Introducing Game Day!

Good morning, everyone.  It’s still morning for me, anyway…

We’re bored.  Things happen when Amanda and I get bored.  We were left to our own devices too long, and so we’ve decided to end the monotony with some fun things.  To begin with, each Thursday along with my fascinating little blog for the day, I’m going to give you a game to play in your “spare time”.  These games could be a word search, a crossword puzzle…or something completely different.  I might even learn how to create a dot to dot of album covers or posters for you all!  (don’t hold your breath on that one…)

For today, as a bit of a trial – I came up with a word search.  My question then becomes whether or not to give you the word LIST (which makes it ridiculously easy), or to keep it and make the quest a little tougher.  I’m on the fence.  I think that for today I’m going to let you all figure out the list on your own (I’ll post it later under the comments section).  Other days, depending upon the theme, the game, and my mood I’ll have to give you more information!

The theme for this word search (this is important) is Song Mania….and there are 26 song titles in this puzzle.  The words can be placed horizontally, vertically, backwards and forwards, and some titles share letters.  Also, if a song title is more than one word, those words are placed together.  So for example the title “All You Need is Now” (not in this puzzle, by the way) would be found as ALLYOUNEEDISNOW.

The first person to complete the puzzle below and send me the list (send it via, please) of all 26 song titles gets absolutely nothing but my congratulations and bragging rights.  (listen, we’re a low budget operation here!)  Good luck!!!


OK…enough quiet!!!

Last night, I finally had the opportunity to listen to some CD’s that Amanda has graciously made the two of us…that may or may not have included live performances of the concert(s) we went and saw in the UK, including Brighton.  I have to say, hearing these songs again brought back some good memories from that week spent traveling all over England and Scotland.  Yes, I’d still do it again.

When I first got home, as much as I tried to keep up with the Duran goings on, I had family schedules to contend with, and I swear the month of December went by as a blur.  I blinked and it is now over.  I guess it didn’t bother me so much when the band “signed off” for the holidays because I kind of needed a break too!  It’s tough to be a blogger sometimes!  (whine, whine, moan…wine! Yes, that kind of wine!)  So all went quiet.  Even our blog stats went way, way down. Scarily so, to be honest….but we forged on!

It’s now January 4th.  I have not heard hide, nor hair of that band for a couple weeks now – aside from a few facebook postings from the batcave, or “headquarters” as the rest of you might call it.  Oh, and one curious posting from Mr. LeBon on New Years Eve… We’re not fooled, the band is still on holiday, and I say – it’s time to get back to work!  Do you hear that whip cracking?  Of course I’m joking.  Mostly.

Fans are fickle.  We love the band to pieces because it’s what we do, but then the band goes quiet for a while, and we become uneasy.  Some move on to whatever other obsessions they have.  I actually do a lot of reading in my *laughs* spare time.  HA.  I have now read every e-book I had ready to go for my trip. (clearly didn’t do much reading in the UK…)  I’m finding myself googling each and every band members name simply to see if news pops up that I’m somehow missing elsewhere.  I have now read every single biographical essay that seems to exist for each band member, including Dom Brown.  (be afraid)  We’re bored now, and as such, we’re now in danger of chewing one another up just for the sheer sport.  Sometimes I wonder if the band sits and reads their Facebook and/or Twitter feeds for the fun of it….then I realize that only other fans could possibly find our drivel amusing.  It’s sad, but it’s reality.  I suppose I could be cleaning my house….but really what fun is there in doing that all day?? It’s a good thing that as of tomorrow all of my kids will be back in school, because I need to get out of this house, even if it is just to drive them all over the county!

Amanda and I were once called “impatient” by one of our most favorite readers.  That person was right.  I’m not really looking for new US dates (although hey if someone wants to clue me in to when those will be, I won’t turn you away!)…I’m just looking for activity.  The thrill of seeing some tweets from John Taylor, perhaps.  Some joyous postings from Roger Taylor.  How about some posts from Simon that need deciphering??  I am up for that challenge!  Yesterday while on Twitter, I came across a couple of comments that saddened me just a little and smacked me right back into reality mode.  I won’t quote, but it was intimated that perhaps the band only posts when they want to sell concert tickets.  I can’t argue that – because let’s be fair – does anyone aside from my husband go to work even when they aren’t being paid??  The band is their “job”, in the same way that my husband’s job is to sit at his desk and be on conference calls all day, go to trade shows, or fly to the Far East for meetings with clients.  The difference of course is that we’re the bands customers, and we’re far more demanding than any client my husband might have (Granted, I do not call John, Nick, Simon or Roger at 1:30am and expect them to answer their phone…then again, I don’t EVER call them….and yes, that really does happen in my house on a regular basis…).  Still, the reality can be sad (for lack of a better word) at times.  The band doesn’t necessarily chat us all up because they really want to know us.  They chat occasionally because we’re a big part of the machine that is their career.  Where you and I might very well wish to be on Twitter chatting with people, they might not.  While Facebook is how I keep in touch with my friends – Duran fans and otherwise – perhaps maybe the band doesn’t bother, and certainly not with us.  Once again I’m reminded, and fairly so, that the line between fan and friend is very defined, and I am squarely on the appropriate side of that line.

The one concern with the internet that I continuously see fans struggle over is that line.  We know the band.  We know the John Taylor that is up on the stage that he cares to share with us.  We know Simon, Nick and Roger in the same regard.  There has got to be a difference between those personas and their private lives – I just can’t see any of them surviving celebrity any other way.  I would imagine it’s a very compartmentalizing life at times.  That said, it is very, very easy to forget that fact as a fan – especially having been fans of the band for 30 years.  It is easy to assume we must know one another.  Well, we know them.  They, however, do not know us at all.  Sure, I’d love to think the band has checked out my personal Facebook, they read the blog, they read my Twitter – but none of that is true.  It’s just not reality.  I am one of a million faces they see (maybe) on tour from the stage.  With the interaction we’ve had from the band, however little it may seem at times, it’s difficult to remember that while we might be following them, they are not (for the overwhelming majority) following us.

Maybe they damn well should!   I am fascinating, aren’t you???  (that should be read with dripping sarcasm)

Time for another walk down memory lane for me…I have a few more CD’s to play!


What does jealousy really do for you?

Good morning…I’m a third of the way back to sanity.  Well, maybe I should call it insanity, but it’s my normal all the same.  One out of the three kids went back to school this morning!  It’s a very quiet morning in my house, as my youngest still isn’t up yet!!  (I suspect that when she does arise, there will be evidence of illness…*sigh*)  I’ve been watching CNN (I’m a news junkie and since the Iowa Caucus is tonight, I’m paying more attention than usual), and even enjoyed an interruption free shower…with hot water!  It’s the small things that make my life super special.

One can certainly tell that things are quiet out in Duranland.  How so??  Within two minutes of checking my Twitter timeline – it was clear that drama had once again taken its rightful place in the community.  I have to say, we’re nothing if not predictable…and 90% female.  (Apologies to the guys out there, who are always very quick to steer me into a good conversation about Duran’s music or other news.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that sort of diversion!!)  Come now, you all knew I’d have to write a little about the drama.  It’s part of what makes our community tick, and to be really blunt, it’s one of the things that fascinates me most.  It’s not the drama itself that entertains me, although there are moments.  It’s the mechanics of it all that make me stop and stare.  I understand the competitive nature of women.  I understand what it means to be territorial, even if that feeling is completely misguided.  I know it is downright exciting to receive a retweet, be followed, or even get a post from a band member.  What I don’t understand is why it’s worth ruining both your own reputation as well as others by saying horrible things about the recipient of said attention…regardless of whether said things are truthful, slight exaggerations, or downright lies.  What you say online is out there permanently. Yes, this is the internet, and I would love to be able to say much of it is done based on the safety of being behind a somewhat anonymous screen – but I’ve seen a lot of you live and in person.  It happens no matter where we are, what we’re doing, or whom we’re with.  We can certainly be a vicious people.  I know it is hard to be excited for someone else when they’ve gotten attention that you’ve been desiring for so long – but is it really that other persons fault? Does it really help to lessen the reputation of that other person??  I am as guilty as anybody else of wondering why “so and so” has been able to find the band so many times, or why that girl always gets a reply back from someone, etc. etc.  What I’ve come to realize though is that sometimes, it’s my own doing!  I’m not the type of person who is just going to barge on up to the front of a line, beg for a pick, insist on a hug, or even run up to the front of a stage….thinking back to Glasgow where for one frightening second too long Amanda and I actually considered staying in our SEATS because we didn’t think it was fair to run to the front of the stage. We missed our chance for a front row spot as a result.  Stupid, I know.  I’m not much of a risk taker I suppose.  I didn’t even ask for a drumstick or a pick when I had the chance.  Why?  Good question, and aside from not wanting to be turned down, I don’t have an answer.  My point though is that sometimes, even when given the chance to have that all-important interaction or attention, I’ll literally run in the other direction!  While there are times when I do catch myself feeling just a little jealous, especially when I feel like some of what I think is the worst behavior possible is rewarded, I remind myself of all the moments I could have had but didn’t take.  Then there are the times that I feel are golden: when someone I know who has had very few opportunities to see the band, have interactions with the band or otherwise has their moment.  They might get a retweet from John, be followed by Simon, get a post from Dom or Roger…or get a picture with any and all them.  How on earth can I be mad about that?  I can’t!  I get as excited for them as I would for myself, and oddly enough, it is in those moments when I am happiest about being a fan.

Let me tell a brief story here.  When I first really got involved in the community, well before I ever became a blogger, I had my own fits of jealousy when someone else would have their moment(s).  I think it got to the point where I would take the time to even consider if that person was deserving, and yes – I’d judge them!  It was disgusting of me, and embarrassing to admit here.  It wasn’t as though I felt like I owned the band and didn’t want to share as much as it was just that I was jealous.  The more it would happen to people I knew and maybe didn’t like so much, the worse it got; and honestly – the worse I would feel at the end of a weekend, a show or even after being online sometimes. I know it got to the point where I worried more about finding the band after a show, or who (fans) would be at the show or who would post the next picture with a band member, than I thought about having fun, and that’s when I realized it was time to change things; specifically – change my own outlook.  I will say it loudly, clearly and brutally honest right here: at first, it was REALLY, REALLY hard to just be happy for other people.  I was so jealous of reading how someone got another photo, or another picture.  I kept forcing myself to simply be happy for someone else, regardless of how well I knew them.  Then in time, it got easier and easier.  Amazingly enough, I am so much happier now than I ever was before.  I don’t spend a lot of time scowling at shows, or after shows, when I hear about someone finding the band.  I don’t get as upset if I don’t see them myself.  I genuinely and honestly am happy to hear good news from other people.  I know a lot of people who say that they just don’t care when someone gets a retweet or whatever.  Well, I *do* care.  I’m thrilled for them.  I like reading that sort of thing, and on top of that – I love being that kind of person, that kind of fan, and that kind of friend these days.  It’s much easier to just be happy than it is to be mad or wonder why it didn’t happen to me…because sometimes….it *does* happen to me, and I can see when friends spend time wondering why it didn’t happen to them.  I don’t have that answer, but I can honestly say that its a lot more attractive and fun to be happy than it is to be angry.


Creating Balance

Happy Happy Monday!  I’m attempting to write this while watching the Rose Parade on TV this morning.  I don’t mind mentioning that it is a gorgeous day in Southern California – it is supposed to hit 80 degrees F today here in Orange County – which is unusual for this time of year.  Definitely not winter-like, even by California standards!  Its a somewhat bittersweet day for my house because my husband actually had to work today (his company is one of the few that works today, they don’t care about the Rose Parade or the football games – not surprising given that its an engineering company, and most of those guys are not sports fans at all!), and its the last day of winter break before life gets insanely busy once again.  I’ve actually been dreading January because for the rest of this month, I will live and breathe musical theater.  My oldest is performing in “No No Nanette” at the end of this month.   She plays the part of Flora, and their technical rehearsals will begin tomorrow night.  I have to get started doing the jewelry and accessorizing for their costuming (which I hope has finally been decided or else I’m going to be throwing jewelry on the girls as they go out on stage for Opening Night!).  She somehow has to fit school term finals and studying in with the demanding rehearsal schedule, and my husband will be gone all next week in Las Vegas for work.   Never mind that her birthday comes later this month.  She will be 15, and I will be one year closer to completely losing my mind.  (We begin driving at 16 here.  *gasp*)  It’s going to be a very busy month!!

As I ponder how I’m going to get my family fed, kids to their activities and perhaps some rest inserted into my daily schedule, I can’t help but wonder what surprises that band is going to throw at us this year.  It’s funny how just two weeks ago I couldn’t wait to hear what was coming next from them, and now as reality is sinking in I’m almost dreading the news of more US dates or whatever else they have coming our way.  It’s really a double edged sword at times.  I wish I could drop everything, but at least for me – that’s not really an appropriate option, even if I *could* consider anything and everything I do for the band to be “research” and/or “work”.  (I hear my husband laughing….hmm….)  I know as I type that there’s someone out there amongst you that cannot wait to remind me how lucky we are to even have the option available to go and see them.  Of course that is true, and I’m not about to argue otherwise, no worries there.  I’m just trying to describe how it really IS to be a Duran fan in my every day life.  I always feel as though when it comes to the band and something they’re doing  – an appearance, a show, or even taking time for myself to listen to an album, a webcast, see a DVD that a friend has made, or whatever else is going on, I’m having to rob Peter to pay Paul.  Even when it comes to writing the blog, in order to give the blog time it means taking the time away from doing something else to get it done.  Some days, I have no trouble justifying the time, and others….*sigh*

I’m sure I must not be the only one out there with this trouble.  If it’s not the time, it’s the money, am I right?  I try to remind myself that I consistently give my kids everything I have to offer.  They come first, and I never forget that.  Except, my husband reminds me, when I go to shows or have gone “on tour”.  I’m not sure he’s being honest about that because when I’m gone, I’m still checking in as best as possible – and I’ve even had to call home literally while at a show waiting for the band to come on stage so that I could give my darling husband instructions as to where to drive in order to pick one of the kids up or where to take them to the doctor for a scheduled appointment. (never mind that I’d already left those directions for him on the counter at home before I left…)  Its always something!

The give and take of being a Duran fan along with everything else I am to be for everyone else is not an easy balance.  Sometimes I feel as though it all flows smoothly, and other times, it’s a very bumpy ride.  I have to learn how to create more of a balance in my life for myself, and once again I am sure that I’m not alone with those feelings.  That doesn’t mean that I’ll be attending every single Duran Duran show (Um, no.), but I need to stop feeling guilty just because I want to take a day to work on the blog site or work on the book rather than say, do laundry or dust my furniture.  I want to treat the book as my work – just because I happen to dearly love writing doesn’t mean it’s just a guilty pleasure, and I also need to train my family to respect my time as well.

Famous last words, right???


Your Feedback is Requested!

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to take stock and evaluate.  I thought it might be a good time for us to evaluate the blog.  While we love doing it and have no plans to stop, we also want people to enjoy it as well!!!  Since the blog was started in September of 2010, we have had a variety of blog posts.  If I had to put our blog posts in categories, I would have the following ones:  games, observation or commentary on fandom in general, observation or commentary on our fandom only, personal stories, reviews including shows, songs, albums, discussing band members, commentary on old Duran news and commentary on new Duran news.  Am I forgetting a big topic for us?

Assuming that I have the basic categories, are there things that Rhonda and I miss?  Things that we should be talking about and aren’t?  Many days, obviously, we are reacting to what is going on in Duranland or what is being discussed.  While we can’t control what is currently happening, there are days when we pick topics that we have been thinking about.  Out of those random topics, are there topics related to Duran that we haven’t covered but should?  Perhaps, there are topics that we have touched upon but should revisit it or dive into deeper?

Then, out of the categories I mentioned above, which one(s) do you prefer?  Do you like the games?  Would you prefer to read our reviews?  Do you like thinking about and discussing fandom, in general?  Do you prefer some of those more controversial topics about Duranies and our fandom?  What should we do more of?  What should we do less of?  What should we get rid of all together? 

I would seriously like to know what you think and prefer.  We will consider everyone’s opinions and preferences.  While we suspect that not everyone is going to agree, we would still like to know what people are thinking!  Feedback is important so bring it on, people!!!


The Daily Duranie’s Year End Lists

Sometimes, the band directly influences us and today is one of those times as we are following in their footsteps by doing our own year end lists!  It seemed like a good way to wrap up the year and all that it was! 

Rhonda’s list:
Best Duran Duran Moment of 2011:
Hearing the opening notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton and realizing that yes, they were really playing what I thought they were playing!  It was the only time I heard it for the entire tour…the only time I’ve ever witnessed it played live…and it was a dream come true.  I know the band couldn’t possibly have known how much I wanted to hear that song – but I owe them a million thanks for doing so.  Dream. Come. True. 

Best Personal Moment(s):   Hmm…I have several:
Watching my 3 year old dance on stage for the first time (she was a Bumblebee, and yes – she was the absolute cutest one ever!)
Seeing my son play clarinet with his junior high school band – it was surreal seeing him play after having done so myself for so many years. (and he plays MY clarinet from when I was a kid, too!)
Watching my oldest do her first musical – Anything Goes.  I loved watching her come alive on stage and seeing for myself that yes, she really does belong in musical theatre.  Very proud moment. 

World Events:
I don’t know that this really counts as an “event” as much as it was a natural disaster, but hearing about the earthquake and damage from the earthquake in Japan always sticks in my mind.  My husband traveled there quite often for work, and exactly one week prior – he was there and would not have been able to make it back home had the earthquake hit at that time (even more frightening was that he was originally scheduled to be there that week but had to move up his trip due to scheduling).  He hasn’t been back to Japan since the earthquake and tsunami.   I guess that I don’t like thinking about the political things that go on, mainly because we as humans can control a lot of that – even if we choose not to – but natural disasters like earthquakes and things we simply have no control over.  Its how we respond to those things that interest me most.

Album of 2011 (gee, I wonder….)
This really doesn’t even seem like a fair question.  While yes, the digital version of All You Need is Now was available on iTunes in December of 2010, the regular version didn’t come out until March – and so that’s what I’m counting.  Hands down for me, this is the album of the year (if not the decade).  It lived up to everything I’d hoped it would be, and the music and lyrics have added to the soundtrack of my life since then.  Did any other albums even come out last year???  😀

Single of 2011:
This is the toughest question for me out of the whole lot because I really don’t have ONE single that sticks out in my head as being best.  I really dislike conventional radio, and by nature of the beast I find that many times, the “singles” that are out there suck.  I do love the entire AYNIN album, but I don’t know if one single really made the year….except for maybe the title song, because in all honesty its how I’ve tried to take each moment of this past year.  I tend to be someone who is always planning ahead for the next thing or worrying about what I did yesterday.  This song in particular reminds me to enjoy the small milliseconds I have and to enjoy the now.  Lesson learned, thanks to Duran Duran.  Who knew the band would still be teaching me at the age of 40 or 41?

Favorite movie of 2011:
So here’s the reality:  I don’t go to the movies very often.  As in, I think I might have gone to see a movie in a theater about 5 times this year, and most of those movies were for my youngest.  So, with that in mind, my favorite movie this year was probably The Lion King in 3D.  My two older ones were fairly young when the original came out, and due to this being released in 3D version, I was able to take my youngest to see the movie.  She loved it, and I still get teary eyed.  (Yes, I really am just a sap!)  I think it comes down to the fact that I am Mommy first, Duranie second.  (Don’t ask where “wife” fits in because I don’t know that answer.  I think it depends on if I’m at home or at a show!)

Best Gig of 2011 (they say non DD – but I think we should each pick our very favorite show):
I saw a few different bands this year.  Most of them were quite good, but for me two gigs stand out above all others, and I really can’t split hairs enough to choose between the two. 
*Duran Duran, Brighton:  Standing there and realizing I’d finally made it and the band was standing in front of me, IN the UK…playing not only Secret Oktober but also Mediterranea??  Unreal.  I still get the shivers when I think of that show.  Isn’t that the high we all want??

*Duran Duran, Glasgow.  I’ve been to a couple of shows this year that really stood out in terms of sheer energy, but Glasgow completely blew me away.  I’ve never felt so much energy at an arena show – and if that was the best that it ever gets for me, it was enough.  Oh, and watching John and Dom right in front of me during Hungry Like the Wolf didn’t hurt much either.  😉

Most looking forward to in 2012:
I don’t even know.  I don’t even know if I dare say!!  I guess though I’m most looking forward to seeing friends again.  I’m hoping to get back out on the tour with Amanda – who knows where we’ll end up(!!), and I’m really hoping to make my way back over to the UK for the DD-UK convention.  I also have a few friends here that have *gasp* nothing to do with Duran Duran whatsoever that I’m looking forward to spending more time with…I’m hoping to get my portion of our book written, and I’m looking forward to going on vacation with my family for two weeks in August.   Even I need time to disconnect from the computer and cell phones for a while!  😉 

Amanda’s turn:
Best Duran Moment of 2011:
While I definitely could echo Rhonda’s in hearing Secret Oktober and I did think that was absolutely one of the best Duran moments of all time, it is hard to just pick one.  That one was definitely up there.  Honestly, I will never forget seeing and hearing the band come on stage and start Before the Rain in Brighton.  It was one of those magical moments that worked to erase everything that had gone wrong before and every moment of stress.  The lyric about “traveling to the place where all loose ends go” seemed so fitting at that moment.  Collectively, we tied those loose ends that night.  Another moment that deserves mention is Leopard (no, not Bournemouth, Rhonda, but…) in Glasgow.  It seemed like literally everyone in that venue was in sync and it created such energy.  Amazing.

Best Personal Moment(s):
Like Rhonda, I have several because I cannot choose.  I just returned from visiting my family in North Carolina and it was absolutely wonderful to be with my nieces for Christmas.  I wish that they were closer on a daily basis and wish that I could see them everyday as they are two of the funniest, smartest, sweetest people to ever cross my path!  On a different note, I was invited to one of the White House’s Holiday Receptions this year due to my political activism.  The invitation was enough to treasure but to hear the President thank me and other activists was pretty monumental.  It is nice to be recognized and appreciated for working hard.

World Events:
Some famous politician, which I can’t remember right now, uttered the phrase, “All politics are local.”  While I think this is, generally, true all the time, this year really proved it to me.  As a teacher in Wisconsin, I not only witnessed a pretty serious attack on my profession and many other similar ones, I also became part of a pretty significant response as over 100,000 people took to the streets to let our voices be heard.  This type of response was echoed in many other parts of the world, including in places as far away as Egypt and as close as Michigan and Ohio.  Even though we are no longer occupying our Capitol or protesting on a daily basis, we are still working to recall our governor and those who stood with him.  No matter what people may think of our politics, the grassroots response is something to be proud of and to be in awe of.

Best Album of 2011:
This is obviously a no brainer here.  As a Duranie, the full version of All You Need is Now made my heart swell.  Duran’s soul had been returned and they reminded all of us why we fell in love with them in the first place and why we aren’t leaving any time soon.  This album is the best of the year and one of their best, ever.

Single of 2011:
I find this category sort of strange and silly since we have constantly discussed the end of traditional singles on this blog.  Do singles even matter?  Assuming that they do and assuming that Duran sort of had three, depending on how you define it, I would have to choose the title track from AYNIN.  I love the general message but I also love the specific message to us, the fans.  We should stay with the music and let it play a little longer. 

Favorite movie of 2011:
Like Rhonda, I don’t watch a ton of movies.  I don’t take the time to do it and I certainly don’t spend the money to see any in the theater.  One movie I enjoyed seeing this year (don’t think it came out this year, though) was the King’s Speech.  I watched it on the way from the UK in May.  As a special education teacher who has had many students with speech and language impairments, I found the movie fascinating.

Best Gig of 2011:
I’m supposed to choose?!  Oh gee…I honestly can’t choose any from those 4 UK shows that I saw.  Yes, I would agree with Rhonda that the energy, the everything was working at Glasgow.  That was one show that will keep me coming back for more and more and more just in hopes that they come close to the performance we saw that night.  The crowd was equally as fabulous and it was everything that a show should be!  That said, I can’t forget about Brighton, Bournemouth or Birmingham.  Brighton’s show was one that I didn’t think that they would be able to top EVER.  They were on fire that night.  If people thought they were good in Chicago in October (and they were), they were 10 times better in Brighton, at least!  Simon, for example, seemed 10 times more energetic.  I couldn’t get over it!  Of course, that show will always be remembered for Secret Oktober.  That, my friend, was worth the wait, the expense and more.  Birmingham was also special because we finally got to see them there, in their birthplace and Bournemouth was something unique, too, because Rhonda made me laugh during Leopard.  Who does that?!?

Most Looking Forward to in 2012:
I, obviously, hope to see more Duran shows!  I also hope to hop over the pond once more to join my friends in celebrating the band and our fandom at the UK Convention!  I cannot wait!  As a John girl, I cannot wait to get my hands on that book of his!  I am sure to devour it in one sitting and then will read it again for all of the details!  Speaking of books, we must finish ours and get moving with everything else that we have planned!  Beyond Duran, 2012 is a presidential year.  Thus, I will be plenty busy campaigning not only for that race but also for US Senate, US House Rep and, hopefully, governor here.  I am hoping that the results will be such that I will have much to rejoice.

Now, we would LOVE to read your lists!  How would you summarize your 2011?!  With that, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and Durantastic 2012!!!

-A & R

Quite a Year for Duran and Duranies!

It is the time of the year when many people take some time to look back at the year, analyze it and decide how best to move forward. The band did this, to some extent, with their year end lists. (Note to everyone: Rhonda and I will do our own year end lists tomorrow.) While I could take time to look over their lists and comment on what they wrote or didn’t write, I thought I would summarize the year that both Duran and their fans experienced!

It really was quite a year!!! Obviously, it wasn’t exactly what any of us expected. Yet, looking back, I have to conclude that it was a positive year and one in which we all learned a lesson. This lesson was a very important one and one that the band was trying to teach us but couldn’t do it until the late spring and summer.

The year started out on a such a high for all of us!!! Duran had released the short, digital form of All You Need is Now in December of 2010. Many (most?) fans celebrated this release as a return to the Duran that we know and love. We had the chance to be excited about the 9 songs that we had and look forward to the full release in March. TV appearances, radio interviews and shows were also on the horizon. Everything was going super well! By the end of January, the first tour dates were released, which included 11 dates in the UK. For the two of us, this meant presales and initial plans to travel to the UK to see the band. It was an exciting time!!

February and March continued in this same path as we witnessed first interviews and TV appearances like the one for the Superbowl Fan Jam as well as the full album release! Tour dates were also released for small venues for the US. For many fans, tickets, travel plans and more were arranged to attend a show or two. Duran celebrated a significant event with the Unstaged Performance at the Mayan Theatre in LA. This performance was streamed online and directed by David Lynch. On a personal level, Rhonda enjoyed this show in person as well as another show in her area. I had the good fortune of planning a couple shows in the Midwest. It seemed like everything was going well on the Duran front. Of course, on a personal level, I was fighting for approval to take some time off of work to go to the UK. I was determined that it would all work out. Oh boy…

Spring continued to be kind to Duran as more dates were played and more dates were announced in Europe and elsewhere. It seemed like 2011 would be a solid Duran year, much like other years like 2005 or 1993. My work approval, finally, came through and we began to prepare for our trip in a serious fashion. Duran continued to play some smaller, private type gigs in Europe, including a show in Rome and a show in Cannes. We now all know what happened there. Simon sang and proceeded to lose the higher range of his singing voice. This led to initial shows being canceled for the UK, then more shows in the UK to all shows in the UK. We expressed this utter disappointment while actually being in the UK. Soon enough, all the shows in the summer were canceled and Duran’s future seemed more than uncertain. For all of us, fans, this was a very difficult time. Many of us tried to remain positive while preparing for the worst.

Then, as fall moved closer, hope began to develop. Then, Duran played some rehearsal gigs in the UK! These shows not only gave us hope about Duran’s future, they gave us hope that Duran would be willing to expand their touring setlist. Soon enough, more shows were announced in the US. Fans planned and hoped. Then, those shows happened and Simon was able to sustain his voice through full shows. We were lucky to enjoy a show or two, ourselves, as we prepared to go back to the UK for the shows we missed. By the end of the year, the band enjoyed a successful UK tour and a new video that managed to get quite a buzz in Girl Panic! More shows are planned for 2012 and the promise of even more to be announced! It is like the year had gone full circle for the band and the fans as we had experienced serious highs and serious lows.

I think that this year was a positive one for the band and the fans. The title and message of the band’s current album is to remind us all to live in the moment and to enjoy that moment. In the early part of the year, we all claimed to be doing that and maybe some of us were. By the summer, though, we learned that our fandom could suffer the greatest of losses by the end of the band as Simon’s future as a singer was in question. Luckily for all of us, Simon healed and the band came back, better than ever! Speaking for myself, this lesson of living in the moment and appreciating what I have truly was learned by this experience with Simon’s voice. Maybe all or most of the fans experienced this same lesson. While I think that this lesson was impossible to ignore for Rhonda and I due to traveling to the UK, I suspect that it was very obvious to all fans.

Now, we can look forward to 2012. While I hope that this is an exciting and wonderful year for Duran, I hope that we don’t lose the meaning we found in 2011. We need to appreciate each and every moment. We need to appreciate everything positive and wonderful that happens with the band. I’m not saying that we can’t criticize them, if needed, but we need to remember that this band won’t continue forever and that everything can change in an instant. We need to remember that all we need is now.

Catch ya on the other side!!

So this is my last blog of 2011. I must admit that the notion seems odd to me as I’m still having to remind myself not to write “2010” as the year when I fill out checks and paperwork. I’m really going to be challenged to remember 2012! This has certainly been quite a year. There are some years that I can look back with certainty and say it was a good year, or a bad year. 2011 was a bit of a mixed bag for me, and at the very least I can say it brought many surprises and emotions. I suppose it was a very full year.

Technology did not disappoint for me this year. Thanks to social networking I found my long lost four best friends from college – in fact we just got together again here at my house last night. It was a very loud, very late night! I love that our world is much smaller today than it was even a few years back, and in the period of just a few minutes I can check in with Amanda in Wisconsin on email, post a message for a friend on the East Coast of the US on Facebook, see what people in the UK are tweeting about on Twitter, and chat with a friend in South America over instant message….never mind answering a phone call from my mother who lives 3 miles from me here in California. I would say that the world has gotten much smaller and more active for me in 2011.

On a personal note, I don’t do resolutions. I need more than the empty slate of a new year ahead to motivate me, and I guess I prefer to see time as flowing from one year to the next rather than having definitive beginnings and ends. I’ve never done well with the idea of time passing, and I suppose to some extent the idea frightens me. I don’t like feeling as though time is something I’ll eventually run out. So I focus on goals and having to-do lists. I finished quite a few things on that list for 2011, and I even changed the blog so people could read it without going blind…go me! Next is to do a redesign and move it to WordPress, along with adding more content. I could spend many more hours on the blog than I have each day, so progress is slow, but it will grow in time. I want to completely finish the first draft of the book, as well. I’m hoping to find more time to play/practice clarinet as well. There are a couple of home projects I want to accomplish this year (painting my room and the upstairs hallways) as well. Once again, I have the hope of going to the UK on my list AGAIN this year…as I’m hoping to attend the DD-UK convention. My husband is SO overjoyed! Which reminds me….I need a job…or I’m going to start selling off household contents on eBay!

I wish everyone a very Happy 2012!!!


Here Right Now

In keeping with the theme of their current album, Duran Duran have partnered with the Grey Area Foundation for the Arts to create a data visualization project.  All day long I’ve seen comments on Facebook, wondering what the fuss is about, and why a fan should want to be involved.

Basically, its an art project requiring participation from all over the world.  The sole purpose is to show a snapshot in time (your snapshot in time) using various themes that are posted on the site.  Its relatively easy to upload a photo – I would say that choosing the photos to upload is the toughest part, but isn’t that always the case?

I think the most intense question, as always, is the “why”.  To begin with, Duran Duran is and always has been a very visual band.  This project certainly keeps with that theme.  I can understand the partnership simply because the project is a form of participation art, and its innovative in that it utilizes the web to spread its message.  As we all should know by now, one of the major (if not the most central) theme(s) to All You Need is Now is enjoying the moment.  Live life in the moment you’re in – don’t look back, don’t look forward, just enjoy the now.  That’s what this project is to represent.  What is your NOW looking like?

I can already read the email and comments I’m going to get when I admit I’ve yet to upload a single photo myself.  I suppose the easiest thing to do would be to simply take a picture with my computer and just send it in. (Following one of the predetermined themes of course…that oddly enough coincide with many different words fans should recognize.  “Sunrise”, “Beautiful”, “Moon”, “Information”, and “Red” to name but a few of the very recognizable themes.)  I thought of doing that yesterday, and then somehow got sidetracked.  I checked the site fairly early in my day, and then again before I went to bed last night to see just how many pictures had been uploaded, and at that time there didn’t seem to be that many.  I would imagine that for many fans – the holidays are still taking precedence, and perhaps the site will see more activity after this next weekend.  For me, its simply that I’m overwhelmed by the amount of pictures I have on my computer and finding the right one(s) to send.  In short, I’m overthinking the task.  Again.   If only I’d grouped my pictures by themes such as “Sunrise”, “Moon”, “Information”…..well, you get the idea!

Upon looking around on Facebook and even Twitter, the project isn’t getting a lot of discussion.  Those that have received the email seem to be less than interested, and when met with the task of actually watching an instructional video on how to participate, most fans didn’t bother.  I can’t blame them on one hand, it’s not as though you really need to watch a video to participate (its somewhat akin to uploading a photo to Facebook), but on the other, I suspect the lack of interest is simply that – a general lack of interest beyond the music, the videos and the shows.

In all fairness, not every fan is going to be excited or interested in supporting every single project.  For example, I am less-than-excited by the “supposed (Are you reading, Mr. Rhodes?) 2012 release” of TV Mania.  I’m more interested to see if Nick will really follow through and get it released than I am by the project itself….but I’m also prepared to eat those words if need be.  I like being wrong when it comes to Nick.  We will see.  How about Drama Americana, anyone?!?  (No Nick, we still haven’t forgotten about that one!)  That aside, it would seem that anything requiring extra work of the fans, especially if a show isn’t directly involved, tends to wane in popularity.  Curiously, I have to wonder if this project will not follow the same path.  Fans tend to ask what they will get out of it, and I did see many wonder if the band themselves will follow suit and post their own pictures. (not a horrible idea – and it would definitely spur more activity)  Time will tell.

I have to commend the band for thinking out of the box and supporting art projects such as these – in this day and age – I find very, very little of that here in my country.  The arts really suffer here, and as a musician and a mother of an student who goes to an arts based high school, I applaud them.  I wish more bands and artists would partner with SCHOOLS in this nature.  That’s just a hint for something the band to consider doing in the future….


What Would Duranies Do?

In a vain attempt for some peace this morning (peace from my family, that is), I attempted to escape online to Facebook for some “me” time.  Upon doing so, I checked the Daily Duranie Facebook page, and saw that our buddy Kitty from Gimme A Wristband should now also be known as Kitty from Andy Taylor’s blog.  While I pondered that progression of events with pride and joy for her, I noticed that there was in fact a new blog up on Andy’s site for today.  You can see Andy’s brand new website, along with the blog and tons of other goodies here.  The blog itself is very short, referring to yet another blog written by the folks at Gawker about the Beliebers – those lovely, lovely Justin Bieber fans.  You can find that blog here…and I strongly suggest you take the time to read because todays blog is in reference to both blogs.

To summarize and probably oversimplify a bit, the Gawker blog focuses on an event in Times Square where about 50 Justin Bieber fans (the aforementioned Beliebers) gather to do a “buy out” of a music store.  According to the blog, these buyouts are actually attributed to helping Justin’s album sales figures over the years, and his management actually goes the distance to organize these events.  Kitty in turn asks what Duranies would have done back in the day with this sort of technology (social media such as Facebook and Twitter) to allow fans to mobilize and even form troops.

Its funny because the first thought is that it would have created complete chaos, as though there wasn’t quite enough of that back in the 80’s, right?  Most Duranies (that commented regarding the blog) immediately jumped to the thought that they would have only used the technology for themselves – learning of the bands whereabouts, waiting online for interaction from them, etc. etc.  I think its fair to say that yes, much of that would have happened – but along with chaos, there could very well have been a stronger level of commitment to the cause.  We long time fans readily admit that we tried to buy everything and anything that was available for the band.  Why wouldn’t we have done the same with a little more direction and focus?  Had the band been able to actually mobilize us using social media – imagine the buying that could have been done!   I’m sure the band wonders about that at night as they’re drifting off to sleep.  If that scenario doesn’t thrill you or at least make you think a bit, let me throw another thought your way:  Why don’t they use us now?   Or DO they?

In fairness, I think the band was very late to the social networking party, and I don’t honestly understand why that was.  I think their learning curve has taken quite a while, and while I have no doubt that at least John Taylor and probably Roger Taylor, Simon LeBon and even Dom Brown are beginning to recognize the strength of the masses (that would be you and I) and the loyalty that comes out of simply acknowledging the fans as people, I don’t necessarily think any of them really know how to effectively harness the power of fandom.

What could really be done?  Granted, none of us (or at least very few!) are teenagers these days.  We all have lives that are incredibly busy beyond the world of Duran Duran.  How many of us could conceivably drop everything and run to wherever the band needed or wanted us to be within a matter of hours?  I’m positive the answer would be not many.  This is proven by the amount of times something, like perhaps a TV appearance on Jay Leno or otherwise, has been announced literally within three or four hours before “showtime”.  Less than a handful of fans are able to show within that kind of notice, and understandably so.  Social networking requires planning and it requires nearly constant attention in order for it to really work effectively – planning being the operative word. Of course that’s not always possible, but should be the exception, not the rule. With proper planning and a little “out of the box” thinking, fans could be mobilized to do similar buyouts, get togethers (to promote fans working together), showing up en masse to various events and things…and really, aren’t those things part of the fun of being a fan?  I would suggest that perhaps giving the fan base focused tasks and direction might even create or foster more loyalty in the long run.

I hate to say that Duran Duran could learn something from Justin Bieber.  In fact, I feel nauseous as I type…but the truth prevails.  There is something to be said for the strength and spirit of the Belieber Army.  While many could argue that there isn’t much stronger than the spirit of the teenage fan, I have to believe that with the right motivation and management – Duran fans could change things.  5 million views of Girl Panic could be just the beginning.