How old is that kid up there???

I think I’m a pretty lazy fan.  Most days, I come online only to find some fantastic piece of news that other people have known about for months, if not years.  Yeah, that might seem like an exaggeration to some.  It’s really not.

For instance, and I *am* embarrassing myself by putting this in written word for all of the Duranieverse (a new word) to read; it wasn’t until I had been a member of DuranDuranFans.com for more than a few months that I came to learn that there even WAS an album called “Thank You” put out by the band.  (hey, I was a little busy back in the 90’s…and typically I don’t like cover albums!) Not to mention that Roger Taylor, my self-described favorite, performed on not only the album, but the video for Perfect Day.  I’ll never forget that moment because I was on the phone with a friend, watching the video (keep in mind the video was very low resolution – it’s my story and I’m sticking to it) when suddenly it occurs to me that the drummer is someone I recognize.  I blurt out “Oh my god, Roger Taylor is IN this video!”, to which my friend on the phone cackles with laughter and proceeds to educate me on Duran Duran history.  It was a beautiful moment, and yes, at the time I did have blonde hair.  Thankyouverymuch!

A month, or maybe even two months back, there was an article in a magazine that I honestly can’t remember the name. (Again, see the laziness?  I could research the name, which most times I do, but I’m in a hurry here today so it’s not going to happen.  Bonus points for the fan – Amanda doesn’t count – who can post the magazine name in our comments)  In this lovely article, Dom Brown was interviewed.  There were a plethora of fantastic questions asked and answered, but one tidbit struck me enough that day to where it’s been nagging at me ever since.  The interviewer had asked Dom if there was any piece of information that the fans didn’t know (or something to that extent).  Dom answered that he didn’t think most fans knew his birthday or his age.

I read that article and realized he was right.  I’d been screaming for Dom at shows since 2005 and had no clue about his age.  Secretly I hoped that he was closer to my age than say…in his young 20’s…there is a story behind that comment that I won’t share here, but I really didn’t have any idea.  I felt bad in some ways because a few birthdays had past and I’d never sent a “Happy Birthday” his way.  In odd, random moments here at home I’d consider ways I could find out his birthdate, but I never did much.   I could say that there’s too much going on around here for me to remember much besides the names of my children, my own home and cell phone numbers, (don’t ask me about my kids’ cell numbers – thankfully those are written down.  Somewhere.), and occasionally I might even remember my husband’s work phone number and possibly even the last 4 digits of my credit card number.  The reality is, I’m lazy and I didn’t look up Dom’s birthday anywhere.

Flash ahead to this morning when I checked Facebook.  The day seemed pretty uneventful.  I checked my personal and Daily Duranie email, where I found some communication from Amanda.  She lets me know that fans are wishing Dom a happy 39th birthday and wants to know what I think of that.

Well, to begin with, I pretty much suck.  (That’s American for I inhale quickly, loudly and strongly through a straw.  Suffice to say I’m really bad.)  I should have really been better about being a fan.  Damn it.

I know that Dom is not a Permanent Member of the Band,  and somehow that alleviates the pressure from me having to know his exact height, weight, hair color, birthdate, place of birth, favorite color, food, etc.  Reality for me is that I fell in love with that guy from the moment I saw him on stage in 2005.  Now, before you Andy-fans come out of the woodwork with scary looking things to beat me with – I love Andy too.  Andy IS the guitar player for Duran Duran.  I’ve never, ever said otherwise.  He is the guitar player that was with the band when I fell in love, and as such he will always hold that place in my heart.  I have total respect for Andy, I read his book, and I still read his blog whenever he chooses to post.   Andy decided to close his chapter on life in Duran Duran, and I respect that decision completely.  I’m still a Duran Duran fan though, and as such – I exercise my right to learn to love the band in their varying forms.  Some more than others.  When Dom first took to the stage in 2005, I thought he did a fine job.  He stayed out of the limelight, played the notes as written, and didn’t make it into the Dom show.  He’s a session guitarist and that is what they do.  Extremely well, I might add.  In 2006, when after an official announcement that came WEEKS later than it EVER should have come from the band (yes, that is indeed this half of Daily Duranie saying that the band and their management screwed up royally), Dom had to play the show at the Sears Center in Chicago, knowing that Andy would never be returning, that fans were not pleased by the news, and that he had extraordinarily large shoes to fill.  In my opinion, he exceeded my expectations.  Again, he played the songs, stayed out of the spotlight and seemed to be respectful of the task ahead for the band.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more, other than to have Andy back. Since that night, he has quite honestly grown more and more comfortable in his position within the band.  He obviously loves the work, he enjoys being onstage, and he seems to really love the rest of the band as well.  I’ve never, ever heard him say one tiny cross word towards Andy – regardless of how he may feel privately (and I have no idea how he really feels, I hope it stays that way permanently to be honest) – and I have to give him credit.  It would have been far easier to come in and smear Andy’s reputation just to make himself look good.  I daresay that other guitarists have done similar things in the past, and it’s not even remotely close to attractive.  Overall, I think Dom has done a great job.

Do I think Dom should be “in the band”?  My question in return is “Does it really matter, and if so, why?”  I think that the current situation seems to work for all of them.  Whether or not that’s the real truth or just the current line that is being used to appease the fans, I don’t know.   Some fans can’t stand Dom.  I’m not surprised.  As I said before, those were incredibly large shoes to fill, and in MY opinion, only Andy can fill them completely.  There’s always going to be something missing for some people unless it’s the original 5.  All I can say to that, is that I respect your opinion and your feelings.  How could I not?

Ultimately, I am glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see Dom onstage with the band.  He is charismatic, fun to watch, and darn it – the guy is cute.  When he looks out into the audience and sees someone he recognizes, he does his best to indicate as such, which is really kind of cool.  Yes, I guess you could say I’m a fan.  (I’m not straying Roger!! I promise!)

Speaking of being a fan – I really need to get back on the horse and stop being so lazy.  The time for not knowing which drummer is in their videos, or whom is on guitar, or whose birthday it is today must stop!  With that, I say a very loud and hearty “Happy Birthday Dom!”  I sincerely hope you enjoy your special day with your lovely wife and those two adorable kids of yours!   (and by the way – 39 goes super fast – so enjoy that last year of being in your 30’s while you can, you youngster!!)

-R

Biographies, Memoirs and Life Lessons

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. (I suppose those last two are really sort of the same…)  Normally, I’m a romance reader, but lately I’ve grown sick of them.  One can only live in fantasy for so long, I suppose.  So now I’m living vicariously through others!  So far, I’ve read things from George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Ron Paul, (you may think you see a theme, but it’s just that I haven’t finished reading all of my books yet…I have plenty from the left side of the aisle to get through!!!), Rick Springfield, Portia DeRossi, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey.  As I said, I still have quite a few more to either start or finish – and yes, I read more than one at a time.  I can only read so much about politics before my head starts hurting.  It’s been eye-opening on more than one occasion, and yes, it’s even changed the way I feel about some people.  That seems to be a sort of recurring theme in my life as of late.  It’s as though the assumptions I’d made regarding people have had to go a sort of re-tune now that I’m older. (I say that because most of the books I’ve read lately have been about people that I’d grown up admiring, or arguing with while they were on various TV talk shows and or news programs!)  Duran Duran should really be included in that list.

It’s no secret that their current situation has probably made any fan really think.  I must admit that writing a book about the fan base has given me plenty to consider, and in some respects I think it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d never given any thought.  For instance, once upon a time, I never really thought much about what went on behind the scenes.  All I cared about is what I saw onstage, or heard on a CD.  I never really considered the various walks of life their fans came from, I never really thought about how each of our cultures helps to “train” us to be different types of fans.  I thought that fans were fans.  We all want the same thing, we all react the same way (basically).  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The biggest example of how different we all react has to be the postponed UK and European shows.  I don’t have an interest in rehashing the reactions, I just want to acknowledge that they exist.  My writing partner wrote a blog over the weekend that created much buzz on Facebook.  Not all of it was positive.  Many reacted the way I would have expected, but some reacted with complete anger and frustration.  I don’t know that I would have anticipated that.  The motive behind the blog topic was simply to ask “What If”; while many had no trouble commenting on how they would feel – regardless of what those feelings were – still others were incensed that the question was even asked.  Initially, that upset me because, as I explained on Facebook – this is a BLOG.  It’s about opinions, it’s about presenting topics and allowing discussion.  Comment all you would like on whether you agree or disagree, but to comment on the topics chosen seemed to be counterproductive.  As the day wore on, however, I realized that the anger behind our topic has far more to do with not being willing to even discuss the possibility.  I need to respect that, and I do.  I may not necessarily agree, but the fact is – we’re all fans.  In as much as I know that Amanda meant no harm in expressing her feelings about the subject at hand; I also recognize that the comments weren’t meant to harm her, or her thoughts specifically.  Let’s be honest, none of us want to be talking about the demise of the band.  Real, imagined, or otherwise.  I think we all can agree on that.

For me personally, I’ve reached a point in my life where on one hand, I have to give people credit for putting themselves out there, doing the hard work, having an opinion, or just plain being good people – and for the most part – I do believe people are good.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten to a point where I refuse to put up with the, well, B.S. (for lack of a better way of describing!)  My friends take me as I am, and I take others as they are – and if I can’t, I won’t.  I think that I’ve stopped caring about trying to be what other people want.  I have the luxury of being a mostly private citizen – I don’t put myself up for public scrutiny in the same way that the band might.  I recognize that for Duran Duran and the plethora of other bands and celebrities out there, their livelyhoods depend very much on what we think, and what we want.  I don’t envy them for that.  There must be a very fine line on which they must balance, and while a good part of me says “Who the hell cares – they should put out the music they like!”, another part of me recognizes that business is business.  They employ a good many people who count on them, and they do have the right to make music that will sell, even if I don’t personally enjoy their work.

I don’t envy the band, celebrities or even my favorites from the 80’s Brat Pack years in much the same way I don’t envy any of our politicians, which is one thing I’ve learned from all of my reading.  I don’t have to like their choices, but I must give them credit – because I’m mighty comfortable being an armchair critic!

-R

 

A Duran Thank You

When I eat breakfast each day, I try to check into the Duran world and see if there is anything new.  Part of this, of course, is to figure out what I want to blog about, if I don’t already know.  I thought I might talk about the fact that Duran is finally going to be on Second Life or one of the Katy Kafe’s from recent months that we haven’t talked about.  I still might blog about those things or Rhonda might because I noticed that Duran had a new post on their official website.  In this post, which you can read here, Duran thanks their fans and once again explains again the situation with Simon and the postponed shows.  They also included some live tracks from a recent performance in Rome. 

Now, I wasn’t sure how to react to this thank you.  Obviously, I appreciate communication from the band to us.  Then, I decided to see what the rest of the fanbase had to say about this.  Many people seem to feel like I do–that communication is always nice.  Others discussed the fact that the there was both information and an “apology”.  A lot of people seemed to like the fact that there were live tracks included.  These reactions made me think a little deeper about what I thought about this thank you. 

The beginning of the note thanks the fans for all the love and support after the band had to postpone the UK tour and the first dates in Europe.  While I have seen a ton of love and support directed at the band, including and especially Simon, I have also seen reactions that I wouldn’t necessarily define as “support”.  For example, I have seen people do nothing much beyond complaining about the loss of their shows.  It seems that some people have been focused on the loss of their money, their vacation time, etc.  While I definitely understand people’s disappointment and frustration, I believe that the issue is much bigger than one’s personal, individual loss.  I feel pretty confident in saying this, too, since I was one of those people who lost money and time from work.  In fact, I lost a pretty significant amount of money with both the sheer expense of the trip AND the loss of pay from work.  Yet, it doesn’t seem right to me to complain.  My finances are small in the grand scheme of things.  The loss of shows is also really small in the great history of Duran.  Right now, the focus should be on Simon’s health.  Where we ALLl go from here, depends on that.  Anyway, I am sure that the band does appreciate the love and support they have received but I just wish that they only had to deal with support but suspect that they have to deal with non-support as well.   

The next paragraph is packed full.  First, they talked about how disappointed they were with having to cancel these shows, especially since they had planned something “special”.  Boy, do I hope that I one day will be able to attend 1 or 4 of these special shows.  I would love to see what they had planned!  Second, they acknowledge the hardship on the fans, especially those of us who had traveled far, spent money, took vacation time, etc.  I appreciate the sentiment but feel like they have offered so many apologies all ready.  I don’t need anymore and feel sorry that there clearly must be people that do.  I realize that they didn’t postpone the shows for fun or for some other reason other than what has been said.  What does it say about the fanbase that they feel it necessary to keep apologizing?  Are people really so stuck on that?  I can understand if they postponed the shows for a silly reason but they didn’t.  They didn’t want to do it.  Lastly, they once again explained how they often couldn’t give advanced notice for the postponements due to all of the people involved, including insurance agents and medical professionals.  Here is where my patience gets a little thin.  They have explained this MANY times.  John did it, personally, in his blog.  Why can’t some of the fans get this?!  Is this so hard to understand?  I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for them knowing that the more painful it will be for fans the later the announcement is but having no choice when they have had to postpone these shows.  Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. 

The ending of the thank you consists of a positive message of “Duran Duran fully expects to be back in tip top form this summer” and discussion about re-scheduling.  I’m not sure how I feel about this statement.  I obviously want to believe it to be true.  What Duranie doesn’t?!  I’m hoping that they are exactly right with this statement!!!  Of course!  I would also LOVE to know when my shows will be re-scheduled for so that I can plot…I mean plan for them (hopefully!) but I, like many fans, don’t want them to rush on this.  I think it would be best for all involved to really know that Simon is okay and that they can continue.  I just don’t want to be disappointed and I don’t want others disappointed either.  Thus, while I love the optimism and faith, it makes me nervous.  I want desperately to believe nothing but that but I also know that no one really knows that.  Yet.

The band then leaves a peace offering of sorts with the songs from the recent Rome performance.  That’s a sweet gesture, but I am left wondering if they felt like they had to offer something.  In my opinion, they didn’t have to give this thank you.  We have received many thanks of support already and have definitely heard many apologies for something that it is not really in their control.  It makes me sad that they feel like they have to keep doing this.  It makes me wonder how much grief they are getting that I don’t even know about.  It makes me think they aren’t getting total support.  Maybe I’m just reading into it.  Maybe I have seen a couple of statements from fans that I think are a little less than supportive so I’m assuming that there must be more where that came from.  I can definitely hope that they are getting nothing but support as I truly believe that is what they deserve.

-A

Why Do You Love Duran?: The Mad Libs Edition

 The other day I was out with some colleagues and one of them asked me a question that I hadn’t really been asked for probably ten years or so.  Why do you love this band so much?  I found myself too overwhelmed to answer as I wanted to say about twenty things all at the same time.  This led me to wonder if my reasons are the same as all the other Duranies in the world.  I could just write my reasons for you all to read, but I thought I could and should do something more fun as I know that I could use a little amusement.  I also suspect that Duranies around the world could benefit with a lighter piece today.  🙂


Have you ever played Mad Libs as a kid?  For those of you who didn’t or don’t remember, it was a game of sorts with the idea to practice parts of speech.  How it worked was that there would be a story with some words missing.  The person leading the game would ask the other players to give words fitting specific parts of speech without giving away the story.  Once all of the words were given, the leader would read the whole story with those words included.  Typically, the results would be completely silly.  Thus, what I will do here is to list the parts of speech then you can write down your word choices.  When you are finished, you can use the words to see why you love Duran Duran, hopefully in a fun, silly way!  Then, please, post your finished story!  I suspect they will provide a much needed laugh!  I promise that I will eventually post my complete story as well!

Words to fill in:


1.        Verb (action word)


2.       Year


3.       Adjective (describes a thing)


4.       Adjective


5.       Song


6.       Verb (action)


7.       Verb


8.       Instrument


9.       Instrument


10.   Adjective


11.   Adjective


12.   Plural Noun


13.   Video


14.   Region or place


15.   Adjective


16.   –ing Verb


17.   –ing Verb


18.   Band member


19.   Video


20.   Physical feature


21.   Fashion piece


22.   Fashion piece


23.   Band member


24.   Physical feature


25.   Physical feature


26.   Physical feature


27.   Personality characteristic


28.   Personality characteristic


29.   Personality characteristic


30.   Adjective


31.   Band member


32.   Combination of two band members


33.   Band member


34.   Band member





There are many reasons that I (1) _____  Duran Duran.  I became a fan in (2) _____ initially because of their music and videos.  Then, the band members themselves helped to reinforce this love as is meeting and getting to know other fans.  Their music was always (3) ____ and (4)_____.  For example, I will always remember getting the chorus to (5) __________ stuck in my head for days and drove my family and friends nuts with singing it out loud!  Their songs always made me want to (6) _____ and (7) _____ (whatever that meant to my ten year old self!).  I loved that I could hear different instruments and appreciated how they seemed to both fight each other and complement each other.  I also appreciated that it was a good combination between different genres.  It wasn’t just loud (8) _____ but it also wasn’t just (9) _____.  How many times have I heard the band discuss their influences?  I can hear elements of their influences, including artists like David Bowie, Chic, Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk and more.  Simon’s voice is (10) _____ and one to be thankful for.  Then, of course, there are his (11) ____ lyrics.  They are like a strange sort of poetry, which aren’t clear but definitely thought-provoking.  I liked that I didn’t always know what they were about.  I could make a guess after having long discussions with my (12) _____.  The lyrics and the music have been easy to adapt to visual images and videos as well.


 Then, of course, there were memorable videos.  Probably the first video I saw of Duran was (13) _________.  I was fascinated by the apparent storyline combined with the exotic location.  It showed an experience that so far removed from my (14)____ existence.  Then, it seemed like every new video provided a new story.  It reminded me of good books where I didn’t know what would happen but couldn’t put them down because I had to find out how they ended!!  Plus, of course, there were some (15)____ British boys featured as well.  Who didn’t want to be the girl (16)____ with Simon in Save a Prayer or the girl (17)____ Roger or John in Hungry like the Wolf?  Who didn’t think that Nick was adorable in Is There Something I Should Know?  Many of us formed attachments to one band member based on seeing our favorite in a certain video.  For me, I became a (18) _____ girl as soon as I saw him during (19) _________.  He had the (20)____, (21)_____, and (22)____.  He was simply adorable.


Speaking of band members, they are a big reason that I became and stayed a Duranie.  I love their general style and the fact that they cared about what they looked like.  Yet, like many fans, I had a favorite.  In my case, that favorite is (23) ____.  To me, he has/had such an appeal.  Physically, I like that he is a (24) ____, (25)____, (26)____ male without seeming too “macho”.  Of course, I am also fond of his chiseled good looks and solid smile.  I also appreciate his style in interviews back in the day and in his tweets now.  He always seems (27)____, (28)____ and (29) _____.  I also enjoy him with his band members as well.  Group interviews are probably my favorite because I find their interactions entertaining.  They have a great sense of humor and make me laugh.  They aren’t afraid of giving each other a hard time, which I adore.  I like that they demonstrate a balance between being silly and being serious and seem to know when each is appropriate.  On top and even more important, they are seriously a (30)____ group of guys.  They are able to think on their feet, use incredible vocabulary, and are able to make connections that I couldn’t even come close to!  Lastly, I also appreciate how patient they are with having the same questions over and over again and with interviewers that clearly do not have a clue.  Every interview is enjoyable to me for one or all of these reasons!


Speaking of enjoyable, I have had the extreme pleasure of seeing the band live and meeting lots of other fans while on tour.  In my opinion, there is nothing better than singing along with (31)____ and thousands of other fans.  There is nothing better than squeeing during a (32)____ moment.  The best is when you share a moment with the band member of choice during a show.  I like singing with (33)____  and screaming for (34)____.  I like it all.  Through the various shows and tours, I have met many, many others who feel like I do.  Many of these friends have become incredibly important to me as well!


If I had to summarize, I love Duran Duran for their music, their videos, their style, their looks and their personalities.  I also love them for the pleasure I get from seeing them live and hanging with other fans.

How Will the End Be?

Before I begin this post, I must be honest about something.  I have been pretty emotional lately, but today I have reached the peak of heightened emotionality.  Today was the last day of school for me.  As a teacher, this day is always an emotional one but this year feels all the more so.  On this day, we not only say goodbye to our students, most of whom we have grown fond of, but also to colleagues who are moving on to other jobs or adventures.  It is a double whammy on any given year but today is at least a triple whammy as I said goodbye to many close colleagues and more as I am facing career changes myself.  I’m not sure exactly what those changes will be but I know that there will be some.  This lead an overly emotional me to ponder the end.  In this case, today is the end of the school year.  For some, it is the end to their teaching careers.  For others, it is the end of an era as significant changes are taking place at my school.  I have always found teaching to be a very strange career in the sense that we have very clear beginnings, middles and ends to every year.  At the end, there are always people leaving.  In the beginning of the year, new people come.  The school year has these decisive bookends.  In many ways, Duran has had the same type of thing.

Duran Duran’s career is marked by various “eras” that go along with albums.  They have often made these eras more defined themselves.  For example, for the Red Carpet Massacre era, they played an electro set and had Jackson Pollack/military uniforms to perform in.  The websites always take on new looks with each passing era.  Many of the fans have noticed this happening and have taken to dividing up Duran’s history in the same fashion.  How many times have fans discussed their favorite time in Duran’s history and heard something along the line of, “I really liked Astronaut and the reunion days” or “My favorite time was during Rio and those videos filmed in Sri Lanka.”  We, as fans, really understand this cycle of separate eras and have learned that Duran’s typical fashion has been to write an album, make some videos of songs on that album, play a certain tour with a certain look and setlist until that new album and everything that goes along with it are played out.  Then, there might be a little action in between the next album, but, generally, Duran and the fans experience downtime.  Then, it starts all over again with a new album.

This process of having defined eras is similar to what I experience as a teacher.  It seems to me that other jobs aren’t like that.  Changes move through at various times and in various degrees.  People come and go whenever.  There is not the sense that the process stops and takes a break.  I was watching a close colleague of mine say goodbye to people today as she begins her retirement and I thought to myself that she must have always known how the end of her career would be.  She always knew that she would end on the last day of class on a day when everyone is leaving, to some extent.  She was able to leave at the natural end of one year before the beginning of the next.  There were no loose ends and no one needed to come in and finish some element of her job.  I envy that.  I, too, hope that I am able to leave in such a fashion, during a natural break.  I guess I always figured that is how Duran would end as well. 

When I was a kid and thought about how Duran might end (probably says a lot about me as a kid if I was thinking about something so…upsetting), I assumed that they would end in between one of their clearly defined eras.  They would finish the whole cycle with an album from writing and releasing the album and touring for it.  Then, they would just cease to continue this process.  No new album would be made and it was be a subtle goodbye.  There would be no dramatic exit and that the fans might not even notice it.  This idea became more and more reinforced as the years went by and as Duran took longer and longer in between releases.  I figured that they was preparing the fans for the bound-to-happen-sometime end.  We would get so used to long times in between eras that we wouldn’t even notice when they weren’t working at all.  Plus, as the years went on, it was more and more clear that Duran had staying power, which meant to me that they weren’t going to end in some dramatic argument like other bands.  It would be more subtle than that.  I also figured that members who tend to be a bit more controlling (*ahemNickahem*) would prefer to end when one project was completely done.  I even figured that they might be so happy with how well something went down that they didn’t feel the need to do more or that they thought everything went so badly that it was time to end it.  Thus, I always get a major sense of relief when a new album is actually coming out.  To me, it translated to the band continuing. 

Now, I’m not so sure that this is how the band will end.  Simon’s voice struggles have made me realize that it might not be so clean, so subtle.  It might not be a gradual fade from our collective consciousness.  The end might be in the middle of a project.  It might be dramatic and horribly painful.  Instead of being a slow quiet death, it could be so quick that it leaves us all shaken to the core.  Obviously, the end of anything human can end in a quiet, calm way or in a screaming, frantic way.  I guess I wished that Duran would go quietly (and much, much, MUCH later) and while we were all sleeping rather than quickly with a lot of screaming and crying about how it wasn’t time yet.  Both cause pain but one kind of pain is subtle and the other is sharp and deep. 

As I face the next couple of months filled with uncertainty about both my future and also the band’s, I think it is best to try to prepare myself for whatever may come next.  I will obviously wish for something bright, positive and wonderful on all fronts and will do whatever I can to reach that, but will also try to come to grips with the unknown, including how the end will be.

-A

Not gonna lie – I’m worried.

I have to admit, I didn’t think the news could really get any worse after coming home from London.  That’s as much a selfish reaction on my part as it is pure hope that it was as bad as it was going to get.  The UK shows had been postponed.  I didn’t dare think past that, because as far as I was concerned, anything worse would be positively unthinkable.  So I didn’t think.  I set out about my business here at home.  Dealt with jet lag, planted some tomatoes…wrote some blogs.  Then this morning, I got online, obviously wondering if any news had been made public about the European dates for this weekend.  As I’m sure everyone is aware, there was some news.

First 5 European shows postponed.

It wasn’t the press release from the band that pushed me to the edge of my keyboard.  No, it was the statement directly from Simon’s Twitter.  Let me copy and paste for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

“Very sad to announce that our [weekend] shows are cancelled, to be re-scheduled at a later date. There has been a little improvement to my voice in the last 3 wks.  There is obviously some underlying problem with is not shown by laryngoscopy…so I’m really trying to remain positive.  It’s difficult to stay relaxed when you feel like fighting hard.  I’m doing an MRI scan tomorrow.” – SimonJCLeBon (Twitter)


I have to give Simon credit, because I can’t imagine he’s not ready to climb the walls at home right now.  I’m just a fan and I’m sitting here, anxious to do something, yet I know there’s really nothing that I can do for him.  John said that they’re powerless right now, and he’s right.  Unfortunately – all that any of us can do is sit back and wait.

Simon will have an MRI tomorrow.  I don’t know how these things work over in the UK, but here – it takes a few days for results to come through, and tomorrow is Friday.  The one thing that I am hoping for, yet I fully understand the ramifications of doing so – is that Simon is able to relay to the fans what is really going on, good, bad, or otherwise.  There’s a good many of us that are sick with worry about him.  The trouble with Simon saying anything is that once again, this issue goes far, FAR beyond disappointing the fans.  They have employees, contracts, record sales, money, and entire plethora of worries that go way beyond some woman sitting at her keyboard in Orange County, California who says she’s “worried”.  I get it.  I suppose though, in times like these, our longevity as a somewhat very dysfunctional “family” of sorts counts for more than just dollar signs to their management.

Until I blog next, take care Simon.  I’m sincerely looking forward to the day when I can go back to teasing you relentlessly (on this blog), rolling my eyes at your tweets, and calling you LeBon….because that’s what I do.   Nile Rodgers reminds me that there’s a gift in everything – and I suppose the “gift” here is that I have seen a side of you that I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to see – but I still miss the cocky onstage persona at times.  Sort of.  😀

-R

Dear Nicholas

I think we all know what today’s date marks in Duran Duran world.  It’s Nick Rhodes’ 49th birthday.  As the “baby” of the band…he’s the last one to make his way over to the other side of 50, and he’s still got a full year to go!  He put out his own special birthday message today (I love that he’s taken to doing little video blogs as opposed to writing, tweeting or having a Facebook – he always has been the more visual one of the group, hasn’t he?), and within the message he makes mention of the fact that next year, he shall be hiding on this day.  To that, I have this extra special comment:

You can run Nick…but you really cannot hide.  Especially from Duranies.  We’re resourceful people.  Just saying.  


I see Nick so much differently than I do anyone else in the band.  I don’t pretend to know him – in fact, the closest I’ve ever really been to him has been across a table as he signed my Astronaut album back in 2004.  He was especially kind, as he was the one to wave my daughter and I in from the doorway to the table as we waited our turn to get to the signing table.  “Come on over”, he said as he smiled and looked me in the eye.  It was only then that I had to take an extra breath just to make sure I wouldn’t pass out on the way up to the table where all 5 band members took their turn signing the various albums, CD’s and other things that passed by.   Nick took the extra second to say hi to my daughter, and made mention that she was one of the first little ones (at the time she was 7) he’d seen that night with their moms.  To which I replied, “Have to raise them right!” as I moved on.  It was a brief moment, but a moment all the same.

I had a brief “affair” with Nick back about the time his hair was orange back in the 80’s.  (I’m sorry Roger.  I strayed.  It’s true…)  Never mind that my affair consisted of taping the pinup I had of him to the very center of my wall above my dresser mirror, and making sure it was the last thing I saw before I shut my eyes at night…to me and my then 12 or 13 year old self, it was a sordid fling!  I can still envision the pinup to this day.  Nick was there in all his glory, orange mullet-ish style hair, a grey suit with a light purple or lavender tie and that gorgeous 80’s toned makeup, complete with a purplish eye liner that I would have killed to have.  Yes, that pinup was a thing of beauty.  Occasionally I’ll see someone with that picture on their profile and to this day it still makes me look twice.   The affair was hot and toasty until one day, I saw that Nick had changed his hair color – it was probably in an interview or as a picture in another magazine, and it was over.  Back to Roger I went, and Nick was then relegated to another corner of my room once again.  I never really strayed again after that.  No, my friends, it was Roger that left me next.  *insert dramatic sigh here*  But, my fondness for Nick continues to this day.

The thing with Nick is that it’s very clear his life is well-measured and controlled.  I never, ever see the man in any kind of a stressed out craze.  Ever.  We joke that he never sweats on stage.  I honestly believe it!  I was at the recent shows at the Mayan theater here in LA, and at the Fox Theater in Pomona, and I watched Nick as he would play, then take a second, grab his little camera and snap pictures of the audience.  The man wasn’t even glistening and from what I could hear, he never missed a note.  Count me as impressed.  I can’t even brush my teeth and walk at the same time without tripping.  (ok, I can’t even walk and talk without tripping, so perhaps I’m not a fair judge of what’s impressive….)  He never appears out of breath, or anything more than calm, cool and collected.  I don’t think I ever look like that, even when my house is completely quiet, sans children!!  What I really need from Nick are lessons in how to remain calm.  Is that just a Brit thing?? (I ask because I noticed the same thing out of the Brits while I was there in London – it can be complete, utter chaos in the tube station and yet they all just stand there, calm, cool and collected.  I need to learn that skill!)  Every time I see Nick do a video update or blog, I think to myself that he is the phrase “Keep calm and carry on” personified.

It’s been a good many years since I’ve seen a technicolored Nick hair-do, and even more so since I’ve seen pictures where he is smiling in quite the same abandon that he once did when he was young.  I just don’t think I realized just how “in control” Nick really is until their reunion.  I remember reading the tour book from Astronaut and noticing he was a list-maker: a trait that I share with him (and probably countless others of you out there).  In my case, if I don’t make lists…every single day here…I forget things.   Like picking up my children at the correct time, or remembering to get 2 out of the 3 things I need at the grocery store, for instance.  I have to wonder if it’s like that for Nick.  Probably not.  He’d go insane in my household.  Then again, most people would.   I wonder if he misses coloring his hair in every shade of the rainbow?  The one thing I miss from Nick are his glorious smiles.  Every now and then we’ll get a picture of his smile – he really has a great one and he should use it more often.  In his little birthday video blog, he smiles when he talks about hiding next year – it was great!

A few of us have taken to calling Nick “The King of Spin”.  It’s true, and I don’t mean it to be quite as derogatory as it might sound.  He can make ANYTHING sound like it’s going to be fantastic.  I learned that with all of the press and updates he did for Red Carpet Massacre.  Granted, many of you out there agree that the album is fantastic – so to you – this wasn’t hard to do.  For me and a good many other people, however, Nick was at his best (and his worst…) during these updates.  If I had a dollar for every time he called it “grooooveworld”….well, I’d own the Rolls that John took out for a drive along the embankment yesterday.  (actually, I wouldn’t want it.  Too big. I’d sell it and buy myself a Maserati convertible instead!)  He is very good at PR, and Nick always seems to measure his words and phrases before he says them. He doesn’t seem to speak with his emotions, and he definitely doesn’t wear them on his sleeve the way that some others in the group might. (*cough, cough* John Taylor…)  I would love to learn the skill of making say, my son’s math grades for instance, or the challenge of parenting a teenager, sound like amazing, fantastic things that I am learning from each and every day.

Finally, there are a few of us that really think Nick is an alien. Do I need to remind you of the spaceship in the Astronaut video??  He seemed very much at home in there!  Just watching him in that small space started making my heart palpitate, and no, definitely NOT with excitement.  No sweating, always knowing what to say…that very pale skin that I’m SURE has never had a blemish of any kind….the fact that I’m pretty sure the guy never sleeps and never seems to age much….yep, he’s got to be alien.  He’s probably convinced that the human race can’t be saved at this point.  I would have to agree.  We’re beyond help.

Some believe that Nick and Simon are the heart of Duran Duran.  I don’t know if I would completely agree, but I will say that Duran Duran wouldn’t be the band they are without Nick.  I am very glad my little portion of the world includes him!  Happy Birthday Nick – and remember, you can’t hide next year.  We’ll find you.   🙂

-R

Models and Duran Duran…who would have thought?!?

Today and yesterday, we’ve been treated to a few posts here and there on the progress of the of the “Girl Panic” video shoot in London.  Apparently the video is featuring some well-known supermodels: Yasmin LeBon, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell amongst a few others.  
Honestly – I’m bored with the very idea of it.  If this isn’t *the* most cliche thing they’ve done as of late, I’d be surprised.  When this news byte popped up in my news feed on Facebook yesterday I actually rolled my eyes.  Yes, I know what the name of the song is.  Yes, I’ve seen Girls on Film “a few times” over the years, and yes, I know exactly who Duran Duran is.  That’s the trouble, isn’t it?
Back when I was 12, I think I was enamored with the idea that this band could attract supermodels.  I loved the idea that the band, the boat, the girls….they went together.  I wanted that life, in as much that I wanted the jet-setter lifestyle, the excess, the money…the band.  (they could keep the girls – I was kind of thinking I’d just have one of the band members, thank you.)  As I grew older, I can remember reading interviews where Simon would talk about marrying Yasmin, and how his tone indicated that OF COURSE he’d marry a supermodel.  As if there were no other choice for him.  Now, this blog isn’t a slam against Yasmin at all – I have great respect for her, primarily because she’s been able to deal with Simon for over 25 years now.  😀  That takes quite a woman!   Regardless, my opinion about models and the band going together changed a little over the years.   Mainly because I look at the band with a little more familiarity, and I realize that they’re people just like you or I.  I don’t put near as much stock in the idea that just because they’re rockstars, they are better looking and should only be in the company of the so-called beautiful people of this world.  Perhaps that’s just my 40 years of cynicism coming out to visit, I’m not sure – but I just don’t buy into it the way I did when I was 12.  Does anyone really?  I guess that’s part of the fantasy that lingers.  
Maybe I’m annoyed because doing a video like this tends to make the band look as though they don’t walk on the same sidewalks the rest of us do.  I’ve always felt that the band and their management worked very hard to keep the band looking “untouchable” to the rest of us.  Rather than appealing to the fan base, rather than allowing friendships and bonding to occur,  by creating that space – that “untouchable-ness”, it would create demand.  It worked, and worked well…in 1985.  It’s 2011, and sometimes I think the band and their management forget that.  They still believe that the band is as much in demand now as ever.  While that’s a fantastic notion, it’s not real.  The days of hit after hit and platinum records are pretty much over.  The days of pinups, coke parties and excess should pretty well be finished by now, don’t you think?  Many of their fans have stuck by them through 30 some years of highs, extreme lows, vocal problems, band members leaving and returning, canceled shows…etc.  There are many fans who have done quite well for themselves, with homes, cars, children, furry children, fantastic careers, they go on fabulous vacations, and travel to see the band all over the world.  There are many who have used their credit cards to their hilt in order to see the band and support them.  There are many who see the band once or twice when their on tour, but can still name all of the band members (past and present), their birth dates, their children….and even their wives!  We’ve all been around a long time now, and part of me wants to just say to the band “Cut the crap and get real.  The old routine of holding yourselves at arms length is no longer appealing. We know you’re rockstars, but we also know you’re human. I know it’s hard to believe.  Sorry.”  I recognize that the entertainment industry is far more about fantasy than it is reality, but the premise of this video seems to be taking a giant step backward in time.  Aging rockstars with models just doesn’t have a good ring to it for me, nor does the Rolls Royce with the G1RL PAN1C license plate (although it’s a nice car).  
What I find almost funny is that in reality – the videos are made for the fans, or at least they’re supposed to be.  The band chooses to put girls in their videos however and whenever they can.  As far as I’m aware – there’s always been a fair percentage of female Duran Duran fans over the years.  I know back when I was a kid – I wanted to chop the tongue off of the girl in Hungry Like the Wolf who kisses Roger.  I simply refuse to believe I’m the only one.  I’m fairly sure that there are women out there (and maybe even some guys) who wanted to drown the girl in Rio. (and especially when she laughs at Roger tripping on the beach and being “pinched” by the crab….)  The list goes on and on.  The band could make it much easier on us by just having themselves in videos, but I can hear John and maybe even Nick saying that we’d get bored of that.  (and they would be very, very wrong…)  It’s just kind of funny when you think that here we are, a bunch of women who can’t wait to see videos of the band we had as pinups on our walls, and yet we’re about to see the band sharing the spotlight with supermodels.  AGAIN.  Go ahead and continue driving that stake into my heart, why don’t you?  If you can’t agree with anything else I’ve written today – surely that statement has to hit a nerve!
Oh sure, there are some that can’t wait for the video because they’ve always aspired to be a supermodel, or they’ve always admired Yasmin, or they love the fashion, the art, the visuals, the whole fantasy package.   There isn’t anything wrong with that, and I think the band appreciates fans like you out there.  (they certainly aren’t going to be appreciating me much today, and that’s OK.) They think it’s fabulous that the band still hangs out with models.  I think it’s fabulous when the band decides to go to the same bar that they know fans are going to be at after a show.  Now that takes real bravery.  🙂 
The truth of the matter is, I haven’t seen the video.  I’m merely commenting on what’s been posted on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m fully expecting to receive hate mail from fans, and a severe scolding by the band, which I probably deserve to some extent.  I only know what I know about Duran Duran – and that all comes from what I’ve gleaned over the years as a fan.  I could very well end up eating a large amount of crow after seeing the video several months (Really Nick?  Months??) from now, and I’m OK with that, and I’ll probably laugh and poke fun in spite of myself. 
The real test comes much later when we see the end result.  I’m just hoping for a lot of onscreen time for the band, a LOT of screen time for Roger and Dom (throw the fans – i.e. ME – a bone and put the guitar player in the video!!!), and pretty much the rest of it will fall into place.   -R

Fan Panic

Forget Girl Panic being filmed today – I think it’s safe to say that once again, the fans are in their own super special panic, again!    
For those who haven’t seen, the band had to postpone their Berlin show once again (it was set for June 8th), and Nick sent out a video “blog” of sorts on youtube.  This naturally set off another wave of panic amongst the fans.  
I’m like anyone else, every single time I read another postponement message from the band, a little part of me dies.  I wasn’t even supposed to attend the Berlin show, and yet I feel my heart sink in disappointment once again.  I can’t imagine what the band must be feeling like.  They sounded hopeful last week over Twitter, and I do believe Simon is healing.  It has to be frustrating for him, and yet I’ll bet he can’t even allow himself that luxury.  He has to just keep going, keep doing whatever the doctors tell him to do, and keep a positive outlook.  The very last thing the band wants, I would imagine, is to go out there, do a date or two, and then have Simon hurt his vocal chords to the point where he’s out for several more months – as happened back in 1993.   The voice is a tricky thing, because you can get your talking voice back well before your singing voice ever comes back, and if you’re not careful – the singing voice never quite comes back.  In 2005 I made the mistake of screaming a little too loudly at Roger Taylor as he came to the front of the stage during the heartbeat sounds at the beginning of their show at AllState Arena in Chicago, and then did it AGAIN the following night in Milwaukee, and as a result, I somehow tore a few small areas in my vocal chords.  I was put on vocal rest for 3 weeks when I got home, and to this day – I still can’t sing the way I once did. (not that I was ever really any good…but now I’m just really bad!)  I have a difficult time matching notes that I could once hit without a problem, and this sort of dry, scratchy feeling at the back of my throat comes and goes quite regularly even when I’m not singing along to Duran Duran.  None of that lessens the disappointment fans are experiencing right now though, and I hope that the band can get started again soon.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen fans throw their full support to Simon with exuberance.  I check in daily on Twitter, mostly just to see what everyone is chatting about because I’m nosy!   (Don’t even think of starting in with the lyrics from Other People’s Lives…) I have yet to look at my timeline without seeing at least ONE message to Simon (not from Daily Duranie, but from other fans I’m following) telling him that they are thinking of him and to get well soon.  I am pretty sure we don’t follow every single fan on Twitter, so I can only imagine what Simon must see when/if he checks his @ messages.  On Facebook, I have been reminded many, many times to think positive thoughts about Simon, and in a real testament to how much that man is truly loved by the fans – several groups of fans have taken to requesting that EVERY fan change their profile picture to one of Simon as a show of support to him.  Each time I look at my Facebook news feed, I see so many of my Duranie friends with pictures of Simon as their profile picture, if he ever had doubts as to how much he’s loved and missed right now, he should check out Facebook.  If you haven’t changed your Facebook picture yet – get started!!  I think it’s fair to say that many, many fans out there are anxious for the day when we read or hear that the band is ready to play shows once again!  
On a similar, yet completely different note (I’m nothing if not a dichotomy), I have a personal page on Facebook, and I haven’t changed my profile picture.  I was reading my news feed this morning and a friend who is encouraging people to change their pictures over in support openly asked why people haven’t done it yet.  I felt compelled to answer, primarily because I don’t believe I’m the only fan out there that hasn’t followed suit with their Simon photos.  To begin with, my personal page isn’t visible to just Duranie friends.  I have family, friends from school, friends from college and friends from my gemology program that can see various parts of my page (if not all of it).  I am also friends with fellow PTA (Parent/Teacher Association) parents, past teachers of my children, and respected professionals in the gemological industry.  It’s not easy to explain my interest in Duran Duran at this age, and to put it very bluntly, I don’t appreciate being called a groupie by people who can actually give me or my children grades in class.   (I think this falls under the heading that a fellow Duranie can call me a groupie, but not one else had better – because while my Duranie friends know that I’ve never “ridden the Duran Duran bus” – wink, wink – other people do not.)   Everyone has their own way of expressing their fandom, whether it’s by just buying their albums and going to shows; wearing Duran Duran t-shirts, writing a book and/or blog, or doing all of the above.  Not one way is the “right” way, and not every way is right for everyone.  In the case of Daily Duranie, we are supportive of Simon in every way – we went all the way to the UK and back without a single show, and yet I think that if we’re at all able – we’ll do it again.  So this is a warning, Simon – you haven’t gotten rid of us yet, and one way or another – we’re coming to the UK to see the band!  I am not letting go of that dream just yet.  Our profile picture on Facebook and Twitter is of Amanda and I (Rhonda is on the left, Amanda is on the right!), after many months of trying to remain “anonymous” in the community.  We haven’t changed it to a picture of Simon since we’ve finally decided to unveil ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less supportive.  I encourage everyone to do what they’re comfortable doing – and it never hurts anyone to throw out a kind word or two in Simon’s direction if they get the opportunity.  
Onward and upward from here!  -R

Things change…and the making of the Girl Panic video

In the last couple of days, Duran has been posting about how they are filming the video for Girl Panic in London on June 6th and 7th. They have included some details, including the director’s name, the location being a posh hotel in central London and that supermodels are being flown in. These details all sound very Duran Duran. You would think that this would excite the fan base but not so much. Some people are confused by the choice of Girl Panic. Others question the importance of videos all together, especially Duran Duran videos. Both are fair points, I think.

I remember learning about Duran’s musical history as a kid. It seemed really easy to follow and understand the pattern. There would be a single and a video to go with it. Most albums had about three singles, on average. The songs would be played on the radio and the video would be played on MTV and other video shows. Now, this pattern doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, which is why the fan base reacts as cynically as they do. People knew that All You Need is Now was the first single of the album. The song was released on a different day than the album and could be downloaded independently. Then, of course, the video soon followed after that. This felt like the regular pattern for Duran, the pattern that we are all used to and comfortable with because that is what it has been like for the past 30 years or so. Then, there were statements about how Girl Panic was the second single. Okay. Everyone seemed okay with that. Yet, there was no video to follow or accompany this second single. Of course, neither song received much, if any, airplay, from what I have heard. While the video for AYNIN was played at least once on VH1. Then, we heard or read tweets from John about how they were releasing Leave a Light on as a single. Okay. Does this mean that it became the second single or the third? Then, strangely enough, we hear about the video shoot for Girl Panic. Huh? What’s really the second single? If Girl Panic was the second single, how come they waited so long to do the video shoot? While I suspect that they had this planned for awhile to go in between the UK tour and the Europe tour, could they really not find a time before this? Then, of course, some people question the purpose of videos at all.

Fans have wondered what the point of doing videos is for Duran. MTV doesn’t exist as it once did. Yes, VH1 shows videos but it isn’t like it used to be. Generally, videos are shown early in the morning only. Kids are not glued to these video channels like I once was. Of course, now we have youtube. That certainly isn’t the same either. I don’t know how many people go to youtube and just browse. Even if they do, what would make the random person land on a Duran clip. I think it is much more common for people to go to youtube and type in something specific. People have the choice of what to watch. That wasn’t really the case with MTV. We had to watch every video that came on if we wanted to watch videos. We were a captive audience. We could not just pick and choose which video to watch. This is why I know a ton of 80s songs, including the ones that I can’t stand. I doubt that kids could today say the same thing about current music. So, why would Duran film a new video? They aren’t going to get played a bunch of times each day on MTV. Maybe it will be on VH1 a couple of times but nothing significant. Will it get enough hits on youtube? I doubt it. Of course, one thing that must be acknowledged here is the purpose of videos to begin with. They are promotional pieces, a way to get people interested in buying the album. Will the Girl Panic video be able to do that? I doubt it. I would love to say and think differently, but I have to live in reality (at least some of the time!).

Based on this change of pattern and lack of actual promotion, I should be against them making a new video. Yet, I’m not. Why? I’m a Duranie and part of that means that I love their videos and am excited about seeing a new one. Of course, Rhonda and I will review this new video like we did for AYNIN. It was always so exciting to see a new clip when I was a kid and I still have that feeling now. Therefore, rationally, I might acknowledge that it probably won’t do much, especially if Girl Panic really isn’t the current or next single. Yet, emotionally, I’m all for it. I want to get excited and squee when there is a cute shot of one of the boys. I want to see what creative idea they came up with! I also really like the song so I look forward to seeing how they matched the visuals with the song.

Thus, if I am to interpret the reaction to this news, it has everything to do with our history as being Duran fans. Some fans are annoyed because things have changed both with how singles are announced and when as well as the role of videos. Others of us are still excited by seeing a new video. Of course, a big issue is that I’m just thrilled that they are continuing to do work. This gives me hope that everything will be okay with Duran and Simon, specifically. This week I will be glued to their Facebook and twitter to see if other details are released and to see how Simon is doing. Then, I will get excited to see the finished product as well!!!

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!