Tag Archives: Beautiful Colours

Ashes to Understanding is the Nature of this Existence

I’ve been thinking about the last line I wrote in yesterday’s post.

“I got involved in the fan community because I wanted to make friends, not enemies.”

For the past seventeen years, I’ve participated in the Duran Duran fan community.  By that I mean, I’ve been involved online. Before that, I didn’t really know much about their fan club. I can remember reading something about it in the 1980s, but my parents weren’t about to let me answer some ad in Tiger Beat. Yes, they were pretty strict.

Like many, I discovered duranduran.com after going to a concert. I don’t know why I didn’t think about searching for them online before, but I hadn’t. Going to that one show in 2001 changed everything, and searching online tied me to the band going forward. I’m definitely not sorry.

What boggles my mind though, is how much the community itself has changed. Even after duranduran.com stopped hosting the fan forum and it became a benefit for paid members of duranduranmusic.com, people still flocked to the message board. It was a busy place with many different personalities. Nowadays, it is a ghost town. Even Twitter, which seemed to be a gathering spot in the aftermath of DDM’s forum, has settled way down. Band members don’t really post, and many of the fans who at one time were active in the Twitterverse have since drifted.

It is inevitable that people drift away, or in and out of fandom. Currently, the band is fairly quiet. Even in the most recent Katy Kafe,  Roger and Katy briefly mention that there is really no upcoming news from the band. In fact, I saw written somewhere that KAABOO Cayman is the only 2019 performance date. Now, whether that is the plan going forward or only the truth currently, I can’t say. Regardless, it makes sense that for right now, fandom is fairly quiet.

I think my surprise has far more to do with the changes I don’t notice until I really think about them. So many people I once knew and chatted with on a daily basis have simply moved on. I’ve lost touch with many over the years, and yet here I am…still loitering! Twitter is a very different animal these days, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook have all changed considerably.

I almost feel like the fan community has blurred into the woodwork. I don’t think about how the fan community has evolved very often, only when I realize that the band has been off tour (and by that I mean the Paper Gods tour ended) since about this time last year, which means they haven’t been in the studio for about 3.5 years, unless you count the various times they’ve mentioned going back into the studio over the course of the last year in Katy Kafes. Makes you curious what they’ve actually done in the studio during those times, right? Yet it’s only today that I’ve sat back and thought about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to cattle prod them back in there, although I know it reads that way. I am really just trying to illustrate that I don’t really notice everything that has changed until I’ve got spare time on my hands to do so!

I miss the tangible feeling of perpetual excitement in the air. During the Astronaut and Reunion era, I could feel the electricity! I suppose I could be romanticizing the nostalgia, in the same way I remember high school being fun all of the time. I haven’t had a lot of time over the past year to really think about Duran Duran, or even the Paper Gods tour that much. Yeah, I know I write the blog nearly every day, but I mean even beyond that time. These are the first moments where I’ve sat back and thought about the fan community I once knew. I didn’t appreciate it until I noticed how quiet it has become.

What was once a significant part of my day, has become far less of an influence. I think my husband probably cheers for that, now that I’ve taken on the “hobby” of keeping an immaculate home. I’ve become FAR too domesticated for my taste. Just the other day I told Amanda that I couldn’t wait to be worrying about truly important things again. You know, concert dates and pre-sales! Or telling my husband that I was going to be gone for weeks on end…in another country.

I even miss him coming home from work to see me laughing because I was in a chat room with friends. There were many times I wouldn’t have dinner ready and waiting because I had better things to do! Maybe I would be answering posts on a message board, or drooling over the band’s new video.  Sometimes I’d be cackling wildly over pictures of Simon with the best handlebar mustache I’d ever seen. Those things rarely happen now.

Since November of last year, nearly all of my time has been spent worrying. First it was our truck which needed a ridiculously costly repair, then a lay off which lasted for six months. A yet-to-be-completed huge family move, on top of trying to figure out how we were going to cover college tuition for both of our kids with only days to come up with it have rounded out my summertime and are currently leaking their way into autumn. No, summer didn’t feel like summer at all. No camping, no trips, and zero vacation. Aside from the couple of days I was in Santa Barbara house hunting, I haven’t really left the vicinity. Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to some Duran news to take the edge off, whenever it should come.

During the moments when I am truly taking a deep breath and trying to center myself,  I recognize the void that the fan community used to inhabit in my life. That isn’t to say I’m not still involved, but there is just a lot less to participate in.  I miss it.

-R

Duran Duran Demos: Trust the Process

As a Duran Duran fan, what is your dream day?  A dream day for me would end at a Duran show with good friends followed by an all-night party.  The rest of the day, though, I would love one thing.  I would love to be able to explore the Duran Duran vault where all songs, videos, pictures are kept.  Is there such a thing?  I’m not sure, but there really should be.

What would I be looking for in this magical vault or archive?  Simple.  I want to see and hear all of the material that I haven’t had the good fortune to watch/hear.  I can think of numerous examples.  Anyone remember a little documentary about the 2005 tour called Drama Americana that was never released?  I would love to see it.  There even was a trailer for it:

Of course, I’m sure that there is plenty of music that they created that we were never able to hear.  The most obvious example is Reportage, the album created after Astronaut that was shelved after Andy left and with the change in direction leading to Red Carpet Massacre.  If that wasn’t enough, I would love to hear demos of released songs.  One of the best features of those re-released box sets of the early albums was not only getting official remixes but often hearing demos, showing how much some songs changed.  The best example of this is Tel Aviv:

In thinking about all of the unreleased Duran material that exists, I wonder how they feel about those songs or versions that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Do they think they made the right choices with what they chose to be released or do they regret some of them?  Beautiful Colours is a demo that many Duranies have and desperately wish that it was included on Astronaut.  If you haven’t heard it, listen to it below and let us know if you agree that it should have been on the album:

Then, I wonder about the process they go through.  I think many of us have heard interviews in which they state that writing and recording usually begins with them “jamming” in a room together.  When they come up with something interesting, they try to form the song around what they discovered or something like that.  Every time I hear about this process I always think about how organic and natural it sounds.  I get the sense from this that they don’t try to force a certain sound or a specific type of song.

That said, I suspect that there are many steps, though, between grasping onto something cool and being ready to go on an album.  What I want to know more about is how they deal with questions about how they should proceed.  Say, for instance, they have something like a song that they had been working hard on but they know or someone else points out that there is something missing to the song.  How do they add or subtract or change to fill in the song, to make better, to make it ready to send out to the world?  What about those songs that they truly change like Tel Aviv?  Clearly based on the fact that some songs were never released, how and when do they decide to scrap a song?  Then, do they ever feel that they wasted their time?

I can imagine that it must be frustrated to work a song that ends up not going anywhere.  If that is the case, I wonder how they feel about albums that they created that never made it out of the recording studio.  Do they ever wish then to pick up those projects and finish them?  I know that many of the fans would really like them to see certain projects and songs through.  If they chose to just fix songs that were mostly done, maybe, the next album could be released sooner rather than later??

Overall, I find myself really wondering what their creative process really is.  As someone who is also working on a creative project, I bet that I could learn from them.

-A