Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

IT’s Too Much

I have to share a funny story. Yesterday, at work, I ran into the staff bathroom as the last hour bell rang, hoping to get in and out of there quickly as I had a meeting to get to with my principal. As I unlocked the door to the room, I discovered one of our English teachers in there. This teacher was someone I worked with last year as we shared some of the same students. If I had to give one word to describe this woman, I might say chatty. I knew right then and there that I would not get to my meeting on time.

As I passed her, she told me how glad she was to see me and asked how I was. I responded as quickly as I could, hoping that would be as far as the conversation would go. Before I could tell her that I had a meeting, she asked me about my summer plans. I sighed a little and gave a short answer, thinking to myself that we still have a whole month of school. I don’t want to think about that now as it would make the end of the year feel even longer. Of course, the conversation continued from there in a direction that I should have expected. “Duran Duran plans?” How do respond to that as quickly as possible. I responded lamely with, “Nope. Not this year.” As I walked out, I wondered what she really thinks about how things work with Duran Duran.

Later in the day, as I drove home, it dawned on me why I was so perplexed by how to answer. I honestly think she was asking me about Duran Duran like I might ask my friend, Laurie, about going to Florida during the winter or how I might ask the kids if they planned to go to any of the water parks at the Dells. She asked me about Duran in a way that made them sound like a location, some place to visit, rather than a group of people. Maybe it is not that extreme. Does she think they are just in a set location that I can always go see them like if they had a residency somewhere or that they are always on tour?

Now, in fairness, this colleague of mine knows next to nothing about fandom, especially musical fandom. She clearly didn’t mean any harm and I didn’t take it as some sort of insult. Obviously, she knows that I like Duran Duran and spend a lot of time doing something connected to the band. I don’t think she knows exactly what. She might know that I see the band play concerts but I don’t know that she really knows what that means. Is she aware that I often have to travel to see them? No clue. Does she any idea that the band doesn’t play concerts each and every day or even each and every summer?

This, of course, led me down another rabbit hole. What if Duran Duran did play concerts all the time? What if I could just go see them play anytime I wanted? My initial reaction was one of simple glee. How cool would that be? Rhonda mentioned getting to the century mark as far as shows go. This type of format would certainly make that easier or more possible. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? I have said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no place I would rather be than at a Duran show. I would be a lot happier with this, wouldn’t I?

As soon as I think all that, the more rational side of me kicks in. Would that really be the ideal? I don’t know any Duranie who wouldn’t like more shows. That said, would it be ideal to be able to go to a show at any time? I’m not so sure and not because I lost my mind. I would worry that being able to shows at any time would actually make the shows less special. Would I cease caring? Would it be so ordinary that it would be no different than stopping for a cup of coffee? It would be boring. Mundane. Then, if that were the case, would I stop dancing at the shows? Stop singing? Would I opt to sit in my chair and fall asleep from boredom?

How would playing so many shows affect the band? Would they grow to hate it? Would they start just going through the motions? I would suspect that they would–not because they are not amazing but because no one can sustain the level of intensity that they bring to shows. The more I think about this ideal world of Duran shows all the time, the less excited I am about that. That said, I wouldn’t complain for a few more shows. That wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it?

-A

You’re Taking my Heart to Pieces

This week, I watched the season finale of the TV show, Roswell New Mexico. This show was a remake of the original TV show simply named Roswell, which I adored. I loved it so much, in fact, that I dived deep into the fan community spending hours on message boards, reading a lot of fan fiction and making friends with nearby fans. This group of Midwestern fans began to get together for weekends to celebrate our love for the show. We provided comfort for each other when the original show was canceled and when the final episode aired. The show truly meant something to us.

When we heard that the show was coming back in a new formed, we decided to watch, cautiously and with an open mind. This led me to watch each episode of the new series. At times, I forgot that it was a remake and just watched it on its own. At other times, the emotions of the original came flooding back. Anyway, as I watched the season finale, I hoped to feel satisfied with however it ended, not knowing if it would return. All the while, attempting to keep relatively unattached as the previous show broke my heart into a million little pieces throughout the three seasons and that it ended.

Well, as the final episode wrapped up, it became clear to me that my plan to keep the show at arm’s length didn’t totally work. How do I know? I ranted and raved at the end of the episode for multiple reasons. If I didn’t care, why would I respond so passionately? Even now, days later, I’m left thinking about the finale and how frustrating it was. It led me to even seek out fan fiction again. My thinking was simple. Surely someone out there wrote an alternate ending that was so much better, right? Then, the next thing I know I started searching to find out the fate of the show. Is it coming back for a second season? Do I even want it to? After all, there was a lot that just sucked at the end. (It apparently is coming back for another season.)

As someone who has studied and thought about fandom, I started to wonder if anger and disappointment actually keeps fans attached. Now, I know that if the subject of a fandom changes in a dramatic way, fans can and do walk away. There are countless stories about TV shows, for example, that lost fans when the show changed directions or got rid of a favorite character. But did that exodus happen right away? I’m sure that there were some fans who left immediately but could it also have drawn others in as many fans would want to know about how it was going to go?

Then, I think about Duran Duran. In recent times, the album that caused the most controversy surrounded Red Carpet Massacre. For many fans, that album felt like a significant change in direction. Likewise, it was also the album right after Andy left. Did RCM send some fans running away right away? I’m sure but could it also help keep some fans interested? For example, did this change cause some fans to be so annoyed that they actually started talking more online with others in the fan community? Actually increasing their participation? Did it make some more interested to hear the new music? Could it have kept some in to wait and see how the following album after RCM would be? I think about Rhonda. During the RCM era, she didn’t walk away. Instead, she found herself talking a lot with other fans about the album. The passion she felt was not indifference but more likely to be described as frustration.

What is really the opposite of love? Is it hate or is it indifference? If it is indifference is that what causes fandoms to die or is it negative reactions to a project?

-A

Part of a Celluloid Dream

So, anybody got that trip to Iceland booked yet???

Me neither. *big sigh*

If I rewind back to yesterday

Speaking of sadness, did you know that on this date in 1986, Duran Duran sent out a press release with the announcement that my favorite drummer (and hopefully yours), Roger Taylor, was leaving the band. Headed for greener pastures. “Gentleman farming”, as he later referred to it.

Bah. Whatever.

The good news, of course, is that he came back! Only took him what…17 years or so….before he played live shows with Duran Duran again?

Watching slo-mo going frame by frame

Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled he left, but I was overjoy upon the announcement of his return! While I don’t love “celebrating” this day each year, I like reminding myself that things change. “This too shall pass”.

I sure hope so.

It’s been a rough week for me personally, Duranies. Positive thoughts go out to those who need them and a reminder that help, love, and support is here and waiting, whenever and however needed. Cheers.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to all.

-R

Where To Play?

I love the fact that Rhonda has started some conversations on our social media about Duran Duran. First, she asked about people’s song preferences from the album, Thank You. Then, she wondered where people would love to see the band play. I am still trying to play catch up so I didn’t have a chance to look through all of the answers or even give one myself. Maybe, now is the time that I do!

Does It Matter?

When I first saw the question, I wondered if it really matters where they play. Obviously, Rhonda was asking fans where *they* would like to see Duran play if time and money were not an issue. Many fans had responses so maybe it does matter. Some of the responses clearly focused on the city and others were about specific venues. Still, I wondered if it matters to me. When I think about Duran shows I have been to, did the location matter? Hmmm…my favorite shows had more to do with the show itself than where. A lot of times, my favorite shows are connected with having great seats and a fabulous time. Some places I thought would create the best shows didn’t really produce the best shows and other places that I thought wouldn’t be the best ended up being the best. For example, I couldn’t wait to see the band play in Birmingham. Interestingly enough, the Birmingham show I went to wasn’t the best one of that UK tour, at least for me. That said, it still felt magical seeing them in their hometown. Then, one of my favorite shows of the Paper Gods Tour was at the California Mid-State Fair. A fair, people. With livestock. Okay. So maybe I need to think of the question differently.

Locations

What if I imagine the best time and the best show possible in various cities? Where would be a great place to have a tremendous Duranie time? Hmm….when I think in that way, I think about cities that I would love to visit either for the first time or again. The first city that pops into my head is London. While I am extremely fortunate to have seen the band in the UK, I never got to see them play in London. Then, selfishly, I would love to see them play in Madison. They have played in Wisconsin before. I have even seen them in Milwaukee in 2005 but never in my city. (Fun fact: They played Madison in 1984, long before I lived here.) It would just be so nice to not have to travel at all to see them. Lastly, there are so many cities that I haven’t had a chance to visit that I would love to have an excuse to visit. Duran Duran’s tours have often resulted in me traveling to a new place solely to see a show or two.

Venues

Interestingly enough, many Duranies answered the question by mentioning venues. Many of the ones mentioned were pretty iconic like Red Rocks in Colorado or the Hollywood Bowl. Again, I totally appreciate those answers and get them. I have often found myself terribly excited by the idea of going to what many say are amazing venues to see Duran Duran. Yet, I worry that, sometimes, those types of venues create a lot of pressure on the band. Plus, sometimes, those places are hard to get good seats for. That said, one place that I wish I could have seen the band play at is the Louvre in Paris as they played there in 2008 with Mark Ronson. Do I wish I was there because art museums are super cool? Maybe. I suspect that a big part is that I love the clips from that show that I have seen. Seemed like a musically magical night.

Size

Does size of the venue matter? Again, I’m not super sure about it. I suppose smaller venues are nice because everyone in the place has a good chance of having an amazing view, which I can appreciate and applaud. Yet, I have also had great experiences in large venues, especially when it feels like thousands are all united in loving a song, a moment, this band. I like great sound quality but that can often change depending on where you are located in the crowd. I have heard both smaller and larger places have good and bad sound.

After all that, I’m thinking that I don’t know if it matters. At the end of the day, I love seeing them play anywhere. I’m like the opposite of the main character in the Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham. The main character does not like green eggs and ham anywhere or with anyone. I am the opposite. I love Duran Duran everywhere and with everyone.

-A

Carry the Fight

The other day my writing partner shared her childhood story on here about how and where Duran Duran fit in to her story and her coolness factor. She described how liking Duran is the closest she ever got to not being a nerd. If you haven’t read the blog post, you can here. I highly recommend it.

One of the best parts of sharing a blog with someone else is that I can get inspired by what my writing partner has written about like this particular blog. While I didn’t have a chance to read each and every response to her blog, when I glanced, it definitely seemed like the post resonated with others. I saw people share about how they had similar experiences or about how hearing Duran Duran changed their lives. It got me thinking. Did hearing Duran Duran change my life? Did becoming a Duranie make me cool or less uncool? Hmm…I’m not sure that I would say that. Then, last night I went to book club. We discussed a book that I didn’t read but had the message of making the best out of a bad situation and how there is honor in that. My fellow book clubbers also expressed admiration for that. I couldn’t do that as I wouldn’t just accept the bad situation. Then, when I thought about that message and my experience with Duran Duran, I finally got how Duran Duran shaped me.

As I am sure that I mentioned here before, my childhood was split in two. The first half of my life was spent in the south suburbs of Chicago while the second half was an hour or so away in a small town. While the distance between the two locations wasn’t all that big, it might as well have been two different planets as the two areas could not have been more different. The suburb featured a world of popular culture as Chicago radio was readily available and MTV premiered there pretty soon after it came out while the small town lacked any sort of popular radio and MTV didn’t come until the early 90s. They were night and day. The suburb was a fairly diverse place while the small town was as white as they come. I loved being close to Chicago and venturing into the city on a regular basis for school field trips and frequent White Sox games and hated the closed-mindedness that too many had in the small town.

The adult in me can now look at my perceptions of the two places and understand why I might feel as I do. Even though, I loved my suburban life, I wouldn’t describe it as a utopia. It certainly wasn’t perfect. At school, I was not well-liked starting right away in my half-day kindergarten where I met my best friend. For some reason that I never understood, I was not allowed on my school’s jungle gym until my best friend told others that I could come. Yes, I remember that at five. First grade wasn’t that much better at school as I became the number one target by a school bully. I don’t remember much about how that kid treated me but it was something about how I played. Too imaginative or something? Yet, I could survive that because I had a best friend. While she was no longer in my class, we still saw each other frequently despite not being in the same neighborhood. We always had such a great time together whether it was creating a fake store in my family’s basement or playing with her dog.

My best friend and I discovered Duran Duran together as we would often have B96 radio on while we played. Then, when MTV began, we found ourselves glued to the TV. I cannot remember who mentioned Duran Duran first or when or even why. I’m pretty certain that the first songs we heard the ones off of Rio but I couldn’t be certain. I have a very distinct memory of hearing New Moon on Monday one night when I spent the night at my friend’s. Did Duran Duran make me more cool? No. It brought my friendship closer as we shared the love for the band and soon began drooling over John Taylor together.

How did my Duranieness work at school? Did it me become more popular at school? Not really. I still wasn’t liked by the school bully. At lunch, though, when I avoided teasing, I sat across from some boys who loved to talk about music. Of course, in this era, Michael Jackson was king. My classmates certainly believed that Michael was the best ever and that Duran Duran was so uncool. Yes, that’s right. My classmates hated Duran. At the time, I had no idea why. Looking back, I’m sure that they felt that Duran got too much attention and that Michael and other African-American artists weren’t getting enough. Now, I get it. How did I respond to this debate? Oh, I would argue each and every day. I wanted to prove that Duran was the best and, yes, I pointed to their popularity as evidence. My classmates weren’t buying it but I never gave up.

My defiant attitude followed me to my new small town home in 1985. My new surroundings didn’t love Duran Duran either. Many of the kids in this town didn’t even know who Duran Duran was due to the lack of radio, MTV, etc. Later, as MTV showed up and more options for music came around, the kids in my little small town did not embrace Duran Duran or anything like that. No, most turned to more heavy metal and hard rock options. Duran Duran was completely unacceptable. After all, they seemed “too gay” for many of them. (See what I mean about closed-mindedness.) No, they only liked bands with “real men” that seemed to treat women like sexual objects. I could never buy into that as I held onto my love for Duran despite being so unpopular.

I’m sure that my Duranieness did not win me many favors or any friends. How did this small town treat me? Rhonda mentioned that she was never quite the person who ended up in trash cans. Well, I didn’t either but I did have rocks thrown at me as I walked home from the bus on a frequent basis. Why was I target? Does anyone really know? I am sure that I was different from having a more “Chicago” attitude and perspective when I arrived. Then, I was a religious minority that I didn’t hide. Looking back, my love for Duran was just another feature of who I was that made me weird. I don’t think it made me a target but it didn’t help me fit in either. Maybe I should have tried to change or fit in but I didn’t.

The book club discussion the other night made it seem like the only admirable way to approach a crappy situation is to make the best of it. I don’t buy that. I don’t believe that and never did. Some people decide to go with a bad situation and try to make the most to it. That is not a wrong or bad way to go. It just wasn’t and isn’t for me. I’m more of a fighter, someone who refuses to change to meet others’ expectations. I don’t like to accept bad situations and don’t try to adapt. Instead, I fight to end the situation. Now, I can see that my Duran fandom has always been a part of this defiance. I never changed and never walked away from Duran even if it would have made my life easier.

-A

My Finest Hour

Tuesday was Election Day in Wisconsin. While I have worked on campaigns before, this spring campaign marked the first one I have been the campaign manager for. This means that I designed the plan on how to reach as many voters as possible and convince them that my candidate was the one to vote for. The plan was an ambitious one that required a heck of a lot of time and work but I felt strongly that we needed to approach it that way since our opponent had so much going for him. He had name recognition, lots of media attention and support and big donors. We knew that it would be an uphill battle as we braved one of the harshest winters on record to knock on over 4000 doors and spoke to over 2000 people. Tuesday night, we gathered together to see if this plan worked. We managed to get over 35,000 votes to secure ourselves a win!! To say that we are thrilled would be an understatement! The lyrics to Duran’s song, Finest Hour, reminded me that “you’ve got to fight for what you believe.” Indeed, we did and came out winners!

Now, as I settle back into life with only one job, I find myself looking forward to getting more sleep, watching more TV, being a Duranie and more once I catch up on life. I also fully expect myself to have the time to pay attention to Duran Duran and all the happenings of our fan community. That said, I wonder if I will need more than just to slowly integrate myself back into Duranland. You know what I would really like? I wouldn’t mind a little mini-tour to plan for, to look forward to. Yes, yes, I know that we just had one one in February. That is totally true, but I wasn’t feeling the best and too tired to enjoy it as much as I could. Plus, why wouldn’t I want more shows like the ones we saw in February as they were absolutely fabulous?! Okay. So I cannot have that. What would be the next best things? I have two ideas.

Anyone up for a party?

While I would love, love, love to set up a Duranie party, I’m not certain that I could do that super quickly. After all, it takes time to plan for something like that well. So, if I cannot have a tour or a big Duranie party, what could I do? You know what I could do?! I could host an online one, couldn’t it? Rhonda and I have done a few of those over the years. Why not now? Usually, we do these online parties for some anniversary or holiday or something. I like to think of this one being for multiple things. First, it is to celebrate my campaign success and I cannot think of a better way than with Duran Duran. Second, it is to celebrate my return to Duranland. Third, my Duranie anniversary is this month. The last reason is just to do something fun! Who is with me?

Of course, I’m hoping that Rhonda would do this with me but she has no idea that I’m even proposing it. (Sorry—Rhonda! It just hit me and I went with it.) Hopefully, we can come up with a good date and what exactly we want to do with it. Social media? YouTube playlist? Something else fun? A contest? A game? What would all of you like for our online party? Stay tuned and watch this space!

Got something to say

My other idea is a simple one. While in Vegas, Rhonda and I mentioned that we both wanted to start writing again. I suggested a little project that we had already outlined. I think this would be a fun one to focus on because it is all about the fabulousness of Duran Duran and would definitely bring me back into the fold. I would love to see us write this and get it out this summer, too. Personally, I think we can do it. It would mean some focus during the summer along with probably a conference call or ten but I think we could do it. Heck, maybe, we should plan a get together to get it done. I like that the possibilities seem endless right now. It is all good.

So, people, as I bask in the glow of victory, I am giving you a little warning that Amanda, the Duranie, is feeling good and ready to have some fun around here once she gets some sleep.

-A

REPOST: 12 Reasons People Love Duran Duran

It is officially Get Out the Vote (GOTV) time! This means that I will be working on the campaign all day today, tomorrow, Monday and Election Day. A rush of adrenaline hits as this is when you start to see if all the work leading up to Election Night is worth it. This GOTV will be a little different as I also need to make sure that my dad is taken care of. This means that I will take time this morning to go pick up my niece from college to help out this weekend. Did I mention that I still have grading to finish? Ugh. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that this has been the worst spring break ever and that is has been anything but relaxing. But I will push through. What do I want to do? I would like to check out any and all information about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with John and Simon but that will have to wait. (That said, can you send me the key links for that? Help out a Duranie!!!) While I gear up for a super busy day, I thought I would be fun to repost one of my favorite blog posts of all time! I enjoyed rereading it and I hope you do, too!

12 REASONS PEOPLE LOVE DURAN DURAN IN 2016

JANUARY 30, 2016

Sometimes, an article or online post will catch my attention and I will feel compelled to respond to it.  This morning, I ran across this article/post on dailyfeed out of the UK entitled 12 Reasons Most People LOVED Duran Duran in the 80s.  As soon as I saw the title, I knew that I had to take a look at it and I also figured that I might agree with most of it but there might be some reasons that I don’t relate to, even though I did love Duran Duran in the 1980s.  Here is their list:

  • They wrote their own music
  • They had great fashion sense
  • They married supermodels
  • They had “brilliant” lyrics
  • The Wild Boys video was “unbelievable”
  • They were Princess Diana’s favorite band
  • Nick Rhodes was the “coolest man on the planet”
  • Arena is a favorite album
  • They had great live shows
  • They inspired “modern” acts
  • They had “brilliant” videos
  • They are still together

Now, I would recommend actually going to the article to see the pictures that go with as well as the brief explanation for each of these choices.  So, what do I think of them?  Well, right away, I might comment that some of these reasons aren’t related to the 1980s.  For example, their influence on others wasn’t known in the 1980s.  We might have guessed that they would be an inspiration on others but we didn’t know that then.  No one did.  Nonetheless, this list made me think that I might create my own list of why people LOVE Duran Duran NOW.  Some of my list will match the original’s but, there will be some changes as well.

Number 1:  Duran Duran has written some of the best songs that have ever been recorded all  from their first single, Planet Earth, to their most recent single, What Are the Chances.  Many of these songs have stood the test of time and I suspect the most recent ones as well.

John fashion
Simon fashion

Number 2:  While we admire Duran Duran’s great fashion sense, we also can laugh at some of their fashion choices now.  We can appreciate that they don’t always have to be “cool”.  They can be just
themselves and be comfortable with who they are!

Number 3:  Duran Duran makes us think.  Yes, they absolutely do make us think, whether it is by those brilliant lyrics mentioned by the original post or by their videos that seem to be more than what they seem on the surface.

Number 4:  While Duran Duran can make us think, they can also provide a serious escape from reality and remind us that fun is necessary in life!  Perhaps, they is why so many of us choose to go on tour to see them as much as we can!

Number 5:  Duran Duran will always be cool but, sometimes, they can be pretty dorky, which we love, too!  John Taylor’s dance in Danceophobia, anyone?

Number 6:  Speaking of “dorky” and dancing, Simon’s dancing is ALWAYS entertaining and never fails to make me laugh!!

Number 7:  Duran Duran IS a great live band!  No matter how many shows I go to, they never cease to amaze me by how fabulous they truly are live.

Number 8:  On top of making us think and making us laugh, they can also really make us feel.  Ordinary World might bring out the tears while Rio reminds us that they make us feel “alive, alive, alive”.

Number 9:  Duran Duran has recorded 14 amazing studio albums, including one, Paper Gods, released last year.  While I may not love each album equally, ALL of them have gems on them and songs that have made my life brighter for simply existing.

Number 10:  Beyond the fabulous music, Duran Duran also takes their time to consider the visual, whether that visual is in video form, an album cover or in the font that is used for merchandise.  The details matter to them.

duran-duran-paper-gods-cover

Number 11:  Duran Duran has fabulously dedicated fans.  Each of you reading this should now look in a mirror!  Yes, I am talking to you.  Go.  Do it.  You are a fabulous fan!  Often these wonderful fans meet and become the best of friends!  (Some of those friends are crazy enough to write a blog every day!)

Amanda & Rhonda Ace Rooftop

Number 12:  Duran Duran is STILL around and have had such an amazing career that has spans decades!  We all hope that they will continue to be around for a very, very, very long time to come!

-A

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

Dark Sun Rose on the Ridge

Cut clear across the sky

I’m late. I know I’m late, and I’m sorry. (and here comes the strangest sentence I’ve written YET…) I needed to go to the Farm Supply Store for Chick Grit and mealworms.

This morning I learned that chickens can be cannibalistic. I did not know that before this morning, and to be fair – I kinda wish I didn’t know now. However, I came home armed with all the aforementioned supplies, along with bottles to both heal a chick that is getting pecked as well as stop the others from thinking it is also a live buffet.

*sigh* The more you know…

The funny thing, and the topic of this blog for the day, is that as I was driving out of the Farm Supply parking lot, I thought to myself: Wow, cannibalism. That sounds an awful lot like what happens at Duran Duran GA show, or even in our fan community at times.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, no?

String of pearls meet bits of gems

It is true though. I mean, overly dramatic yes, but still true in some sense. I’ve seen it happen on message boards, in Facebook groups, on Twitter and most certainly in person. We tend to go after our own.

Online, it seems to happen when one chick, er, Duran Duran fan, tries to assert themselves over and above whomever is the strongest (read as “most popular”, “well-liked”, etc.). Maybe they call somebody out on their BS, or maybe they just disagree over a song or something even less “important”. At first, maybe there are a few nips or well-placed comments between the two involved. Invariably, someone sends a larger shot over the bow to make their point known to all bystanders.

Regardless of how or whom, the community tends to jump “en force”. The seemingly “weaker” fan is left defending themselves much of the time against a mob of fans willing and ready to defend the more popular fan. As if they really need defending, right? Regardless, eventually the “challenger” crawls away, the fight dies down, and some sort of normalcy prevails. Sometimes, I even see the two who were initially arguing end up as friends. It is as though a sense of mutual respect is spread between the two.

Honestly, I just think it’s weird. It’s also human nature, combined with female territorial instincts. We don’t want other women to have what we have, even when what we have is all in our own damn heads to begin with.

Enter the battle of the lenses

At shows, it is the same way. At GA shows, I’ve seen entire groups band together over one person who threatens to interrupt the balance of a crowd. Maybe that one person is drunk, or refuses to acknowledge personal space, or shoves just a little too much while waiting for the band to take the stage. If it bothers one person, well, maybe not much happens. However, let that bother enough people, or that one person in a group of people who just isn’t going to have it – and the next thing you know – there’s a real problem happening. The weak end up moving. The strong stay in their spot. It is survival of the fittest.

Are we really cannibalistic? Will we really go after our own? I kind of think we do, figuratively speaking of course! I tend to believe in survival of the fittest, even amongst humans. All one need do is observe Twitter for any length of time. The mob mentality is there. Let someone with a less popular point of view dare assert themselves and people will come out of the woodwork to band together and bring the offender down. Drag them into the proverbial street, make them into an example for all to see. I don’t think fandom is all that different.

After all, we’re all friends until we’re not. Whether that point is when the band shows up, or when someone points out that you’ve spent far too long in too many hotel lobbies, the shots are fired, and before you know it – we’re at war with the people who were our friends last week or even last night.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, indeed. I’m off to save my chick from the rest of the flock!

-R

Just Like That River: My Online Friend Joel.

Hear them shout across the land

I think I have been trying to collect my thoughts since last night, when I heard that a fellow fan named Joel David had suddenly passed away. We knew one another online, but had never met in person. I suppose I’m still shocked this morning.

We had been in the middle of dinner – we’d started late because of that dreaded Daylight Savings Time nonsense (if you’re on Twitter, you know how much I detest it!). Sure, my clock might say 8pm, but my body says it’s 7pm, and that’s that. Walt and I were still sitting at our counter, watching American Idol (yes, I’ve succumbed) and talking over our half-finished glasses of Cabernet. I saw my phone light up and decided to inspect it. My older kids are far enough away now to where I tend to worry more.(I know I shouldn’t, but I’m a mom. Plain and simple.) I picked it up and drew a huge breath, loud enough for Walt to hear.

Durandy’s news that Joel David had died was bright and easily read – right there on my screen. I re-read his short note over, and over again, because out of everyone I knew of in Duranland – I couldn’t quite believe it was Joel that we’d lost. I would hear from that guy nearly every day. Whether it was a comment on Facebook about something I’d written on the blog, Twitter, or connecting on one of DDHQ’s own status updates – Joel was a mainstay in the community. I appreciated his usually sunny-outlook, and his support.

I’ve seen you on TV

I spend a lot of time online. (Although my phone tells me that my screen time was down 25% last week!) I spend a lot of time talking to people on Twitter, among many other things. It is how I choose to remain connected to the world. Most days – I don’t mind that I don’t necessarily know my neighbors or have friends nearby. I am able to open my phone, get to Twitter, and chat away with people whenever I feel the urge, and I like that. Between my trusty laptop and my phone, I’m pretty set. I’m not someone who thrives by having lunches with friends, or shopping dates – although they’re nice – they’re not a necessity for me. Social media though? Yes, it’s a thing.

I’ve had friends – and yes, Amanda is one of them – say to me that they don’t have time to be online. They’ve got careers and real things to do. They want time with actual people, and I don’t fault anyone for needing that. It is important to have people you’re able to call at 3am that can be there. Online friendships aren’t always the same. They’re not necessarily as deep or meaningful. In some ways, I get it.

It’s true that a lot of my friendships might be superficial. I mean, we chat about a band, so sure, it doesn’t seem like we get into the nitty gritty of politics, or childrearing, or personal convictions (but often times, we do). And no, I wouldn’t call my online friends at 3am. But then again, I wouldn’t call anyone at 3am, except for maybe my mom, my sister, and my kids. From my own experience, good phone calls don’t come at that hour…unless maybe you’re very confused about the time difference. (Listen, my math isn’t that great so….)

Regardless, I get the point. Then again, you’re reading a blog from someone who hates using the phone for it’s originally intended purpose. Just saying.

I know what you’re thinking

It’s true. I don’t have a job, much less a career. I have some spare time (although not nearly as much as one might think) on my hands. While I indeed have some personal thoughts about careers and life-choices that I won’t bore you all with here, I think the main point I want to make is that we all choose how to connect with people.

My path is likely different from most anybody else reading this. Different does not mean “less than”. If you’re looking down your nose at me, or the other people who like being on Facebook or Twitter for the pure social aspect, you should probably rethink your own intentions. I’m happy that I’m online. I don’t look at it as a waste of time at all. It is how I choose to interact with people other than my immediate family. For me, various types of social media have been how I have made, and maintained, 90% of the friendships I’ve had as an adult, believe it or not.

When I first really got involved in the Duran fan community, it was through message boards. I met Amanda as a result of one of those boards. When Twitter and Facebook gained in popularity, I made the jump to those platforms. Then the blog and website came along, and we even still have a message board. (albeit I am hard pressed finding time and remembering to go over there a lot – but I try!) I am on and off of Twitter all day. I can scroll through, respond to things in a fraction of a second, and be off again; even while I’m working with my youngest on her math. You’d think I wouldn’t have to stand over her to get work done, but you’d be wrong. Kids are great.

Two, of a billion stars

Joel is one of those people that I would often see a note, or see a new Instagram post from. He was, from what I knew, a happy guy. He would reach out when he had something to say, and he even checked in with me when I admitted being very depressed last year. I loved seeing his pictures, and enjoyed knowing he was a part of this community. Had I not been involved on social media, I would have never connected with him. For that matter, the same can be said for many of you reading this, or tweeting to me or Daily Duranie on Twitter.

I guess my feelings today can best be summed up like this: I’m sad that I won’t see Joel online anymore. He was a friend, and I felt like he cared. I feel terrible for his friends and family. His loss will certainly be felt by a lot of people. Knowing Joel, I am betting he had absolutely no idea that so many of us would respond as we have.

When she shines, she really shows you all she can

By the same token, I am no longer going to feel less important or impactful because I have time to be online, or because I have made friends this way. No, I am not a big career-person, and that’s hard for me to admit. I wanted a career of my own, but it just never quite worked out. I am probably not changing the world in a huge, noticeable way. However, I have done things to make a part of this world – my teeny-tiny little speck on it, anyway – a little better. More importantly, we ALL have, in ways that are both big and small. We don’t always see the impact we have on others, but I can promise it’s there. Have faith in that, as I try to do the same each day.

I don’t go through life assigning importance to people based on some sort of arbitrary sort of list, pondering over whether or not they’ve contributed to society, or causes, at an appropriate level. However, even if I had, Joel never failed to make me smile. In a world and on platforms that are filled with people so angry they can’t even see the good that is out there – Joel spread happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.

Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand

It isn’t lost on me that our Duranie world is the teeniest bit smaller today. Many of us are sad or are struggling. (Shout out to my buddy Alana – I’m thinking of you!! You too Heather – keep on healing, my friend!) Those are healthy and normal feelings to have and share with others. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We’re not ALWAYS dancing on the sand…but aren’t we lucky to have found a community of people who understand when we do?

There’s always something to be thankful for.

-R