Tag Archives: Duran Duran fans

Caught Up In Our Own Barbed Wire

I get my best ideas from Twitter, and my best thinking is done in the car. (I don’t know what that says about my driving…let’s just not go there.)

This morning I was hemming and hawing over what I was going to write about, when lo and behold our friend Heather alerted Daily Duranie to a new word, “stan”.  At first, I was pretty sure I’d never heard of the word before, but after thinking it over – in my car – I actually think it’s a case where I’ve seen the word many times without really thinking much of it. I did tell Heather that it wasn’t a word I’ve found in academic books on fan studies yet (yes, there are such things – many of them, I might add!), and that’s true, although to be fair, I have a backlog of such books going that I need to read.

So…what does it mean?

To begin with, “stan” is both a noun AND a verb. (I’m already confused, how about you?)  One can “stan” someone, and one can in fact be a “stan”.

Bet you’re still wondering about the definition. Never fear, I’ve got you covered: “stan” is a mashup of two words: stalker and fan.  Get it?

So if you’re someone who has spent time reading negative articles or reviews about Duran Duran, for instance, and you go out of your way to defend and even maybe publicly demoralize or lash out at the writer of such articles – to the extreme –  maybe you’re “stanning” someone.

Or, if you’re someone who shows up at every last appearance of the band, even private events, or whatever someone else might consider to be over the line, perhaps you’ve been called a “stan”.

It isn’t a word I’ve seen used much in Duraniverse, but judging purely from the searches I did today, it would seem that other communities out there fully embrace the term. The Swifties amongst us, for example, use it heavily.

As you might imagine, I have several thoughts on this. The first being that I hate the derogatory labels. Yeah, I know sometimes we all think someone has crossed the gates into Crazyville. It happens. I’ve done stupid things myself, and probably will again, assuming there’s another tour. (Right Amanda??)  I just feel like there’s already enough  in this world bringing us down without another label added the pile.  But then my friend Heather tells me that fans are calling other fans this name – and yet another friend of mine mentions that for some fans, they wear it as a badge of honor.

Ok, so how screwed up is that??

First of all, there are a number of studies and research out there about communities that take titles and labels such as this and turn it back on themselves, calling one another these terms, so that way they are controlling the narrative rather than someone else doing it. It’s similar to when we see women or young girls calling one another “bitch” or “ho”. (or “ho-bag”, as the case may be….) On one hand, some might (and have) said it’s a term of endearment in the same way my mom has always called my sister and I, “brat”.  On the other, if we call one another these names, it doesn’t hurt so bad if someone else does it. If we turn it into something “positive”, then when someone does use it negatively, the sting isn’t quite so sharp. We all do it. I have in fact done this. If I call myself a nerd, or crazy, when someone else says it – I’ve already taken the sting out of it, right?  There’s also the issue of internalizing the negativity, but I won’t even take a stab at that for this blog post.

Second, the self-policing we do as fans can get very out of hand. There isn’t a tour that goes by, including this last show in Zagreb, where I don’t see one fan calling out other fans for going over the line. The trouble is – where IS that line?  What does that mean? What do the boundaries look like?  It would seem we all have a different impression of what it means to behave.  While I might not be willing to run down a city block in order to catch up with Simon (or John, or Roger, or Nick…or even Dom or Simon W….or MY HUSBAND for that matter….), someone else sees no issue. While I know for sure I wouldn’t stare into a restaurant to catch a glimpse of a band member at dinner, someone else thinks it’s fine.  What about waiting in a hotel lobby? At a studio?  In the airport? In a parking garage after a show?  We are all (including myself) very good at judging, and we’re pretty harsh about the self-policing within our community.  Why do we do that?  Because if we are able to call out one another for being crazy, then maybe no one else on the outside will do it.

If I had a dime for the things I’m judged for doing on a daily basis…. I’d be writing full-time. 😀

The real deal is this: because of the fact that we’re fans, and have been so for a majority of our lives, it is very difficult to get away from that fact. I could delve a bit farther into the truths that many of us are women, and that we continue to look for validation from men.  We internalize much of the negativity that surrounds the label of “fan”, and we work far too hard to “police” our own community .  We apply scathing judgement to other people for doing things that we regard as being “over the line”. Those traits do little to help the situation. But the simple truth is that we’re all fans, and to many in this world, that immediately marks us. Permanently.

I’ve learned that once someone knows I’m a Duranie, there is precious little I can do to make them see beyond that, particularly if that person is at all connected with Duran Duran, and god help me if they discover I write Daily Duranie. That paints me with indelible “crazy fan” ink in a way that not even having it tattooed down my arm would accomplish.  Never mind that 95% of my life is spent outside of fandom, or that I’ve successfully raised children or any of the other things I know and am capable.  I am a FAN, which in turn (at least for some people) makes me a “stan”, even if only by association.

Don’t get me wrong, here. Writing Daily Duranie is a joy for me. I wouldn’t do it otherwise.  I do not, and will never, regret writing this blog. I have deep regret, however,  for the people who marginalize me and other friends I know (many of whom are far more talented or intelligent than I could ever hope to be myself), simply because it comes out that we’re Duranies, or that we have favorite band members – or favorite people altogether. That sucks, to be blunt.

What’s worse than that, in my opinion, is that we’ve somehow trained a younger generation to wear such labels as “stan” with pride. Own your fandom, but let’s stop internalizing the marginalization that goes along with it.

-R

Reportage: The Fabled, Fanciful Golden Ticket

Yesterday I wrote about a rumor involving a new Duran Duran album. Apparently, if we are all to believe the rumor, the band has been working tirelessly – fingers to their bones – to record an album entirely on their own in their “spare time”.  I put myself out there and said that based purely on my own past experience as a Duran Duran fan, I really doubted this to be true. That opinion still holds this morning (and I appreciate that I wasn’t burnt at the stake yesterday for saying so).

A few Duranies asserted, probably with a fair amount of wishful thinking thrown in for good measure, that perhaps this could be Reportage.  I have some thoughts on that.

First of all, the existence of Reportage has turned into this fabled, prized, collection of work that has taken on the enigma of being The Golden Ticket.  I myself have spoken to a fan or two that somehow has either heard the album, or that claim to have a copy. One person said, “anyone who is anyone in the fan community has heard it. The music is floating around.”  Well, I haven’t heard it. Not a single note. That means I’m not anyone, I guess. Not really a surprise there, either. I love it when people tell me they’ve heard it, because they have this air about them. You know what I mean.  The whole “Yes, I know I’m on the inside and you’re just a lowly REGULAR fan.” Even if they don’t mean to sound that way….they absolutely do.  And they secretly love it, because they have The Golden Ticket, while you and I do not.

Let’s face it, had I ever heard it – I’m sure I’d come off that way too. But I haven’t. At this point, I’m really starting to wonder why anyone cares. Do any of us really know how many songs and material, have never made it onto an album over the course of their career?  Reportage is probably just a group of 9-12 more songs that never quite made it. Sure, some of you are probably saying, “Yeah, but these might be outstanding!” Yes. That’s true. But Duran Duran probably has quite the archive of songs that had the potential to be outstanding. After all, this is the group that wrote “Rio”, and “Paper Gods”, and/or “Danceophobia”.

Ok, “Danceophobia” aside… (sorry “Danceophobia” fans. I just can’t.)

The point is, while I know Reportage has become this Holy Grail type of thing for the fan community, it is possible we might be putting way too much stock into something that we know next to nothing about.  Sure, we were teased about it for way too long to have never heard it ourselves. Yes, we know Sony turned it down. I have heard there were legal issues. But do those things all add up to it being the golden album to end all golden albums?  I’m just not so sure. And if one more person tells me that they’ve heard it with that knowing look on their face…

Well, I’m just gonna need a vodka tonic in order to deal. And it’s only 10:30 am my time. Oh, and yeah, I’m still nearly 100% sure that they’re not going to be releasing any album next month, Reportage or otherwise. Until someone from DDHQ says otherwise, and I’ve been properly revived from falling on the floor in a dead faint, I’m sticking with it.

But hey, if anyone wants me to hear Reportage, by all means my inbox is open and ready.

-R

 

 

 

Looking Back She Sees the Pattern

I have decided that Duran Duran’s fan base is tough to understand and full of contradictions.  What led me to this big conclusion?  I could answer that with a simple–years of observation and participation.  That is not the whole story.  Lately, I have been reading a lot of the press that is surrounding the band’s upcoming tour.  One of those articles caught my attention.  Specifically, one question grabbed me especially in light of recent twitter conversations about live performances and the classic debate about set lists.  What was this question?  What were the conversations?

Buzz Bishop of Calgary recently interviewed John Taylor, which you can read here.  The question that first made me react then think was this:

How Duran Duran balances a desire to put out new music with the fan base’s love of nostalgia.

“I don’t know that the fan base wants to live in the past. I think they want to be stirred up and inspired. I think you have to come to terms with your past, we’ve got to be present. I think doing what we do you get a better opportunity to stay current because you’re trying to stay relevant. We have this formula: legacy plus currency equals career.”

At first, when I read this, I thought, “What is this guy talking about?  Fans love nostalgia?  Really?  Has this guy not seen all of the complaints about the setlist?  I know SO many fans who are tired of Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest of the classics.”  Later, I added the idea that it isn’t the hardcore fans who want the old hits at a show, it is those people in the crowd who loved/liked Duran in the 80s but aren’t aware that the band has still been going.  I thought to myself that the guy was just confused about who wants what at a Duran concert.

Then, I thought about the conversation that I have been having on Twitter about which tours Duran performed better for.  Dedicated readers and participants know that the Sing Blue Silver Tour of 1984 has won each and every time.  I have argued that the band performs better now as a result of the decades of practice.  Others have stated that that tour of 1984 wins due to “sentimentality”.  That makes sense.  If you were a Duranie in the 80s, you probably do love Sing Blue Silver.  It captures the time period is which Duran was loved worldwide by tons of people.  Sing Blue Silver is the documentary that many of us grew up watching over and over again.  Watching any of it including the live performances remind us of those good times we had as kids.  So does this mean that the fan base really does love nostalgia?  Maybe so.  We are a confusing bunch, that’s for sure. If the band recognizes this, it must make creating that set list a challenging one.  Heck, maybe that is why it doesn’t change much!  Who knows?!

I cannot argue against 1984 or nostalgia as I have been doing.  That time period means a lot to a lot of fans.  I get it.  For many fans, it is when they became fans.  It might represent what they think of as the best time period for the band.  I can recognize that I might feel differently based on my fandom, my experiences.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved Duran Duran in 1984.  Sing Blue Silver is a DVD that I have memorized just like so many of you.  Yes, I had a great time as a kid being a fan.  Yet, when I really think of the best time with my fandom, it has been in recent years.  As a kid, my fandom meant watching videos with friends or singing along to the Rio album.  As an adult, it means those things still plus traveling and seeing the band live in concert.  It means a level of fun that my kid self couldn’t even imagine.

Maybe, this is why, for me, I don’t feel so attached to the glory year of 1984.  It could be why I feel so strongly that the band performs better now.  Unlike back then, I can now be there and be a part of it.  It makes the world of difference.

-A

Happy Summer Reading: Careless Memories of Strange Behavior!

It is the first real day of our summer (no school), and I’ve already started a project called “repainting the house”.  This week, its my office. I’m excited because right now, it is lavender, and while that’s a lovely color – particularly for the child who once inhabited this room – it’s a little girly for me. So now it is going to be more of a silvery color called silverberry.

So while I do a little of that each day, I’ve also been downloading books to read. I did precious little “fun” reading during the school year, so I’m catching up this summer!  While I was doing that, I ran across a cute little book I bought several years back called Careless Memories of Strange Behavior: My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan, written by Lyndsey Parker, coincidentally – it was released on this very day in 2012!

For the sake of brevity, I’m shortening the title to Careless Memories while I write a little about it. First of all, it’s not long, and it’s not heavy reading. It’s just the type of book most Duranies will fly through, and its perfect beach reading. It’s cute, and it will make you smile, but it’s not the kind of book where you’ll read an in-depth lyric analysis. In fact, there were several parts of the book (it’s only 41 pages) where I didn’t agree with Parker at all. But that’s the joy of reading. Everyone gets something different out of it. So today, we can celebrate that Careless Memories of Strange Behavior came out five years ago!  Happy Summer Reading!

In the meantime, I have some painting to do…and I’m even going to chat with Amanda over Skype! We have some planning to do for a super fun road trip to San Francisco! That’s less than a month from now, and I can’t wait!  Talk about strange behavior— I certainly hope so!! Hope to see some of you up in the Bay Area!

-R

Almost Impossible for Fans to Become Friends

Late last week we were treated to the return of airwaves by a Mr. John Taylor. He was interviewed for a Toronto radio station – Boom97.3 – and you can hear that interview here.

I’d encourage fans to give it a listen because it’s quite a lively, entertaining 15 minutes or so! John sounded great, and I daresay he even sounded excited about getting back out on the road.

I won’t ruin the entire interview for everyone – but I will touch on one subject that had several talking on Twitter and Facebook last week. The topic of Bowie had been brought up, and John responded by talking about his influence on the band and how they had known him for quite some time. He then made the statement that when you’re a fan, there’s never really any getting past that.

“It’s almost impossible, in my experience, that once you’ve been a fan, to become a friend.”

Context, of course, is important. They were talking about Bowie and how the band had toured with him and were able to see him over that length of time. John’s argument is that of course, once you have someone on that pedestal and you look up to them in that “fan” sort of way, you always will.  I think his intention here was that although they’d hung out with Bowie many times over the years, they still looked up to him and saw him as their hero. Very reasonable feelings to have. But does that mean John feels the same about fans in general – such as his own?

Here’s the thing: I don’t know the answer here. I’m a fan. Not a friend. I don’t know any of them beyond the people I see on stage. Hell, I’m even behind many of you in that department because I’ve only just gotten pictures with a couple of them, by no means am I going to say I know them personally. All I can really do is say how I feel.  Maybe some of you will feel similarly, and perhaps not.

First of all, that pedestal is real. In plenty of ways, it has to be there. Particularly for those of us who became fans when we were very young. Hell, Amanda became a fan before she was even TEN. Of course she’s going to look up to the band at that point. I know I sure did. Back then, it was even “worse” (so to speak) because there was no internet. No social media. No news other than through magazines. At that point, they were 100% completely and totally untouchable. The idea of being in the same air space with any of them seemed completely out of reach, much less hanging out over coffee or tea. But now I’m in my 40s now. Do I still feel that way?

As I was saying to someone last week on Twitter – they are still my heroes, to a certain, limited, extent. I haven’t exactly forgotten how I felt about them when I was ten – for example. I’m sure many fans out there are nodding their heads in agreement. I think the difference now is that the hero-worship I once had for them has now turned to respect. However, I still remember what it was like to be a teenager and hear them on the radio. I remember that giddiness – it was part of the fun. Don’t we all??

More on that respect thing: If I wanted or needed to go up to John Taylor or Roger Taylor to ask for something, whether that’s a picture or even just to say hello for instance, I would still be nervous because I respect them. For me though, that isn’t because I think they are Gods and would fawn over them. I have seen people do it, and I always feel for those people because in the end it’s uncomfortable and no one wants that. I’d have to think the band would be sick of it by now. However, I’d be nervous in the same way I’d be nervous going to my boss (well, back when I actually had a boss, that is) and asking for a raise, or even those butterflies I have when I meet new people for the first time. For me it’s the same feeling. The hero thing, while sure I can acknowledge that the band matters – isn’t really the same now as it was when I was ten and needed them to occupy my hopes and dreams. Their role in my life has changed. Yes, they’re actually real people, as it turns out. I get it, and to be blunt: hell would freeze over before I would ever be willing to make myself look like a fool in front of people I respect.

Even so, can I actually expect to be friends?

I really don’t know. For me, it’s an impossible question to even fathom, to a very large extent. I mean, I’ve met a lot of Duranies online over the years. We started talking whether by message board or through the blog, or even on Facebook or Twitter. Some of you I even called my friends before I met you personally because I felt like I knew you well enough to know. That said, there are people out there that I’ve met online or in person, and well, we didn’t jive so much. It happens, right?? I don’t know who I can or cannot be friends with until I really have the chance to know them. I think that’s why the idea of being friends with any member of Duran Duran sounds so, well, fake to me. I would much rather talk about being friends with John or Simon, or Nick or Roger. The whole “Duran Duran” thing really shouldn’t enter into it until I have no choice but to recognize the guy I’m friends with happens to be in that band.

But then there’s that whole “famous person” thing. The “Pedestal”.  That’s the real wrench that’s thrown in. Does it really make a difference? I am sure it must.

All I know for sure is this: I have friends who call themselves friends with various members of the band. I would imagine that for Nick, John, Simon or Roger, it is difficult to know at first whether someone is genuinely friends with you because they like you or because they want to be friends with the band. I can see that being a problem, and I can see how their onstage persona could really screw with that possibility. It has got to be as difficult for John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes to get past being members of Duran Duran as it is for me to get past being a fan of the band. All I know with relative certainty is that we’re humans.

I don’t believe John meant his statement to be hurtful or even to marginalize fans. Unfortunately based on some of the comments I saw the other day, many may have taken it that way. Some fans reminded me that Nick’s current partner was once a fan just like us.  But out of thousands and thousands, how many really do count themselves good friends and vice-versa? I would venture to guess not many.  When I really think about it, I know a lot of people, but truly very few are what I would call good friends. That’s really not so very different from anyone else, celebrity or not.

The real trouble, as I see it, is that many of us fight that “fan” label each day because it’s become such a bad word in many ways. We are sensitive to that word, and yet for me – it is a huge part of my identity both personally and professionally at this point. Many outside the world of fandom equate it with being crazy. Obsessive. Out-of-control. It’s not an easy road for anyone, and as always, these boundaries are difficult to navigate. I think all we can really do is try to have understanding and respect for one another.

-R

You’re Fooling the Mirror

Over the weekend, Amanda wrote a blog asking what seemed to be a pretty simple question – can we really know the band? Amanda’s blog was interesting to me for a number of reasons – particularly because most people who responded on Facebook wanted to tell their story. I know that Amanda was really dismayed when readers noticed the summary snippet on Facebook and just answered her question about being a fan – and I can understand why, because her blog really wasn’t about that, it was merely a question to get the juices flowing. When did you become a fan?

It is the one topic that gets people talking, every single time. People very much want to tell their story, and I want to embrace that. We just need to give them a place to feel safe and be able to share how they feel.

In a lot of ways, that’s the reason this blog exists. When we first started Daily Duranie, we wanted somewhere to tell OUR story. Yes, we wanted there to be somewhere online that people could come, read, relate and respond, but all of that really has to do with telling our stories. For whom? Well, I don’t know – maybe to at least a certain degree I naively thought that if our stories (and I don’t just mean my story or Amanda’s stories, I mean fans in general)  were out there, someone would read. Who is that “someone”?  Anyone. Everyone.  And sure, that includes Duran Duran. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t admit at least that much.

I can’t say I’m speaking for Amanda here, because believe it or not, we never really vocalized between one another about Duran Duran reading the blog specifically. Those words were never spoken as we started out on this venture. First of all, why in the hell would the band care? Secondly, it almost seems egotistical to assume that the band would even READ our blog. (and quite frankly some of you have rather enjoyed telling us that in some of the more colorful comments and emails we’ve gotten over the years) They’re busy guys. Why would they care about a fan blog?!? Fair enough. Thirdly, even when we first requested a link on duranduran.com – we were politely told that they weren’t doing that any longer. To me, that pretty much explained everything I needed to know. So, we just kept writing and didn’t worry so much about how many or whom. We just kept telling our stories.

I tried to consider what fans would want to talk about when I wrote the blog each day. After all, there’s a lot of drama that goes around the fandom, isn’t there? Whether that drama is about getting close to the band, still acting as though we’re 12 instead of in our 40s, or about the constant undercurrent of competition that seems to linger – anyone who denies the drama either purposefully doesn’t see, or isn’t really involved in the community to notice. And that’s fine. But I really wanted there to be somewhere that would shed light on all of that, plus more. People genuinely want those stories to be told. I know this because as we wrote more and more, people read, and shared, and read some more. So the blog was more about what it is like being a fan than loving the band. And at some point, seemingly out of nowhere, a link went up on the band’s site for this very blog.

Largely unnoticed by fans (we can see the amount of traffic comes from there to here), for us, the link is symbolic that we must matter to someone because the band doesn’t link very many sites. We genuinely appreciate that vote of support and confidence. The link has been up for a few years now, maybe more, and I don’t spend time worrying about who might be reading or what our traffic looks like. Sometimes it’s hard due to one thing or another, but I really try to write from the same emotional place I always did instead of worrying about hitting keywords and crap that doesn’t matter.

It’s the stories though – the stories of how or when or why – that seem to matter most. I don’t really think that people care so much about how I feel regarding the Grammys, or what I think of the band’s latest video – maybe some do, maybe some just want someone to argue with – but I think what really connects with people is when we give people the chance to relate to being a fan. They want to tell their stories, and they want someone to read those stores, and SEE them as people, not just as nameless faces in a crowd.  Not just as hands outstretched for a handshake, not just as fingers grasping various memorabilia to be signed. We want to be seen.

Can you SEE me?

Do you KNOW me? 

Do you RECOGNIZE me?

Do we really know Duran Duran? I think we do. We know as much as the band wants or needs us to know. The question becomes much more complicated if we’re asking whether or not we know Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes or Roger Taylor, of course, but I think we know Duran Duran.

I think the real question worth least pondering, is whether or not the band really knows their fans.

-R

12 Reasons People LOVE Duran Duran in 2016

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

duran-duran-paper-gods-cover

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

Amanda & Rhonda Ace Rooftop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

-A

Picking Duran Duran Favorites!

Today’s poll question about people’s favorite song off of Duran Duran’s latest, Paper Gods, is getting quite a lot of attention.  I love how many people have voted and I love when people comment on one form of social networking or another about why their favorite song is their favorite.  It got me thinking.  (Always dangerous, I know!) What makes a favorite song, a favorite?  Then, I started to think about songs that I really bonded with as a kid vs. the songs I bonded with as an adult.  They have definitely changed.  Is it because my criteria for a favorite song has changed?  I think so!

When I was a kid, I remember getting certain songs in my head.  In fact, they were so in my head that I couldn’t get them out and I drove everyone around me crazy with them!  Let me give a couple of examples.  First, I remember having the chorus to Save a Prayer stuck in my head one afternoon when I was hanging out with my best friend, at the time.  It was summer and we were hanging out in my backyard.  I kept singing the chorus out loud over and over again. (Much like what my students do to me now!)  My childhood best friend was also a Duranie so you would think that she would appreciate this.  She did, too…for like the first two and a half hours.  Then, she had enough!  A similar situation happened when the Reflex came out.  Luckily, this time, both of us were completely addicted!  We were so addicted, in fact, that whenever and I mean whenever it was on MTV or the radio we would call each other up!!  We spent a lot of time on the phone in the spring of 1984!  Thus, as a kid, what made a favorite song was that it got stuck in my head!  It had to be catchy!  I didn’t think of the lyrics or dive deep into the instrumentation.  Now, though…

When I think of my favorite songs now, they tend to be ones in which the instrumentation really sticks out!  My favorite is Planet Earth, which has the fabulous call and answer between guitar and keyboard, not to mention that fabulous bass line!  I also love how the lyrics capture this spirit that Duran has with popular culture, science fiction, humanity.  Therefore, the lyrics tend to be super important to me as well now.  I might go so far as to say that, for the last couple of albums, what has really hooked me is the lyrics.  Let me give some examples.  All You Need Is Now, the song, took me a few listens to grasp the instrumentation with that jarring and unusual beginning.  What kept me listening, though, was the lyrics.  “Stay with the music.  Let it play a little longer” is a sentiment that most Duranies have felt or feel even now about the band.  Many of us loved that the song seemed to be about them and US and our history together.  Then, another one of my absolute favorite Duran songs of all time grabbed me, lyrically, from this album, too, which is Before the Rain.  In this case, I loved the feel of the song, musically, but didn’t have a connection to the lyrics until my beloved cat and grandma died ten days apart.  All of a sudden lines like, “On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat.  In every life flash, in every car crash.  I hear the silence waiting to fall” took on new meaning as I watched two lives come to an end, leaving my broken heart beating and silence.

Lyrics have become so important to me that I do think they played a huge role in me really grasping and embracing Paper Gods.  I had been listening to the album for a week or so and had begun to really enjoy it but I wasn’t hooked yet.  All of a sudden, I was listening to it with earbuds on to really focus on the songs when I noticed the lyrics to Last Night in the City, a song that I had initially dismissed.  Lines like, “Hearts’ spinning all around on me (together).  Now they’re surrounding me.  This is how we get connected.  Running out the shadows into light!”  This is how I feel on tour!  Let me listen again!  More lines that feel like touring like, “I’m not gonna sleep tonight.  Till the morning fills the sky,” and “This is our time!”  Holy crap!  At that very minute, I got a text message from Rhonda who had realized the exact same thing!  For literally the next two hours, Rhonda and I went back through each song, listening to the lyrics, analyzing them, connecting to them.

Fast forward to a Sunday in October as I sat on a plane heading back home from tour and once again, I found myself listening to the album.  I had a piece of paper in front of me that held my flight info.  Throughout my flight, it became more than that.  It became a paper filled with more lyrics, more lines that now held new significance to me.  I still have that paper as it represents an even deeper connection to the album than I had before.  Each time I listen to Duran or really dive into the lyrics, I’m reminded of how SMART the lyrics really are.  They make me think.  They make me feel.  They also often feel like they are directly speaking to and/or about me.  Perhaps, this is why how I choose my favorite Duran songs have shifted.  Lyrics matter a lot more now.

What about the rest of you?  How do you choose your favorites?  Has the process changed?

-A

Facebook Q&A with Simon Le Bon

In case you missed it, Simon was on Facebook today, fielding questions from the crowd of Duranies, typing ever so quickly and creatively to get their curiosities answered by Mr. Le Bon (along with super quick typer Katy Krassner, of course!).

I always wonder how these things look on the other end – is Simon on the phone with Katy as she asks him questions and he answers? Is he looking at Facebook and telling Katy what questions he wants to answer? I have no idea, but it was those things that I was wondering about as I sorted through the hundreds of topics and fans, all wanting their moment of notoriety of having a question answered.  Not one to disappoint, Simon answered plenty of questions this morning, ranging from how it feels to have come all this way in Duran’s career (He said it feels “great”) to what songs he favors because of their importance to the band’s career (At least to me, it was surprising to read that he feels strongly about “Is There Something I Should Know” because it entered the UK charts at #1. Fair enough!).  I don’t know that there were any REAL surprises from the Facebook Q&A, except that having such things on Facebook is a challenge to follow…at least from my end.

That’s the one slight observation I made, and I’m wondering if others found themselves in a similar situation.  I had a difficult time following along – and my method sort of went like this: Read thread, hit refresh, read thread again…hoping to find any new question that had been answered. Get to end of thread. Sigh. refresh again. After a few passes through the content, I decided to just wait until I knew it was over, then go back through and find the answers. Thankfully, Katy (DDHQ) must have realized it was tough to follow and was nice enough to screen shot the questions he answered and put them all in the album on the band’s Facebook page. Easy!

I did see a few fans comment that the system on Facebook is just not user-friendly for something like a Q&A. I think that’s one of the main reasons Amanda and I decided to start a message board, because that way – threads are easy to follow and real discussions can be had.  That said, there are people who really enjoy the Facebook atmosphere, and this Q&A probably worked very well for those people. Social media is definitely not one-size-fits-all. While audiences tend to overlap to a certain degree, by reaching out to different avenues of social media such as Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter (among others I am sure), Duran Duran is much more likely to reach a wider cross-section of their audience – which keeps fans happy in the end.

You can find the full Facebook Q&A here, if you haven’t already taken a peek! I’ve linked the picture announcing the Q&A session, and from there, you just click on the forward arrow to see the questions one by one in Duran Duran’s photo album. Enjoy!

-R

 

This is How We Stay Connected

Well, I’ve hit the wall.  Or maybe I should say I’ve hit the door. I can’t really decide at this moment.  What I can do is describe how I’m feeling. It’s that point where I finally come down from the concert high and realize that I have at least months, if not years, until the next road trip, tour, concert or band member sighting.

That’s depressing.

The thing is, with all due respect to John, Simon, Nick, Roger AND Dom (can’t forget him!)…it’s not even necessarily all about them. It’s knowing that it will probably be six months to a year before I see Amanda again. (Does anyone else find it even mildly perplexing as to how we can run this site even though we are hardly EVER in the same state, much less the same room?!?) It’s realizing that evenings spent laughing over a table filled with, well…empty glasses…are a long way off again, never mind the days spent driving while trying to compile “just the right” set list to either drive people crazy, or make them laugh. (I think that depends on whether it’s Simon LeBon reading or another fan reading…and maybe not necessarily in that order!)  It’s recognizing the absence of friends. Even though I chat with most of them online each day at some point, it isn’t the same as being able to walk up to one of them and give them a hug or look at one another during a show and know we’re thinking the same thing. I miss them.

I’ve unpacked my bag, done laundry for everyone in the house, cleaned up the whirlwind I walked in on Sunday night, and have even caught up on and cleaned out emails and texts. I’ve looked at pictures, sat back and smiled at some particularly amusing memories, and wistfully daydreamed about others. I’ve bought groceries, and aside from a morning spent in urgent care (it turns out I will live), my life went back to normal just as quickly as the few days away seemed to pass. The band has since moved on to New York. Another album signing, another festival, and they’ll be headed back home to regroup before the UK shows take place in November. Life always seems to return itself to normal, no matter what happened the week prior.

I just don’t know how I get through this each time…whatever “this” is. I suppose it’s a bit of concert let-down. At first, I suppose I strive to keep talking about the shows or anecdotes from the road trip, as though by mentioning them it will keep everything fresh and alive. Then I start noticing the absence of people I care about, whether it’s that they don’t really tweet much, or that I don’t see them online very often, or just that I can’t pick up the phone every time I need to chat. I start thinking about how long it might be before I see them again, and what I can do in the meantime to make it easier. Let’s face it: Amanda is my best friend and we honestly spend about a week together (give or take a day or two) over the course of an entire year in the same place. Skype helps, but I don’t have the opportunity to Skype with everyone I miss. Yeah, it’s pretty depressing and I hate going through it. So what can really be done?

Well, for Amanda and I: we run this blog. It takes up a lot of our time as is, and invariably when we’re together, we come up with a brand new list of things we want to do, need to do and HAVE to do in order to keep it all going. I have to laugh because since I’ve been home, I’ve worked 10-hour days trying to catch up, clear out and read up on some things we’re hoping to do. While doing that now infamous road trip last week, we came up with brand NEW crazy ideas to pass the time, like a pumpkin-carving contest and adding a message board.  Our theory is basically that if we can’t have a Duranie community living in each of our respective towns, we can create one in a central place online. No, we’re not duranduranmusic.com, and this is not a fan club…but we are a community, and anyone can join. So that’s our goal going forward: to continue making this little blog into a real community. We’re going to run contests, have discussions, start a forum and continue planning for future meet-ups and even conventions; because as fans ourselves, we know what we want in a fan community. We’ll also stay funny, because well…we amuse ourselves, sometimes beyond reason!

No, I really can’t tell anyone here in the US for certain when John, Simon, Nick, Roger and Dom will be back for more. I don’t really know for sure when or where our next road trip or meet-ups will take place (But I will just throw this out to the powers that be – the more notice, the better – even if it’s just the name of the city, because that way we can plan. We can put together a trip plan, figure out meet-up times, and even do room blocks at hotels, which ultimately helps everyone in the long run). I only know that more is to come, and until then, we’re going to try our best to keep everyone busy.

In the meantime, if you happen to be well-versed in websites and have direct experience adding message boards to existing sites…shoot me an email.

-R