I am apologizing, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be a year when I don’t take a second to fondly remember the first time I saw Duran Duran on UK soil. Self-indulging?
That’s the thing, this is a fan blog. It is myblog. It’s totally self-indulging. So I’m doing it.
On this day in 2011, Duran Duran played the Brighton Centre in a very windy Brighton. I can remember walking back from the venue to the hotel, the wind had quite a bite to it that night! I don’t even know why Amanda and I tried to do that – it was very clear we were going to get lost from the onset, which we did. Thank goodness we found a cab, otherwise we might still be wandering around Brighton, or blown out to sea! I loved traveling to Brighton along with other parts of England and Scotland, and I will never be sorry I went. Not even for a moment.
I still can’t quite believe Duran Duran broke out “Secret Oktober” that night. I’m forever grateful. After all the crap we went through to get there, it was such a wonderful moment and lived up to every possible expectation I could have had, and then some. I stood there pinching myself through half the show. I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to go back to the UK (and if I do go, whether or not I can be convinced to come back home!!), but I encourage anyone and everyone who has the chance to go. I had my own experiences, but the fact is – traveling changes ones view of the world. Even if that just means traveling from one state to another, I believe it makes a difference.
Our world is such a crazy and different place now, six years later. I am just thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the friends I’ve made along the way. It is good to take the time to think back, not just because I had a uniquely wonderful experience, but because I’m grateful. That trip changed my view of a lot of things, not just about the band but regarding my life in general. So sure, for those who want to see the negative – yep, I’m bragging. For the people who really matter, they know that trip, along with the one earlier that year was a life-changer, and quite possibly saved me. I am grateful.
So, who was in Brighton Centre loving every second of “Secret Oktober” with me that night?? Anyone??
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.
Today’s Duran Duran history takes us back to 2012 when John Taylor had a book signing event at Waterstones in Brighton, England. Obviously, this was a promotional event for his autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove. As someone who was lucky enough to go to one of these book signings, they were a real treat. While I thought it was cool enough to hear John read from his book on the audio version of it, it was super cool to see/hear him read it in person.
If you haven’t read the book, I cannot recommend it enough. Then, dive into our blog posts about it. The first one is here.
While I couldn’t find a video clip of him reading in Brighton, I did find one from Bath:
I thought this would be simple when I decided that this would be a good blog topic and one that would renew my Duranie spirit. You see, last week I said that I would share my top ten favorite fandom moments, which you could read about here. Yet, it wasn’t that simple. At times, I struggled to think of anything and, other times, I had a huge list pop into my head. After thinking it over for a week, here is what I finally decided on. I attempted to put this list in order with the biggest moment being last. I doubt that I was successful, but I did try. I will also say this. I enjoyed doing this. I want to see Rhonda’s Top 10 list. I would also love to see our regular guest bloggers join in and any of our readers. I think we could all use this right about now.
TOP TEN FANDOM MOMENTS:
10. Falling in love with the Reflex at the age of 8 in 1984
How could I not include when and why I became a Duranie? After all, it started it all, right? This song and video were on constant rotation in the spring of 1984. While my best friend, at the time, and I liked Duran Duran before, this song made us addicts. We were so ridiculous that we would call each other each and every time we saw it or heard it!
9. John Taylor’s James Bond socks in 2006
How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards in 2006? If you were and are a John Taylor fan, then, you probably hung out on the thread entitled, “Church of the Bass God”. Well, that year, the fans in that area of the board decided that we should send John Taylor socks for his birthday after he showed up wearing bright socks at the end of the Astronaut tour. Many pairs of socks were sent, including a pair from me. Pictures of John opening the box along with some of the socks made it back to the fans. I was super excited to see John with the pair I had sent him!!! Obviously, I sent James Bond socks! That isn’t the end of the story, though. Later, that year, at the Voodoo Music Festival, I held up a sign asking to see John’s socks. While he looked confused as heck when he read it, he still lifted his leg. Unfortunately, since he was right in front of me, all I saw was the bottom of his shoe! Fast forward to December of 2007 when Duran did an in-store cd signing in Chicago. When I got to John, I asked him about the socks. He clearly remembered the story and knew that we also sent scarves the next year! Very cool!
8. Walking around Birmingham in May of 2011
While my trip to the UK in the spring of 2011 did not go as planned because the shows got canceled, there was one important highlight. This highlight happened the first full day in the UK and was when Rhonda and I walked around Birmingham. I had done some research about where key Duran related locations were. We weren’t able to hit them all, but what we did see really helped us to see Duran Duran in a different light. I felt like I understood the band in a different way, in a more thorough way than I did before. It made them less celebrity and more human.
7. Seeing the band outside of their studio in May of 2011 when Simon lost his voice.
This highlight is connected to the last one. When we arrived in the UK in May of 2011, only the first 3 shows out of our scheduled 4 were canceled. We held out hope that the London show might take place. A friend of ours let us know where the band would be rehearsing. How could we not go? We were all the way over in the UK, right? Of course, we would not get in their way. In fact, we wouldn’t say anything unless they said something to us. I just figured it might be the only way/place for us to see them. When Simon arrived that day, he explained to the fans there, including us, that things were not looking good. At that moment, I felt certain that this was it. The end. I didn’t say anything to anyone–not even to Rhonda. I thought that if I said it, then it would be true. I couldn’t handle that. Yet, I had one comforting thought. If it was the end, then, I saw something historic, something important. I was there and we were able to give some support. Thankfully, it wasn’t the end and Simon bounced back, stronger than ever!
6. Listening to All You Need Is Now for the first time in December of 2010
It is no secret that Rhonda and I weren’t wild about Red Carpet Massacre. I was concerned that Duran might have lost their touch to make a complete, coherent album–one of quality and essential Duran elements. Yet, they did just that with All You Need Is Now. The album as an entire piece is fabulous. I still think that. It is one of the very best Duran albums ever. When I heard this album, I knew that Duran would have a great tour and I had to do as much as I could to participate. 2011 was a pretty tough year for me (cat died, grandma died, work was awful, had to participate in protests to defend myself, my colleagues, my profession, my rights). The only thing that kept me going was this album and the tour that followed.
5. The Chicago show in March of 2005
This was my first Duran show after the reunion. Interestingly enough, I believed that this would be the first time to see the entire Fab Five together. Andy couldn’t be there as his dad was very ill. Thus, it was my first show with Dom Brown. It was also the show that started most of my touring traditions that I still follow today, including touring with Rhonda. What are some of those traditions? Staying up really late, drinking all of the vodka in a city, eating at IHOP, laughing non-stop, keeping a list of quotes from the tour and more. On top of all of that, it was a great show!
4. Hearing/Seeing Duran performance Secret Oktober live in Brighton in November 2011.
I’m sure that we have talked about this moment on the blog before. Heck, we will probably talk about it again. After having seen Secret Oktober appear on set lists in various cities in the Fall, we were constantly hoping to hear it as it is a favorite of ours. When we got to the UK and to the show in Brighton, we were no longer focused on the setlist. After having gone to the UK earlier in the year only to have no shows and having fear that we wouldn’t even make this one due to a public union strike, all that mattered to us was seeing the show. Then, when those first notes began, I think our joy could no longer be sustained as we looked at each other and hugged. Like goofs. Then, we saw Nick look totally amused. It was a moment that represents our victory by getting to see the band play in the UK.
3. John Taylor wearing the Daily Duranie wristband at his Chicago Book Signing in October of 2012.
Another moment that I have blogged about here previously. This moment took place at John’s book signing in Chicago. When I got to the table to get John to sign my book (and Rhonda’s!), I decided that I should give him a wristband, a wristband about this little blog. After that, I walked away as my time was up and wasn’t going to think about it again. I’m a dork so I had to walk past his table one more time in order to get my coat. When I glanced over, what was he wearing?! The wristband!!! I couldn’t believe it! I never would have thought that he would have put mine on. After all, he was given a lot of stuff. I just assumed that he would have put it to the side. On days and moments that I allow myself a break from reality, I imagine that it means that he is supportive of the blog!
2. Creating this blog, finishing the draft of our book and successfully organizing Durandemonium in October 2013.
I don’t have much to say about this one. I know that Rhonda and I are a bit weird in that we have taken our fandom beyond what most people do. We weren’t content enough just enough to be fans. We had and have to do more with it.
1. Meeting Rhonda at the 78-03 Friends of Mine: Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in September 2004 and other friends then since then.
At the end, when the band ceases to create new music or play shows, this is what I will hold dear. I will hold my friendship(s) dear. What will live on will be these memories and my friendships. After all, really isn’t that what fandom is all about? Using an interest to make long-lasting connections to others? Absolutely.
I encourage each and every one of you to create your list and to send it to us as a guest blog!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!