes as Nick was wearing a white button down shirt with a black suit jacket, Simon was in some white t-shirt with a blueish suit jacket and some multi-colored scarf and John in a black button down shirt and green/brown jacket.  Nick was sporting light eyeliner.  Simon’s beard was full but neat.  The most notable feature on John was his hair.  The color with brown as the main color and blonde bangs is good but really…can’t he figure out how to style it?!  It just looked messy and undone. 

I appreciated some of the questions but really wish that some of the questions were different or that Piers had gone more in depth or asked more follow-up questions.  The first question had to do with the changes in America since they had first come.  This question has been talked to death, in my opinion.  They did tell the story about how Andy got them kicked out of the Hyatt in LA, which is a story that has been around but some people might not have known it.  Then, they discussed vinyl and iTunes.  Once again, Nick commented about how illegal downloading is still a problem whereas John seemed much more accepting about how the world is just different now.  I did appreciate the question about Simon’s vocal problems and their reaction to just the question showed how scary it must have been for all of them.  I loved John’s response about how it could it have splintered the group but instead brought them together.  While I hope that John is completely sincere with that statement, it is also a great thing to say publicly.  They need people to believe that this is true.  From there, they discussed the forming of the band and jumping on the New Romantics bandwagon.  Again, I’m a little bored with this line of questioning. 

After a commercial, the discussion continued with a focus on Mark Ronson.  I did like how Piers asked more follow-up questions about how Mark brought the band back to their original sound.  Unfortunately, this lead the discussion to Amy Winehouse and drinking and drugs.  John did respond to this well about how it was fortunate that they were in a band so that the band would pull anyone back if needed.  They had a different level of support than she did.  John stated that they never went as far as heroin and Piers accepted that.  There was no follow up with what Duran did do, which I suppose is okay as the drinking and drugs discussion must be tough to ask and answer.  Then, there were questions about being parents and what their fanbase is like.

The last segment focused on how they have been able to remain together, how they keep it exciting, twitter, best shows, most outrageous parties, makeup, etc.  I wish that Piers had questioned Nick more about twitter.  I think fans don’t really get why he isn’t on there or at least I don’t.  On a different note, while they were doing the interview, they showed a variety of footage, including often music playing, which was distracting from the interview.  The footage that they did show was SO weird and included some that I had never seen.  For example, they played rehearsal footage from 1989.  Huh?  They also showed a lot of clips from the reunion tour in 2003.  Who chose this footage and why?  They did include some more recent pictures but still!

Overall, I think that this interview was fun but as a diehard fan, I didn’t learn a whole lot new.  I loved John’s statement about Simon but the rest of it was pretty common material.  I would be curious about what more casual fans thought about it.  Obviously, this criticism isn’t about the band.  They did the best they could with the questions given.  I just thought that the questions were common and that there wasn’t enough follow-up. 

Craig Ferguson:
This was just a performance of Leave a Light On and no interview.  Again, I must comment on their appearances.  Dom was wearing a leopard shirt and leather jacket.  He looked good!  Nick was wearing some sparkly jacket with this white tie thing that expanded as it moved down away from his neck.  It looked like a bib to me.  (Sorry Nick!).  I couldn’t really tell what Roger was wearing, which says that there wasn’t nearly enough shots of him.  Simon was in his blue snakeskin shirt with a jacket over it and some grey/black jeans.  He was wearing sunglasses.  Not sure what that is about.  John was in leather pants and some polo shirt on top.  The polo shirt didn’t really go well with the leather pants, in my opinion.  Polo shirts are way more conservative than the leather pants.  Oh well.  That said, they looked decent. 

As for the performance, it was also decent.  I felt that they got stronger as the song goes on but I have felt that way every time I have seen the song performed.  It was good to see them perform like this, though, even if they didn’t blow me out of the water.   I don’t really think that is possible with a song like this.  It just isn’t the style to do that. 

-A