South Africa saga, Day 2

It’s 12:25 in the afternoon my time here in lovely Southern California, and I have yet to write today’s blog.  I’ve been sitting here, scouring the boards and trying to come up with something “smart” to write for the better part of the morning as our construction team is downstairs ripping out our fireplace.  If I were a better writer, I would probably be able to make some sort of fantastic parallel between the demolition of the fireplace and the reconstruction of my family room to the band and their current state of “remodeling” with the upcoming album. (All You Need is Now, available on iTunes on December 21.  How’s that for a free plug?!?)

One day later in the South African show cancellation saga and the news continues to spur speculation within the community.  The news articles coming out of South Africa continue to blame low ticket sales for the cancellation, and there have been no further updates from the band.  The truth is that we fans may never know the entire truth behind the dates being cancelled, and we are probably going to have to be OK with that.  That said, I can’t help but fan the flames of the speculation fire a bit by saying that perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle of “the tour promoter defaulted on the contract” (notice that no reason was given as to WHY the promoter defaulted) and “low ticket sales”.  Other news bytes on the topic quote the promoter as saying that they tried to renegotiate fewer dates with the band as a result of the low ticket sales, but they were not able to come to a favorable resolution with the bands management.

Oddly enough, after one looks into the venues where the band was slated to play – the story seems to become clearer to some extent.  The band was to be performing 5 shows throughout  South Africa: one in Durban, two in/around Johannesburg, and two in Cape Town. The venue in Durban accommodates 15,000; the venue in Cape Town from 8-10,000.  Those are large venues, to say the least.  It isn’t a surprise if the ticket sales really were lower than expected, but that would seem to me to be on the shoulders of the promoter.   Chances are, the promoter realized the shows would not come close to being sold out, tried to back out on the agreement, and the band held their ground.  Whether it was a mistake for the band to back out on the chance to play ANY South African shows is up for others to decide.  


Other writers from South Africa have touched upon the subject today (you can read one article here ), and they’ve painted a far less positive picture.  As a fan, I have to wonder how it is that Roxette can sell tickets well and Duran Duran was not – although once you read the article it’s pretty clear: Roxette sold 5000 tickets for 3 shows coming up in May.   These South African shows were not given nearly the same amount of sales time between announcement, onsale date and show, and if that’s not enough to convince the naysayers out there, 5,000 tickets is only 1/3 of the capacity of just one of the venues that Duran Duran was to play during their 5 show run.  Doesn’t seem as though the author is truly comparing apples to apples….


Regardless, the speculation will go on.  In the meantime, I will sit and listen to the roar of saws, nail guns and hammering in my house!  Who had the crazy idea of taking out the fireplace and getting new flooring anyway?!?   (um, that would be me!)

-R

South Africa and Rio

I am not a news writer.  I take that statement very seriously, because I have almost zero interest in being the first to print a story, or the first to uncover juicy information about the band.  I’m also not a music critic.  I love music, and while you will read my opinion on songs here from time to time (as well as shows that I’ve been to), I know that I’m no expert.  My interest is in pop culture and the fan base – and I try my best to stick to that format here at Daily Duranie.  That said, from time to time, a news byte will come up that seems to cross over from news, and I’ll cover it as I see fit.

Last night, Duran Duran announced that they are having to cancel their South Africa shows in December.  By my count – they had little more than a week to go before performing, and in their press release, the band cited that the promoter defaulted on the contract, forcing them to cancel their shows.  You can read the official announcement here.

As the night wore on, speculation – Duranies L.O.V.E. to speculate – rose. (including this one. Hence the blog…)  Announcements were released from the South African promoter that the ticket sales were low.  They wanted the band to do fewer shows, and they could not come to an agreement.  Interestingly enough, I had just read that the shows were selling well, but of course, I am not in South Africa, and I have no idea what “well” really meant.   Naturally Duranies all over the globe wonder what this has in store for the band.  Does it mean the band will play elsewhere?  How does this affect the promotion for the new album?  Is this a sign of what is to come?  The speculation goes on…

My take is simply that while it’s unfortunate that the band had to cancel shows – this this a touring band by all means – it is not the end of the world.  I don’t know how large their audience really is in South Africa, and I don’t mean to diminish their worth – but the fact is, if they had a huge audience there, I have to think that they’d have made it a point to perform there far more often than they have.  From the time they announced their shows in South Africa, I questioned the value in choosing to perform there and possibly perform new music there first – but it was more a question rising from lack of knowledge about the South African fan base than anything else.   I do feel for the fans who are not going to have the opportunity to see them in December, because ultimately it is those fans who will come away as the victims in this business.

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The question of Rio has come up on the boards once again – perhaps it never really left – and I find it necessary to address it on the blog.  Just this morning I read a thread  where a fan mentioned that the newer music (the very few snippets we have heard so far) sound nothing like the classic sound from Rio and that the band is still trying to play the modern sound – and that it won’t work.

Of course, for every fan that feels that way, there are several others that will take that fan down in flames.  The replies varied from those who tried to prove that the snippets did in fact sound classic, to those who questioned why someone would want a recreation of Rio to begin with.  Interestingly enough, I myself have wondered that same thing from time to time, and I’ve done some very unscientific research, which I’ll share.

It seems as though the younger the fan, the less likely they are to want an album that sounds like it should have been the follow up to Rio (or even less likely – a recreation thereof).  That alone speaks volumes to me.  My assertion is that it’s not really just the music that the fans want recreated.  I would suggest that for all of you out there who look back to Rio with a certain fondness, that perhaps it’s the spirit of the time you’re looking for.  The fans want to experience that moment again – the newness of the music, the fact that the band was sitting on top of the world, the youthfulness of 1985 (because most of us were in our early to mid-teens at that time)….it’s the spirit of the time as much as it is the music.   Music is very much about sentimentality.  When we identify with a song as deeply as some us did with the Rio album, or the first album, it truly seems to take on a life of it’s own.  It becomes part of the soundtrack to our lives, so to speak.  We each carry memories that go along with that music, and for some of us – it’s a moment in time that we want to live over again, even if we don’t necessarily cognitively acknowledge it.  I would guess that most who read the blog are saying “No way.  I want that classic sound because it’s what is Duran Duran.   I don’t need Rio over again, I just want the band to sound like Duran Duran.”   I would agree.  However, I would also say that for many, the Rio album = Duran Duran.  They can’t separate the two, and their feelings for one blend into the other.  I would go so far as to say that’s why Mark was so set on having the band embrace that and own it as opposed to trying to recreate the wheel to a certain extent, which truthfully – I think the band has tried to do over the years, even if they themselves don’t recognize that in themselves.

Ultimately, it will never been 1983, 1984 or 1985 again.  While those moments were fun, and I will never forget the glee I would experience when watching the band on MTV or sitting through the American Music Awards or the Grammy’s just to get a glimpse of the band if they were there, it’s far past time to move on from there.  Rio was a wonderful moment in time that I never hope to recreate.  Some things are just too perfect to mess with.

-R

Welcome to the 21st Century!

My kids say that to me constantly these days.  At first I suppose it was funny, but when they started referencing the fact that I was born prior to the internet being “born”….well, let’s just say they ran from me as they were laughing.  The sad (or not so sad) fact is that it’s true, I have seen many a technological dream become a reality in my lifetime.  The same could be said for most of Duran Duran’s fans, and most certainly those who have been around since the very beginning.  At one point (that doesn’t seem nearly that long ago!), fan communities were called “Fan Clubs”, and they communicated with fans through good old snail mail with a stamp and envelope.  Bands communicated with their fans through doing TV, radio & magazine interviews, through the rare newsletter sent to their fan clubs, and of course through their music.  There was always some sort of barrier, whether inferred or actual, between the fan and the band.  Of course, this was also back in the day when we actually bought record albums, or CD’s – Tower Music or Wherehouse Records were not only places we would spend precious hours pouring over each aisle of record bins, but also where we would stand in line for hours waiting for tickets to go on sale, or for our favorite musicians to make an appearance to sign record albums.   I can remember standing in line for hours waiting for tickets for a concert to go on sale, only to see a few people go in, buy tickets and have a clerk come out to tell us they’ve sold out.  (this was before the dreaded randomly numbered wristbands were handed out, and before Ticketmaster took to the internet!)

It’s a very different world today, indeed.  Not only do I have the luxury of buying tickets to just about any concert or show in the relative comfort of my own home, but at any given moment I can check in on Twitter to see how Boy George is spending his day, read about what project Curt Smith of Tears For Fears is working on, or read how Cookie Monster is handling his cookie addiction!   Facebook has brought the friends of my youth back into my life so that they are not only a part of my past, but also my future.  I can read how my dear high school friend is moving to another state, or get an update on what The Killers are doing – all in one place.  
Duran Duran has never been the type of band to shy away from technology.  Let’s face it, they are the band to make MTV a household name to many of us; they were the first band to make a song available to be purchased and downloaded online.  While I feel as though they have embraced technology, I have felt that to some degree, they’ve been extremely slow to warm up to the idea of interacting with their fan base online.  It is true that they’ve had message boards – duranduran.com had an online forum for several years before shutting down a few years back.  Duranduranmusic.com is their paid fan community, and for just $35.00 a year a fan can have unlimited access to the message boards and exclusive news bytes, contests, presales and other “goodies”.  Even with all of the ways that fans can interact with one another, the band has remained relatively out of reach for most, if not all fans.  There would be the occasional bit of news sent out through newsblasts, or perhaps an update video posted on DDM or even more news given out through Katy Kafe on duranduranmusic.com – but as a long time fan, I always felt that the band was missing out on one of the best and easiest ways to reach out and interact with their fans – through the internet!   The band eventually did set up a facebook page and a Twitter account, but their attempts to actually use the twitter account properly were dismal to begin with.  Rather than the band sending out a “tweet” once in a while – we’d get a post of a picture, or a post to remind us to check into dd.com for updated news.  It was as though the band (or more accurately the people who worked for them) had no idea what twitter was really used for.  Of course, I write that knowing that at first, *I* didn’t really get the point of twitter either.  Honestly I think the learning curve for some of this stuff gets steeper and longer with each decade of age!  Their facebook updates were a little more successful, but for the most part – the updates would be much of the same that would be posted on dd.com.   Many fans would be upbeat and thankful to see some updates, but on the boards, and in private – many of us lamented at what the band was really missing.  
These days, bands have to do their part to connect with their fan base.  It’s not enough to put out an album, do a tour and think that the fans will just willingly follow along for the long haul.  (Those were the days, weren’t they??) Fans, especially younger fans, want more. That doesn’t mean that you have to be another Britney Spears or Paris Hilton and tweet absolutely everything, but it does mean that the band has to at least appear as though they are willing to share what they’re working on.  It’s a tough balance, admittedly – and I can’t fault the band for not jumping in with both feet.  
Lately, however – I’m seeing a new and improved Duran Duran.  Gone are the days where virtual cobwebs were showing on their Twitter account – and even Simon seems to have remembered his Twitter!  Just last week Duran Duran not only wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, but we actually saw a few times where the group (or someone working for the band, of course!) asked us WHAT WE THOUGHT.  A dangerous question to ask any Duranie, in my opinion!   They’ve been replying back to fans, and genuinely trying to interact.  A definite improvement.  Granted, I don’t think it’s actually ever Roger, John, Nick or Simon (well…actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon is doing his own tweeting) that’s interacting – but that’s not really that surprising.  It’s the thought that truly counts, and it’s all about Public Relations.  
That brings me to the “why”.  Why have the band decided to finally jump on board and throw their fans a virtual bone after all of this time?  Why not just continue to appear as though they are out of our reach and continue to create more demand?   Let’s at least be honest and recognize that, at least at one time, the fans were so hungry for the band that they couldn’t be seen in public without being mobbed.  It’s really not all that different these days, much to MY chagrin as a 40 year old fan.  Seems to me at that our age – we should be old enough to know how to act in front of the band, but I digress.  Is it that they finally recognize that by keeping themselves out of reach, both in person and online in various methods, that they aren’t creating a demand as much as they’re creating a real gap between themselves and their fans – many feel as though they act far more elitist than they really should at this point, and it’s turned fans away.  Could it be that the band recognizes that their fan base has shrunk to the point where we’re a manageable mob?  Or, perhaps the band realizes that it really is the music that has brought us together – and that is something that should be celebrated after 30 years, not something that they need to hide from.   In the past week I’ve gone from thinking that these are signs of the apocalypse, to wondering if the band has been taken over by aliens, to realizing that maybe, just maybe, they are giving this the old college try.  
It’s really hard to say, but I must thank their PR person for guiding them, and I thank the band for giving it a chance.  It might even work – and they may find that they can interact with us without fearing for their lives in the process!  😉  

Video Anticipation

Duranies are dying with anticipation for the video for “All You Need Is Now.”  This anticipation has been building over the last few weeks.  First, Nick mentioned in an interview that the band plans on doing videos for every track on the album.  Some of the videos will feature the band and some not but they felt like video was return to what it once was.  Then, there was an announcement on dd.com about how Nick Egan was directing the video.  As with anything else in the Duranie community, there was a mixed reaction to this piece of news.  Some liked it as they liked the previous videos he directed, including Perfect Day, White Lines and Ordinary World.  Others were nervous about the choice.  Then, the anticipation increased ten-fold during this weekend as there were many tweets from the band and their manager about the actual shoot.  We have learned that the band is filming at Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge and at a cemetery in London.  They also let us know that the video shoot went well as it was completed over what seemed like a two day period.  Then, we saw the pictures from the shoot on the official website this morning!

The pictures have resulted in quite a bit of excitement and *squeeing* by the fans.  First, the guys really do look fabulous in them.  I know that many fans are drooling over a close up of Nick that shows off his beautiful eyes.  Others are fanning themselves after seeing a picture with John, Roger and Dom.  Second, the pictures have provided us with some idea of what the video could look like.  The band all seem to be wearing long, dark coats of a certain, almost military style.  It is clear that both John and Nick are sporting dark eyeliner (of which I approve of!).  The video itself seems to feature both a band performance as well as outdoor scenes.  The band performance seems to be in a room with aluminum foil or something like it on the walls.  The one truly thrilling part of what I have seen by the performance shot is that Roger’s drum kit is already showing the D from the new logo.  This shows in a big way that the era of RCM is over and a new era has begun!  Lastly, we have also learned that Dom Brown is also in the video.  While this makes many fans happy, including the authors of this blog, it has caused other fans some displeasure as they think that there should not be any non-official members unless all of them are included.  I’m surprised by this reaction because Dom, from my understanding, is a writing member of this album AND was in the video for Falling Down.

So, when is this lovely video coming out?  Some have suggested that it would be great to come out at the same time as the song does on the 14th.  That would be great but, as always, I try to prepare myself for a longer wait.  No matter when it comes out, I hope that it is as interesting as Falling Down was and I look forward to offering my thoughts here. 

-A

The Today Show

This morning I got up early to watch Duran Duran on the Today Show.  I had been looking forward to this ever since they announced it.  I love to watch interviews with the guys as I always feel that they respond with good humor and intelligence.  Good interviews allow me to get a sneak peek at who they are as people and how they interact with each other.  Then, of course, I appreciate all promotion for a new album, tour, etc. as it works to get me more and more excited for what is coming next!

Well, this interview provided me with some excitement about the upcoming album as I loved hearing another snippet of the song, “All You Need Is Now” and always like hearing when they say that they plan on being musical for the rest of their lives.  I could also *squee* a little about how good they looked and how happy they seemed.  That said, I found myself getting frustrated by how Duran Duran was represented here (and in most interviews here in the U.S.).

This entire interview was framed by the 1980s and their teen idol status then.  Yes, I acknowledge that they made their mark in the 1980s and, yes, I can admit that they were teen idols then.  Yet, they have done so much more since 1980s.  I am not expecting the brief 5-6 minute interview to show clips from all eras of Duran’s history but I do think it would be nice to show more than 10 seconds of a live clip from 2008-2009, which is all they showed after 1984.  No wonder that the general public believes that they no longer exist.  The images show that they were a functioning band between 1981-1984 (Planet Earth to the Reflex) in this case.  Then, they show them playing ONE show in recent years.  Okay, yes, they mentioned that they were coming out with a new album but were any questions focused on this?  Nope.  There was no mention of Mark Ronson, even.  There were questions on their massive success in the 1980s, videos, etc.  The only current questions really were whether or not they play to be involved with music for the rest of their lives and the use of the internet.  Their response about the internet was so general and begged to have more questions asked.  How are they using the internet?  How is it changing the music industry?  Not only didn’t I get any follow up questions on that, I didn’t even get a question about touring.  What a lost opportunity.  Obviously, the interviewer could have asked many other questions not shown but still the show chose not to showcase the current status of the band in any real way.  Instead, we heard how the interviewer and her partner were fans. 

Do I believe that the interviewer and her partner on the show were fans?  I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how you define “fan”.  Do I think that the female anchor liked songs like the Reflex?  Sure. Since there was no mention of Duran’s history after 1984 or her status as a fan after that song, the viewers are left to believe that Duran dropped off the face of the planet then.  Ugh.  Did I need the ten second clip of her explaining to them that she had waited a long time to meet them?  Nope.  I would have preferred a follow up to the internet question or a question about…the album!  Plus, I have to admit that I have NO desire to see pictures of people from 1989.  I don’t.  What is the point of including that?  To mock the 1980s?  Yippee.  Then, there is the male anchor.  He tries to seem like a fan as well because he knows Simon’s name but then seeks confirmation.  If he was a fan, he wasn’t a very big fan.  I suspect that most serious Duran fans can name every member, past and present.

Okay, enough complaining.  I’ll try to focus on the idea of how good they looked and how much I liked the clip of AYNIN!

-A

Album Cover Artwork Interpretation

It has been a few days since Duran Duran revealed the cover to their new album, All You Need Is Now.  The discussion about it is still raging.  While there are many fans who find the cover fascinating, clever, interesting or thought-provoking, there are others who are openly disappointed, upset or worse.  Some fans are so angry that they have discussed trying to let the band or artist responsible know how upset they are.  In fact, some are declaring that this is an example of how disrespectful they are of their fans.  In this line of thought, people believe that the band should choose a cover that the fans like and some would love to see them allow us the chance to vote for the cover.  In the meantime, the community attempts to figure out exactly what the images are on the cover and what it means.  I, too, am trying to decide on the meaning.  Unlike many, though, I don’t believe that every little image should be figured out.  I prefer to look at the image as a whole and interpret from there.  In fact, I would argue that the images are distorted for a reason and if they wanted it all to be clear, then they would have chosen something completely different. 

Before, I dive into my interpretation, let me just be clear here.  This is only MY interpretation.  I fully expect many of you reading this to disagree.  I’m fine with that.  That said, I don’t need any insults coming my way for it, either. 

The first thing I notice when looking at the cover is that the left side is darker and less clear than the right side which features a bed, lights, something leopard on the floor.  Your eye tends to spot the big black dot first then moves over to the brighter side.  What does the big black dot with the wires or whatever coming off of it represent?  I’m not sure.  Many have said that they believe it to be a burn mark or an egg (as in conception).  I prefer to think more ambiguous.  I think one thing it could be is one’s subconscious–all of the parts we worry about, the past we aren’t proud of, the darkness within ourselves, etc.  The part that seems to try and get us no matter what, which is why there are “arms” or something reaching from it.  It seems to be reaching to either get to the light or to grab us back from the light.  It is the part that is often expressed in our dreams, our nightmares.  I see some sort of weird scary face at the bottom on that side.  (Others have seen an upside down chandelier there.)  I think the scary face or whatever could be the physical manifestation of worry.  I don’t know. Then, you move over to the lighter side.  There is the bed–perhaps to indicate that the dark side is often seen and felt while you sleep.  Yet, there is the lettering written to remind us that we can stay with the light because All You Need Is Now.  It is handwritten because the now isn’t always perfect.  Life, even when good, can be messy.  Is messy.  Nonetheless, the pink represents fun, good times and positive energy.  Notice that the big D is pink and crosses over.  Isn’t that what Duran has represented to all of us?  Generally the positive?  This positiveness, for most of us Duranies, has overlapped into the negative.  It sort of reminds me of the lyric to SAP–“You don’t need to dream at all but live a day.”  Isn’t that what they are saying there?  Just live.  Don’t worry.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy the now.  The positive now can’t overtake the negative but can make it more bearable, more tolerable.

Interestingly enough, the album cover does seem to be opposite of the t-shirts presented with solid, lettering onto basic black, white and red.  I wonder why.  I don’t have an answer for that.  Then again, I don’t really know if my interpretation is anywhere near what they were thinking.  Nonetheless, I hope that they don’t explain these things to us.  I want to ponder its meaning for years to come much like I do the lyrics to Union of the Snake.  I want the fandom to keep thinking and keep discussing.  I like that it isn’t simple and boring.  It has created such strong emotions in all of us.  Messy emotions.  Is this indicative of the music on the album?  I don’t know but cannot wait to find out.

-A

Gratefulness

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I admit that my entry today is going to be similar to Rhonda’s yesterday.  I’m not one who is terribly excited by Thanksgiving and never really have been.  Yes, it is nice to get together with family, but the traditional meal doesn’t thrill me (I’m a vegetarian) and I am not into cooking.  Nonetheless, the one thing about this holiday that is worthwhile, in my opinion, and is acknowledging what you are thankful for.  Rhonda summed up what she is grateful for, including her family, her friends, the Duranie community, DDF, the band and our readers.  I feel the same, but today I specifically want to acknowledge my gratefulness that Duran Duran is still in existence.

There are not many bands who last for five years or ten years and there are very few who last as long as Duran Duran has.  Now, looking at their history, it is even more impressive.  Goodness knows that some of the members have put their lives at risk, at times, through things like yacht races or excessive partying.  Yet, all of the members both past and present are still with us.  They survived these risky moments.  Then, the band as a whole has remained a band through lineup changes, side projects, poor album sales, criticism of both fans and press alike and more.  I remember explaining to people in 1986 that Duran Duran would return as a band after they participated in Power Station and Arcadia.  I know that I still inform people that not only does Duran Duran still exist, but they even make new music and still tour.  The reaction then and now is one of amazement. 

I have to admit that I have experienced amazement myself during this year when it comes to this band.  I witnessed both the celebration of the reunion and Astronaut followed by the utter disappointment of Red Carpet Massacre.  I saw fans leave the community and I observed the poor album sales.  I couldn’t imagine how the band could recover.  Obviously, I wanted them to and would always say, publicly, that I believed that they would return, but doubted it on the inside.  Yes, I saw the brief pieces of news from them in regards to making the new album but those bits of information were few and far between.  I started to prepare myself for what seemed like the inevitable announcement that the band was done.  The only thing that kept me hoping was that they would, at least, do one more show to say goodbye.  I longed to have one more show, one more tour, one more chance to be with my friends in that way.  Then, there appeared a tiny light at the end of the tunnel.  Now, we are moving closer and closer to reaching that light and my fear has ended.  It seems clear that there will be one more album, one more tour, and one more chance to celebrate with my friends.

Will there be more Duran Duran after this cycle?  I do not know.  For now, I’m embracing their current motto of “All You Need Is Now”.  I am living in the present and looking forward to the new music and to touring.  Therefore, this year, at this time, I’m more than happy.  I’m grateful.

-A

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m sorry for my tardiness in getting today’s edition of Daily Duranie out!  As most readers know, I’m the mom of 3 – their ages span from 13 (and she tells me that she’s “almost 14” now, which threatens to add more worry lines to my face at every passing moment) down to two and a half.  They are all home today, and we’ve been working hard to get the house into order and some of the cooking done for tomorrow, because for America – it’s Thanksgiving.

With tomorrow being our holiday of giving thanks, I would like to give out my own thanks here on the blog.  I know it’s not very Duran-related, but I’ll do my best!

I am thankful for my writing partner Amanda, because she continues to make me laugh, make me think about things differently…and let’s face it, she’s one heck of a touring partner.  Looking forward to 2011!!!!

I am thankful for my Duranie friends, both those that have come to mean far more to me, and those that I’ve only walked a short time with along the way.

I am thankful for our crazy, mixed up fan community.   We are a fantastic case study…that’s all I can say.  I look forward to seeing all of you on tour next year!

I am thankful for DuranDuranFans.com  because it was my very first Duran home away from home.  My best friends were met through that site, and I often wonder where I would have ended up without it!

I am thankful for my family, as insane as it is.  We’ll just leave it at that.  😀

I am thankful for the band…because without it, I’d probably be stuck writing about 60’s pop culture, or maybe nothing at all!  It’s about the music, the friends, the constant learning, and the constant complaining we all do about whatever decision you’ve made most recently.  Good times, good times.  🙂   I laugh and poke fun, but what you give us, your blood, sweat, tears and music – are truly a gift.  Thank you….can’t wait to see you all on tour even if you have NO idea who I am.  (perhaps that’s a good thing)

Thank you readers.  I hope our blog makes you laugh, and maybe even think a little.  We might not always hit the nail on the head with what you believe, but I hope it at least gives you something to think about.

Happy Thanksgiving – whether or not you live in the US and celebrate the holiday, I believe we all have something to be thankful for.  Peace!

  -R

So about that artwork!!

Many folks have commented on the artwork for the album – All You Need Is Now.  The chosen work was posted yesterday on dd.com and the bands’ facebook, and probably every other Duran Duran dedicated website on the web.  Fans began to weigh in almost immediately, an overwhelming majority saying anything from “yuck”, to “I don’t get it.  Why doesn’t it look more like .”   I even read a few posts asking who did the artwork, thinking that it was another John and Patty collaboration.

The artwork was done by Clunie Reid.  She is an up and coming artist (although I really don’t consider her up and coming – she’s as “on the scene” as they get these days in my humble opinion), and she tends to specialize in more contemporary or modern art.  Her work is very similar to the artwork for the cover – she’ll take pictures or drawings and then write a statement on them, just like what you see on both the cover of the album and the European EP.  Reid’s work isn’t meant to be “pretty”, it’s meant to stir thought, and to keep the viewer interested in what the message might be.

What is the most fascinating to me about this is how quickly the fans reacted to the artwork.  Of course, from the moment that Duran Duran announced that Clunie Reid would be the artist, I knew the chances of the community embracing the cover were nil to none – first of all in order to appreciate the work you have to be willing to look farther than the surface, and secondly – if you’re not into modern or contemporary art, this probably isn’t going to be your cup of tea.  A lot of fans commented on wanting a picture of the band on the cover, and naturally for this album that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Regardless, the band definitely got a reaction – whether or not it was the one they were expecting, I have no idea.

Interestingly enough, a lot of fans have commented that they miss Simon’s style of writing.  His more recent work is far more straightforward – he says what he means, I guess, and many fans don’t like that as much.  What is really funny about that is this artwork is very much the same as the lyrics off of the first album, Rio…SATRT… you have to look beyond the surface and be willing to see (or hear) what’s there.

Perhaps the real problem is that for at least the near future, the closest we will all come to this album is our computer screen.  The physical copies will not be released until February, and it’s very difficult to really feel the full impact of the artwork when you can’t see it very well.  Seeing it online is all well and good, but the details are so hazy that you can’t make out what they are….

then again, maybe that’s what the band wanted.

-R

Learning to Laugh

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but invariably for me – as things are moving along at a good clip, and good things are happening, inevitably a small fly will end up in the ointment.  It doesn’t completely screw everything up, but it’s an annoyance, and if I let it, it’ll ruin the whole thing.  Admittedly, I’m not very good at ignoring the small things.  I wish I were, because then my life would be a lot less stressful at times, but I suppose I am who I am, faults and all.   The same holds true for this blog.  While things are starting to move at a steady pace, and our readership is growing, inevitably there are folks out there that don’t have appreciation for what we’re doing, and you know – in and of itself that’s OK.  At one point a while back another author told me to make sure to write each day, and know that at least one person out there would agree with whatever I was saying.  I’ve tried to hold true to that as I’ve gone along here.  The fact is, I’m no more a writer than I am an engineer, and I’m just learning my way.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be held accountable for my writing, it just means that in no way do I consider myself an expert.  I write what I feel is important in that moment, and I’m finding that just as in most arts – the most successful pieces of work I’ve written so far are those in which I allow myself to be the most open and vulnerable.  Putting yourself out there is difficult even under the best of circumstances, and the fact is – not many people appreciate that vulnerability.  
Now, you might be thinking – “Who cares?  That’s all part of writing a blog and you should have expected that!”  You would be right.  The fact is, I expected criticism and ridicule when we started this blog.  I knew there would be those that would immediately scoff and laugh, and the fact is – that’s OK.  Let me be honest for a minute:  I am 40 years old, and I write a blog that at least on the surface, is about Duran Duran.   There are words to describe people like that, whether you call them fans, fanatics, Duran”tards”…etc.  I might have used similar words to describe other fans I’ve met, and I’m not necessarily ashamed to admit that.  The funny thing is that once you get past the annoyance of having been called some or all of those names, you start to realize that it really IS funny.  
Yes, I stand up proudly and say that I travel great distances to go see Duran Duran in concert. I have their posters up in my room (well, it’s actually my closet), and I own a good portion of all of the vinyl they’ve ever released….officially and “unofficially”.  I read a ridiculous amount of articles about them, I monitor message boards dedicated to the band, and I even get a little excited when I see new interviews, TV shows, etc that they are on.  I’m I embarrassed by any or all of that?  No, not really.   I would say that in the past year or so, I’ve realized that at this point in my life, I really don’t care what other people think.  Yes, I would love to have the acceptance of my peers, but the fact is, my peers probably already do those things right along with me.  That’s one reason why the fan community is such a fantastic group.  We may not all get along, we may all participate in our fandom in completely different ways, but it takes each of us to make up the community.  
I enjoy writing this blog, and for those who have actually read and absorbed each post for the day, you should be able to see that while the blog is called The Daily Duranie, and the posts generally have something to do with the band….they are as much about being people in general.  The focus goes well beyond the band and has far more to do with the social science of it all than it does worshipping the ground the band walks on (although we’re not above that).    I suppose some people can’t get beyond the surface, and that’s OK.  That’s why we chose Duran Duran as the sort of “case study” to examine, because we knew that doing a blog solely on examining fandom would never attract the types of readers we would like.  Many of the more “I love the band” posts are sprinkled throughout the blog as a whole, and we’ll continue to do that because let’s face it – it’s fun.  There are many in the community who feel the need to question the intentions of the rest of us, and it’s far more fun to point fingers and ridicule than it is to examine ourselves and what our own intentions are for being here.  Good for them. I hope that they read the blog and find plenty of substance to fill their heads.  The fact is, I laugh at myself as often as I can these days.  I’m 40, I’m just a stay at home mom with two college degrees, and yet I’m writing a blog about my teenage heartthrobs.  It is hilarious when you think about it.  Embrace it and move on, right?   The best part is that I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, I’m learning a lot about people in general and I come away from writing each blog feeling better about the day.  I wonder if there are many other people out there that can say the same?

-R