A Field Trip

Today Amanda & myself are going on a little field trip with two friends of ours to see Duran’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  For those who aren’t aware, their star is just outside of the doors to Capitol Records.  We briefly considered walking on in to Capitol and requesting that they confirm the rumors about whether or not the album is to be released on their label…but then shelved that idea in contemplation of doing a little “construction work” outside of Capitol…

we’re not doing that either, so please don’t send the cops for us.  🙂

Last night, we watched three Duran Duran concerts – one was Working for the Skin Trade, the show that was included with the remastered Big Thing package, and then Budokan from 2003.  Those shows included some of the best and worst of Duran’s history, but still very much a part of their history; the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  By going to the star today, we’re acknowledging their history, but also the fact that the band has had quite an impact on popular culture and music, despite (or in spite!)  of their not-so-glamorous or not-so-proud moments.

-A & R

Instant Connection

As you reading this blog, the two partners of this blog and their friends are all together in the first time in over a year.  The four of us became instant friends when we met each other in person at the convention in 2004.  While it could be argued that this is something unique to our friendships, I actually would argue that this is a common occurance among fans. 

Over the course of my years, I have met many people in the name of fandom.  While most of those people are part of the Duran Duran fandom, some are not.  Yet, the immediate connection has been felt, no matter the fandom.  Why is that?  Why do fans bond so quickly with other fans?  Yes, it could be said that fans typically share commonalities like race, age, gender, etc.  They may be the case but I do not believe that this is what makes the connection happen so strongly and so easily.  It isn’t that we establish our friendship on these basic, obvious elements of who we are but on something deeper, much more personal.

When someone becomes part of a fandom, it is because the object of that fandom (in our case, Duran Duran) grabbed a hold of the person, emotionally.  That band/team/author/movie/actor made us feel passionately.  In many ways, we fall in love when we become fans as we feel such extreme joy, excitement, happiness as we become more and more interested (obsessed!).  This love often translates into spending a lot of time on the fandom, thinking a lot about it, and even making a committment (in our case, that has included YEARS of being fans as well as working on projects devoted to it).  Thus, when one fan meets another fan, there is instantly understanding.  We both know how the other person feels on some level since we both love the same thing.  Often, our choice of loving this over that says something about us as people as well.

Why did we become fans of Duran?  Obviously, I can list and describe many, many reasons why we think Duran is wonderful, talented, etc.  The truth is that, for some reason, they made us feel good.  Maybe they were an escape from frustrating daily lives, for some.  For others, they represent nothing but happiness and parties.  It doesn’t matter, specifically, what drove us to love them over other bands or other things.  What matters is that we did and that decision (conscious or not) was and is personal.  It is a part of who we are in a way that is much different than what we do for a living or where we grew up.  It is pure emotion.  After all, people don’t become fans with their heads but with their hearts.  Thus, when we meet other fans, it is often like meeting people whose hearts know and understand each other already.  That may (does) sound sappy but I believe it to be true.  This heart-to-heart connection starts with the fandom, but often and easily moves into other avenues because of this instant understanding. 

-A

Nothing Left to Prove

Once again, the band trumps me.  I had a blog topic all ready for writing, then I come home and get an “Official Duranie Alert” from my writing partner, Amanda. (who is en route to the good old OC at this very moment!)  The band has put out a press release on dd.com – you can read it here.  The release date for the album has been announced, along with a lot of other juicy tidbits – including a list of titles, as well as news that the album will be released on CD and vinyl in February.  This is great news!!  So, I find myself in the position of having to rethink the blog topic for today.


The press release is decorated with all kinds of facts and figures on the band, which when one stops to consider what has been accomplished, it’s really quite staggering.  The most interesting line of the entire press release, however, is the sentence at the very end.


As this new chapter begins, they have nothing left to prove, but everything to play for. So for them…All You Need Is Now!”


Truer words have never been written.  As a fan of nearly 30 years at this point (has it REALLY been that long?!?), it is truly refreshing to see the band embracing what many of us in the community have really felt for quite a while now.  This band has nothing left to prove to any of us…fan, listener, critic, or even hater.  Their history speaks entirely for itself.  They don’t need chart topping hits to prove their worth…and this band is definitely worthy, they just needed to believe it themselves, and I think we’re finally there.  


It’s a good day to be a Duranie.




-R

Once upon a time, there was a suburban OC mom who happened to stumble upon a Duran Duran message board.  It was a very small message board at the time, which allowed for her to get to know several of the “regulars” on the board.  One of those regulars was interested in starting plans to have a convention, and the mom jumped on the bandwagon.  She got to know the committee, and within a year, found herself standing in the ballroom at Hotel Monaco in New Orleans, welcoming fellow Duranies for a weekend of fun and friendship.  Her roommates for that fateful weekend included the first friend she’d made on the message board, along with two other close “online” friends.   The weekend proved to be a great success, and out of that weekend, this mom met many others, including someone from the midwest (and the co-writer of this blog!), as well as a gal from New Jersey.

The interesting part of this story is that under any other circumstance, the mom isn’t at all sure that the three of these women would have connected.  At the time, the mom was the only married woman in the group, and is still the only one with children. (well, children that she doesn’t leave at the end of a work day….mine follow me!)  She lives in California, two within the group live in the midwest, and one is from the east coast.  The mom doesn’t work for a living, the other three work very hard – one is a special education teacher, one works in human resources, and the other is a nurse. The one connection that binds them is/was their love for Duran Duran.

As time has worn on, two out of the group have expanded their horizons.  While Duran Duran is probably still a favorite to some degree,  there are other bands that have piqued their interest, and they’ve been known to travel to see them.  The other two, on the other hand –    write a daily blog about the band, are in the process of writing a book, and have ideas for others.  Their friendship has really transcended their interest for the band, so to speak.    Of course, if a tour comes up, we try to travel together.  It doesn’t always work out, schedule-wise, but we try.  While the four of us together are friends, we’ve also sort of “paired” off.  Two go off and see INXS, the other two have actually gone on tour to see Clear Static.  The beauty of it all is that what started as a friendship due to a common interest has become a friendship based on far deeper trust.

As you might have guessed, the suburban mom in the story is me, and the other three women are my closest friends.  We started making plans to meet up whenever there was a tour, but as usually happens – Durantime takes far too long – and we’ve ended up meeting for long weekends instead!  Tomorrow, the girls descend on Orange County CA, and they’ll be staying at my house this time.  There really won’t be much Duran on the agenda (although I am sure we’ll do our fair share of video watching and laughing), but for a change – it’ll be about our friendship.

Lately there has been much talk on the boards about fairness, and about the duranie-eat-duranie world of the fan community.  I’ve written about it here in our blog as well.  I’ve had it brought up to me that not all of us are going to be friends, and still more of us won’t like one another.  That’s obviously true.  We can’t all get along – although I *do* think a lot more of us can and should try to remember that our connections to one another will far outlast the band.  My own friendships with the girls I’ve met through the community will prove that.  I’m going to remember the times I’ve had traveling with Amanda, or the way that Jessica and I “handled” check in at the fan convention…or the way I’ve full-out laughed until I’ve cried when I sit and listen to the stories Machelle has told me over the years, FAR longer than I’ll remember that I was snubbed by so-and-so at the last show or meet up.  Hopefully while reading the blog, some of you will remember the fun you’ve had rather than the way you thought you were wronged by another fan….because really, isn’t that the point?

-R

Pure Enjoyment

Last night, it was my family’s turn to celebrate and harass me for my birthday.  In our family, it’s tradition to open gifts together, and so my husband and children gave me their cards and gifts to open in front of my mom while we had cake (the best part, in my opinion!).  In the small gift my husband handed me was a box to a lightbulb, which really confused me.  I opened the box, and inside was the barrel to a clarinet (once upon a time, I was a clarinet player).   At this point, I realized that my husband and children had bought me a new clarinet for my birthday.  I was thrilled because my son started playing in the band at school this year, and his instrument of choice was the clarinet.  I had given him my old one to play, leaving me without a clarinet to pick up from time to time.  At this point, my husband got up to get me the case for the rest of the instrument – and when I saw the case, I realized that not only did my husband buy me a new clarinet, he had bought me a Buffet R-13 clarinet.  This is a very, very special clarinet – most professionals ASPIRE to play on one.  It’s the clarinet equivalent of playing on a Stradivarius violin. I had to hold back tears as I opened the case, because at  one point in my life, it was my dream to own one and play in an orchestra.  I’m still very shocked that my husband went to the trouble to find one for me, and I have to say that out of all of the gifts he’s given me in our 16 years of marriage, this one took the most thought.  The reality is, I will almost assuredly never play in a professional orchestra, for that was the dream of a teenager from long ago, but this clarinet will definitely be played here at home, for my own enjoyment.  It’s one thing that is truly just for me.

In listening to “Being Followed” and considering where the band might be in their own careers, I have to wonder if the band isn’t at the same place.  Maybe they are playing for themselves at this point, for their own enjoyment.  Perhaps chart success isn’t the carrot they are chasing after – and maybe now is where the real fun is going to start for them.  There is something to be said for being able to stand up and say that you’re doing whatever it is that you do for the simple enjoyment of doing it.  In my mind at this moment, that will bring FAR more success than any chart-topper ever will.

-R

I’m BAACK!!

I survived my birthday weekend in Vegas.  Thanks to all of you who sent birthday messages via here or Twitter, or my email…or even facebook.  🙂

That said, can you believe I didn’t hear the new clip of Being Followed until about 35 minutes ago?  I kept getting texted on Friday night by Amanda telling me how great it was – and of course I was envious because I knew it wouldn’t be until today that I’d get my chance to listen!

It would be unfair and irresponsible of me if I didn’t acknowledge that there are fans out there that aren’t happy with what they’ve heard so far.  I was honestly expecting far more positive reaction than I have seen thus far today, but then again – we Duranies are a cynical bunch, and we’re tough to impress these days.  I believe that the initial excitement from having heard the clip has died down, and now I’m seeing the tide turn from excitement to negativity, but certainly not everyone feels that way.  It’s music. Everyone has their own opinions, and they certainly have the right to not only decide what they like, but also the right to post their feelings.  In the end, it’s music.

When I first listened, I immediately thought of Sound of Thunder.  I think I was expecting to hear something like the songs off of Rio because that’s what keeps being brought up – but for me, I heard more first album.  I know a lot of people have commented on it sounding like Blondie.  I can hear what they mean, but for me – it’s all about the bass line.  (thankyouJohnTaylor)  I knew I missed the bass on RCM, but I didn’t realize how much until I heard this clip!!  What a relief to hear that his part wasn’t left in the studio this time!  I also heard a guitar – something I haven’t heard in quite a while.  The bass and drums play off of the guitar, which in turn is held together by Nick’s synths….the equation that at least for me, equals the sound that I fell in love with.  I can’t comment on the lyrics, because I only heard one portion and I want to hear the whole song and think about them – but the vocals are lovely as usual.  It is simply amazing that Simon’s voice has only gotten stronger over time.

With all that in mind, I have to say – the song did not blow my mind.  I’m not sure that it really should have.  I’ve never been one to hear a song and fall instantly in love.  I’m more the type that likes to be courted just a bit.  I like to listen, think about it, come back and listen again.  My goodness, it’s taken me decades to love Late Bar, Secret Oktober and To the Shore – but it’s a lasting love.

So, it’s been a few days.  Have you listened again?  What do you think?  Drop Daily Duranie a comment and let us know!  If you love it, tell us why.  If you hate it, say so – but tell us why.  Simply saying you hate it does no one any good – I want to know why.

-R

Happy Birthday!!!

Today’s blog post is going to be short but sweet!  I would like to wish my blogging/writing partner a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!!! 

It is amazing to me how attending a simple little fan convention in the fall of 2004 could have lead us here.  In the spring and summer of that year, we may have recognized each other’s posting name on DDF but didn’t know much about each other.  That all changed very quickly when we met in person at the Duran Duran Fans Convention in September of 2004 in New Orleans.  While my writing partner was an organizer of the event, I was a simple attendee.  We both were there to meet fellow Duranies and to be among others like us.  We wanted to share our extreme excitement by the band’s reunion and upcoming album, Astronaut.  The second night of the convention found the two of us bouncing from bar-to-bar on Bourbon Street with a group of fellow Duranies.  During that evening, a bond began to form as we just seemed to click.  That instant click was reinforced by the following winter and spring.

By December 2004, tour dates were announced and Duranies all over the world began to make plans about which shows to see and with whom.  Neither Rhonda nor myself thought it was strange to be making travel and concert plans with people we had only met once as we decided to go to shows in Chicago and Milwaukee together.  These decisions were not so carefree, in reality, as they featured money exchanges for tickets and hotels.  Again, the instant click moved right into instant trust.  I had no concern about money when I bought VIP tickets for us and another friend of ours.  She had no worry about reserving a hotel room.  During that brief weekend in the Midwest, we found ourselves laughing and enjoying ourselves in ways that have rarely been replicated for us at any point in our lives.  They were that unique!  We knew during that weekend that we had found a touring partner but that we also had found a friend for life in each other.

Since that first convention and first show together, we have attended many more shows together, traveled to see each other just for fun (without the band!), and have been there for each other during whatever real life situation comes up.  For all of this and more, I can truly only give thanks to the band that brought us together as friends and now as writing partners.  We know that this isn’t the end of the line for us but simply the beginning.

On that note, I wish Rhonda the best birthday ever and to remind her that the best is yet to come!!!

-A

Soundtrack of My Life

I have been a Duranie for most of my life.  In fact, I became an official one at the very young age of 8.  Since then, Duran has always been the background music, the soundtrack of my life.  Some of their songs have inspired me to act, others have made me think about things in a new way, and still others really seem to capture my emotions.  I’m sure that some of the songs that have really touched me, emotionally, are the exact same ones that have touched other fans and others, not so much.

Ordinary World is probably the most classic example of an emotionally touching Duran song.  I’m sure that many fans throughout the years have listened to that song to help them through the process of grief over a lost loved one.  I know that I have put that song on whenever I want to feel both the loss of someone or something as well as optimism for the future.  After a rough week, emotionally, I turned to this song once again.  It helped me to remember that no matter how tough things are now, time heals. 

There are a couple of other more ballad type songs that have expressed my feelings in regards to work, which are Chains and One of Those Days.  When I’m not hanging out in the Duran world, I’m busy teaching as well as thinking and worrying about my students.  Those two songs always remind me that some days are not positive at work but that I’m still committed and hopeful that the future will be better because of my actions.  Once I’m in a more positive frame of mind, What Happens Tomorrow is usually played because I need to be reminded that things will be okay in the end.  🙂

Of course, there are songs that always bring me back to some extremely fun times in my life!  I can’t help but to smile when hearing a song like Late Bar!  How many really fun times have I had with my fellow Duranies at a bar, late at night?  Hold Back the Rain and Astronaut always make me think of touring.  The former one makes me think of that because of the line about how there is “no time to worry, we’re on the roam again.”  Certainly, one of the things I like best about touring is traveling and not stressing about daily tasks.  It is just about fun.  Likewise, Astronaut captures the feeling of being at a show with the line, “There is nothing gonna ace this.”

As I read the boards and see fans’ reactions to the new snippet, I keep thinking about how these new songs could fill a void in the soundtrack of my life and in other people’s.  Maybe they will capture some serious changes that will take place in my day-to-day existence.  Perhaps, they will remind me of both good and bad times I have had.  I hope that they will be able to express a part of me that I cannot.  Truly, one thing that I have always appreciated about Duran’s songs is how they can be interpreted in different ways.  While the songs I listed above mean something to me, they might not mean the same thing to others.  I suspect that every fan has Duran songs that really hit home for them.  Maybe some of them are like mine.  Maybe they are different.  No matter if they are the same or different, I would love to know what they are for you, fellow Duranie, and why!

-A

Being Followed

Sometimes, it is good to be blogging late!  As many in the Duranie world know, Mark Ronson played about a minute and a half snippet of Duran Duran’s song, “Being Followed” tonight!  For Duranies, there is NOTHING more exciting than experiencing Duranie alerts like this!  The only thing better than hearing a new song or part of a new song is having a tour announced!

After listening to the snippet and seeing many fans react to it, I am thrilled to report that pretty much EVERYONE LOVES what they heard!  My initial reaction in hearing the first five seconds was how fabulous it is to hear solid instrumentation that Duran is famous for!  I loved hearing John’s bass so clearly, especially since he was barely on the previous album.  Then, in typical Duran fashion, the other instruments joined in!  Many fans have referenced previous Duran songs like the early “Faster Than Light”, the classic “New Religion” and one of my favorites, “Hold Back the Rain”.  Once the lyrics begin, I focused in to catch as many words as I could.  Here are some of the lyrics I noticed:  “To the voyeur, seated in the darkened room…Paranoia-the only valid point of view…I’m not alone, being followed, someone’s always watching what we do, never alone, I’m in the shadows, I dream things I don’t want you to know.”  While I will always miss some of the cryptic lyrics of the first few albums, these non-cryptic lyrics entertained me.  Are they speaking of their own personal experiences of being famous?  Is it really more about a peeping Tom sort of thing?  I tend to think of the former, especially with the line, “Someone’s always watching what WE do.”  We-as in more than one, as in the band.  Overall, this song feels like Duran to me.  I definitely can’t wait to hear the whole thing and to hear this one at a show because I believe it will be really fabulous live!

Beyond the song, Mark Ronson also gave us a couple of other clues in regards to the plans for this album.  Initially, when introducing it, he said that he believed that the album will be out by the end of the year.  This matches with the latest rumors about a potential Christmas release.  The other, probably more interesting statement, was one that he made when talking over the song.  On the second play, he said, “Exclusive property of Capitol Records.”  Does this mean that they do have a deal with Capitol again?  Ah…let that speculation continue! 

No worry from me about when the album is actually released or how right on as I’m beyond thrilled by this snippet and hopeful that this album will be exactly what the Duranie community needs!  What is your reaction?

-A

Melancholy and Optimism

The very first song I ever heard from Duran Duran was Planet Earth, believe it or not.  I don’t know the exact date, although I know it was in 1981 and I was in the 6th grade, which where I’m from meant it was my first year of intermediate school. I heard it on the radio, and I was listening to KROQ after school one day in my room.  I lived in Glendora, CA – and KROQ was *the* station to be listening to if you were “cool”.  I wasn’t cool, but I wanted to hear what the fuss was about.  I remember turning to the station, and hearing the opening sounds of Planet Earth.  It was completely different from the other music I’d been hearing all of my life up until that point – my parents were never avid music listeners that I was ever aware of, although my mom loved Elvis Presley and they’d play records on our stereo from time to time.  Up until then, my own music collection consisted of some Disney records, a few Alvin and the Chipmunks albums, and two K-TEL compilation records,  no – I’m not joking.  As soon as the music came on, I distinctly remember being both intrigued, but also shocked because I was expecting “nothing but noise”.  Why?  My parents told me that’s what most radio stations played.  😀   When Simon started singing, I thought it was fantastic!  I loved the beat and the bass rhythm and how it played off of the guitar – and of course the keyboards just added to the ambiance.  I was dying to know who this band was, and I remember that when the DJ (and sadly I don’t even remember who the DJ was at the time) said the name, I laughed because the name sounded so silly!  He said it was new, and that we’d be hearing more from them.   I didn’t really think much more of Duran Duran until my friend Marsha had me over to her house one night for a sleepover – I believe it was probably summer at this point, but I’m not positive.  I loved going to her house because there were no bedtimes, and she had a TV right up in her room that we could watch!  She told me that I was going to love this new video show, and that they played this band that we’d been talking about at school – Duran Duran of course.  It was on very late, so we stayed up, and sure enough they played Hungry Like the Wolf.  That pretty much sealed the deal, because not only could the band play, they were super cute too!!   It wasn’t long after that when Marsha and I bought our first DD t-shirts and albums (I can remember standing in Wherehouse records debating over whether to buy the first DD album or Rio – and yes, it was a choice because my parents were not going to buy me more than one album at a time.  As my dad used to say, “We’re not made of money, Rhonda Lynn.”  I bought the first album, and went back for Rio a couple weeks later.).  Then of course came the poster buying.  I would openly offer to go grocery shopping with my mom every single Sunday because I knew that while she was in the produce section, I could get away to go check out the new magazines, and I could almost always come away with at least one new magazine with Duran Duran pictures.  I would sit at home, read the entire magazine cover to cover (well, the Duran Duran parts anyway – and at that point, they were all OVER the magazine!), and then meticulously cut out each pinup for my wall.  My room was painted “Springtime green” (think about one shade off from neon green…and no, it was not my choice of color.), and over a remarkably short period of time – it got to the point where there wasn’t much green showing.  I had the band all over my walls.  I suppose that’s when I should have realized that the band wasn’t just a passing interest, but something that would stick with me well beyond my childhood.

It’s now 2010, and I am turning 40 years old on Sunday.  When I sit back and think about where I was back then versus where I am now, I have no idea how I got here.  The time feels like it’s flown by so incredibly fast.  I don’t think I EVER considered that I’d eventually grow up back when I was cutting those pictures out of magazines, and I certainly never thought about the fact that I would eventually have a husband, three children – and that I’d never play for the LA Philharmonic the way I thought I would.  It just didn’t occur to me to even think that far ahead, I guess.  I suppose that’s the joy of childhood, and I am very lucky I had the chance to really be that carefree.  There are times when I wonder what ever happened to the fearless 11 or 12 year old in me, but sometimes, I still get a glimpse of that girl.  Every time I go to a Duran Duran show, she comes to visit. (and I really like her!)  When I see the band do an interview on TV, I can feel her bursting out – squealing away in complete joy when Nick smiles or John raises an eyebrow – or if Roger twirls a stick on stage.   The other day one of my friends posted the video for New Moon on Monday on their facebook page.  It was one of the longer versions, and I had a free couple of minutes, so I watched it.  I giggled as I watched the band pass out those flyers to people on the street, I laughed when Simon made a face at the girl who was waving the flag down a narrow alley, and I also waited to see the part where we all now Simon was hit by a horse.  I could feel that young girl inside of me stir again, ready for whatever came next.  My moments with her are often fleeting – but it’s good to know that she’s still there.

Turning 40 tends to make me feel melancholy rather than powerful at the moment, mainly because I look back and think of what I’ve lost over the years.  I miss the freedom of youth, the joy of making decisions without having to check with 4 other people, my father (a terrible, terrible loss that I still have yet to make peace with), and the excitement of looking ahead to   adulthood.  That said, I’m trying very hard to feel optimistic about what comes next for me.   I am learning to look ahead rather than continually looking back – it’s a work in progress.  I am looking forward to seeing my oldest achieve all that she’s dreamed of and worked towards, I can’t wait to see my son graduate from high school and then go on to be an amazingly smart college student – if I can just keep him out of trouble in the meantime, and I really wonder what kind of person my little girl, my two year old, will become.  She’s super smart, and never fails to make me laugh….even today at 6am when she’s calling for me to “help her”…and yet what she really means is, “I am up for the day and we’re going to play!!”  My kids are my life, and truthfully, I think they help to keep me looking for my inner 12 year old.

The joy of writing this blog each day is that I spend a few moments writing about something I dearly love.  As a mom of a 13 year old daughter, an 11 year old son that is on the autistic spectrum and a 2 year old “surprise gift”…my life is extremely full.  I haven’t had a pedicure since before my youngest came along, and I’ve only just recently got back to where I’m going to get my hair cut and colored. (primarily because I’m definitely NOT at peace with my own gray hair yet)  This blog gives me time to enjoy my inner 12 year old, but also practice what I spent my years in college doing – writing about popular culture.  My goal is to not just write about the news – but also examine what makes our fan community tick.  As a result, this blog has forced me to combine my adult persona with the young fan within.  I might be turning 40, but I am still living.  I’ve been asked many times when I’ll stop going to shows, take down the posters I still have up in my tiny walk-in closet, and when I’ll “finally grow out of this”.  My answer?  I hope I go to my grave listening to this band, because without music, what is there?

With that, I am off to pack.  I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend with my husband and another couple who are our closest friends.  If I’m going to turn 40, I’m going to do it my way, in the City of Sin.  🙂

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!