Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

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

Something to Remember

The night I stood near the stairs at the House of Blues in Anaheim back in 2001, I could not have imagined the turns my life would take. I would have never guessed that I’d meet friends online, eventually see Duran Duran more than fifty times, or even write a blog. There’s no way I could have looked into a crystal ball and known that I would go to the UK, or that I would log more miles in road trips to see the band than I would in family vacations. (Yeah, that’s kind of crazy – even I have to admit!)

You are forever

The truth is, this community is my family. There are times at each and every meet-up when I look around the room—whether it is a small gathering or a giant group—and I marvel at how far I’ve come. I don’t mean the social ladder (I’m still as awkward as ever!), I simply mean that in 2001, I knew next to no one.

I can remember sitting in my seat at the Pacific Amphitheater in 2003, watching people sitting in the closest rows to the stage file in. Sometimes they’d claim their seat, and then run up to a group and begin throwing their arms open to bear hug everyone. Other times, they wouldn’t even make it to their chair before they’d be bombarded by smiles, waves and even the occasional collective squee (haven’t used THAT word on this blog in a long time!). I remember being perched, stiffly upright in my own chair back in row T, wondering how it could be that all of those people knew one another.

I knew very little of online fan communities back then. The one thing I did recognize in the moments before my preteen dreams came true that sultry July evening, was that I wanted in.

All I understand

During the 16 years since those first fleeting moments of awareness for me, I’ve gotten far more involved. Many others have done far, far more than I have, at least with regard to meeting the band, photos, or even traveling and touring. My fifty-some shows don’t seem like such a much when I run into folks who have done nearly a hundred gigs or more. I know of people who miss nary a single show on a tour, whether USA or elsewhere. I learned very early on that I cannot, and should not, attempt to size myself and my experiences up to those of others. There is always someone else who knows, or has done, far more. Fandom is not a quantitative science.

What I do know is this: you are my chosen family.

I don’t write about it very often, but when I was in college, I was in a sorority. Hard to imagine—but that’s neither here nor there at this point. One of the few quotes drilled into me since Bid Day, is “Family is blood, but you choose your sisters”. There’s actually eleventy-thousand (Sure it’s a real number, if you want it to be!) different versions of this quote. This is the one I remember. I still roll my eyes when I think about it. That probably tells you all that you need to know about my life in sorority.

I had the wrong family back then, I guess. Who knew I’d find the right one at the ripe age of 33? Fifteen, nearly sixteen years later and I’m still here, feeling more connected than ever!

I hold forever

It’s true that the fan community can be a roller coaster. People still drive me crazy with their impossible expectations and insipid, constant need for validation. The competition, particularly between women, but also between men. (bring up guitar players and watch a few of them try to one-up one another! They mention interviews from 30 years ago, or suggestions that they know music better than the other guy!). I won’t lie—sometimes it is maddening!

However, even more often are the moments when I can see just how connected we all are to one another. I can’t help but smile. The older I get, the more I appreciate the uniqueness of this community. We have a very special bond.

Try much harder, until the truth is drawn

There are the times when a great male friend of mine takes a few seconds out of his day to post a countdown to Vegas. Not only does he mention seeing the band, but also seeing one another. He cares just as much as I do about getting everyone back together again for a weekend hangout!

What about the friend who lets us all know how another mutual friend is hanging in there with an illness? Then there is the pain, worry, concern, and genuine fear we share over this same person. Some of the people I’ve chatted with have only met this fellow Duranie once or twice. Others only know of her online, and yet we are all hoping, praying, and/or sending positive healing vibes her way. In this day and age, as divisive as we seem to think, we are all pulling for her. We care about one another.

Lastly, there is the sheer, utter joy I feel when standing in a crowd filled with other fans. I just don’t believe the band has any way of knowing just how moved the crowd was when they played Seventh Stranger. It wasn’t even so much the song, as it was to look around and see every set of eyes fixed on the screen. They too were intently watching the same video, mouthing or singing the same words, and experiencing Simon at the age of 60 singing along with Simon at the age of what – 26? It was knowing that most everyone in that crowd had the same overall past as I did with Duran Duran. We share in that journey together.

The very thing you’ve been searching for has been yours all along

And that knowledge— was WILD that night. That’s why I cried. Sure, seeing Andy play onscreen while watching Dom play Andy’s part expertly onstage was touching. Seeing the band grin, knowing they’d knocked us virtually off of our feet by playing Seventh Stranger, made me smile. But the tears came from knowing that it wasn’t just me in that audience that knew the background. It wasn’t only me who had grown up with Duran Duran in the 80s. It definitely wasn’t just me that has had the majority of her life set to a soundtrack made possible by a single band’s back catalog.

I choose this family. I will choose it again, and again, and again. The one drawback, if there is such a thing, is that during times of crisis, I cannot get to my people very easily. Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy as to hop onto a plane to get to the east coast. I’m not quite as able to deliver proper goodbyes, or even hellos, in person. I am thinking of you. If positive vibes are real – then you should be feeling that healing energy in the strongest amounts possible. The people I include in my smallest, tightest circle, should be well aware of how I feel. (and if you are not, you should inquire within!)

I choose you.

-R

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