Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

You Understand I Been Waiting Forever

I have never participated in a “meet and greet”. Over the weekend, Amanda posed the question of why meet and greets would be beneficial to the band – and she received answers, mostly ranging from how wonderful of an experience it was for the fan participants to suggestions that the band would miss out on hearing how much their music has affected others. I had difficulty answering the question myself, because I really don’t know what a meet and greet is really like as a fan, much less what it might do for the band.

What I can say as an interested bystander is this: the quality of the experience is entirely dependent upon the situation. I’ve heard of the dank, dark, super fast “hi and a quick photo” hallway meets…I’m not even sure we properly add the word “greet” in there. I’ve read of the times where only a couple of the band members could make to the meet and greet in the hallway, and truth be told: I have difficulty seeing how any of that could possibly be beneficial to anyone, least of all the band.

In all fairness to the band, when you are forced to come out of hiding night after night, put on a smile in the most unnatural of situations, say hello and then (on many occasions) be felt-up by overenthusiastic fans that have forgotten their manners while having their 30 seconds in front of the band they’ve loved since their teen years – I can’t say that would be beneficial. In my opinion, it’d have the opposite effect. I’d want barriers put up around fans, and while I’d love for them to buy my album and come to my show – I’d also like them to be kept a good 25 feet from me at all times.

On the other hand, when you finally win that chance at a meet and greet, and you sit at home thinking about all of the things you want to say after all of these years – when the time finally comes for you to be in front of any one of them, much less all five of them, and you’re led down a dimly like back hallway and told, “We don’t have time for anything but a photo and it has to be a group one, please don’t try to talk to the band – they don’t have time”, that’s hardly worth the effort to buy the damn tickets to begin with, and those same fans have absolutely no trouble going online and sharing that delightful episode with everyone who’ll read/listen/reply. I can’t really blame them, either.

I have had real trouble underlining benefits to the band myself – because when I consider what the meet and greets have consisted of in the past, I see almost no benefit. From the lack of response we received (truly – for all of the people who have ever done an M&G, very VERY few were able or willing to say much about it), I suspect similar feelings hold true for others. However, if I were to pose the same question to those who attended the VIP party prior to the MoMA screening – I would bet that more than a few could give solid reasons why those types of events work – and not just work for fans, but for the band as well.

Perhaps that alone is food for thought.

-R

Loud is the music, the crowd is ringing

So, those that are on Twitter…or even Facebook to some extent, know that John, Simon and Dom made good on their agreement to play a gig for an AmFAR charity auction winner yesterday evening. Dom tweeted a picture from Courcheval, France this morning, taken from his hotel room. It had a beautiful view of snow-covered mountains behind the hotel.  He said something about wishing he could ski. I shudder to think. As I tweeted back in response, Rhonda does not ski. No, no. The idea of careening down the side of a mountain with essentially no brakes aside from the techniques you learn on a pair of skis…well…there’s a reason that my family calls me ‘grace’.  Need I say more?

As for the gig itself, I saw one photo that I really can’t post here because I don’t know the owner…but John, Simon & Dom were all wearing black tie & tuxes, and to this starved Duranie, they were a sight to behold. It has been a very long 17 months since I last saw the band live, to be sure. It’s never good when you’re contemplating in your head just how much money it would take to pay the band to come play a private party, and just how many of my Duranie friends would be willing to help me pay for such a deal. Can we set up crowdfunding for that??  Ha!

In the meantime…for those of you lucky enough to live in England and are close enough to London, you can go see Dom Brown’s band, Blue to Brown, perform on January 17th at The Armoury…it’s FREE, and apparently since Duran Duran won’t be touring for quite some time, Dom’s band has a standing once-a-month gig happening at this pub. Come on now, you can’t really beat that unless of course it was in my backyard here in Sunny California! If you can’t go for yourself, go for me, take video and post it!  Either that, or I need to set up some sort of Crowdfunding deal so that I can fly over to England and see a gig for myself.  It’s research for the blog, right?!?  Probably not, but one can dream.

I keep waiting for a photo to show up of the AmFar gig they played yesterday that I can post…if you’ve got one, send it our way and I’ll put it up here!

-R

I don’t know where I’ve come from, where I’m going to…

There are moments during the course of a day where I’m so consumed by the mechanics of getting through the day – going through the motions, if you will – that I forget why we started the blog, or for that matter, why I insist on continuing (even through what I feel has become the “Sahara Desert” of waits from one album to the next). In the past couple of weeks though, I’ve had two completely separate things happen to remind me exactly why Daily Duranie exists.

I don’t believe it’s any secret that Amanda and I are good friends. To be honest, I don’t think the blog could be what it is if it weren’t for that friendship. We usually work well together. That said, there have been moments when we haven’t seen eye to eye, and those are times, however few they might be, that really end up strengthening our friendship. Last week, we had one of those times, but in this case – I think it was probably a really big moment. A turning point, actually. It’s important to remember that Amanda and I are but two people (no, we really are not the same person – there are truly two of us who write blogs!), and we live a couple thousand miles apart, no less. Amanda has certain goals for herself, ideas for her career going forward, and I have some of my own. Without getting into a ton of detail, the time came for us to really talk about our plans going forward, and discuss what each of us wish to accomplish. During this series of emails, it was very clear that each of us had a very different idea of how it all would work, and what role each of us would be willing and able to play. In this case, it was really me letting Amanda down, which I realized was going to be a big problem, and for a bit, I was very concerned that our friendship was in jeopardy. Luckily for me, Amanda was willing to pick up the phone and make the phone call that I was not – and we talked it out. While our positions and goals did not change, we were able to come to some sort of agreement on how we could move forward.

Yesterday, I spent much of my day getting my son back into the old grind. We had a parent/student/teacher meeting in the morning that ran long, and after we had errands to run before getting my youngest from school. By the time I was able to sit down to take a look at Twitter, it was already evening here on the west coast. I saw that a friend had tweeted something that caused me concern. Not thinking twice, I immediately messaged this friend, offering my love and support – because when it comes down to it, that’s all that really matters in this world. The funny thing, is over the past few weeks, there had been more than a few things that had been tweeted, dissected, discussed and retweeted back and forth between the two of us and a small group of our friends, and we never quite saw eye to eye. Even so, when I sensed her distress in her tweets, the very last thing I considered were the discussions where we didn’t agree – all I could think of was making sure she knew that I was there when and if she needed.

Every single time I’m asked about this blog and why we do it, I wish that I could properly describe THESE moments in words, because when it comes down to it – I don’t write this blog because I love Duran Duran. That might have been what started this journey, but the reason I keep going is because of the friendships I’ve made along the way. I feel far more accountable to Amanda, my friends, and the people who read this blog every day than I do Duran Duran, yet I can assure you that we still support the band. Maybe that is what makes this blog different and gives it personality, and maybe it’s also the reason I continue to cross the Sahara desert in search of another oasis!

-R

Give Me the Freeze

I live in Wisconsin.  In general, people in Wisconsin today are focused on two things.  First, it is still football season and the majority of the people of Wisconsin will be tuning in this afternoon to the Green Bay Packers playoff game.  (Yes, if you notice, I point out “majority” because I’m in the minority and am not a Packers fan.)  The Packers are a big deal here and fans are everywhere.  The other thing that people here are thinking about is the “polar vortex” that the meteorologists are calling the impending cold front.  Yesterday, temperatures were around 30 degree F.  Right now, they are around 5 degrees.  More significantly than that, as the temperatures continue to drop to an expected -23, the wind is picking up.  Thus, we are under a wind chill warning starting at 6 pm for wind chills of between -40 and -55.  At that temperature, frostbite can happen between 5 to 10 minutes.  Yet, I’m sure that this will not deter Packers fans from descending on Green Bay to watch the game in person.  In fact, I’m sure that people will show their Packer fandom proudly.  For example, I saw this picture being shared and liked on Facebook this weekend.

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What does this picture say about fandom?  Simple.  It shows that football fans are expected to demonstrate their fandom, right?  This woman should not only wear Green Bay colors but should be willing to go nearly naked to show her dedication.  She should ignore the fact that she could get frostbite or risk death all in the name of fandom.  The fact that I saw people liking this and sharing it says that people are cheering this.  I didn’t see one comment that said something like what I thought when I saw it, which was, “Oh my goodness, this would be the stupidest thing to do.  That isn’t cool.  It is just dumb.”  Yet, I guarantee that there will be some “fool” nearly naked at the game today who will get his/her 30 seconds on TV as I have seen in on plenty of other games.  I have never heard one comment about how crazy that is or how stupid a move that is.  Never.

I wish I could say the same about the reaction I get when I tell people that I’m flying somewhere to see a few Duran shows.  People will tell me all the time about how crazy that is and that I’m taking my fandom too far.  At least, my expression of fandom is not putting my life and body at risk like this picture shows.  So, why is the football fan acceptable but I’m not?  It seems obvious to me that sports fandom is truly accepted and other fandoms are not.  I was at the store yesterday like everyone else in the dang city and the majority of people were buying beer for the game.  People were open and excited about watching the game.  Would Duran fans or other music fans say the same?  Would we be as open if there was a concert on TV?  Is this acceptance of sports fandom because sports is just a large part of American and Wisconsin culture?  What is the tie to sexism?  That picture doesn’t show a nearly naked man, after all, does it?  Most men like sports.  Is that why sports fandom is acceptable?  Why are some extreme behaviors in some fandoms acceptable and others not?

-A

It’s Loaded with Fame: Conventions and Celebrities

People go to conventions to connect with other fans, to participate in activities not readily available in daily lives and to escape reality.  Another very significant reason that people go to conventions is for the celebrities.  Many conventions, most conventions, have celebrity or “special” guests.  Some conventions might have just one or two special guests and others have many.  Typically, these celebrities interact with the fans in a variety of ways, including participating in panels or question and answer sessions in which fans can ask questions, holding autographs sessions in which fans can get an autograph and/or holding a photo opps session in which fans can get pictures with the celebrity(s) of choice.

In my experience, people do seem to like going to conventions to meet and see celebrities.  At the Wizard World convention I went to in Chicago, in August, a lot of people I talk with came to meet one or two of the celebrity guests.  Some people came back year after year to see the same celebrity.  Sometimes, the bigger name celebrities had very long lines to get autographs and pictures.  The lesser known celebrities still had people who were interested in getting pictures or even just an opportunity to exchange a few words.  Yet, it did seem that anyone interested in a particular celebrity could get to that celebrity eventually, especially if the fan had the time and the money for one of these extras.  Of course, many of these celebrity focused activities have specific times.  For example, if you wanted a picture of person X, you had to get it done between 1 and 2 pm.  Thus, people scheduled their convention activities even around the celebrities.

I wonder how important these celebrity appearances are to the fans attending a convention.  Do they get people in the door?  Do they get people to pay the money for a ticket?  Would people go if there is just one celebrity or one celebrity who people really cared about?  Is it the fact that there might be many celebrities at a convention that you like?  Does it matter which type of fan activity is possible–meaning that getting an autograph might be more important to some than a question and answer session or vice versa?  In many cases, autographs and photos are extras.  They do not come with the ticket.  You pay for each autograph and each picture.  In some cases, you might pay to attend a panel.  Would those additional costs matter?  Would it matter how MUCH those extras were?

Seriously, I would love to know.  Would you be more likely to go to a convention if there was a celebrity you liked?  What about many celebrities?  Would you want panels/Q&A sessions, autograph sessions and/or photo sessions with the celebrities?  Would you be willing to pay extra for those sessions?  How much for a celebrity you love, love, love (like a member of Duran Duran!)?  How much for a celebrity you like a lot?  Would you go to a convention if there weren’t celebrities there?

-A

Union of the Snake – The Daily Duranie Review (R)

This being the first review of 2014, we have decided to mix it up a bit. Since we have fewer breaking stories from the band…*coughs*…we are going to break up our reviews into two parts. Each week you can look forward a review: one week will feature my review of a particular song, and the next will be Amanda’s review (of the same song). Additionally, instead of doing a separate category for production, we have incorporated production into the “Overall” section – found at the end of each review just before our final cocktail rating.

For the next two weeks, we are going to examine “Union of the Snake” off of, yes…Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  This was the lead single off of the album, released in October of 1983 and peaked at #3 on both the US and UK charts.  Rhonda will start off the review, followed by Amanda’s next week.

Musicality/Instrumentation:  The introduction to this song is intriguing to me, purely because of the dichotomy of Andy on guitar verses Nick on synthesizers. This is one song where there is a real “call and response” happening between the two – which I find plays into the theme of the song beautifully.  What I did not notice much of, though, is bass. There are moments when I can actually hear John’s bass, but it’s very faint (in my opinion). I think the sound would be better supported with a touch more of him in the mix, and it wouldn’t sound quite as top heavy. One element that I love in this song though, is Andy Hamilton on both soprano and tenor saxophone. He can be heard throughout the song, and rather than a guitar solo, we hear Andy Hamilton on soprano sax about 2/3 of the way through the song. The tenor sax is heard in several places and helps to provide some much needed depth and dimension to the overall sound. I also really appreciate the extra sounds – like the click/clack sounds of percussion that take place throughout – it’s an added element without being too intrusive and overwhelming. Speaking of percussions brings me to the drums.  Truthfully I would have not necessarily noticed Roger’s drums – they are there without being overly obtrusive.  However, I read that Roger took this beat from David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, and now that I listen to the song – I very much hear that influence, which works well with the instrumentation.

Vocals: I really like Simon’s vocals on this song – what I don’t enjoy quite as much though is the very loud backup singers in the mix.  They seem to overpower Simon, and I don’t know that it adds as much as it detracts. I’ve always imagined Simon singing the entire song with a sneaky smile on his face – as it very much sounds that way when I listen. He sings the song with emotion, but not so much that it becomes comical.

Lyrics: Ok, who here can tell me what in the hell this song really means?? In doing my initial research for this song, I ran across several suggestions online ranging from “tantric sex” (apparently Simon offered this up as a reasoning behind the lyrics) to the borderline being the area between the conscious and subconscious minds. Again…this courtesy of Simon Le Bon, who just loves to toy with us all. Thanks, Simon. I must fall to my own reasoning, which sadly in this case, is very much lacking. I think that I always felt the Union of the Snake was the band, and the line “The union of the snake is on the climb. It’s gonna race, gonna break through the borderline” was about the band’s upward movement. World domination and all.  “If I listen close, I can hear them singers…”  “voices in your body coming through on the radio”…I don’t know why, but I always felt that was about the fans. That if he listens, he can hear us.  We’re loud, you know. I joke, but I find these lyrics in particular to be a good example of the prose-type lyrics that Simon was famous (infamous?) for writing during this era.

Overall: As I mentioned, we are incorporating production into the “overall” category – which really is meant to be a survey of how the different elements fit together.  With that in mind, this is one of the songs off of this album that I feel was produced rather well. The overall sound is not overwhelming, and I can hear most of the instrumentation pretty clearly.  However, I do find it odd that John was not worked into the mix better to add more of a “grounding” to the sound.  I still think the background singers are incredibly loud at times, and while I can understand the reasoning for having them there – I don’t think the intention was to overpower the lead singer. I like the call and response between synthesizers and guitar, and I feel like entire song is more of a “it’s us against the world” type of anthem, which plays out well through the instrumentation and lyrics.  Overall, I have to wonder if this was truly the best song on the album that could have been the lead single – it was done at the last minute, with mixing taking place up to the last minute before EMI took the tapes for pressing, although to be sure, the song does not sound as though it was rushed together – and perhaps in that regard, the song was well-executed.  The song was never on my list of favorites for the band, but I believe that since this song was the first released from this album, Duranies were starving for new music – and this song met the need.

Cocktail Rating:  3 Cocktails!

-R