Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

Amanda’s Five Joyful Moments of Fandom

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about an idea I had. This idea was a simple one–that I was going to take time to think about moments when I experienced real joy, related to my fandom. These moments might happen when the band is around and they might occur when they are not around. The idea was to acknowledge those times when I stopped for a second or two, looked around and realized that, in that moment, I was truly happy. Those moments might not be big or small and they might not have been perfect but something was happening that made my heart feel full. I have taken some time in the last two weeks to think of these moments. Some of them I knew right away and others took longer to pop into my head. Here are five of those moments, in no particular order. I’m certain that there were more but I’m going with these. Then, next week, I’ll share five more.

1. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in September 2004.
This moment happened on the second night of the Friends of Mine Convention.  At the time of the convention, I had just returned to the Duran fandom and felt like I had taken a huge risk in going to this convention. After all, I had never traveled for fandom before and didn’t really know anyone except for the person who went with me. I knew that this would be a moment that would either cause my fandom to grow or to fade. Luckily for me, I had an absolute blast and met so many amazing people, including Rhonda. It was a turning point, indeed. While I didn’t know that at the time, I knew that I was having an absolutely amazing time when we were at the piano bar, Howl at the Moon. We had finally convinced them to play some Duran and there we were, late at night, singing loudly and proudly to Hungry Like the Wolf. I felt like I had found my people.

2. Secret Oktober in Brighton in November 2011.
As many of you know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK in the spring of 2011 to see Duran play in their home country, only to have the shows canceled on us due to Simon’s lost vocal range. At the time of that trip, both of us felt fairly certain that the band was done and Simon would never sing again. Of course, we didn’t dare utter that thought from fear that it would be true. Thus, when the band was able to perform again, we didn’t hesitate to go back, to try it again. Brighton was our first show of that tour, which will always make it magical but when we heard the first notes to Secret Oktober, it transcended even that. Rhonda and I looked at each other in shock and awe before hugging like goofs and turning our attention back to the stage. Magical, indeed.

3. Agua Caliente show in March 2017.
This has been a tough year for me and it was especially tough in those first couple of months. One reason was that Rhonda and I weren’t communicating as we normally do. We felt distant from each other and I desperately fretted that our friendship was slowly dying. When the shows at Agua Caliente were announced, I knew that I had to go. I figured it might either be my last tour or it would turn things around. Both shows were amazing but the second night, up front, felt like everything was right again. At the end of the show, I posted the following on my personal Facebook, “The truth is that I love this band more than I can say. I can’t imagine never seeing them again. They bring me joy…” Indeed.

4. Laughing hysterically at Tempo Cafe in Chicago in March 2005.
While the convention in 2004 brought me my people, the spring Astronaut tour made Rhonda and I touring partners for life. We saw two shows that weekend in Chicago and Milwaukee. After the second show, we ended up needing food and caffeine at like five in the morning. Tempo Cafe was the only place in downtown Chicago that we knew was open twenty-four hours a day. After waiting for forever to get a seat, once we got our food, Rhonda and I could not stop laughing. I have no idea what the heck was so funny but we laughed and laughed and laughed until tears were flowing. I knew then that when we get together, laughter will always follow.

5. Hail storm in Brompton Cemetery in London in May 2011.
When Rhonda and I went to the UK for shows that did not happen, we promised ourselves that we would not just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We were going to make lemonade out of lemons. Thankfully, friends took sympathy on us and gave us some info on where some Duran landmarks are located, including Brompton Cemetery, the one featured in the All You Need Is Now video. We spent one day following this mini-tour, including stopping by the very cool cemetery. The funny part is that every time we got near a Duran specific place, it would thunder and rain like you would not believe. We wondered if the gods were trying to tell us something. By the time we hit the cemetery, we were ready for whatever. Whatever is what we got. No sooner had we entered through the gate when it started to storm. This storm included some significant hail. We ran until we found shelter, laughing all the way, as we were certain that we looked like drowned rats.

Now that I have five of my fandom moments that have brought me joy, I ask that all of you do the same.  I want to read everyone’s very cool moments related to their fandom.  I guarantee that my week will be better off because of them.  Then, next week, I will share five more to round out my ten joyful fandom moments.

-A

 

Big News!

I normally post a blog on Friday morning and move along.  After all, by Friday afternoon, I’m usually spent.  Exhausted.  Tired.  Fatigued.  Use whatever synonym you like best.  This week is not really an exception but we have news.  Big news.  In fact, this news is such that we don’t want to sit on it for another minute, hour or day.  What is it, you might ask?  Well, in order to find out, you gotta the watch the video.

Assuming that you all suffered through that 13 minutes plus of that glorious video, what do you think?  As you can tell, we are pretty dang excited.  Of course, we also want to acknowledge some people who have helped with this process so far.  First, as much as it pains me, I have to get a little shout-out to that old brother of mine who gave us the idea to go for this and some writing assistance as well.  Second, we would like to thank a couple of friends of ours, Lori and Patty, who were our sounding board and provided some necessary guidance when we really needed it.  Of course, I suppose we should thank that band who inspired us (or as Rhonda says–tricked us) into starting this journey to begin with.  In all seriousness, without them, we wouldn’t have done any of this.

On that note, we are off to do a little work and listen to a Katy Kafe with…that’s right…Simon, our favorite singer in the entire world.  (Ha!)  Perhaps, there will be a video blog about that…

-A

I Light My Torch and Wave It

It is lyric Friday!  As usual, I shuffled my iPod until I came across my first Duran related song.  Today, the first song was New Moon on Monday, which made me smile.  I knew immediately which lyric I would use for the blog post.  My favorite lyric in this song is definitely, “I light my torch and wave it…”  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  It absolutely reminds me of fandom.  Once you become a fan, a significant fan of someone or something, you light that torch, so to speak.

Call me sappy, but that is how I view fandom.  When you fall in love or become a fan, it does feel like something has been awoken or lit inside.  It makes you feel warm inside.  It makes you feel good to watch or hear or read something you are a fan of.  In those situations, you cannot help but to smile.  Of course, that leads people  to read, watch, listen, etc. again and again.  It is like the light from good feeling continues.  It burns on.  At least, that is how I feel about my fandom.  Yes, there have been times that I have been disappointed or frustrated with something related or connected to my fandom, but overall, it still begins me joy and happiness that I rarely get otherwise.  Therefore, I cannot imagine my torch ever being extinguished.  The flame will always burn.

As for the second half of the lyrics, to “wave” that torch seems to me to be about being out and proud of one’s fan status.  There are many in fan studies who talk about fan coming out stories and how it is common for fans to share one’s fan story when first meeting other fans.  I feel lucky in that I often get to share my fan story here on this blog, in person at various meet ups and other events and more.  I love to hear other people’s fan stories, including when, why, how they became fans.  I also like to hear about how fans “wave” their fandom.  How do they show it?  How do they share it with other fans and non-fans?

I think about how I “wave” my fandom.  Clearly, one of the biggest, most obvious way is through this blog.  The fact that I am one half of the Daily Duranie, a blog that posts daily about being Duran fans I think shows how much and how often I’m cool with waving my Duran fandom.  Other fans certainly see my fandom beyond this blog.  For example, any fellow fan that comes to my house would see my office, which is nothing but Duran.  That fan might also see or hear my collection of CDs or of DVDs.  Heck, they might even get a chance to play Into the Arena or the trivia game I wrote.  But, is that really waving my torch, so to speak?  Maybe with other fans but I don’t think that qualifies with non-fans.  How I am doing with them?

I don’t think I hide my Duranieness but I acknowledge that it isn’t something I discuss when first meeting people.  I recognize that fandom is very much misunderstood and that there is a lot of stigma connected to being a fan, especially as a forty-something year-old woman.  Thus, I tend to wait a little while before sharing.  Once I do, though, I tend to be pretty open.  It isn’t uncommon for me to be seen with Duran a related mug or one of  my 850 (kidding!) Paper Gods canvass bags or a t-shirt.  I think once I get out the fact that I’m a big Duranie, then I am constantly waving that torch.  What about the rest of you?  Do you wave your fandom torch?  If so, how?  When?

-A

Cause Maybe We Have More Play Time Than Money

Last week, I introduced the idea of lyric day created by using shuffle to find a Duran related song then lyric to use as a blog starter.  Basically, the idea is that I would press shuffle on what music device is closest to pick out a Duran related song.  From there, I would search the lyrics to find a line that grabs me.  Then, I would write a blog based on what thoughts popped into my mind from that lyric.

This week, when I pressed shuffle the first Duran related song that came up was an Arcadia song, Election Day, to be specific.  My first thought was to blog about the line, “She’s moody and grey.  She’s mean and she’s restless.”  After all, I might resemble that remark but it also seemed too predictable.  Boring.  I don’t want that.  Thus, I chose the lyric, “Cause maybe we have more play time than money.”  This line is one that always catches my attention when I listen to it.  It reminds me of the differences between fandom as a kid and fandom as an adult.

When I first became a Duranie, I was very young (8!).  My fandom was simple then, in many ways.  It involves listening to the records over and over again.  Similarly, it included watching MTV as much as possible for any possible video viewing.  Many Friday nights were spent in my family’s “toy room” on the fold out couch watching Friday Night Videos with my best friend.  Fandom then meant simple consumption.  It was about listening, watching and buying.  What I was buying included the usual 1980s memorabilia.  I bought a lot of magazines.  I saved up money for thicker books like “The Book of Words” and “Sing Blue Silver”.  Christmas and birthday lists featured random Duran related items like the Into the Arena board game or Duran Duran pajamas.  My fan community was very super small.  Basically, it was me and my best friend.  We encouraged each other’s fandom by listening and watching together.  Likewise, we shared purchases with each other and tried to find the cooler items.  As kids, we had a lot more playtime than money and money is what we really wanted for our fandom.

Now, as an adult, my fandom is expressed way differently than my kid fandom.  I still like Duran merchandise, of course.  It is a good time and a good night if I’m able to spend it listening or watching Duran but that is rare.  No, my fandom now has to do with writing, like this blog, for example.  Traveling and going to shows is another significant part of how I express my fandom.  Like my childhood fandom, money is still involved.  Now, I have more money to buy those little Duran related items but there is not much of that around.  I often have some money saved up for shows but…there is a lot of time in which there are no shows to go to.  In many cases, that is just as well since I always have a long to do list.  So, now, that lyric feels like the opposite.  I have more money than playtime especially during the school year.

When shows happen, I try my best to squeeze in a show or two depending on when and where they are.  They are simply squeezed in to a super busy existence.  As a kid I focused on money and the cost of what I wanted in terms of my Duranieness.  Now, of course, money is important to get what I want but I also need the playtime and that does not always exist for me.

What about the rest of you?  Which is a bigger deal in terms of your fandom:  money or playtime?

-A

Homework Assignment: 10 Fandom Moments of Joy

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m desperate for good news and good times.  The world feels very heavy and the hits just keep coming.  Many of my colleagues are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.  Friends of mine are going through tough issues and situations with family and/or friends.  Seriously, I think the only person I know who is really having a good time and is super happy is my eldest niece who is at college for her first semester.  The rest of us are struggling with too much work, too many negatives, too many stressful situations or a combination of those.

In thinking about all of that, my mind drifts to my mother.  Whenever I call my mom looking to vent or complain or whatever I need to do, she attempts to listen before offering about 13 different suggestions to solve, to fix, to make better whatever is not going well.  She always wants to help.  In many cases, she succeeds.  She’s a wonder woman like that.  In looking at my own life, I think I do the same thing with those who come to me for help or advice.  How can we solve it?  What can be fixed?  How can I help?  I know that I function in this way when it comes to the kids who seek me out at school.  Of course, I’m describing this personality characteristic of mine as a negative.  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t.  Nonetheless, I always feel better when I act, when I do something.  I feel like now is that time.

So, in order to help all of us deal with whatever struggle or crap life is throwing at us, I propose the following homework assignment.  I ask that each one of us think about our Duran Duran fandom, whether it is a year long or almost forty years long.  After thinking about one’s fandom and one’s history in it, each person should pick out ten moments that were pure joy.  Maybe it was a time when you met a band member or two.  Perhaps joy was found at a special moment at a concert.  Sometimes, it can be connecting to a song in a way that reaches deep into your soul.  I know that joy could also be found at times related to the band instead of when they are directly involved.  It could be at a Duran related event like a meet-up or a convention.  Maybe joy was found when traveling to or from a show or just being with other friends.  Whatever brought you joy connected to this fandom is acceptable.  They could be huge moments or small, subtle ones.  That is up to you to decide.

Once you have created your random list of 10 joyful moments, you have some options.  You could put them in order from the least joyful of the joyous moments to the most happiness inducing or not.  Maybe it is more fun to order these moments chronologically, from the longest ago to the most recent.  Perhaps, you don’t want to order this list of yours at all.  That part is up to you.  Once the list is ready, you can do a couple of things with it.  First, you could just leave it somewhere so that you can reference it when you need an emotional lift.  Second, you could decide to share it with the rest of Duranland.  You can share it on the Daily Duranie various social media platforms.  Maybe you just want to send it to us via email, just so it is shared with someone.  Yet, some of  you might love your list of joyful fandom moments so much that you want to do more with it.  You could turn it into a guest blog.  Seriously, wouldn’t it be cool if we had a ton of blogs with people sharing some of the best moments of their fandom!?!  I think it would be great.

I know that I plan to do this myself.  I need the reason, the excuse to dive deep into my fandom and just remember the good times.  I will blog about my list, of course, as well.   I will also encourage my partner-in-crime to complete a list herself.  I just think we could all use a little injection of something good, something happy.  I hope you all agree.  Homework assignments are due next Sunday, which means that you have a week to think about your 10 moments of joy and make a list.  On Sunday, I’ll report on mine.

-A

Amanda and I Write: Looking Back Over Seven Years

It’s Tuesday, which means while you’re reading, I’m at work already.  It’s the first day with students on campus, although today it is just a small group for a Robotics day camp. I was nervous before I left, purely because it’s the start of a new year and I still have a ton of work left to do in order to get ready for Thursday when we have orientation. This blog is just the thing I needed to get my mind off of work a little bit!

Today is September 5th. Eight little days from now, this blog will magically turn seven years old. The first thing that comes to mind as I type that sentence is that I don’t know where the time has gone. It doesn’t feel as though I’ve been writing for seven years, that is for sure.  But by the same token, a lot has happened during that time, I guess. Two albums, more than a few tours and shows, I’ve had a baby, two kids graduate from high school, taken on a new job for the first time in twenty years….and written a lot of words.

Amanda and I spoke last week before each of us went back to the salt mines for the school year, knowing we’d both get far too busy to talk much later.  We agreed to do something just a little different this year in order to celebrate the blog. Over the course of the next week, beginning tomorrow, we’re choosing one blog from each year – 2010-2017 – to highlight and reprint. I have barely begun the process of looking back to pick out blogs to reprint, and it’s much harder than I originally thought! Do I pick a blog that best represents the year, or blogs that I felt were well-written?  What about the poignant ones – like when Simon lost his voice or while Amanda and I were in the UK?  There are 365 days in most years, and to only choose one is challenging.  I don’t know what Amanda will pick for the days that she blogs, but I’ve decided to go with my gut. No rhyme or reason – just the blogs that in re-reading, I decided to share again. So each day, you’ll see something from a different year, and we’ll write something about the blog to reintroduce it.

I’ll probably share more about how I’m feeling as I go, but I just have to say that I’m pretty proud of Amanda and I. I’m not proud of our success or traffic numbers – I don’t care about that stuff. I’m just proud of us and what we’ve written. We’ve stuck through some really hard moments, things that no one but the two of us know happened, and our friendship is solid. (That’s the thing I’m most proud of)

This whole thing started at as no more than another one of my hare-brained schemes that I didn’t really think through. Somehow writing a blog each day sounded EASY seven years ago. Some days, it is, if there’s news, if I’m feeling wordy, and if I’ve got time. I didn’t think too much about how this was all going to happen while we’re supposed to be teaching or working, it’s one of those things that just sounded good at the time. Somehow, we’ve made it work. That isn’t to say everyone loves us, or that we haven’t stumbled along the way, but we’ve stuck with it, persevered, and I think Amanda and I are at a place of peace now. It’s not perfect, but neither are we.  We just have fun and let the rest take care of itself.  “The rest” used to bother me, and sometimes when I least expect – someone will say something online and it will strike a nerve and really upset me.  That’s when I take a minute to remind myself that Amanda and I WRITE. That’s what we do. Each day we offer our words, opinions, hopes, joy and sometimes, disappointment and sorrow. Once we’ve hit “publish”, it’s up to everyone else.  It doesn’t work when I get involved on that end of the narrative, and I’m so much happier when I don’t. These days, I’m just proud of what we’ve done, and content with what I am doing. The rest just takes care of itself.

So with that, I’m excited to look back and see what I can dig up to share!

-R

People Tell Me I Haven’t Changed but I Don’t Feel the Same

Are you participating in our #2017DDChallenge this year leading up to Duran Duran Appreciation Day?  I certainly am and have been enjoying it!  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read the blog posted here.  This isn’t the first time that Rhonda and I have done such an activity.  In fact, it is pretty common for us to do something surrounding or for Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  Yet, it was shocking to us at how different the original set of questions were.  Needless to say, this year’s questions for the challenge are far more positive than the ones from a few years ago.  That isn’t to say that all the questions will be positive but the vast majority will be.  We are still thinking and critical Duranies but we are different now.  At least, I feel like I am.

Looking back through the years of blog posts here it seems obvious that I’m far less negative and critical of the band now than I once was.  Even during the All You Need Is Now era, which I absolutely adored, a lot of what was said, talked about, and written about by me was more critical in nature.  Then, of course, the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods was problematic for me.  I wanted so desperately for the band to capitalize on what I felt they created with AYNIN and was afraid that any or all momentum would be lost with too much time.  My criticism or negativity definitely came from the best of intentions and with all the love I could muster but I just couldn’t or wouldn’t see it from the band’s side.  I didn’t understand that the creative process could not rushed.  Then, of course, I had plenty of ideas of how Duran could help themselves and offered many of them here on the blog.  Some of those ideas might have been good, I don’t know.  I can’t remember.  No matter, now, I like to think that  have learned some big lessons.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned during this album cycle is to just be more empathetic.  I cannot possibly know what life is like for the members of Duran Duran.  While, yes, I might have lots of ideas about how to approach this, that or the next thing, I have no idea whether or not those ideas are even possible.  Some might and others might not be.  I recognize now, though, that as much as I try to think about what it might be like to be in their shoes, I really cannot.  I can only know what it is like to be in my shoes and to have my perspective.

Because of this realization, I’m truly picking my battles. Some ideas might still cause a passionate response in me.  For example, a reader posted a quote in some Hawaiian press that the band is considering including Andy Taylor in the 40th anniversary celebration.  That got a response from me.  (For the record:  I’m not a fan.  It isn’t that I don’t or didn’t like Andy.  I just like the band the way it is now and I worry that having Andy return in any capacity would cause problems for the band and/or Andy.  I don’t want that.)

On the other side of the coin, I’m letting go of the little things.  I’m not going to worry about who is modeling the merchandise, for example, or whether or not the right or wrong word is used in a tweet.  None of that really matters to me.  I get that those things might to other fans and that’s fine but they don’t to me right now.  I realize that those little things that I could be critical of don’t change my fandom for the positive.  No, in fact, they could make me less happy being a Duranie.  I don’t want that.  I want and need Duran to be my happy place.

Likewise, I’m also going to cheer things that the band or DDHQ is doing that I like.  For example, I’m loved all of the tweets/posts/pictures of the band in Hawaii.  While I could not be there, I at least feel as if I’m a part of it in some small fashion.  It also keeps that small connection that I felt towards the band from the shows in Oakland and San Francisco alive.  I appreciate that A LOT.

Overall, I don’t think I’m the same person or the same fan that I once was.  Maybe, this change has come from my own experience with the creative process.  Perhaps, it is that the reality surrounding me means that I need my fandom to be just a happy place.  I don’t know.  It could be a new maturity.  I guess it could be a lot of things.  If I had to say, though, I think this change is a good change and one that I’m embracing.

-A

A Field Guide to Duranies

I had another blog post planned for today but decided to scrap it in light of the news.  As I’m sure most of you know, there was another terrorist attack last night in the UK.  In hearing about the news, which seems to becoming common, routine, the usual thoughts and feelings popped in my head.  There was fear for my friends who live there and for those innocent people who were at the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Then, feelings of anger take hold directed towards anyone wanting to not only injury or kill people but who also want to create fear.  They want people’s fear to change how they live.  Instead of going out with friends or going to concerts, people would stay inside or give up freedoms in order to stay safe.  The more these attacks happen, the more determined I hope people are not going to let them win.

Therefore, instead of posting a more serious blog about the difference between male and female fandom, I am going to be a little fluffy.  No one needs me to be super serious now.  There is plenty of time for that later.

Speaking of time, I am looking forward to my life in a week when the 2016-2017 school year is behind me.  I cannot wait to be done with grading, contacting parents and attempting to pull students across the finish line with passing grades.  One thing I hope to do with my extra time is to get a lot of reading done, especially for a project Rhonda and I are working on.  Luckily, I have been able to squeeze in a little reading here and there in between class sets of papers and lesson planning.  One of the books I have been reading is “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy:  A Handbook for Girl Geeks.”

While this book focuses on fandoms based more on movies, TV shows, comics, etc, I have been able to apply some of it to the Duran fandom.  In fact, in the beginning of the book, the author describes various fandoms using the following categories:  Defining Characteristics, Key Accessories How To Become One and Unending Debates.  As I read about various fandoms, I wondered what I would say about Duranies.  Here’s what I came up with:

Defining Characteristics:

The author listed the three big characteristics for this category.  It is not easy to list just three but here is what I came up with.

  • Love for the color and creative spirit of the 1980s especially surrounding New Wave culture
  • Deep understanding for how the visual including video and fashion can impact the coolness of music
  • Appreciation for the influence of punk, disco, glam and more as well as poetic lyrics

Key Accessories:

This includes merchandise that would show off one’s fandom.

Latest concert t-shirts, classic albums on vinyl especially Rio, posters that once covered bedroom walls, John’s autobiography, unofficial and intangible Duranie card, Sing Blue Silver on DVD, concert ticket stubs, and photos of concert/tour experiences.

How To Become One:

This category is pretty self-explanatory.

Listen to all of the albums, preferably in order to understand the band’s evolution.  Familiarize yourself with various side projects, especially Arcadia and Power Station.  Watch all of the band’s videos on YouTube or through the Greatest DVD.  Attend a concert with someone who is already a Duranie to learn all of the moves and phrases.  Start following Duranies on social media.  Read a good blog.  😉

Unending Debates:

Obviously, this is about what the fandom can talk about over and over and over and over again.

Which guitarist is better:  Andy, Warren or Dom?  Why did Andy leave?  Why can’t Duran be more commercially successful these days?  Was Red Carpet Massacre a great album or not?  How should Duran Duran treat their fans?  Why doesn’t the setlist change?  Why can’t Duran Duran be more like ____________________ (insert band here)?

So, what do the rest of you think?  How did I do in describing Duranland?  What would you say to those categories?

-A

I’ve Been a Fan For How Long???!?

Last Sunday, Duran Duran celebrated a little anniversary.  The Reflex  was released 33 years ago that day.  33?!  Rhonda often talks about how she cannot believe that this song or this album was released decades ago and I’m right there with her.  In this case, this anniversary represents my personal anniversary.  I mark it as the date that I became a fan, a Duranie.  33 years ago.  I work with teachers who are younger than that.

Anyway, why does this particular song represent my embrace of Duranie-ness?  Simple.  While I remember liking many of their songs and videos before this one, the Reflex pushed me over the edge into obsession.  I couldn’t get enough.  I had to watch each time that the video played.  In fact, whenever I saw the video I had to call my best friend at the time and vice versa.  At our sleepovers, we were glued to Friday Night Videos and MTV in hopes that it would air.  We saw it so often that we learned all the moves.  In fact, I think I have a picture of my friend doing one of Simon’s classic dance moves.

When I think back to my childhood and doing things like memorizing moves or rewinding videotapes in order to pause when John Taylor turns to the camera, I can’t help but sit shaking my head a bit.  It is not that I think we did anything wrong or that we demonstrated our fandom in an obnoxious way.  It is more like I wish I could go back in time to see how I experienced my fandom then.  I have memories of it and some of them are very vivid, including the ones I shared here.  Part of me wishes that I could go back to that time when that love for Duran was so new and so amazing.

I always think of new fandom as being like that  “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship when you can’t get enough and no wrong is done.  It feels perfect.  As an adult, I now see the imperfections of both the band, the fans and even myself.  That flawless image cannot remain, just like it never does in a relationship either.  No one is perfect and fandom is not either.

The other part of myself wants to give some insight to the young, almost 9 year old me.  I want to warn, almost, the younger version of me about how media and others will criticize Duran Duran.  They will attempt to be the thumbtacks to my fandom balloon.  Perhaps, I would explain how as time goes on, changes happen.  Bands evolve and experience change.  Some of it will sting a bit but that the heart of Duran Duran will continue to beat on for decades.  I would want to ensure my younger self that I’m not wrong for becoming a Duranie.  Some points I might make include about their staying power and about the fabulous songs they wrote and performed after the current Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.

Beyond the band, I might point out where fandom took me personally.  Maybe, I would talk about the states and countries I have visited just to see the band live or about all of the friends I have made as a result.  Then, if my younger self handled all of that, I might share the fact that I have written a daily blog with my best friend about being a Duran fan for years.  Many years.

What do I think my younger self would say to all of this?  I imagine that I wouldn’t be shocked that the band has been around for decades.  I might laugh and say something like, “Of course they will be around!  Duh!”  As far the concert going goes, my 9 year old self would have struggled with that more.  After all, at that point, I hadn’t attended a single concert.  I could imagine that I would have questions and a couple of exclamations!  “Do you dance like the audience did in the Reflex?  Do you sing along?  What is it like to breath the same air as them?  I probably would pass out if I was anywhere near them.  Is John as cute as he looks?”  Then, my older self could blow my younger self’s mind when I tell her/me about how I have pictures of the band, that I have spoken to them and seen them up close.

As far as the blog goes, my younger self definitely would have been confused by that idea.  After all, I would not know anything about the internet for another decade.  Overall, though, I think I would have been in awe.  Jealous.  I would have been excited to grow up and have the experiences I shared.  After this conversation, the adult me, the real me might have remembered the feeling of pure joy and innocence that exists in brand new fandom.  Then, I will think about the love that can and does grow over time.  It isn’t despite the imperfections but because of them.  Fandom isn’t perfect and either is the band.  What it is, though, is mine.  I don’t mean that in a possessive, I’m the only one sort of way.  Just that Duran is a part of me, part of my history and always will be. Maybe, someday, I’ll be writing about my 43rd or 53rd anniversary of being a Duranie.  That might be just as cool as talking to my younger self.

-A

Give Me Strength: Giving Appreciation

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with my parents where we ate a full vegetarian meal, watched Star Trek Beyond and played some games.  It provided me necessary down time and the comfort of being with those who provide unconditional love and support.  Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday but I do appreciate having the time to stop and appreciate what one has in life.  This year, this feels more important than usual.

So, what am I grateful for?  I’ll start with the obvious.  I’m thankful for my family.  I have always felt very fortunate to have parents, in particular, who support me in so many ways.  Last year, at this time, my mom was finishing treatment for cancer and this year, she has been cancer free.  My father, who has a chronic illness, has been able to manage it better.  I’m thankful, then, that they are as healthy as can be and still able to be there for me.

This year, I also learned to really appreciate my job.  I often complain about the daily grind of education and teaching.  Don’t get me wrong.  Teaching is exhausting and requires far more work than a full time job.  I wish I could change that time commitment on top of all of the district, state and national demands and criticisms.  That said, my colleagues and my students have renewed my spirit in ways that they may never understand.  Now, I feel like we really are a big, weird dysfunctional family trying to make it through each day, each week, this school year and beyond together.

Of course, I am very grateful for my friendship with Rhonda.  While we may not live close to each other or are able to speak everyday, I know that she is supportive of me.  She may not always understand all of my choices or me of hers, yet, we still support each other.  At the end of the day, that foundation matters a lot.  It can overcome whatever challenges pop up–whether those are busy schedules, differing viewpoints or something else entirely.  Without this friendship, so much of what I have done in the name of fandom would have never taken place and I would have had a LOT less fun over the years.

This leads me ot appreciate Duran Duran and my fandom.  During this summer, Rhonda and I were able to attend a number of shows.  While I felt like I appreciated them then, now I really do.  I distinctly remember a moment at one of the shows this summer when I realized very clearly that there is nothing that brings me joy like being at a Duran Duran concert.  It is where I am the happiest.  Duran represents fun and good times.

The majority of my life is such that I’m serious a lot.  I work more than I should.  I focus my energy on being politically active.  No, those tasks don’t bring me joy in the traditional sense but what they do bring is immense satisfaction.  They bring a real purpose to my life.  I feel fulfilled when students really learn something and when they become politically active themselves.  The high that results from fighting in some sort campaign cannot be easily explained.  I cannot walk away from that aspect of myself.  Yet, Duran, fandom and fun provides the necessary infusion of energy and joy that keeps me going.  I need both in my life.

I then look forward to the two trips I have coming up to Washington D.C.  At the end of the year, I’ll venture there to see Duran Duran play a couple of shows and I will get the burst of energy and good times that I need.  Then, I’ll return to the city a couple weeks later to march in the Women’s March on Washington.  I am grateful to all that will make both happen from my colleagues, to my friends, to my parents, to Duran Duran and to other activists.  I appreciate them all.

-A