Tag Archives: 78-04 Friends of Mine Convention

Rhonda’s Birthday Blog 2017!

Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other.  One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher.  Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists.  On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites.  Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality.  They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids.  Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.

In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans.  Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher.  That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts.  Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community.  Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event.  Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion. 

In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com.  Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other.  Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine:  The DuranDuranFans Convention.  On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries.  Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics.  They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink.  As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying.  At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.

Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour.  The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together.  Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved.  By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little.  No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount.  From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.

This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends.  Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more.  Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us.  After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others.  Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird.  Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal.  In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed.  While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.

This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason.  We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more.  Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom.  Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills.  Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations.  From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends.  Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three.  Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention.  All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning.  The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true.  I definitely would not have done any of this without her.

Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship.  I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities.  For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:

Cheers!

Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows!  They are truly our happy place.

Chula Vista

Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions!  I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December.  Watch this space.

Our meet up!

We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!

Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now!  We are committed.  Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…

Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!

In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done.  I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her.  I truly am the lucky one.  So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday!  Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday!  I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!

-A

Amanda’s Five Joyful Moments of Fandom

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about an idea I had. This idea was a simple one–that I was going to take time to think about moments when I experienced real joy, related to my fandom. These moments might happen when the band is around and they might occur when they are not around. The idea was to acknowledge those times when I stopped for a second or two, looked around and realized that, in that moment, I was truly happy. Those moments might not be big or small and they might not have been perfect but something was happening that made my heart feel full. I have taken some time in the last two weeks to think of these moments. Some of them I knew right away and others took longer to pop into my head. Here are five of those moments, in no particular order. I’m certain that there were more but I’m going with these. Then, next week, I’ll share five more.

1. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in September 2004.
This moment happened on the second night of the Friends of Mine Convention.  At the time of the convention, I had just returned to the Duran fandom and felt like I had taken a huge risk in going to this convention. After all, I had never traveled for fandom before and didn’t really know anyone except for the person who went with me. I knew that this would be a moment that would either cause my fandom to grow or to fade. Luckily for me, I had an absolute blast and met so many amazing people, including Rhonda. It was a turning point, indeed. While I didn’t know that at the time, I knew that I was having an absolutely amazing time when we were at the piano bar, Howl at the Moon. We had finally convinced them to play some Duran and there we were, late at night, singing loudly and proudly to Hungry Like the Wolf. I felt like I had found my people.

2. Secret Oktober in Brighton in November 2011.
As many of you know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK in the spring of 2011 to see Duran play in their home country, only to have the shows canceled on us due to Simon’s lost vocal range. At the time of that trip, both of us felt fairly certain that the band was done and Simon would never sing again. Of course, we didn’t dare utter that thought from fear that it would be true. Thus, when the band was able to perform again, we didn’t hesitate to go back, to try it again. Brighton was our first show of that tour, which will always make it magical but when we heard the first notes to Secret Oktober, it transcended even that. Rhonda and I looked at each other in shock and awe before hugging like goofs and turning our attention back to the stage. Magical, indeed.

3. Agua Caliente show in March 2017.
This has been a tough year for me and it was especially tough in those first couple of months. One reason was that Rhonda and I weren’t communicating as we normally do. We felt distant from each other and I desperately fretted that our friendship was slowly dying. When the shows at Agua Caliente were announced, I knew that I had to go. I figured it might either be my last tour or it would turn things around. Both shows were amazing but the second night, up front, felt like everything was right again. At the end of the show, I posted the following on my personal Facebook, “The truth is that I love this band more than I can say. I can’t imagine never seeing them again. They bring me joy…” Indeed.

4. Laughing hysterically at Tempo Cafe in Chicago in March 2005.
While the convention in 2004 brought me my people, the spring Astronaut tour made Rhonda and I touring partners for life. We saw two shows that weekend in Chicago and Milwaukee. After the second show, we ended up needing food and caffeine at like five in the morning. Tempo Cafe was the only place in downtown Chicago that we knew was open twenty-four hours a day. After waiting for forever to get a seat, once we got our food, Rhonda and I could not stop laughing. I have no idea what the heck was so funny but we laughed and laughed and laughed until tears were flowing. I knew then that when we get together, laughter will always follow.

5. Hail storm in Brompton Cemetery in London in May 2011.
When Rhonda and I went to the UK for shows that did not happen, we promised ourselves that we would not just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We were going to make lemonade out of lemons. Thankfully, friends took sympathy on us and gave us some info on where some Duran landmarks are located, including Brompton Cemetery, the one featured in the All You Need Is Now video. We spent one day following this mini-tour, including stopping by the very cool cemetery. The funny part is that every time we got near a Duran specific place, it would thunder and rain like you would not believe. We wondered if the gods were trying to tell us something. By the time we hit the cemetery, we were ready for whatever. Whatever is what we got. No sooner had we entered through the gate when it started to storm. This storm included some significant hail. We ran until we found shelter, laughing all the way, as we were certain that we looked like drowned rats.

Now that I have five of my fandom moments that have brought me joy, I ask that all of you do the same.  I want to read everyone’s very cool moments related to their fandom.  I guarantee that my week will be better off because of them.  Then, next week, I will share five more to round out my ten joyful fandom moments.

-A

 

Trading in My Shelter for Danger

This past week, Rhonda posted here about a little anniversary.  This anniversary was the first day of Friends of Mine:  The Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans ten years ago.  In her post, she talked about so many things that she remembered that weekend and why it was so fabulous.  One phrase in her post caught my attention.  She called it, “life changing.”  I didn’t laugh at her but nodded my head in agreement.  I, too, view it in the same way.  After that weekend, my life was never the same.  Let’s take a look back to see where I was then and where I’m at now.

In the fall of 2004, I was starting my seventh year of teaching.  I was finally starting to feel confident in my abilities as an educator.  At the time, I was teaching special education students at a nearby middle school.   I had recently got my Masters and was ready for some downtime.  While I had friends, both close by and far away, I wouldn’t say that I had many close friendships at the time.  Up until this point of my adulthood, I didn’t have much time.  Teaching was consuming about 50-60 hours per week then I had graduate class work to do, on top of that.  Yet, as soon as classes were done, I was ready to focus on my social life, which is where fandom comes in.  I had some friends from another fandom and figured Duran fandom would be the same.  I was also wanting an adventure and to challenge myself by doing a little of traveling.  Thus, the convention was the perfect place for me to go!

Did I make friends during that convention?!  Absolutely.  Obviously.  Did I make some kick ass memories then?!  For sure!  Without a doubt.  Did it lead me to attend more Duran events and go to more shows?  No question.  It definitely changed my fandom life.  I now had friends within the community as well as a best friend that I didn’t have before.  I now had people to go to shows with and people to “chat” with online.  I embraced those activities of touring and being online, fully and completely.  I went to the shows I could and saved money in between shows, in order to do more.  I spent a ton of time online.  All of that would be enough to be called life-changing, I suppose.  Yet…this one action on my part did more than that for me.  Much more.

Now, because of that convention and the experiences and friendships that followed, my day ALWAYS surrounds fandom.  Every day, for example, I take the time to set up and post the question of the day.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Unlike the post office, I don’t rest on Sunday or major holidays.  Even when I’m on vacation, I have to figure out something to get it done.  The question of the day is just one little aspect of what Rhonda and I have created for ourselves.  We worry about the day in history, other posts, guest posts, polls, the website itself, our social media accounts and more.  That’s JUST with the blog!!  We also committed ourselves to researching and writing a book on the subject of fandom as well as planning events and even a convention.  There is always something else that we are working on that we don’t talk about.  Now, my day consists of some blog work before my paying job, working at work for about 9-11 hours on any given day and coming home to work on either more work for teaching or more work for this.  I don’t have a lot of evenings or weekends to relax.  I made a commitment and follow through on them.

For me, the convention started a ball rolling that I now can’t stop.  I decided to take my fandom to another level.  While so many refer to this as a “hobby” or what I do in my spare time, I don’t view it that way.  I look at it as a job.  It takes that much time and that much personal commitment for me, for us.  It means that I don’t have down time or the time to watch a lot of TV or go to a lot of movies.  I willingly accept all of that.  I am often exhausted and find myself wishing for more time, but I still would choose this.  I almost can’t help it, at this point.  I can’t imagine not paying attention to Duranland.  What would it be like if I didn’t offer my thoughts about what Duran is or is not doing?   I put myself out there everyday in the fan community.  We put ourselves out there every day.

I am no longer satisfied with my whole life surrounding just teaching.  All of this as well as my experience campaigning taught me that I can be more than just a teacher.  (Yet, I believe that this has made me a better teacher, too!)  I could do something different with my life, with my career, if I so choose.  I have many skills beyond developing relationships with kids and family or developing or differentiating curriculum. Beyond job skills, this experience also taught me a lot about fandom.  I have had the opportunity to be both within the fandom and an observer of fandom at the same time.  What I have experienced in the last ten years is unique, for sure.  That said, I am and will forever be grateful that I chose to attend that convention and to “trade my shelter for danger.”

-A

Time is a River

I’m coming out of hiding today to make mention of a very special “anniversary” of sorts.  For those who have known me since the hallowed days of DDF – you might already be aware.  If not, allow me to age everyone properly.

On this date, TEN very short years ago, a little convention began in New Orleans called 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention.  It began on what was a Friday night and went straight through to Sunday, and for me personally it was a completely life-changing experience.

I hear a lot of you right now: Who really says that?!? I mean, it was really just a big party, wasn’t it? Who checks out of their life for a few days to go have fun, only to come back saying it completely changed the whole course of their life?  Believe me, I see the irony there, and I would normally agree with the naysayers out there. Except of course, I was there, and through much soul-searching, I see how the event really did change me.

Maybe it wasn’t so much of a change as it woke up my “inner-Rhonda”. I’ve written about this so many times here on the blog now that I worry it’s lost it’s appeal.  All I really know is that I really do believe that there are moments in our lives where we come upon forks in the road, and the direction we choose makes all the difference. This convention, and choosing to not only attend but to help organize it, really did change my direction. I will always hold that weekend, along with the months of planning prior, very dear to my heart.  So much has changed since that weekend in 2004, and yet I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I met Jessica, Mac, Amanda, Mags, Lisa, Krissie, Carla…and so many others in person.

I spent time yesterday and last night thinking about the convention and specific little things that happened, hoping to come up with a list. Maybe those who were there that weekend will have others to share…but here are some of mine:

*Having Jessica meet me at our hotel room that night. From the very second I met her, I knew I’d done the right thing when I got involved planning the convention and flying to New Orleans to attend.

*Sharing a hotel room with Lisa, Mags, Jessica and Carla.  We all fit and had a great time! This was also, I believe, the first, last and only time that I attended a Duranie event without sharing a room with Amanda (she cannot say the same!)

* Seeing Jessica’s red hair and watching it fade throughout the weekend. I don’t know why that sticks with me so much, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be the type of person that would die my hair vibrant red. (I eventually did not that long ago…and my red streaks faded to magenta right away too. LOL)

*Laughing at Lisa and a few others suck helium and say “Good evening and welcome to our show!” as we decorated for the dance party on Saturday night.  Some might roll their eyes and say “because that’s never been done before”…but the thing is, for me, I’d never seen anyone do it before that night.

* Listening to Mac tell us how Bourbon Street roped her (and a friend) in and tied them up.  I think Mac became my hero that weekend.

* Displaying all of my Duranie pins and t-shirts with pride that weekend. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I felt comfortable wearing a Duran t-shirt without people giving me strange looks, and if you know me – you know how self-conscious I can be.

*Listening to a copy of Astronaut before it was released *gasp* and declaring that the band “had ruined”  What Happens Tomorrow (compared to what I’d already heard them do live).  That’s right, even back then I was filled with nasty little opinions that I couldn’t keep to myself!

*Standing up and giving a speech in front of the crowd that night. Even though I had been president of my local MOMS club and involved in PTA for my kids school – I was nervous to be standing up there, but it was the very first time I can ever remember feeling like I really did fit in.

* Watching all of the men (both Duranies and Duranie husbands) grab chairs and sit down right directly in front of the screening area to watch The Chauffeur when the video played at the dance party.

*Buying drinks with Amanda at the dance party. I can’t remember if I was drinking gin and tonic or vodka and tonic that night (both are favorites)…but we very clearly started a tradition for ourselves.

*Commenting on Amanda wearing these boots with (what I felt were) high heels all over Bourbon Street. I don’t wear heels – ever – due to horrible neuromas on the bottom of my feet, so I marveled at how she could walk in those things. I was wearing flip flops, which are still my shoe of choice!

* Singing Rio on stage at what was then Howl at the Moon. (I’d say “Thank goodness there’s no video of that”….alas…it’s out there somewhere.)

*Saying good-bye to everyone on Sunday morning. I had such a great weekend, and I secretly worried about whether I would really see any of them again. How do you bond so quickly with people you’ve met in real life only once?  That Duranie connection runs very, very deep.

Thinking about that weekend makes me want to do it all over again. I swore I was done with New Orleans after Voodoo…but I don’t know….

Happy memories, everyone. I continue to thank my lucky stars that I met you all. Despite, time, distance and changes – my love and friendship runs very, very deep.

-R