So, on this fateful day in 2010, Rhonda and I decided to venture into the blogging world. The premise of this blog was a simple one: let’s blog everyday about Duran Duran. How hard could it be? We could talk about a video, something in history or whatever. Easy. No problem. Somehow, someway, we have managed to post over 5000 times. Dedication? Insanity? You decide. Rhonda thinks that it is already quite clear. Instead of writing our tremendously witty and insightful comments, we thought it might be slightly more interesting to do a video blog (with drinks!). On that note, here is our delightfully lengthy video. We recommend getting provisions before you start. In particular, you may want your favorite beverage to toast with us at the end of the video.
Here we are, the final Thursday of August. This time of year is always sort of weird for me. In the past, I’d be neck deep in ordering curriculum for my youngest, or I’d be in the middle of beginning-of-the-school-year prep. There were a couple of wonderful years where I had a “real” job and would be feverishly updating rosters, creating attendance sheets or taking inventory at the learning center. (I miss working there, although you couldn’t pay me to move back to Southern California) In the midst of all of that, I’d be thinking about September 13. This year, I’m getting ready for a visit from my sister, and a trip to Palm Springs and Las Vegas next weekend, while adjusting to having my youngest in public school. (She absolutely LOVES it, by the way!)
That date is special because of two birthdays. The first is my dad’s birthday, and the second is that it is also the birthday for this blog and website!
I have this picture hanging in my room
I am living proof that grief isn’t a process with a beginning, middle and end. My dad died eleven years ago, and I still think about him nearly every day. For me personally, September 13th has gotten easier for me to manage each year. While I can’t help but think about it being my dad’s birthday, at one point I handled it almost ceremoniously. I’d light a candle, make a coconut cake because it was his favorite, think about my dad, look at pictures and nearly wallow in my grief, along with a healthy dose of self-pity. I needed that time to allow the grief to wash over me a little, I suppose.
But I refuse to take you down
I used to set aside September 13 to remind myself of how much I missed my dad. Truth is, I don’t, or at least I didn’t, let myself really spend time thinking about it on most other days. As the years have gone by though, I’ve gotten away from most of that. Typically, the days leading up to it are a bit worse than the day itself. It is like I dread the inevitable until it gets here and I realize (once again), that I’m fine. Sure, I acknowledge his birthday – sometimes I just think about it, and other years I’ll tweet something. Then I let it go. It isn’t the end of the world. Yet honestly, if I’m really going to be transparent about it all (and why not now? I mean, I’ve been at this nine years now), in some ways my world did kind of end with his death, and now – well, this is just the new normal. His face and memory is never far from my thoughts, though.
My son Gavin is the spitting image of him, but with hair – because my dad went bald when he was 18. I never knew him with hair! <big grin here>), and little things remind me of him all the time. At one time, the memories would be sad, and I’d cry at the oddest moments. But now – they’re oddly comforting. I miss him, but I’ve learned to accept that he’s gone. His birthday is still special. He would have been 79 this year, and that boggles my mind. And sometimes, like right now – I can’t even believe our family went through all of that. I have to remind myself that yes, he really did die. Grief is weird.
These words are like sand
Then, there’s the blog. Yes, it is true that one day, nearly nine years ago – I hit “post”, and our very first blog posting went live. This is also something that I need to seriously sit back and contemplate each year. On one hand, I feel like I’ve been blogging for about half my life. On the other, I almost feel like I’ve got to count the years just to be SURE we’ve really been doing this for nine years now. Could that really be?? Just yesterday, Amanda and I were conferencing about a writing project, and she said something about how we’ve been going to shows together for fifteen years now and I had to do a double take. Really? It’s honestly been that long?!?
Even yesterday, I agreed with Amanda when she said that we’ve been blogging for so long now that it wouldn’t feel right if we stopped. The blog is an extension of myself in a number of ways. I’m not really looking for validation in the way I know I was when we started. I’ve learned that much of the time—I won’t get it, and as it turns out—I don’t need it anyway.
I’ve written this before, but it bares repeating. I started blogging because I had the audacity to want to be liked. The blog was essentially a mouthpiece, and I used it. I felt personally empowered just by getting the words out, whether one person read them, or many – although I love hearing from people who felt something from our writing. That feeling has not changed since the day we started. I’m still as socially awkward as ever, and I’m grateful I started blogging.
Just get blown away
What has changed though, is that I realize I don’t need hundreds of people to like me in order to feel validated as a human, or even as a fan. For me personally, organizing a convention, or hosting meet-ups are very difficult things. I much prefer being in the back, behind the scenes, working on the logistics. I don’t enjoy putting myself out there, and pretending to be outgoing, when I know someone is right around the corner laughing and hoping for my utter failure. There seems to be quite a bit of that going around this community at the moment, and I’m not sure why. What I do know is that I don’t need it. If you are with me, we’re still having a meet-up in Vegas. We would love to hang out with people looking to have some fun before the shows – both nights we’ll be in the CliQue Bar at around 5pm, so look for us!
For Amanda and I, writing Daily Duranie is almost a way we pre-write for projects. As those projects take shape, we send out submissions to publishers, and as a result – we’ve had our fair share of rejections. Each publisher has their own format for sending in submissions, but every single one of them wants to know what “big question” your book proposal seeks to address and answer. The first “encyclopedia” sized manuscript we did tried to answer the question, “What is fandom, and why do we participate?” It was a huge question, and the manuscript was laden in research. Our second tried to explain our journey in fandom. We wanted to explain fandom by using our own experience. That manuscript was fun, but in hindsight – very watered down. We wanted our fandom to sound friendly and inclusive. The publisher wanted more of the dirt, and specifically, she wanted to know why Amanda and I are groupies.
*sigh* We’re not groupies. Maybe that’s the problem…but it’s not our thing. Thank you, next!
All the things we’d like to say
Simply put, I think Amanda and I had to do all of that writing in order to whittle away little-by-little and finally get to the good stuff underneath. Some people can do it quickly, and some of us have to write three full manuscripts along with full book proposals to get there. C’est la vie. Someone wise told me that eventually I’d understand why I needed to be rejected, and why I needed to write those full manuscripts. I’m getting there.
I felt good about the direction we were taking in the writing, but yesterday really brought clarity to everything we’ve done for the past nine years (and then some). The real questions—the ones we’ve been afraid to say out loud or admit to anyone but each other— are the things we really need to writing about and trying to answer. So we are. These questions are the reasons we started blogging, They are at the root of what we comment about most when the band is interviewed (and no, I don’t mean John and Simon’s clothing choices!), and they are most definitely the things we get the most annoyed by in general. While I can’t say whether or not a publisher will see the worth in our project – I can say that on a personal note, I’ve turned a corner. I know why I’m still here.
Yesterday, this blog turned eight! While some might not think that is a big deal but it is huge to Rhonda and myself. When I think back to when we started this, I figured that we might write for a year, maybe two, if we were really committed. Honestly, I believed that it would help us in our writing projects. It might shed light on Duranies or even Duran Duran, I assumed. While it has done that at times, to me, the lessons I have learned have been so much more and different than that. So on this anniversary or birthday or whatever you want to call it, I want to share a few of those lessons. They are in no particular order.
The Power of Commitment:
Sometimes, when Rhonda and I go on tour, we have uttered the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” When we say that, it to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t necessarily party so hard in a few hour causing us to crash before the night has really even gotten started. We don’t need to do everything in one night, if we have multiple shows. I feel like I have learned that lesson in the rest of my life, too.
I have always known that there is power in commitment. Experience matters. When I first became a teacher, I watched veteran teachers to see how they dealt with every issue that teachers confront. Looking back, I cannot believe how much I learned from that. Now, I’m that veteran teacher. My practice has improved over time, not just from watching those experienced staff members but also from doing it myself. You know what else matters? It is important to know that I’m in it for the long haul. Teaching isn’t just a temporary gig. I knew that I had to get better because it was going to be who and what I was for decades.
I could repeat a similar story for political organizing. Initially, it was one campaign. Soon enough, it became two then three. Now, I get it. It is part of my life and who I am. I got better at it, too. I had no choice. I feel like the same is true for this blog. In the beginning I didn’t think too much about how my blogs were. Even once I realized that some people read them, I didn’t consciously think about how to improve my blogs. Yet, I think it has happened through both doing it but also through commitment. Because I know that this is part of my life, I want to be able to be proud of it. Guess what? I am proud. Not only am I proud of the blogs themselves, I’m extremely proud of our commitment. Both of us could have thrown in the towel a ton of times but we didn’t. We stuck to it. We stayed for the long haul.
Keeps Me Connected:
As I have said before, this hasn’t been the easiest year for me. I won’t lie that there have been times that I thought maybe it was time for me to walk away from this. It was never because I didn’t like it or my love for Duran has faded. I just wondered if my attention shouldn’t be elsewhere. Yet, I know how it would go. At first, it might be fine. I would focus on other things. Over time, though, I would miss it. Whenever I have suppressed one big aspect of my life, it always comes back to bite me. I don’t like it. I don’t want to have to choose between the different hats I wear. I can be a fan and an activist. I can be a blogger and educator.
What would I miss? Not only would I miss the writing. I would miss the connection. This blog has connected us with other fans. I have met so many people as a result of writing this blog, hosting meet-ups and organizing the convention in 2013. I’m grateful for everyone I have met. Not only have I learned from each and every person but many of you have brought fun and joy into my life. You all have reminded me that fandom is about connection. It starts out with a love of whatever. In our case, it is the love of Duran Duran. The fandom part comes when we reach out to each other. This blog has made that a lot easier for me. I cannot say that I’m great in meeting people. Often, I think I give off the wrong vibes or something. Yet, this blog and everything that has come as a result pushes me to be better, to be more approachable with other people.
Now, this blog keeps me connected not just to the fans I might meet, the ones that I have met, but also with Rhonda and Duran Duran. This blog is not mine, not Rhonda’s but ours. It is still that way. It doesn’t matter how often we talk, this blog is our shared space. It is a “place” that we both call home. It is where we are open about our love for Duran and touring. Beyond that, it is also where we have shared stories about fandom but also about our real lives. I often joke that it has become our journals. This blog lets us process through our ideas about fandom as well as general life stuff. Not only does it let you all know what is going on with us, but often it lets me know what is going with her and vice versa. It forces us to stay connected and I am grateful for that. (I wonder if any band member has thought something similar about Duran Duran, that the band has kept the individual members connected.)
This little blog also keeps me thinking about Duran Duran. When we first started, Duran Duran was at the top of my thoughts when writing this blog. I couldn’t really imagine writing about my personal life or even subtle aspects of fandom. No, I wanted to write about just Duran Duran, the band, the history, the music. Now, it isn’t that they aren’t important as they are truly essential. They are the reason we started and the reason we keep going. However, they are much like the other commitments in my life. Being a Duranie is who I am. I have been that for so long and in this public way for 8 years now. That part of my identity and the love that it stems from is so interwoven in my life that I don’t need to shout about it in the same way to prove that. I know how much Duran matters to me. It is like breathing. I don’t need to think about it to love them. I just do it.
Overall, this blog has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on September 13th, 2010, when we entered into this adventure. I am thankful that we started this and thrilled that we keep going. More importantly, I appreciate that Rhonda is still here on this journey with me and am forever grateful to people who have read the blog once as well as to those who read each and every day. You all keep me going. Thank you.
On September 13 of 2010, I sat down and wrote my first blog. I can remember taking a deep breath before hitting “publish”. I had no idea what I was doing, and no real concern about the quality of my work. Ignorance is bliss!
Eight year later, I’m still writing. I try not to compare my work to others and just let the words speak for themselves. I don’t live with a thesaurus at my fingertips, and while my writing might not be the most technically sound – the feeling is all there. I still love blogging, and it gives my life direction when I don’t know what way I am headed. (Kind of like right now!)
Blogging also gives me a few moments each day to take stock in my own thoughts and feelings. Lately, I have put a lot of my own dreams and desires on the back burner. My family needs most of my support and attention, and that will probably continue for a while longer as we sell this house (anyone want to move to Orange County??) and move to the next yet-to-be-determined place. The process is exhausting, and I really do feel like I’ve had to put everything I want to do aside. I never expected it would take this long, but here we are. Life has its own idea of the way things are going to go, I guess. Blogging keeps me semi-connected, at least. I haven’t even talked to Amanda since the beginning of summer, but I feel like I at least have some vague idea of what is going on with her because I read her blogs. I don’t love that I feel so removed and remote, but I believe that our friendship will bridge the gap and we’ll catch back up again.
I wish I could say that after eight years, I’ve had some huge epiphany, or that I have amazing stories to share. Instead, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I started blogging because wanted to be liked. I wanted to feel like I was part of a group. I wanted to be one of those people that others would come up to and say hello when we saw one another at gigs. Simple things, really. For a self-admitted outcast, it has been really cool.
I know that I don’t have amazing Duran Duran stories. Aside from a couple of things I’ve already shared too many times, I’m just your average fan. I don’t know more than anybody else and I’ve certainly not done more than most of you reading. Once in a while something will happen and I’ll be reminded that maybe, just maybe, the band recognizes me from somewhere – and that’s pretty neat. I don’t need to confirm that the reason they might recognize my face is because I’ve been to an obscene amount of shows during the past eight years (my husband reminds me about that all the time anyway). I can pretend it MUST be due to this blog, right? I don’t go backstage or hang out with anyone exciting on a regular basis. I go to the shows I’m able, and then afterward, Amanda and I scramble to find something to do. We’re always better when we’ve got a plan, right Amanda? We spend a lot of time making ourselves laugh and being idiots when we’re together. It’s not a bad gig, really, despite the lack of pay. I don’t mind that I’m not personal friends with band members, although any time they’re ready to hang with the commoners, they can drop us a line. I really do thank them for being such an effective muse over the years. I have no doubt that it will continue.
I don’t know offhand when the band will tour again. I only know that we’re going to keep blogging, and we’re going to keep laughing.
I really do wish Amanda and I were together to toast to our eight years of insanity, but we’re not so I have a message for my partner-in-crime: We did this together, and I hope you are as proud of it as I am. As I head out to drop my girl off at school, I’m going to be thinking about Daily Duranie, and everything we’ve done together, Amanda. It has been a wild ride, and I’m so thankful I’ve had you to bounce things off of along the way. I am hoping we can get back to that very soon. In the meantime, I know you are doing what you feel you must, I support you 100%, and I’m doing what I have to do to get my family settled again. Love you lots!
We are still here, blogging away! Who would have ever thought? Certainly not me, as the crazy person who came up with this idea, and most definitely not Amanda! But yes, today is our seventh birthday. We chose to commemorate the occasion with a video.
Amanda and I like to ask ourselves where we’re headed every so often. (Not entirely unlike when we’re at a gig and Simon asks “Do you know where we are?” Although, we usually answer with a loud, resounding, “No!”, oddly enough.) Our answers to that question have either been “We really aren’t sure.” or we’ve had some brilliant pie-in-the-sky response. This year though, it would seem that both of us are pretty down to earth about what we want and expect. We don’t really know what the future holds. We’re open to some ideas, but the reality is – we’re just blogging, and that comes down to the two of us. We’re not looking to change the world. We just work hard, try to stay out of the drama, and focus on what the two of us are doing.
We thank our readers for sticking with us over the years. We also want to thank the band. I won’t say it’s your fault we did this, but ya know….had it not been for you….Amanda and I would have never met to begin with. Just saying.
This is my final blog pick to round out the seven years we’ve blogged. I could have picked something poignant, or something that maybe encompassed my thoughts….there were plenty to choose from.
Nope. I went with funny.
I chose this blog because, when it comes right down to it – Amanda and I do two things: 1. We study fandom. 2. WE HAVE FUN. This post is about having fun, in all it’s glory. For the most part, we started this blog in order to have more fun. Amanda and I laugh a lot when we’re together. Through all of the hard times, the stress, the anxiety, and the rejections – the one thing we’ve worked tirelessly to remind ourselves is that this is supposed to be FUN. If it stops being fun, it’s time to stop.
I’m happy to report that it hasn’t stopped being fun. No, we don’t leave ourselves quite as vulnerable as we once did, and yeah – there have certainly been moments when we’ve needed (and given) ourselves a time-out, but I think the number one thing we’ve learned is how to blog on our own terms. When it comes to our love and willingness to give this band a rough time, we don’t mind putting it out there, and the blog below is a great example.
I still chuckle when I read it, and therefore, it’s worthy of a repost.
I’ll just close by saying that a couple of things haven’t changed in the seven years we’ve blogged: we are still fans, and somehow – Amanda and I have always managed to put our friendship first. That is how we’ve gotten through it all. We still have a blast when we are together, and we still love our own brand of antics. We’re delighted that none of that has turned our readers off yet. I don’t think either of us ever considered that we’d still be blogging seven years later, and keeping with that attitude – I have no idea what the future will bring. Two things I do know for certain: 1. We will still be fans in seven years. and 2. Amanda and I will still be friends and putting that friendship first. Anything else is a bonus. -R
Originally posted March 22, 2017
Sorry I’m so late with today’s post. Our morning was wild here, and the afternoon is not faring much easier, as far as time goes!
I think I’m still coming to terms with my weekend, which was amazing. Anytime I can spend the day out by the pool and see my favorite band at night is great, but there were some additional “happenings” that make this particular weekend even better than normal. Those are the things that make me smile when my day might be going rougher than I’d hoped, and help me sleep at night. Or not sleep, I guess. I’m just gonna leave that thought right there.
In any case, one of the funnier themes of the weekend was that Amanda had no interest in following rules. I probably need to be more clear about that. For example, I would never dream of, say, telling the band what to play.
Ok, that’s a flat-out lie. The one thing we didn’t do this weekend was tweet out our own super-special set lists! Normally I’m all about telling the band what I think and what to play. This weekend though, I really didn’t care. They could have gotten up there and played just about anything. I believe my expectations for the weekend were summed up like this, “All they have to do is show up, Amanda.”
So when they broke into Only in Dreams on the first night, it took me WAY longer than I care to admit for my brain to sort out what it was I was hearing. Then they followed up with Is There Something I Should Know.
OH MY GOD.
That is my favorite. My all-time favorite song. Ever. I nearly had kittens. It’s not as though I have never heard it before, but to have them play it without expecting it was even better. But then I knew something was missing. I kept waiting, and no, Planet Earth never showed. I can remember standing there beside Amanda thinking “Holy shit. She really IS going to have kittens!! And she blogs tomorrow, too!!”
So, she was really disappointed. No, the band can’t play their entire catalog, but Planet Earth has been a staple. I can’t remember the last time they didn’t play it, actually. I know she loves it, but I also recognize that sometimes, they have to do something to mix it up. Even so, I didn’t know what Amanda would do.
Fast forward to the following evening. We had a friend at the front and were talking to her during the show when Amanda saw a list taped down at Simon’s spot. Appropriately titled, “Palm Springs Agua Caliente”, she could read the set list from where she was standing, and I could see she wasn’t happy about what it said. On the other hand, I won’t look at the set lists before the show. I like being surprised, and I don’t want to know when it’s going to be over.
I liken this to Christmas presents. My sister used to go on a full-on hunt for the gifts when we were little. She would find everything and either be satisfied, or annoyed and disappointment at what “Santa” was going to bring. One Christmas, I succumbed to her urging. Using a swivel desk-chair to reach the door to our attic, I tried to find a set of skis I had almost NO chance of getting (and didn’t!) only to fall and sprain my arm because A. I am klutzy and B. I was using a stupid SWIVEL CHAIR. Not my smartest or proudest moment. Robin STILL teases me about that Christmas present hunt to this day. (I love younger siblings.) I learned my lesson. I prefer to be surprised.
Amanda looks up at me and says “It hasn’t changed.” I wasn’t surprised. This band (sorry guys), hasn’t necessarily been the greatest about changing up the set list from night-to-night lately. I didn’t know what to say, but Amanda was already digging through her purse, mumbling something about leaving a note.
WHAT? “Noooooo Amanda, you can’t!” I exclaim, half laughing. “What if they see it?!?”
The trouble is, I know when Amanda is determined, and she was. My protests weren’t going to stop the inevitable. She was going to leave that note, and there wasn’t a thing I was going to be able to do about it except laugh along with her. She found an envelope (our ticket envelope, no less) and wrote out “PLANET EARTH!!!” in big letters with a Sharpie. Great, but where to leave it? I figured she’d throw it up there, and within two seconds of the band getting on stage we’d never see the likes of it again. Easy.
Oh, Amanda had that figured out already. She was going to tuck it in with the existing set list. Amanda kind of climbed up and halfway laid on the stage so that she was able to work the note in and secure it. She hopped down, and shared a laugh with us(mine was somewhat more of a nervous laugh), we knew we were on our way. To hell, I’m sure.
I felt the blood drain from my face, and went to my seat. Surely they wouldn’t know, because (thank goodness) they don’t know our handwriting!!
Of course, now that I’ve typed this, it’s not secret.
(GOOD THING THEY DON’T READ THE BLOG, RIGHT?!?)
The band comes out for the show. I’m not really sure if Simon ever saw the addition to the set list, but I won’t lie – I giggled at the thought. No, they didn’t play Planet Earth, but I could swear I saw him look down at the note, and then look down at the two of us (three if you count our friend Suzie!) and narrow his eyes more than once. I immediately mouthed “I didn’t do it!” and pointed at Amanda.
Hey, if you can’t throw your best friend under her own damn bus….
and then White Lines began. Now – I love this song and by then, I felt strongly that we were going to experience “The Spit Zone” more than ever before. I was going to enjoy that guitar solo no matter what (and I did, thanks to Dom), but I was worried. I knew we were in front, and from the amount of smack we’ve given that band and particularly Simon over the years, he could let us have it. Again. Simon went back for his long drink of water, and came back with a mouthful – the kind of mouthful that was going to drench someone, really. I saw Nick smirking out of the corner of my eye and thought to myself, “Here we go!” I just looked down and felt the fire-hose worth of water spray onto the back of my head and arm. GAH. I looked up and just laughed because at that point, what else could I do?
I have a feeling we had that coming.
Turnabout is fair play. Until next time, anyway. -R
I chose the blog below because for me, everything I describe holds up extremely well, even two years later.
As you will hear and see in the video we are going to post later this week, I think there have been a lot of changes in the way Amanda and I see blogging these days. That said, the one thing that has not ever changed is the basic fact that we are still fans of this band.
I hope I never forget that night at Agua Caliente for as long as I live. There are times when I am really feeling down, or flat-out stressed out, and the memory of that night makes me smile. I can remember just as they walked off stage, and I triumphantly looked at Amanda and exclaimed “I QUIT!” – loud enough for a certain guitar player to hear, turn around, and grin – because I knew I’d never have another show like that one.
Amanda and I have had a great ride since that night. Not everything has gone according to the plan we had in our heads, but then again – nothing ever does. In any case, if I had to sum up the Paper Gods era – nothing does it better for me than this post. -R
Originally posted October 12, 2015
Has it really already been a week since I’ve been back home from this Duran Duran tour?!? I don’t even know where the time went. On one hand I feel as though I got back into the swing of things very quickly and feels very much as though I never left. On the other, I can’t believe a week has already gone by.
In many ways I let Amanda take the helm in describing the tour and how the shows were for us – she and I are typically on the same page when it comes to those things, and I knew she would convey exactly how I felt. On the other, I summed up my feelings about that 3-show “tour” with one tweet almost immediately after I walked out of the theatre at Agua Caliente.
“I may as well I may as well stop touring right now because I will never have a better show experience than tonight. Wow.”
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating here again that Amanda and I purchase our own tickets to the shows. We don’t ask the band for tickets. I had a few people insinuate or flat-out ask, and while it’s a lovely thought that some people believe we matter, I think Amanda and I are well-aware that to 99.99% of the people involved with the band, we’re just a couple of fans who write a silly blog. We get it, and we don’t overstate or over-think our importance. In any case, that night at Agua Caliente, Amanda and I were in for a huge treat. We knew we had front row, but aside from that – we didn’t know much else. Neither of us had been to the venue and we were honestly more concerned with where our seats would be (meaning would we be in front of Simon, John, Nick, or Dom) than where the seats were in regards to the stage.
As we walked down to our seats at Agua Caliente, we counted the chairs from the aisle and discovered we were right in front of Simon. I mean RIGHT in front. Then we realized there were no barricades between us and the stage. Finally, we quietly marveled that during the show, we could seriously lean our elbows ON the stage. I couldn’t believe it, and to be honest, I still can’t. As show time grew closer, our friends Krista and Sandy took their seats right next to us, and I knew before the band even took the stage that it was going to be the show experience of a lifetime.
It very much was – including being in the “spit zone” (Thank you Krista for taking the brunt of it…willingly…as I ducked behind you. Yes, I did see you chuckling at our antics, Nicholas. I’m going to continue pretending that Simon did NOT veer ever so slightly in the direction of Amanda and I…We sort of had it coming though, didn’t we?) There were so many moments during that show for me. Seeing Nick smile during Hungry Like the Wolf (I was a very good sport, thankyouverymuch…epitome of a well-behaved fan!!), watching Simon walking to the front of the stage like a man on a mission with a mouth-full of water as I thought to myself, “Oh boy…here we go…DUCK!”, having John and Dom flank either side of Amanda and I during Planet Earth, watching Roger twirl his drumstick during Sunrise…having Dom come over directly in front of me to play several times throughout the show, and shaking some of their hands at the end of the set.
Can I take a minute to write about the end of their set?? After the finale, they walked to the front of the stage as they typically do to say goodbye. I’m right there, basically becoming good friends with their feet, and examining their shoes and socks. (Nice striped socks, Dom…liked them with the leather pants!) I wish I could properly explain how I felt in that moment, but the words don’t really match the feeling. It was as though electricity was running through my body. I mean, I was inches from these men that I have adored since I was ten years old. I turn 45 next month. That’s a very, very long time. It was as though I couldn’t quite believe what my eyes and ears were telling me as I stood there, frozen to the floor. I didn’t even reach up to shake hands with them, because I couldn’t. I just smiled at them, tried to clap, mostly just stood there in shock (and awe!).
Nick stood in front of me for what felt like a long time, but I couldn’t even move my hand to shake his. It wasn’t out of disrespect, just the opposite really. I meant it when I said that my head couldn’t quite make sense of it at the time. I’m still not sure if I can. I did notice a faint, very quick glimmer of, well…what…recognition maybe??…in their faces as they would smile down at us and make eye contact. I couldn’t even let myself think about that at the time. I had difficulty just getting past the notion that I was standing there right directly in front of them. Yes, I’ve been writing this blog for five years now, and yes, I suppose that by a lot of accounts, I’ve had far more “experiences” with the band than many fans out there. However, I’ve never been right in front of them like this. Not in this way. It felt incredibly surreal. Daily Duranie or not, no matter how many readers we have, or the size of our real audience, or our post-reach on Facebook – I am still a fan. That’s exactly how I felt that night. I am still a fan like anyone else. I needed that.
Do you know what I was thinking about in that moment as they were all standing at the front of the stage? I was remembering how I would sit on the edge of my bed, in my “Summertime Green” painted bedroom (Nasty, horrid bright green color, with orange carpeting no less.). I would stare at the biggest poster of them I had, which happened to be on my door, and wonder what it would be like to be right in front of them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d write about them someday, or be in the front row at one of their shows (much less two or three), or actually KNOW what it felt like to be in front of them. Never. How do you soak up the answers to 35-years worth of daydreams in less than two hours?
As they were leaving, Dom reached down and grabbed my hand and it was only in that second I kind of came back into present long enough to realize that he had my hand – only for a split second – but again, I’m trying to describe how I felt at the time. I’m pretty sure I shook Roger’s hand too, but I can’t remember now.
I don’t think I will ever have a show quite like that again. That thought both exhilarates me and makes me wistful all at once. I know what it’s like to be center “elbows on the stage” front row. I’m incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to experience those feelings. Even if my time never comes again – which likely not – I won’t let the memory slip my mind. I really can’t see what could possibly top those seats, and so when I jokingly yelled out, “I QUIT!!” after the last of the hand squeezes from the band took place and they all left the stage area, it was with the thought that I’d reached the pinnacle of what a fan could really experience. There isn’t much more to “want”, aside from more of the same, maybe.
Almost oddly, I sit here today typing this thinking to myself that it’s a good thing that Amanda and I have had the chance to do so much, at least from the standpoint of writing and understanding ourselves as fans. I’ve sat in the very LAST row at a show (my very first one), and now I’ve sat in the very front row. I’ve been to the UK, seen Birmingham, walked Cheapside (If you do not know what Cheapside is, we need to talk. Seriously…email me!), had Simon stand directly in front of me, eye-to-eye and explain why the shows cannot go on as planned. I’ve lived through Twitter, Facebook, and message boards. I have had canceled gigs, various guitarists, and favorite band members leaving only to return 20-some years later. I have watched MTV, read magazines like Star Hits and Tiger Beat, as well as rely on getting news solely from the radio and other fans. I’ve completely missed tours, been disappointed with albums, and overjoyed by others. I don’t know if I’ve done it ALL (actually, I know for sure that I have not…), but I know that I’ve experienced a lot, and those adventures, moments, and nuggets of knowledge come in very handy when you’re writing a fan blog.
I know what it is like to be a fan, and I continue to walk the fine line between writing about it, running a blog, and experiencing it as anyone else might. Amanda and I always say we know what fans want because we ARE fans…and that’s the truth. I only hope we continue to cover the things that matter with the same amount of love, affection and excitement as we do right in this moment. I’m looking forward to planning the next set of Duran Duran tour dates, meet-ups, parties, and hopefully a reasonable road trip as we witness the upcoming UK dates from afar.
One thing I’ve found as I’ve looked back over our blogs for the past seven years is that there were some years that Amanda and I just WROTE. We did crazy amounts of writing each day. Nothing “dialed-in”, nothing that was just fluff. 2011-2012 was that way for us, and it was very difficult to choose something that summed up the year. We traveled to the UK in December, we hosted a meet-up In Chicago, and we had big ideas (and wide eyes) for what we wanted to do with Daily Duranie.
The theme for this post was friendship. At the time, we had hosted a couple of meet-ups that went over very well, and I was feeling more and more confident about our “place” in the Duran fan community. At the time, I felt like we were accepted and loved. Our goal quickly became one of inclusion – we wanted EVERYONE to feel included and have a good fan experience. This post is indicative of that.
The real reason Amanda and I began Daily Duranie is simple: We wanted to be liked and accepted. Writing was our way “in”. I don’t think it ever really worked in the way we’d hoped – our circle of friends is incredibly small – but that’s fine. We’ve learned to rely on one another, and we do. Anything else is a bonus. Back then, I think we felt like we could somehow share that vision of being liked and accepted with other people who never felt like they fit in, and that’s why we had hoped to be something in the fan community that would be known for bringing people together. That initial glimmer of vision is what is written in the words below. I smile a little bit by how naive I was at the time.
I don’t know if our overall vision has changed that much since 2011, but I think the way in which we conduct ourselves certainly has. We still agree that our “place” in the fan community is not necessarily to report on the news, but to focus on the fan experience. I would say that writing has become less about other people and more about myself – I can’t speak for Amanda on that, though. Time and experience has changed me. Where at one time I wrote hoping to make other people happy – wanting validation and acceptance, now I write with the goal of making myself happy. It isn’t that I don’t worry about what other people think, it is that I can’t. Even so, it’s nice to take a look back and “hear” my innocent, wide-eyed point of view.
Originally posted October 26, 2011:
While I didn’t get comments here, I did see quite a few comments regarding yesterday’s blog topic on Facebook. The overwhelming response is that the friendships we make have all the difference in our experience, and I would agree. (obviously?!?)
The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding. Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.
When I first found dd.com, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board. You were either included or you were not. You were either well liked, or you were not. The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited. Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked. We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish. Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form. Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way. The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens. I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?
The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience. Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder. Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan. When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse. Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about. What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community. I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone. I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference. If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge. Enormous!
Of course, there are always going to be people who prefer the solo experience. I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be. (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!) I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row. I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had I been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too. Who here would not have been?!? Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case. I’d have braved it out just fine! I suppose we all have our limits or standards. Mine is in the front row!
What about that false sense of friendship? Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show? What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen? They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in? For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived. I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.
I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed. If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.
So, what made me choose this one, originally posted June 1, 2011?
As I started reading the blogs from our first year, a couple of things became clear: One, this idea of finding the “best” blogs from the year was much more difficult and time-consuming than I’d realized. Two, my memory is very poor. What I mean by that is simply that when Amanda and I first started discussing this idea, I could think of topics that we’d written about, figuring they only happened a year or two ago. Wrong. For example, we wrote about fan validation that year – and I would swear it was only a couple of years back! It’s been seven!! So, my task was arduous. I couldn’t decide if I should go with what was easiest – picking either our first blog or something similar, or if I should just look up the blogs by traffic numbers and repeat what was most popular. I ended up doing neither.
I sat down and forced myself to re-read. Now, some blogs I simply glanced over, knowing they weren’t what I was looking for. On the other hand, there were many others I’d forgotten. So I whittled down the year’s worth to three. From there, I just went with what felt right.
In this blog, originally titled Semitones and Simon, I share what Simon had explained about his voice. Interestingly enough though, in hindsight – the blog really isn’t about his voice or semitones. It’s about my own relationship with the band, Simon in particular. I will just close here by saying that even forty years in, my impression of the band, and my feelings for them, continue to evolve.
I still like to give any and all of them a rough time however I can, though. That’s not gonna change any time soon.Enjoy!
According to the music sites I visited today, a semitone is an interval equivalent to a half-tone in a standard diatonic scale. I am pretty embarrassed that I had to even look up the term – it’s something that even as an amateur musician, I should (and do) really know. Basically, for all of you retired high school band members out there like me – they are the sharps and flats. The half-steps. Why I couldn’t figure that out on my own this morning probably has something to do with early onset Alzheimer’s, at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself. Won’t matter anyway, because I’ll likely forget the whole thing by tomorrow. (Yes, that’s my idea of humor!)
What is the whole point of this semitone discussion? I was greeted this morning on Facebook by a news item from Duran Duran. Simon had written a blog and it was up for our reading pleasure. Of course I was interested, and it is very much worthy of reading. Once again, Simon shocked me. (this is fast becoming a habit!) I’m very used to reading Simon’s blogs, scratching my head, reaching for the vodka bottle, reading it again, and still not quite understanding what happened in the translation. I jokingly say that one has to be under the influence to understand him, and reading his blogs can be somewhat like reading his lyrics at times. This new blog is not that way at all, and he is kind enough to share details of what is really going on with him at the moment. He explains that he seems to be missing 6 semitones at the top of his range. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by semitone, but after looking it up – it makes perfect sense. An octave is made up of 8 full tones and 12 semitones. Why 12 and not 16? Look at a piano keyboard and count the notes. That’s my easiest, non-theoretical answer. 🙂 Those black keys are known as the sharps and flats, and they fall in the middle (give or take) between each full tone. Simon thinks he’s missing 6 of them, and thanks to my fabulous math skills I know that’s about half an octave – which is kind of a lot for a vocalist! (although this morning in a fit of brilliance I said it was 2/3 of an octave.) Regardless of the details, the Simon I am learning to admire these days is a far cry from the guy I’ve seen on stage over the years – and not in a bad way at all. I really kind of like him when he’s not being mean-spirited on twitter. (Which is probably required once in a while. I’ve seen some of the tweets he gets!)
Simon IS cheeky, he can be funny at times – and similar to the other males I share my life with, he can also be a downright pain in the ass. Coincidence?? Nah… This Simon though, the one I met the last week in London, is someone new to me. I don’t mean this to be a crack at Simon, it’s just that the lead singer I’m used to seems to be all about the ego. Back when I was a teenager, I loved it. That blondish hair, the way he’d smile slyly into the camera – who could ignore that? Even into my 20’s, I thought Simon was amazing. Once I hit 30, and then 35, and now 40, I will openly admit I grew tiresome of the huge ego. It just seemed like it was time to get real. I was loathsome of the way I’d hear he’d treat fans – whether they were stories, embellishments or otherwise – and as a result I had pretty much determined that I never wanted to meet him in person. No reason to open myself up to being ridiculed just because he’s the lead singer in the one band I’ve always loved. So, I avoided him at all costs. In no way am I the type of fan who would just walk up to one of the band members outside of a gig and expect them to entertain me. I may end up at the same bar, but I would never approach because for them, that time is “after work” and just as I wouldn’t appreciate having my boss follow me around after work (although I don’t mind saying that MY bosses live with me and I’m never off of work – just one of the joys of being a stay at home parent!), I recognize that perhaps they should be afforded the same luxury. If they want to come up and share a beer, glass of wine or a conversation – I’m all about being friendly, but I won’t insist on it by imposing myself on them. I feel pretty confident with who I am, what I look like, and what I’m worth as a human. I just don’t need one of my idols to openly reject me because I’m not a supermodel, I don’t have long dark hair, or exotic looks. I know I’m not the only fan out there that feels that way…right??
It’s funny because this situation has made me see the band in a much different light. I guess to some extent, I’ve always taken them for granted. They would always be there, in some shape or form. It never occurred to me that there would be “an end”, much less would there be an end without any major fanfare. I figured I’d always know it was coming and would be able to prepare myself, but of course – it never happens that way, does it? I’ve been home now for a few days, and I’ll find myself in the middle of say, folding laundry or something. I’ll stop and think “Holy hell what just happened there?” It’s as though while I was in the UK, I was just a robot going through the motions of every day, and it’s only just now that I realize I flew 10 hours there, spent 9 days wandering around only to see not a single show, then fly 11 hours back. (gotta love the jet stream) What just happened?!? It reminds me very much of how I felt in retrospect after my dad passed. For an entire month I wandered around this house, going through the motions of caring for a tiny newborn and planning every aspect of my dad’s memorial – and only several weeks after all was said and done did I look back and think “Wait a damn second here. Did all of that really just happen?” I’m not emotional, mainly just incredulous that I went all the way to the UK to live out a dream…and walked away before it really happened. Now of course we’re all wondering when Simon will sing again. I hope it’s soon, and I hope I have the chance to witness it for myself.
In any case, my heart continues to go out to Simon and I wish I could help – tap dancing here on this blog doesn’t seem like nearly enough.
As you read from Rhonda’s post on Tuesday, this little blog of ours turned six. Birthdays and anniversaries provide a good time to stop, look around, take stock in the state of things and reflect. This birthday/anniversary was no exception. As soon as I start thinking about this blog, a few very clear conclusions pop into my head.
When we started this little venture, I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. For once, I just went with the idea when Rhonda suggested it. I liked the idea of writing frequently and throwing ideas/thoughts out to the Duranie community about all things Duran Duran and all things fandom. I didn’t consider who would read or what kind of feedback or response we would receive. Perhaps, if I had thought about it more, the fear of negative feedback or being too exposed might have caused me to shut down the whole thing before we even started.
Looking back, it is sort of funny that I didn’t think too much before agreeing to Rhonda’s idea, which is unusual for me. I’m well-known for thinking things to death while considering each and every angle. Yet, with this, I just went for it. I suspect part of the reason I didn’t think too much was that I figured it wouldn’t last. For instance, I knew that we were both busy and I didn’t realize that we really would have some serious commitment to it, but we did.
I am not sure why we had such commitment, especially when it started so slowly with very few people reading. Maybe the slowness worked to my advantage. I can become easily overwhelmed socially and too much attention too fast would have caused me to back off quickly. I also am terribly afraid of ridicule, rejection and harassment. Little secret, this fear often stops me from even trying to be social. Some see this characteristic of mine as being private while others see it as being aloof or cold when, in reality, it is a defense mechanism.
Anyway, soon enough, our comfort level grew as did the blog itself along with our audience. Part of me is still surprised to see how many people have viewed our blog or read a specific post. Likewise, I still get a little thrill when I see a positive or constructive comment on the blog or on one of our social media sites. Comments like these reinforce the blog and what we are doing here. As the blog grew, our mission became more clear. Initially, I’m not sure that we really knew what we were doing or really why. With every month and year, our vision for this blog becomes clearer.
Yes, we want to provide a Duranie state of the union so to speak. We have a lot of thoughts about what Duran has done and will do. This blog provides us the medium to discuss all things Duran. We now know that we hope it provides the space for others to do the same. Similarly, we never really thought about the community beyond analyzing our fan community in order to understand it and to really get fandom as a whole. Soon, though, we recognized that we can’t or shouldn’t just complain about certain elements of our fan community. No, we had to make an effort to give suggestions to improve what we might be critical about, including trying to bring fans together. Of course, we know that we aren’t always successful with these efforts but, at least, we try. Our intentions are good.
On a personal note, this blog of ours has provided me with a journal of sorts, a little record of my life. While it may often focus on Duran, I captured a number of significant moments in my life. I wrote tons of blogs talking about teaching or campaigning, for example. Typically, those blogs aren’t super popular but I understand that few can relate to aspects of my life. Most people aren’t crazy enough to teach or to be as involved in politics as I have been. Unlike Rhonda, I don’t have a husband or children to talk about. Combine these aspects of my life and I’m sure that many can’t relate to me. Yet, I’m still thankful to have a place to share what I’m thinking and feeling. Being able to write helps me process. For example, posting about my mom’s cancer made me feel stronger in facing it.
I know that there are fans out there who tell us that what we do here doesn’t matter to them or to the fan community. Maybe they are right. I like to believe that it matters to some out there, though. Perhaps, I am naively optimistic in that way, I guess. I know that it has mattered to me and it has mattered to Rhonda. At the end of the day, I’m proud of our writing here, that we provide a space for some to discuss/share thoughts about Duran and that we have tried to bring the community together. Most of all, I’m gratified that we have kept going through droughts of news and through critical comments. I’m proud of our commitment.
Happy 6th birthday/anniversary to us! I have no idea what will come next but I can’t wait to find out! It has been a wild ride so far and I suspect the next six will be as well!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!