INSANITY!!!

And we’re off to the races for presale tickets!!!

I don’t know what the rest of the Duranie world is doing tonight, but I have not had a spare second all day since getting my first text message in the wee hours of the morning that the UK dates were posted!

All day it has been a series of back and forth messages between Amanda, myself and our friend Jessica – can we go?  Should we go?  How much is this going to cost??  Will my husband be OK with my asking for a 9 day “hall pass” from my life as mom??   And…my personal favorite “How badly do we want to beat the band up for making presales TOMORROW!”  (actually, scratch that – presales are in exactly 6 hours!!!

Really?  Is that REALLY necessary?  Do we want to kill the fans before they even have a chance of buying tickets?   Honestly.  Why do I love this band again?

So, with less than 6 hours, and one or more of those hours being spent watching The State of the Union address by President Obama….this is precious little plotting time.   My husband enjoyed my frantic phone call, casually asking how his day went.  Little did he realize that my very next sentence would be a complete blur of words and emotion…ending with my literally begging him to be the supportive husband I know he can be, and telling him “I swear I’ll never ask for another thing EVER!”   Yeah, he laughed.  Then he said “If this is what you really want to do, then I’ll be supportive.”  

Best words I’ve heard from him since “Yes, I’ll buy you a new car, now quit complaining!”   😀

The plan?  We’re hoping to secure tickets for the Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London shows.  If we’re gonna go, we’re gonna go!  We haven’t even discussed VIP yet, and with less than 6 hours to go….I guess we’d better get on it!

Only 5 hours and 56 minutes til “showtime”.  Once again, the band and their management have a fabulous sense of what the “real world” can do in a short amount of time.  I’m sending the bill for my anti-anxiety and blood pressure meds to the band, damn them!**

**As I mentioned previously….there might be cursing.  Let the games begin!!!

-R

Parental Karma

Yesterday was my oldest child’s birthday.  She turned 14, and we spent the day at Disneyland together as a family.  Truth be told, it wasn’t just about celebrating her birthday – but it was a good excuse!  It was a really nice day, both in weather and in spirit.  While we were roaming the park, I thought about what I was like at 14.  My daughter is much more mature than I was at that age, both in looks and in her overall demeanor.  She’s honestly not very interested in the drama and the nonsense that goes on with girls her own age, and as a result she’s seen as a bit of an outcast with the other girls in her grade at school.  They sense that she’s not going to put up with them, and they also see that she’s not interested in “falling in line” after the few girls that seem to be the ringleaders, so they make it their business to make life rough for her at times.  It’s a tough age, but overall she’s doing well.  She already recognizes that the older kids (her school goes from 7th to 12th grade – basically from 12 and 13 year olds all the way up to 18 year olds) don’t care as much about what labels they wear or the insipid drama, and she longs for those years to come, and come quickly.  I keep telling her not to wish her youth away, but…she’s much different than I was at that age.  My room was covered in Duran Duran posters, and I don’t think I looked much into what my future would hold beyond the next break from school, to be honest.   On the other hand, my daughter has never even bothered putting posters up in her room!  Maybe that’s the norm for kids her age nowadays though??  She loves music, as far as I can tell by the constant iTunes receipts that flow into my inbox on an almost daily basis – but she’s very eclectic in her taste.  On any given day she’ll go from playing Florence and the Machine to Usher, Katy Perry and even Michael Jackson.  She doesn’t tend to start loving a band or an artist just because everyone else does, as is evidenced by her despise for Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus (thank goodness) and The Jonas Brothers.  In fact, that sort of thing completely annoys her.  I strongly suspect that had she been another girl at my school when I was her age, she would NOT have been a Duran Duran fan, and while that pains me…I guess I’m not surprised.  Perhaps she would have gone for them though because they were just a bit off from center, not quite mainstream, and because there were plenty of people out there that didn’t love them, she’d think they were different enough for her attention.  Hard to say.   As she was growing up and getting closer to her “tween” years, I kept waiting for her to tell me all about the band she had fallen completely in love with, and I was pretty disappointed when that never happened!  I guess I just figured that all girls find that special bond with something, but the closest we ever got was a quick and fleeting love for Twilight that ended very quickly once she realized it was no longer “special” to love the books.  There was never a rush to the grocery store magazine aisle to buy the teen mags with pinups, or requests to go to a music store (or I suppose Target or Walmart), or any begging to buy concert tickets, go to record signings, or even to wait at hotels at insane hours of the night to catch a glimpse of a band member.   What good are the tween or teen years without that sort of thing??

When I first started thinking about having a baby, I can honestly say I thought about what these years would bring.  I remembered all too well what the drama of being a teenager was like, and I had wondered how I would handle it all.  Then when we found out we were having a girl (see, even back then I had no patience, I wanted to know the baby’s sex in advance!) I was so excited, and not because of all of the cute “girl” things – but because I knew that I would be a great mom for a teenager.  I was going to be the mom to take my kid to a concert, to indulge her in a little bit of the excitement that I wasn’t able to have due to my parents strictness.  Naturally, I never thought to consider that my daughter would be nothing like I was as a teen.  That of course, is the karma of being a parent.  🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I love my oldest dearly.  She is a gorgeous human being, inside and out.  I aspire to be the type of caring person that she is.  She also has a sharp sense of humor, is extremely smart and talented…and I could go on and on.  We are almost nothing alike in some ways, and exactly alike in others, but what I’m finding more and more is that I truly admire her….even though I still think she’s completely missing the boat musically.  😀

Perhaps what I was really waiting for with these teen years was the confirmation that I was not nearly as crazy as my parents made me out to be with my obsession for Duran Duran.   Oddly, that has yet to come….but she’s only 14, there’s still time!

-R

It’s Next Week Already!

It is Sunday.  According to my calendar, this means that it is a new week and, as many of us know, it isn’t a “normal” week as both John and Simon indicated that tour dates will be officially announced on dd.com this week.  Most people, of course, are assuming that they are only the UK dates based on Simon’s tweet where he specifically mentioned the UK and based on Simon’s recent interview where he spilled the beans about the 14 UK dates during the month of May.  Now, many people in the fan community anxiously await this announcement, including the authors of this blog!  How in the world will we survive until the dates are known?  What are you going to do to get through this painful wait?  I’m not sure what I will do as I have used up many of my tricks so far.

One of the things I typically do while waiting on tour dates is to speculate.  I like to have an idea of what they might look like.  Where will they go?  How long will they be there?  How many shows will that include?  I try to take all of the rumors and organize them.  Then, I also look at past touring history then I combine the rumors and the history to make my best guess.  Sad, isn’t it?  I want to be prepared, though, as best as possible.  Of course, saying this, I know that I will be surprised or shocked by something.  I suppose then it is a false preparedness.  It also helps make the time go faster and increase my excitement.  So, what is known about the upcoming tour?  What are the rumors?  What is the recent touring history?

Here is what I know:
Coachella Festival in California on Sunday, April 17th
14 dates in the UK in May
ITunes Festival in London on Saturday, July 16th

Some of the rumors:
Italy show on Monday, July 11th
Original rumors listed the US from March 31st and the UK/Europe starting in June
Special show in New York City based on a tweet from Wendy Laister, their manager

Touring history for the US and Europe (yes, I realize that I have left out a HUGE chunk of the world but I had to focus on what I might be able to do!)
2003: Random shows through the summer and fall in the US to equal about 4 weeks worth
2004: About 3 weeks in the UK (could this be similar to 2011?)
2005: About 11 weeks in the US (6 at one time and 3 at the other) and 8 weeks in Europe (6 at one time and 2 at the other)
2006: About 1 week in Europe and 3 weeks in the US
2007: About 2 weeks on Broadway
2008: About 6 weeks in US (4 at one time and 2 at the other) and about 7 weeks in Europe

This leads me to wonder when exactly they will be touring the US.  Will they do US around Coachella since they and their equipment will already be here?  If so, then, they better announce those dates as well.  Will they squeeze in the US dates in between the UK and the ITunes festival?  Maybe later in the summer?  Your guess is as good as mine.  (Although, if you do know something more and would like to share it with Rhonda and I, feel free to email us at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Thanks!) 

Beyond speculating about what the tour might actually look like, I have been talking to my friends, specifically my touring buddies.  Part of those conservations have included developing an ideal plan.  What does your ultimate tour look like?  Do you want to do a show in your city or one nearby?  Do you want to travel?  If so, where specifically do you want to go?  How many shows do you want to do?  Obviously, in these discussions, we are all aware that the ideal probably won’t happen as we are not financially independent and do have other responsibilities but it is fun to think about!

Now that I have used up both of these methods of distraction, I’m forced to rely on the usual methods, which include frequent check-ins on the band’s official site, other message boards, and social networking sites to try and learn the latest info!  I will also make myself available to receive phone calls, emails or text messages as it is quite possible that I won’t be the first one to get the “Official Duranie Alert”.  So, readers, how do you plan on making it through this most anxious time?  What are your secrets? 

-A

Better/Bigger Fans?

Rhonda and I have begun posting questions over on the Daily Duranie Facebook page (come friend us if you haven’t yet!) as a means of getting to know people, starting discussion and adding information for our book.  This morning I posed a question about whether or not people are willing to travel for Duran shows after thinking and blogging about why tours matter to so many of us.  Many people answered that question.  Some people said that they have and included where they have gone and when.  Others said that they are willing but unable to go for financial, family, or work reasons.  One person got me thinking about something that I do from time to time, especially during touring season.  (Like that…it has it’s own season like the baseball season in my world!  😀 ).  Does traveling to shows make you a bigger/better fan?  What about those people who VIP?  Is that better than not?  Then, of course, I wonder who is judging.  Are we the fans judging each other?  Is the band?  Is the band’s employees like the people who work at DDM judging?  Is there a chance that someone could be TOO big of a fan?  Are there other means of showing how big of a fan you are?  Are all of those ways costly?  So many questions…

Does traveling make you a bigger or better fan?  Of course, this automatically asks the question about who is judging and by what standards.  Is this assumption correct?  Here is what I know, objectively speaking. Traveling and going to more shows might give fans a greater knowledge of the band and the fandom as a whole.  It provides the opportunity to meet and get to know more and more people.  You get the chance to see more and more shows performed live.  Then, is the knowledge and the friends that give more status, assuming that this is true?  I don’t know.  Is the assumption correct?  I definitely think that traveling to shows could give people more status both within the fan community and outside of the fan community.  I know that there are fans who get a lot of attention from other fans because they have traveled and seen a bunch of shows.  Obviously, the travelers are believed to be people who know more and who could have greater connections to the band.  Is this always the case?  I’m sure that it is not.  Yet, I’m sure that it does happen as well.  Outside of the fan community, I, personally, have seen people’s reactions to me when it comes to this question.  People are, at first, shocked when I tell them how many shows I have been to and that I have traveled to shows.  The next statement out of their mouths usually is, “You must be a HUGE fan!”  I’m never quite sure how to respond to that, which I guess leads me back to the question at hand.  Is this assumption about traveling done?  Yes, I believe that it is by both other fans and by non-fans.  Is it right?  No way.  Of course, there might be other ways that fans can be seen as “big” or “better” fans as well.

I believe that fans get placed in this bigger/better category all the time for a variety of reasons.  Maybe they do because of traveling.  Perhaps, it is because they always VIP.  Some fans might seem bigger/better because they have a large collection of something or because they can name every b-side.  Obviously, most of those means are ones that cost money.  Is that a problem?  Do you need a lot of money in order to be considered a big fan?  Of course, I also wonder if you could be TOO big of a fan.  Is traveling some cool but going to all shows too much?  Is going VIP once or twice per tour good but doing it every time appear greedy?  Could you have too many t-shirts or spend too much time online talking to other fans?  Could you have met them too many times?  Is there really a delicate balance between being a big fan and being too much of one?  Again, the same questions apply.  Who is judging?  What are the standards and is it a good thing?

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks like this.  Maybe everyone else in Duranland believes that all fans are considered equal.  I don’t know. If people agree that it does exist, should be changed or is there some value to this?  If not, is there someway to improve this, if it exists?  How?  So many questions…so little answers.

-A

Why Do Tours Matter?

Tours matter.  I’m sure you are thinking that I have lost my mind a bit with that opening sentence.  Doesn’t everyone know that tours matter?  After all, it is a means of any musical artist to advertise their music (albums) as well to earn money to make new music.  I’m sure it also provides feedback to them as well.  They learn which songs really touch their fans and which ones aren’t as popular.  I’m sure that they are energized by the love and support that is shown to them, assuming they receive a decent and excited crowd.  But, why do tours matter to FANS?  Typically, for Duran Duran fans, we don’t need to be sold on their music.  Many (most?) of us have heard all of Duran Duran’s officially released material and many own copies or multiple copies of all of it.  Some fans have even heard music that hasn’t been released.  While many of us are happy to help the cause in terms of making money to be able to make more music, I doubt that is why tours matter to us. 

I started thinking about this during my long afternoon at work.  Today seemed relatively calm compared to yesterday when I received many messages and phone calls regarding Simon’s statement on the radio about the band doing 14 shows in the UK during the month of May.  Yesterday, I did not get nearly enough work done so I should have been using today’s calmness (the calm before the storm???) to catch up on work.  Instead, I pondered why so many of us are anxious to see the tour dates that are supposedly being announced on dd.com next week.  Why do we get all excited for this announcement?  Why were so many of us refreshing dd.com’s website earlier in the week to see the instant that Duran’s participation in the Coachella Festival was announced?  I suppose the fast answer to the question is that it depends on the fan.

Some fans might be solely focused on the musical element of a tour.  Perhaps, some fans haven’t seen them play live before and are hoping that this is their chance.  Again, the question could be asked of why seeing them perform live is a big deal if people have heard and own the music.  The answer here could be as simple as the fact that music performed live is pure and could be felt more by one’s soul.  It certainly can sound better than any cd, vinyl record or mp3.  A Duran Duran concert is more than just music but a performance.  Not only do you get to hear them sing and play instruments but you get to witness them interact with each other (yes, I’m thinking about JoSi here!) and with the audience.  The music and songs become personalized through the introductions, through the performance and even through visuals that might be included.  Thus, for some people, touring means seeing a damn good band play live in concert.  Other people might be thinking about other elements of touring as well.

For some fans (including the authors of this blog), touring is much bigger than the shows.  First, for us, it often means that we get to travel.  Sometimes, these travels are within driving distance but it is common for them to require an airplane to get there.  (Please note:  We are very aware of how LUCKY we are to be to be able to do this!)  This provides an escape for the daily grind of work and family.  It is a vacation of sorts as many responsibilities are left at home, including cleaning the house, preparing for meals, etc.  Personally, I know that I appreciate the fact that touring away from home has given me a chance to visit many places that I wouldn’t have before.  I appreciate being able to see other places and while I can definitely do that without shows, going on tour pushes me to go right then!  Second, and perhaps, most importantly, touring gives us a chance to get together and be with other Duranies.  Rhonda and I don’t live close and while we have visited each other in between tours, somehow it is always better with Duran shows involved.  Beyond getting to spend time with each other, we get to see other Duranie friends we have made and make new ones.  There is truly something special when Duranies are able to get together and share our excitement over the band together.  It enhances our fandom, I believe.  It makes our love for the band stronger and certainly makes it way more FUN! 

Beyond the reasons listed above, I’m sure that, for some fans, it is also an opportunity to get close to the band.  Perhaps, some people look forward to shows because it gives them a chance to win a meet and greet where they will be able to tell the band members about how much they have meant to them.  They, then, might be able to get a picture or autograph.  Maybe fans are looking to see the band outside of the venue or at their hotel for the same purpose.  Perhaps, it the chance to fulfill a dream of meeting the band.  For some people, they might hope for more than an autograph or picture.  They might desire a conversation or more as their dream might be more than brief contact.

It is definitely possible to be excited for the tour for a combination of those reasons.  For me, it is the ultimate part of being a Duranie.  While it is wonderful to hear new music and I always appreciate the work that goes into making new songs, there is nothing like a tour.  It is the chance to sing along with my favorite band as they sing my favorite songs surrounded by friends who understand my love for the band in places far away from home.  It gives me a vacation with the most fun possible!  Why do tours matter to you?

-A

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Won’t Be At Coachella this year (and conversely, the top 10 reasons why every Duranie SHOULD be there!!)

This has been a heavy week on the blog, so I decided to lighten things up a bit for today.  It’s good to laugh sometimes, right? I’ve had a few Duranies ask if I’m going to Coachella, and after I finish laughing and catch my breath, I calmly tell them no.  They always ask why….and so I’ve compiled a list for your reading pleasure.  However, I also am a firm believer that this is a fantastic opportunity for the band (again, see how my glass is half empty, but there’s still vodka left in there – and even an olive or two – which in my mind is very positive!), so in a style not completely unlike Mr. Nick Rhodes – I will give my reasons a good spin!

*********************disclaimer alert**************************
Before beginning, this is a reminder that the list is made in jest!  It’s meant to be fun, it’s really not meant to talk anyone out of going (except maybe to remind me, the author, of what would be waiting for me if I should get tempted.  *wink, wink*)…it’s all in fun, which we so desperately need from time to time.  Go ahead and chuckle, no one will take your Duranie card away, I promise!
****************************************************
My List:
10.  IT’S A FESTIVAL!!  This means shortened set lists.  I’m a big believer in a full set list, especially when we’re talking about Duran Duran.

9.  THE LINE-UP!!  I’m not going to lie here.  There are a ton of bands in this lineup that I don’t know, and quite honestly – don’t care a thing about.  Yeah, tell me all about how I should broaden my horizons, and I’d agree – but I’d sooner start doing it in the comfort of my own home.

8. PORT-A-POTTIES!!  I don’t think you’ve really lived until you’ve had to wait over an hour to be able to utilize a port-a-potty, and yes – they really are everything (and more) that you’ve worked them up to be in your mind.  The trouble here is that I’ve already been there, done that….AND I’ve waited up to 9 hours before finding a facility just so that I didn’t lose my place in the crowd of hell waiting for the band to play. (see #3 below….)

7. LACK OF FOOD!!  Seriously, do you think you’re going to leave the crowd waiting for the band to perform in order to grab some grub??  Think again….unless you do what I did for Inland Invasion back in 2003 and sit in the very back, which is not a very Duranie place to be when the band is onstage!

6. THE SUN!!!  This festival is out just past Palm Springs, people.  It’s nothing for temps to be over 90 degrees (F) during that time of year, and it happens regularly.  If you don’t think you’re going to be dying for shade for at least part of the day, I’ve got real news for you.  Yeah, you may have been lucky one year, or for even a FEW years….eventually luck runs out and then what?  SPF 50 won’t save your soul here…

5. TOUR TIME IS COMING!!  This is where I’m placing my bets this year.  I’ve heard all sorts of things about how the band can’t/won’t play an LA date due to this Coachella festival.  I have no idea if any of it is true, but MY cards are on the UK this year.  Anything else for me is a bonus…especially if it’s not a festival!

4. TWO WORDS: MOSH PIT!!  I went to Voodoo in New Orleans when Duran Duran played there.  My cohorts and I thought we were so smart.  We didn’t pay for those silly old VIP tickets, we just got there early, spread out a nice blankie to hang out on and wait the day out in.  All was good until the band before My Chemical Romance came on.  Then suddenly we were inundated with people….and even better, when My Chemical Romance *did* come on, the pushing, shoving and crowd surfing started.  All of my GA stance skills were put to the test that day, and I’m sorry to say they sorely failed me.  I was kicked, punched, shoved and scratched.  All in the name of a mosh pit and crowd surfing.  Hey, I’m alive to tell all about it though, there is that.  🙂

Here’s some photographic evidence of the joy that was the beginning of our day (I’m not actually in this photo -which means I’m likely to upset a few people by posting this…including my writing partner, Amanda…that’s OK.  I’ll take the risk):

3. THE CROWD!!!  For somethings, only pictures will suffice.  This was shortly before My Chemical Romance started if I remember correctly:

2. SWEAT!!!  Call me a purist, but I just don’t think that the sweat from someone else’s armpit should EVER be smooshed across another persons face unless he or she specifically requested said smooshing.  (smooshed and smooshing are in fact words, mainly because I said so, thank you.)  Yet another joy of festivals that I have lived through and am now able to joyfully share with my reading audience.  Oh, and in case there’s some question here – no, I did not request the smooshing, and no, I did not know the person who did it.  However,  I did introduce myself to them afterwards, just because I felt that if we were going to start sharing bodily fluids freely – it was high time to do so.  😀

1. ANOTHER TWO WORDS: HAMSTER BALL!!!  Until the day arrives that Simon puts himself into a hamster ball like the one I have pictured here and starts walking over the audience – I’m not bothering with another festival.  When he gets the ball going, let me know – I want to be there to take pictures of that nonsense!

And now, in true Nick Rhodes fashion – I will turn all of my “my glass of vodka is half empty” into reasons why Coachella is *the* place to be for the band!!  (If you’re wondering why I keep referring to Nick – it’s because he is truly the King of PR Spin for this band.  Need evidence?  Watch every video and interview leading up to the release of Red Carpet Massacre.)  I aspire to spin as well as Nick.  If the band doesn’t work out, I’m thinking PR would be a good back up plan….

I digress….

Top 10 Reasons why every Duran fan SHOULD be at Coachella!!

10.  ITS A FESTIVAL!!  It’s a really big concert over three days.  If that’s not a party….what really is?!?

9. THERE ARE A LOT OF BANDS THERE TO DISCOVER!!!  While we all know Duran Duran is *the* band on the bill, there are a lot of other bands to listen to, learn about and listen to when they’re in the studio for 5 years working on the next album!

8. PORT-A-POTTIES!!!  Who needs bathrooms – you need something quick, and there will be tons of those port-a-potties available.  Grab yourself a Depend and be on your way, man!   Besides that, who needs to take time out for that sort of thing and lose your place in the masses??  Start limiting that fluid intake now…..

7. FOOD?  WHO NEEDS FOOD??!!  As Amanda and I well know, food isn’t necessary.  It’s all about the music!!

6. IT’S A DRY HEAT!!!  No really, it is.  You won’t even notice that it’s 90 degrees outside when you’re amongst 80,000 of your new best friends anyway.

5. THE TOUR IS COMING – IT’S THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER FOR THE BAND!!  Nothing marks the beginning of summer like a festival, and this one marks the beginning of the tour!  What a great way to “warm up” for fans than to play in front of a huge, welcoming crowd at Coachella, that way they’ll be ready to go when they start playing regular concert dates!

4. TWO WORDS: MOSH PIT!!!  How many of you have actually seen a mosh pit at Duran Duran show?  Here’s your chance!!  😀

3. CROWD!!  There’s nothing that will energize the band more than looking out and seeing 80,000 people screaming for them.  What a great place to share that energy!  The band needs that after being in the studio for so long!

2. SWEAT!!  What is sexier than sharing sweat amongst new friends – and what could possibly be more entertaining for the band than looking out and seeing that sort of craziness going on?  It’s like a massive sweat orgy…

*trying to cast aside THAT visual….*

1. THE POSSIBILITY OF SEEING SIMON IN A HAMSTER BALL!!!

Ok really.  Who doesn’t want to see that?  I don’t believe you.   😉

See, all in fun!?!  If you didn’t at least crack a smile don’t blame me.  Go get yourself a sense of humor.  Have a good weekend everyone – I hear tour dates are imminent so next week is liable to be a barrage of “What?!?  Why are they playing __________ and not ____________”  (there might even be cursing involved….)

-R

Patience is a Virtue and other lessons of the day….

Last night, I was watching V with my family, and since it started to completely gross me out and disgust me (stay with me….), I grabbed my laptop and figured I could get some work done.  Ha.  I should have known better, really.  I hopped onto twitter only to find Mr. John Taylor spouting some sort of nonsense about sticking around for the “Official” Coachella announcement (because that clearly wasn’t obvious enough for me to understand that while John had also told us all – liar liar pants on fire – it was very “unlikely” for them to play Coachella, they really WERE playing!)  I’ve got your number now, mister….  It really was *unlikely* for them to ever play Coachella, but it was also really *unlikely* that they’d ever reunite with Andy again…and they did.  *sigh*   I really need to learn how to translate Duranspeak better than I currently do.  🙂  It wasn’t long after I tweeted back that yeah, he also had to stick around so that I and 3000 other buddies of his could give him a rough time playing Coachella after telling us that it was unlikely that he said Night Tweeties.  (oh John, you’re a funny one, aren’t ya?)  I won’t go into the number of times I refreshed dd.com until it was FINALLY announced that yes, Duran Duran is playing Coachella on April 17th…nor will I go into the myriad of reasons why I am not going.  No really, I’m not going.  Festivals and I are not friends.  Regardless, I do think it’s a fantastic opportunity for them, and while I do have some serious reservations – I will keep those to myself until after the rest of the tour is announced.  John says those dates are coming next week….we will see.

While bantering to John, I my mind wandered to a written “conversation” I’d had earlier in the day with Amanda.  I’m currently working on a chapter for the book about Facebook and Twitter, and I’m brainstorming the topics that I would like to cover.  I have quite a list going, but one thing we wrote back and forth about was that because of the fact there are so many of us who have been fans since our early teens or even earlier, many of us feel as though we know them.  I would argue that yes, we do know them – we know exactly what they wish for us to know about them.  The trouble is, and I think this is a common side-effect for any long term fan, we tend to feel as though there’s a relationship between the band and ourselves, and of course – as we know once we stop long enough to think about it – it’s truly just one sided.  As I’ve mentioned before, the band doesn’t have the foggiest idea who I am.  (probably a good thing)  I will say that I’ve been to a few shows in my day, and I’ve had the opportunity to be near the front enough to gain their attention. (I’ve been taught how to clap properly to Red Carpet Massacre by John, I’ve also sang with him a time or two…I’ve had Roger attempt to throw a stick to me, and I’ve laughed right along with Dom).  That said, they don’t really know me.  I can’t imagine any of them would recognize me, and I know they don’t know my name.  I might think that I know them, but the truth is – if they saw me on the street they’d walk right past me – and rightfully so.  What really adds to the confusion of where the line between fan and friend really lies is the premise of social networking.  Sites such as Facebook and Twitter initially began as ways to maintain friendship.  You add “friends” to your facebook account, and you follow people on twitter.  At one point, celebrities didn’t really utilize either facebook OR twitter – it was about friends.  So now, we’ve got Duran Duran on facebook; John and Roger are on facebook, as is Dom….and we’ve got Dom, John & Simon on Twitter.  Even I have a hard time remembering that these guys don’t KNOW me.  I’m bantering AT them as though I’m giving a friend a hard time. (as opposed to WITH them, because, let me be honest here – they’ve never retweeted something I’ve said or even acknowledged me at all)  I would never openly tell the guys they should stop coming to facebook or twitter, absolutely not – but I do need to remind myself from time to time that I’m just a fan.  I’m one of…well…a LOT of people out there.  I suppose this topic does tie in a bit with the validation topic from yesterday, but it’s an interesting facet of what social networking sites have done to change or evolve the definitions of celebrity and fan.

Which brings me to patience, of which I have very, very little.  Not sure if any of you caught that yet. Twitter is great in that we get almost instant gratification since it takes place in “real time” – but that 140 character limit thing can be a problem.  Then there’s facebook, which is much more an “at your leisure” sort of thing.  Messages can sit in my inbox for as long as I wish, I can reply at length, and the pace is less frantic.  In the past week, Amanda and I have expanded our horizons to include a new facebook page for Daily Duranie, and quite honestly I’m amazed at the differences in the fans so far.  There are people we’ve befriended that are active both on facebook and twitter, and then there are people who seem to stay mainly on twitter and mainly on facebook. What’s really fascinating to the two of us, being the social science observers we are – is that the types of fans we find in either place truly differ quite a bit!  It is a bit early for to draw conclusions on what I’ve seen so far, but it’s fascinating that the mechanics behind each of the social networking sites attract different types of fans altogether. I suppose it makes sense, but very interesting, nonetheless.  Are you a patient fan, or more like me where you want it all yesterday?  🙂

-R

Validation

As I’ve mentioned in many, many blogs now – I’ve been a fan since 1981.  Probably not unlike many of you out there.  It all began with one song played on a local radio station (KROQ), and I’ve honestly loved them ever since.  It’s not as though Duran Duran have been the only band I’ve ever loved or enjoyed, but for me they’re the one band I will literally move mountains to figure out a way to go and see when they tour.  I just don’t have the time or energy to do that for every other band I like, and I’ve learned that I have to prioritize, as much as I might not like it.  I don’t follow other bands as closely as I do Duran Duran, and rest assured in case you were wondering, no, I don’t blog for any of them either!

I think part of my long term love is that at the time I became aware of who Duran Duran was, I was an adolescent…I was almost 12 at the time, and so I suppose you could say that Duran Duran took me through puberty.  (wow)  It would be fair to say that they were the first real “crushes” I had, and yes, I must use the plural on that because the truth is, I had crushes on each one of them over the years.  Some crushes lasted far longer than others (Roger by a landslide), and some were just fleeting (let’s just say I had a thing for Simon while he was in Arcadia), but at this point I’ve settled into being fond of all of them.  To have been a fan for as long as a lot of us have been at this point, I think it’s fair to say that they’ve been a big part of our lives for a long time – and that’s really something when you consider that most of us have had very little chance to ever really get to know them past their music.  I don’t know any of them on a personal level (and I’m not saying that I should…read on.), but yet I feel like the band is a close friend in some sense.  It’s an odd sort of “relationship”, for lack of a better word.  I’m as thrilled as anyone else when I see any of them take the time to truly talk to the fans.  We’ve come quite a long way since the days of staring into the posters on our walls, getting no real reply beyond the melody of their music, haven’t we?  Or have we?

By any account, 30 years is a long time.  My kids think it’s practically eternity.  I can understand that – when I was a teenager, I thought that 25 was old! (wow was I ever wrong!)  I feel incredibly lucky to still have the time, energy and concern to follow the same band that I did back when I was the same age as my son is now – and what’s really funny is that I look at him and realize that my gosh, when I was his age, I was already completely head over heels for Duran Duran.  They’d already served as the wallpaper for my bedroom! That’s unreal.  My oldest is about to turn 14, and at her age I was just about to suffer the heartbreak of watching Roger and Andy leave the band.  At that point, I don’t think I ever even considered what it meant to feel validated.  I just knew I loved the music, and their job was to make the music, and mine was to buy it along with everything else I could…to show the world I loved them.  At that age, I highly doubt I even gave it much thought, really.  It was a simple system.  I hadn’t ever met the band, I hadn’t ever gone to a show; in fact the closest I’d ever come at that point in time was getting their video album on VHS.  (a glorious moment indeed)  I think that during that time, my validation came from other friends – my friends still loved Duran Duran, and I knew I was a good fan because I had far more posters on my wall, records in my collection, etc. etc. than they did.  😀  Ah, the joys of being young.

So in todays world, what does validation really mean, and what importance does it really have?

For some fans, I think that validation isn’t any more or less than a great album or a fantastic concert.  For others, they want to make their fandom into a career of sorts in order to validate the time and energy they’ve spent.  (who me?!?)   For still others, they want that interaction, that acknowledgement from the band.  They want to know that they haven’t been a fan for X amount of years in VAIN.  They not only believe that the band should take the time to acknowledge their fans, but they also believe that they deserve that interaction.  They’ve waited many years between daydreaming lovingly into Simon’s eyes as they stare at the poster on their walls to actually reading tweets from him on Twitter – and they want their moment.  For the coveted few, they might get answered; but for the majority – it’s you and the poster, baby.

Sometimes I wonder what it all looks like from the bands point of view.  Several years back when I was working for Clear Static, the guys would tell me that Duran Duran’s fans were VERY overwhelming to them.  One of them used to tell me that when the fans would come at him after a show (which we did tend to do),  he would feel as though he couldn’t breathe, and not because he was claustrophobic, but because the feeling of desperation would suck all of the air and energy out of the room.  These statements were very hard for me to take in, purely because I was and am a Duranie, but I understand what they meant.  One of them told me that he pictured the situation like a huge cage fight where a box of jewelry (listen, my thing is jewelry, but this could be anything…food, money, John Taylor….whatever!) was dumped into the center of the cage and the Duranies would be fighting to get to the jewelry before it was all gone.  I took offense to this characterization to begin with, but now…I totally get it.  I can’t really argue it isn’t that way.  When you see the way it is after a show at a bar if the band has been spotted there, or if you watch twitter when John or Simon make an appearance and send out tweets, it’s our reality.

One could argue that fandoms exist at least partially because of the desperate need to feel validated.  Of course, this feeling differs in each individual, and there is a fine line between a fan who would just like a simple wave hello, and a fan that relies on constant validation as a source of self-esteem.  It’s the same fine, yet sometimes blurred line that divides fan from fanatic.

-R

So What’s This All About Anyway?

There are days, and then there are days.  After a night where I believe I got less than 3 solid hours of sleep, NOT BY CHOICE…sometimes you just have to take stock in what you’ve got going on, and be good with it.  This, my friends, is one of those days for me.   I’m sick with some strain of influenza that has decided not to let go of me just yet – courtesy of my youngest.  I’ve been sick for a week now, last week being just a bad sore throat and exhaustion and now today the congestion has hit.  It’s a wonderful day to be a blogger, and a Duranie…and a parent…but that’s another subject for another blog.

I believe we’ve been at this blog now for a bit less than 110 days – I can’t remember the exact figure in this moment.  The plan was simple: write a short article every day about being fans of Duran Duran.  It could be a commentary on the news from the fan perspective (as opposed to being unbiased reporting), it could be about a specific fandom issue, or something else entirely. So far, so good.  People are reading and hopefully enjoying the blog, which was the plan!

What made us decide to do the blog, though?  I don’t think either Amanda nor myself ever had big plans to be bloggers in our everyday lives!  I never gave it any thought prior to this past year, although I do enjoy writing.  Amanda truly shouldn’t even have time for blogging at all – but somehow, she finds the time each week!  I suppose though that the idea behind the blog was a seed that was planted several years back.   I am pretty sure I’ve explained that Amanda and I originally met at a fan convention in 2004, and since then we’ve traveled to shows together, posted on message boards, and basically assaulted the community with our opinions, which we now share here for your reading pleasure.  🙂  During that time, Amanda and I talked about writing a book based on our fan experience.  I think that for me, a lot of that was just in joke form – we’d see something while on “tour”, and say to one another “That has GOT to go in our book!”  Then as time wore on, the idea grew more serious in nature.  It wasn’t so much that she and I felt we had a story that was any more significant than any other fan, it was that we shared a desire to tell a story of our fan community.  In our eyes, the Duran Duran fan community, the fandom as we call it, is very special and unique, and deserves a book!  With that thought in mind, we brainstormed about topics that would be interesting to include.  I believe that to begin with, our idea was never to do a gossipy, syrupy tell-all about either the band or the fan community;  we wanted to write a book that could both be interesting and even amusing to our fan community as well as a book that could be taken seriously in an academic setting.  Much discussion and brainstorming ensued.

Our project eventually solidified itself, and we began writing in earnest.  At this point, I would say at best guess that we are closing in on being 2/3 of the way through with the initial writing.    The best way to describe our book is that it’s an examination of fandom using Duran Duran’s fan community as the case study.  We examine why fandom exists, how it continues to thrive 30 years after the release of Planet Earth, and in answering both of those questions, we also celebrate the overall “friendship” of the community.  We try not to gush too much in the book, although I think it’s very clear through our writing that we both respect and admire the band in our own way.  (they’re not too bad I guess.  :D)

Our overall goal is that this book be written both from an entertaining and academic point of view, which has been no easy feat thus far.  It is important to both of us that we remain true to our collective background in social science, (my dad would be so proud to see that I’m finally using all of the writing skills I gained in college with my American Studies degree :D) not only discussing the characteristics of fandom, but examining the “why” behind each one.  We continue to write away, hoping to finish the book at some point later this year.

This blog, while not really designed to be a true extension of the book, has allowed for several discussions to spur our creative juices, and we’ve found out a bit more about our fandom at times.  The blog has taught me some much needed discipline, tact (ha!), and it gives me plenty of writing practice in finding my own voice, and I’m positive it will continue to do more as the years…yes years…go on.  I hope the band is planning on continuing for a while….  We’ll be sure to keep our readers updated as the process for the book, blog and world domination continues.  (wink, wink)

This past weekend, we continued on with our idea of becoming professional Duranies (hey, who said you couldn’t make a hobby, er…obsession…into a career?!?)  by adding a facebook page to our efforts.  Obviously we’re not busy enough with writing the book, doing a daily blog,  and keeping up with John and Simon showing up on Twitter, now we’re doing a facebook page as well!  In any case, we hope you’ll find us on facebook and befriend us!  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001986818033

In the meantime, I will leave you with one final thought that I know Amanda and I both plan to write more about in the coming days.  Why is it that we fans feel the band owes us?  Why do we think they owe us interaction on facebook & twitter?  Why do we feel they owe us answers to our never ending questions, both personal and professional?  Why do we act out of such complete desperation whenever the band is within “striking” distance….and why do we continue to do that even though the band has been around now for 30 years?  Other fandoms aren’t quite like this, so why is this one?  I look forward to reading some comments here on and on facebook about this!!  -R

Chats with Band Members

Twitter and facebook have been incredibly crazy places to be lately!  As Rhonda mentioned in a post a few days ago, these sites, particularly twitter, have begun to feel like the old days of message boards where there are a ton of people on, day and night, and that it is VERY challenging to keep up.  In fact, the only way to really do that is to stay signed in at all times.  Why is this?  Well, first, everyone has discovered that everyone else is there.  It is the place to be.  Like the message boards, it is the place to exchange ideas about the band and meet people.  Second, and more interestingly, it is the place where the band members have been interacting with us fans.  It seems that John has been holding a daily chat session with fans where they ask questions and he answers as many as he can.  During those sessions, the fans are not only trying to get their questions answered but also chatting with others about what he said or about the questions asked.  After he leaves, there continues to be some flurry of activity as people react to what they saw/read, publicly, and some behind-the-scenes commenting as well.  A couple of days ago, Rhonda tweeted something about how this was just like being at a bar or club after a show.  Now, I’m not sure how many of our readers have experienced being at a bar or club after a show with a bunch of Duranies and a band member or two but it is quite something and, in many ways, the social interactions are playing out in the same way here in cyberspace as they do in real life.

On the surface level, fans have expressed their joy and excitement over being able to chat with John or Simon.  They get to share this excitement with others who feel the same way.  For some people, this thrill is shared among friends and for others, it is a way of getting to know and becoming friends with other fans.  On this level, everything seems very positive.  No one is being negative about the questions asked (at least not among our followers and the people who follow us) and everyone seems genuinely happy for the people who get their questions answered.  Yet, I worry that this positivity won’t stay or that there is more going on underneath the surface.  For example, are Duranies talking about other Duranies behind the backs, based on their reactions, their questions, or their level of excitement?  I suspect that there are.  Are people paying attention to whose questions are getting answered and whose aren’t?  I bet they are and I bet that some people might be feeling REALLY good about themselves if John has answered multiple questions from them.  They might even be feeling a bit superior because of it.  (Note:  I don’t know this, for sure, but I just saying that it might be a possibility.)  Then, there is the actual interaction between the fans and the band members.

In real life, I find being in the same location as the band and the fans to be fascinating.  At times, I have felt like everyone has been really respectful of each other and the band members.  At other times, I have felt this sort of dog-eat-dog mentality where some fans just push other fans out of the way in order to get more time with the guys.  I have seen people give Nick or Roger or whomever their space and I have seen other times when they did not appear to have much, if any.  Do I know if this bothers them?  Nope.  I don’t.  I am just saying that I have observed a spectrum of behavior.  I am wondering if I am not seeing similar types of behavior taking place online.  Are some fans trying to get as much time as possible with the guys?  Sure.  Am I blaming them?  Not really.  I understand that desire because I have it, too.  Do I think they are trying to push other fans out of their way?  I don’t really know.  It is possible, I guess.  Even if they are, is it malicious?  Maybe, for some, but, I doubt it.  Nonetheless, I am concerned.

I, like every Duran fan who has been witnessing or participating in these little chats via twitter, want them to continue.  I LOVE being able to ask John or Simon questions and have them respond.  I LOVE that they seem to care about what we think and want to interact with us.  That said, I want to keep it positive, for all of us fans and for the band.  I don’t want this to turn into a means of gaining status within the community.  I also want us fans to always be respectful and considerate of each other and of them.  We need to remember to share and to give space.  Then, I think it can remain as fun and as exciting as it has been so far!  If not, I fear that they won’t last.  Some fans will stop logging in and participating and maybe the band will stop as well.  If so, that would hurt all of us. 

-A