Tag Archives: Daily Duranie

Do you know where we are?

As we were deciding upon what to say in our little birthday video I posted yesterday, Amanda and I talked about what we wanted to do with the blog going forward. The thought occurred that we might be best served by directing the question to our readers.

What would YOU like to read about or have featured on the blog, particularly in the days ahead where the band is not actively touring?

We know that the two of us – Amanda and I – are at our best when we’re together. Probably because we make one another laugh.  We also recognize that when the band is touring and we’re on the road – crazy things happen that make blogging very easy.  The trouble is, blogging is not our day job, and touring doesn’t happen 24/7. So we’re forced to come up with other creative ideas!

Over the years, many have asked us to do video, or to do podcasts.  Videos from us are sporadic, and while we like doing them every once in a while, we have found that doing them regularly doesn’t seem to thrill people. We’ve tried some ideas out, but to be fair – most of our videos are not well-watched. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons for that, but one of which is that it’s difficult to watch at work. Not many people can and will take time from their evenings, or from family, to sit and watch a video. I know this because it is the same way for me here. I have almost no “me” time at home in the evenings, and I think trying to squeeze in a video on top of that is really tough. I have a hard enough time sitting down to listen to the Katy Kafe’s!

On the same token, I’ve been told that podcasts are great because many of you have the luxury of putting in earbuds or listening while doing something else, whether at work or at home. Personally, I like the idea of doing a podcast in some respects, but the challenge for Amanda and I is in logistics. We both work, and finding the time to record on a regular basis is the issue. We also feel as though we need some guidance from you as to what topics you might want us to talk about, so please let us know.

Aside from those things though, what else might you want to see from us? Is there anything you really don’t like? What about things we used to do – once upon a time we had “game day” where we put up Duran-themed puzzles and things, for instance.  October is rapidly approaching – is anyone ready for a second pumpkin carving contest?

What about the website itself? Are there features missing that you might like to see? I am pretty sure it’s about time for an update – it’s a task I’ve avoided simply because it’s easy to stick with the same thing, but I know it’s probably time to freshen up. You may have noticed the ads have been removed – we never found them to be very helpful as far as paying for the website (it is not free and we pay for it out-of-pocket).

This survey is very informal. We’re just hoping a few of you care enough to answer, whether by email (dailyduranie@gmail.com ) or on Facebook, or even in our Facebook inbox or Twitter. We’re open to your ideas, however crazy or small they may seem!

-R

 

 

Blog Pick 2013-2014: Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!

When thinking about the year 2013-2014, I knew that I wanted to do something surrounding Durandemonium, the convention we organized in October 2013.  I wanted to pick something about this convention because it was such a big deal for us.  We spent over a year planning, stressing, pouring over details and worrying about whether or not we could pull it off at all.  So when thinking about today’s post, the question became what kind of post do I pick.  Do I pick a post that explains the purpose behind the convention?  Something that sheds light on our hopes that it would bring fans together and create friendships?  What about a post that shows the work that we (and our convention committee) did?  Maybe, I should choose something that focuses on what the convention did for me?  After all, I do tend to think that it brought me back from the brink of leaving the fandom.  In the end, I opted to pick a post from the convention weekend.  I think it shows a little bit about the event itself, including some of the activities we had.  Years later, I still think that the event was a success, even if it wasn’t perfect.

-A

Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!

Yes, there was an all night party.  For some of us, that party lasted a little bit longer than for others.  Perhaps, this is why this blog is late and why the authors of this tiny blog page are moving a smidge slower than normal.  Okay, I won’t lie.  We are moving a little more than a smidge slower but we are alive and conscious.  I even called my parents to check in and the first question that popped out of my father’s mouth was, “Are you jail?”  I responded as you might guess, “Why would you think that??!?!” My dad explained that it was there wasn’t a blog post today.  Wow.  Even my dad is pressuring me on the blog post today.  While I was hoping to write a really articulate, special, insightful post, the truth is that I can’t do it.  I apologize right now.  Lack of sleep is a big reason to blame.  Not shocking, right?  We finally crashed at like 5:20 in the morning and had a little more than 2 hours of sleep.  We didn’t quite reach up for the sunrise, but…we came close.  While we considered writing then, we figured that we might be a bit more coherent now.  Ha!  Probably not so much, really.  The second reason that I’m not going to be able to dazzle anyone with my words is simply that I’m feeling a bit emotional, a bit raw.  I need time to process.  We need time to process.  So, instead of diving deep, I’ll give some highlights to the big day of Durandemonium and a few things to watch for in the future!

Highlights:

*Sharing the stage with fellow authors felt really good for the author’s panel.  We are truly lucky to have talent like Elisa Lorello and Karen Booth in our fan community.  Our moderator, Heather, was fabulous as well!  Nothing like sharing a stage with smart, articulate women to start your day.  It was also cool and a bit nerve-wracking to give a little preview of our book.  It was the first sharing, really, of any part of it.  I hope that it peaked some interest to those in the room.

A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen was BEYOND AMAZING!!!  When the convention committee walked in and they showed us a preview, I literally got goose bumps!  GOOSE BUMPS!  I loved dancing and singing surrounded by friends!  It really was the next best thing outside of a concert! Plus, hearing the different *squees at various shots made it so fun!  Plus, it made my desire for shows increase by like a million and I heard others say the same!

*People liked playing Duran related game!  I wonder if we shouldn’t try to market them!?!  Although, I did hear that trivia was pretty dang challenging and I was called “evil” as a result!  Sorry!!!

*We had some GOOD food at the banquet.  I’m still thinking about all of the yumminess.  It sounds like everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

*The fan slideshow was emotional for many of us despite struggling to fit it on the screen.  We are going to try to get it included in the convention DVD and will put it up on youtube for the rest of the Duran universe to see.  🙂

*Lots of people won some great Duran goodies and we appreciate each and every person/organization that donated items for our raffles.  We cannot thank you enough!

*I love party buses!  No worries about getting to and from a place.

*Late Bar was amazing!  They busted out many Duran video blocks for us and created the fabulous drink, Sing Blue Silver.  We danced and danced and danced.  We might have consumed a few adult beverages or two or more.  Do doubles count as one drink or two?!  I will definitely add this to my list of places to be in Chicago!

*It was nice to see so many people this morning, despite knowing that this was the end.  People seemed to enjoy themselves over the weekend and connections seemed to be made, which is really the whole point of this deal to begin with!  A by-product is that, for me, and others, there was a sense of renewal, a renewal of being a Duranie.  That makes a huge difference that goes way beyond this weekend.  The band can thank us later.

Key things to note:
*For convention attendees with pictures, Rhonda will send out information about our shutterfly account so that pictures can be shared.  I, for one, am SO thankful as I have like NO pictures from this weekend and desperately want some!

*Also, we would love to hear from people who went about what they thought.  What went well?  What didn’t?  Suggestions for next time, if we do another one, etc?  There is a survey in your program with questions.  Likewise, we would love to hear from others.  What would get you to go to a convention?  What would you look for, etc.?  Don’t be surprised if we come up with another survey for everyone to do!

I’m sure that I’m forgetting something and I’m sure that this won’t be the last post about Durandemonium 2013.  I will have more to say after some time and some SLEEP!  That said, we did it.  We really did it.  Durandemonium 2013–what a wild, fabulous weekend!

-A

Blog Pick from 2012-2013: Rolling Stone Interview Part 3

When I think back to 2012-2013, two big Duran related events stand out to me.  First, John Taylor’s autobiography came out in the fall of 2012.  This meant lots of posts about the book itself as well as many about events surrounding the release.  Second, Rhonda and I were deep into planning for Durandemonium, a Duran fan convention we organized.  I could have chosen from a million posts about either of those events.  Yet, I picked something completely different but one that reminded me of a truth about blogging that we have learned.  Sometimes, blogs that we think are going to be ignored get a LOT of attention.  Other times, blogs that we thought were awesome for whatever reason were kinda ignored.  Controversial or potentially controversial blogs definitely fit into that category.  Likewise, blogs that are supposed to be funny also can fall into the same trap.  

In the spring of 2013, a friend of ours and frequent guest blogger approached us with a crazy idea.  What was it?  He wanted to write a guest blog from the future.  This blog post would focus on a future interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which he asked about his experiences with the Daily Duranie.  Obviously, this was written to be funny, to tease us a bit, to be a little ridiculous.  Rhonda and I couldn’t just let his fake interview go, we had to respond.  First, Rhonda wrote a new interview and then I followed up.  My follow-up is below.  I distinctly remember writing this in a coffee shop near Chicago as I was there visiting with friends.  I’m certain that the other customers must have thought I was insane as I often laughed out loud to myself while writing.  I love when we are able to use our sense of humor as this series did.  Beyond that, it also allowed some Duran inside jokes within the interview.  So fun!  If you would like to start with part 1, go here.  If you want to read Rhonda’s, go here.  My part of the series is below.

-A

“ROLLING STONE” 2022 INTERVIEW PART 3

Another day, another soundtrack suggestion for this epic masterpiece…this time, turn on “Undergoing Treatment”.  Cheers!!


We are undergoing treatment
Watching others on the net
Studying our worst actions
They say we’ll get over it
Disappear like disco
To the sight of our few pageviews
Resign to the outer circle
If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever give us an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photographWe are undergoing treatment
‘Til our fandom bites the dust
Laid out on Blogger
They crave our loyalty
Ignored by the idols
Exasperated Estrogen
But why do we still face the music?If you see us texting about Pippin’s
Don’t ever ask us…

Now and then we get the strangest notion
That there’s someone reading
But it keeps we guessing
Wild ambition can you really blame us?
Can you entertain us?
Can you give a little more?

If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever giving us for an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
But will the doctors ever cure
These delusions of grandeur?


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”**
July 2022

Rolling Stone:  This is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the present and past members of Daily Duranie, one of the world’s longest and most successful fan blogs that is over a decade old and has seen millions of hits from every corner of the globe.  In May, we spoke with C.K. Shortell, a former member of the blog, and last month, we spoke with founding member, Rhonda.  This month, for our final installment, we ask Amanda to fill in the gaps to get a complete picture of this very successful online monster of a blog.  Amanda, of course, is known to be the organizer, the keeper of the dates/time/daily questions of the blog.
RS:  Thank you for speaking with us.  I know this isn’t your most comfortable of venues.  
AP:  True.  Interestingly enough, I have never had a problem speaking in front of teenagers or in front of political volunteers.  Yet, this setting makes me want to hide in a dark corner somewhere.  
RS:  Yet, you felt like you had to do this interview.
AP:  Of course, when Rhonda and I decide on a course of action, we follow through.  Oh, do we follow through.  (rolls eyes)  The blog is evidence of that, isn’t it?  Ten plus years and it is still going strong.
RS:  That’s true.  You and Rhonda have always been described as committed.
AP:  (snorts)  Committed.  Yeah…as in mental hospital, certifiable, committed.  We could have starred in that Falling Down video that people still don’t seem to get. 
  

RS:  Is this why you walked away from it for awhile because you thought you were too committed or that people might think you were crazy?

AP:  (laughs hysterically)  People have known I was crazy for years!  They certainly knew that Rhonda and I were flew to the UK twice in a year.  Heck, they knew it when we praised TV Mania back in 2013.  No, the reasons I left were much more serious than that!
RS:  Rhonda claimed that the reasons you left were for “differences” and how politics always got you.
AP:  Sure, I’m sure that she is partly correct.  Yet, she forgets what life was like then.  This was when the only people who really recognized our hard work were some dedicated readers, mostly friends.  We weren’t making any money from it and the band certainly didn’t acknowledge us then.  Remember we couldn’t even get a picture with the band!!  One single picture!?!  Even when we got front row, it was because we waited for hours in line!  We wrote a blog EVERY SINGLE DAY and got nothing.  I could get pictures, as in plural, with the freaking President of the United States but nothing with that band.  Add on the fact that we were making no money doing the blog, at that point, and I was so tired of that.  Years of teaching and years of volunteering for political campaigns combined with this daily grind got to me.  I wanted a real income and I wanted recognition.  That isn’t too hard to understand, is it?
RS:  It isn’t.  The Clinton Global Initiative gave you the income and the recognition?  
AP:  It definitely did!  When President Hillary Clinton called to offer me the position, how could I turn that down?  When the President recognizes your work and requests your services, you don’t feel like you have much choice.
RS:  It sounds like you left without thinking twice. 
AP:  Oh no, it was still an incredibly tough moment.  (wipes tears)  I didn’t want to leave the blog.  It had been a significant part of my life for so long that I couldn’t just walk away without feeling a serious loss.  I would have stayed if I had gotten the recognition for the blog…not to mention those fan events like the conventions or for the books.  Yet, I felt like it had run its course.  I had wanted to get out for a long time.  I wanted to do something for myself for a change.  But, I worried about my friendship with Rhonda when I left and I worried about what was going to happen to the blog.
RS:  You and Rhonda are fine now, though, right?
AP:  Yes, of course.  We love each other like sisters and we still can have such a blast together.  I never laugh at much as I do when I am with her.  Yet, when I rejoined the blog, I realized that our relationship suffered when I walked away.  We had to work on it.  I didn’t really get it even though I should have.  All of the blogs featuring the lyrics to “Buried in the Sand” should have clued me in but it didn’t.  When we talked about getting back together over lunch, I wanted to just go on the road, read some fan favorites but Rhonda insisted on writing new material.  Yet, as Rhonda would say, I was ready.
RS:  What were you worried about with the blog when you were gone?
AP:  Well, @Rhondaslap should be a clear example to show how things moved in a very different direction once I left.  Rhonda and I took pride in our maturity, our intellect, our sense of humor.  Yet, once that twitter handle appeared, I knew things were going to be very different.  Can you believe that someone asked me once if I would consider doing a twitter handle like that?!  I calmly explained that was one reason Chris was no longer a blogger with us.  Although, I think I really knew at that 2013 convention that Chris was after my job.  He went out of his way to make an impact with hours and hours of songs that have truly gripped me in emotional intensity.  I mean, come on, he played ZOOM freaking IN.  Enough said.  The only other songs that he could have added to make more of an impact would have been Come Undone and Hungry Like the Wolf.  
RS:  Are you surprised that Rhonda blamed the band for the change in direction for the blog?
AP:  Of course not!  (laughs)  Truly, if we can blame the band, we will!  In all seriousness, it didn’t help when the band decided that social networking wasn’t their thing.  I wanted to be understanding, and I was for a long time but years after years of watching the fans go after each other in between albums was too hard.  Duran downtime is a killer, truly.
RS:  Did you feel badly that your return the fold resulted in C.K.’s departure?
AP:  I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed and upset.  C.K. handled it like a gentleman no matter what his personal feelings were.  Yet, I definitely worried about the C.K. readers out there.  I know how personal one’s favorite blogger is for the readers.  I swear they will be debating which one of us is the best until the cows come home.  Yet, I definitely wanted us to return to the original lineup.  As you know when we first got back together, we wrote blogs that we thought fit with the older material.  There was nothing better than being with Rhonda.  It felt so nice.  Yet, it didn’t have the same level of success as our older work.  When that didn’t get the attention we thought it would, we brought in a popular publisher that took us in a completely different direction to get us more hits.  This publisher didn’t work like we typically did.  I had to explain to him what sentences were!  What was worse is that our readers didn’t get it.  Luckily, we got a different publisher, a true fan, who could remind us again about what we do best.  With that, the readers returned.
RS:  What’s next for you, Amanda?  Rhonda talked about a side project.
AP:  Well, I guess I wouldn’t blame her.  She has been holding down the fort here for a long time.  Projects outside of the blog only work to help us grow, I think.  That said, my plan is simple, we’re gonna take it back, take back the life we want to lead.  We’re going to make this stand the Finest Hour that we see. 

– A & R, C.K. Shortell

Amanda and I would like to thank C.K. Shortell for sending us one of the funniest blogs we’ve ever (not) written…let this be a lesson to you, C.K….we will take your work and create a monster every time!  

And for the rest of you, once again we feel compelled to remind – all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious…not to mention that it was a JOKE. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations, living or dead…or even undead, is purely coincidental.  

In This Place You Made

May is always an interesting time for me.  It is the end of the school year.  This means that the way life is right now will end soon, never to be quite the same again.  I think about my classes and the kids who come in on a daily basis to hang out.  Next year, I’ll have new kids with different kids popping in and out of my classroom.  Some of my colleagues will remain the same and others will change.  The end of the school year almost always means that I stop, look around and think about my life a bit.  I take stock.

One element that I have to acknowledge is my fandom and this place.  Most of the time, I don’t even really think of this blog.  It is just part of my daily routine.  There isn’t much questioning on my part.  No “should I still be writing this blog” or “should I take a break”.  Unlike my paid gig where I do take the time to look around, think about how things are and how they will be, I don’t here.  Maybe, I should, though.

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for six and a half years.  We have created over 3,000 posts and have had hundreds of thousands of page views.  That is pretty remarkable, isn’t it?  While we have taken some time away for various reasons, for the most part, we have posted something daily.  On top of that, I look at the Duran fandom and see plenty of what we do here replicated, including Duran history or surveys.  Clearly, we have readers who check out what we write on a  daily basis and still others who read a few posts a week every week.

Beyond the statistics of the blog, I think about what it has meant to me.  On one hand, it has become a diary of sorts.  I have discussed many personal issues on this blog from political campaigning to my job to my parents’ health.  This diary has also captured the band’s history in the last six years.  Just the other day, Rhonda mentioned about the 2011 shows that had to be cancelled due to the fact that Simon lost his voice.  We documented that here.  In fact, we have documented two album releases and many tours, at this point.  Have we captured every single thing?  Of course not but we have talked about quite a bit.

Fandom is an interesting element in someone’s life.  For me, I have had some fandoms my whole life.  Those fandoms including Star Trek and the White Sox, represent my family, my childhood.  They are like comfort foods or a security blanket.  I feel safe when I think about them.  Then, there are the fandoms that I participated in for awhile that might have brought me great times and good friends but couldn’t last.  Duran Duran fandom, though, is in a category all by itself.  While it has existed in my life for decades, it is not as old as my family connected ones.  Like the short term fandoms, it has brought me amazing times and experiences along with good friends.  Yet, it has been so much more than all of those others combined.  It has a grasp on my heart and soul that the others don’t come close to.

When I think about why this fandom matters so much to me, I consider the history I have with being a Duranie.  Memories of tours, conventions and friends pop in my head.  I immediately think of all of the tremendous shows I have been fortunate enough to attend.  Yet, this blog is a big part of the picture, too.  It has kept me grounded into this fandom in a  way that all of the other elements of the fandom could not.  It keeps me always thinking about Duran.  I’m forced to pay attention to what the band is doing even when I’m distracted by real life or other concerns.  Some of you might view what see this as an unfun responsibility, but I don’t.  I’m thankful for it.  The blog allowed me to really commit to a fandom that I love more than words can ever show.

I don’t know what my fandom would have been like without this blog.  Maybe I would have walked away at some point.  Perhaps, I wouldn’t remain as involved or I would have dived deep into something else.  On top of that, I’m proud of what Rhonda and I have created here.  I think that 6.5 years is pretty impressive.  To be honest, I’m not sure where or when it would ever end either.  No, this blog and this fandom of mine are truly lifelong commitments.

-A

Running Against the Tide – Daily Duranie and Social Engagement

If they could see me now…

“They” in this case is all of you, and thank goodness none of you can. I’m sitting here, at 10:15 am on a Wednesday (it IS Wednesday, right?) at my computer. I have coffee in front of me, and I’m typing this while in snowflake print flannel jammies, a pink hoodie, socks, and my hair…well…it’s a mess. Tissues litter my lap (and floor if we’re being really honest. I see no point in sugar-coating now), my nose is red and raw, my lips are chapped, and apparently cracked, as I just found out (ouch). To top it all off,  I’m sweating because I am pretty sure I’m breaking my fever. Or…I’m having an amazingly bad hot flash. I really can’t even tell the difference anymore. YAY!

What does that have to do with Duran Duran?

NOTHING!!  Except that even while sick, I’m idiotic (shall we go for driven??) enough to blog. I also don’t mind sharing my far less than glamorous moments (spoiler: there are MANY) in excruciating detail. Think of it this way, however bad you might have felt this morning, I have somehow made it not seem so terrible.

So, what’s shaking today? I don’t even know. I’ve been in bed since about 7pm last night. I had my phone with me, but I gave in to the chills around 8:30 or so and finally put my phone down and curled up into a ball under my comforter and afghan. My worst writing days are those when I feel like I’ve been out of contact, and lately—well, for a while now really, I’ve removed myself from just that!

When Daily Duranie first started, I was all about the social media. I loved social engagement! I was practically a social butterfly…ONLINE. I liked flitting in and out, around and about, checking Twitter and Facebook and talking with other fans. I knew what was going on in the community, I heard the rumors, the hyperbole, and the flat-out gossip. Trouble was, some of those things nagged at me. I’d read things, and then not be able to let them go.

A common scenario would be that I’d get our Daily Duranie email and there’d be an unkind comment in there. I’d bring it up online—venting, basically—and then someone would call me out for doing so. Saying that I should expect as much, and so on. It ticked me off that I couldn’t even vent my own feelings without judgment. So, I’d swear off saying anything about the blog online, and I’d be good for a period. I’d keep my thoughts to myself, and then something would happen and I’d unleash it, only to have another Duranie play smack down. It wasn’t fun, and I started having massive writers block. I can’t necessarily attribute that to any one thing, but I can tell you that at a certain point, I started worrying about what I was writing. Would someone get mad? Did the band care? Would I get more hate mail? I wouldn’t say I obsessed about those things, but I’d hit “publish” each day, those thoughts swirled in my head.

A couple of years ago, there was a larger-than-normal blow-up. I am not going to get into details, but it taught me a lesson. First, when you make jokes – someone out there is always going to be offended. It doesn’t matter what is said, what the joke is about, someone will be offended, and reacting is the very last thing I should have done. Hindsight is an amazing thing.  Anyway…   Secondly, there are one hell of a lot of people out there in the online world that take on the role of being holier than thou. I’m not going to elaborate, but there you have it. Lastly, when someone tries to take your bliss away, don’t let them. Friends do not do that to one another. After that incident, I took some time off, and realized that I needed to change the way I handled myself and social media.

Some might remember back when Amanda and I would interact on Twitter. We’d “talk” on Daily Duranie,  which got very confusing because it seemed as though our Twitter was talking to itself (it was), but it was fun! We don’t do that these days. It is a very rare thing when I respond as Daily Duranie, and while I sometimes all of the social engagement, I enjoy the peace of mind.

I let my thoughts fly as I blog, hit “publish”, and then I am done with it.  I think it was Simon that explained that for the band, they own the album until it’s released, and then it becomes the property of the listener, of the fans, of the public. I tried very hard to understand what he meant, but for a long time his words would circle in my head and while I’d pretend to “get it”, I really didn’t. Well, I do now, 100%.  Once I hit publish, I don’t look back. The hardest days are when we get comments, and I have to read through them. Sometimes I’ll want to debate or argue, but I’ve trained myself to just hit “approve” and move on and stop thinking about it. The exercise is difficult, sometimes painful, but I have to do it. Anything else just gets me into trouble.

I typically won’t even respond on Facebook when readers discuss the topic, because when I do—invariably it gets me into muddy waters. At some point I learned that my “job”, so to speak, is simply to begin the conversation. The rest of it is up to you guys, and I let you have at it. There are times when readers completely miss my point or disagree with me, and in the past I would try to explain. I’ve realized that most of the time, it’s pointless. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means that I need to let you, dear reader, decide what my words mean to YOU, whether I like it or not. It has been one hell of a rough road and learning curve, but I think I’ve finally managed to learn my lesson.  Maybe. Sometimes I’ll still respond on Facebook depending upon what is said and, most importantly, who is saying it, but mostly I try not to even look.

Particularly in the case of Twitter, it is far too easy to let 140 characters get the best of you. Or me. I think most of us have had our fair number of Twitter “exchanges”, and while some don’t care what anyone else says to them, I do. The bad things tend to really stick with me. In fact, I can still relate, word for word, one of the last truly bad Twitter exchanges I had on the Daily Duranie account, and if you ask Amanda, she’ll tell you that I still bring it up from time to time. The experience spoke volumes to me, and weighed heavily. Overall, it got to the point where the negative things outweighed the positive, and it was then that I made the conscious decision to stop feeding the monster.  I couldn’t continue social engagement in the same ways without really hurting myself and the blog. Coincidentally, this is was almost about the time that Amanda and I began writing with a firm deadline, and I had to focus on writing.  In September I took a job, and now I’m not even at home as often anyway.  I suppose my priorities have changed.

So, if you were ever wondering why Amanda and I stopped participating in social engagement…there you go. My guess is that we’re not alone.

-R

It’s Too Much Information for Me

Lately, this blog has been anything but controversial.  At least, my posts have been very bland, very vanilla.  It is not that I’m against anything controversial or am afraid of dicey topics or commentary.  After all, I teach social studies, specifically United States History, which is filled with topics that can result in differing, passionate or even angry responses.  Likewise, I have worked on the ground on political campaigns.  This means that I have talked to members of the public on the behalf of the candidate and some of the public are not always kind.  Therefore, my avoidance of controversy is not due to fear.

Over the course of this blog, Rhonda and I haven’t avoided controversy.  We have tackled some of the tougher issues within fandom and within Duran Duran fandom, specifically.  Some examples include discussion around the stigma that female fans receive, the lack of respect for Duran Duran as a band, how DDHQ runs things like presales and the fan community, social status, fans going after fans, competition, etc.  Many of these topics that I mentioned caused a heck of a lot of feedback, both positive and negative.  A lot of fans did not appreciate some of our commentary or conclusions.  Some even, perhaps, felt attacked and came after us as a result.

Despite some of the horribly negative reactions those blogs led to, I do not regret writing them.  I learned a LOT about fandom and about our fan community through the process.  Really, that was the a big part of writing some of those dicey blog posts.  I wanted to learn what makes fans really tick as I knew what makes me tick but I didn’t know about others.  In reality, I felt like I had to push some buttons to get a full picture, to fully understand.  On top of that, I hoped that bringing up tough subjects could help.  By getting some of the worse aspects of our fandom out in the open where we could discuss, question, and eventually change those aspects.  At least that is what I hoped.  While I can’t say that I was super successful, I know I tried.

Now, though, I am not motivated to bring up new controversies.  While I have seen various postings, articles, etc. about Duran as a band or one or more band members this week, I am opting not to bring them here.  As I stated earlier, it isn’t because I’m afraid of negative feedback.  I just see no purpose.  It would not help me understand fandom any better and it definitely wouldn’t help bring the fan community together.  More than that, though, it would do harm.  Negative postings or articles won’t help the band succeed or do better.  I don’t believe that all press is good press.  Maybe that works with some artists, at some points in their career but I don’t want that for Duran now in 2017.  I want the press surrounding them to be about their amazing live performances or about their incredible songwriting and superhuman longevity.

For me, personally, my fandom recently has been renewed.  It wasn’t like I had fallen from the band or had lost love for them but I wasn’t getting excited with them either.  I just felt comfortable in my fandom.  Now, I feel both comfortable and comforted with and by my fandom.  On top of that, I also feel that giddiness, that excitement, that sense of fun that fandom should bring.  Why talk about anything that will kill those feelings for me?  Right now, I need my fandom to be my happy place, my safe place.  If I chose to bring a meaningless controversial topic over here, I threaten the joy that surrounds my Duranieness.

That said, I recognize that controversy means more page views, more outreach on social media.  It equals more traffic to our blog, and to our social media accounts.  Yet, that isn’t why I’m here doing this.  It isn’t to be popular or to be cool or to have the best or most interesting Duran news.  No, I’m here to express and to understand my fandom and others’ fandom.  We are here to try to bring the fan community together and to give fans a safe place to express their feelings and thoughts.  If that means that we skip over some topic of another, I’m okay with that.

-A

…And We’ll Remember

Twelve years ago today I drove to Chicago to join my new Duranie friends for a weekend of fun and Duran Duran.  While I had met many of these new friends months prior in New Orleans, the weekend in 2005 was the first time I would attending a Duran show with any of them.  When those Astronaut tour dates were posted, we made plans quickly, including deciding to gather in Chicago to not only see the show, but to buy those more expensive VIP tickets.  I purchased those tickets for myself, Rhonda and another friend of ours.  In reality, I had no real idea if I could trust them to pay me back, but they did.  I had no clue if I could really hang out with them for an entire weekend or whether or not Rhonda and I would share a hotel room without a problem.  I took a leap of faith.

By 5 am on March 20th, 2005, I knew that it Rhonda and I were able to not only go to shows together but could travel “on tour” well together.  During that weekend, I laughed more than I had for an entire year, I swear.  I had so much fun that I wondered if it shouldn’t be illegal.  I almost questioned my grip on reality because it exceeded every expectation I had.  The joy I felt was pure and fulfilled me in a way that I wasn’t even aware that I lacked.  To say that the weekend changed my life would be an understatement.  Everything changed after that.

When I look back at the 12 years that have transpired between then and now, I almost cannot believe it and I certainly wouldn’t have believed it then.  Rhonda and I have shared so much.  We have traveled to the UK twice together.  We have seen shows ranging from Glasgow, Scotland, to Toronto, Canada, to New York City, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, to San Diego, California and more.  Beyond those shows, we started this blog here.  The Daily Duranie became way more than just a simple, little blog about Duran Duran.  It became about fandom and about us and about our fan community.  The blog has become a part of us and who are are, both as individuals and as a pair.  I think ending the blog would feel like cutting off an arm or at least a finger.  I would miss it.

Beyond the shows and the blogging, we also organized many fan meet-ups and a weekend long convention.  We have written two full manuscripts and have come up with many more ideas.  The love that we had and have for a band blossomed, bloomed into real action on our parts.  We have criticized widely for our approach, our questioning, our criticism.  We have also been praised by our dedication (or insanity).  We have been accused of being too negative by some and thanked for keeping the fandom going.

Rhonda and I met in New Orleans in September of 2004.  While that weekend included some amazingly fun activities as well as an acknowledgement that we were kindred spirits when it comes to Duran Duran, it didn’t create the domino affect like that the weekend in Chicago in March of 2005 did.  A convention is a one weekend off event.  It is not something that can be easily replicated.  Shows, though?  They happen more often.  Tours provide us the opportunity to relive that first weekend over and over, at least to some extent.  That first touring weekend started a snowball of fandom that has grown even as it has changed.  It solidified the beginnings of a friendship that has meant the world to me.

Now, on the anniversary of that date, I wonder what will come next.  Will the snowball of fandom continue to get bigger?  Will it stay the same in size while totally changing shape?  What about Rhonda and myself?  In many ways, our friendship has been tested a lot.  We have faced rejection, been ignored, the receivers of some insulting and hateful comments over the years.  Beyond that, we recognize that our “real” lives are often pulling us in opposite directions while we continue to work together and to be friends.  I don’t know exactly how we will navigate the next twelve years, I just know that I hope we can continue to do it together.  After all, we aren’t done with Duran Duran yet.

-A

It’s a Chain Cuts Across My Soul

Work has been super busy this week.  This is mostly due to the fact that my students are starting a project next week and I have had a bunch of meetings.  Luckily, I have a student teacher this semester, which helps divide up the work somewhat (and gives some work, too!).  Last night, my student teacher and I left the school after 6 pm after working on some materials.  As we were leaving, she began telling me about how peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are her go to food.  This, of course, led me to tell her about a hotel in New Orleans that Rhonda and I stayed at in 2006 when we attended the Voodoo Music Festival which served PB & J sandwiches every evening.

The answer to the next question is yes.  Of course, I proceeded to tell her all about that experience, in which Rhonda and I along with others literally stood for hours without food or water while trying to avoid crowd surfers. I attempted to explain that the only reason we put ourselves through such hell was for Duran Duran.  Then, I explained that Duran is more than my favorite band and mentioned this blog.  As I stopped talking, I wondered what her reaction would be as many tend to give weird looks or ask me if I am a groupie or both.  Instead of any of that, she said, “That’s good.”  It was my turn to look confused.  Huh?  She went on to explain about how it must be good to have something else to focus on besides work.  I nodded.

As I drove home, I thought more about what she had to say.  The more I pondered her reaction, the more I realized how right she is.  Is it good that I have Duran in my life?  That I do this blog?  I think so.

I recently edited my Twitter profile in which I described myself as a teacher, an activist and a Duranie, but not necessarily in that order.  During the school year, yes, typically I most often consider myself a teacher first.  I spend a LOT of time, energy and thoughts on my classroom, curriculum and students.  My school day lasts much longer than 8 or 9 hours a day.  Yesterday, for example, I was in the school building from 7:45 to 6:15.  I also had some grading to do when I got home.  On top of that, when public education and teachers become the topic of discussion on the state or national level, I am included in that conversation.  I take it personally as it generally has been my life work and a huge part of my identity.

Lately, a lot of my “free time” (Ha!  I don’t really have much free time but you all know what I mean.) has been spent on political activity, including reading a lot of current events, contacting legislators, planning meetings, contacting other organizations, and more.  I can and am sucked into political activity easily.  This connects with the teacher in me.  As a history and women’s studies teacher, I feel it is essential to be an example to my students about the importance of being engaged in one’s community, city, state and nation.  My undergrad studies focused on social movements as it is something that fascinates me.  Thus, if I’m not thinking of myself as a teacher, I’m thinking of myself as an activist.  While I love both of those parts of myself, I recognize that both suck the energy from me.  They exhaust me, mentally and emotionally.  I have a friend who is constantly saying,  “You are terrible in taking care of yourself.”  She is right.  I am.  I don’t take care of myself, putting my students and community/country ahead of what I need.

This is where Duran Duran enters the picture.  In many ways, being a Duranie is most selfish part of myself.  It is the aspect of myself that allows me to have fun, to take breaks, to escape the world.  I suspect that going on tour, writing this blog, organizing fan events is what has allowed me to give so much of myself as a teacher and a community organizer.  Thus, my student teacher is right.  It is good that I’m a Duranie and that I write this blog.  I am then given the opportunity to pause from my reality even if I think I don’t “need” it.

-A

Duran Song Title Themes

Are you someone who pays attention to our questions of the day?  If you are, you know that generally they are poll questions.  They are quick, easy opinion questions.  The goal is just to keep people thinking of Duran each and every day.  Plus, I find it fun to think about which songs or videos I like better and figure that others might, too.

Last weekend, we finished ranking the albums and I blogged about the results yesterday.  Then, I started asking about what might seem to be random songs.  Perhaps, some of you have figured out the connection between the songs I have asked about.  First, I asked about Astronaut or Big Bang Generation.  Then, Faster Than Light went up against Last Day on Earth.  I put these songs into the space, astronomy related Duran songs.  The complete list of those is as follows:

  • Astronaut
  • Big Bang Generation
  • Faster Than Light
  • Last Day on Earth
  • Mars Meets Venus
  • Midnight Sun
  • New Moon on Monday
  • Northern Lights
  • Planet Earth
  • Planet Roaring
  • The Sun Doesn’t Shine Forever
  • Sunrise
  • Too Close to the Sun
  • The Universe Alone

I grouped other Duran songs together in themes as well.  The other topics I found included violence, nature, weather, animals, places, religion, science and the calendar/time.  Could I have come up with more?  I’m certain that I could have.  Heck, many songs could be placed in multiple categories.  I am also concerned that I am forgetting songs.  Here is where I need your help.  I need you to send me titles of songs I missed.  First, let me share the lists I have so far.

Violence:

  • A View to a Kill
  • Of Crime and Passion
  • Red Carpet Massacre
  • Sin of the City
  • You Kill Me with Silence

Nature:

  • All Along the Water
  • Burning the Ground
  • Land
  • Night Boat
  • Skin Divers
  • The Valley
  • To the Shore

Weather:

  • Before the Rain
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Sound of Thunder

Animals:

  • Butterfly Girl
  • Hungry Like the Wolf
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • Palomino
  • Tiger Tiger
  • Union of the Snake

Places:

  • The Edge of America
  • Lake Shore Driving
  • Mediterranea
  • My Antarctica
  • Rio
  • Tel Aviv

Religion

  • Faith in This Colour
  • God
  • Like an Angel
  • New Religion
  • Paper Gods
  • Save a Prayer

Science

  • American Science
  • Blame the Machines
  • Breath After Breath
  • Lady Xanax
  • Networker Nation
  • Playing with Uraninum
  • Vertigo
  • Virus

Calendar/Time

  • Early Summer Nerves
  • Finest Hour
  • Secret Oktober
  • Taste the Summer
  • Valentine Stones
  • Violence of Summer
  • Winter Marches On

My questions now are simple.  What categories or themes did I leave out?  What did I miss?  Then, which songs did I miss or should I include that I didn’t?  I decided to stick with the titles of songs but should I include lyrics as well?  What do you think would be most fun?

-A

When the curtains are pulled back: a little thankfulness

Yesterday I wrote about appreciation. I have great appreciation for the fact that I’m starting to have fun with this fandom thing again. I can’t really say how long it’s been that I’ve actually wanted to carve time out to sit down and watch, say…Live from London, or Sing Blue Silver, or even Diamond in the Mind. I’m starting to feel that again, and yes—I definitely appreciate that feeling.

Today, I’m going to write about being thankful, because I am.  Just yesterday, I saw something on Twitter about airline pilots at O’Hare airport in Chicago. They are going on strike over the weekend. Political statements aside here—I feel for the travelers because their plans to get home, or get away, might be entangled in a giant mess.  When I read the tweet though, my mind immediately went back to 2012. I was supposed to fly to O’Hare to meet Amanda and then we were going to fly on to Heathrow so that we could go to four DD shows in the UK.  On Black Friday, I spent a lot of the day on the phone with Amanda. We were freaking out because there was to be a huge public workers strike in the UK, and naturally that was planned for the day we’d arrive. Anyway, I smiled at the memory and tweeted it to Amanda – saying that at least we wouldn’t have to worry about that kind of thing this year.

Amanda is going to DC over New Years, and she’s going to see Duran Duran. She’s going with someone else, and yeah, it’s weird. I’m somewhat wistful about the entire thing.  She’s gone to shows without me before, as I have without her. The difference is, she’s traveling by plane for this one.  Normally, in fact, I can say that since we met – if I’m traveling to see the band, it is with her.  We go together like peanut butter and jelly. That’s not happening this time. On one hand, I want to go. On the other hand, it has been one HELL of a year for my family. It’s been one hell of a year for me. I need to be here and I need to be thankful for what I have, and what I’ve done. But yeah, I wish I were going…but I’m very thankful I didn’t spend the money on tickets at the same time.

For a long time now, Duran Duran was sort of a job for me without it actually being a job. I’m not saying this to complain, I’m saying this to point out my stupidity to others. Lately, I’ve been enjoying doing things, like actually gawking at the band.  I’ve watched some videos. For fun! And…I’ve been listening to their albums. FOR FUN.  I realize that to many of you this is like, well…breathing. It used to be for me, too. I’m getting back to that, and dammit I am thankful.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pay some respects to my touring drink of choice, vodka. (although wine still comes in at a very close second, followed by coffee and then iced tea. Caffeine surges through my veins. ) Time for truth for anyone who might be concerned: I don’t drink often. Even so, when we tour, we TOUR.

I am thankful that I get to have my three kids and husband together with me for a few days this week. That’s unusual for us anymore, and we’re going to one of my favorite places – Paso Robles.  Yes, there will be some wine tasting, but also a lot of laughter and love.

Amanda and I have been friends since 2004. That is twelve years. I wouldn’t say our friendship is necessarily complicated, but our lives certainly are. There have been moments when I haven’t felt as close as others, but I value our friendship. We are proof that you don’t necessarily have to be the same in order to be friends – our mutual respect, love, and loyalty is what carries us. I’m lucky I found her.

I feel particularly thankful that I have met so many wonderful Duranies over the years. Some, if not most, have flowed in and out of my life, their time with me not always a constant. What has been really eye-opening for me though, is that in every case, they’ve had some sort of life-long effect on me. Whether teaching me to be more open-minded, or to embrace the adventures that life has to offer, or even to be more forgiving and careful with the feelings of others, I’ve learned something. Thank you.

I am learning not to take what I’m about to say for granted – but I’m really thankful for those five guys (ok, six or seven guys) who have been, or are in Duran Duran. I may not know all of them personally, but they have also been invaluable to my life in some way.  Even in the few instances that I have been around a couple of them – they managed to give me something to think about for the long-term.  They gave me something to look up to when I was young, something to aspire to when I most needed it, and reminded me that yes – even though they are rock stars, they really are human. I am particularly lucky that they happen to create some decent music, too.

I know it’s a day early, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US and celebrate. If you’re elsewhere in the world, thank you for allowing me to indulge!

-R