Tag Archives: Duran Duran fandom

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