Tag Archives: Covid-19

I’m (Probably) Not Going to Sleep Tonight

I don’t know how long we’ve been on lockdown now. My youngest came home from school on March 13th, and that was the day I found out she wasn’t going back on Monday. I think it was the following Thursday that Heather and her boyfriend came up here because her studio had been closed, and I believe that March 19. Our shelter-in-place order might’ve come out the following day. Regardless, I’ve been pretty much at home since the 13th. I have left the property a few times, all for essentials of course. You know, things like hard cider, wine, oh…and a birthday cake for the youngest. All three kids home, husband working here, four cats, two dogs, and now 24 chickens. It’s April 30th (I originally typed May 30th only to find it later and fix it). I’ve got to tell you, I’m not doing great.

Every day feels like a re-do of the day before. I’ve said that here already, so now it has become Groundhog Day on Daily Duranie too. Sorry. I try to find the good things to laugh about, and there are some. I also get mad, and I’m not going to lie about that. I am furious we’re going through this. I don’t let that thought consume me, but some days like today, it is just plain difficult to manage.

I’m not sleeping that great either. Oddly, I fall asleep fine, but about two hours later, I wake up. Most of the time, I’m in pain when I wake up. My neck has really been bothering me lately and I think I must be stiffening up when I sleep. So, I wake up and then toss and turn unless I get up and take Ibuprofen. This is an every single evening exercise for me, and I wish I could still go to my old chiropractor. Alas, the OC is five hours away and I’m just nervous enough about someone adjusting my neck that I haven’t found a new one. Yay.

Then there’s my weight. I am not equal to the number on the scale (truth be told I haven’t stepped on my scale in months – and that is 100% out of fear. I’d really rather not know.), but the mirror isn’t lying and the story it’s telling me is that I need to be social distancing myself from the fridge. Like – I should be living in a tent on the back half of my property – kind of social distancing. It’s not good, friends. The pandemic has not been kind in that department, no matter how much time I spend outside. Even the good old “weed abatement” isn’t helping this year. I would have thought I’d sweat it off by now, but no.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I tried to make the day special for her, and she got plenty of presents with still more to come. I’d ordered her gifts on April 1st, and yet they’re still not due here until May 7th. Thankfully, she’s my easiest kid and doesn’t mind celebrating twice. I made her pancakes for breakfast, gourmet soft pretzels as a snack, and then potstickers for dinner (weird that the menu for the day began with the letter “P”, right? Coincidence!) I had ordered a pink champagne cake (again, “P”) that she’d requested from our famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and the highlight of my month was driving in my car to go get it. It was the first time I’d driven since March 13. That is crazy.

It was also Amanda’s birthday. I texted her, and I’m not going to lie – it took all the energy I had just to do that. I kept it short, wished her the best – because I really do – but I just couldn’t chat like I normally might. I’m through trying to make excuses for it. I’m struggling. It’s that simple. She asked me how it was here, and of course I said fine. What else am I going to say? I’m not under the impression I have it worse than anyone else. It would be crazy for me to explain my wild mood swings between “happy to have my kids here” and “completely pissed off at the entire world”.

Yes, I really do feel that way sometimes. At least I admit it. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I have one hell of a temper sometimes. I’m trying my best to remain calm and reasonable. Sometimes, that feels like more of a challenge than it probably should.

It wasn’t long after that when my husband came out into the kitchen. he was fiddling with his phone, and the next thing I know, I heard Mark Goodman’s voice over our Sonos One speaker. (A clear product plug if I’ve ever seen one…thank you Sonos for keeping my husband employed!!) He was introducing Duran Duran for a Town Hall to discuss Paper Gods.

I hadn’t ever listened to it before. Let me say – I didn’t get to listen to the entire thing (we have six people in this house, and as I’ve said before – I rarely get through anything without being interrupted 45,000 times. Yesterday was no exception.), but it was the best half hour of my day. I listened, smiled, made dinner, and forgot about Covid-19. My blood pressure seemingly returned to normal. *sigh*

There are days when I know I need to stay off of social media. This is one of them, but I wanted to find out about this new order from my governor that begins tomorrow. He shut all of the beaches and parks. I live close to Morro Bay, and we drive there pretty often, so I wanted to know more. It is very difficult to talk myself through my feelings when I see perfect strangers talk how we should all stay inside until a vaccine is found. Or, when people I know consider one “upside” of this virus being that perhaps an entire political party will kill themselves off. Kindness all the way, I guess???

Nope. I shut Facebook down pretty quickly after that. It isn’t even about how *I* feel, it’s that the world has gone off the rails!! That, combined with whatever I’m feeling that day is a nasty combination. I get it. Everyone is stressed. We all say shit sometimes. I just can’t take it today. So, I went to Twitter very quickly to check the Daily Duranie account. That’s when I saw a post from Duran Duran. Thank goodness for Duran Duran.

They posted what they characterized as a “never before seen” video from a Paper Gods photo shoot. I have to tell you guys, I don’t often take time to watch this stuff. There have been any number of things they’ve posted over the years that I just kind of skim over or scroll past. It isn’t that I don’t care – it’s just that I don’t have time to consume it all. So I don’t. But this time, I did. Set to “Last Night in the City”, the short video was cute. I saw the band smiling and laughing, and I’m not going to lie – I nearly cried. It was so nice to remember that once upon a time, I went to shows. We planned to do things together. I clinked glasses with Simon in a hotel bar. We’d smile at them onstage, and maybe we’d even extend a wave to one another. I’d sit on the edge of my seating waiting for new music. Amanda and I took road trips. We also spoke regularly, and I didn’t feel like waking up and getting through every single day was a trial. I miss those times. How about you?

So am I doing well? No. No I’m not. But I’m trying. I just thought it was better to be honest, and let the few regular readers we have left know that yeah – this is a struggle right now. My hope is fading a bit, but I’m working on it. What about you?

-R

Check Out God (America ’20) Cover!

As we wait patiently for time to pass, countries to reopen, vaccines to emerge…. and perhaps even for some politicians to be voted out or removed from office….I stumbled upon a new cover that I felt compelled to share!

Do you remember that spoken word piece called “God” that was a B-side to “Do You Believe in Shame”? Well, I found something a little more updated. Alright…I admit it, Jason sent me the link and it’s a little something he did all on his own… and it’s fantastic!

Not only is VelvetRebel a masterful DJ…but he writes a cool lyric and edits videos, too!

Thirty-two years earlier, in 1988, the words had more to do with the Iran-Contra hearings. In 2020, it’s a pandemic, yet the feelings are the same.

“…it was just the thought that in this particular democracy, and probably every other one in the world, there is somebody who believes he is more right than all the people who put him there.”

And with other updated lyrics such as “Outside the wind was howling the doo-doo’s from Hungry Like the Wolf”…it provided me with a much needed chuckle. After all, we can’t stay mad ALL the time, can we?

Kudos to Jason (@VelvetRebelMusic) for taking the initiative, and Strangeways Radio for posting it on YouTube. I love it!

-R

Gone too Far This Time

Everybody has a limit, and I finally hit mine.

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009. I wasn’t one of the very first, but I was a fairly early adopter. Back then, people took the prompt “What are you doing right now” very seriously. There were tweets like, “I am feeding my cats”, or “Do you really need to know that I’m scrubbing my toilet?” There were more tweets questioning what Twitter was for than anything else. In short, Twitter was weird.

Over the years, Twitter has changed significantly. Recently, I read an article that said more than 70% of Americans get the bulk of their daily news from Twitter. People, whether celebrity, political talking head, or plain old mom from the ‘burbs, use twitter as a sort of running commentary. Sometimes it acts as a chat room; other times a loudspeaker. Entire careers have been created managing social media campaigns for companies and similar. What was once a weird, awkward way to communicate, has become a global lifeline.

Lately though, and by “lately” I mean since 2015, my Twitter experience has become more frustration and less joy. I could actually expand that to say “my social media experience has become more frustration and less joy”…but I’m gonna stick to Twitter for today. At first, I had followed everything and everyone who interested me. Duran Duran (obviously at the top of my list), anyone who was either IN Duran Duran or worked with them in some way, places I liked, people I enjoyed, political figures, news organizations, pretty much anything. I liked the banter, enjoyed the news bytes, and for the most part – it was good. Then John (yes, THAT John) left Twitter in 2012, Andy stopped posting and vanished until late last year, Dom stopped posting for the most part, and my Twitter feed slowly became a never ending sea of bad news.

By 2015, I was seeing swell after swell of ranting, complaints, anger, frustration, and yes – Donald Trump. I went back through and unfollowed anything that had the least bit to do with politics and news, hoping that the ocean of anger would subside a bit.

Unfortunately, the damage seemed already done. Very little of my timeline had anything to do with real connections or friendship or any of the original bright-eyed, bushy-tailed ideals or reasons for joining Twitter I once knew. Many, if not most twitter-users weren’t interested in making friends or communicating (for the most part). They were interested in seeing who could yell loudest, or get the most “likes” for the most appalling things they could say. Say the wrong thing, and you were unfollowed, called names or continually harassed. Either agree to the opinions of the Twitter masses, or expect to lose friends in the process.

And that was before the pandemic.

Since Covid-19, Twitter has become the place to blame and shame, right along with Facebook and Next Door – but again, I’m sticking to Twitter for today. It was, and still is, exhausting to see every day. I began feeling like the life was slowly being sucked out of me. As I told someone the other day, just because we are all experiencing the pandemic and the struggles therein does not mean we all have the same problems or experience. There’s some post about being in the same storm, but not the same boats. That’s about right. Just as I wouldn’t dare tell someone in New York how they need to handle themselves, I’d appreciate the same respect. Seems simple, yet incredibly complicated in practice. That, on top of the other mentioned tensions I’ve been feeling, pushed me over my limit and past my boundary. I quit. Finito. Done.

That’s right. I quit Twitter. Well, actually – I stopped updating my Twitter and deleted the app from my phone. I haven’t deactivated my account just yet, but I will at some point soon. I also deleted Facebook, and aside from absentmindedly grabbing my phone throughout the day and looking for something until I realize that I’m just in a bad habit, I’m good. I didn’t realize how much time I’d wasted not being totally present here at home. Don’t tell anyone!

Yeah, I know that Duran Duran sometimes engages with fans. Yes, I’m aware that I might miss something important (except I won’t because although I won’t keep my personal account updated, @dailyduranie still exists!), but I also have peace. Very much needed, wanted, and appreciated, calmness, stillness, and peace.

My social media footprint will shrink considerably from here on out. I think John had the right idea all along. Go figure! The best way for Duranies to stay connected with me is through the Daily Duranie Facebook page. My personal Facebook is kept to my closest friends and family. There was a small group of people I communicated with on Twitter that I’ll miss, so if you’re reading and don’t have my contact info, drop me a line on gmail.

I’m also on Instagram. I post a lot of pictures of my chickens and whatever I’m seeing or working on here at home. In fact, I would say that there will be more on there in the coming months. We continue adding to our farm animal brood, and work to add more pasture space for sheep and goats, and plant fruit trees. We’re growing apple trees along with several other types of fruit because my husband is starting a cidery – it’s our retirement plan. He made his first batch back in November, and it turned out fantastic. So much so, that he’s already made an agreement with a wine-bar owner in our town to make more in Autumn. Big changes will be coming, although I’ll still be around for Duran Duran. Always.

I’m still blogging here, don’t forget. That’s another reason I’ve stopped with the social media – I needed to back off just to have the peace-of-mind to keep writing. We all handle things differently, and we all live under very different circumstances. Not everyone lives in the country, and not everyone lives in a city with high density housing, and public transportation. I wish there was more true support than the vitriol for anything and anyone who feels differently. Just don’t forget to live. Wash your hands, but also LIVE.

-R

You Can Put Me Straight

Is anybody else out there pulling their hair out over homeschooling?? It is Monday. I’ll just leave it at that and move on….

On Saturday evening, I watched the mainstream network broadcast of “One World Together at Home”. I can’t say I was excited, or even looking forward to the broadcast – I just caught it because there wasn’t much else on. The show was, at times, fun to watch.

Hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert had the honors of working from their individual homes and announcing the people as they appeared. They told a few jokes and tried to keep the energy light. There were some fairly serious topics that the program focused on, which really brought the entertainment factor down, in my opinion. I wish there had been more focus on an evening of music keeping us going and less of one where every single song chosen was a reminder of the times.

Even so, I appreciated seeing each artist without the lights, makeup, hair, glitz, and glam that so many programs focus on. The entertainment was based almost solely on what each artist was able to do without the help of special effects, dancers, autotune, or even mic pop-filters, in some cases! While sure, it was obvious that the performances had been pre-recorded, in a time of social distancing and staying at home, there’s only so much that can be done by way of smoke and mirrors to enhance what was already there.

What I did find profoundly obvious though, was how few artists were featured in the broadcast. Only the very biggest of names were shown, with some notable exceptions. (on what planet would Billie Eilish be a bigger name than The Killers? Hint: you’re living on it!) Several celebrities from TV and movies were also on the broadcast, and had they been omitted, there might have been more room for music, something I would have appreciated.

From The Rolling Stones (through the wonders of video and technology, they were able to play together, even in different places!), to Elton John (had to applaud the recording/stage habit of not pronouncing the “S” in “I’m Still Standing” along with the few missed piano notes I heard), it was easy to see and connect with the humanity. Even John Legend was edited a bit out of the broadcast during “The Prayer”, the song he did with Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and Lang Lang because (not unlike Simon), he hit a bum note. We’re not perfect beings. I liked knowing that these celebrities and artists are more similar to me than not. The mistakes just make us all human.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. I wish there had been more emphasis on the music and MUCH less on the pandemic, staying home, and how long it may be before we see a vaccine – most of us are faced with those reports nearly every hour of every day. The point of honoring the health workers on the front lines wasn’t lost on me, but the same could have been done without the relentless reminders.

I can’t help but wonder how this period of time will change our expectations? Will the general public continue to accept less-than-perfection? What about celebrities and artists? More broadly, how will all of this change music and art? Will music get back to basics? Acoustics over auto-tune? Hmm…perhaps that’s asking too much!

-R

Is This the Napster Moment of Live Gigs?

It’s Thursday. I have to keep reminding myself of what day it is, because like everyone else currently in residence on the globe, I find it difficult to keep track.

The one thing – and it is a very small thing – I do know, is that I miss events. Getting together with friends, going to dinner, having drinks, leaving my front gate, the live gig. My fear of the virus (I’m not going to lie – I have zero fear of this virus itself, but I recognize many of you out there might.) isn’t about my family becoming ill or dying, it is about the effects it has had on our lives going forward.

In my state of California, we’re getting quite a bit of news about how the state is beginning to plan for what comes next. How will we “reopen”? What will or will not be allowed? The discussion is not an assertion that the state is opening today or tomorrow, but is more of a broad discussion of a roadmap of what will be done when the right time arrives, and what that moment will look like. So, along with that has been talk about large events such as concerts, trade shows, festivals right on down to summer community events like Concerts in the Park, or Fourth of July picnics. State, county and city officials have been noted as saying that they don’t expect concerts to be back in the picture until at least 2021, and if there’s no working and readily available vaccine by then – not even at that time.

Clearly, this is the time for creativity and innovation. I try to remind myself of this every single day. We may very well have our lives changed in this moment (although right now, “this moment” doesn’t feel at all brief), but there have been great signs of adaptation and innovation along the way. People are “meeting” virtually, classes are being wholly taught online, graduations and other ceremonies are being rethought and reconfigured, and yes – many artists are buying into this challenge with gusto. Rather than simply waiting for things to return to normal, which could be years away at this point – thus outliving the shelf span for many – they’re taking to the ’net, and connecting with fans in new ways.

Live events, and/or event planning on the backend, is an enormous industry. Innovations absolutely must be made. Who is up for the challenge and how will it all pan out? Interestingly enough, this morning, as I continued on my daily quest of staying out of politically motivated conversations about the virus and so forth, I stumbled across an online panel on SBC regarding the very subject.

Oisin Lunny (technology and music journalist) hosted the panel and was joined by Ted Cohen (technology consultant and former music executive), Muki Kulhan (Executive Digital Producer), John Textor (CEO of Facebank Group), Scott Cohen (CIO of Warner Music Group- you may have heard of them??) and Nathan Newman (Creative Marketing and Media Consultant for the Social Broadcasting Network).

Notably, the challenge isn’t IF live music will survive, but rather, how? What form will it take? Nearly one of the first questions posed by Scott Cohen (again, you all should recognize the company he works for – it’s Warner Music!) is whether or not this is the “Napster” moment for the live music industry in the same way there was a “Napster” moment for recorded music.

The answer comes back to artists being innovative and able to improvise during this time in order to connect with their audience in new ways. Those that adapt quickly will survive. Those who choose to wait it out may not find a space for them once this pandemic is over. 2021 is a long time to wait. (and remember, if there is no vaccine, there are likely not to be concerts!)

Scott gave a couple of examples of artists who are already excitedly embracing this revolution. Dua Lipa appeared on the “Late Late Show” recently, and I have to say – I was very, very impressed. Not only did she show up, she did it with style and grace, alongside her band AND her dancers. You’ve got to see it to believe it:

As Muki Kalhan aptly put it, there is a challenge to “stay on air”. We’ve all seen it – shows such as the Late Late Show with James Cordon, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, or even Ellen – have all moved from the studio into the home. They’re figuring out how to create entertainment with whatever they’ve got, and what they’ve “got” is themselves. Sure, this wasn’t all done in a single live chat, video latency and lag would have been a mess. Each participant likely sent their own video and it was all synced together for broadcast. Watch for yourself, but I thought the performance was great.

The performances I have seen as of late have relied on acoustics. Artists play the music for what it is. Their voices are as nature intended, so to speak. Somehow, that near nakedness connects with fans. Their willingness to show up without hair, makeup, lights and sound techs and just be themselves speaks volumes. Turns out, smoke, mirrors and all of the character in the world isn’t quite enough right now. In the end, talent matters. Slick styling and glossy images aren’t going to sell nearly as much as the ability to find and sell your authentic self through a webcam. Content regains it’s rightful position as king. For some, like Dua Lipa, it looks easy. Others who may not have grown up in the age of Instagram or YouTube might not find it quite so.

The same questions matter now as they did in the 80s. Scott Cohen asked, “How did Madonna reach and connect with so many utilizing video?” I’d ask the same about Duran Duran. (shame that Cohen forgot the true Video Vanguards…) All of that innovation they, and others like them had back then, needs to come out in blazes right now.

Sure, there’s a real worry that live events will not return. “Death by Zoom” is a authentic, primal, fear, and not just in the music industry. Even so, there are still questions like “How do we “enjoy” each other? Meeting up online for drinks is obviously not the same as meeting in person and grabbing coffee. Just as a review, many of things we once eschewed and balked, from MP3s to streaming, cable TV to YouTube, have not only been made readily available, but are now embraced by the general public and beyond.

Virtual meetings are meant as an enhancement to real life, but during months of a pandemic, those that are able to be open minded, rise to the challenge and figure out how to use it best will be the winners during the years to come.

-R

On the Other Side

I was thinking this morning about this band, and how with each album, particularly post-reunion, we seem to run into roadblocks.

Granted, Duran Duran isn’t alone. Crazy things happen all of the time, and sometimes to all of us at once – like right now. I just had to chuckle a bit when I thought about it all though.

During Astronaut, they were managing their own reunion. I believe John used the words “Union of the Snake” in some way to describe the sometimes tenuous recording sessions and band meetings. So while to fans, the band getting back together wasn’t a terrible thing (far from it), for the band it must have been incredibly fraught with frustration at times.

Red Carpet Massacre saw the end of the Fab Five. It began as one record and ended as another. I don’t think the recording process is ever that smooth – ask any five musicians their opinions on writing and recording, and I’m sure you’ll get five different responses, but to have your guitarist quit and go from self-producing to working with someone you’ve never met before couldn’t have helped.

Most people likely recall All You Need is Now. Goodness knows I sure do. What started off with a bang (at least with fans), ended up having a serious false start as Simon had to end the UK tour before it started due to vocal problems. The momentum ramped up, only to hit a virtual wall. Crazy times indeed.

Paper Gods seems to be the outlier here….although I know that John said something (why is it always John, or is it just that I pay more attention to him?? Hmm…I’ll add that to my list of future contemplations!) about having to overcome some sort of serious strife or gulf between band members in order to finish the album. My guess is that there’s always something!

Which brings us to present. The unnamed album #15. It seemed as though the creative process was on a good roll. They were nearing the finish line, and sure enough – Coronavirus. Come on now. They’ve had festivals canceled. The 40th anniversary is now going to be a 41st, or even a 45th if we’re not careful. Hyde Park, The 501st and 502nd DD show at The Cosmopolitan (a minor exaggeration on my part)….all of it wiped out for the spring and summer. 2020 has been canceled, as far as I can tell.

The one thing I will say about Duran Duran, even when I’m frustrated, even when I don’t love some of their decisions – is that they’re resilient. Quitting is not in their collective vocabulary. This is a band that could have fallen apart a dozen or more times by now. Things that could have crushed other bands have ended up making this one stronger. (pretty sure there’s a saying about something like that) Sure, John (I think this is the third time I’ve mentioned him in this single blog…) had Coronavirus, and yeah, that pandemic has pretty much stopped the entire world on its axis for a bit, but they’ll be back.

-R

Spreading Hope through Music

I know that by now, surely you’ve seen it and have had a chance to absorb the words, feel the emotion, and understand it’s significance. Yesterday afternoon, there was a note from John that had been posted throughout social media. In the note, he explained that about three weeks ago, he had tested positive for COVID-19, but that he is feeling okay now. In John’s case, the symptoms were mild, a “turbo-charged” flu. It did not sound as though he needed any sort of hospitalization, and naturally the best news is that he’s fully recovered.

Oddly, and yet pretty much exactly as it should have been, Amanda saw the note first. I had texted her about something else entirely, and she made sure to tell me that I ought to go read Twitter. So I did. I have been mostly off of social media, and I’ve tried very hard not to watch the news – although I do watch my (very) local news each night. I’m not going to sugar coat it – I can’t handle it all otherwise.

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is my life right now. Each day feels very much like the one before. Last week, I found that getting out of my house into the sunshine (we had wonderful spring weather last week) helped a lot. I weeded, took care of my chickens, cleaned out the coop…and tried to forget what is going on outside of my gate. This week, we have rain. It’s rained 2 and a half inches just since yesterday. It’s a mess outside, and we’re all stuck inside. We watched movies yesterday, and I sat and made some progress on a blanket that I’m crocheting for my youngest. I felt incredibly antsy the whole day, and didn’t sleep well last night. Sure, we’re only being asked to stay at home, and that doesn’t sound hard – but it is. We know what is going on around the globe. Not watching the news doesn’t make that go away, but I also don’t linger on every single number being thrown around, or remain critical of every single word a leader mumbles off the cuff. I just don’t need it. I do need, however, a little bit of hope.

Seeing that John tested positive and has recovered definitely put me through some emotions. Of course I was concerned – who wouldn’t be? It’s frightening to see that someone I know of has had it. (John is the second person I know – albeit not personally – to have tested positively for the virus) I was also filled with love and joy, too. He cared enough to share with us, and he cared enough to make sure we saw that yes, there really is hope out there. Not everyone dies, despite the lack of media coverage regarding recoveries. It’s good to see and have evidence of that.

Throughout this experience thus far, the one thing that I’ve found fascinating on a personal level is the sheer swing of emotions from day to day. Some mornings, I wake up believing that we really will get back to normal. Someday, I’ll go to another concert, or I’ll see my friends. For that matter, I’ll be able to go back to Fossil, my favorite wine bar in Atascadero. Shopping won’t be such a trial, and yes – toilet paper will be found in stores once again. Then other days, I’m not sure if we’ll ever get back to what we once were. Will it always be like this each time COVID-19 rears its head if it is indeed seasonal? Sometimes I feel completely fine and at ease. Other hours, I feel like climbing the walls. It seems as though most people feel that way, too.

I have all three kids here. At the onset of problems, we immediately requested that my oldest and her boyfriend come to stay up here. I was willing to take the chance that they’d been exposed (and vice-versa), plus we knew that they may need our help financially because they were both out of work for a bit. They’ve been here for the past three weeks, and they’ll stay until the stay-at-home orders have been lifted. My house, although spacious, is indeed full right now. I have more animals living here than people (four cats, two dogs….and eight chicks in a brooder in the laundry room, not to mention the other twelve outside in a coop!), but with at least five different daily schedules to manage and two different diets to accommodate, this has been an interesting experiment in patience. But, we’re making it work, and every night is game night!

As I told John in a reply yesterday – hope is really important. Hope gives a huge boost to the immune system. I think we could all use a little of that right now. Music is also supposed to help, which has been a struggle for me lately. I just don’t take time to listen. My brain can’t process it all…which is why, I for one am thankful that our good buddy Jason has agreed to do another DJ set. Aptly titled The Music Between Us, it takes place this Friday, April 10th. The fun begins at 1pm PDT, or 9pm GMT and will include “visual treasures from the Durandy archive”. I believe Jason is going to stream this directly from YouTube this time – but stay tuned for details on that!

Until tomorrow, take care of one another!

-R

Going to Who Knows Where

If you were online at all yesterday, particularly on Twitter – you may have caught a tweet or two regarding our Zoom video party. Amanda spent some quality time with a small crowd of fellow Duranies as they watched videos and chatted. Technical difficulties kept me from participating on Zoom, but instead I offered to chat on Twitter with a few stragglers who like me, were unable to get into the Zoom meeting.

While it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, it seemed as though everyone had a good time and perhaps brightened up the afternoon/evening. If we do this again, there are a few changes we’ll make to increase the likelihood of it all working!

On a personal note, I’m finding it more and more difficult to write. Time isn’t the issue, but instead – it’s sheer lack of creativity on my part. Times are weird, and try as I might, I have no problem admitting that right now, Duran Duran is not on top of the list of things I think about each day. Daydreaming about concerts or even reminiscing about times gone past does very little to spark my interest. While I am not worried about the virus, I find that its everything else that keeps me up at night. Right now, the world seems to look a lot more like muted shades of grey than the gorgeous rainbow it once was.

At 2am, when I typically wake up with my neck aching from stiffening up with stress, I think about my youngest and how this is going to affect her in the years to come. I am sure other parents out there understand. It is difficult not to think about how long this could possibly go on, and that it has likely changed the course of our lives forever.

Then there’s Gavin. He works at Target and is in contact with the public. Sure, he douses himself with sanitizer on a regular basis at work, and can tell me everything I ever needed to know about the differences between cleanser, sanitizer and disinfectant, but his life? Is this it? Online college classes are fine for most of the academics, but what if you’re taking automotive or cooking?

My oldest, on the other hand, is still working. The one kid I was most concerned about because of the nature of her job – is still working. Who knew? She teaches in our garage using Zoom, my husband works in his office, also on Zoom, and Jeremy – the significant other of my oldest – is working from here too. They all seem fine, I guess.

The thing is, none of us are. Sure, life is continuing I suppose, but it’s a mere shell of what it once was. We get up, “go” to work, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. My days are still pretty much the same as always too. I get up, do morning animal chores, write the blog, do household chores, make dinner, clean up from dinner, go to bed. But there’s not a lot else. All of the colorful things that make life fun and/or interesting are sort of missing right now. I’m trying to find them. I would imagine the longer this goes on, the more used to it I will become, and then maybe I’ll start seeing the world filled with beautiful color again.

-R

A Crack in the Ocean

Hello, world. It’s Thursday, March 26. I’m still surviving. At my house, the sky is brilliant blue with a few scattered clouds in the distance, and it’s about 46 degrees (F) this morning. I’ve already been out, feeding my chickens and breathing some fresh morning air. When I go outside, it seems unthinkable that there’s a pandemic. The world almost feels normal, and I can nearly trick myself into believing it’s just a regular day. Only when I come back inside and see the belongings of my oldest strewn throughout, notice the time – it’s well past when I would have normally driven Sabrina to school – and hear my husband on a conference call in his office, that I stop to think about the enormity of what is going on. It’s not just my family, my city, or even my state or country. The entire world is fighting.

Surely, this is a once in a lifetime experience (and not a good one, I might add). Not that long ago, I might have said that living through the days of 9/11 would be the one “mark” on my life. It would be the one “thing” of my generation. Never in my dreams – I mean sure, I watched the movie Outbreak, and I’ve even watched the cable show “Doomsday Preppers” enough to know that some people plan for this sort of deal. I just never did. I mean, not really. A global pandemic just seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. And here we are.

The good news, if there is any to be had here, is that we really are all in this together. Right now, we’re really all one another have. I know that when Jason came up with his brilliant idea to host a DJ session later today, and when Amanda and I talked about hosting an online video party, our thought was to try and connect with fans – or to provide a vehicle for fans to connect with one another. Most people are social – even if only to a limited extent. It is bizarre to go for weeks on end without really seeing a single soul, even if it’s just to see someone when you’re out shopping for groceries. Which is why each and every time someone comes up with a new idea to pass the day – we jump at it as though it were a lifeline.

Yesterday, one of those lifelines was thrown to us by Duran Duran – DDHQ – as they suggested we watch Sing Blue Silver together as a community. The idea was simple – watch your own copy of SBS, or find it online somewhere, then use a hashtag to tweet about it. Follow the hashtag, and join the conversation. Commune with your fellow DD fans. Easy, and fun! These online events don’t have to be a big thing. We’re pretty self-sufficient – we watch a video, chat about it, and suddenly the day doesn’t seem so darn gloomy. And it didn’t.

I was having a tough time yesterday, and to be fair – I’m having a tough time period. I am thankful I have room to walk here (although I question my intelligence in buying a property that is so damn hilly as I struggle to make my way up to the mailbox or front gate for a wine delivery. (thank goodness our local wineries have started a delivery service – it keeps them in business, not to mention my own mood!) Food? Who needs food? Wine though? Listen, I have seven people living here (including myself), four cats, two dogs and 20 chickens. I’ll take the wine, thank you. So, when DDHQ sent out the tweet about this vaguely familiar type event, I was giddy.

Ok, so I was giddy for a couple of reasons. First, it was something new to break up the monotony of the day, and who doesn’t want to watch Sing Blue Silver? As I tweeted yesterday, I have seen that movie probably a hundred times now – and yet there are moments I still forget about being in there. I never get tired of seeing it! Second, I’m not going to lie, nor will I mince words – watching videos online together and chatting via Twitter? Yeah, that’s Daily Duranie territory. We have been doing those parties for a long time now, and it made me happy to see the band use the idea and put it to good use. We weren’t so crazy for thinking that kind of thing was fun after all, I guess.

Naturally, real life doesn’t stop here. The aforementioned full house keeps me kind of busy. Right as my clock struck two and I clicked on the link to SBS (YouTube), I was working to shape some dough into hamburger buns for dinner. Yes, I’ve taken to making my own bread rather than run to the store – more on that another time. Then there was a tussle between the two dogs. My dog Gizmo seems to have lost most of his eyesight now, and so noises scare him, as does Mallie, my daughter’s sweet Alaskan Husky. It’s my job to keep them quiet and happy. I forget what else was going on here, but it was very hard for me to take more than a glance or two at the television while I ran around the house, but I managed. I’d do it again in a heartbeat just to give myself a little bit of normalcy and levity, that is for sure.

This afternoon, I will be doing more of that, as I tune in for the live streaming DJ session that my buddy Jason (Velvet Rebel) will be hosting. I may not be able to have it turned up as loudly as I might like, but I’ll definitely listen while I clean up around here. He’s going to post the web address to his stream a bit later – look for it. Come hang out and enjoy!

I’m a little sad this is my last blog for the week. It’s the one way I consistently connect with people beyond my family. Last night I got a text from our neighbors and nearly cried – they’ve become such close friends of ours that we would routinely meet up after dinner, or spend time on the weekends doing anything from wine tasting to listening to records, and I miss them. This blog has come to serve as my major connection to the outside world. Thank goodness there is our Zoom video party to look forward to on Sunday! Hope to see everyone there!

-R

Spiral into your Brain

I am the virus

Crazy times, am I right?

Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

Pandemic: An epidemic of a disease that has spread across a large region or the world. World Health Organization defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.

When I interface

Listen, I am trying to summon all the joy in my soul, and throw massive support, positivity, and sunshine behind the announcement that Duran Duran will be not only performing, but headlining at BST in Hyde Park on July 12. Nile Rodgers, Chic and Gwen Stefani are among the special guests for the gig, along with more to be announced later. The last time Duran Duran graced their home crowd – if not hometown audience – with a show was 2012. The gig is overdue at BEST, and that comment comes from someone who doesn’t even live in the UK.

However…I have some concerns…

I’m not paid by the band. (NOT one of my concerns, by the way…it’s just how I’m prefacing what I’m about to write!) As such, you can and should be assured that I’m responding the way I truly feel. I’m not a sycophant, paid player, or even close insider. I’m a longtime fan. It isn’t my “job” to promote the band, or protect their brand. So, when I say that while I’m happy to see the band finally playing a gig in their own country – I mean that. I just can’t understand why they haven’t announced a single, non-festival (I edited this a few hours after publishing for clarity), Birmingham gig to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Maybe they still will. I just know they haven’t yet, and fans are already talking about this Hyde Park gig as if it is indeed the special gig we’ve all been waiting for. Is this really it?? (also edited to included that last question)

I am a siren in the rain

Maybe it is. So sure, I’m thrilled for UK fans, as I should be. It’s about time, don’t you think?? Even so, I’m also apprehensive, and not just for that show – but for all those that have been announced. (So maybe it’s a good thing nothing has been announced about a potentially special show in Birmingham!!)

One would have had to be living under a rock to escape the news of Covid-19, aka Coronavirus, or the global pandemic. The headlines are everywhere. Just this morning sources confirmed to CNN that the very popular Coachella Festival – the same one Duran Duran performed at in 2011 – will be postponed until at least October. SXSW was altogether canceled. Pearl Jam postponed their summer tour, many of the artists on the 80s cruise cancelled at the last minute. In the Bay Area of California, any and all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people have been banned. In New York, a one-mile radius “containment area” around New Rochelle will be instituted for two weeks beginning on Thursday with the help of the National Guard. The area has what they currently believe to be the largest cluster of cases in the US, and the governor thinks this is the best shot they have at containment.

All over the country, cities, towns, counties and states are deciding what to ask of their citizens. Self-containment, self-isolation, social distancing, cancelling in-person learning and classes, banning large events…the list goes on. While I have no doubt that containment will eventually be reached and that this virus will indeed run it’s course just as influenza typically does, fear permeates and spreads in the same fashion. The populations of our most vulnerable need to be protected, yet life must go on. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before other shows are canceled.

Everything will change forever

I’m a realist by nature. Over the years, some have called me negative, and you know, that annoys the hell out of me. It’s not a good opening line, nor is it a point I take seriously. I’m not negative, but I am not in the practice of burying my head in the sand or donning a pair of rose-colored glasses, either. I see things pretty much as they are, and I call it like I see it! I can’t say I’m overjoyed or optimistic when I see huge conventions and concerts cancelled. It isn’t comforting knowing that an entire city is being quarantined, much less an entire country – as is the case with Italy. What are the chances of a gig attended by 70,000+ in Hyde Park, or anywhere for that matter, happening? I’m not feeling confident, that is for sure. Our world is wacky enough without a pandemic, don’t you think?

Crazy times, indeed. A had a lady use her overflowing shopping cart filled with paper towel as a blocking device to stop me from grabbing one of the last three packs of toilet paper at the store this morning. I wasn’t even trying to get paper products. I just needed to walk down the aisle for sandwich baggies.

-R