A Short History Lesson

Did you know that on February 3rd (today’s date) in 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a small plane crash near Clear Lake Iowa?

I realize that for probably many of you – especially if you’re not from the US as I am – you’ve never heard of these people.  I’m happy to say that I wasn’t even a twinkle in my mom’s eye when this incident happened (which happens very rarely these days)!  From what my Rock and Roll Music History classes from college and beyond taught me (yes, I took 3 semesters of Rock and Roll history classes…some helped me towards my minors in music theory, and some I took for fun, believe it or not!), Ritchie, Buddy and The Big Bopper were mainly hitting in the US those days, and they were all just starting to make themselves really known when the plane crashed on that fateful day.

Why am I bringing this to your attention then?  Up until very recent times, radio was king.  If anyone wanted to make it big in the US, radio (and of course I mean LAND based radio, because that’s all there was!) was the way to do it.  Radio didn’t always play music, though.  My parents both remember(ed) the day when radio served the purpose of being the center of family entertainment.  They’d gather around the radio in the evenings, listening to programs and letting their imaginations provide the pictorials.   It wasn’t really until the mid-50’s that rock and roll music FIRST started being played with any kind of regularity – and then radio stations as we know them to be started cropping up.  Of course I’m glossing over Tin Pan Alley (30’s and 40’s) and the fact that when rock and roll was first being played a la Elvis Presley – the “establishment” completely freaked out!  They tried to ban rock and roll because it was the work of the “devil”!  Good old days, indeed.    Ever heard of payola?  That was back in the day when the music industry started losing it’s integrity. (bet you never thought it ever had any!) Imagine the horror when the public found out that music industry executives were actually paying radio stations to play certain artists.  I’m sure you are all completely shocked.   It’s OK, take a moment, compose yourselves.  I’ll wait.

Yes, those were the days.  So why is it such a big deal to remember Ritchie Valens (aside from the fact that he was the first artist of Hispanic origin to get any kind of radio play on US radio),  The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly?  They paved the way for those that came later.  While I’m sure that many believe that The Beatles – The Fab Four –  were the ones who paved the way for Duran Duran to come here much later; the fact is, had it not been for Elvis Presley, and later people like Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper (his real name is JP Richardson) and Ritchie Valens, American radio could have likely taken a completely different turn.  It’s not about the type of music they played, or really even where they individually came from, it’s simply about the fact that they were everything that made American land-based radio a phenomenon that changed and influenced American pop culture forevermore.

During a week where we’re remembering our own beginning as Duran Duran fans, it’s important to acknowledge the real history that made all of that possible.

-R

Only came outside to watch the night fall with the snow….

I know I don’t have that line right.  It just seemed that since most of the country is under a god-awful lot of snow right now….it was appropriate if not completely corny.  🙂  I never said I was a poet, right?

So the groundhog didn’t see his shadow today, and he’s calling for an early spring.  Why on earth do we have groundhog day anyway?? I think it’s main purpose is to excite the little preschoolers and kindergarteners into thinking spring is coming soon only to be able to strangle their little spirits into submission by telling them that the groundhog saw his shadow – which makes NO sense – and so winter will march on for another 6 weeks.   Yeah, let’s beat that optimism down when they’re young so they’re good and cynical by the time they’re 9!

Oh, you all know what I’m going to write about.  It’s not even a surprise today, which makes me almost want to forget the whole thing, but the fact is, I would not be writing this blog were it not for the release of Planet Earth, thirty years ago today.

Thirty years is a long time.  I try to forget how old I am most days, since it’s only a number, but when days like this come along it seems as though it’s a requirement to to take a look back down the road we’ve traveled.  My road is damn long!!   On this date in 1981, I was in 6th grade (with a November birthday, I was quite a bit younger than most of my classmates).  I wonder if anyone else out there feels the way I do about this – Planet Earth feels like it’s only been out a short while in a lot of ways, but when I think back to my age at the time it was released, it’s only then that I realize that   1. I really am not still a teenager.   2.  The song really is timeless in it’s own way.    3.  Shouldn’t I be over all of this by now???     Then I laugh at myself, because you know – if you can’t laugh at yourself, you really can’t laugh at anyone else either.  

I believe that the first time I heard Planet Earth, it was on KROQ (Los Angeles).  Not long prior, I think the station was called K-West, and then all of the sudden one day, KROQ began.  I don’t remember most of the early DJ’s – but I do remember the days of Swedish Egle, Richard Blade, Rodney on the ROQ, and a host of others that aren’t coming to mind right this second.  I am not even sure who it was that played Planet Earth when I first heard it, but I do know that Rodney played it first (and I would love to say I heard it the first time he played it – but I have no idea.  I was 10 at the time.  I’m lucky I remember anything from back then!), and I know that Richard and Rodney both felt that Duran Duran was going to be huge.   Boy, were they ever spot on with that assessment!   I remember the DJ saying that the song was brand new, but that we’d be hearing it all over the place in time.  I’m not really certain if that ever came to fruition quite the way they imagined, but as we all know – there was more where Planet Earth came from, and that was only the beginning.

Some of the things I love best about Planet Earth are the very things that date it back to the 80’s.  I love the reference to the New Romantics.  I adore Nick’s keyboards and the fact that they sound very similar to a Casio keyboard at times.  Nick’s hair was totally awesome (yes, the California 80’s wording is necessary here), and don’t even get me started on the first 10-20 seconds of the video. (if you don’t know what I’m talking about perhaps you should watch it today!) I remember trying to play the song over and over again so that I could learn the keyboard chording.  As much I as I know the band probably shudders to think of those ruffled shirts and pirate-themed pants they were wearing – I love them.  It was my childhood, and they were the fashion-gods.  I never really dressed like them – my father would have had plenty to say about that, and I wasn’t the type to push the envelope with him – but I admired them from afar.  I always wanted to take those kinds of fashion risks, but never had the nerve.  They had it all, complete with eyeliner and hair dye.   How could you not love any of that?

It’s curious how one song can bring someone right back to their adolescence or childhood memories.  Planet Earth really was the beginning of the road for me.  I don’t remember a whole lot about growing up before that – bits and pieces really – but that song really opened up the world for me.  I started paying attention to the music on the radio and what was going on around me.  I wouldn’t say that Planet Earth caused all of that – I’m sure a lot of it is just coincidence and impeccable timing, but it’s the song that I associate with the real beginning.

Here we all are, thirty years later.  The road has been arduous in parts, and at times – it feels as though it’s been very, very long.  I’ve learned through my experiences that it really is all about the journey, even though I continually catch myself trying to see down the road farther to know exactly where I’m going rather than just enjoying where I’m at.  It’s the impatience and my type A personality talking again.   A week ago, a friend of mine lost a family member – and I shared something with this friend that I’d learned only after my father passed away.  My dad died from a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis – I’m pretty sure I’ve written about it here before at some point, but it’s a degenerative disease that turns healthy lung tissue into scar tissue that has no elasticity so the lungs become stiff and they can’t absorb oxygen.  Throughout his illness, my dad would try his best to give very short answers to how he was feeling, preferring not to focus on the bad stuff.  At the time, I thought he was just skirting the issue, trying not to worry us.  It wasn’t until after he’d passed away that I finally understood what he was trying his best to teach me in a final lesson – it’s not about the dying.  It’s about the living.  He didn’t talk about how he was feeling because in my dad’s heart, I think he knew the end was inevitable, and dying was dying.  There wasn’t any point in talking about it when he was busy trying to enjoy living.  I was VERY angry with him after he’d passed away for many reasons, but one of them was because I didn’t feel as though he’d prepared us.  None of us realized just how bad he was getting until it was too late, and I was so mad at him for that until one day it dawned on me that it wasn’t about how he was feeling at all, because he was dying and he knew that.  It was about the living.  It was about that part of the journey he was on right at that moment.   Of course he’d try to teach his pig-headed, very stubborn, very type A control freak oldest child that sort of lesson in the most stress-filled months of her life.

So we go from the days of Planet Earth, when it was all unchartered, brand new territory, to All You Need Is Now, which is a good reminder for all of us to stop worrying about what’s ahead and just enjoy where we’re at right now.

Happy Anniversary Planet Earth – you’re looking good for thirty!

-R

Hotel Mania

So last night Amanda and I got word that there’s some sort of major football thing going on the same weekend we’re planning to be in London for the show at O2.  You might be able to tell by my first sentence that 1. I don’t watch football, American OR otherwise.  2.  I’ve spent my. entire. day. online.  *sigh*

Give me any event in the US, and I can book a hotel around it.  I know my chains, I know my B&B’s and I know what Inns to avoid and which ones to run-quick-like-a-bunny to book way ahead.  I can book last minute, a year ahead, or with 3 weeks to spare.  It’s not difficult and I have lots of confidence when I book a hotel here.

I figured I’d go online this morning, find something quick and book it.  We just want to make sure we have a hotel, and after hearing about the football game happening that same weekend, (someone said it was the same as our Super Bowl) I figured I’d best get on it and get it done.  20-30 minutes tops and I’d have it booked and I’d be on with the rest of my day.  After all, I’ve been there once before… In the UK, however, it’s not quite as easy to book a hotel.  Twin beds??  Really?  No bathroom “en suite”?  Neighborhoods, tube stations, breakfast or no breakfast…and never mind the cancellation policies, internet rates and god forbid I decide to look at reviews.  *sigh*  Did you know that showers in London don’t have full doors that go across the entire shower (if it’s a tub/shower combo)??  I do seem to remember that from my last visit….it’s going to be an adventure!

In any case, I spent the whole day pouring over websites, draining my laptop battery and forgetting to eat lunch in a desperate attempt to find a decent hotel in London that didn’t cost more than my hospital stay to have my 3rd child.  It’s very similar to New York City in that respect, although even in NYC I have more confidence with what I’m looking at online!   I did end up booking a really nice hotel in the Kensington/Hyde Park area – and I’m crossing my fingers that it’s going to be nice enough to house Amanda and I for 4 nights.  Let’s hope.

Tomorrow will bring another day….good luck to those of you battling the latest snowmageddon out there.  I’m in sunny, although not really “warm” California.  We’re about to face some really damaging winds here – and for us, that’s about as exciting as our weather gets!

-R

The Glory of Planning….or Rhonda’s version of List-o-mania!

So we’re just about one week into the planning of our UK trip here, and while the stress of buying tickets is over – we are now looking into airfare schedules and trying to decide on flights, hotels, etc.

For most people, the planning is probably simple – get a flight over there, hop on a train to Birmingham – check into the hotel and go the show.  Easy.  Well, those people don’t have three children at home with schedules to coordinate and a husband who also travels quite extensively.  At some point during the last week it was discovered that the day I fly home is also the day that he leaves for his own week’s worth of travel – in his case to Asia.  Therefore, I have to fly home direct, and I have to be in LA no later than 2pm so that we can either say hello to one another and trade off the car (he’ll drive it there, and I’ll take it back home) – or so that he can drive me home and spend an hour or so with me before taking off to go back to the airport to catch his flight.  Hello Jet Lag and an early next morning dealing with a three year old.  The price we must pay, right?

If that weren’t enough, we’re now finding out that there’s a possibility he’ll be coming back from a trip as I’m leaving.  *takes deep breath*   It’s just never easy.  For him, leaving is simple – he tells me when he’s going (if I am that lucky), and I do what I always do, which is handle everything that goes on with the kids and the house.  For me to leave though – it’s a MAJOR issue.  My husband doesn’t know the first thing about running this house, or the kids schedules.  If I leave a list – he ignores it. (My oldest tattled on him for doing so last time. :D)  It’s as though everyone runs around in survival mode while I’m gone, and when I return it takes me weeks to get everyone back on track.  That’s when I’m gone over a weekend.  This time, the ante is much, much higher.  I’m gone for 9 days.  I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos I will be returning to somehow tame and control.  The best part is that our oldest participates in her spring performances (she is a dancer at an arts high school) literally the evening before I leave.  Why I thought I could actually do this trip and live through it is beyond me.  My husband already missed her winter performances, so you can imagine the drama that is taking place over the idea that he’ll miss spring as well.  Ah, to be 14….  Aside from those major issues, there are a litany of other possibilities and things going on here at home (as I’m sure they go on in every other household in the world) that make planning that much more joyous and tricky!

In the meantime, we wait for my partner-in-crime to get her notification that her leave has been accepted at work, and I make lists of hotels to check out, places to visit, things I must get before I leave, clothes I need to take (no, this is not the “what am I going to wear?” thread…), schedules that I need to make for those I am leaving behind, food that I need to make and freeze so that my husband will be able to feed the kids before 10pm each night (I wish I were kidding here), iPad applications I want to download, and never mind the different combinations of flights I’m looking at to get across the pond, the return flight I have on hold, train schedules, and plans of getting from London to Birmingham as quickly as possible once we land…

We leave in 15 weeks and yet I’ve already started the list making.  OCD maybe….yes….but when you’ve got a family, I think being a little OCD at times is a requirement.  🙂

-R

US vs. UK

Typically, when the topic of the United States versus the United Kingdom comes up in the Duran Duran fandom, it is usually about which gets more, deserves more, etc.  The conversation usually involves a discussion about geography, distances, sales, fanbase size, band history and more.  I’m not going to dive into that debate as it seems obvious to me that both sides have their legitimate points.  Yes, the US is a lot bigger so more there should be more dates here.  It is true, though, that the UK is their home and will always be so (ignoring John Taylor’s decision to live in the US part/most of the time).  No, what I am more interested in is how the fanbases in both places are the same and different.  I never really paid attention before but now that I’m going (most likely–cross your fingers that I get final approval from work), I find this subject fascinating.

I have to admit that I’m already seeing some differences, at least in terms of show preferences.  Now, I admit that I haven’t done any thorough survey to find exact numbers to compare so this is just my observation of the fans who have spoken up.  First, I noticed a bit of an outcry from the locals over the idea that many of these shows in the UK are seated.  Personally, I was shocked by this!  Why would anyone want General Admission shows?!  I’m sure that people can argue that it is more equalizing as every fan has a chance of being up close if they arrive early enough and are able to hold their position for a long time.  I also heard some fans claim that they can dance more during a GA show.  My response to this is simply confusion.  Then, I started thinking that GA shows there must be very different from GA shows here.  Perhaps, some reader will enlighten me.  For me, I hate GA.  Those shows mean that I have to arrive early or earlier than I wanted in order to get a good spot.  (Remember that I’m spoiled when it comes to Duran shows!).  Once I have my spot of choice, I am forced to stay there in order to keep it.  This means that I have no bathroom breaks and no drink breaks unless I’m willing to let my spot go.  In America, if you leave your spot, people will automatically move up and fill it.  Heck, that doesn’t just happen at concerts but happens at political rallies, too!  Now, even if I am able to stand for hours to hold my spot, it doesn’t mean that I’m safe.  People will still try to push (literally) ahead of you to get a better view.  Is this what GA is like in England?  Do people want to get up front so badly that they are willing to stand for hours or push their way to the front? 

Maybe people there aren’t as concerned about where they are for a concert.  After all, it doesn’t seem like a lot of VIP packages sold.  Of course, the cost of those packages could make a difference.  I don’t see a lot of people buying regular presale tickets either, though.  I know that we got decent seats for Nottingham through regular presale.  Yet, it seems like most people were happy to just try Ticketmaster or Gigs and Tours for their seats.  Is it a cost thing or does seat position not matter?  This, of course, leads me to bigger issues involving fandom.

Will people be interested in getting together before and/or after shows?  Do a lot of fans already know each?  Are there established groups of friends like there are here?  Will there be stories about fans trying to find the band afterwards?  Is that even possible there?  I have no idea.  So much seems to go on in hotels for US tours, is the same there?  Is this a silly question to ask?   Personally, I would like to meet people while I’m there.  I would like to see how the fans are similar to US fans but also to see how they are different.  Maybe they would like to learn the same from me and my friends.  No matter how it goes, I am willing to bet that it will be a tour filled with much learning and much fun!!!

-A 

Favorite Band Member

I need a break from all of the current happenings with the band.  Last week was filled with tour news and planning.  This upcoming week will feature Duran Duran at the Superbowl Fan Jam.  I’m looking forward to both the tour and the performance in Dallas, which I hope to see via TV.  Right now, though, I need something silly and unimportant, which led me to think about recent discussions I have had with other fans.  One of those discussions focused on one’s favorite band member.  It seems to me that some fans have their favorite and that favorite has remained a constant for decades.  For other fans, their preference has changed.  Maybe, some people don’t have favorites. 

How do/did people pick their favorite member?  When the band came out and became popular, I’m willing to bet that most people decided based on the band member’s looks.  They might have also considered their style, their musical role in the band, their “personality” via videos or interviews.  I can imagine that many Simon fans appreciated his voice and lyrics.  Perhaps, they like his outgoing personality both on stage and in interviews.  John fans, I’m sure, were attracted to his good looks.  Many Nick fans probably appreciated his colorful looks and sense of style and fashion.  Andy fans might have liked his rock persona and Roger fans admired his quietness.  Does one’s personal favorite reflect on his/her’s own personality?  What if the fan changed his/her favorite over the course of the years?  Does that reflect changes with the band or changes with that fan or both? 

I should admit that I do have a favorite.  I will also admit that I started out having a different favorite but that only lasted a short while.  When I was a kid and first heard and saw Duran Duran, I initially considered Simon my favorite.  Why?  I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was the “voice” of the band and seemed to be at the center of attention.  Let’s face it.  He also looked pretty good in 1984.  Then, I saw the Reflex video and John Taylor.  Well, I immediately switched my favorite to John, which remains the same to this day.  See, it was a short while!  So, what attracted me to John?  Obviously, I thought he was “cute”!  I liked his personal style and didn’t seem as out there as Nick to my very young self.  It also helped that my best friend, at the time, also liked John.  Thus, when a new video or magazine came out, we would look at it and scream over John Taylor together!  We encouraged each other.  Of course, I didn’t really know much about John or any of them at that time beyond what was published in Bop magazine.  I memorized it all and could recite facts quickly.  The things I learned about John seemed so cool and I wanted to think those things were cool, too.  How many John girls watched James Bond movies because of him?  I bet a lot.  I’m sure that Simon, Nick, Roger and Andy fans had similar experiences. 

Fast forward to the reunion.  My favorite remained the same.  Other fans’ favorites changed.  Why?  It seemed to me that when the reunion happened, most fans initially went back to the childhood favorite.  Most message boards seemed to encourage this.  For example, over on DDM, John fans got to know other John fans and Nick fans met other Nick fans through the section of the board designated for that particular band member.  Like my experiences as a child, these sections were filled with pictures of the band member of choice and there was much screaming following posted pictures!  It also seemed that we all started learning a little bit more about the guys.  Of course, even now, we don’t know them.  We might have some guesses about how they are from their interviews, from meeting them if so lucky, from listening to the music and lyrics for so long, but we don’t really know them..  Nonetheless, it does feel to me that I know different kinds of things about John than I did when I was a kid.  Obviously, I know that he supported Obama in the US Presidential Election of 2008 and didn’t have a clue what his political opinions were in the 1980s.  I know that Simon does not consider himself to be a Christian now and didn’t have a clue then.  For some people, the new knowledge makes us appreciate the band member of choice but, for others, it might turn them off.

Can new information about a band member change someone’s favorite?  I suppose it can.  I feel like some people’s favorite has changed due to their interactions or lack of interactions with fans.  For example, I absolutely felt Roger’s popularity increase once fans realized that he was out and about with the fans after shows.  Where did these fans come from?  I am willing to bet that many of them were John fans first.  If interacting with fans matters, then it would make sense that John might lose fans because he isn’t so social after shows (personally I think that is the right move for him).  What if someone had a bad meet and greet experience with a band member?  Could that cause a change in favorites?  I think so.  I have seen it.  I have seen people warm up to Nick, for example, because he is always so friendly with the fans and I have seen people turned off by Simon’s can-be-perceived-as-a-diva-like-attitude in public.  What if people change their favorite simply because of how the band member has aged?  I suppose it is possible, even if I don’t like it.  Obviously, I admit that looks had/has something to do with it but I wish it didn’t have EVERYTHING to do with it.  That feels too much like objectification, to me. 

It also seems to me that is possible not to have a favorite.  Maybe you like and appreciate them all equally.  Maybe you really are focused on the music.  I can admire that.  Will favorites always be a part of the Duran Duran fandom?  So far, as long as Duran Duran has existed, there have been favorites and I’m willing to bet that there always will be!

-A

Presale Week and Evaluation!

I survived presale week!  For me, it was an absolutely crazy one!  It is hard to imagine that just five day ago, no one knew where or when Duran Duran was going to tour outside of a couple random shows.  This week, we added 11 dates in the UK and a date in Germany to the previously known superbowl thing in Dallas, the Coachella festival in California and the iTunes festival in London.  In typical Duran fashion, these UK dates were put up early Tuesday morning with fan community presales beginning the next morning.  Gotta love the pressure of being forced to decide what shows to do in mere HOURS after an announcement.  There was LITTLE time to evaluate choices, discuss with friends, talk to work, anything…Now, this has been how it has been done in Duranland for so long that no one was really surprised and there were little complaints from my observations.  How sad is that?!  We are so used to being treated so poorly that we don’t even pay attention to the lack of consideration.  Clearly, in this case like so many before, the band’s management decided to announce the tour ONLY when they had to.  They put out the information only DAYS before the shows went on sale to the public.  Someone really should explain to me why they can’t give the information further in advance.  They obviously had this information before Tuesday morning.  Why wait?  I swear, sometimes, I feel like we are all being watched and they SO enjoy watching us all run around like crazy people trying to come up with a plan quickly!

As Rhonda mentioned earlier in the week, we decided to do Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London with friends joining us for three out of the four after much discussion, evaluation, quick budgeting figuring and more.  In all seriousness, I think we all aged about 3 years in just Tuesday alone!  Much of that discussion always includes buying the tickets.  Who is going to buy?  What kind of tickets should we try for?  Should we go with DDM or whatever the hell it is calling itself today?  Should we wait for the regular sale?  I’ll be honest here in saying that I have done the DDM presales more often than not and have almost always been pleased by the seats I have received.  Typically, they have been better than the seats I got through regular sales on places like Ticketmaster.  I also have to confess that the presales have usually gone smoothly for me, with being able to purchase the tickets of my choice within minutes.  I figured that this tour would be no different.  Of course, this time we knew that some other company was taking care of the tickets, which meant changes.

This presale definitely was different than previous ones.  In some ways, it was absolutely better and in other ways, not so much.  As Rhonda mentioned yesterday, part of the changes involved the VIP packages so I won’t get into those.  Yet, despite the changes in packages, it was still having to click on the package of your choice for the city of your choice.  Now, this time, most of the shows went on sale at the exact same time.  I have to wonder if that is a good idea!  Is it really smart to have all of these Duranies trying to get tickets at the same time?!  Will the system be able to handle that?  Maybe it could for 9 or 11 shows this time around but will it be able to handle 25 shows in the US?  I shudder to think about what those presales might be like.  My assessment is that this is a mistake.  For one thing, it is very difficult for people who are buying for more than one show.  Usually, I’m the one to buy the concert tickets as Rhonda picks up the hotel rooms.  That wasn’t possible this time as both of us had to buy tickets at the same time in order to get the seats of our choice.  Ugh.  Then, there was the little glitch in their system….

My little group of four felt pretty confident going into Wednesday morning’s presale.  After all, we had a solid plan with different people buying for different shows and we are experienced Duranies.  We have all done this before.  Maybe we were too confident.  Maybe we couldn’t process the possibility that it wouldn’t go our way after having to make these decisions so damn quickly.  Perhaps, the fact that we had to buy tickets at 2 in the MORNING didn’t help.  It could have been a combination of all of the above or it could have been that their system sucks.  So, I’m supposed to be buying for Birmingham.  No problem.  My friend is buying for Nottingham at the same time.  Her order goes through right away.  Yes.  We are in business.  I’m not, though.  It wouldn’t accept my card.  I tried a different card.  No luck there.  I tried my friend’s card that just worked for the Nottingham order.  No luck.  Then, Rhonda tried and had the same problem.  Much cursing continued.  We tried for a half hour and somehow, we were able to purchase the tickets of our choice.  Of course, we weren’t out of the woods yet.  We had to buy for Liverpool and London.  Oh boy…

Liverpool went fairly smoothly.  London, on the other hand, did not.  We got seats but they were just okay.  Now, I will openly admit that we are spoiled Duranies when it comes to how far back is acceptable for Duran shows.  It does not matter how far back I am for other bands but it absolutely does matter for Duran.  Obviously, part of the reason I usually go with the fan community presale is that I usually get seats in the 6th to 11th row.  Anything less than that is painful.  (See what I mean?  Absolutely spoiled we are!)  So, Rhonda and I, in our infinite wisdom, decide to try for London seats through the regular sale in order to see if we could do better.  This meant, of course, that we were up AGAIN in the middle of the night to buy tickets.  Guess what?  We didn’t have any luck there either.  Great.  Joy.  What do we do?  Go for a different package on DDM.  Guess how that went?  Like it did the first time.  The stupid system wouldn’t take our order at first.  Then, it said that they were sold out and back to not taking our order.  Eventually, we got it to go through.  Ugh.  (By the way, if you are interested in buying our extra tickets for London, they are in Block 101, row T, seats 24 and 25.  Feel free to email us:  dailyduranie@gmail.com.)

Now, I’m utterly exhausted and part of me feels like I have already done the tour!  Would I use the fan community for the next show(s) I go to?  Unfortunately, the answer is going to be yes.  I hate the lack of time between the announcement and the presale.  I thought selling all of the shows at the same time was completely unfair to those of us wanting to buy more than one show.  I wouldn’t doubt that the system was overloaded, which caused the problems we had in buying our tickets.  I would suspect the US presales to be WAY worse.  That said, I did appreciate the fact that we now know exactly where we are sitting, which did not happen with the old system.  I also am completely thrilled with where I will be for these shows!!!  They weren’t cheap but I already know that this is a tour of a lifetime for me.  I have never traveled outside of the US for shows before.  I have never been able to.  I love the people I’m going with and cannot wait to meet people across the pond!  I believe that these new songs are going to be amazing live!  I look forward to seeing how fans there are the same/different than the fans here and so much more now that I survived presale hell 2011!

-A

Everybody’s Gunnin’ for the VIP Section….

I realize that if Nick Rhodes were to read my blog title, he’d probably roll his eyes and say “How contrived.”  Yeah I know.  I aim to please.  🙂

I couldn’t help using the line from All You Need Is Now because there’s been some talk (as there always is) about the VIP packages available for the UK tour.  Those that buy them don’t seem to have too much trouble with the price…those that don’t are horrified by those that do.  It’s pretty much the same posts, same message boards, different year.

Before I go further, I want to acknowledge that the VIP packages *have* changed, however slightly.  First of all, I think that in most cases, they’re offering more swag with each one.  Keep in mind that in order to purchase these packages, you must be a member of DuranDuranMusic.com – which is undergoing a series of changes at the moment.  Here’s the rundown on VIP swag:

Duran Duran Platinum VIP Experience (subject to availability)
– 1 Premium Seat in first 5 rows
– VIP Pre-show Cocktail Hour with complimentary food, wine and beer (subject to local laws & availability)
– On-site Duran Duran Concierge
– Copy of ‘ALL YOU NEED IS NOW’ SIGNED by Duran Duran
– Vintage Duran Duran T-shirt
– Duran Duran Photo Book
– Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Matching Lanyard
– Private Merch Area
– MEET & GREET OPPORTUNITY (limited number plus guest will be chosen at random per show) **
– BACKSTAGE TOUR OPPORTUNITY (limited number plus guest will be chosen at random per show) ** 



Duran Duran Gold VIP Experience
– 1 Premium Seat in first 10 rows
– Copy of ‘ALL YOU NEED IS NOW’ SIGNED by Duran Duran
– Vintage Duran Duran T-shirt
– Duran Duran Photo Book
– Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Matching Lanyard

Duran Duran Silver VIP Experience
– 1 Premium Seat
– 1 Limited Edition Duran Duran Poster 


As far as price goes – well, that’s a story in and of itself.  Topping off the selections is platinum at a “mere” 265 GBP, plus the price of the ticket.  Gold is 125 GBP + price of ticket and rounding it out is Silver at 45 GBP + the price of a ticket.  


In USD – that equals out to be $422.97 for Platinum, $199.51 for Gold and 71.82 for Silver.  


My take on it all?  Basically you’re paying $70 for a poster and a seat in the arena at Silver, in my opinion because I checked what a silver package would get you as a seat at O2, and let’s just say – you’re in the building.  That’s a start.  🙂  Some people might have been luckier than that – and to them I say a hearty “Congratulations!”   As far as Platinum and Gold go – well, there’s some argument for each of them.  On one hand, what fan wouldn’t want a meet and greet or even better, a tour of backstage?  Oh wait…that’s a “opportunity” for a tour and meet and greet.  My only real problem with this package (aside from the price, because I simply can’t see paying it…but that’s just me) is that at $500, Duran Duran needs to get on the same bandwagon other artists that are as popular as they are and offer the meet and greet to every sucker, I mean fan….that pays it.  As far as the backstage tour goes, the jury is out on that one until I find someone who gets one and they can tell me what all it includes.  I can just imagine someone walking the lucky fans back there, stand behind the stage and say “this is backstage.  No pictures.  Please take a brief second, turn around in a full circle and see yourself out.”  (I really hope not)  Otherwise, the inflated price doesn’t even begin to be justified with a pre-show cocktail HOUR (will the food improve?) with complimentary beverages, wine and beer (I wonder if they’ll still be drink tickets?), and an on-site Duran concierge.  That last one perplexes me, because I honestly don’t know what that person is really going to do.  Take care of people pushing and shoving?  Making sure everyone is having a good time??  And…isn’t that what Jenn used to do anyway???   As for Gold – this is where my money is.  No really, it is – for Birmingham.  🙂   I like the idea of the seats being good, and the swag is really cool.  Can’t wait for that signed copy of All You Need is Now, that is very, very cool.  I can do without the cocktail hour – that’s what pubs are for anyway (god I love the UK), and my luck has always been awful with meet and greets.  I’m willing to chance never meeting them, I guess.  I will just admire from afar, and enjoy the brief glances from the stage.  Those are what stay with me anyway.  I would hate to meet them backstage – have one of them decide not to bother (I am looking directly at you, Mr. John Taylor who has ducked out of more than one meet and greet….;) ), or even worse – have them be in such a rush that the moment is completely lost.  Forget that.  I like the pedestal I have them all on, thankyouverymuch.  I know I paid quite a bit for that gold package, but in all honesty – unless you’re very, very lucky – the reality is, in order to get good seats to a concert these days, you’re gonna pay at LEAST that, if not more.  To be in even on the floor at a Bon Jovi concert at the MGM Garden Arena in Vegas…and it’s a HUGE floor there, it’s $250 a seat.  Good luck actually getting those seats.  Brokers want double that, and that’s for the first risers off of the floor!  I’m sure some are saying, “But wait – Duran Duran isn’t that big, and they shouldn’t command that price point.”  Maybe not to other people Duran Duran isn’t that big, but to their fans?  Um, yeah they are.  We’ll pay ridiculous sums of money to see them…and good on the band for recognizing that and exploiting it to the edge of sanity, because it’s a BUSINESS.  It’s not charity, people.  If you don’t like it, don’t pay it – but don’t lower yourself to ridiculing those who do.  It’s not worth it.  We’re all fans, and what we pay says very little about our fandom.  I have paid about the same amount to see Paul McCartney, and yet I would be foolish to say I was one of the bigger fans there.  Hardly.  It’s just the way it is.  If you didn’t pay anywhere near $300 and have seats up front – good on you and have an excellent time.  I know I will.  


So the question for today becomes – how do I get hold of a cell phone that will work in the UK. I’m on Verizon network and my phone’s platform doesn’t work there.  I don’t want to get a brand new cell phone with a new plan since I’m on a family plan (and that whole thing is a mess to change right now), but I’m wondering if there are other options for me.  Anyone know?   You don’t have to post here – email me at dailyduranie@gmail.com!  😀


I can’t believe it’s already Thursday – this week has flown by!!  Good luck to those of you vying for general sale UK tour tickets!!  


-R







The term “Durantard” and Why I Don’t Think it’s Friendly

I would be wrong if I didn’t say that I hate pre-sales.  I really do.  The pressure is ridiculous and when things go wrong – they go really wrong.   I always disliked the way pre-sale went through DDM because we never knew what seats we were buying until they showed up here at the house.  It wasn’t really fair that way…but I suppose that if you want to play, you gotta play the way they say.  Last night (or very early this morning, depending on where you live), the pre-sales for the UK took place, and overall – we did well.  We have tickets to all 4 shows that we desired (Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and even London), and in most cases we’re happy with the seats.  That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of stress involved with the ticket purchasing – credit cards that should have worked were declined, and in London – the worst seats were being sold through pre-sale to all but the VIP packages.  but, we made it through and now the real planning begins, which is my favorite part of the touring process. (aside from the shows themselves, of course!)  During the upcoming weeks, we’ll be blogging about our plans, and if you have any UK traveling tips to share – please feel free.

Today however, I wanted to touch on a topic that I find one of these most distasteful things about being in the Duran fan community, and that’s the word ‘Durantard’.  I’m sure that most of our readers have either heard the term, or had it “assigned” to them on a board somewhere.   I’ve heard the term is meant in fun, and I’ve witnessed the term being thrown at someone to the point where they have left the community.  That’s really a shame.

Have you ever gone to a message board in exuberance over a new album you found at a record store, or a new poster that you managed to buy at an auction on eBay?  Have you ever posted a story about meeting the band at an album signing and talked about your emotional response to seeing them?  Have you ever screamed just a bit too loudly at a show, or worn your Duran Duran t-shirt at the wrong place at the wrong time?  Have you ever complained about the cost of tickets, or god forbid written a blog or book about the band? All of those things, and many…MANY more…will get you labeled ‘Durantard’.

First of all, if anyone wants to call me that – fine.  I don’t honestly care what anyone says about me behind my back because honestly, if you don’t have the nerve to say it to my face and be a party to my reaction – you’re a coward and I’ve got ZERO time for that.  You can’t really hurt someone when you say something about them and to them that they already know – and trust me – I know that I’m a big old dork.  If it makes other people feel better about themselves by pointing out the obvious in others…okay then.  This blog has nothing to do with my lack of love for this term being used to describe me…been there, done that, still don’t really care.

I guess that my problem with the word is that I spend a lot of time teaching my children that we don’t use words like that to describe other people.  I come down on them very hard when I hear them say that something is “gay” (that’s grounds for automatic punishment in our house) or “retarded”.  I tell them, “How do YOU know that one of your friends isn’t gay??”   Why do we want to use a term to describe someone’s sexual orientation as a derogatory comment?  As if being gay is a bad thing…and in our house…I teach my children that it is not EVER a bad thing.  The same goes for “retarded”.  First of all, my own son is on the autistic spectrum, although in his case – you’d never really know it.  He’s a bit quirky at times, but other than that, he’s your basic engineer-in-training.  (no really, I mean it.)  There are plenty of adults and kids on the spectrum that have spent their entire lives being called “retarded” when they are not…and there are still plenty of others in the world who are cognitively challenged that are being reduced to a single term as if that’s all it takes to describe who they are.   So why do we adults do it to one another?

I’ve had people say to me that it’s a friendly term.  Really?  I don’t see anything the least bit friendly about it.  It’s meant as a put-down, and not a very creative one at that.  I also think that the very people who use the term are the same ones to which it should probably be applied, because it’s the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?  It’s as though they’re afraid to see the same sort of over-the-top fandom in themselves, so the easiest defense mechanism to employ is one where they call attention to someone else’s behavior before someone calls it out in them.  Do unto others before they do unto you??

A lot of my friends have taken to shortening the term to ‘tard.  I myself have taken part in that, thinking that it sounded better.  I’m pretty sure I’ve even used it in this blog at one point or another.  I sat down and really thought about what I was saying, and was a bit ashamed of myself for doing so.  It’s no better, and in a lot of ways, it’s even worse.  I just don’t think any of us really stop to think about what we’re really saying when we use that term, and while I think we all should stop – I don’t think less of my friends for having called me a ‘tard at one time or another.  It’s only when we stop to consider the hurt we’re doing to others and yet still continue that I find fault.  Those of you in that category know who you are.

Granted, sometimes my friends and I will do something silly and call one another a dork or a geek.  That’s far more friendly than using an old-fashioned derogative term used to describe someones cognitive development in yet still another derogatory fashion.  We say it with a smile, and laugh at ourselves in the process.  Make no mistake, when I call Amanda a geek for putting together a tour binder complete with maps to every possible hotel, point of interest and bar in the area where we’re traveling (yes, she really does…and I look forward to seeing it in May!), I’m laughing at myself as well because if she hadn’t done one, I probably would have!  When I laugh at the idea of getting up at midnight to buy presale tickets, it’s because I know I’m going to be up with the best of them – and probably having some sort of conference to discuss strategy too.  (and I did.)  There’s a difference, and I hope that our readers understand where I’m coming from.

So yes, I’m saying that if you’re using “Durantard” – knock it off.  Grow up, grow a pair and get a little more creative.

-R (a gold certified proud dork)

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

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!