Patience is a Virtue and other lessons of the day….

Last night, I was watching V with my family, and since it started to completely gross me out and disgust me (stay with me….), I grabbed my laptop and figured I could get some work done.  Ha.  I should have known better, really.  I hopped onto twitter only to find Mr. John Taylor spouting some sort of nonsense about sticking around for the “Official” Coachella announcement (because that clearly wasn’t obvious enough for me to understand that while John had also told us all – liar liar pants on fire – it was very “unlikely” for them to play Coachella, they really WERE playing!)  I’ve got your number now, mister….  It really was *unlikely* for them to ever play Coachella, but it was also really *unlikely* that they’d ever reunite with Andy again…and they did.  *sigh*   I really need to learn how to translate Duranspeak better than I currently do.  🙂  It wasn’t long after I tweeted back that yeah, he also had to stick around so that I and 3000 other buddies of his could give him a rough time playing Coachella after telling us that it was unlikely that he said Night Tweeties.  (oh John, you’re a funny one, aren’t ya?)  I won’t go into the number of times I refreshed until it was FINALLY announced that yes, Duran Duran is playing Coachella on April 17th…nor will I go into the myriad of reasons why I am not going.  No really, I’m not going.  Festivals and I are not friends.  Regardless, I do think it’s a fantastic opportunity for them, and while I do have some serious reservations – I will keep those to myself until after the rest of the tour is announced.  John says those dates are coming next week….we will see.

While bantering to John, I my mind wandered to a written “conversation” I’d had earlier in the day with Amanda.  I’m currently working on a chapter for the book about Facebook and Twitter, and I’m brainstorming the topics that I would like to cover.  I have quite a list going, but one thing we wrote back and forth about was that because of the fact there are so many of us who have been fans since our early teens or even earlier, many of us feel as though we know them.  I would argue that yes, we do know them – we know exactly what they wish for us to know about them.  The trouble is, and I think this is a common side-effect for any long term fan, we tend to feel as though there’s a relationship between the band and ourselves, and of course – as we know once we stop long enough to think about it – it’s truly just one sided.  As I’ve mentioned before, the band doesn’t have the foggiest idea who I am.  (probably a good thing)  I will say that I’ve been to a few shows in my day, and I’ve had the opportunity to be near the front enough to gain their attention. (I’ve been taught how to clap properly to Red Carpet Massacre by John, I’ve also sang with him a time or two…I’ve had Roger attempt to throw a stick to me, and I’ve laughed right along with Dom).  That said, they don’t really know me.  I can’t imagine any of them would recognize me, and I know they don’t know my name.  I might think that I know them, but the truth is – if they saw me on the street they’d walk right past me – and rightfully so.  What really adds to the confusion of where the line between fan and friend really lies is the premise of social networking.  Sites such as Facebook and Twitter initially began as ways to maintain friendship.  You add “friends” to your facebook account, and you follow people on twitter.  At one point, celebrities didn’t really utilize either facebook OR twitter – it was about friends.  So now, we’ve got Duran Duran on facebook; John and Roger are on facebook, as is Dom….and we’ve got Dom, John & Simon on Twitter.  Even I have a hard time remembering that these guys don’t KNOW me.  I’m bantering AT them as though I’m giving a friend a hard time. (as opposed to WITH them, because, let me be honest here – they’ve never retweeted something I’ve said or even acknowledged me at all)  I would never openly tell the guys they should stop coming to facebook or twitter, absolutely not – but I do need to remind myself from time to time that I’m just a fan.  I’m one of…well…a LOT of people out there.  I suppose this topic does tie in a bit with the validation topic from yesterday, but it’s an interesting facet of what social networking sites have done to change or evolve the definitions of celebrity and fan.

Which brings me to patience, of which I have very, very little.  Not sure if any of you caught that yet. Twitter is great in that we get almost instant gratification since it takes place in “real time” – but that 140 character limit thing can be a problem.  Then there’s facebook, which is much more an “at your leisure” sort of thing.  Messages can sit in my inbox for as long as I wish, I can reply at length, and the pace is less frantic.  In the past week, Amanda and I have expanded our horizons to include a new facebook page for Daily Duranie, and quite honestly I’m amazed at the differences in the fans so far.  There are people we’ve befriended that are active both on facebook and twitter, and then there are people who seem to stay mainly on twitter and mainly on facebook. What’s really fascinating to the two of us, being the social science observers we are – is that the types of fans we find in either place truly differ quite a bit!  It is a bit early for to draw conclusions on what I’ve seen so far, but it’s fascinating that the mechanics behind each of the social networking sites attract different types of fans altogether. I suppose it makes sense, but very interesting, nonetheless.  Are you a patient fan, or more like me where you want it all yesterday?  🙂



As I’ve mentioned in many, many blogs now – I’ve been a fan since 1981.  Probably not unlike many of you out there.  It all began with one song played on a local radio station (KROQ), and I’ve honestly loved them ever since.  It’s not as though Duran Duran have been the only band I’ve ever loved or enjoyed, but for me they’re the one band I will literally move mountains to figure out a way to go and see when they tour.  I just don’t have the time or energy to do that for every other band I like, and I’ve learned that I have to prioritize, as much as I might not like it.  I don’t follow other bands as closely as I do Duran Duran, and rest assured in case you were wondering, no, I don’t blog for any of them either!

I think part of my long term love is that at the time I became aware of who Duran Duran was, I was an adolescent…I was almost 12 at the time, and so I suppose you could say that Duran Duran took me through puberty.  (wow)  It would be fair to say that they were the first real “crushes” I had, and yes, I must use the plural on that because the truth is, I had crushes on each one of them over the years.  Some crushes lasted far longer than others (Roger by a landslide), and some were just fleeting (let’s just say I had a thing for Simon while he was in Arcadia), but at this point I’ve settled into being fond of all of them.  To have been a fan for as long as a lot of us have been at this point, I think it’s fair to say that they’ve been a big part of our lives for a long time – and that’s really something when you consider that most of us have had very little chance to ever really get to know them past their music.  I don’t know any of them on a personal level (and I’m not saying that I should…read on.), but yet I feel like the band is a close friend in some sense.  It’s an odd sort of “relationship”, for lack of a better word.  I’m as thrilled as anyone else when I see any of them take the time to truly talk to the fans.  We’ve come quite a long way since the days of staring into the posters on our walls, getting no real reply beyond the melody of their music, haven’t we?  Or have we?

By any account, 30 years is a long time.  My kids think it’s practically eternity.  I can understand that – when I was a teenager, I thought that 25 was old! (wow was I ever wrong!)  I feel incredibly lucky to still have the time, energy and concern to follow the same band that I did back when I was the same age as my son is now – and what’s really funny is that I look at him and realize that my gosh, when I was his age, I was already completely head over heels for Duran Duran.  They’d already served as the wallpaper for my bedroom! That’s unreal.  My oldest is about to turn 14, and at her age I was just about to suffer the heartbreak of watching Roger and Andy leave the band.  At that point, I don’t think I ever even considered what it meant to feel validated.  I just knew I loved the music, and their job was to make the music, and mine was to buy it along with everything else I could…to show the world I loved them.  At that age, I highly doubt I even gave it much thought, really.  It was a simple system.  I hadn’t ever met the band, I hadn’t ever gone to a show; in fact the closest I’d ever come at that point in time was getting their video album on VHS.  (a glorious moment indeed)  I think that during that time, my validation came from other friends – my friends still loved Duran Duran, and I knew I was a good fan because I had far more posters on my wall, records in my collection, etc. etc. than they did.  😀  Ah, the joys of being young.

So in todays world, what does validation really mean, and what importance does it really have?

For some fans, I think that validation isn’t any more or less than a great album or a fantastic concert.  For others, they want to make their fandom into a career of sorts in order to validate the time and energy they’ve spent.  (who me?!?)   For still others, they want that interaction, that acknowledgement from the band.  They want to know that they haven’t been a fan for X amount of years in VAIN.  They not only believe that the band should take the time to acknowledge their fans, but they also believe that they deserve that interaction.  They’ve waited many years between daydreaming lovingly into Simon’s eyes as they stare at the poster on their walls to actually reading tweets from him on Twitter – and they want their moment.  For the coveted few, they might get answered; but for the majority – it’s you and the poster, baby.

Sometimes I wonder what it all looks like from the bands point of view.  Several years back when I was working for Clear Static, the guys would tell me that Duran Duran’s fans were VERY overwhelming to them.  One of them used to tell me that when the fans would come at him after a show (which we did tend to do),  he would feel as though he couldn’t breathe, and not because he was claustrophobic, but because the feeling of desperation would suck all of the air and energy out of the room.  These statements were very hard for me to take in, purely because I was and am a Duranie, but I understand what they meant.  One of them told me that he pictured the situation like a huge cage fight where a box of jewelry (listen, my thing is jewelry, but this could be anything…food, money, John Taylor….whatever!) was dumped into the center of the cage and the Duranies would be fighting to get to the jewelry before it was all gone.  I took offense to this characterization to begin with, but now…I totally get it.  I can’t really argue it isn’t that way.  When you see the way it is after a show at a bar if the band has been spotted there, or if you watch twitter when John or Simon make an appearance and send out tweets, it’s our reality.

One could argue that fandoms exist at least partially because of the desperate need to feel validated.  Of course, this feeling differs in each individual, and there is a fine line between a fan who would just like a simple wave hello, and a fan that relies on constant validation as a source of self-esteem.  It’s the same fine, yet sometimes blurred line that divides fan from fanatic.


So What’s This All About Anyway?

There are days, and then there are days.  After a night where I believe I got less than 3 solid hours of sleep, NOT BY CHOICE…sometimes you just have to take stock in what you’ve got going on, and be good with it.  This, my friends, is one of those days for me.   I’m sick with some strain of influenza that has decided not to let go of me just yet – courtesy of my youngest.  I’ve been sick for a week now, last week being just a bad sore throat and exhaustion and now today the congestion has hit.  It’s a wonderful day to be a blogger, and a Duranie…and a parent…but that’s another subject for another blog.

I believe we’ve been at this blog now for a bit less than 110 days – I can’t remember the exact figure in this moment.  The plan was simple: write a short article every day about being fans of Duran Duran.  It could be a commentary on the news from the fan perspective (as opposed to being unbiased reporting), it could be about a specific fandom issue, or something else entirely. So far, so good.  People are reading and hopefully enjoying the blog, which was the plan!

What made us decide to do the blog, though?  I don’t think either Amanda nor myself ever had big plans to be bloggers in our everyday lives!  I never gave it any thought prior to this past year, although I do enjoy writing.  Amanda truly shouldn’t even have time for blogging at all – but somehow, she finds the time each week!  I suppose though that the idea behind the blog was a seed that was planted several years back.   I am pretty sure I’ve explained that Amanda and I originally met at a fan convention in 2004, and since then we’ve traveled to shows together, posted on message boards, and basically assaulted the community with our opinions, which we now share here for your reading pleasure.  🙂  During that time, Amanda and I talked about writing a book based on our fan experience.  I think that for me, a lot of that was just in joke form – we’d see something while on “tour”, and say to one another “That has GOT to go in our book!”  Then as time wore on, the idea grew more serious in nature.  It wasn’t so much that she and I felt we had a story that was any more significant than any other fan, it was that we shared a desire to tell a story of our fan community.  In our eyes, the Duran Duran fan community, the fandom as we call it, is very special and unique, and deserves a book!  With that thought in mind, we brainstormed about topics that would be interesting to include.  I believe that to begin with, our idea was never to do a gossipy, syrupy tell-all about either the band or the fan community;  we wanted to write a book that could both be interesting and even amusing to our fan community as well as a book that could be taken seriously in an academic setting.  Much discussion and brainstorming ensued.

Our project eventually solidified itself, and we began writing in earnest.  At this point, I would say at best guess that we are closing in on being 2/3 of the way through with the initial writing.    The best way to describe our book is that it’s an examination of fandom using Duran Duran’s fan community as the case study.  We examine why fandom exists, how it continues to thrive 30 years after the release of Planet Earth, and in answering both of those questions, we also celebrate the overall “friendship” of the community.  We try not to gush too much in the book, although I think it’s very clear through our writing that we both respect and admire the band in our own way.  (they’re not too bad I guess.  :D)

Our overall goal is that this book be written both from an entertaining and academic point of view, which has been no easy feat thus far.  It is important to both of us that we remain true to our collective background in social science, (my dad would be so proud to see that I’m finally using all of the writing skills I gained in college with my American Studies degree :D) not only discussing the characteristics of fandom, but examining the “why” behind each one.  We continue to write away, hoping to finish the book at some point later this year.

This blog, while not really designed to be a true extension of the book, has allowed for several discussions to spur our creative juices, and we’ve found out a bit more about our fandom at times.  The blog has taught me some much needed discipline, tact (ha!), and it gives me plenty of writing practice in finding my own voice, and I’m positive it will continue to do more as the years…yes years…go on.  I hope the band is planning on continuing for a while….  We’ll be sure to keep our readers updated as the process for the book, blog and world domination continues.  (wink, wink)

This past weekend, we continued on with our idea of becoming professional Duranies (hey, who said you couldn’t make a hobby, er…obsession…into a career?!?)  by adding a facebook page to our efforts.  Obviously we’re not busy enough with writing the book, doing a daily blog,  and keeping up with John and Simon showing up on Twitter, now we’re doing a facebook page as well!  In any case, we hope you’ll find us on facebook and befriend us!

In the meantime, I will leave you with one final thought that I know Amanda and I both plan to write more about in the coming days.  Why is it that we fans feel the band owes us?  Why do we think they owe us interaction on facebook & twitter?  Why do we feel they owe us answers to our never ending questions, both personal and professional?  Why do we act out of such complete desperation whenever the band is within “striking” distance….and why do we continue to do that even though the band has been around now for 30 years?  Other fandoms aren’t quite like this, so why is this one?  I look forward to reading some comments here on and on facebook about this!!  -R

Chats with Band Members

Twitter and facebook have been incredibly crazy places to be lately!  As Rhonda mentioned in a post a few days ago, these sites, particularly twitter, have begun to feel like the old days of message boards where there are a ton of people on, day and night, and that it is VERY challenging to keep up.  In fact, the only way to really do that is to stay signed in at all times.  Why is this?  Well, first, everyone has discovered that everyone else is there.  It is the place to be.  Like the message boards, it is the place to exchange ideas about the band and meet people.  Second, and more interestingly, it is the place where the band members have been interacting with us fans.  It seems that John has been holding a daily chat session with fans where they ask questions and he answers as many as he can.  During those sessions, the fans are not only trying to get their questions answered but also chatting with others about what he said or about the questions asked.  After he leaves, there continues to be some flurry of activity as people react to what they saw/read, publicly, and some behind-the-scenes commenting as well.  A couple of days ago, Rhonda tweeted something about how this was just like being at a bar or club after a show.  Now, I’m not sure how many of our readers have experienced being at a bar or club after a show with a bunch of Duranies and a band member or two but it is quite something and, in many ways, the social interactions are playing out in the same way here in cyberspace as they do in real life.

On the surface level, fans have expressed their joy and excitement over being able to chat with John or Simon.  They get to share this excitement with others who feel the same way.  For some people, this thrill is shared among friends and for others, it is a way of getting to know and becoming friends with other fans.  On this level, everything seems very positive.  No one is being negative about the questions asked (at least not among our followers and the people who follow us) and everyone seems genuinely happy for the people who get their questions answered.  Yet, I worry that this positivity won’t stay or that there is more going on underneath the surface.  For example, are Duranies talking about other Duranies behind the backs, based on their reactions, their questions, or their level of excitement?  I suspect that there are.  Are people paying attention to whose questions are getting answered and whose aren’t?  I bet they are and I bet that some people might be feeling REALLY good about themselves if John has answered multiple questions from them.  They might even be feeling a bit superior because of it.  (Note:  I don’t know this, for sure, but I just saying that it might be a possibility.)  Then, there is the actual interaction between the fans and the band members.

In real life, I find being in the same location as the band and the fans to be fascinating.  At times, I have felt like everyone has been really respectful of each other and the band members.  At other times, I have felt this sort of dog-eat-dog mentality where some fans just push other fans out of the way in order to get more time with the guys.  I have seen people give Nick or Roger or whomever their space and I have seen other times when they did not appear to have much, if any.  Do I know if this bothers them?  Nope.  I don’t.  I am just saying that I have observed a spectrum of behavior.  I am wondering if I am not seeing similar types of behavior taking place online.  Are some fans trying to get as much time as possible with the guys?  Sure.  Am I blaming them?  Not really.  I understand that desire because I have it, too.  Do I think they are trying to push other fans out of their way?  I don’t really know.  It is possible, I guess.  Even if they are, is it malicious?  Maybe, for some, but, I doubt it.  Nonetheless, I am concerned.

I, like every Duran fan who has been witnessing or participating in these little chats via twitter, want them to continue.  I LOVE being able to ask John or Simon questions and have them respond.  I LOVE that they seem to care about what we think and want to interact with us.  That said, I want to keep it positive, for all of us fans and for the band.  I don’t want this to turn into a means of gaining status within the community.  I also want us fans to always be respectful and considerate of each other and of them.  We need to remember to share and to give space.  Then, I think it can remain as fun and as exciting as it has been so far!  If not, I fear that they won’t last.  Some fans will stop logging in and participating and maybe the band will stop as well.  If so, that would hurt all of us. 


The Next Single?

According to BBC Radio 2, Duran Duran plans to release Girl Panic as their second single.  This, of course, caused some discussion within the fan community.  Some of the questions included:  Why is there no official announcement about it?  What happened to All You Need Is Now?  Is this the right choice for a single–in terms of radio play, increased sales, capturing the feel of the album as a whole.  I, too, have all of those thoughts.  I first wonder what a single in 2011 really means.

When I was a kid, a new single was a very big deal.  When a single was released, this meant that we would now hear the song on the radio, see the video on MTV and buy the single either as a record or as a cassette tape.  It would also mean getting another song known as the B-Side.  For Duran fans, the B-Side was always VERY exciting as many of their B-Sides are fabulous tracks and some of my favorites.  What does it mean today, though?  Clearly, it is not the same.  There will be no record or cassette tape.  Will a video be made for it?  According to some interview, videos will be made for all of the tracks no matter their single status.  Luckily, the band is making some extra tracks that they are referring to as “b-sides”.  This leaves radio airplay.  Will this song get radio play?  Obviously, many Duranies were wondering the same thing.  Here in the States, I don’t think that it will.  Now, I openly admit that I don’t listen to the radio.  I haven’t since I moved away from Chicago as a kid.  Radio, at one point in my life, really opened my eyes to new artists and some great tracks but I don’t think that it does that much anymore.  My understanding is that radio has become even more rigid in terms of their playlists.  I know that Duran didn’t get much play with any of their albums where I have been since the Wedding Album.  Is this because they didn’t choose right for the singles?  In some cases, I might have thought they choice the wrong track but even when they made “good” choices, they still didn’t get play.  Radio doesn’t work as it used to and clearly, most stations around me aren’t open to a band like Duran Duran even if the music is solid.

Did Duran Duran make the right choice for this second single?  I think so.  First of all, I love the track.  I think it really captures everything I think of when it comes to Duran Duran.  It is upbeat and catchy.  The song has strong instrumentation, fun lyrics and discusses girls.  Very Duran Duran.  Some fans are disagreeing, though.  They either don’t like the track or would prefer a song like The Man Who Stole a Leopard because they feel like it is either a better track or would be so new, so different that it would get people’s attention.  I agree that the song is unique and unlike what is on the radio but I don’t think that a lot of people would take the time to really appreciate it.  As for capturing the overall feel of the album, I think it shows the spirit of the band.  This song, like the album, shows strong songwriting and their classic desire to combine different musical genres.  Of course, even with the right choice, it may not help sell more records or provide them with more chart success.  Nonetheless, I like that it helps us, the fans, engaged and it could help them, commercially.

I was thinking the other day, when I was discussing this with my writing partner, that moves like this have helped their success in the past.  Did releasing Wild Boys as a single without a new album help?  Yes.  What about releasing Hungry Like the Wolf multiple times?  Yes.  Could this song help?  It could.  I know that it can’t hurt.  I know that I would like to see lots of action in the Duran camp in order to help me pass my time before the physical album comes out and before touring happens.  Is it too soon after releasing AYNIN, as a single?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  Maybe, the plan is to release as many songs as possible for singles.  Maybe this won’t come out as a single for another month.  Who knows?  Will there be an official announcement?  I don’t know.  I would assume so.  Until then, we are left with lots of speculation as usual.


Political Opinions

Twitter has been the center of a great deal of activity in the Duran Duran fandom lately and has been since both John and Simon have decided to grace us mere fans with their presence over there.  In most cases, the topics discussed or brought up are usually light-hearted.  Just tonight, for example, John was over on twitter answering questions from fans.  Some of these questions regarded what tv shows he likes, what book he is reading, his opinion on giving fans hugs, etc.  Yet, in the last week, we have all seen more serious discussions take place as well.

It all started last week, when John decided to retweet a statement from Jane Fonda regarding last weekend’s terrible shooting in Arizona.  While John didn’t add to the retweet, his opinion on a certain politician was clear by his choice in sharing this statement with his thousands of followers.  Well, that did not go over very well among some people from what I saw.  These people claimed that John shouldn’t have done that and that he should stay out of politics.  John attempted to have a discussion and the people who disagreed did give him reasons that he should keep his mouth closed when it comes to issues like this.  Then, John disappeared off of twitter for a couple of days until he returned with a related question regarding gun control.  This time, instead of retweeting a strong opinion, he asked for people’s opinions about this issue.  This time, at least, publicly, there seemed to be less people all upset.  Did his approach make all the difference?  I don’t know.  To me, it doesn’t matter.  He should have the right to say what he thinks about politics or whatever, really.

John Taylor, like any person, should have the right to voice his opinions.  While I can understand people’s desire to keep things like politics and music separate and I think that, too, sometimes, they have to understand that there is John, the bass player for Duran Duran, and John, the person.  He didn’t come out and say that “Duran Duran believes so and so is guilty of blah.”  He didn’t say that.  He gave HIS personal opinion.  Now, of course, there are many people who might disagree with his thoughts on the matter.  That’s everyone’s right, too.  They could have told him that, respectfully.  It seems to me based on his discussion on gun control that he is perfectly willing and even interested in having those types of discussions.  Yet, instead I heard about insults directed at John or written about him.  Horribly offensive insults.  Is that anyway to be respectful of someone you supposedly like and respect?  I don’t think so.

Now, some people might just think that this is easy for me to say since I completely agree with him on both his original retweet and on his opinion on gun control.  Yes, I admit that it feels good to know that someone I have admired for a long time thinks like me, at least on these issues, especially since I’m pretty involved, politically, outside of my job and this job—I mean this fandom!  Nonetheless, there are other things that I could have issues with.  I’ll give an example.  I’m a vegetarian and have been for almost 17 years.  Yet, to the best of my knowledge, most members of the band eat meat, wear leather, wear fur, etc.  Does this upset me?  Not really.  I wish that they wouldn’t but I feel strongly that I need to let others live how they want to unless it is hurting me or others.  Thus, there are a few things that they could do that would upset me so much that I wouldn’t be able to be a fan anymore, like if I found out that one of them beat his wife or girlfriend, for instance.  Beyond those few things, they should be allowed to do what they want, have their own thoughts and be able to voice them.  The answer for the people annoyed with John Taylor’s decision to say what he thinks is to stop following him.  Stop reading what he writes.  Stop paying attention.  After all, you can’t really control someone else but you can control yourself even as a fan.


Late March

Today, a news article in Variety magazine was released with some updated news about the band and their upcoming tour.  You can read the article here.

Once again, Durantime rears it’s head, complete with bed-head hair and the remnants of last night’s makeup underneath it’s eyes.  Clearly, it’s been a wild-ride thus far.  In reading the news, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that in December, the plan was to release early February, then mid-to late February, then March…and now late March.  I’m sure that there are many reasons behind the release date that someone like me, someone who is just a fan, would not even begin to understand. That said, the point of our blog is to examine the news from the point of view of the fan.  Sometimes, that’s a good thing.  Like it or not, the fans are the lifeblood to the longevity of the band.  If we’re excited about something, that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  The converse also holds true, however.  If the fans aren’t on board – it’s tough to make headway.  I’m not trying to make the fans appear to be an unstoppable force (although one glimpse of us at a show and perhaps that would seem to be the case!), but I am saying that we’re a team with the band.  It truly is teamwork that keeps the band going, and really – that keeps US going as fans.  So, with that in mind, I forge ahead.

My first thought upon reading the news of the day is that it’s already been quite a while since the digital version was released, and as far as I can tell – our excitement has already began to simmer down.  I think that’s natural, and in this day and age with electronic media – what at one point took an entire month to cycle (as in a magazine), now takes days.  Information flows so quickly that we consume it and go on to the next thing in a blink of an eye.  This gives anyone, any band, much more of a challenge to continue to remain new, fresh and relevant;  momentum can be gained and lost overnight.  I think that’s really the energy behind Twitter and even Facebook to some extent, and if bands and artists don’t learn how to use it, well – they lose it.  This is where my concern lies with Duran Duran.  The “public” has already heard the new single.  They have a decent portion (appetizer or otherwise) of the new album.  Sure, sales were good that first week – I’m not really sure how they’re doing now but I have to imagine they’ve weakened since then, and that’s OK.  That said, now there’s a real wait on our hands until late March…and let’s be honest…it could easily be late April, as happens in Durantime.  (imagine if they had decided to withhold everything until then?  As my friend Jessica mentioned today – MUTINY!)

I have to ask – how is that going to help them?  They had real momentum in December.  It would have been very easy to continue to capitalize on that by doing a select number of shows, MANY more interviews, etc.  Instead it would seem as though there was a slight hiccup or misstep in the planning process, and now we’ve got this huge gap of time.  Make no mistake, 3 and a half or four months between the release of digital material and the actual physical CD is a LONG time.  I’ve seen artists have their work released, distributed, and sent BACK to the distributor in that amount of time. (not kidding there)  It’s a gamble, to be sure.  I know they are putting new unheard material on the physical album, the packaging is supposed to be very cool, etc etc.  It all makes me think back to (Reach up for the) Sunrise off of Astronaut.  Here was the first single from the original 5 members in over 20 years.  It was released as a single off of the Queer Eye soundtrack – a different version, yes.  Then, in what I feel was a very risky move – it was released as the single off of the bands own album in yet another version.  Did it gain attention?  Nope.  Not even from fans – we’d already heard it.  Been there, done that, so to speak.  I have some concerns that this album is going to garner the same sort of attention, or lack thereof.  Of course, there were many other issues present with Astronaut, and I’m sure one can find a myriad of reasons why the album didn’t do as well as it should have commercially – MY point is simply that once the fans have heard it and consumed it – we move on quickly.

Then there is/are the sheer lack of dates.  We’ve got what appears to be about 2 months and some before the album drops – I read tweets each day from the band saying that they’re working on bass, keys, vocals for the bonus material – and while that’s exciting, what would really fill the time between now and the album dropping are shows.  That’s right, shows.  You want to keep the fans attention?  Play some shows.  Yeah, it would require work.  Yeah, it would be a pain in the butt to get it all together, but it would keep our interest, and the band might even get some new attention from new fans too.  Of course, they could already be planning shows, I have no idea.  There are rumors of some UK dates in February (seems to me that those should already have been announced or else they’re totally behind the 8-ball…),   but otherwise, I’ve heard of nothing.

I suppose one could say that the wait increases demand.  I would say in return that you’re playing an awfully risky game.  Fans are fickle, and the last album should have proven that without a doubt.  Sorry to those of you diehard RCM fans out there, but a lot of fans simply gave up on the band after that album was released.  So now other bands are starting to announce tours for the spring/summer, and people who might have thought about going to Duran shows are starting to consider other bands – and trust me when I say that most people do not have the money to do it all.  Recession…United States…banks failing all over the world…any of that ringing a bell with anyone?  I just don’t feel that Duran Duran is in the position to play that game and win.

For all of the downer news, however – there is always some good.  For instance, the CD/vinyl will have 14 tracks (if you’re counting, that means we haven’t heard at least 4 or 5 of them, depending upon whether Mediterranea is included), and according to their management, they are looking at doing specific packaging and extras for specific retailers, which means plenty of versions to buy.  I suppose that could be deemed as bad news – but for me, I want it all and I’m not ashamed of that.   We know that they’ll eventually announce tour dates, because they are planning a tour in April (hurry up April!), and in time – all of this waiting will be a distant memory.  Heck, if they wait long enough – I’ll probably forget all about it! (memory isn’t what it used to be!)

I suppose that some will say I’m impatient (no, really?), and some will say I’m negative. (listen, even if the glass is half empty – there’s still vodka left in there, how is that not positive?!?)   That’s OK.  I’m positive most of the time, I try to see the good in the band, and there’s plenty of that to see.  It’s just very hard not to notice the missteps at times, and ANY fan should be able to recognize that.  I still love them all and really, the bottom line here is that if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t mention any of it.  For that matter, I wouldn’t blog.


Message Board Revival

Do you remember the best days of  You know the ones – back when the board  had plenty of members, and you could get on the message board day or night and keep yourself busy for hours because messages were flowing like water?  Do you remember back when something would be posted, you’d comment, and then you’d have a difficult time finding the post without going back through 5,000 pages of threads?  Then over time, the board slowed down.  There were still plenty of posts, but most of them had absolutely nothing to do with the band whatsoever.  Then of course there were the times when the board would be visited by some guy posting as stillbreathing.  Ah yes, good times, good times.

Those moments ended several years back when the message board forum for was shut down and members were “encouraged” to cough up $35.00 (USD) to join the “official” fan club.  For a lot of fans, this is where their journey with the online fan community ended.  Jump ahead to late 2010, and it’s obvious that we’re starting to get a glimmer of what the forums used to be – but this time, on Twitter.

At first, Twitter seemed to be a useless time waster to me.  The idea of “following” my friends, only to read that they were at work, school, etc. seemed so, well, dumb!  I’ve had a twitter account for about 2 years now (give or take), and I never really got much out of it.  I “followed” celebrities I liked (which seemed very voyeuristic to me at the time), and checked in occasionally.  I’m even more fascinated when people I don’t even know start following me – because lets face it – my life isn’t exciting enough to attract attention beyond my circle of friends.  Then Amanda and I decided that a good way to chat with fans about various DD news and happenings would be through twitter, so we set up the Daily Duranie account.  At that point, Twitter started becoming more and more populated with other Duranies, and today – I can go online at any time, day or night – and read tons of DD tidbits, or get opinions from other Duranies about blog topics, their latest album or even their latest video.  If that weren’t enough, Simon and John have graced Twitter with their presence in recent months.  Simon has had his account for a while (but he’s tweeting almost daily now), and John has embraced Twitter with vigor.  If you don’t think that Simon and John have added to the fun (insanity)…I invite you to be on Twitter when they are tweeting.  Seriously.

I’m not the only fan to notice the similarities to the old days.   Just today I read a quote from @Ramona44, “Okay, I just realised that this twitter thing is like the old fan forum on crack. lol No wonder why I’m here al the time. ha! .  It’s true…and it’s very addicting.  Another buddy of Daily Duranie @fanGirlsOnline (coincidently she is also doing a study on fandom) made a similar comment today on Twitter “.in which case it’s like DDM on crack + an after-show-party showdown at the band’s hotel bar, lol. Wot a mess.” (please ignore the grammar/spelling – it’s a 140 character limit on twitter.  We get creative)  The fact is, with members of the band occasionally on twitter, exchanging tweets with fans – and with the tweeting back and forth with one another, it certainly does remind me a lot of touring.  

Even six months ago, I would have gone so far as to say that being a fan wasn’t as much fun as it once was.  The band felt incredibly “far” from the fan base, the fans themselves weren’t frequenting message boards, and while I know many of us were still looking forward to the new album – I know I wasn’t alone in thinking that the best times were in the past.  Lately though, I’m not so sure.  Seems to me that being a fan at this point in my life is liable to be just as much fun, if not more, as it was before!  


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?


An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!