The Trouble with Hindsight

Every morning after I get my children off to school and clean up from breakfast, my first line of duty is to write the blog.  It’s a daily thing, if you hadn’t yet noticed.  Truth be told, at first I thought this was going to be easy.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Sometimes yes, the topics come very easy, and then other days I feel as though I’m having to dissect my own brain in order to find the words (and topics).  My brain at 40 isn’t an easy thing to dissect;  there’s cobwebs, endless to-do lists, and sometimes I have the attention span of a tse-tse fly….wait, what I was going on about??   Regardless, I read the boards, check out Twitter, do whatever I need to do in order to find something of interest.  As you all well know by now, there isn’t always Duran Duran news to comment about.  Today is one of those days, so far.  Invariably though, I will write a blog for the day, and an hour or two later something exciting will come up and I’ll have to simply walk away from the computer, otherwise I’ll feel tempted to scrap the already posted blog and write something completely different, which kind of ruins the whole point of the blog.  It’s supposed to be the thoughts within that moment of writing.  This isn’t a newspaper, and we don’t really do breaking news….although sometimes I think we should!  So, the act of writing daily blog about Duran Duran has presented far more of a  challenge than I thought.  

In my morning board perusal, there was a thread of interest on Mark UK’s board (here…but if you’re not a member, you’ll need to become one in order to read the board.  I HIGHLY recommend doing that – and I’ll see you there at some point!).  It was titled Lost Opportunities, and naturally it was specifically about Duran Duran.  Whenever there is downtime in Duranland, it seems to be the natural thing for fans to examine the past and debate where the band has gone wrong.  Hindsight being 20/20, of course.   A few years ago, I would have written volumes on where I thought the band went wrong, and done so with bravado.  Sometimes I’ll comment on things that I felt could have gone better here in the blog, but the fact of the matter is, the subject has gone stale with me lately.  I’m not sure why – but I think part of it is that at some point I sat back and realized that I couldn’t have done any better myself.  I’m no more of an music industry expert than anyone else, and even if I were – being the musician is a far cry from being the manager, or being the promoter.  I don’t always like the choices the band has made, but for whatever reason – I don’t get to make the decisions for the band.  Go figure.  For instance, if *I* were in the band, I’d have already announced the tour dates – because I know that the fans, are DYING FOR THEM.   (yes, that’s my personal plea.  It’s my blog, I get to make a plea.  Wanna plea for something?  Write your own blog!)   I suppose that a large part of me has decided that I’m in this for the enjoyment, and if I’m constantly second guessing the band AFTER THE FACT, what good is that really doing anyone?  Sure, it’s a conversation topic, and I’m really not trying to take that away from anyone – least of all the people who have posted in that thread, I just don’t know that it does any good in hindsight.   We’re simply the fans.  Our “contract” with the band is simple:  they produce the music.  We choose to buy it and support them, or we choose not to.  Very easy.  I don’t know how interested the band really is as to why the fan base feels that Liberty was a horrible album, that Thank You shouldn’t have ever been done, or that Red Carpet Massacre completely divided the fan base.  Maybe they care, maybe not.  Maybe it’s too late for them to worry about it, because just as this blog is my writing during one specific moment in time – so is their music, and the choices they make.  What I wrote yesterday may not even be relevant today, but that doesn’t make it any less important or relevant to me during the time I wrote it.  (which by the way – still totally relevant, in case you’re wondering.  I still need that milk…and those tour dates, John.)  Perhaps we have overstated our importance to ourselves and one another.  I too, might possibly have been guilty of that a time or two…or three or four.  *wink, wink*  I know that as a long time fan, it’s hard to get past our own individual notion or belief that they’re writing and playing just for us.  It’s hard to believe that while I really don’t care for Red Carpet Massacre (the album as a whole), there are many fans out there that love that album and think I’m just as crazy as I know they must be!   It’s even tougher to believe that there are actually fans out there that think this new album stinks.  (the aforementioned “I think they must be crazy” belief still holds true here)   The one thing fans are never short of: opinions.

I believe that for the most part, fans are genuinely good people.  We tend to be a little opinionated, perhaps a bit obsessive, and maybe just a little bit over-the-top at times, but for the most part, we’re good people.  Posting about what have been the downfalls of the bands career seems to be at the edge of where we stop being constructive and have started to deconstruct the bands history.  The funny, or not-so-funny crumb of this topic is that by looking back the way we have been, we’re completely ignoring the very message that Duran Duran set out to share with us in this new album.  We don’t need to look back, we really don’t need to look forward, because the only thing that really matters is this little bit of road we’re on right here and now.  Sometimes, I think the fans forget that.  I know I have.  At some point, when all of this is said and done, we’re going to have a lot of extra time on our hands to completely dissect the bands career.  It’ll be over before we know it, sadly enough.  At that point, we’ll have the full story in front of us; beginning, middle and end.  We’ll know the answers, and most of us will be able to say we watched the entire story unfold. At that point, it will be more about reliving the past and having the good memories of our lifetimes matched with an awesome soundtrack of music.  For now, it seems to me that the important thing to do is enjoy the moment we’re in, because it certainly doesn’t last for long.


Are You Anxious?!?

I am anxious for tour dates.  I’ll freely admit that.  I’m to the point where if I were the neighbor of one of the band members, I’d probably go over to borrow milk or something just to see if they were packing for a trip yet!

I really thought they’d announce dates while I was gone this weekend.  My phone was even dead for part of the weekend (I let the battery run out – not on purpose, but it happens!), but still nothing.  This is ridiculous! (and I mean on MY part, not theirs)

Why am I really so anxious?  It’s not as though I’ve never seen the band live before.  It’s not as though I have nothing but time on my hands with which to plan.  The fact is, I’m fairly busy.  I’m supposed to be doing about 50 other things right at this moment, and the time I take to blog every day I am pretty much stealing from some other chore. (one of the more frustrating things I find in being a parent and wife)  I know that the amount of time that I can spend going to shows or traveling is fairly limited, and therefore I also know that once the dates are announced, there is a fairly good chance that I will end up being disappointed as to how much or little I can truly do.  So, why am I really anxious?!?

I think that for me, the tour signifies a chance to spread my wings a bit.  It’s the one time that I plan a trip just for me.  My husband typically stays at home (whether it’s under protest or otherwise), my children are usually not invited (definitely under protest…), and I spend weeks pondering how I’m going to get all of my usual “mom” duties covered, along with the excitement of finding the best airfare times/price, hotel, and making the general plans.  It’s a time for some much appreciated independence on my part, and it reminds me of what it’s like to just be Rhonda, not “mom”, not “dear”….and certainly not “maid”, “cook”, or “chauffeur”.

The trip itself takes place in the blink of an eye.  It amazes me how I can spend weeks planning for each second of the trip (and truly, my plans have very little to do with ME as they do with what I’m doing with my children for while I’m gone…), and yet the trip itself is over before I know it.  If that weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, as the trip gets closer, I find myself actually feeling guilty, and at times I’m feeling guilty enough where I’ve considered canceling my trip.  I feel guilty that I’m leaving my kids in order to have fun.  I feel guilty that I’ve spent money that I could be using for my kids to do things, I feel guilty that I’m asking my husband to not only change his own schedule to suit my trip, but that I’m insisting that he work all day only to come home and assume my normal duties.  It’s a lot of work, I should know!   Once I leave though, I have to admit that I enjoy knowing that for the three or four days I’m gone, I only have to worry about getting myself dressed, fed, etc.  There’s something very odd, yet peaceful about walking through the security line at the airport and realizing that I only have a purse to pick up at the end of the line; not a purse, a child, 5 pairs of shoes, four pillows, a blanket, a diaper bag and god-only-knows-what-else.   I’ve actually stopped on the way to my gate and thought, “I’ve forgotten something!”, only to realize that what I’ve “forgotten” is at home and probably playing happily with my mom!   Cognitively, I know that by going on these trips for me, I’m not being a bad parent.  I’m allowing myself a little bit of down time and fun, and in the end, that’s only going to make me a better mom and wife, but it’s still difficult to put into real practice.

This next tour, I have a little more ambition than usual.  I really would like to try and plan a trip to the UK to see the band.  That’s going to take more than a little luck on my part, both in scheduling it amongst everything else that goes on around here AND convincing my husband that this is a reasonable household expense.  (wish me luck!)  I know that with each passing day, if the dates of shows in the UK are only a few weeks out – such as the rumors persist – it will be less and less likely that I can get a trip together to attend.  So yes, I’m anxious, and still we wait….

Hey John, can I borrow some milk – and while you’re getting that – can we talk tour dates here?



A strange occurrence seems to take place within fandoms in that rumors said so often are believed to be true.  Lately, I have seen a number of rumors or assumptions written about on Duran message boards in which most, if not all, of the posters give as fact.  One example is the rumor regarding Duran Duran’s record label.  For some time now, we have heard that Duran Duran is going with EMI for the actual physical release of All You Need Is Now.  They released the download version themselves through TapeModern but that they have gone with a major label for the physical release in either February or March, depending on which of those rumors you believe.  Of course, the label has been one that has been debated since word got out that Sony/Epic dropped them after the lack of success with Red Carpet Massacre.  Since then, there has been many different labels mentioned, including using UMG for distribution.  The one that everyone keeps coming back to, for whatever reasons, is EMI.  Will I acknowledge that it is possible?  Of course.  Like many other fans, I heard Mark Ronson claim that the snippet of Being Followed that he played on his radio show was property of Capitol Records (Capitol and EMI are the same).  I have also read the rumors over and over again from various sources.  I also heard John Taylor praise EMI’s efforts in regards to the remastered editions that have come out and heard his statements on Katy Kafes saying that he thinks it would be good, from a business point of view, to have all the catalog together.  Yet, there has been no official announcement.  This fact hasn’t stopped people from talking about it as such, though.  Some fans seem to believe that the lack of an actual date for the physical album or that it is being moved back to March is because of EMI.  Others have claimed the same about lack of tour dates.  Obviously, these people may be right but what I find interesting is that they are just making these statements like they are a given when, in reality, they are just presuming the rumor is true. 

Another assumption is in regards to the videos for AYNIN.  A few months ago, on some interview, there was an announcement that the band plans to release a video for each track of the album.  Many people, including myself, were terribly thrilled with this idea.  Again, many people believed that these videos might be included on the DVD part of the deluxe edition of AYNIN.  There are so many assumptions within that one belief.  Yes, I do believe that there was a statement regarding a deluxe version of the album as part of the official press release.  Yes, in many cases including the last two albums, they have featured DVDs.  Are we sure this will the same?  Did I not read something carefully enough?  (This, of course, is ALWAYS possible!)  Then, did they say that the videos would be included?  Did I miss that, too?  Personally, I think it is very likely that we will get a DVD with the deluxe copy.  Will it have all of the videos on it?  I doubt it.  They would have to do a lot of videos in a short amount of time for an album coming out in February or even March.  Is it possible for AYNIN, the video, to be on it, if there is one?  Sure.  That video is already complete.  Then, a contest enters the picture.  This contest, which was advertised on the band’s official website, is for people to make videos of all of the tracks on AYNIN, including for the title track that the band already finished.  Many fans have taken this contest to mean that these will be the videos for the album and that the band isn’t doing anymore.  They also then assume that they will be what is included in the deluxe version.  Wow.  Again, there are assumptions on top of assumptions there.  How will the video deal play out?  I don’t have a clue. 

I admit that these rumors or assumptions might absolutely be correct.  Maybe I don’t like them.  Maybe I want to keep them in the not-yet-confirmed category because then I don’t have deal with my feelings about them.  Perhaps, I’m the one in denial.  Sure.  That is possible.  What is also possible, though, is that people are drawing a whole bunch of conclusions here.  It will be interesting to see as time goes on which, if any, of these are proved to be true.


Tour Date Rumor Reactions

I am dying for tour dates as are much, if not all, of the Duranie world.  I would like to be able to call my blog and touring partner who is away from home this weekend to give her some touring alerts!  I want to be able to figure out if I can go to whatever dates and how.  Of course, my desire for dates has increased by both the announcement of a show in July in London at the iTunes festival and by rumors.  Some of the rumors I have heard include the following:  1.  Duran will tour the States in the spring-possibly April.  2.  Duran will play at the Coachella Festival in mid-April.  3.  Duran is playing in Amsterdam in June.  4.  Duran is playing one or more shows next month in the UK.  Some rumors have indicated that there will be 4 shows in the following cities:  Glasgow, Manchester, London and Birmingham.  Others have said that there will be more than one show in London.  I have heard the middle of the month, around Valentine’s Day, and I have heard the end of the month.  Some of the rumor include that the shows will be like those on Broadway were in 2008.  While all of those are interesting to me as I try to figure out which ones might be right, what I find even more interesting is fan reactions to the people who provide the rumors.

It seems to me that each time a rumor about an upcoming show or tour is posted, the reactions by other posters is often fascinating.  Sometimes, the other people shower the rumor provider with lots of positive attention and often will try to get to know this person better in order to get more information.  Other times, the poster is slammed by fellow fans.  S/he gets slammed because they often announce some rumor without much evidence to back it up.  Often, s/he claims that the information came from a close friend who has some sort of connection but can’t reveal too much for whatever reason.  This seems to irritate other posters.  Some assume that the rumor is false and that is why the person can’t back it up.  In those situations, the other fans think that the person must be trying to have fun at their expense as rumors like these create a GREAT deal of excitement in the fanbase.  Perhaps, the real reason there is annoyance or anger directed at the rumor producer is because s/he only shared so much.  Maybe they voice their displeasure about the lack of support for the rumor when, in reality, they want to know more and are really angered that the poster didn’t say more.  Perhaps, it is because these fans want to be the ones who have the knowledge.  After all, who doesn’t feel superior to some extent when they know something as juicy as tour dates before anyone else.  Maybe it is a combination of all of the above.

Honestly, I can’t imagine being the person with the information as I have never really been that person.  I’m usually the one checking the band’s website over and over again or following the boards as closely as possible to see if any information has been given or if there were any hints provided.  Part of me would absolutely LOVE to be the person who knows something ahead of time.  Then, the question that pops up is:  If I had the information, would I share it?  What are the benefits?  What are the risks?  On one hand, by telling, I would be giving information that people are desperate to receive and MANY people would appreciate it.  (I know that I would love to know more info now!)  People might seem more interested in me, which is great, but would they just be using me?  Then, what about the people who just criticize the person who gives the rumors?  How would I deal them, especially if the information was actually correct?  Would the appreciation be worth the ridicule that could happen?  Would it be worth letting people in on your secret?  Of course, I suspect that for some people posting rumors, they might just be too excited to keep some info to themselves.  I can understand that! 

I think that, in most cases, it would be extremely risky to post a rumor without having something or someone to back you up.  From my perspective, though, I hope that people do continue to post these rumors as they are helping me get through this black hole of tour dates.  Of course, Duran could help out the situation for all involved if they were to just post the dates and ALL the dates, no matter when and no matter where.  The rumor debate would end and I could begin to plot my tour!!!


Duranie Smackdown

The Duranie Smackdown began a couple of days ago on Facebook.  It started innocently enough with a friend of mine saying that she had been “rockin'” out to AYNIN on her status.  My plan was to comment with a simple statement of support but before I could even do that, I noticed that another person had made a comment wondering if the band could “sing on key” or “play their instruments”.  How could I let that go?  I couldn’t and responded with a positive comment to my friend who was enjoying the album and another comment about how Duran had written and performed their own songs very well for over 30 years.  Now, the other person could have just left it at that, especially if she didn’t want a debate, a battle, a lively discussion.  She didn’t.  She followed up her first comment with another one about how Robert Palmer could sing on key but that Simon “always had a pitch problem”.  As for the rest of the band, she said that when she saw them live in 1984, they were definitely still learning their instruments and that she had more musical skills than them!  Insert lots of eye-rolling here.

So, I took on the job of educating her.  I explained to her that Robert Palmer was the lead singer of Power Station only.  I gave her some facts about how Duran have sold a ton of albums and have received lifetime achievement awards.  Her response was that the Reflex was off key and that I shouldn’t use their album sales as a means to show their talent because, according to her, Vanilla Ice had sold a lot, too.  Oh boy.  More eye-rolling.  She ended that comment with a statement about how she isn’t the only person to think this way.  Great, is she trying to say that she is a critic now?  Whatever.  I, of course, informed her of what I think the issue was with the critics in that they never gave any respect to Duran because GIRLS liked them.  She returned to make more comments, including that anyone who doesn’t hear that Simon is off key should go to the ear doctor and that I had provided her with lots of laughs.  That did it.  I calmly explained to her that it is fine to have a difference of opinion about music since like all art, it is subjective but that there was NO reason for her to be insulting.  Here’s where my friend and fellow Duranie (not the person rockin’ out to AYNIN) enters the picture.

My friend came in to be supportive and because she, too, thought that this person had gone too far.  She pointed out to the hater that there are things that she likes that her friends would think are horrible, too, but that they probably wouldn’t insult her about it on Facebook.  Of course, this person turned the situation around to where she was the victim as she said that my friend “baited” her and that we took it to a low level.  She claimed that she was just trying to have some witty banter but that we probably aren’t capable of that.  (My eyes were rolling around so much that I’m surprised they didn’t fall out!)  I couldn’t let that slide, either, and commented that she would have been more mature to have just said that she apologized for insulting us. 

So, what is the point of me sharing this story?  First, it reminds me so much of what elementary school felt like.  I will never forget sitting at lunch and debating who was better:  Duran Duran or Michael Jackson.  I was always on the losing side of that battle as there were a ton more Michael Jackson fans than Duranies where I grew up.  I can recall trying to explain to my classmates that Band-Aid came out first and was better than USA for Africa who just copied Band-Aid on the cause.  These classmates of mine didn’t want to hear any of the facts.  They couldn’t just accept that we had different taste when it came to music as it almost always went to the fact that Duran were “sissy like”.  (I usually argued at lunch with boys, by the way.)  This conversation felt just like I had gone back in time.  Of course, the really sad part is that this person is a grown woman.  My classmates had an excuse–they were just kids. 

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t criticize Duran Duran as a whole or Simon, specifically.  The world knows that I love to give Simon a hard time as much as possible.  That said, I always do it from a place of love.  I know that they are capable for greatness so when they fail to reach that, I’m disappointed and I say so.  Now, this person doesn’t get that right.  She isn’t a Duranie.  She isn’t saying those things to give Simon a hard time.  Nope.  She is saying them to be mean—to the band and to their fans.  What does this say about me as a Duranie?  It says that I will ALWAYS defend them to the non-Duranie even if it is about things I disagree with.  I would argue that RCM was a fabulous album with a non-Duranie, for example.  I think that part of being a serious fan is about being passionate about something.  I’m passionate about Duran.  This passion can form into loving criticism with other Duranies or into fierce protection with non-Duranies.  That’s how it always has been and always will be.  


The Great and Powerful Oz

I’m really not one to live in the past, although my memories are priceless.  I was reading facebook today, and something that one of my friends posted caught my eye.  Apparently John Taylor (who is quite obviously addicted to facebook and twitter like the rest of us….which amuses the HELL out of me because not long ago he was pretty anti-all-of-it) was holding some sort of twitter Q&A chat. (through tweetdeck, which is something I really need to check into, and I know I’m late to that party – I like that it can update both twitter and facebook at the same time!)  Naturally, yours truly missed it by mere moments – I was doing my motherly duty and picking up my little preschooler and playing with her at the park.  In any case, one of the responders to his posts commented that she wondered what it would have been like for her in 1984 had she/we been able to actually communicate and interact with the band like we’re able to now.

My first thought?  Complete and utter chaos.  😀  The technological gods knew EXACTLY what they were doing by not allowing that sort of knowledge out there back then.  They were saving us from ourselves!

After giving that a good chuckle, I thought about it a little further.  Barring the fact that at this time in 1984, I was 13 years old and my parents were so strict with me that I didn’t even have a phone in my room much less access to any another kind of communicative device – and barring the fact that at 13, I probably wouldn’t have had anything other than “I LOVE YOU ROGERJOHNNICKSIMONANDANDY” to say – let’s just think about what it might have really been like for all of us.  What would the community have been like?

I think that kids today, generally speaking, are a lot smarter than we were back then.  I’m a mom myself, and I can honestly say my 13 and 11 year olds are worlds ahead of where I was at 13.  They know what’s going on in the world – I think I barely understood who my President really was, much less paid attention to political decisions other than “Is Russia going to bomb us?”  My kids know things that I don’t WANT them to know, as well as everything I think they should know. (but in a whole lot more detail than I’d planned, of course)  They have far more information at the tips of their fingers than we did at 13, and with that knowledge comes a lot more cynicism, a lot more maturity – whether they are emotionally ready for it or not, and a lot less innocence.  Truly, when I was 13, I didn’t even consider whether the band was partying it up with a powder keg of cocaine or otherwise.  They were just the band, and yeah – I believed they were perfect.  (ignorance can really be bliss)  I think it would have been earth shattering to my 13 year old psyche to discover through interacting with them that they were actually human and had problems and moods like the rest of us.  My own daughter at 13 doesn’t have that blissful ignorance at all.  In fact, she’s downright disgusted when I tell her about how high the pedestals were that I had the band placed on.  I get a whole lot of “Oh Mom!” and the head shaking…wow.  I kind of think that it would have been a real shock to see them as humans back then, don’t you?

Then there’s the other fans.  I don’t know that I really quite understood just HOW popular Duran Duran was with other people until I went to a signing that John Taylor did during the Power Station days.  I know that’s tough to believe, but it was just really impossible to have a real handle on just how big the band was from my living room.  Sure, I had friends at school that liked them too, but even so – my world was so tiny compared with the REAL world…. (hey, I didn’t even go to my first concert until that same summer – Power Station at the then called Irvine Meadows Amphitheater)  It was at a store in Van Nuys and I went with my cousin.  I think we’d gone to the Power Station concert the night before or so – or it could have been the day before the show, I really don’t remember.  We figured the line would be long, but I guess we figured it wouldn’t be THAT long.  Ha.  It was about a hundred million degrees outside, and we stood in the longest line I’ve ever been in.  Ever.  I don’t even think we got there that early (I’m sure people probably camped out to be in that line, which never even occurred to the two of us!), but when we arrived, we just went to the back of the line and stood.  The line didn’t even seem to really move much, and even after we’d been there for what felt like hours – someone came out and told us all that John had already left.  I especially loved the girls who came out clutching their signed records, looking at us and laughing.  Some took the time to come over and tell us just how fabulous John was, and how we totally missed out.  Nice.   I was crushed, as was my cousin.  I learned very quickly that day that Duranies are a fairly rabid bunch.  They are dog-eat-dog, and I don’t think that has changed much in our years.  We certainly haven’t mellowed out that much, even if our numbers aren’t quite as “vibrant”.  So back in 1984, when there were god-only-knows how many of us, I can’t even imagine what we’d have done to one another with the computer as a way of communicating.  I would think it would have been impossible for John to have even tried to do a chat.  He’d have had trouble getting words in edgewise!

There would have been good things to have come from this form of instant communication, though.  We would have known when albums were coming out, we would have known of tour dates sooner, (even if we’d still have had to go and camp out at Ticketmaster outlets in order to get them!)  and I think we would have learned far more about the band.  Err…that probably goes back to point #1.

The fact is, as much as I would have devoured every bit of interaction and communication available from the band back then, there was something to be said for not knowing EVERYTHING.  I think there still is.  It leaves just a little bit to be anticipated, wondered about, and desired.  I really don’t want to see the Great and Powerful Oz working behind that green curtain.  Sometimes the mystery really IS the magic.

I’m off for the weekend, and I’m leaving you in Amanda’s capable hands.  This would be the cue and reminder for the band to go ahead and release tour dates in about 24 hours.  I’ll be behind the wheel of my car, destined for Vegas.  There’s no way I’ll be able to communicate with anyone…….  😉


Fickle Fans

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the amount of posts and activity on virtually every DD dedicated board I visit.  Even on facebook and twitter, there is evidence of rebirth and renewal.  Naturally, much, if not all, is due to the new album – and one can’t help but applaud.  That said, I’ve seen quite a few screen names belonging to people I haven’t seen say or post a kind word towards any one member of the band (much less the group as a whole) in many, many months.  In some cases, it’s been years.  Suddenly it seems as though it’s back “en vogue” to love the band once again and show your inner Duranie.

Fans are a fickle sort, and I add myself into that category just as I would anyone else.  We tend to come and go with the breeze, so to speak.  Some fans stick out the tough times, and while they might not necessarily love an album, they stay with it for the long haul.  Other fans tend to leave the fold and come back during fairer weather.  In the past, there has been much discussion over what makes a “real” or “true” fan.  Truly an unfair and/or loaded question, if you ask me.  At the time, discussion centered around whether or not we followed the band during the “leaner” years – basically the period after about 1993 to about the year the reunion was announced (not just rumored) in about 2002 or so.  Many said they stuck valiantly by the band – posting on the boards, going to shows, buying their albums, so on and so forth.  Many others said that they still watched out for them, but that no, they weren’t really involved and still others admitted that they actually had lives that didn’t center around the band during that time.  Naturally there were as many opinions about what made a real fan as there were answers on the board, and I would suspect the same would hold true today.

From my own observations, I’ve seen even the most ardent of fans fall away from the group, or the community during the last 5 years since the Astronaut tour.  These fans encompass the breadth between those that gradually fell away from the fold quietly to those who stuck around and hurled nothing but insults at every turn….and obviously everything in between.  I myself went through periods of insult (towards the band) during this past 5 years, and slowly I came back around, hoping for the best with this new album.  Obviously I am not the perfect fan, nor am I going to win that “big prize for best fan” at the end of this road.  *wink, wink*  Now that the album has been released and we’re waiting for tour dates, I’m seeing more and more of these screen names return, apparently evolving from hypercriticism, to tentative embrace, to full blown adoration once again.  I’m here to admit that in my mind – it’s very difficult not to call foul at times.   That’s how imperfect of a fan, and a person, I am.

I suppose that at the end of the day, it’s not up to me or anyone else to decide who gets to stay and who should leave the “kingdom of Duran”.  I mean let’s face it – if there were such a judgement  made, I might have been exiled years ago.   *gasp*


My Crystal Ball

My name is Rhonda and I can predict the future.

Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, really.  I only notice that a certain set of circumstances which occur with astounding precision each and every time a concert date, or a set of tour dates are announced by Duran Duran.

What are those circumstances?  Invariably, I am completely unreachable.  I’m typically out of town, either without an internet connection or…as seems to be the the norm, my cell phone inexplicably goes dead.  At first, it was merely humorous, but as the years have gone on (and specifically I’m talking about tours and concert dates beginning with the Astronaut tour in 2005), it’s become ridiculous!

A few notable examples:

In 2004, my family and I were in Las Vegas for a weekend – I believe it was Thanksgiving weekend, but honestly at this point I’m not sure where in the hell I was or why, I just know that when I got home that fateful Sunday night (about 5 hours later than we’d planned due to hellacious traffic), I had no less than 7 messages on our phone here at home because Duran Duran had announced tour dates.  My friends were “beyond excited, headed into hysteria” because no one could reach me, and presales started that next day.   Not only did I have to break the news to my darling husband that I wanted to go see Duran Duran, I had to convince him that I needed to fly to Chicago to do so, and that I wanted to go VIP.  It was a “great evening” in the Rivera household, to say the least.  😀  Good times, good times.

In mid-summer of that same year, my family and I were camping for the weekend.  I want to say we were coming home from Morro Bay when news broke that Duran Duran was playing the Agassi Charity gig.  Interestingly enough, my friends and I had already been planning a trip to Vegas during that same period of time – so this just added to the “fun”.  Naturally, no one could reach me though….and decisions had to be made!

The very best example came a couple years back when Duran Duran announced a show (actually two), while I was on a Spring Break vacation (also camping) with my family up in Monterey.  The day before, I had dropped my cell phone into a sink full of water, so it was completely out of commission.  I wasn’t worried though, because what could possibly happen?  I was with my family, my husband certainly had his own cell – so we were good, right?  Oh no.  Of course not.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, Amanda and another friend of mine were desperately trying to reach me to let me know that not only did Duran Duran announce an upcoming show, but it was to practically be in my backyard!!   (they were playing the Pacific Amphitheater at the OC Fairgrounds)  No one had Walt’s cell at the time, and since presales were also during the time that I was gone, there was no way to find out if I wanted tickets. (which of course I did!)  Amanda ended up buying tickets for the both of us, because as we’re fond of saying “We do what must be done.”  

So why do I think that dates will be announced this weekend?  I’m going to be out of town, of course.  I’m going to Las Vegas, leaving on Friday afternoon.  Yes, I’ll have my cell with me.  This time I’m even taking my iPad….but the reality is, I typically don’t hear my phone when I’m there, and chances are, the internet connection will suddenly go down…because that’s how this all seems to work for me.  

I suppose by posting this blog, I’m basically daring the band or their management to either prove me wrong by announcing dates before I leave….or doing the proper thing and waiting until I’m somewhere between Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga (yes, there really IS a town in California with that name) on the I-15 Sunday late afternoon/evening to announce the tour.  I won’t have internet connection in that stretch of the drive, and my cell phone service will even be spotty.  In either case, I’ll still openly and loudly complain about the band, laugh with Amanda, and begin our tour planning in earnest!


Lounge Lizards and Grapefruit

It’s good to be back in true blogging form, I must say.  It’s Monday, January 3rd, and I’ve never been so happy to send my family off to work and school!  I’m almost finished putting the Christmas decorations away and it’s nice to see my house back to normal.  January is cleansing that way, and of course this year there is the added anticipation of news from Duran Duran in the form of tour dates!

This morning, I began my typical Monday perusal of the boards, twitter and facebook only to see that John Taylor had sent out a tweet regarding a discussion on the Coachella boards.  JT’s reply was only “interesting”, but of course it forced me to go and check out the situation.  There have been some murmurings of a rumor that Duran might play at Coachella this year, and this particular thread was deep in discussion over the idea.  Naturally there are some that are in total support of such an idea, and then there are some that think the idea is preposterous.

I was most amused by one comment/question that indicated Duran Duran must only play casinos these days.  Naturally, my initial reaction was that of disgust…”Ha!  Are you kidding me?!? What hole have you been living in, dude?”  But as I sipped my morning coffee, I began to consider the idea.  In 2009, I saw them at The Palms in Las Vegas.  They played at The Pearl, which is a fairly small venue inside of the casino.  Then I drove back to my home in  the good old OC and saw them at the OC fairgrounds, playing at the Pacific Amphitheater – a venue that is only open during the fair (although it’s a decent sized venue).  Prior to that, I flew to the east coast in 2008 and saw them at Foxwoods in Connecticut (a casino resort area), and at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, also at a casino.  In the recent past – they’ve also played at Morongo Casino near Palm Springs California (for the opening of the Key Club – a show I still kick myself for missing), and at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas more than once….oh, and there was also that Andre Agassi charity gig in Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as well.  Funny how my irritation began to dissolve into a smile as I drank my coffee and considered the situation a bit further.  At this point, I think it’s fair to say that yes, Duran Duran does play casinos.  They also play county fairs, the House of Blue venues, smaller theaters, arena openings such as the Sears Arena outside of Chicago, other arenas such as the Allstate Arena (also near Chicago),  Staples Center here in Los Angeles, Madison Square Garden in New York City, and even some festivals such as Lovebox in the UK, and Voodoo in New Orleans.

So, not only is it fair to say they play casinos, but they play a variety of different venues – and often times, all within the same tour.  Duran Duran isn’t a group that is likely to be pegged as just a casino band, nor are they the type of band that will only be able to play stadiums or arenas, and that’s just the way we like it as fans.  Let’s face it, it’s good to see the band being able to draw enough of a crowd to fill an arena, but it’s really fun to be in a smaller venue with them, too.  I can’t imagine that they can make the same sort of connection with fans in a huge stadium as what they can do at a small theater or at the House of Blues – but the fact is, they are versatile enough to be able to do it all and do it well.  I know some bands out there that are very popular and yet don’t have enough of a stage presence to be able to command their way out of a hotel room much less a small stage or heaven-forbid Madison Square Garden.

It’s funny that back when I was a kid – the only groups I knew of that played Vegas were the washed-up kind.  There were also visions of the Rat Pack, and older stars that found a final stage in which to perform their retirement away.  Vegas was a different place back then, though.  The super-resorts and attractions we see now were not much more than a glimmer in someone’s eye back then.  Nowadays, Vegas has a life completely of it’s own.  Concert venues attract artists of every genre, and the Rat Pack is remembered only by those old enough to have seen the transformation of Vegas from a small gambling town to a world-class resort destination.  As a direct result, other casinos across the country have gained respect and become far more than meccas for glitter, rhinestones, smoke and fanny packs.  My point being of course that Duran Duran are far more than lounge lizards – but naturally if you’re reading this blog on a regular basis, I probably don’t have to tell you that.

As for playing Coachella, which by the way is the grapefruit growing capital of the world (and is REALLY hot during the late spring, summer and early fall), I’m really not sure.  I know that with each year, the talk of the band playing Coachella has grown a  bit.  I know the festival attracts thousands of fans, as most festivals do.  There is a wide variety of artists and bands that play Coachella, but I wouldn’t be a fair judge of what would or would not attract a crowd. There was discussion about whether the band should be a headliner, a sub-headliner on one of the smaller stages, or if they should play at all.  I just know that Duran Duran played Voodoo in New Orleans a few years back, and I almost lost my life trying to watch them.  That’s where my interest in festivals ended, and it remains that way, Duran Duran or not!  I’m certainly of the age where I feel that it shouldn’t take so much work to simply watch a band – nor should it risk my life to do so.  That said, I’ll be waiting at the casino bar for them.  🙂


All You Need Is Now-The Daily Duranie Video Review

Now that we are done with the reviewing the album, we thought it would be logical to turn towards the video that came out on the same day as the album.

Amanda’s thoughts:
I have to admit it didn’t take much for me to *squee* out loud that day as it was such an exciting day for all Duranies!  Thus, I had to watch it a number of times to really get all of the little details (oh, how I suffer for the sake of this blog!).  The first thing that I noticed was that the video seems shaky in the beginning and at the end.  There might be a couple of other little moments of shakiness but generally it is clearly shaky at the very beginning and at the very end.  After I got over feeling a bit motion sick, I wondered why they would choose that.  What significance does it have?  Yes, it could just be a little cool addition to the video but I tend to think that there is more to it.  Could it be that, if you are living in the present, appreciating the “now”, things are clear?  There is decisiveness and strength for those who live in the now and the beginning and the end represent the past and the future.  Perhaps.  I also noticed that the video began as it ended with the empty stage.  Thinking about how the song represents a message from the band to the fans.  Could this shot be part of that message?  The band isn’t always here and won’t always be around.  I liked that it came full circle. 

There were many other larger elements to notice.  A few of these parts included the use of color, the use of words, the archival footage from the reunion through RCM days, and the inclusion of the 3 young people dressed in New Romantic clothing.  I believe that all of these pieces definitely make the video a little bit more special than a simple performance video.  Obviously, the video is mostly filmed in black and white with flashes of color.  I believe that these flashes of color along with the use of words, especially the word, “now”, are used to grab our attention.  Isn’t that part of what the song is trying to say?  We shouldn’t just go through the motions of life but really embrace the present.  Don’t we all need to be reminded to do that?  I did find it interesting that the only other words I saw beyond the title or the word “now” was the phrase:  “Act Now.”  Stronger message than just a simple “Now.”  Again, we must take action, rather than be passive.  Then, there is the footage from the reunion on.  Obviously, this is supposed to remind us of the good parts of the past and where Duran has come from.  I loved it in the sense that I felt like I had experienced all of that with them, in a way.  I am left wondering why didn’t use any footage earlier than that time period.  Didn’t the music that they want us to stay with start decades before?  It just seemed like they wanted to use what footage they had.  It was more convenient or something.  Yet, they did add these younger people going together to a club to have a good time.  They were dressed as new romantics of the early 1980s, but were clearly in current times based on their use of cell phones.  I thought they were a nice touch as a means to show that it is possible to embrace what was good about the past (in this case-fashion and hairstyles) while living in the moment (as evidenced by the make out session!).  I did wonder if this bit was a smidge too obvious.

Beyond the larger elements were some smaller details that got my attention as well.  I noticed, of course, that shoes seemed to be featured a lot.  No clue on that one.  I also spotted both Mark Ronson and Ana Matronic.  I liked Nick’s trip to the cemetery and definitely felt like that added some weight to the message as did the end with a shot of the band (including Dom!  Yay!) all together and then gone.  I loved the outside shots and wished that there were more of them.  I loved that John seemed to be laughing a lot throughout the shoot!  Who didn’t adore the JoSi?!  The band looked fabulous and HAPPY.  The performance seemed solid and definitely needed to be in a video that speaks about music. 

Overall, I think the video is fun.  The elements that give it more meaning (the kids, the use of color and words, the band footage, the cemetery, the performance) all fit but do seem a bit obvious.  I wished that there had been more footage of the rest of the guys in their location shot like Nick’s.  Perhaps, they didn’t fit but I still would have loved to have seen them.  The important thing, really, is that they seem like they are having fun, which means a LOT to me!

Rhonda’s turn:

I have to say that I really looked forward to the release of this video.  Serious anticipation!!  I felt that with the content of the song, there would be much to “say” in video form, and the band (and Director Nick Egan) didn’t disappoint.

I noticed that the video opened and closed with the familiar film “shake”….as in film like from a film reel. (you youngsters out there that are younger than say, 30 probably wouldn’t pick up on why they’d done that…I won’t hold it against you.)  I also recognized that the video opened and closed with an empty set.  I don’t even want to THINK about what that could mean, metaphorically, so I choose not to chat about it.  My first thoughts of the video is that I really like the idea of the lion’s share of it being in black and white – it’s very visually appealing, especially with the tin foil background.  I also feel that it’s very much in Nick Egan’s “style” of direction given his past work with Duran Duran.  The band looks terrific, and I really would like to own Simon’s boots.  A similar pair, of course.  🙂

My favorite part of the video are the trio that are dressed straight from the 80’s (those were good fashion times and I love their hair!), yet they are using their electronic gadgets straight from 2010.  Honest-to-whatever-you-believe-in, I’d swear they could easily pass as Duranies…on our good fashion days.  ;D  It’s as though they’re living in the moment, yet they still love the music from the past.  Don’t we all???  I really loved the brief flashes of the band from previous, yet still fairly recent times (although I have to question why they didn’t use pictures from further back), and of course the word images of “Now What” and “Go Now”, along with other short sayings throughout really carry the entire message of the song through the video.  I personally did not care for Nick’s little stroll through a cemetery – again, it’s that dark side I don’t even want to consider. (I know it’s there, but I don’t wanna think about it.  Too busy enjoying the NOW!)  I understand the point though,  I do.

I love that they incorporated Dom into the video, I know that point is probably controversial with a lot of fans, but the fact is – he was listed as a writer for the song and obviously played guitar, so it’s not a stretch to include him.   They caught moments of the band laughing and enjoying the moment as well, which was a welcome sight – it’s been a long time since I really felt the band looked relaxed, happy and enjoying themselves.  They should be proud!!

Overall, I really enjoyed the video.  I’m not at all sure that video has the same power it once had in the 80’s – but with the popularity of youtube and other video websites, it may be about finding how to really use the video to benefit the band more than it is about whether or not to actually do one.  It’s an interesting road to be on these days, and I’m happy to see that the band is willing to try to find their own niche….or reclaim it, actually!

With that, as of tomorrow we’ll be returning to our usual Daily Duranie blogs.  I know that both Amanda and myself look forward to complaining about the lack of information regarding upcoming tour dates, the excitement of an upcoming tour, the joys of seeing the band live, and  the happiness of celebrating our fandom with the rest of the fan base.  See you tomorrow!