Tag Archives: Duran Duran Fan Community

Change the points of view ’bout what is fake and what is true

Last week, I survived my school’s Back to School night. For those unfamiliar, this is an evening in which parents and guardians come to the school, see the various classrooms and meet their students’ teachers. This year’s went much like it usually does in that it made for a very long night and week but was rewarding to not only meet so many parents but to hear that students are enjoying my class. One aspect of the night was a little different, though, and proof that sometimes my students do actually listen to me.

This year I tried a different activity for the first day of school after receiving feedback from former students that they wanted to know more about me. Basically, I came up with a list of various things about me, which included one lie. The kids then had to figure out which one wasn’t true. Of course, this list talked about some fun facts including where I was born, that a letter I wrote as a kid ended up on the radio, that I had an Elvis impersonator sing to me at college, and more. One fact I shared was that I had seen my favorite band in concert more than 50 times. Funny enough, many, many students picked that one as the fib. Their reasoning? “There is no way that you have seen one band that many times!” I think if I had said it was only 10 times, they wouldn’t have questioned it. Funny enough, that was not my lie. This led them to ask who the band was, where I saw them and more. Somehow I answered their questions, while feeling a little embarrassed and exposed but secretly hoping that they might check out Duran Duran themselves.

Apparently, some students took this fact and shared it with their parents as I had a parent ask me about it, which was definitely a first. After finding out which periods of US History I cover (1865-1945, by the way), she then asked out of nowhere, “Have you really seen Duran Duran over 50 times?” I almost choked. Instead, I nodded while smiling slightly, hoping that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, she followed up with, “Wow. How is that even possible? I mean, I would get it if it was the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead but Duran Duran?” There was a lot that I could have responded to but I focused in on the how. I explained that I travel. Then, quickly, I added about how great summer tours are so that I can go to many shows. After all, I didn’t want her to think I neglect my kiddos by going on tour during the school year (which sometimes I do). She nodded as I said this before responding with, “You would have to!” Again, I wondered what the heck she meant by that. I couldn’t ponder too long as more parents entered the room.

Interestingly enough, I had a similar question the next day with a new colleague. After a meeting in which my blogging came up, he confessed to me that he had, indeed, checked out the blog. Again, I found myself uncertain with how to respond. Do I thank him? Do I ask him what he thought? Do I try to move to a different topic? I gave some non-statement about how that was cool or something. Much like the parent, my colleague said, “It looks really hardcore and for such a niche band,” implying that there are not a lot of Duran Duran fans.

Normally, after interactions like this, I dissect my reaction, my statements and wonder if I responded as I should have. This time, however, I was left thinking about the assumption that both the parent and my colleague made. They believe that Duran Duran is not a big band or not that popular. The parent has no idea of how often Duran Duran plays shows. Yes, I suppose, in fairness, that she might think this because they don’t play in Wisconsin (the last time was 2005). If I was waiting for them to come here, I would be waiting a long time. Maybe she doesn’t know anyone who is willing to drive to see a band, forget about flying to see a show. Beyond that part, she also implied that the band isn’t big enough to have people traveling to see them. They aren’t equal to the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead in her mind. Now, I recognize that non-fans do not know what I know, but still. It bothered me. Don’t put down Duran Duran. Of course, Duranies would travel to see them. Did I defend them in this way? No.

I didn’t even defend Duran Duran with my colleague who I don’t have to prove myself in the same way that I might with a parent. With both conversations, I left feeling frustrated and sad that they don’t know how many serious fans Duran Duran has even now. They are worthy of traveling to shows. They deserve to have people like Rhonda and myself writing a blog about them. Heck, it isn’t like we are the only ones out there who spread the word about Duran Duran. There are other blogs, facebook groups, message boards, podcasts, and more. Our fan community isn’t that small, right?

It amazes me that after interactions like these, all I want to do is to defend the band. Have you ever been in situations like these? Have you defended your fandom? Your favorite band?

-A

Can Someone Please Explain?

I love doing research. That probably makes me kind of a nerd (more than kind of a nerd). As Rhonda and I have mentioned here a few times, we have started on a new project. While we are not sharing details yet, it is amazing how research can take you to places that you didn’t necessarily expect when you begin. A big part of me really loves that research then becomes more about a journey. One of the rabbit holes of research I have found myself in lately is about fan fiction.

We have talked about fan fiction on here before. For those not in the know, fan fiction is stories or other fictional works written by fans in connection with specific fandoms. Fanfic, for short, happens in a lot of fandoms, especially those that are based on TV shows and movies. Those are works of fiction to begin with so it does not seem that strange that fans would write stories about made up characters and settings. Typically, fanfic for movies and TV shows involve either filling in gaps like missing scenes, future fiction about what might happen after the show/movie ends or alternate universe ones in which characters are placed in different settings or plots from the show. Fan fiction also happens with real life fandoms. There is fanfic about bands, including Duran Duran.

What interests me at this point is not that people write and/or read fan fiction but that a lot of it is what is called “slash” fanfic. What is that? Simple. It is about same-sex relationships, often romantic and/or sexual ones. In the case of Duran Duran, this means that the focus might be on a John and Simon pairing or a Nick and Roger one. This shouldn’t be that surprising since our fan community does get pretty excited about JoSi or those John and Simon interactions on and off stage. We have even talked about JoSi on here as I have to admit that I appreciate JoSi and even DoJo (Dom and John).

So what about this slash fanfic? Now, I am no expert on fanfic as I’m not a writer myself and would not say that I’m much of a fanfic reader. When I have read fanfic, it has typically been about a TV show or movie like when I was into the TV show, Roswell. Then, I read quite a bit but I have not read a lot of Duran Duran ones. Interestingly enough, when I have searched fanfic sites like Archive of One’s Own, there are Duran ones there (172 to be exact!). The vast majority of the most popular ones are slash ones. The combination varies between the band members but it was rare for me to see one based on a band member and a woman. There were some heterosexual ones but not a lot from what I saw. I know that there is a site for Duran Duran fan fiction in which both slash and non-slash fanfic can be found.

Now, from my research I can tell you that slash is not new. It appeared for the first time with Star Trek stories focused on Kirk and Spock. Obviously, those characters were not romantically and sexually connected on the TV show or even in the movies. Yet, fans placed these two characters together. Why? Why do some Duranies love JoSi? Why would fans read and write slash fanfic? Let me be clear. I’m not asking this with any sort of judgement. Again, I’m a big fan of the JoSi. I have read some slash fanfic when it has come to shows I have liked. I know what some of the fandom experts think. I have done my research. Yet, I wonder what people who do write and read fanfic would say. I know that the gut instinct is to say that it is hot, which I get. But why? What makes it hot? It has to be more than both guys (in this case) are hot.

Let me go a little further with this question. Does it have a greater appeal than heterosexual fanfic? If so, why? Is that true for all fanfic or just the Duran ones? If you write or read slash fanfic, do you notice differences between slash and non-slash? How are the men described? How are the women? What are their relationships with each other like? Are these same sex relationships different than the straight ones in fanfic? How do these stories compare with what you see/know in real life? Are they realistic? Totally different or something in between?

On that note, I’m off to continue my research. I’ll be anxious to see if the Duranie fanfic writers and readers match the experts or not.

-A

I Can’t Breathe Now But I Can’t Let Go

The song, You Kill Me with Silence, came on as I drove home yesterday after another extremely busy day. As I drove towards my home, the lyric that is the title of this blog hit me. These particular song lyrics have never meant much to me, personally, as I have never been in a relationship that might be defined as emotionally challenging, at best, and abusive, at worst. Yet, yesterday, I finally felt that line of lyric acutely.

My summer is not over as I technically do not have to report to work, to school, for another week and a few days. Yet, this week has found me at multiple meetings connected to teaching. As Monday turned to Tuesday and Tuesday to Wednesday, I found myself more and more exhausted and, frankly, more sad. So, if I did not have to report yet and it is not making me happy, how/why have I had the week I have had? Simple. I am my own worst enemy. Sort of.

One aspect of my personality that I’m confident is always present is the desire to make things better. This philosophy or characteristic or whatever you want to call it has been around since I was a kid. I think back to my junior high days when I found out about a man being mistreated for his religious beliefs in my home town. At the time, I found myself relating to his religious minority status and instantly wanted to help. I didn’t ignore the situation but instead ran towards it. I openly expressed support for the guy and even showed up to join protestors pushing for religious tolerance. I did this at the age of 11 or 12.

This aspect of my personality didn’t go away in high school as I found myself going to the school district’s superintendent about the health curriculum at the same time that I tried to defend friends of mine who identified as LGBTQ. I won’t lie. This did not make me popular with my peers or even my teachers but I couldn’t…not do it. Something within me said that I should try to make things better, if I could. College continued the pattern as I helped to form an organization fighting for diversity. While this resulted in being on a first name basis with my college president and dean, it terrified my parents, at times. They worried that my actions, while having the best of intentions, would result in harm to me and my future.

Fast forward to adulthood. This push at the core of my being pushed me into education. If I could make things better, I should, right? Of course! Now, I am about to enter my 23rd year of teaching. (BTW, I think this makes me like a million years old. My theory is that teaching is like dog years. One year of teaching equals three years or something like that.) Things are not always awesome when it comes to teaching. So, what do I do? I don’t run. No. I fight. If I can back it better, I should, right? This leads me to join a number of committees to fix some of the most significant problems at my school. (Hence why I have been at meetings all week.) I became campaign manager for a candidate for school board. I do what I can to make it better.

This attitude of mine can be seen beyond the world of teaching and politics (this is obviously where I get my political activism from). I have even done with when it comes to fandom. When Rhonda and I started down this journey of blogging, researching and writing, not only did I want to understand fandom but I had hoped, in the back of my mind, that our actions might make it better. It might make fandom a more fun place. This is really where our meet-ups came from. I don’t want anyone to be a lonely fan so if we can do something for fans to meet each other, we should! Maybe if we question our actions as fans, it might lessen the worse aspects of our fan community. Yet, I have seen little change and often received backlash. This time, though, I backed off and try to keep fandom where it needs to be for *me* personally. I have to ignore the negatives in order to keep fandom as my fun place. If people don’t like us, I have to blow it off. I don’t have time or energy to fight on this front, too. I have to give what is left of my ability to fight to my job and to my community (local, state, national and global).

Now, much like the lyric said, I am feeling a little like I cannot breathe. It is all feeling like too much right now but I cannot let go. I haven’t been able to walk away from much that I have tried to make positive changes in and for. When it comes to fandom, I have been able to back off enough to keep going, while ignoring the parts of fandom that are difficult but I cannot do that with work (unless someone has a really awesome job out there that would pay me what I’m making as an old teacher with lots of education and experience!). I cannot do it when it comes to the larger society either. This goes beyond politics but to the country and world as a whole.

I’m not sure where this leaves me as I move into one of my final weekends before students walk into my classroom. For now, I’ll appreciate that these Duran lyrics spoke to me in a way that got me thinking and feeling. Processing how things are going can only help me keep in the fight.

-A

All Alone Ain’t Much Fun

A few days ago, I tweeted and posted another survey question in which people had to respond by using Duran Duran lyrics. Like the last time, I was super impressed with how clever people were in their responses. The question was: What Duran Duran lyric best describes what you like to do for fun? As soon as I posted the question, I knew that some people might find themselves in the gutter a bit, which was immediately seen when someone responded with, “Bedroom Toys.” All I could do is laugh! Of course, there were a lot of other responses that I want to share here.

Vacation!

To no one’s surprise, many of the responses focused on going on vacation with many of the lyrics focusing on warm or tropical locations like “Nine am, the beach, tequila mayhem”, “Across the sky a jet trail following, the wish that I was on that plane, on my way to some far destination, undiscovered never mentioned, sipping on the high of expectation,” and “she dances on the sand.”

City Life

Some responses focused on things that can be done in cities like: “Ride the underground!” or “Maybe I can catch a ride…” Another one could be “Just a perfect day. Feed animals in the zoo and later, a movie too and then home.” One that might also fit into city life would be “looking for cracks in the pavement.”

Sexual in Nature

The person who chose “Bedroom Toys” was not the only one who focused on a lyric that might be considered a bit sexual. Some examples include: “Come Undone,” “Some people call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise…” or “the reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark.”

Parties!

I was surprised that there weren’t more lyrics chosen that focused on partying. One of the first ones I came across was “Fire dance through the night.” Of course, I suppose that could also be about a bonfire or something like that. One classic lyric that was given was “there’s an all night party is room 7609,” which I appreciated. I also liked “La la la late bar…”

Weather related:

Someone mentioned that she enjoys “waiting for the sound of thunder.” I liked that one as I too like to listen to storms. Another one that I thought was cool was, “Sway in the moon. The way you did when you were younger.” “Chasing after rainbows” could also be weather related.

Other Activities:

A few people were able to find a lyric that describes a hobby. One instance of this was “Got your picture,” which could be in reference to photography. Another one that was close was, “Heads turning as the lights flashing out are so bright, and walk right out to the four line track, there’s a camera rolling on her back, on her back.” The lyric, “Sing blue silver,” came up more than once. Apparently, Duranies like to sing! 😉 Dancing seemed to something people like with the line, “Steppin’ out, step-in’ out, step-in’ out, and jumpin’ up” Similarly, “the music between us” was also stated more than once. On a different note, TV and art were mentioned with, “I sold the Renoir and the TV set. Don’t wanna be around when this gets out!”

Multiple categories!

Some lyrics could fit into multiple categories so that I am not sure where to put them. An example of this is “Reach Up for the Sunrise.” Are people reaching for the sunrise because they are sitting at a beach watching a beautiful day being born or are they reaching for the sunrise because they have been up partying all night? Another one that could fit in more than one would be “I saunter out and down a path sometimes.” Is it going for a walk? Hiking? Visiting a new place? What about “Pressure Off?” Would that go under vacations? Partying?

Random:

Of course, there were some that didn’t seem to fit anywhere including: “Wild boys never lose it, wild boys never close your eyes, wild boys always shine,” “Once I thought I was in control, but that was just another trick of fate playing with my life…” and “Searching for the undeniable truth that a man is just a fool.” What about “hungry like the wolf?” I’m not sure. What about “Dress in flimsy clothing, use your lipstick line, to cover fear and loathing with a pink disguise.” Again, I didn’t know the best category to put that lyric in. Probably my favorite was, “Oh my God, what’s this??” Too funny!

Rhonda picked a lyric that would definitely fit into the party category and probably the one I would also choose, which was “We’re gonna live this night, yeah. Live it like it’s our last night. ‘Cause nobody care if there’s no tomorrow.” For us, there is nothing better than touring. While I’m sure that I’m having a great time on vacation with my family as we go through history and art museums, play games and more, there is still nothing quite like being on tour. Something to look forward to for next month!

What lyric did you choose or would you choose, if you didn’t share yet?

-A

It’s a Crush Panic: Lyrics Describing Duran Fandom

Duranies are so dang clever, I swear! The other day I posted a simple, little question on social media: “What Duran Duran lyric describes how you feel about the band?” We got a ton of responses on both Facebook and Twitter, which I loved to see. When I asked the question, I just wanted people to participate in the fan community. As a bonus, I also love reading Duran lyrics. All that said, it became super clear that this question shed a bit of light on our fandom, one that I was not expecting. It seems to me that I could put the responses into categories to help show what I learned!

Emotional connection:

“Your rhythm is the power to move me. It’s something you control, completely.”

“I think you’ll find it’s true. These words are like the sand, just get blown away. All the things we’d like to say. We need you.”

“You make me feel alive, alive, alive.”

“Some people call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise.”

“A smile that you can’t disguise. Every minute I keep finding clues that you leave behind.”

“You know you’re something special and you look like you’re the best.”

“All she wants is…MORE!”

“My immaculate dream, made breath and skin..”

“The price of my blue star eyed weakness…”

“Like a birthday or a pretty view…but then I’m sure that you know it’s just for you.”

“A hit to fit reality. It’s just a state of mind and you, and it, it’s more than just. And that’s what you’ve got to find. We’ll make you spin. We’ll make you sweat. All you have to do is choose me. And if you would try an alternative high, then tell me, what have we got to lose now?”

“Maybe it’s something they put in your perfume or the look in your eyes”

“Now you’re on the sandman everyday. Dancing with the bulls in any old way. Running like a fox…”

“Hold my hand. Please understand me. You’re never alone…”

“And your telephones been ringing while you’re dancing in the rain”

“So easy to disturb with a thought, with a whisper”

“Wild boys always shine”

“You’ve gone too far this time…”

“You shine where others fade…”

“…and we’re gonna go to space, kid, cause I’m leaving with an astronaut!”

“Save a prayer till the morning after”

“Waiting…”

“And she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again”

“I may be a deluded fool but still fascinated”

“But now I feel your presence in a way I could not know”

“It doesn’t have to be serious”

“Must be lucky whether when you find the kind of wind that you. Come on. Show me all the light and shade that made your name.”

“Chill, is it something real or the magic I’m feeding off your fingers?”

What you want the band to do or know:

“Is there something I can say to make you come my way?”

“And it hurts me to think you might never know that I’ve got this thing about you.”

“My obsessive fascination is in your imagination!”

“Because you’re lonely in your nightmare, let me in and there’s heat beneath your winter, let me in.”

“…in case you don’t understand, there’s something else I meant to tell you, there is nothing better than being with you.”

“I love you so much, I keep your cigarette butts.”

“I do what I do to have you”

“The music’s between us”

“Don’t say you’re easy on me, you’re about as easy as a nuclear war”

“I know this is real, believe it. We belong together. Whatever happens you’re gonna be with me forever”

Song Titles:

“Wild boys.”

“What are the chances.”

“All you need is now”

“Notorious”

“Faith in this colour”

“Big Bang Generation”

“So Misled”

“New Religion”

Childhood/Teenage Years/Good Times:

“And you sway in the moon the way you did when you were younger, when we told everybody all you need is now.”

“Everybody everywhere feel it in the air. It’s time to take the pressure off!”

Now, in fairness, my categories are not perfect. Obviously, for example, some of the song titles are also lyrics, for instance. That said, I thought it was interesting how people responded to the question. Some people clearly went for a positive, why I love the band, which is cool. Others seemed to pick lyrics that would speak to the band from the fans. What also interested me is that not all of the lyrics were completely positive. For example, “so misled” could be a dig that the band isn’t what they thought. Same thing could be said about the nuclear war lyric. I think, overall, the answers show that there is a diversity of thought about the band and fandom, which is cool. All in all, I enjoyed the heck out of the super smart responses and plan to ask more questions like this. It was fun! I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t decide to do something else with these lyrics, too.

What did you all think? Did you enjoy the question? Do you have suggestions for other questions?

-A

Still They Come…to Vegas for Some Meet Ups

Got any plans on September 7th and September 8th? If you look at Duran Duran tour dates, you will notice that there are a couple of shows for those very dates in Las Vegas. The band is once again playing at the Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan and your favorite (okay…that was an exaggeration) bloggers will be there! In fact, not only are we going to be there but we have some meet ups planned.

We will be meeting at the CliQue Bar and Lounge, located within the Cosmopolitan at 5 pm on both Saturday, September 7th and Sunday, September 8th. This particular bar is located on the first level of the Chelsea Tower and is described this way by the hotel website:

“CliQue serves as an escape from the outside world, offering artisanal cocktails and house-made mixers. CliQue adds a new avant-garde lounge concept to the resort.

Guests looking to stimulate their palates can enjoy a variety of savory bites and shareable plates, including high-end street tacos, an array of sliders and salads, among other mouthwatering dishes, from award-winning chef Brian Massie.”

One of the reasons that Rhonda and I enjoy this place is that the shareable plates are great and the wait staff remember our order! (Actually, that probably says more about us then them but whatever…) Plus, we like the atmosphere there.

We would love to see each and every one of you there! Please head over to the event page on Facebook and indicate your interest to let us know who to look for. Here are the links for the two meet ups: Saturday night and Sunday night .

Now, it has been a while since we have held a more formal fan gathering and we are super excited to do so! One of the things that Rhonda and I have always tried to do is to bring the fan community together. As we started on this journey (about 10 years ago now!) of learning about fandoms, generally, and our fandom, specifically, we realized that fan communities can either be places where competition dominates or where people come together. We much prefer bringing people together (because it is WAY more fun that way), which is why we started holding meet ups or conventions to begin with! Here are some pictures from the last one:

I think back to 2004 and when I first jumped back into this fandom. I didn’t really know anyone and the few people I did were random strangers that I “met” online. At the time, I longed to find people to talk about Duran Duran with. Just as importantly, I needed to find *my* people. These are people who would not only give me space to talk about Duran but also encourage my love for the band. They would see fandom and going to shows like I did. So I did something that was totally out of character for me. I went to a Duran Duran Fans Convention. Sure, I dragged a friend with me but I went. I did it solely to find my people.

During that convention, I met lots of Duranies and even found people who would be willing to go to shows with me. When the Astronaut Tour dates came out, many of us from the convention discussed, planned and plotted. Who is going to what show? Who is going to go with whom? At the time, I had no idea if any of those people would really be my people or just cool fans. The show the group decided to all go to was the Chicago show in March of 2005. Rhonda flew in and I drove down. After getting very little sleep and food, laughing our asses off and screaming for those guys on stage, I knew that I found my people. Rhonda and I bonded that weekend and discovered that we had a guaranteed touring buddy for life. To say that we were lucky would be an understatement. Yet, none of that would have happened if we hadn’t gone to a fan gathering. They matter. So we try to provide the place and the means for other fans to meet their people with our meet ups and conventions.

Now, it is my understanding that there is another meet up (or two??) happening that weekend. I think that is super cool! We are not here to compete with anyone as that does not make things more fun. No, I think it is great that fans have options, choices because, after all, you never know when and where you are going to meet your people.

-A

Words Are All Remainders

Last weekend, I shared the list of the top 15 Duran Duran songs in terms of lyrics as voted by the readers of this blog. I had chosen that particular homework task because I have been thinking a lot of how much the lyrics of Duran songs matter, how much I have connected with various lyrics at different times. It doesn’t have to be some big moments in my life for this happen. I often find myself, for example, sitting it my car when a Duran song comes on and some lyric catches my attention. Maybe it is a lyric that seemed poetic for the first time or perhaps, it is when the line completely matches how my day was or how I was feeling about a specific topic. While there are other artists who have great lyrics, there has always been something special, more meaningful, more intriguing about Duran’s lyrics. Realizing this, I started thinking. Is there more than can be done with lyrics besides the homework assignment I just gave? I think yes.

One of the things that I have always been proud of is when we have been able to get Duranies more involved in the fan community. For example, seeing Duranies come to meet ups, meet other fans and become friends make my heart smile. After all, the friendships are what makes fandom worth it. As much as I love Duran’s music, I’m not sure I would still be around if it wasn’t for my friendships. They keep me going. Anyway, is there a way to have people participate in our fan community more in connection with lyrics? Hmm….again, I think yes.

So far I want something to do with lyrics and something that would increase people’s participation in the fan community. Could I also do something to help people get to know each other more or better? Maybe I am thinking about this because I struggle with getting to know people online and vice versa. I recognize that I’m not the easiest to get to know and I know that my lifestyle might be a lot different than most Duranies. I’m not married. I don’t kids (beyond the 120 I have at work). While there are a lot of Duranie teachers out there, I don’t see a ton of Duranies who are political activists. I recognize that people might not think we have anything in common or might even be turned off by this activism. Yet, like everyone else, I’m more than these labels. It would be nice to be able to show more of me and to get to know my fellow fans more. Okay, now, my task is to come up with something that involves lyrics, will make people participate more and allow the chance for people to get to know each other better.

Here’s what I’m thinking. What if I asked questions of fellow fans but the answers must be in the form of lyrics. What example I could ask a question like, “What Duran lyric best describes your life right now?” I would hope that this would get people thinking about Duran lyrics. Then, of course, I would hope that they would share their response online and explain as much as they are comfortable with about the reasoning behind whatever lyric is chosen. Maybe I would have a question a week? It would give people time to think, to respond, and to discuss.

What do you all think about this idea? Would you participate?

-A

We Light a Spark

Do you ever get tired of it? You know…bickering about the band? Rehashing topic after topic?

This post isn’t about this blog. We write daily, and we try to write about different ideas, bring different angles, and sometimes, we even end up changing our own views about a previous topic. There is a challenge to writing daily, even though Amanda and I split the writing duties. It isn’t always that easy to come up with something new to write about, particularly during times where the band isn’t necessarily “active” outside of the studio, or if they’re on hiatus. When we started Daily Duranie, we recognized the challenge would be the “daily” part. For the past eight years and seven months (who’s counting?), we’ve stayed committed. It definitely isn’t my blog that I’m pondering. Writing is my joy.

A drop of blood on evil beach

Lately, but I’ve seen a dedicated effort to rehash nearly every single “hot button” topic regarding Duran Duran. Is it due to downtime? There’s nothing really “new” to discuss, yet fans want to talk Duran. It is easy to get a conversation started when someone posts a volatile blanket statement about who is the most important member of the band, or blasts into a tirade over various personnel over the years. Don’t we get tired of it?

The thing is, when I look at the people starting the conversations, they’re not names I typically recognize. I’m one of the admins for a DD fan Facebook group, and we still have people requesting to be admitted into the group almost every day. Whether these fans are my age and just haven’t been active, or they’re much younger and are just discovering the band, for the most part it is fair to say that they’re new to this part of fandom.

Here lies the misadventure

Back in 2000, as I made my own first forays into the world of online fandom, I can remember the message boards constantly abuzz with topics just like what I see today on Facebook or even Twitter. The activity was constant. The debates and the occasionally very heated arguments were par for the course. Then the noise started to settle, and people drifted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some fans floated away completely. Maybe they still went to shows but didn’t participate in the online community portion. Perhaps, as several of my own friends have done, they got their fill, and moved on completely.

Yet, here we are in 2019, and there are still very active posts on Facebook with many participants discussing guitarists, the most important member(s) in Duran Duran, and even songs that should have been included on various albums. While part of me is appalled and bored with the discussion, because “dang it haven’t we already beaten this topic to death?!?”, another part of me realizes that the problem isn’t with the posts at all.

I’ve been an active “online community” fan for 19 years now. I don’t know about the rest of you reading, but that seems like a crazy amount of time. It doesn’t feel like 19 years – the time went by in the blink of an eye. When I first started participating, my two oldest kids were 3 and about 1. Heather, my oldest, is going to graduate from university in 10 days, and my son Gavin is in his second year. I didn’t even have my youngest yet!

Feel the same as you yourself

My point though, is that during that 19 years, I’ve written, posted, and talked a LOT. I’ve seen fans come and go. I’ve seen blogs and websites come and go, too. As crazy as it seems, when I think of the big picture – there does seem to be a bit of a fan cycle. People get energized, or even re-energized. They seek out information online. They connect with other people, then they talk about every possible Duran Duran topic under the sun. They go to shows, experience album cycles. At some point, they get tired of talking. Outside life pressures need more attention. Maybe they even get tired of participating with the community at large. They go to a show or two, but ultimately, they drift away. From what I’ve seen, particularly lately – there are always people with brand new energy, ready to take up that slack.

While sure, there are some people who rather enjoy posting the same information and photos, hoping to somehow get attention, there is also an influx of new and energized fans, ready to dissect the differences between band members, albums, and songs.

Truthfully, that’s the way we want it, too. My “get off my lawn” attitude aside, I’m recognizing that it’s all great. New blood is a good thing. Seeing people continue to write and talk about the nonsense of leaving “Beautiful Colors” off of Astronaut is something to be applauded. If it were left to the rest of us who have already had our fill of the hot topics- the fandom would slow to a trickle. It wouldn’t be “Planet Roaring” at all, now would it?

-R


A Matter of Feeling (and perspective)

How do you feel

Every once in a while, it is good to gain new perspective. I used to do this pretty frequently when I lived in Orange County by going to see other bands – essentially cheating on Duran Duran when they weren’t looking – right?? Since moving up to the central coast, it is a bit more challenging, particularly in my small town. While I have definitely gone to see live music, they are typically unknown bands, and more often than not – the style they play is a little less rock and a little more folksy in nature. Not my favorite, but…when you’re desperate…

However, on Saturday night, I saw Rick Springfield. I think I might still be a little giddy from the evening! He played at Rava Winery in Paso Robles, which is a gorgeous setting. If you’re ever in Paso, it is worth the drive to go and taste there just for the peace and beauty alone. Known for their sparkling wines, Rava also hosts quite a few bands and artists each year, Rick being one of them. He was doing his “Stripped” show. (get your minds out of the gutter – he was fully clothed, told stories, and played without a backing band)

I bought these tickets not long after moving into the house, and couldn’t wait to see him once I realized just how small of a setting it would be (think ballroom rather than theater). On Saturday, our seats were about in the middle, and in fact – I’ve been much farther back with VIP seats for Duran Duran than I was that night with our regular “no frills” tickets. The venue is just that small, really.

Acquaintances smile

I have no real experience seeing Rick Springfield, but I had an angel on my shoulder that night. My dear friend Laurie, who was killed in a car accident several years ago, was a huge fan. She was easily as much of a Rick fan as I any of us are of Duran Duran. In fact, she was such a pillar in his fan community, that Rick sent a huge spray of flowers for her funeral. I have no doubt that Laurie was there with me that night, as I stood up with other (far more intense) Rick fans around me and sang the words to his music with him.

Speaking of those Rick fans – prior to the show, there were food trucks and tables to buy glasses and bottles of wine outside in their patio and garden before the show. As I walked around, I did some people watching. I overheard people talking about traveling from show to show on the tour, the VIP packages, and basically all of the same things we tend to chat about with one another before the DD shows. I saw fans greeting one another exclaiming how surprised they were to see each other, “I didn’t know you were coming to THIS show. How did you get here so fast?!?” I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that the basic “fan” stuff is pretty universal.

After we took our seats, two women sat down next to me on my left. They immediately apologized (in advance) for screaming or standing up and dancing. I replied that they didn’t need to say sorry, that I’d be doing it right along with them. We talked a little bit about being fans, and then I mentioned that I’m a huge Duran Duran fan and even write a blog about them. The woman next to me poked her friend and said “That’s her favorite band!”

Try to explain it

I laughed because we (Duranies) are EVERYWHERE. My husband, who had been watching this scene unfold, nearly rolled his eyeballs right out of his head. I could almost hear the “Good lord, I cannot take you anywhere without Duran Duran coming up in the conversation…”

He’s right. He can’t.

At that point, Rick took the stage. I have to admit that as excited as I was to see him, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I know some of his music, but most of it is earlier – not the more recent stuff – and although I’ve read his autobiography, I just didn’t know what he’d be like on stage telling stories.

My fears were completely unfounded. He is fantastic live. Not only did I enjoy the entire set he played – the stories were what made the show. The reality is, Rick was my crush just before Duran Duran. I started watching General Hospital because he was on it. So seeing him live and in person in front of me was kind of like traveling back to my tween years. Awkward, kind of goofy, and pretty damn giddy. The only thing really missing was my friend Laurie. Just prior to the accident, we’d met for lunch with our other friends, and we’d agreed that the next time Rick toured – I’d go with her.

Nothing really gets them that high

This was not the first time he’d been in my area since that last lunch together, but it was really the first time I felt like I could be there and enjoy it without her. And…I did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about her as I sang “Jessie’s Girl” or stood and cheered during “Human Touch”, or my very favorite, “I’ve Done Everything for You”. It was hard not to, but rather than sadness, there was joy. Total joy, the way I know she would have wanted.

One of the things Laurie and I spoke about often before she died was that we were going to stop feeling bad about buying the concert tickets. Laurie wasn’t married and didn’t have children, but she still felt some of the same misgivings I did about being so thick in fandom at our age (which at the time, was right around 40). She was one of my very few friends outside of the DD community who really “got” it, and I remember that last lunch, she looked at me and said “You know, we have no idea how long we’ve got. You’ve got to just LIVE. Buy the tickets. We have to stop worrying about what other (assholes – Laurie had quite the mouth, even worse than my own!) think. Have fun, because who knows when our last time will really be.”

It was a matter of days before Laurie was gone. She wasn’t wrong that day and I’ve never forgotten what we talked about over margaritas that afternoon.

Emotion’s a game

It is hard for me to live up to her words at times. I do spend less time apologizing for being a fan, and more time rejoicing that I am a small part of this wonderful community of people. Although, I still let a lot of other things play on my mind, and guilt me out of taking risks that might make me happier in the long run. I’d say I was trying to find balance, but the reality is that I’m always worried about upsetting something or someone.

Perspective is good. Miss you, my friend.

-R

To Whom It May Concern

Happy Thursday everyone!!

I did something crazy yesterday. After blogging, I went outside. I trimmed and shaped most of our landscaping. It was sunny and warm, the air was fresh and clean, and it was fantastic. Then I came inside and cleaned out the chicken brooder. (The things I type these days…never thought I’d ever write about my own baby chickens!!) I felt really good until about 5:30 when my back announced, out of nowhere, that I was going to pay for what I’d done.

I love aging.

So today, in between taking copious amounts of Advil and teaching an unwilling-to-write-anything 10-year old tween, I need to blog. I had a great idea for blogging last night while I was getting ready for bed. I knew I could write it quickly and then be on my way for the weekend. This morning when I woke up – the idea was gone. Poof.

Again, LOVE aging. It is the best!

I’ve come up with another topic though. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about #DD40. I’ve seen a lot of tweets, spoken to people…and even hoped out loud for things, but I haven’t really blogged about it that much. So here we go.

Dear Duran Duran,

(Like the opening? I figure I may as well address it to the right people. Did I get their attention? Probably not. I think Simon just shut his laptop. *sigh*)

It is 2019. My first question is basic. Are we even gonna celebrate this thing at all? I mean, ever?? Yes, I know that none of you like looking back. I suppose that if this were my own 40th anniversary of something, I might not like looking back at Rhonda, circa 1980 either. In fact, I’ve seen those pictures. In my own case, I look like an awkward 10-year old. May those photos never see the light of the internet. Anyway, I get it. Simon did say we’re all looking old. Why look back when we can look forward, yes?

Fine then. But really? What year are we going to say is the 40th then?? I am confused.

If we ARE choosing to celebrate – and I don’t see any reason to turn down having a good party – then I have some ideas for you. Feel free to use them, and I don’t really need to take, or be given, credit. I’ll know. You’ll know. That’s enough for me. <exaggerated wink, wink>

  1. Your anniversary shows (if I dare be so bold as to assume they’re happening) should be in the UK. Now, I realize the rest of the world is probably ready to throw grenades in my general direction now, and I’m sorry. Facts are facts. You started in the UK, and that should be the place of the party. We’ll come to you.
  2. In keeping with that theme, it would seem to me that having these special anniversary shows that I am formally requesting should coincide, generally speaking, with the time that Simon joined the band and you first did shows with him. Especially since we didn’t celebrate the date you played your first shows AS Duran Duran to begin with. Did that happen by design? Forgot the date? Didn’t care? Simon didn’t want anybody to remember Duran Duran before he got there??? Who knows…….
  3. So when was that time of year that you played your first show with Simon then? Summer? July?? This works for me, and I think it might still work for Amanda. (although I did see that the Democratic National Convention is in Milwaukee during July of next year…) I mean, since I’m typing up these ideas anyway. July of 2020 is a good time. It might be hot, but then, I did survive other summer shows outdoors in the US during Paper Gods.
  4. Hmm…. NO OUTDOOR SHOWS. Can I even suggest that??? This is my blog. YES I CAN! (You just don’t have to listen. I know you’re not. Simon shut his laptop and John threw his phone. Ok then. Fine….)
  5. NO FESTIVALS. <big giant grin here>
  6. I’d like a set (as in more than one because I know they’ll sell out and that would suck for anyone who can’t get tickets!) of dedicated shows where we (you) don’t have to worry about little things like “Does anyone beyond the first ten rows really KNOW “Planet Roaring”, “Shadows on your Side” or even “Late Bar”?? (I had to get that in there, sorry.) Celebrating the band should be about more than just celebrating your hits. Yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream. So is the rest of this list. Yet I keep adding to it….
  7. This next one is probably outside of your realm of influence, but I’m going to beg anyway. What if someone from your camp were to give the dates to a couple of fans who are willing (and very ready as of mid-April!) to organize a real fan party – like a Durandemonium party – during the time of these shows? We don’t need much, just the show dates and a good idea of where they’ll happen so we can pick a place that would be easy to get to/from along the way to shows. I mean, what good is an anniversary without a fan convention?!? While I know we’ve reneged on a couple in the past, if you announce the shows, we will put together the appropriate fan celebrations. Done deal. (Oh by the way…. Amanda? We might be planning a convention. Overseas. Forgot to tell you. Oopsie.)
  8. Aside from shows to commemorate such a tremendous occasion, how about some good stuff for the collectors out there? Reissues? Hard-to-find video from way back when? Photo books? Posters? Things that aren’t priced as though they are coming direct from the Louvre itself? Just saying…
  9. It would be really cool to have a massive one-off where everyone who has been a part of the band could be there. You know, Warren, Dom, Andy (that alone would floor me)…Sterling and Steve Ferrone…the list is lengthy, but you get the idea. I know that’s probably not possible, but then again – most of this list isn’t possible or probable! (Dear fellow fans, do not send me mail saying that the band doesn’t have to listen to me. I already know that. Please find a sense of humor. The band would be crazy to take cues from me) I figured I’d throw out the request here anyway.
  10. Most of all, I think that people like me just want an opportunity to really celebrate the one constant that has been in our lives for 40+ years now. Sure, some of us have gone to shows lately, but I think that having a show or shows in Birmingham that are announced and billed as the #DD40 shows would have special significance, as they should. In all seriousness, the time I spent in Birmingham changed my entire outlook on Duran Duran, and even myself. The idea of going back specifically to see you for the 40th is especially intriguing to me. When I was in Las Vegas, nearly everyone I spoke with about even the possibility of going to the UK next year, was on board and ready to commit to being there. It could be quite a party, and really, isn’t that what this band is all about anyway? 😀

With all the love, joy, and respect possible,

Rhonda

So there you have it. My list. I could have added more on it, like showing up to our convention, or doing meet and greets, or even finally getting the chance to meet them beyond a quick signing….but I was kind and at least partially realistic! We just want to celebrate with the band, am I right? Sure, new music would be great. Old music would be outstanding…but mostly, I think we all just want to be gathered as a fan community, enjoying time with the people who brought many of us together in turn. I have loved Duran Duran longer than almost anything else in my life. Celebrating not only their music, but these guys as the humans they are – seems appropriate. I only hope they don’t let the time slip by.

-R