Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

You Speak to the Crowd

I spend a lot of time thinking, listening and reading about the current state of politics. Last week, among many other stories, I took note of the giant rally Senator Warren held in New York City. While the size of the crowd was worth noting, the part that caught my attention was that she stayed after (as she always does) to take selfies. This resulted in four hours of selfies until late in the night/early in the morning. As pundits discussed this, one point that was made over and over again was that this is a great strategy for social media as people post their pictures and get people interested in Senator Warren as a presidential candidate.

While I’m fascinated by that as a political organizer, I could not help but think about how this might relate to fandom. I think it is save to say that when people share pictures or videos with Duran Duran, it helps the band’s cause as well. When people who are already fans see this kind of thing, it might excite us more. I know hearing Bridey’s story this week gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. Of course, I definitely would want to be a fan of a band who treats their fans in the way they did with her in Tahoe by meeting her backstage before bringing her on stage during the show. It makes me proud to be a Duranie! Then, what does this do for people who like Duran Duran but might not consider themselves to be big fans? I would think that it might make them think about Duran, which could increase the amount of time listening to their music or watching their videos. As for people who aren’t fans, could it cause them to give Duran a try? I think so!

Okay, so if seeing pictures with a band could translate to more or more intense fans, what about people who just share thing or talk about the band? Could that make a difference in terms of the number of fans or the intensity of one’s fandom? I think about the people who share pictures or videos or start conversations about the band on various facebook groups. Why do they do that? Yes, I think a lot of it has to do the fact that people love the band and want to express it. I’m sure that they begin discussions from real curiosity about what other fans think. Fans want to talk to other fans about the subject of their fandom. We all know this. This is what causes facebook groups and/or message boards to form in the first place. Is it simply about meeting an urge to talk about any and all things Duran or can it be about more at the same time? Could people posting also help out Duran Duran, indirectly? Speaking from my own personal experience, when I see something posted about Duran in my social media timelines, it keeps Duran in my thoughts. Often, it reminds me of what I love about a song, video, tour, era, etc. Does this help keep my fandom alive? Absolutely.

Over the course of the nine years of this blog, people have stated or implied that what we do here doesn’t really matter but in thinking about this, I completely disagree. Just like those people who post on message boards or social media, I believe that what we do here helps keep Duran Duran in people’s thoughts. Maybe, at times, it has encouraged people to check out an album, song or video that they don’t know anything about. Lately, for example, our questions of the day have been about who owns what album and in what format. I wonder if asking about each album has caused people to go out an buy an album that they don’t have. I have seen that with people in my personal life, too. For example, I know that my fandom has led friends and family to check out Duran Duran more. I have a lot of friends who follow this blog simply because they want to support me but many of them have listened to the band more from seeing a blog post or two.

Then, I think about our meetups. There have been times when people have come to a meetup, met fellow fans and found friendships that way. Does that matter? While that might not directly put money in Duran’s bank account, could it help to sell more tickets to their shows? I think so. I know that if I didn’t have my Duranie friends, all of whom I met at various meetups, I wouldn’t go to many shows. I would drag someone to a show nearby and that’s it. Having lots of Duranie friends means that I want to go to as many shows as possible to see my friends, to get together with my friends. This results in more concert tickets for me and for the band.

We definitely didn’t start this blog to help the band but now that I have thought about it, I’m glad that it is a side affect. I think it is pretty cool that this blog along with other blogs, podcasts, message boards, facebook groups, etc. are part of a larger effort to campaign for Duran, in some small way, intentionally or not.

-A

The Way You Did When You Were Younger

The other day my friend messaged to me to say, “Guess what I’m listening to?” Now, this isn’t the first time I have gotten this exact question or something super similar. I always know that the answer has something to do with Duran Duran. Turns out that my friend was listening to Ordinary World. Once my friend identified the song, she went on to say, “I know. This is not your favorite song or album.” Obviously, we have had conversations about Duran Duran and this particular era before. Sadly, when we have talked, it is not quite the same as if, say, Rhonda and I were talking. My friend’s knowledge about Duran is limited. I struggle to explain everything I think without overwhelming her with information. Nonetheless, the conversation got me thinking.

This friend of mine (no pun intended), a fellow teacher, is about ten years younger than me. While we share much in common, the age difference comes up, especially with something like Duran. I remember playing the video for Planet Earth in my classroom when the most recent anniversary of the song came up. This friend came in and said, “I wasn’t even born then.” Oh boy. That’s great. Anyway, the first Duran songs she heard were, in fact, ones off of the Wedding Album, which makes sense based on her age. To her, this is Duran Duran. After all, this was her first exposure to the band. The brain put the sound of the Wedding Album as the default Duran Duran sound. That isn’t necessarily bad but explains why she doesn’t see the big deal out of the Rio era, for example. She doesn’t get it when I explain that most of the original Duranies turn to the first three albums as the default sound. After all, that was the first Duran Duran we heard. The Duran Duran we fell in love with.

Interestingly enough, the Wedding Era sound is her favorite despite me trying to expose her to other eras. She cannot connect in the same way that she did to Ordinary World and Come Undone. I, on the other hand, find myself seeking out a Rio like sound whether that is the Rio album itself or an album like All You Need Is Now. After all, that is the first Duran I heard. While I can appreciate the Wedding Album sound, it isn’t what typically comes to mind when I think Duran or when someone mentions the band. No, I think about that early 80s era.

So, in thinking about all of this, I have another question. If I wasn’t a kid in the 1980s and I didn’t hear that early Duran, would I have still become the Duranie that I am now? Would the Wedding Album instead be my go to sound if I was born ten years later or would I simply not be into the band? What about my friend? Would she have become a bigger fan if she was born ten years younger?

Then, I broaden this thinking. Was it just about the music? Did I become a fan just because I liked songs like Save a Prayer or New Moon on Monday? Or did it also have to do with everything else that was in place then? For example, I know that I heard Duran first before I ever saw them but what if MTV wasn’t a thing? What if they didn’t make videos? What about all of the media attention? I couldn’t escape seeing Duran Duran on the cover of multiple magazines when I went to the store. They couldn’t be avoided, really. If all that wasn’t enough, Duran Duran merchandise was everywhere. I had Duran Duran pajamas for crying out loud that I bought at my local box store. They were simply everywhere. So, did I become a fan because of the music, the other things or a combination of both?

One thing I always find interesting when talking with my friend is how little video played a role in her life. When talking about Ordinary World, she, in fact, stated, “Yeah, I think I saw the video once on VH1.” I had to take a deep breath after that. Well, then. This has led me to ask about other videos only to discover that she has never seen Hungry Like the Wolf with its exotic locale and missing Simon storyline. She must struggle to really understand why I am so into Duran and how that happened. After all, I do think the context matters, including all that media attention but also where I was, personally, coming from at the time that first heard and saw Duran.

As the conversation moved away from music, I couldn’t help but to think how lucky I was to grow up in the 1980s in order to experience all that I did with music and pop culture. It made me not only the fan I am now but also the person I am.

-A

Teach You How to Live

This blog post finds me in Philadelphia on a family vacation. My sister and her family drove from North Carolina to meet my parents and I there after we took a short flight from my home town airport. We are basically taking a long weekend to spend some time together, to see some of the local sites and to go to a baseball game. A few years ago, we discovered that we enjoy going on vacation together and planned this one as a result.

So why Philadelphia on the first weekend in August? Did I mention that we are going to a baseball game? Yep. That’s right. We are going to see the White Sox play the Phillies. Fandom is part of the family DNA. My mother likes to tell the story about how my grandpa used to travel through the Chicago sewers to sneak into old Comiskey Park to watch games for free with his brothers. My dad, on the other hand, talks about dumping an old girlfriend when she was not interested on the day the team won the Pennant. I literally do not remember a time when we weren’t White Sox fans. Games were always on and summers often revolved around listening, watching and reading about Sox games. Family discussions are filled with criticism and ideas about what the team should or should not do. I remember when my grandpa died in 1983. When grief got too much, we went out to play catch or turned on the game, which helped. It is definitely part of my family culture.

I often hear or read about the first time someone went to a baseball game and how memorable it was. I don’t have that. It isn’t that I haven’t been to a game but the exact opposite. My first game was when I was very young and I don’t remember it. The same is true for my siblings and parents. I couldn’t even tell you how many games that I have been to. Lately, we have started traveling to different cities to see our team of choice play. I have seen games in Milwaukee, both parks in Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Boston, DC and Philly as of tonight. My parents could list even more like Denver, Cleveland, and Kansas City. My aunt and uncle do the same thing as well.

The point here is a simple one. I learned how to be a fan as a kid. My parents taught me that there is nothing weird or abnormal about traveling to participate in one’s fandom. They never sat down and said, “You are going to be a White Sox fan. Here’s why and how you will express your fandom.” No, they taught me and my siblings by example. I saw them be fans like I saw my grandparents be fans. As I was growing up in this White Sox household, I also realized that this brought us together as a family. We cheered the World Series win in 2005 as well as no-hitters and other big games. It provides us with something that we will always have in common. Even when we are frustrated with each other, we ALL still root for the White Sox.

Interestingly enough, this made me think of those Duranies who have taken or will take their kiddos to go see Duran. Rhonda and I took both her daughters to shows, for example. I never really thought much about the fans who bring their kids to Duran functions. Up until now, part of me probably didn’t really get it. I mean I can understand why fans would want their kids to also love Duran Duran. I get that. I would love for that to be the case with my nieces. But to take them to shows? I have taken my oldest niece to see the Killers with me but Duran is different. Would they be as into as me? What if I want to party that night? Could they go where I go? Now, though, in thinking about my White Sox fandom, I think I get it more. I totally understand wanting to really share the love of something with your family and having it unite the family. The question that I have is does age matter? In order for this to happen, do the kids have been exposed from day one?

-A

I think you might have noticed that there was not a question of the day today. I’m taking a break with them while with my family. They will return on Tuesday!

From This Cloud Where I Hang

Dangled in the blue

I quit Girl Scouts when I was in fourth grade. I think it might have been near the beginning of the school year, because I have no memory of actually wearing the green junior uniform my mom had bought me that summer. My brownie troop had combined with a junior troop, and several of the girls in that troop were popular, and immediately decided they didn’t like me. These fifth grade girls took it upon themselves to comment on every single thing I did wrong, from my clothes, to my hair, to the way I spoke. The friends I previously had in our troop stopped wanting to be my partner when we’d go on field trips, because the other girls made it very clear that anyone who hung out with me was as big of a loser as I was.

Slowly but surely, I stopped wanting to go to troop meetings. I’d been playing clarinet for a while by this time, and it wasn’t long before my dad suggested I make choices about what activities I wanted to stick with and ones I was willing to give up. Girl Scouts was immediately chopped because I knew I was the odd girl out.

I quit sorority in college for the same reasons, although there were financial concerns to help me double down on my decision. In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking when I went through Rush to begin with. I’ve never gotten along with groups of girls, and the more popular and/or catty they are, the worse it becomes. ZTA was no different. I had a group of a few pledge sisters that I was very close with, but other than that – many within my sorority house grew to dislike me. Let’s face it, I’m very outspoken, blunt, and quick to be annoyed by drama – and I was no different in 1991. I stuck out like a sore thumb, and believe me, I had no false hopes that I was liked by many people. When I left, I’m sure it was a relief for them as much as it was for me and my wallet. Fitting in was not an option for me.

I wish that I could be like you

I suppose you can say I’m socially awkward. I’m not insulted by that. In a lot of ways, I feel a little less weight on my shoulders when I just admit it. I’m not cool, I’m not put together. I’m me. That awkwardness sometimes makes it a little difficult to meet people, which is why I remain thankful I met Amanda so early on. She and I talk about that a lot, and I think that’s why we first decided to try hosting a meet up back when we’d started the blog. I mean, if she and I – two of the more awkward people on the planet, I presume (sorry Amanda) could meet and become best friends, couldn’t others? Shouldn’t we help other Duranies like ourselves find their people?

Our plan was simple: invite people to come hang out with us before a show. If NOTHING else, we could talk about Duran Duran, right? It is always common ground to start from. While I don’t take credit, we’ve seen wonderful friendships start at some of our events. I’m grateful to be able to see those connections happen. If something as easy as mentioning what bar we’re going to be hanging out at, and inviting others to join us, helps somebody find a friend, I’m overjoyed. The friendships have nothing to do with me personally, but it warms my heart to see somebody who might have just as much trouble in a crowd as I do, find their person to go to shows with. That matters to me more than I can even put into words.

As a result, we’ve been having meet ups for nine years. Whenever the band is touring, or has a show that we can get to – we try to do something. Although, Amanda and I are also the first to say we can’t always meet before every show we attend. We’ve tried though, and if we couldn’t meet before, usually do something after. We know what it is like to come out of a Duran Duran gig on a high and have nowhere to go, or anyone to talk to. So we try to plan something – even if it’s just sitting at a bar, or even standing outside of a venue to talk. We just try to include people, make them feel comfortable, and hope the community grows as a result.

Love is flawed now

This time, we’ve done some advertising for our meet up – and that accomplishes a number of things. First, every single time we go to a show and then get back home, Amanda and I get messages from fans who aren’t super involved in the community (or are brand new) saying they wish they’d heard about our party. No matter how many times we announce it here on the blog or on Twitter and Facebook, it is difficult to make sure everyone sees it. Running a Facebook ad campaign helps a little. Second, the ad works to get people curious about Daily Duranie, and from there they can look up our FB page, and then our website. Just like anything else, ads work to stir up traffic, and we need that from time to time, or else there’s never any growth.

The ads aren’t just to promote the party, even though at first glance that’s what they’re about. If someone can’t go to the party, maybe they’d look up our name and see our page, and then check out the blog itself. Ads are a great way to spread the word about our site and blog.

See the lawless cry

We’ve invested a lot of our own time, energy and yes, money, into Daily Duranie. This site and blog is our labor of love. It has never turned into a business for us, exactly, but I think Amanda would agree that we’ve both gotten a great amount of joy from it, and to be blunt- it kept me alive when not much else seemed to keep me going. I know some people think we’re crazy for investing so much into this, but the fact is – we’ve gotten more out of Daily Duranie on a personal level than we have ever put into it.

None of this is really about Duran Duran, though. We never had grand schemes that this blog would get us in front of a band member or four, Although, we’ve run into many people over the years who seem to be incredulous that we haven’t been given access to them. At first when people would tell us about how so-and-so gets free tickets, etc,I guess we were naively hopeful. That came to a halt quickly, though. In hindsight – we were foolish. Even if we had gotten in front of them, or had been given comp tickets, what then? No, we didn’t do this for free tickets, or for access—not really for any of that, although I’m sure that is hard to believe if you’re not Amanda or I.

The thing is, we write what we want to write. We feel what we want to feel, and we have been doing it that way for nine years. You don’t do something like this for very long, much less nine years, unless something other than meeting the band is your motivation (particularly because the closest we’ve gotten to them, collectively speaking, is in front of a stage at a gig). My motivation, to be honest – is just being liked. For once in my life, I just wanted to be liked, included and accepted, even with all my socially awkwardness. If I’m one of two people planning the events and writing the posts, I’m included!

Cut my cord now

Events over the past week or so have made me think twice, and maybe even three times, about what Amanda and I are really trying to accomplish. My biggest weakness is that I worry over what people think of me. I’m well-aware that there are some within the fan community that I’ll never quite win over. I know that I’ve written things that have upset people here and there. It is no secret that I’m not in the current “popular” crowd, and to come toe-to-toe with those people might mean dealing with their ire in force. I don’t like any of that. I just know that we’ve been connecting fans for nine years, and have no plans of stopping now. This time, I’m not quitting.

So here’s the thing: we’re having two meet ups in Las Vegas. They’re Saturday and Sunday at 5pm in The CliQue Bar downstairs in the Cosmopolitan. Amanda and I will be there hanging out and having drinks (and food) before the show whether a hundred people show, or we’re the only people in the bar. We would love company. If you’re already friends of ours, we can’t wait to see you! If you’re new to the community and don’t know anyone, we will happily introduce you to anyone we can. In all cases, expect that we’ll be chatting about the music, and having a great time!

I would be very unfair if I didn’t mention that there’s also another group having a Duran Duran Fan event in the main bar of The Cosmopolitan earlier in the day on Saturday – I believe it is at 1pm. I’m sure it’s going to be a great crowd of people. Amanda and I don’t feel like anyone needs to “choose” which event to attend, and we’re happy to see other Duran fans planning fun events for all of us to enjoy that weekend. Too much is NEVER enough, isn’t that right???

(I heard that somewhere…)

-R

Something On My Mind

Hello, Monday. I feel as though somewhere along the way, I lost one of my weekend days, because it feels like Monday arrived far too early. I’m still trying to regain some of the hours of sleep I missed out on from being at Vidcon last week. I wish I could say it was due to having so much fun, but in this case, I just didn’t sleep well.

We drove home late Saturday night, and arrived to see many tweets and posts about the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 – corresponding with the Kennedy Space Center show tomorrow.

I’m light years away

When the show was first announced, I knew right away that there’d be no way for me to get there. Sure, I could blame it on not having enough notice, but I could have had a month’s notice or even more, and still not been able to attend. Several years back, I went to a lot of things. I would fly across the country, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that many times, I didn’t even think twice about it. Three spousal job layoffs/changes, one very large move, childbirth, college, and countless grey hairs later, I’m finding that I not only think twice, I know I can’t travel like that anymore.

That fact is something I guess I’m still coming to terms with. I went from going to one show a tour (or even less), to taking a single trip to New Orleans and then Chicago, which ignited something in me. Suddenly, I felt the need to try and go to everything. My husband was less-than-thrilled with the arrangement. Usually though, I’d win him over by saying I’d save money in other ways, or that he didn’t have to buy me birthday/Christmas/Valentines/Mothers Day gifts, etc. In some ways that worked, but in others – I can see how selfish I was. Any extra money I came across would go towards seeing Duran Duran, and the fact is—when you have three kids and live in Southern California, there isn’t a lot of extra anything!

My head is full of chopstick

Even so, fandom – or planning to go to shows – was sort of like a drug for me. I couldn’t say no, and yet I didn’t go to nearly as many shows as a lot of people. Gigs would be announced and I’d think “Fly to Chicago? Oh, I shouldn’t…but I will!” “Go away for five or six days and see more than three shows? YES!” I wanted to go. I desperately wanted to be a part of the fandom wave that everyone seemed to be caught in.

During the Astronaut tour, which was really the first when I’d gotten involved online and knew people from all over the country – I’d sat on the sidelines for the most part. I went to two shows: Chicago and All-State Arena, and Milwaukee. That last one had been added to my itinerary without telling my husband. He’d expressly told me prior to even buying my Chicago ticket that I could choose ONE show to see, and that was it. “The concerts don’t change that much, Rhonda!”

Turns out, that while the set might not change that much (One night I heard “Nice” and the other I heard “Union of the Snake”), there are far more other, more subtle things, that do. Roger waved at us in Milwaukee. I cried when I heard “Tiger Tiger” in Chicago. I stood outside and waved to the band when they left the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee. I had my closest friends with me for Chicago, and got to drive to Milwaukee with a full car of Duranies. That was the first time I’d ever done something like that. After those two shows, I never wanted to miss anything again.

I’m making a break

However, that was/is an impossibility, at least for me. I’ve never had carte blanche to go to any show I want. I don’t work outside of the home, and my money is never my own money. Even when I’ve done what I consider to be a ridiculous number of shows, I’ve had to pick and choose. Sometimes, I’ve chosen wrong. That’s the crap shoot of life, I suppose. In darker moments, I wonder what it would have been like if I could have gone to all the Astronaut shows my friend Jessica went to see, or if I could have flown overseas as many times as other friends have gone. Would I feel any differently about the band now?

Over the years, I’ve seen people come and go. After having been an active fan in the online community for nearly two decades now, I have seen some patterns of behavior emerge from the fog and dust. I think about the people who seemed to be “regulars” for the Astronaut and RCM tours, and for the most part – those people don’t come around often now, and I rarely see them.

Maybe they stopped going to shows or participating online because life circumstances changed. Perhaps it was because they got sick of some of the childish drama that goes on between fans. Maybe it was something else entirely -but the fact remains that they’re not doing much these days. I have friends who went to 14, maybe 15 shows for Astronaut that just stopped following the band for the most part Can there really be too much of a good thing?

They should be mine

Getting back to my situation here – I have serious budget constraints that make it nearly impossible for me to fly very often. I don’t even fly to visit my mom or sister, so how on earth can I justify flying to see a band that doesn’t even know I exist? It is particularly frustrating when I’ve made the decision to buy tickets to something, and then another opportunity comes up that sounds even better.

For example, tomorrow Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. As soon as this show was announced, I knew there was no way I could go. The idea of traveling to Florida was out of the question. A flight from here would easily cost $500 during the summer, plus the $300 ticket for the concert, another $300 or more for a hotel room and the additional expenses for food, uber and drinks. It adds up quickly to a similar amount that my family might spend on a camping vacation – one that we’re not even taking this year. HOWEVER…

Had I known that they were going to be playing this show in advance of buying the tickets for Las Vegas (each was $441, if I remember correctly) I might have chosen differently. Sure, I’ll see Duran Duran three times in September whereas if I’d gone to Florida I’d only be seeing them once – but how many times does someone get the chance to see Duran Duran at the Kennedy Space Center??? I worry that I made the wrong choice. Zigged when I should have zagged…bought when I should have waited.

I’m saying this in private

Similar scenarios have happened before. In 2013, Amanda and I along with a committee of amazing helpers worked our butts off to put on a fan convention in Chicago. I can’t remember the precise timing, but I would say that within days of returning from that weekend, Duran Duran announced a special opportunity to see the debut of UnStaged at MOMA in New York City.

I think that at least to begin with – both she and I weren’t too upset. I mean, to some degree we’d wished we could go. We’d worked hard to put on that convention for fans, and in a lot of ways New York City seemed like it would be a great way to reward ourselves. Even so, Amanda didn’t have time off from work, and my husband had pretty much declared a moratorium on spending money and traveling. Just getting to Chicago was hard enough. Amanda and I paid the same amount of money to attend the convention as every one else. That’s right – we bought tickets to the very convention we were putting on for everyone else to enjoy. I paid for my flight from California, and Amanda and I split the cost of our hotel room., same as everyone else. That money did not come out of the convention budget. No sooner did I get home and back to an exploding family crisis when the MOMA show was announced.

We absolutely tasted our share of sour grapes while watching a few of the same people who came to our convention fly on to NYC. I remember feeling so dejected after I saw how the evening went. What started as a screening ended up as a cocktail party with the band present. There were pictures, and the band seemed so welcoming to fans that night…those who were there were so lucky!! Oh well, right? What can you do??

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

Even with the missteps I’ve taken along the way (and there have been many), I can’t be bitter. My days of sour grapes are over. I’ve done and seen a lot – much more than a lot of people. I’ve had times when I’ve been able to afford to go to a lot of shows and travel, and now I’m in a time where I really just can’t. Oddly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery because for the past few years – coincidentally the time when I’ve been least able to afford to fly – the band has played within reasonable driving distance to where I live. I am very lucky, which is why you’re not going to see me complain about set lists or much anything else. My luck isn’t going to hold out forever though, and I would imagine that next year – should they decide to tour for their 40th anniversary – I’ll be sitting at home doing most of my cheering.

I also can’t ignore the fact that for most of the rest of the world, they’ve had to sit on the sidelines since before Paper Gods was released, watching the US fans complain about ticket prices, set lists, and the like. It is easy to forget that many of these worldwide fans would pay whatever ticket price the band wanted, and would be willing to listen to whatever set the band plays, just to be able to see them.

Looking for cracks in the pavement

The reality is, most of us just can’t go to everything. I feel like I’m a recovering addict in that sense. Every time something is announced, I have to forcibly talk myself out of feeling like I need to go. I’m learning to say “no” to myself more and more often. I can’t say it’s easy, but a lot of times, it’s necessary. I’m not responsible for only myself. I have a family and husband to consider, and I wouldn’t trade my family for all of the Duran Duran shows in the world. That’s progress, right?

I see friends tell one another all the time that they should just buy the ticket and that they’ll make more money later. That thinking might work, until something catastrophic happens. I’ll never forget going to New York City in 2007 to see the special fan show that fell on Father’s Day. My husband and dad were fine with me going, and I came home to celebrate with them the following weekend. Little did I know at the time, that was the last Father’s Day I’d ever spend with my dad. I think about that a lot.

I’m a work in progress. Every single time I start feeling self-pity because I can’t be in Florida, or something else, I quickly force myself to acknowledge that other fans in the world haven’t done much in several years. I have one hell of lot of nerve feeling bad about one single event. That usually snaps me out my funk. I still feel like a recovering addict in some weird ways – but I’m working on it.

-R

Been Under Quiet Attack

Sometimes, fandom feels like an endurance test. It like the world and everything and everyone in it is just to push you away from fandom. For some people, they might opt to leave, to avoid, to hide. I, on the other hand, am feeling feisty, determined. I’m digging in my heels.

It has never been easy to be a Duran Duran fan. I am sure that a lot of people would think I’m insane for saying that. After all, at one point, they were the most popular band in the world. They were everywhere and you could buy merchandise upon merchandise in the mid-1980s U.S. Yet, for me, it didn’t always feel awesome. Sure, it was great fun with my friend as we watched Sing Blue Silver for the millionth time in her TV room but sucked that other kids at school talked smack about them along with countless DJs, music critics, and random strangers. “Aww…that band sucks. Can they even play their own instruments? Must be rough to be put together by a management company. What’s with the eyeliner? What are they gay?” were just some of the rude and untruth comments I was exposed to both then and now. It didn’t make me turn away from Duran but made me more determined to love them.

Then, of course, the mid to late 1980s was not always kind to the band and their fans. I saw my best friend walk away from the fandom. All the fans had to watch Duran regroup after side projects but also with the departure of Roger and Andy. On top of that, life often got in the way to the point where I found myself moving on while holding on to the that sliver of being a fan. Could I? Would I return to the really join the fan community? I wasn’t certain especially as the 1990s grew older but I know that when I took the time to watch and listen to Duran my love endured even if I remained pretty isolated as a fan.

Of course, I jumped back in with two feet along with countless others as the band reunited. I believed that this would be the best ever. Not only was I thrilled that the beloved Fab Five was back, I looked forward to getting to know more and more fans to share my love with others. Sadly, I also assumed that Duran’s longevity would result in nothing but acceptance and kudos from the music critics and the public as a whole. As we know, that didn’t always happen. Yes, they received more public acclaim than they had previously but they are never quite totally respected. On top of that, I found myself battling on a new front. Now, it seemed that others criticized my fandom because I’m “too old”. I should have let that go as a kid, people would imply. It certainly should not interfere with real life or all those responsibilities.

Still, I figured that I could blow off all those music critics, journalists, and nosey people in my own life as long as the fan community provided nothing but acceptable and joy. Sometimes, it has. I have had tremendous moments in which everything just feels right. I remember looking around, for example, at various points of Durandemonium, the convention that Rhonda and I organized, and thought how amazing it all was. Another example is when it seemed like the entire venue was clapping along to the Man Who Stole a Leopard in Glasgow in December of 2011. Sometimes, I have had it when we have held our online parties. It can be the best time ever.

Yet, there have been other times that it feels like I have battle both the outside world and the inside one. Yes, Rhonda and I chose to express our fandom by writing this blog, by organizing fan events, etc. It’s cool that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe some people don’t want us to do this or that. Others might not always like who we are or what we have to say. That’s okay, too. That said, I’m not going to stop loving Duran, who I am or how I express my fandom. I’m more determined than ever to stick around, do what I do and love the band with all of my being. I’m looking forward to partying hard in a couple of months at some great shows with my friends. Then, all of the obstacles put in my way will get pushed to the side and all that will remain is what started all of this to begin with.

-A

What Keeps you going?

What happens when there’s a power outage and I’m still sleeping?

Basically, I slept in far too late, and now I’ve got a blog to write and publish in record time before a meeting with Amanda.

They get me

Many fans responded to my question about fandom. What keeps you interested as a Duran Duran fan? Handfuls of fans responded, from incredulous sounding “The music, of course!” to the slightly more introspective, “Because they get me.” Several others feel that it is a combination of the music and the friendships they’ve made along the way.

I feel as though I need to clarify that Amanda and I weren’t fishing for specific answers. There’s no one “right” answer that we were hoping someone would type and send. Our creative juices needed a jump start. I think we needed reminding as to why we’rehere to begin with. I call this, “getting stuck in our own head(s)”.

That said, of course we assumed that most were still here because of the music. I think though, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of what about their music it really IS that keeps us all anxious and waiting for whatever project comes next. When I think about why I’m still a fan, it all feels fairly overwhelming. Where do I even start?!? I suspect many of you might feel the same.

The push and pull

Does anyone think that their feelings about Duran Duran have changed since they first became a fan? Maybe their videos intrigued you, initially. Perhaps like me, you loved the idea of a synths paired with a rocking electric guitar. As the decades flew by, you can see that your interests in them have changed.

So in my case as I became a fan back in the 80s, I felt that other bands that relied more heavily on keyboards and synthesizers. While I can name many I liked, it always felt a bit shallow, or thin in sound to me. Duran Duran had this push and pull of balance, the sound was layered and deep, and I liked that. As the years have gone by, though, I feel as though the band has changed a little in that regard. I don’t think there’s that same constant struggle for equilibrium, although the depth of sound has always been there.

No fast food

I’m not going to rehash the band’s career because that’s not really my point – but I’ve found that my interests in their music have evolved a bit. I find myself listening to the words, recognizing how the music may drive the lyrics (or vice-versa). I love the way each one of their songs is a full-package. No two are the same, just as no two albums are the same. Speaking of albums, the one thing I appreciate most about Duran Duran is that their albums are typically meant to be listened to from start to finish. It is a full, complete story. There’s no “fast food music” delivery here, where you can buy a song or two on iTunes and feel like you’ve gotten the complete meal. No, with Duran Duran – sitting down and committing the full-45 minutes to an hour to really absorb the entire message is key. I felt that with Paper Gods, with All You Need is Now, and yes, even with Red Carpet Massacre, believe it or not!

If anyone has more to add on this subject, I am always ready and willing to share ideas. I love reading what everyone has to say about what continues driving their fandom. So much has changed during the four decades the band has been in existence – I want to hear from you. What keeps you going?

-R

I’ve Got My Own Way

I am a John Taylor fan.  He is my favorite.  I’m wiling to bet that you probably don’t even know that.  I’m not one to shout it from the rooftop or anywhere else.  Why is that?  I suspect it has to do with something Rhonda mentioned last week on the blog.  There are a lot of John fans out there.  I’m one of a million.  Rhonda implied that the competition over John is a fierce one and one that she is glad that she is not a part of.  I get that.  I think it is part of the reason that I’m rather shy when it comes to my admiration of the Bass God.  

Like many Duranies out there, I became a John girl in the 1980s.  In fact, I would point out that it was the video for the Reflex that did it.  At the time, I was super young.  Like nine.  Less than a decade old.  My best friend at the time also decided that John was the one for her.  I have later learned that we were weird, super unusual.  Why?  I guess that most friend groups in the 80s were such that no two friends could have the same favorite.  It was like there was an unwritten rule based on the idea that we would all grow up to marry this man of our dreams.  Since that was the case, there could only be one Mrs. Nick Rhodes.  You cannot have two Mrs. John Taylors.  So, people had to pick a unique choice.  Now, I’m uncertain how friend groups decided who gets what band member as their favorite.  Loudest friend got the first choice?  Most popular?  First person to pick?  No clue.  Anyway, my friend and I did not do that.  If I had to guess why, I think we were just too young.  While we learned that we should be thinking about the man we were going to marry, we didn’t learn that we should compete over that guy, if necessary.  So, it was cool to us to both like the same guy.  In fact, I might even say that it was reassuring to me to like the same guy as my friend. It meant that my taste was “right” or “good”.

Now, though, I’m no longer 9 years old.  I am well aware that women are subtly taught to compete for men.  I could argue that the reason that I don’t shout about my favorite is because I don’t want to compete against other women.  While part of that is true, for sure, there is more to it.  It has more to do with me.  I really don’t compete because I believe that I will lose so the best plan is not to play at all.  I think this belief of mine plays a pretty big role in how I express my fandom beyond not shouting about being a John. It definitely affects how I express my fandom on social media.

So what do I mean by “cannot win”?  What does winning look like on social media amongst Duranies?  Good question.  I don’t have a good answer but one could say that winning would be being well liked.  How do fans become well-liked?  I, at one point, thought it was that you knew a lot.  I don’t think that does it unless what you know proves you know a lot about the music (to the fans that really dig this aspect of Duranland) or it is that you have insider info or can give news alerts.  I do know a lot about Duran history but I cannot tell you details about who produced what track or what different remixes are out there.  I have no insider connections and don’t have time to give every little piece of news.  How else could people become well-liked on social media?  From my observation, another means is to be witty, funny or make cool Duran references.  Sometimes, I am okay at that but usually I have to be really comfortable with the crowd around me first.  Social media isn’t going to cut it.  I am assume that I don’t have anything super interesting to say so I don’t say much at all.  

Does this attitude include responding to “official” people’s posts including DDHQ? I sometimes think about responding and then literally the next thought is, “What would I post that would offer something of interest or substance?”  Then, I realize that I would just be repeating others and not in any cool way so I don’t.  This feeling was ten times worse when John Taylor was on twitter.  What the hell would he care what I have to say?  Though, it is funny that I don’t have the same concerns when I post about things that I feel very competent in (history, politics, education).  In those settings, I rarely shut up.  But for whatever reason I hold myself back when it comes to fandom and the subtle competition that exists.  (I know…some will deny that social hierarchy exists.  Those comments only reinforce what I know about fandom and social hierarchy.)

Two questions emerge.  First, does this make my fandom or love for Duran and John any less?  Second, do I wish to change this situation?  As for the first question, my fandom is not any less than any others even though I don’t show it in the way that many others do.  I do write this blog after all.  They must matter a lot to me.  My love for John Taylor hasn’t really varied since my 9 year old self fell for him more than 3 decades ago.  Do I wish to change this?  In some ways, yes, and in others…I’m okay.  Do I wish that there was less competition in fandom?  Absolutely. Would that make me feel more comfortable? 100%.  It is part of the reason that I blog, plan events, etc.  The more fans come together, the less competition exists.  I definitely wish that there was less judgement.  In saying all that, I acknowledge that I’m not perfect in those areas and must work on them myself.  Do I wish that I responded differently and be less worried about being accepted or liked?  Sure and I can work on changing some of that, too, while I push to make Duranland a happier place.

-A

I’m a Hostage to That…

Yesterday, Rhonda and I took time out of our summer schedules (I use that word loosely!) to catch up via Skype.  Funny how when I think about what we caught up on, a lot of it was focused on Duran Duran.  Did you see pictures from Iceland?  What do you think about that Kennedy Space Center show? and lots more.  Pathetic?  Dedicated?  I suspect that question was determined a LONG time ago.  Of course, we also talked a little about Vegas and the Duran shows in September.  While we have tickets, it is time to start thinking about other specifics.  Watch this space for more discussion on those Vegas shows tomorrow!  Anyway, as we started thinking about the blog and writing, we pondered a couple of questions that we posed on social media.  What drew you to Duran Duran?  What led people to become Duran Duran fans?  

A lot of people responded (THANK YOU!) and some themes jumped out to me.  I also have some follow up questions!  (That is probably not shocking in the least!)

FRIENDS and/or FAMILY:

When asked the question about how/why people became fans, a lot of people talked how someone else got them hooked.  In some cases, it was a simple case of having a friend or relative be into the band and play a song or album or show a video that did the trick.  Rhonda’s sister even chimed in to say that her sister was to blame!  I appreciated the heck out of the person that commented about the peer pressure in middle school.  At the height of Duranieness, it was super hard to avoid seeing and/or hearing about the band.  They were everywhere and a LOT of people loved them.  I’m not surprised, then, that there was pressure to be into them as well.  I, for one, am thankful that I was too young to recognize all that popularity.  If not, I probably would have rejected them simply because of that.  What can I say—I like being different and hate following the crowd!

MUSIC:

Obviously, a lot of fans chimed in to talk about how the music did it for them.  Lots of people mentioned falling for specific songs like Ordinary World, The Reflex, Girls on Film, Friends of Mine, Hungry Like the Wolf, Planet Earth, Is There Something I Should Know, Tel Aviv, Night Boat and Lonely In Your Nightmare.  I love that so many different songs were listed.  It wasn’t just one or two songs that drew people to the band.  Most of them were from the first three albums with the exception of Ordinary World.  A couple of people described what they liked about the music but I want to know more.  What about the music?  Is the instrumentation?  Lyrics?  Vocals?  What caused you to be emotionally connected to the music?  For example, I know that for me, the songs just got into my head.  They were catchy enough that they produced a ton of ear worms.  

VIDEO:

After music, the next most common answer I saw was about the videos.  Again, this does not surprise me in the least!  After all, Duran videos are amazing.  Again, many fans talked about specific ones like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Ordinary World, Is There Something I Should Know, Planet Earth, The Reflex and Union of the Snake.  Of course, many, many, many people commented about how…attractive the band members were, especially their favorites.  Yep, I totally can relate to that.  John Taylor in the Reflex, anyone?  Would those good looks have been enough?  Was there something more special about the videos that attracted you besides the good looking band members?  

IMAGES ALL OVER:

Some fans talked about seeing the band on TV or magazines.  It is definitely true that the band was everywhere at the peak of their popularity.  In connection to this, people mentioned being attracted to the band’s style and even lifestyle.  Again, I can relate to this but I wonder what aspect of their style did it?  What did their lifestyle seem like?  Why would that be attractive?  

All in all, I feel like I could relate to so many of the responses.  I, too, fell for the band due to the music, videos and style.  I had friends who were into the band, too.  That said, I have some follow up questions to know more specifics!  I am hoping that people will continue to want to share.  I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t, right?  Who doesn’t love talking about why they adore Duran? On that note, look for more questions coming your way!

-A

P.S. I want to give an update on the question of the day.  As I am sure that you know, our site struggled last weekend.  Now, it is working for everyone…except me.  It is the weirdest dang thing.  It works for me when I am not at home.  When I am at home, it doesn’t, no matter what device I use.  It has to be something about my wifi.  Anyone have any ideas?  I will keep playing with it.  Until I get it figured out, the questions will be on hold.  Boo.

In My Fantasy Fire

I love summer break. Extra time is giving me the chance to catch up on some movies I missed. For example, a couple of weeks ago I watched Crazy Rich Asians. I had read the series (I like escapism when I’m reading for fun, obviously) and was very curious as to how the movies would turn out. It was cute and I enjoyed it. This past weekend, I was able to catch A Star is Born.

Now, I know the rest of America has already seen the movie. Like many, I sat entranced watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing “Shallow” at the Oscars. The song didn’t thrill me, but their chemistry was undeniable. (I think that might be called “acting”. Apparently they’re both good at it!) I was channel surfing this weekend, I decided to give the movie a try.

Looking for a token

One teeny little scene keeps replaying itself in my head. For those who may not know, Bradley Cooper plays a rock star in the movie by the name of Jackson Maine. Gaga plays a singer named Ally who is nearly giving up on her dreams of being on stage. They meet by chance at a drag club. Jackson is entranced by her. At one point, they’re sitting down on a curb in a parking lot, talking. (as one does with a rock star, you know?) She mentions to him that people seem to treat him as though being a rock star or a celebrity means he’s not a real person. Maine deflects and changes the subject almost immediately.

The scene reminded me of a conversations I’ve had. Both with other fans, as well as with people who have worked with the band. The way people react to, or treat the band, is a real thing that we’ve written about here before. I suppose to some extent, some of the circus-like atmosphere that ensues is part of the deal when you’re a celebrity. Admittedly, this is the area I most enjoy studying when it comes to fandom, and seeing the topic barely being scratched at on screen immediately piqued my interest.

There are at least two issues here: putting a celebrity on a pedestal, and, possibly as a secondary response – not seeing that star as a real person. What it is about the relationship of fan to rock star that creates this dynamic?

Something to prove

For my part, I know I’ve done some of this. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine any member of Duran Duran as a real person. To me, they were enigmatic “beings”…purely existing on a stage, on my TV, on the radio, and of course, in my daydreams. It never occurred to me that one day I might actually occupy breathing space any closer than say, me in nosebleed seats while they were on stage. My brain couldn’t get past the idea that they were rock stars – pure fantasy.

As an adult, particularly back during the time of the reunion shows and even the Astronaut tour, I still didn’t quite equate them with being “real”. I mean, of course I knew they were real people – but those thoughts didn’t run through my head as I pranced down hotel corridors with friends gleefully yelling “Le Bon”! (Oh yes. Yes we did. Those of you with me here know who you are.) I didn’t think about how they might react to seeing signs and posters at shows that said “Roger, can I twirl your stick?!?” (I wince ever so slightly while typing that). Cognitively, yes I knew Roger might see it, and possibly even react…but my feeling at the time was “He doesn’t know me, he’ll never recognize me after this, so who cares?!?”

I actually do care, funny how that changes….

More than a flame

But when did that really all change? I suppose that if I had to nail it down to a moment, there were two. The first was when I went to the UK with Amanda in 2011, and the second was when I was in the front row in Biloxi, 2012.

Going to the UK permanently changed me, and as result, my fandom too. There is something about walking the same streets as the band once did, seeing entire tours canceled, and then actually seeing Simon standing directly in front of me, explaining what had happened to his voice. (without anybody else screaming, or begging for pictures, or autographs in the process) I’ll never, ever forget it.

I really think it was that day when I realized that yes, these are real people. They have problems like anyone else. They LIVE like anyone else. That day, Simon was just a normal man – standing in front of us wearing a flannel shirt and denim jeans. He mentioned that a few of us had come a long way to see them, which was true. I can remember being surprised he even noticed, given the situation at hand. Despite not actually seeing them perform, I don’t regret the trip. The best way to describe my feelings is that I saw Simon as a person for the first time. I continue to have trouble rationalizing that the man who seems to recognize me, and has waved to me on more than one occasion, is in fact the same person who is in all the videos. Yet, he really is the same guy, and my life has taken an incredibly odd turn.

Even if I wait a lifetime

Later, even after we’d returned to the UK in December of that same year – something else happened to change my thinking. Amanda and I had thrown caution to the wind and traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi in 2012. We were determined to do the one thing we hadn’t experienced yet, and that was front row. We waited in that GA line, and yes, we did get those front row spots. Standing there waiting at the rail was surreal, but I felt something else stir deep in my belly. Apprehension? Concern? Nerves? Probably all of the above. The only way I can really describe this, and even then many of you may not relate to my feelings that night – was that I knew with certainty that the band would see me, and in turn, I would see them. No trickery needed. It was happening.

I could no longer pretend that they were just these figures up on a stage. For whatever weird reason, being at the rail broke some sort of bizarre boundary for me. I went from thinking of Duran Duran as these fantasy-figures to seeing them as real people… who could in turn see me, too.

It took me months after that trip to come to grips with being so close to the stage. Think about when you’ve seen the band yourselves. It is easy to trick yourself into believing they looked right at you while you were singing the words to “Ordinary World” or when you were smiling along with Nick during “Pressure Off”, regardless of how far back you are. If they look in your general direction, it is obviously meant for you – am I right?? It is another thing entirely when you are directly in front of them – no one else in front of you – and you KNOW they’re looking at you. They see you. As a real person.

Ease the lost cause

I think those moments when a band member and I saw one another as actual people, are what changed the way I viewed them. Not only were they totally knocked off of the stories-high pedestal they’d been living on since 1981 or so, but I saw them as people like me. No better, no worse. I tend to respond to them in that way on social media. It makes no difference whether or not they truly read anything or not. I “converse” with them the same way I might any one else I’ve known for over half my life. Weird? Maybe.

My curiosity about other fans and their reactions remain, though. When I mention here about what fans do to be near them or have their time – I’m not doing so in judgment. I have been with people who have no issue – they run down hallways, jump over furniture, cut in line, interrupt private meals or conversations just to have their moment. In fairness, these are all things that the band expects, and they have reacted by putting up their own personal boundaries as to what they will or will not do for fans at any given time, and rightly so. On the other hand, I know of people who are more likely to give them wide berth, even if there are no other fans around. Maybe it is due to circumstance, or because these fans can see more value in allowing the band to decide for themselves whether or not to engage.

Leave a light on

I don’t know that there is truly a “right way”. The socially accepted behavior of fandom always seems to be up for debate, and perhaps that’s the core of the issue. What is remarkable though, is how differently each of us perceive the band, and the roles they occupy for ourselves. My fascination lies not only with how we see and/or perceive our idols, but the reasons behind our behavior. I need John, Simon, Nick and Roger to be real, and in turn see me not as a crazy fan. Someone else might need for them to be on a pedestal. They need them to occupy that space seen as “perfection”. I don’t know why that is, but I like theorizing possibilities!

How do you see Duran Duran? Are they meant to be the epitome of perfection? Do you find yourself forgetting that they’re human? Are you more of the type that wouldn’t approach? How do you feel about those front row spots? Join the conversation – tell me what you’re thinking!

-R