Planning Ahead

For the last couple of days, I have noticed that Duran Duran’s Facebook and Twitter have been posting a countdown to Friday, the next show.  (For those not in the know, Duran Duran is playing at the Altitude Festival in Klosters, Switzerland.)  This begins a little run through that area of Europe, including Austria, Germany, Belgium and even Slovakia.  I’m obviously thrilled for those fans who will get to see these shows!!  That said, I’m also hearing some comments about other Europeans shows, many of which haven’t been rescheduled since last summer.  People are starting to assume that they won’t get shows in their neck of the woods.  Obviously, I don’t know their schedule but I sure would like to!

If I knew their schedule for the upcoming year, I could provide information or, at least, reassurances to those fans who are waiting for news of a show in their country or city.  I, obviously, understand why don’t give us this information in advance.  Plans can change and I’m sure that people would be upset if they found out, for example, that they were trying to get a gig in country X only to have it fall through.  I’m sure they also like building up fans anticipation.  Maybe the idea here is that it increases excitement, which positively impacts ticket sales?  I don’t know.  That said, not knowing a general plan makes it tough for us fans.  Heck, even knowing a general plan is tough!

I’m, personally, struggling in trying to figure out my game plan for 2012.  I would like to have a general idea of when and where I will be going, if anyplace.  I also like to know what I’m saving for and how much money I’m going to need.  I’m sure that I’m not the only fan out there that can’t just do whatever I want, tour wise, at the drop of a hat.  For me, it takes saving money.  Now, I’m a pretty decent saver and refuse to go into debt for anything beyond those big ticket items (moving, car, education).  I use my credit cards and I pay them off immediately.  I do well with my monthly budget as well.  An example of this skills is buying Christmas presents.  I have money for presents because I save up all year long.  I do the same for touring.  There is never a month that goes by when I don’t put money aside for going on tour.  Tours are my vacation and I save for them like other people do their vacations to wherever.  In fact, I justify going on tour because it IS my vacation and because I save for it.  I never have and never will go into debt for Duran, which brings me to the present.  So far, in 2012, I know of rumors of Duran touring the States again.  I also know that I’m planning on going to the UK Convention in November.  Beyond that, I am seriously considering moving because I cannot stand the manager of my apartment complex.  While I might be thinking of only moving from one apartment to another, it will still cost money.  I will have to pay for the security deposit and for movers.  I’m sure that there are other large expenses waiting to happen, too.

Thus, I would really LOVE to know what the plan is for Duran for this year like many of you do!  I would like to know if they really are coming back here.  I know that they won’t be back until April, at the earliest, based on the dates already scheduled.  If they come in May, for example, I should probably save more money now than I usually do in order to tour.  If they aren’t coming back until August, for example, I have a longer time to save tour money, which makes for less money per month in that area of savings.  Then, of course, I have to factor in some cash for the UK trip.  At least, I know when it is and about how much money I will need.  I can plan, accordingly.  Now, if Duran isn’t touring here, then, perhaps, I should channel that money that I would be saving towards a trip.  It is hard to imagine, for instance, not seeing Rhonda until November! 

Thus, while I understand Duran’s need for limited public information regarding their plans, I know that it would make my life easier and I’m sure it would make lots of other people’s lives easier, too.  Some people might be like me and want to know what the general agenda is for financial purposes.  For others, they need the information to ease their emotions or their concerns about them coming or not coming.  While it might be unrealistic to give specifics, a general outline can’t hurt, can it?  This general outline can go from April on, too.  Thus, it might say, “Tour Place X from mid-April to blah, Tour Place Z from whenever to whenever, etc. just to give us an idea.  It would help us out a lot and give us peace of mind.

-A

The Perfect Meet and Greet

This week my students were given an assignment to write a paper on their perfect winter break.  We asked the students to give many, many details to really bring their experience to life!  This combined with today’s “Would You Rather” question has led me to this blog topic.  (By the way, the question was, “Would you rather win a meet and greet or go to a cd signing?”) 

A commonly heard compliant in Duranland is about the poor meet and greets.  I’m ignoring the topic of having meet and greets, period.  Now, I personally have not had a meet and greet, despite buying VIP tickets a number of times.  Yet, over the course of being a part of this fandom, I have heard many people’s stories of theirs.  While excitement seems to be part of most, if not all, there always seems to be something that wasn’t quite right.  Some examples I have heard include that not every member was there, one or more band members wasn’t smiling or chatting, individual pictures weren’t allowed, group pictures weren’t allowed, and more.  Almost all of the experiences I have heard mentioned something about how quick it was, often being done within a few minutes.  It seems that many people feel like they didn’t have the time for a real interaction.  In fact, in response to today’s question, a number of people used the phrase “cattle call”, indicating that the fans were just in some line, treated less than stellar.

Before I criticize the members of the band or their management for setting up what sounds like less-than-great experiences, I do want to acknowledge the strangeness of them to begin with.  First, I believe that most of them take place before a show.  This can’t be a time when the band has a lot of free time and aren’t preoccupied.  They have to get ready, which includes dress, hair, etc.  It also includes physically warming up and emotionally getting ready to face the crowd and whatever else is taking place at that show.  I know that I wouldn’t be my best before a performance.  Heck, I’m not super friendly before leading a big meeting at work, no matter how usual they are or how many I have done.  Second, I can’t imagine that meet and greets feel all that natural to them (or to us!).  They are forced to go and be friendly with strangers.  There, they are expected to sign autographs, take pictures and talk to people they have never met before or don’t know well.  Yes, I already know what you all are saying in your heads.  Didn’t they sign up to do this when they became rock stars/celebrities?  Maybe so.  That said, one really doesn’t know all of the little details of a job before you actually experience it, do you?  The usual focus of being a rock star is to make music and perform on stage.  Everything else is just to maintain that, right? 

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, I do think that if they are going to do them, they should do them well.  Clearly, there are fans who want them so the band and their management should want to make sure fans are pleased with their experiences!  So, what would it take to make the perfect meet and greet?  Let’s break it down.  The setting should not be in a hallway!  That must feel so, so cold to all involved!  How about having them in a lovely room?  Obviously not all venues have great, warm, welcoming rooms, but there has to be a better place than a hallway.  An empty dressing room, perhaps?  A warm-up room?  Then, all band members should be there, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Perhaps, they need to take place AFTER the show, then.  It seems to me that John is a bit tense before a show, for example.  Wouldn’t it help him to meet fans after the show, then?  If this is going to be my perfect meet and greet, I honestly wouldn’t want a ton of other people there.  I would want to feel special and not like one of many.  Yes, I realize that this makes it more challenging to find spaces for fans to wait.  What about having a space for fans to hang out, mingle, enjoy some food and drinks while they wait?  Then two or three people at a time could go and meet the band?  The fans could go to the band.  Then, obviously, I would want the meet and greet to be long enough to be quality.  I would want a chance to exchange more than a few words with them.  I would want a chance to have a normal conversation with them.  Then, the autographs and pictures would feel more natural because then there was, at least, a basic rapport. 

Now, I would love, love, love, love to hear what you all think would make a perfect meet and greet experience.  Maybe some of you have had great ones already.  What was great about them?  What would you keep for future ones?  What would you improve?  Maybe you are like me in that you have never been fortunate it enough to have one.  What would you ideal one include?  What would it be like, assuming that it is still realistic, meaning that it can’t last for hours?  What would your perfect meet and greet be?!

-A

Why Twitter

This is probably the latest blog entry ever.  I apologize for that.  Today has been a crazy day.  As many of you know or have found out, our lovely little Twitter account was hacked overnight.  Thus, much of the day was spent trying to change passwords or respond to people in this regard.  What a mess!!  Anyway, Rhonda and I appreciate people’s patience while we fixed our account.  This blog entry, though, isn’t about our twitter account but about another situation that took place this week on twitter.  This week, on twitter, many tweets were made and exchanged about John Taylor’s twitter.  No, he didn’t say anything political nor did he say anything to a fan.  Instead, until yesterday, he had been off of twitter for about a month.  This absence created quite a discussion!

John’s absence from Twitter led some people/fans to speculate if he would return and also why he was tweeting to begin with.  Some fans thought or felt that John might never return and that his appearance on Twitter was solely to promote his book, the album or the tour.  Others felt that John was likely off of Twitter to write his book or to spend some with his family.  This twitter vacation did coincide with a break for Duran, which could have added to the theory that John was on Twitter just to promote.  Let’s break down this argument some.

As I stated in the first paragraph, we have a Twitter account.  We also have a Facebook account.  Thus, we use social networking.  Why?  Why did we choose to get accounts for the Daily Duranie as opposed to our own personal accounts (we both have them, by the way)?  One very large reason that we got those social networking accounts were to connect to other fans.  We wanted to get to know other fans and make friends, which is probably the reason that many of you got accounts yourself!  That said, we also got accounts for a couple of other reasons.  We are students of fandom.  We are writing a book on fandom and we cannot do that well if we don’t exchange dialogue with other fans or observe other fans.  Goodness knows that no one is going to want to read about just our opinions and our experiences!  Thus, being on Twitter and Facebook will help us understand fandom better,which will positively affect our book and whatever else we do to bring fans together!  The other reason we have those accounts is as means to share what we are doing.  We want to tell people about our blog and our book.  We want people to read what we write.  Is that straight up promotion?  I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how you interpret promotion.  Does it matter that we don’t get paid for this?  Does that make it less like promotion?  I don’t know.  You tell me.  This leads me to think about John’s possible reasons for having a Twitter account.

Why do you think that John joined Twitter?  Were John’s reasons like ours?  I don’t know.  That said, I could analyze the possibilities.  Did John join twitter to get to know fans and to make friends?  I don’t know.  Does it appear that he wants to get to know fans?  I don’t know.  He responds to fans when he goes through those tweet-fests.  Does it appear that he wants to actually make connections?  I wish that I could say yes but he is really just answering questions or making quick comments.  Of course, we, fans, appreciate that he does this as we get to know HIM better.  So do we think that John joined twitter to understand fans?  Obviously, he is not studying fandom (or at least I don’t think he is!) but is it possible that he wants to understand Duranies and what they think?  Does he want the feedback that we provide him?  That seems possible to me as I’m sure that he gets tons and tons of tweets about people’s favorite songs or about what people thought of a show or video.  This leaves the last possibility in that John joined to promote his work.  Does John’s presence on Twitter help sell records or concert tickets?  I think that is possible as many people might start following him because they kinda liked a song or because they were fans back in the day, which leads them to check out the new material.

Now, of course, people expressed concern that John was just on Twitter to promote Duran and/or his book.  I guess I don’t really see this as a big issue and part of this is because I didn’t and don’t really think John is trying to make friends there.  At least, I don’t think he is there to make friends with fans.  This led me to believe that he was just there to get feedback and/or to promote.  While I love the idea that he wants to make us happy by becoming our friend, I don’t see it.  Yes, I don’t think he minds making us happy by answering our questions or commenting here and there.  Who knows…maybe this is his motivation.  It just feels like it is more possible that he was there for feedback or promotion.  Perhaps, making fans happy is a great side effect, a bonus, an extra. 

What difference does it make why John Taylor joined Twitter?  Really?  Does it make fans less excited when they read his tweets or get responses from him?  I don’t think so.  While I understand that people don’t want to feel used, which is what people might feel if they find out or believe that he is only there for promoting, I think it is important to remember that he is the rock star and we are just the fans.  We aren’t ever going to be friends.  Maybe I am excusing him from not being more concerned about us fans.  That’s possible.  At the same token, I want to enjoy him on Twitter whenever it does happen.  If I feel like I’m just being used, I won’t have as much fun watching for tweets.

-A 

Game Day Thursday!!

That’s right, today is another fantastic edition of Game Day!  I’ve got another word search for you puzzle people out there!  This time, you need to complete the puzzle and then give me the theme I used!

In addition, I must send out a hearty “WELCOME BACK TO TWITTER” for a Mr. John Taylor out there.  I daresay that you were very, very missed.  I was actually beginning to get a little concerned for the safety of myself and my fellow Duran fans out there….(remember, we eat our own for breakfast!)

Finally (yes, it’s a short blog today), I wanted to give a follow up to a blog I’d done nearly a year ago now.  In another life, I was in fact a Girl Scout Leader with a couple of other moms in my neighborhood for my eldest’s Girl Scout Troop – she was about 7 at the time. (she’ll be 15 in 11 days…not that I’m counting)  The other moms and I became good friends while we were leading the troop, and we had a standing “tradition” of meeting for coffee while the kids were in school in order to do our planning, and it was something that we all grew to look forward to doing together.  Naturally, once our girls got to about the 4th grade (I’d say the girls were between 9 and 10), their interests changed and no longer wanted to be Girl Scouts, so our time as troop leaders ended. (thankfully)  While we were all glad to be through with the work involved, we missed our coffee mornings.  I still see the moms from time to time, although not nearly as often as I wish – and in March of last year I received the news that the younger daughter of one of our children had an inoperable brain tumor.  She is the same age as my son and had been in his class over the years. One never expects to hear this sort of thing, so yes, it was very shocking.  Our daughters used to play together, and while they’ve grown apart and no longer even go to school together – I just never ever gave something like this happening any kind of thought.

Nile Rodgers also has been battling cancer, and last year he had blogged about losing Bernard Edwards – he’d mentioned something about finding the silver lining in Bernard’s death, and I blogged in turn about it.  You can read that blog here.  Jessie’s battle with her brain tumor made me think about that blog again because for the past 10 months, right after she was diagnosed, Jessie was painting her own silver lining.  She took a devastating diagnosis and turned into something that would quite literally change the world.  She formed a foundation labeled NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) that concerns itself with spreading joy (which happens to be Jessie’s middle name) to children who are diagnosed with cancer.  In addition to that, Jessie wanted to do something special for each of the 50,000 children who are diagnosed each year with cancer.  Basically she came up with the idea to put joy in a jar.  Each week she and her dad would work in the “Joy Factory” (their garage) and stuff special small presents and goodies in jars that she would then take to hospitals and pass out to the kids in the oncology ward.  This was all done while Jessie herself was in radiation and chemotherapy treatment.  Never once did I ever see or hear her complain – even when she lost her hair, her eyesight, her hearing or control over half of her body, and in the last few months when she really lost the ability to smile – you could still see her try to smile as best as she could.  Jessie simply refused to let the cancer beat her spirit.  I have said many times that her parents should be very, very proud.  Jessie taught me more about grace, and wisdom in this past year than I learned in the 40 years prior.

Sadly, last Thursday morning Jessica’s body lost its fight over this horrible disease, and last night her family hosted a celebration service at the church where her dad Erik is a Pastor.  It was the most beautiful celebration of life that I’d ever seen – and what’s more – it’s brought our tiny little neighborhood community together.  Since the day Jessie passed away, people have been tying blue and white ribbons to the trees lining our streets.  Signs have popped up all over with messages ranging from “NEGU” to “We Miss You”, and just last night balloons were   also tied up so that when the family drove from our neighborhood to the church, there were balloons forcing smiles the entire way.  It was a glorious way to remember such an amazing little girl.  It’s amazing what a 12 year old is capable of teaching grown adults.

The reason I bring this up here is because yes, the experience of knowing Jessie has absolutely changed me.  I wasn’t even that close to her family or her mom during the last few years, but I kept in touch with Jessie’s progress, and my heart ached when I learned that she’d passed away because I know just how much Erik and Stacey will miss her.  No parent should ever have to bury a child.  Two songs continue to come to mind as I think about NEGU, JoyJars and Miss Jessica Rees:  [Reach up for the] Sunrise….and All You Need is Now.  If there were ever a lesson in those songs….I get it loud and clear.

For those interested in learning more about Jessie and her causes:

Jessica Joy Rees

NEGU

Jessie’s page on Facebook

Have a great weekend everyone, see you back on Monday!

-R

Why I blog

Last night, I exchanged a couple of emails with my husband.  He is in Las Vegas having a very grueling week at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Excuse me while I play a sad, sad song on violin for him….  Anyway, I shared some family news with him, and mentioned my blog regarding Andy’s new website.  My point to my husband was despite not earning an actual salary for writing, I really enjoy writing and blogging.  I wish that I would have recognized this years back and done more writing directly after college, but at the time I suppose I had more living to do (babies to have, children to raise, a husband to properly train…etc.) before I could spend time writing.  He in turn said that he could understand why I enjoy it so much.  This was a first coming from my “dollars and cents” husband, but it also made me really think about why I love this “job” of mine.  Yesterday afternoon on Facebook I had updated my status to say that if this was as good as my “career” ever gets – I’m good right here.  This is true.

When I was in college, I wrote on a daily basis.  Much of it, if not all of it, was in the form of essays for class.  My major was American Studies, which required a lot of reading, critical thinking, and writing.  You might think I studied about American history – and while that would partially be true, most of my work was centered around our culture, and what makes the American people tick.  Here’s the truth: I decided on that major purely because it was so easy for me!  The writing seemed to come easy, and where my classmates would do two and three drafts before writing a final copy – I’d do ONE draft: the final copy, and turn it in for good grade. It never occurred to me to become a writer – I just knew I had to get a real job after college, so I did, and then I became a mom.  It wasn’t until I met Amanda and started joking about writing a book (never again will I joke about such things) that I started thinking that maybe I really could write again.

My style here is very, very casual.  That’s done on purpose, and it’s ALWAYS a first-draft/final copy thing.  I don’t have time for anything else, and I want the blog to seem as though I’m chatting with you as opposed to trying to teach you something or trying to sound smarter than I really am.  Hell, most of the time the readers – you guys – are teaching ME.  I’m as “real” in...real life as I am here, and yes, I’m every bit as opinionated!  I know that there are times that you don’t agree with what I’m saying, and there are times when I know going in that I’m going to get slammed for something I’ve written.  Sometimes, I even welcome that.  Anyway, when I write the blog, I try to keep in mind that most of you want to read something less formal, that I’m trying to sound like I’m talking to friends, and I hope that comes across.

I can’t explain the gratification I get out of blogging, but I’m going to try, and in doing so, I’m going to share a little story.  I know I’ve mentioned that I am a trained musician.  I played clarinet from the time I was about 8 until…well, I still play now but I don’t take formal lessons any longer. I always believed that I would go to college, major in music performance, and then join an orchestra.  I don’t know what happened when I got to college (I really do know what happened but that’s another blog for another day), but for whatever reason, I changed course. Trouble was, I had no idea what else I was good at or what I enjoyed.  I spent a lot of valuable time trying to fit myself – a round peg basically – into square holes.  Something was always missing and I struggled at everything.  Recently, as in two years ago now, I finished a secondary degree in Gemology of all things.  Yes, I’m a scientist now.  (I’m laughing as I type that.  Scientist my ass…)  Even as I studied Gemology, I realized just how ill-fit I am for that sort of thing. I finished the program and did well, but I still don’t feel fulfilled.  The part I enjoy most about gemstones is the appraisal process, and that’s because in some really fun cases, I have to actually research where the piece came from (meaning jewelry), and I write.   Shortly before I received my diploma, Amanda and I started writing our manuscript, and then I had the brilliant idea to write a daily blog.  What in the hell was I thinking??

Originally the plan was to do short blurbs each day.  Spend a half hour max on each topic.  Uh-huh, sure.  It always sounds better on paper (or computer screen) than what it ends up as in daily practice.   I’ve been writing for about 45 minutes so far today, and I’m missing out on my only exercise time.  AGAIN.  I’ve got to get better about that because I really do like getting out, walking/running and listening to my iPod.  It clears my head, and as a writer – I need that time.  As a mom, my KIDS need me to have that time.  I digress.  The reality is, once I start writing for this thing, I have a hard time stopping.  Sometimes the words come easily and I’m finished before I know it.  Other days, I know what I want to say, but I can’t formulate the sentences.  Still other days, I know exactly what I want to say, but if I do, I’m going to offend a lot of people.  (smile here)  Then there are the sheer golden moments, and that’s what I experienced yesterday.

Yesterdays blog was a little different.  I don’t typically do interviews on the blog because I didn’t study journalism, I don’t know how to properly ask “smart” questions, and above all else – I’m not pushy. I had to incorporate what Kitty was trying to convey into my normal blog format, and so it was a little challenging, but I enjoyed the writing!   I can promise Duran Duran that this is one fan who will never bug them for an interview.  I just glean the information I need for a blog from wherever I can, try to blend into the background, and go away quietly without causing an uproar.  Daily Duranie doesn’t do gossip, we don’t do tell-alls, and we don’t write love notes to the band.  Well, not every day, anyway.  The whole reason why this isn’t a news blog is because I simply cannot do news.  I’m not sure about Amanda, but I’m guessing she doesn’t either.  Besides, you all have Salvo (Durannasty) and Kitty (Gimme A Wristband) for that – they do a great job, much better than I would ever hope to accomplish, and I know my rightful place in the Duranie world.  The funny thing is that when we started the blog, I don’t think either Amanda nor I really knew where we fit in!  The only thing we knew was that we were studying fandom for the book.  We like the idea of trying to understand why we fans behave the way we do.  Why are we still fans after 30 years?  Why do we compete against one another?  Those are the questions we focus on for our manuscript.  We just started blogging as a way to learn how to interact with the fan base beyond friendship, and figured we’d find eventually find where we fit in.

What I decided with my blogging was to just be myself.  I stumbled around for a bit, but eventually realized that what I wanted most was to bring fans together.  There is so much in our community that is divisive, whether it’s due to fighting for show tickets, fighting for attention, fighting to prove we’re the number one fan…arguing over whether or not there should be a paid fan club, then of course BEING in that fan club…it’s all overwhelmingly negative at times until there’s a moment or cause that brings us together, and those moments are remarkably few and far in between. Blogging is a funny thing because each day, I feel as though I put a little bit of myself out there for people to read and know.  It’s bizarre because I never know how something is going to be taken, and I never know what will genuinely strike a chord with someone.  I just write whatever I’m feeling at the time and hope for the best….which brings me to the blog from yesterday.

Amanda and I both get notes and emails at times saying how someone really loved what we wrote, or that we “get it”.  I think we do get it purely because we’re fans just like anyone else.  Those notes are what keep us going, and to this day when someone thanks us, I feel like I should ask them if they know I’m just a mom.  I’m nobody special!  The key is, and I’m obviously speaking for both Amanda and I when I say this “We love what we do.”  I don’t know who said this – but at one point or another in my life I’ve heard people say that if you’re doing something you really enjoy, it never feels like work; and if you’re doing something that you really are passionate about, typically you’re very good at it; and finally, if you’re doing something you really love, a monetary salary doesn’t even begin to outdo how you already feel about your work on a personal level.  I never understood ANY of that before now.  I figured only people like Oprah knew what all of that nonsense was about. Work was work.

Yesterday’s blog was really my love for writing coming through, combined with a sheer passion for music.  I have loved Duran Duran, and every member of Duran Duran, since I was 10 years old.  I’m 41 now.  That’s a long time – and as I gleefully tell my husband at times, “I’ve loved Duran Duran longer than I’ve loved you!” (Yes, I have bitch tendencies at times.  Don’t we all?)  I love that he’s told the record labels and managers to basically kiss his ass and he’s going to do it his way, as it should be done.  What I love more than even that though, is blogging and sharing those thoughts with all of you, because you get it.

The best part of the writing yesterday came when I’d realized I’d been working for a few hours and yet none of it felt like work.  It was fun!  I felt good about what I’d written, and that the points I was trying to get across came through well.  Then of course Andy himself mentioned it on Twitter, and for me – that was a big bonus, of course.  Andy was one of my childhood heroes, I continue to have great respect for him, and I really do believe that website is the beginning of something great.  A revolution, I hope.

So why do I blog?  I love it.  I may never earn a real paycheck, and I may never get the front row seats, meet the band, have my “Kodak” moment with any of them, but this blog brings fans together.  I see that, I see where it has its place in the fan community, and I know that when I write, people enjoy reading.  That’s enough for me.  I’m good right here.

-R

Andy Taylor TV – Switch it ON!

I’ll admit it, it is rare when a website gets my attention these days.  I’m addicted to Facebook, I’ve got more than a passing interest with Twitter, and meanwhile I’m still only on page 327 of Steve Jobs’ biography!  So, a website has to be pretty darn special to make me want to click the mouse!  A couple of weeks back, I noticed that Andy’s website had been completely revamped, renamed and redirected! (Andy Taylor TV)  I’d been a member of whatever website he had going last (admittedly I’d lost track even though I was an avid reader of his blogs and updates when he’d post them), and thankfully he sent out an email alert of the change!

At first, I put the email aside, figuring I’d get back to it when I got a chance.  Then I realized two very important things:  1.  My friend Kitty was involved.   2. There was a blog that caught my deep interest. I’ve in turn written here at Daily Duranie about that blog – it was in reference to Justin Biebers followers – the “Beliebers”. (a word I still have trouble saying AND typing…)  If you need to catch up, you can read that blog here.

Upon doing some research for that blog, I wandered unattended onto Andy’s site, aptly named AndyTaylor.tv   After wandering, I realized that if I wanted further enlightenment, I would need to chat with Kitty, our good friend from Gimme a Wristband.  She was kind enough to broaden my field of vision a bit.

Andy’s website is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Essentially free from the suits that run the music industry, along with Sonic Vista (his state-of-the-art recording studio in Ibiza) “he’s become his own personal broadcaster”.  I suppose like anyone else, I have my own visions of what Andy must be like in good old reality.  He has always struck me as the type of person that is only going to put up with so much, and when he’s had enough, he has had enough.  I’ve always liked that about him, even if it sometimes seemed to be to his detriment.  I have a similar attitude in general, even though I know how to play the game – I typically choose not to play.  I want my own rules, dammit!   His website seems to be his answer to idiocy of the music industry.  Kitty continues, “…there’s nothing filtering Andy’s message to – or from – fans.  And why should there be?  Fans are to be treated with respect that they deserve, not like children being constantly spoon-fed with tasteless marketing drivel.”

I think we should all read that sentence again.  Slowly.  Let it flow through your body a bit and allow the brain synapses to fire.  Now go have it printed on a t-shirt.

It narrowly avoids inciting violence within me when I think about this industry that continually calls itself progressive and forward thinking, yet is stuck in the absolute mindset of making BRANDS rather than BANDS.  It is more important, more lucrative (by some accounts), and lets face it – easier – for the industry to find someone/something that looks good (or just make ’em look good) rather than find something that genuinely IS good.   Sadly, our world is such that we’ve gotten to the point where we’ll accept the former rather than insist on the latter.  Talent?  Who needs that with photoshop, autotune, smoke and a few well placed mirrors?  All I can say is good on Andy!   Take for instance his “about me” section…I prefer to think of it as a mission statement.  Here’s the link, I encourage you to read!  Call me crazy, but I think he’s got the plot.

What I love most about the site, and there are many, many things I adore, is that Andy encourages the broadcast to be a conversation between himself and viewers.  The site is not purely dependent upon his content.  It’s dependent upon everyone, whether you’re fan, friend, famous, or as Kitty put it, infamous!  Anyone who wishes to guest blog can drop them a note at  info@andytaylor.tv  The beauty here is that the stories take on a completely different life depending upon the storyteller.   Kitty explains, “look at the recent “BIG BOT” posts by Luke James, lead singer of the band Fashion. He was slogging it out onstage right there in Birmingham as Duran Duran was preparing to launch into the stratosphere, but tells the story from the perspective of a band in the same place at the same time going through the same motions with very different results.”  Any Duran fan has read many, many tales of their time at the Rum Runner, some lucky fans may have even been there during the time, but Luke James has a totally different view, and his perspective just opens the door a bit wider for discussion.


I specifically asked questions regarding the Ibiza section of the site because in my wanderings, it looked like a blank slate.  Kitty explains, “The ‘Ibiza’ section of the site recognizes that Andy is broadcasting from the perfect geographical location from which the new direction of the music industry is emanating. The electronic dance movement has essentially re-invented the experience for the punter —after all, it was Duran Duran kicking it all off back in the day with the Night Versions. It’s all coming full circle now with EDM. Andy’s sound, history and freedom are enabling some killer new artistic collaborations that are guaranteed to blow a few minds. In fact, he just finished co-producing and laying down some guitar tracks for The Ting Tings new album as they were recording at Sonic Vista. And there’s more — much, much more — with new remixes and a full new album, “Motherlode” coming out in the spring.”  (Note to fans, before you ask – I already did and yes, tour dates are in the works!)

We can all say what we’d like about Andy Taylor and his departure from the band…or the bands departure from him (I was never quite clear on that, not that it really matters now), but he has a clear sense of what works, and what does not…in this century.  Let’s face it, Top 40 radio is a thing of the past.  Album sales?  Who buys full albums anymore?  YouTube is more than a way for a young girl to show off her Christmas prezzies.  It takes more than just having and occasionally using a Twitter account to effectively harness fan power.  One can’t just say they recognize the force on one hand and cast it aside with the other simply because they don’t “trust”.   Use the power you’re given.  Be creative with the technology and use it to your benefit.   That doesn’t mean, however, that we all need to relearn how to interact on Second Life, either.  (my apologies to Nick Rhodes…) Cast aside the dead weight on your line, cut your losses, pick yourselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it, or else the world is going to leave you behind, if they haven’t already. That’s where Andy stepped up and grabbed that tiger (yes, that tiger…the Ragged one) by the tail.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Andy does with the site.  I feel as though my eyes are finally opening after a very long nap. (or else I’ve just stayed in bed with the covers pulled up over my head waiting for it all to be over!)  I like what I’m seeing and hearing thus far and hope it continues to grow!

Hearing?  Have you checked out the Planet Earth ReU-nite version?  Open your ears and give it a listen!  here

The bottom line? Andy gets it.  I have a little hope for the world again, or at least for music.  I’ll save a seat for everyone on the bus to hell that this world is traveling…but at least I’ll be listening to some good tunes along the way.  I’ve been whining about radio, the music industry, and the lack of respect for fans well before I ever started using N*Sync or Britney Spears CD’s as drink coasters around my house.  (they work well)  It’s time for the pendulum to start swinging back in the direction of real music.  Real talent…and a new thought…communication and partnership between fans and artists.  I’m sick of the “fast food” that the music industry is trying to serve, and it’s breathtaking to see one of my heroes doing something about it.

Before I finish, I have to give huge huge huge kudos to my friend Kitty at AndyTaylor.tv for her help and patience with me.  Not only is she brilliant at everything she does, she’s a genuinely good person and a great friend.  Kitty runs the editorial/promotional/fan liaison side of things for AndyTaylor.tv, and I know we all look forward to seeing good things continue to come in the years ahead!

One final thought:

Andy’s biggest and brightest statement is the one in bold print at the bottom of the ‘About Me’ section of his site, and it’s the one that makes the most sense.

“….It’s never been about simply one issue.”

Amen.

Announcing the DD-UK Convention 2012!!

I’ve been sitting, waiting for this news since I went to the UK in November, and I’m not exaggerating.  Going to see the band’s homeland was really fun in May.  Going to see the band PLAY in their homeland was phenomenal.  The idea of going back again (3rd time in what – 18 months?) for the DD-UK Convention is brilliant!

After a few spoilers, the announcement was made this morning on Facebook.  A couple of things I want to point out in advance:

1. YOU MUST APPLY FOR TICKETS.  If you haven’t done this already – go do it!  Do it now!!! Spots are limited.  Apparently the city of Birmingham can’t possibly handle ALL of the Duranies in the world…so if you want to go, now is the time to say so!  The application portal is open until January 31st!

2. Amanda and I are definitely going.  Yes, I just typed that.  We really are!  Even if we don’t get tickets to the actual convention, we will be there and there *will* be a party.  We’ll definitely do a get together on Friday night before the convention – so plan to get to Birmingham the night before if you can!   Now if someone wouldn’t mind letting my husband know of my impending absence….that’d be fab.  Thanks.

For those who haven’t seen the information, look below!


Ok here we go guys, the moment you have all been waiting very patiently for….. Oh, don’t forget to share this news on Facebook and Twitter.

After three days of small spoiler announcements it is finally time for us to reveal the full details of the DDUK 2012 Fan Convention. So here we go

DATE: Saturday 17th November 2012.
THE VENUE: Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre
Our venue of choice is within touching distance of the band’s beginnings in Birmingham.

TIMINGS: From 6pm to Midnight – After event at Only After Dark to 3am (Additional Cost May Be Involved at the OAD Door)

TICKETS: Standard entry tickets fare £30.00 each. Entry ticket with a buffet meal price is yet to be confirmed.

EVENT ACTIVITIES WE CAN CONFIRM ARE:

1: A LIVE Duran Duran Tribute Band who will be Performing a FULL Set List
2: Late Bar Disco
3: A Merchandise Stall with Plenty of Goodies to Purchase
4: Prize Raffle Draw with Duran Goodies up for Grabs
5: An Opportunity to Meet Other Duranies from Across the World

We are also working on a few additional surprises as well, which we hope to share with you all very soon. At this stage we cannot promise the band or individual band member will attend the convention, although open invitations have been given to them all through their management – only time will tell if they appear.

APPLYING FOR TICKETS
To apply for tickets for this event, please visit our ticket application portal at the following web address – http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=NBOELO_a92a9ade

The ticket portal is open now and will close for applications on Tuesday 31st January.

The DDUK 2012 Fan Convention is a NON-Profit Making event and any profits made will be donated to a charity of Duran Duran’s choice.



Let the planning commence!!!

-R

Which Member is Most Popular?

Recently, I have begun to think about people’s favorite member of the band.  I’m sure that part of the reason I have been thinking about it is because I’m missing tweets from my favorite.  No, it isn’t Simon!  Perhaps, I have been thinking about this because I have seen a tentative release date for John’s book.  (According to Amazon UK, it is supposed to be out on September 20th and has the title, “A Million Little Seductions.”  What do you all think about that?!)  Maybe, it is because Rhonda’s favorite really has changed or because the topic of favorite band member came up the other day with our question regarding best friend or stylist.  Anyways, it seems to me that people still have favorites but that the favorites in Duranland has changed.  That’s my theory, anyway!

 Back in the 1980s, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor was the big favorite.  He was featured on quite a few magazine covers.  I’m not saying that others weren’t but he seemed to get the most.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I do remember hearing somewhere that the Smash Hits with John on the cover in a swimming pool from 1982 was the biggest selling issue.  I also remember him winning a lot of best looking contests or polls.  After that, I would have definitely said that Simon was the close second.  A lot of the fandom seemed to be split between these two.  Just to be clear here.  These are my observations.  I don’t have facts to back up my statements, just my memories!  From there, fans either liked Nick or Roger.  Nick girls seemed to be more artistic, possibly more Goth.  Roger girls seemed to be more traditional who liked the quiet guy.  Andy came last, at least with the people I talked to about this back in the 1980s. 

Now, I’m not sure if this observed hierarchy has remained the same.  It seems to me that Roger’s popularity has increased dramatically since the reunion.  I wonder why.  Some of the guesses I have for this are that people appreciate Roger a lot more since he was gone, people think he aged super well, people’s tastes have changed since they have grown up, or people appreciate the fact that Roger seems to be a lot more approachable than he was.  For example, I know that I have seen Roger out and about after a show.  I have also heard a lot of others say the same thing.  On the same token, I would say that John has lost fans or isn’t as many people’s favorite anymore.  Again, I could make guesses as to why.  Maybe people don’t think he has aged well.  He doesn’t seem that approachable with fans in person.  He tweets but isn’t going to show up at a bar after the show.  Maybe fans want their favorites to be reachable.  As kids, we never expected this but now we might.  Since we are now able to show up at their hotels or at bars or clubs that they hang out, we expect or request their presence. 

That said, there still does seem to be a definite John side and a definite Dom side on stage.  People still openly request to be on John’s side, for example.  I know that when we were selling our tickets for the UK, the tickets on John’s side seemed to go faster.  Does that mean that he is still the most popular?  I don’t know.  How can we tell?  We can check follow numbers on twitter.  As of now, here are the twitter stats:  Simon has 56, 412 followers.  John has 32, 517.  Roger and Nick aren’t on twitter.  Roger does have 20, 830 fans on facebook.  Okay.  What about on DuranDuranMusic?  There, John leads with the most posts in his area of the message board followed by Simon, Roger and Nick.  How should these statistics be interpreted?  Maybe Simon has more followers because he is the most well-known and non-fans follow him?  I don’t know.  Maybe John fans are more obsessive on DDM or maybe more of them are members there.  Again, I don’t know.  Then again, there are a lot of groups on facebook dedicated to Nick.  Maybe this is where all the Nick fans go.  Maybe that is done because he isn’t on social networking sites. 

Maybe the hierarchy of favorites hasn’t changed over the years.  Maybe John still is the favorite.  Maybe he did lose some fans or maybe Roger has increased his fanbase.  I just don’t know.  So, I’ll leave it to you to answer.  Who do you think it the favorite band member for most of the fans?  How can you tell?

-A

A Duran Duran Cruise!?

Today was day two of our month long game of, “Would You Rather?”  In this game, we give two options related to the band and ask people to make a choice and explain it.  Today’s question was, “Would you rather be on a cruise with the band or in a band’s video?”  Over the course of the day, many people shared their varied opinions and reasons.  From what I could see, the options were fairly evenly split, which isn’t terribly interesting.  What is interesting is that a number of people brought up the fact that the band wouldn’t do a cruise.  Some pointed out that Nick doesn’t like boats, which is something he has stated a number of times in interviews.  Anyway, while the game is supposed to be just for fun, a means of living in a fantasy for a moment, it did get me thinking.  (Always dangerous, I know…)

Other bands have done cruises where the band members go on an exclusive cruise with their fans.  One band that I know of, for sure, is New Kids on the Block.  How come that band is willing and able to do a cruise like that and Duran isn’t?  Is it because of management?  A matter of scheduling?  The kinds of fans?  Personal preference for the members?  Let’s tackle the possibilities one at a time.

Could Duran’s management be the one stopping Duran from doing a cruise with the fans?  Obviously, I do not know their manager or anyone working with their manager.  Thus, I wouldn’t really have any idea.  The only thing I could do would be to analyze the role and purpose of the manager.  From what I know, which isn’t very much, a manager should be looking after the band’s current and future success.  For a band, I would assume that the focus is on money and popularity, which is a result or cause of money.  Would a Duran cruise help with their money and/or popularity?  As for the money, I honestly don’t know.  I wouldn’t have a clue about how much something like that would be to arrange.  Would they be able to sell enough tickets that they would earn a profit?  As for the next question, would it help their popularity, I honestly don’t know that it would.  While there are a lot of diehard fans, many of us have been around for a loooooooooooooooong time.  We still will stick around without something like that.  Would it bring new fans into the fold?  I doubt it.  Now, would it be a nice way to say thank you to the loyal fans?  I think it would. 

The second possible reason that Duran doesn’t do fan cruises is due to scheduling.  This seems possible to me.  They obviously couldn’t squeeze it in during a tour or in the middle of writing and recording an album.  This would leave those downtimes, much like we are in at the moment.  It seems to me that Duran likes to take their time off to vacation, to spend time with family, and to work on other projects.  They wouldn’t have as much time if they throw in a fan cruise once every few years or so.  This leads right into personal preferences of the band members.  Perhaps, some of the band members would be interested or okay with doing a fan cruise.  Maybe, some members don’t want as much time with family as others.  Maybe, some are more focused on pleasing loyal, diehard fans.  Maybe some hate boats like it appears Nick Rhodes does.  Maybe there is an alternative that Nick would do instead.  Maybe more band members hates cruises over the ones who like them?!

Of course, most people assume that the reason Duran doesn’t or won’t do fan cruises is because of the fans.  I assume that the concern here is that the fans would either act inappropriate around the band or each other.  I have to ask, though.  Are fans of New Kids really that different than Duranies?  I, seriously, don’t know.  On paper, they don’t seem that much different.  Both bands were really popular and really popular with young people, especially young girls.  The young girls often fancied one or more band members.  Both band seemed to have a dedicated fanbase that could and did create quite the scenes back in the day.  So, how are they now?  Are New Kids fans able to handle being in the same place as the band and Duranies aren’t?  Yes, obviously, I’m generalizing.  Is it that New Kids think that their fans could handle it and Duran doesn’t?!  Perhaps, the concern has more to do with how fans interact with each other.  Maybe there isn’t as much drama in that other fandom.  Duran’s presence might make more drama or more intense drama.  They do on tour.  That said, if the fans can’t handle it, does staying away from them help or does it make the problem worse?  I have always thought that part of the problem with Duranies is that we are all fighting for a very small amount of attention.  The supply of Duran Duran, so to speak, is very low.  Thus, they are always in demand.  Sometimes, the demand is so great and the supply so small that people behave in ways that they wouldn’t normally.  Maybe the desire to have a moment of recognition, of validation for fans becomes so great that they have to release it somehow and, too often, it is released in a way that is not productive or healthy for themselves, for other fans, and for the fanbase as a whole.  Therefore, if the band made themselves more approachable, some of these other issues would lessen by amount or degree.  They could try to do this slowly, as it feels like they have begun to do with social networking, and increase it over time until one day, they will be ready for their own cruise. 

What do you think the reason is that there are no Duran cruises with fans and no plans for one?  Is it an issue with the fans?  Their management?  Their preference?  Something else entirely?

-A

Would You Rather and Other Observations!

Some of you may have noticed that we are starting to change/add a few things here on the blog as Rhonda mentioned yesterday. One of those things is Game Day Thursday! Obviously, it might take awhile for us to work out all of the little details. That said, we want to hear from you about what you enjoyed and what you didn’t like as much! We are giving props today to our buddy, mercblues, on twitter, as she was the first one to complete yesterday’s word search! Way to go!!!

Another new piece to the Daily Duranie is a little game that we are starting that will go from today until February at this time! It seemed to us that many people liked the Daily Duranie Challenge we did a while ago. To that end, we tried to come up with some fun question to ask everyday. We are calling this little daily game, “Would You Rather…?” The game is pretty simple. We will give you two options about something related to the band. You pick your choice and tell us why. Simple and fun. 🙂 We will post it here, on our twitter and on our facebook. The first question is:

Would you rather be a band member’s best friend or a band member’s personal stylist?

My answer: I would rather be a best friend. I would be able to share everything with that band member (John. LOL.) as opposed to just clothes, hair, accessories, etc.  A best friend is able to hang out, talk, get to know to the other person, get to be there for him/her.  If I was his personal stylist, I would only interact in order to deal with his style. While it is appealing to be able to throw out clothes that I think are silly or unflattering, that isn’t enough of a draw from me.    Now, your turn.  What would you rather be?

Now, on a different note, another element we have added to our blog is the Today in Duran History piece. I am constantly amazed and in awe over the band’s history and the fact that I have been around to see most of it! Okay, I’m a little scared of that, too! 🙂 Today’s day in Duran’s history relates to the Neurotic Outsiders, a side project that John was involved with in the mid-1990s. When we did the Daily Challenge a few months ago, I discovered that many fans had not been aware of this project. I hope that some of them checked them out and enjoyed what they found. That said, this made me think about my own personal fandom.

Now, I know that this is going to shock many of you when I say that I like to know as much as I can about my fandom. In Duranland, this includes their side projects and solo work. Of course, I have various opinions about these other projects. Some of them appeal to me more than others but I still want to know about them. In fact, as a kid, when I discovered Duran, I read as much as I could about them. Obviously, some of the information about them included their influences. How many 9-year- olds do you know that go out of their way to hear records by Chic and by the Sex Pistols? Yep. That was me. I am happy to say that this “research” actually helped me to find other music that I enjoy and enjoyed. Other people seem to just be content with whatever part of their fandom they find. I can understand that, too. It is supposed to be fun and many people don’t enjoy research. The fact that I do enjoy research probably explains why I have a history degree, am writing a book on fandom and write this blog, huh?

So, where are you on the spectrum of fandom related research? Are you like me and have to learn as much as you can as fast as you can? Are you the opposite in that you want to just sit back and enjoy the Duran you know and love? Maybe, you are somewhere in between. If you have a chance to find out more, you do but stop if you find you aren’t enjoying what you find. I loved to know where other fans are with this so let me know!!!

-A