Tag Archives: All You Need Is Now

You Ease the Lost Cause Out of Me

It has been a long time since I wrote a blog that is personal, in any way, shape or form.  There is no big reason for this.  I just have been so busy that I haven’t been thinking a lot lately, I guess.  This week, in particular, has been insane.  I have been dealing with a leak in my window, which means sending multiple emails to my condo association.  (On a side note:  Can I just say that I really don’t understand why people can’t just email you back even if they have nothing to offer you?  Is it too much to ask for people to be courteous and respectful in that way?)  Beyond the condo, I have also been busy at work.  To catch everyone up, I am teaching at a new school this year with a new position.  While I’m much happier in this new position, it has been taking a lot of my time.  One of the reasons it is so time consuming is that the curriculum planning is done in a group as all the teachers of U.S. History meet to plan.

Teamwork like that takes time.  It takes lots of time.  After all, we all have opinions, which can lead to disagreements.  Heck, one meeting we had was entirely about how to phrase the final essay question for a unit.  An hour spent solely on a sentence.  People were strongly reacting to other people’s ideas.  No one was willing to just agree with the team chair or the most experienced member or the newbie.  We were willing to have the debate.  We were also willing to put ideas down on the table and were prepared to have them criticized.  In fact, we have all gotten criticized by the other, at some point or another.  We aren’t a group of “yes people”.  We don’t think our purpose is  just to praise one person or another.  No, we are willing to be tough, to ask the hard questions, to find faults in lessons or delivery of lessons. Why?  The answer is simple.  We want to be the best teachers we can be.  Teamwork like this forces us to think about our plans, our methods, our teaching.  It also allows us to take the best ideas from everyone in order to come up with great lessons and methods to delivery them to our students.  While, sometimes, I’m frustrated by the time-consuming process or how vulnerable I feel during it, I know it is worth all of the negatives.  I am a better teacher now in comparison to last year when I didn’t have anyone giving me any feedback about anything.

Frankly, this is how Rhonda and I work as well.  Sometimes, we have to confront each other about something we are working on.  This happens a lot when we are writing.  One person writes something and sends it to the other person.  The author might think it was the best thing ever and then finds out from the other that it really wasn’t that good or that clear.  It doesn’t feel good to hear something like that, but the finished product is always so much better for having worked through the, sometimes, uncomfortable but necessary process.  Heck, we are to the point where I might start a piece of writing for a specific purpose.  Rhonda might get it and tell me exactly what she liked about it and exactly what needed to be changed.  Sometimes, she might try taking the skeleton writing I sent and change and add to it.  Then, it comes back to me and I do the same and back and forth until we get it right.  Isn’t that the most important thing?  That we get it right?  I think so.  We both know that  any criticism isn’t done out of spite or anger.  It is done because our work needs to be quality.  We want to be proud of our finished products, no matter if they are blogs, chapters, or events.  I wouldn’t want her to just be nice about everything I do when it comes to our work and she wouldn’t either.  We want to be the best that we can be.

As I have been appreciating my teamwork situations, both at work and at the Daily Duranie, I started thinking about how I hope for the same for the band.  I hope that they, too, are willing to have some tough conversations.  These conversations, of course, wouldn’t be meant to make anyone angry but to push people to be the best.  In Duran’s case, it could push them to be the best musicians.  It seems to me that is what Mark did with the last album.  He pushed them.  He wasn’t willing to just accept “okay”.  He wasn’t just going to say something was great, if it wasn’t.  Now, I don’t know that for sure, but that is the sense that I got from All You Need Is Now.  I hope that is the case now, at least, for Mark, for Nile, for Mr. Hudson and anyone else that they work with.  Heck, I hope that is the case for everyone that Duran works with, everyone that DDHQ works with .  I want them to be pushed to be the best that they can be.  Sometimes, that might be uncomfortable to be questioned, to be criticized, but it seems to me that it is worth it.  I remembered that this year with my teaching.  I thought now that I have been teaching for as long as I have that I didn’t need criticism anymore, that I had grown as much as I could.  Wrong.  I was wrong.  I think everyone, no matter who they are need people to keep asking the not-so-easy questions, to put them in the hot seat.  This is where true growth happens, I believe, no matter if you are a writer, a teacher, an event planner or a rock star.

-A

Mazda MX-5 Unveiling – Monterey, CA

I have much to comment on, but I will start with a couple of admonitions to the general public since we have gained ourselves quite a few new readers since joining WordPress last January, and they haven’t been around long enough to see us review a live show before.  Since the hiatus and LOOOONNNNNGGG years of recording this new album that we’ve yet to see, feel, hear, and hold, we’ve really refrained from getting into fan-politics or any of the social science aspects of fandom.  I’d like to welcome you all back to reality now.  So…. first of all, I am sarcastic…probably to a fault, but I consider it a gift to get through my everyday life.  Amanda is less sarcastic than I am, but she’s also the one to really point out what is really insane about our fan community. She will dive into really tough topics that I will likely just poke fun at.  She’s smarter than I am, much better researched…and nicer than I am, so good luck with that. If you read something of mine and don’t see the humor right away, you should probably try again. I make no apologies for my wickedly dry jokes, and yes…I WILL criticize the band if I see fit.  Learn to love it.  Secondly, I might even criticize fans if I think they’re out of line.  Again, learn to find the humor in what we write and recognize that everything we do for Duran Duran and the fan base comes from a place of love, respect and completely honesty.  If you can’t, this blog is liable not to be your cup of tea, and we can accept that. We will talk about the “tough stuff”, the “fun stuff” and even the “fangirly stuff”.  I will openly gush AND complain in the same blog post…and you’ll like it!  Oh, and sometimes…we might even end up being wrong. That’s extremely rare though.  (Sarcasm, people.  Read the sarcasm…)  Lastly, I’m wordy. Learn to grab food and beverage BEFORE you sit down to read.  That’s your final warning.

Today is one of those days where I am thankful for all the goodness that is found on Youtube. As many know, last night – interested parties (or those who were able to stay up late enough…or get up early enough) were able to watch the band’s performance for the Mazda MX-5 unveiling in Monterey, California.  Going into the afternoon, I had been told that the band would only perform for a half-hour. What I’ve come to understand since, is that the live stream would only be a half-hour in length, which it indeed was. Those at home were treated to a precious three song set that lasted just thirteen minutes. (In fairness DDHQ did say that we would see highlights from the show, not the full set.) For those there in person, they saw about ten songs performed – perhaps about an hour long set.  In any case, Daily Duranie took over the internet last night – Amanda handled Facebook, while I worked Twitter. We live-tweeted (and posted) throughout the show, starting at about 5:30ish (PDT) and continuing until just after the performance when I was called away to cook my starving family some dinner.  (Note to self: teach family to cook their own meals.)  No matter, the point I was making here is simply that last night I found it very difficult to tweet AND watch at the same time. So, I watched the clip of the show on Youtube this morning. Twice. 🙂

Here it is for your viewing:

So where to begin? First of all, we had a great turnout online. DDHQ (management) might not want to acknowledge our efforts, but Daily Duranie had the place going last night. Duran Duran was trending in various places on social media, and the #DDMazda hashtag was all over the place. Not bad for a thirteen minute online show. We were in contact with a couple of people who were AT the show live, and as things would get tweeted, I would turn around, add the #DDMazda hashtag and send it out as a sort of play-by-play for people to follow. (Thanks Diane!!)  As I said to her: it truly takes a village to love this band and satisfy Duranies.  When the show started, we were “treated” to someone from Mazda (the project director, I believe) coming out and talking about the car and why they chose Duran Duran. He said he was a fan of the band, and the Miata and Duran Duran were both products of the 80s, so that’s the connection.  (At least it’s the connection they came up with to explain why Duran Duran was playing their corporate gig.  I can appreciate that.)

So on to the show, right? Well….first we had to watch some propaganda about the car and then be introduced to the Miata, which in MY head looked very much like the Miata from the 80s. I was underwhelmed, but then again, I wanted Dom and the rest of those guys he plays with on the stage. (Yeah, yeah I know he’s not “a permanent member” of the band. He’s permanent in MY version of Duran Duran though…and yes, I do still like those Taylor brothers along with The Controller and Simon.)

I think the Mazda people started noticing that the restless Duranies and finally announced the band. They started with A View to a Kill, which seemed to be a rough song to open with for a number of reasons.  First of all, and this isn’t necessarily a complaint…more of an observation really, but there was a TON of bass in the sound. Plenty of guitar as well, about which I will not complain.  However, and this is likely to upset some of you out there – I thought Simon’s vocals were extremely strained. I don’t know if he hadn’t warmed up or if the jet lag had hurt him or if it was the sound in general, but he sounded very strained in parts. I just think AVTAK is a tough song to start with for a show unless Simon comes on stage VERY warm and very loose in the vocal chords and throat.  It could have been any number of things, and I’m really not finding fault as much as I’m expressing concern. None of us want a redo of 2011, and so yes, there’s some sensitivity there, at least on my part.

Next up was Hungry Like the Wolf, a personal favorite of mine as most of you know.  Just LOOOVEEE that song to bits and pieces. The first thing I noticed was the back-up singer that Simon had to call out on stage. This was not Anna Ross and it appeared she needed sheet music.  I didn’t notice her too much in this song, but take heed…. Again, lots of bass…and I’m still not complaining.  It was in this song though that my head nearly exploded (a common occurrence as you’ll see in the coming months/years I am sure) because I was treated (oh wait, ALL of us were treated…sorry about that) to my beloved DoJo at center stage for all the folks at home, and perhaps even for the audience…which was filled mostly with balding middle-aged Mazda car designers, marketing, product line developers, etc. Dueling bass/guitar.  I’d forgotten how much I love those two.  I don’t know how many of you caught Simon’s line of “I’m lost in this crowd”, but when I heard that this morning, I nearly spit my coffee at the screen.  Truer words were never spoken…at least during THIS gig.

Finally was All You Need is Now. I love this song live. I think many fans do…so we were expecting a rousing performance given that it has been over two years since they’ve played it on US soil….and I’m sure it would have been had their “Not Anna Ross” known her lines. And harmonies.  Granted, I have to think that this was a last minute replacement in probably much of the same vein as the time when DOM was a last minute replacement.  It’s not going to be perfect when you have zero rehearsal time. You’re probably going to need the music. You’re probably going to need to have actually listened to the song more than once.  You might even need the fans to sing your part FOR you….but sadly none of this really happened.  Instead, we heard completely incorrect words, harmonies that weren’t even remotely CLOSE to being correct, and I watched as Simon had to turn around and try to coach the poor girl.  It was a really, really rough performance, and let’s face it – Duran fans (including myself) are pretty unforgiving.  So while I’m pointing out the issues, believe me, I get it. I know she really didn’t have a chance and she did the best she could. I also could hear that HAD she known the music and words, she had a lovely voice.  I just really hope that Anna will be back soon.  REALLY soon.

After AYNIN, the stream ended. There wasn’t even a “thanks for joining us”.  We got nothing.  Mazda really needs work when it comes to doing these because you have to communicate SOMETHING with those who are watching at home.  While I applaud the effort to stream it at all, I wish it would have been a little smoother.  Eventually DDHQ tweeted something saying “thanks for joining us” and that’s when we could tell it was over.  Thirteen teensy minutes. That said, it was wonderful to see the band live again. I have been complaining since September of 2012 that I missed them (It is true, I went back and checked the blogs), and even so – I didn’t realize how much until last night. Well, that’s not true. I realized how much I missed them when my friend Krista sent me the picture of Dom holding up a sign saying hi to me…but that was yesterday’s blog.  🙂

-R

Going on together, many journeys to arrive

I think it’s time I start writing real blogs again, don’t you?

Today marks “Work day one” of being back from vacation. It was a nice trip  – we just went camping, which I realize to many of you probably sounds like a death sentence, but we have a trailer, and honestly if you want to get away – it’s a good way to do it unless you have the resources to fly away to an island away from people.  We drove to Morro Bay, which is about an hour south of Big Sur, CA  for a few days, and then up north of San Francisco.  Our trip included visits to some universities because our oldest daughter – Heather, has just begun her applications to college. We even took a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California. (Oh yes, we can be tourists like the best of them!) It was a fun trip, and perhaps one of the last we’ll take as a whole family given that next year, Heather will likely be packing up for school unless she decides to go somewhere close to home.  Hard to believe. but I have an entire year to bore you on that subject!

I am thrilled to see that news is finally starting to trickle on a semi-regular basis from the band. It feels like we might be coming out of a very long drought, and it’s nice to feel like I might be able to start really blogging again with purpose.  I know Amanda feels the same.

Daily Duranie has been a place to convene and discuss, and this is something I value about what we’ve created. It stands to reason that during a time where there was little to talk about, the blog quieted, and I’m sure it’s been noted that our posts in recent months were little more than expanded “Day in Duran History” posts.  We simply felt that while we were waiting for new news, it was time to take a bit of a hiatus rather than force words where there were likely none to be found.

In my attempts to reacquaint myself with reality, I finally listened to Simon’s Katy Kafé from last week. It was nice to hear that things are finally moving towards an end in recording – I’m excited to hear what they’ve worked on. One thing that I’ve really missed since the mass exodus of message boards is having a place to really talk about the music and what might be coming out of that studio.

There seem to be two types of people in this world: those that will speculate, and those that prefer to say, read or think nothing until they hear. I am likely to be found in that first group, much to the chagrin of the band, I’m sure. When I listened to the Kafe, I couldn’t help but notice Simon’s unwillingness to really say what the album sounds like – and I can’t really blame him. As much as I’d like to have something to chew on and think about while we wait, I haven’t forgotten some of the speculation in the past.

Let’s take Red Carpet Massacre, for example. I remember the endless flow of news we were getting from the studio. They were working with Timbaland, they were working with Timberlake, Nick said they were in grooooveland…(I still smile at that one), there was even a rumor at one point that they were working with Kanye. It seemed that with each video or news byte, there was more and more groaning from fans. In a lot of ways, I think I had my mind made up about the album before I heard it. I felt like I knew what it was going to sound like…I feared it. I don’t think that speculation from the fans, including myself, helped.

On the other hand, what about All You Need is Now? We knew they had been working with Mark Ronson, and based on things that Mark had said in interviews – he made it clear that he wanted to do a follow up to Rio. I panned that comment, months before the album ever dropped, because I felt that was setting the bar incredibly high. Did we really hold Rio to be the pinnacle of the band’s career? I think many fans and the public probably do…and I’m still hoping that the best is yet to come. Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder what the album would sound like, and even the thought of trying to make a return to the musical space that I still feel the band owns made me excited for the outcome, but still apprehensive. I didn’t want to be disappointed. Instead, that album quickly took hold of my heart and still gets regular play in my car. I wasn’t wrong to wait for them.

So here we sit, waiting for the album we’re still hash tagging #DD14. It has a yet-to-be-shared, five-syllable title that doesn’t have a spelling but somehow describes where they are musically (I am terrible at these sorts of Jeopardy questions!), and Simon says that ONE aspect of the record is that it is “club” sounding, and it’s definitely a departure from All You Need is Now, which was much more 80s sounding. I won’t lie, I’m wondering if I’ll like it, and I think many other fans feel the same.

Mr. Hudson had a “massive” influence on them. Mr. Hudson is pretty modern sounding in his own right – but even so, on some of his songs I still hear the influence of the music I grew up with. I hold hope that he helped the band remain true to themselves and not try to be something they clearly are not. Club music can be a lot of different sounds. Will it be like Red Carpet Massacre, which has been described as “urban club-music” or maybe more like Notorious? Will I like it? Will I love it as much as I loved All You Need is Now? Will I find a renewed sense of fandom in the music as I have in the past? I have no idea, and I’m certainly not making any claims to know more than any other fan.

I don’t have an inkling as to what we’ll eventually hear. I only know that once again, we sit at what I like to think of as the “entrance” to a new period of Duran music….waiting for the gates to open so that we can flood in, and even at the age of 43, probably 44 by the time the album drops, I’m still nervous-excited. There’s something to be said for a band that can still make me feel that way.

-R

Today’s Date in Duran History – Ellen

Remember when the band did promotion and we would anxiously set our DVR’s or wait for postings of their interviews and performances on YouTube?? Remember hearing that they were playing on a TV talk show, so you’d manage to get down to the studio where they were filming and wait in line so you’d have just the perfect viewing spot? I look forward to getting the last minute notices that they’re going to be on one show or another again…even if most of the time, I can’t run off to be there. I don’t mind catching them on YouTube or even on my DVR. It’s just about seeing them and hearing them again, you know?

While nearly all of the late night talk shows have now left LA almost guaranteeing that the band won’t have to come to La-La-Land and stay for any great length of time (something I’m sure that most of them applaud)…there are a couple of holdouts (Jimmy Kimmel and the fairly new Arsenio Hall show), and there’s still the Ellen show, which is shown here in the middle of the day. I applaud that, since of course, I still live in So Cal along with a reasonable handful of other Duranies. On this date in 2011, Duran Duran appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, promoting All You Need is Now. I was not there that day, but I remember the date. For some reason, this appearance feels particularly long ago to me…. Anyone else there that day??

-R

 

 

 

 

We Let the Music Jangle and We’ll Remember

The last few weeks haven’t been the best for me.  I have had some issues with my teeth (that’s an understatement), which has resulted in a serious financial bloodletting.  If that wasn’t enough, I have renewed frustration with my job and general feeling of being lost as I attempt to regroup and get back on track.  As part of all of that, I have been so focused on my day-to-day existence, my “job” here and the overall game plan that I lovingly refer to my future and career that I started missing something.  (By the way, if you notice, readers who pay attention and I know you are out there, I included another vague statement about the future.  I assure you that there will be more information forthcoming soon.)  So, what did I start to miss?  Simple.  I began to miss the reason for being here or, at least, the reason that brought me here.  I started to miss the music.  The truth is that I listen to music daily.  That music is not always Duran Duran.  I go for days without mentioning Duran other than on here or through the daily “tasks”.  In some ways, I do feel like I live and breathe Duran, but, in others, I don’t feel that at all.  I’m sure that there are plenty of fans who spend a lot more time each day on Duran than I do by listening to their music or looking at their pictures or watching footage.  In that sense, I don’t feel like my life is very focused on Duran.  Then, when I stop and look around at my life, I realize that a huge chunk of my existence is all about Duran.  My goodness, I worry about this blog each and every day.  Even on days that Rhonda blogs, I check in.  I post the daily questions and the day in Duran history.  Add on the time, energy and effort on a book in which Duran is the case study and multiple discussions surrounding fan conventions.  When I think about all that, I realize how much my life is surrounded by and with Duran Duran and the fan community.  I am so surrounded and engaged in my work that I forget, sometimes, what I’m a fan of.

The other day, I was driving and paying little attention to what music was on.  It was snowing so the music was the last thing on my mind.  Then, I noticed that All You Need Is Now, the album, began playing.  It has held a position in my car stereo since it was released.  Yet, if I have new music, that is usually played instead or my mp3 player just shuffles songs.  I had almost forgotten that it was in there.  As the first few notes played, I wondered how long it had been since I had listened to this album.  Soon enough, memories began to flash in my mind from this most recent Duran era.  This era has been such an important one to me and to Rhonda.  We started this blog right before that album was released and documented so much of what happened, in our own way.  Lucky us, we were able to attend many shows, including ones in very different places, from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Glasgow, Scotland.  We were there when Simon lost his voice and witnessed the return.  For us, here, we came out of our little hole in the fan community to allow ourselves to be heard by anyone and everyone.  Meet ups were organized and a convention was organized and held.  When I look back, I’m so amazed at everything we have done and everything that the band has done.  Yet, why is it that I wanted to pay this close attention to everything the band did?  Why did I want to stick my neck out in all the ways that we did?  Why am I continuing down this road and even working to expand it?  Simple.  The music.  I’m a Duran Duran fan.  I’m a fan who absolutely loved All You Need Is Now.  After this fresh listen of the album this week, I know that I still love it.  I love all of the experiences I have had but I really love the music.  I really do.

Then, yesterday, Rhonda reviewed Shadows On Your Side.  This led us to talk briefly about the lyrics to this song and to a couple of others.  I love those discussions.  After 30 years, this band and their music is still providing me and my friends with things to talk about, things to discuss.  This discussion began as Rhonda emailed me to tell me that she got something new from these lyrics by really looking at them for the review.  She gained something despite having this song as part of her collection for decades.  Truly, this is why we decided to reach out and join the community.  We wanted to talk about the music.  This, in turn, led us to think about the fan community and what we can do.  The music started everything that we have done and will done.  We fell in love with their music and still love it today.  I’m so glad that I was reminded of this.  I needed it.  It is important and will continue to be important to remember as Rhonda and I continue with whatever this is and with whatever it will be.

-A