Tag Archives: Duran Duran fans

What is your most prized DD possession?

Sometimes, I have to borrow writing topics from “the experts”. Today is one of those days, as I try to untangle myself from the weekend and get moving. (Is anyone else struggling with the idea that Thanksgiving for the USA is next Thursday?!? How’d that happen???)

Over the weekend, and it might have even been yesterday – DDHQ asked fans for their most prized DD possession. I didn’t see many replies, but the few I caught were memorabilia like tour programs or signed CD’s.

When DDHQ sends out these questions, it takes me a few minutes of thinking before I settle on an answer worth tweeting. This time though, gut instinct took over and I tweeted right away. My answer wasn’t very exciting compared to those who tweeted signed photos or books or CD’s. My prized possession isn’t even my vinyl copy of Astronaut, signed by all five original members, although it’s a close second.

My most prized possession is the Encore CD set of the first time I saw all five original members onstage together in Costa Mesa, California in 2003.  I keep it hidden down deep in my sweater drawer and it is the one CD that isn’t already packed! I don’t really know why I’ve attached so much sentiment to one single thing. It isn’t signed, I rarely play it, and I didn’t even meet the band that night.  I suppose though, it has everything to do with why I’m a fan.

When I listen to the thunderous applause at the beginning of the concert, I know that I was one of those voices. We sat way back in the 16th row that night (“sat” is probably not the right word here. I jumped up and down. Shook like a tuning fork, even, but I didn’t really sit.), and I’ve never felt so much joy emanate through my body as I did that night. I couldn’t replicate the feeling if I tried, and I have. The memory of the concert that night still makes me smile and feel all tingly. I think it is that concert “high” that I still chase to this day.

Sure, the fact that all five were on that stage, playing together, is a wonderful memory. I am so grateful that I was able to be there and witness it. Andy was there, and I nearly came out of my skin when Roger stepped away from his set at the end of the show. I can remember seeing him walk to the front of the stage with his tongue hanging out of his mouth from exhaustion. I stared at John and Simon for most of the show, periodically pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming the whole thing. It was amazing and I could hardly believe I was there. Finally, after so many years! My heart still swells, just thinking about it.

There was something else that night though. I watched the audience before the band took the stage. People knew one another in the front. There was a lot of hugging, laughing, talking, and even some happy tears. I was so curious about all of that, because I knew no one aside from my husband, who was sitting next to me. It was an odd feeling. While I was overjoyed to be there like any Duranie might, I also felt just the slightest bit left out. I knew that whatever was going on with the people in the seats closest to the stage – I wanted to be a part of it.

There’s no question in my mind that my Encore CD from that show is  still my most prized DD possession. It is a memory from the show that changed everything for me. The friends I’ve made, the times I’ve had, and even the few encounters I’ve had with the band themselves – are in direct result from that show. I’m so grateful I was there.

There are plenty of moments from my Duranie life that I hold dear. I have fond memories of seeing Duran Duran (Nick, Simon and Warren) at the Anaheim House of Blues a couple of years prior. I felt that I’d left Duran Duran back in my childhood, only to have that “fan feeling” roar right back to life once again. That show in 2001 made me realize that I was still a Duran Duran fan, but it was the Costa Mesa show in 2003 that convinced me to participate in fandom. I wanted to meet people, make friends, and get involved.

Obviously, I took it a little farther than I’d planned. I’m funny that way.

-R

 

A moment worth celebrating

Some days are just meant to be celebrated!  I am super behind today already, but I needed to take a minute and congratulate my dearest friend on some VERY hard-fought victories.

A lot of people, including myself – simply vote on election day. We proudly display our “I voted” stickers as though we’ve done something monumental, take selfies and display them all over the net. My friend Amanda takes the process a lot more to heart. She volunteers for campaigns, running and organizing teams of people for canvassing, among a great many other things. In short, she lives, eats, and breathes campaigning. Since 2010, she has been working nearly non-stop to “right” some of the things that have happened in her state. Last night (or early this morning!), election results appear to show that her goal has finally been reached.

My purpose in writing this post isn’t to get into political debate over what anyone else may think or feel is right or wrong…but simply to prove a point that I think has been very lost in this world lately.

Amanda and I kind of sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum, to some degree. I lean more towards right of center. She is most definitely on the left. Yet we still get along, and agree on a great many things. We find common ground because THAT IS WHAT NORMAL, LEVEL-HEADED PEOPLE DO.

I respect Amanda, 100%. I celebrate her victory because she is my closest friend. I wouldn’t set out to hurt her any more than she would me.  I am incredibly proud of her today (although I still would have been proud even if her candidates had not won), and I’m overjoyed that she is able to feel like she can celebrate her hard work. Everyone needs that, and I’m relieved that SHE is relieved.

Sometimes I think our governments, social media, and media in general, are so focused on making sure we see what makes us all different that we forget to notice and comment on all of the things that make us similar. The common ground is there and miles wide, we just need to be willing to find it. That doesn’t mean looking at your friend and saying “You’re the one who voted for the guy I don’t like, so you need to change your thinking and know that I’m the one who is right.” It means listening to one another. It means doing a LOT of listening, and a lot less talking.

Social media is great for talking. Tweeting is really just about who can yell the loudest. There’s a lot of that going on. I’m wondering more about the listening, though. Who is willing to do more of that?

Count me in on that side.

Congratulations my friend. I am thrilled for you, and for your state. I know how much of yourself you put into this election and campaign. It is inspiring to see that kind of hard work amount to so much. I hope you never lose sight of what you’ve accomplished.

Oh, I know this has little to do with Duran Duran. Except that it does. Amanda and I are both fans. Our common ground has ALWAYS been this band. I know of fellow fans who are far more liberal AND far more conservative than I am. Yet when it comes down to it, we all love the band. It’s a great starting point. I strive to remind everyone that when it boils down to it, I really do believe there is more that makes us similar than different, no matter the color of our skin, the loves of our life, or where you fall on the political spectrum. I think that to some degree, we’re all a bit guilty of forgetting that from time to time.

Onward and upward.

-R

I Know This Shattered Feeling

I’m sorry the blog is posting so late today. Like millions of other Americans, my attention has been glued to the testimony taking place on Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.) today. If you’re not in America, and you don’t know what I’m referring to, Google it. I find myself struggling to find the right words.

As Duran fans, our love and loyalty has recently been put to the test. “Who do you believe?” has been a common question that I’ve seen and thought about many times lately. The same question is now up for debate with the American public.

I don’t have answers. I didn’t when it was Simon, and I still don’t now. It isn’t my intention to persuade anyone to my way of thinking, nor am I determined to debate events that I wasn’t present to witness. Instead, I come here to forget and take a breather. To wipe the slate clean. I enjoy living and breathing. Yes, I have a history, and not all of it is of great memory. This place is my escape. It is how I take a deep breath, and it is how I remind myself that I’m LIVING.

My exhaustion hangs heavy in the air. I am sure that I’m not alone in feeling that way.

Over the years I’ve known Amanda, she has occasionally mentioned wanting something to look forward to.  She’s usually talking about having a concert on the calendar. I’ve never really felt that way, although don’t get me wrong – seeing Duran Duran live is always welcome! I don’t really know if I have a coping mechanism like that?    I just try to get through each day, and I force myself to focus on each day at a time, rather than look too far ahead. At least, that’s what I did until today. Today, I really wish I had a gig – a Duran Duran concert (thankyouverymuch) to look forward to. The diversion and opportunity to obsess over something other than regular day-to-day life is sounding pretty good right now.

Now, of course I know there’s no Duran shows ahead, at least not in 2018. I wish there were, though. The band is off doing whatever they’re doing, and I don’t fault them.  I just miss those five guys (Yes, five. Including Dom, of course.), particularly on days and even weeks like this. The utopian lifestyle of touring is far more appealing than the ugliness I’m witnessing in Washington, D.C.

I’ve been thinking about what video would be most appropriate to share here. I didn’t think I’d have much to write and share. I realized the perfect answer came directly from DDHQ themselves. The video they shared with us for DDAD2018 is perfect and exactly what I needed. I hope you take a deep cleansing breath, watch, and enjoy! Click on the link!

Duran Duran – Pressure Off/Hold Back the Rain from Budokan

-R

Ashes to Understanding is the Nature of this Existence

I’ve been thinking about the last line I wrote in yesterday’s post.

“I got involved in the fan community because I wanted to make friends, not enemies.”

For the past seventeen years, I’ve participated in the Duran Duran fan community.  By that I mean, I’ve been involved online. Before that, I didn’t really know much about their fan club. I can remember reading something about it in the 1980s, but my parents weren’t about to let me answer some ad in Tiger Beat. Yes, they were pretty strict.

Like many, I discovered duranduran.com after going to a concert. I don’t know why I didn’t think about searching for them online before, but I hadn’t. Going to that one show in 2001 changed everything, and searching online tied me to the band going forward. I’m definitely not sorry.

What boggles my mind though, is how much the community itself has changed. Even after duranduran.com stopped hosting the fan forum and it became a benefit for paid members of duranduranmusic.com, people still flocked to the message board. It was a busy place with many different personalities. Nowadays, it is a ghost town. Even Twitter, which seemed to be a gathering spot in the aftermath of DDM’s forum, has settled way down. Band members don’t really post, and many of the fans who at one time were active in the Twitterverse have since drifted.

It is inevitable that people drift away, or in and out of fandom. Currently, the band is fairly quiet. Even in the most recent Katy Kafe,  Roger and Katy briefly mention that there is really no upcoming news from the band. In fact, I saw written somewhere that KAABOO Cayman is the only 2019 performance date. Now, whether that is the plan going forward or only the truth currently, I can’t say. Regardless, it makes sense that for right now, fandom is fairly quiet.

I think my surprise has far more to do with the changes I don’t notice until I really think about them. So many people I once knew and chatted with on a daily basis have simply moved on. I’ve lost touch with many over the years, and yet here I am…still loitering! Twitter is a very different animal these days, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook have all changed considerably.

I almost feel like the fan community has blurred into the woodwork. I don’t think about how the fan community has evolved very often, only when I realize that the band has been off tour (and by that I mean the Paper Gods tour ended) since about this time last year, which means they haven’t been in the studio for about 3.5 years, unless you count the various times they’ve mentioned going back into the studio over the course of the last year in Katy Kafes. Makes you curious what they’ve actually done in the studio during those times, right? Yet it’s only today that I’ve sat back and thought about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to cattle prod them back in there, although I know it reads that way. I am really just trying to illustrate that I don’t really notice everything that has changed until I’ve got spare time on my hands to do so!

I miss the tangible feeling of perpetual excitement in the air. During the Astronaut and Reunion era, I could feel the electricity! I suppose I could be romanticizing the nostalgia, in the same way I remember high school being fun all of the time. I haven’t had a lot of time over the past year to really think about Duran Duran, or even the Paper Gods tour that much. Yeah, I know I write the blog nearly every day, but I mean even beyond that time. These are the first moments where I’ve sat back and thought about the fan community I once knew. I didn’t appreciate it until I noticed how quiet it has become.

What was once a significant part of my day, has become far less of an influence. I think my husband probably cheers for that, now that I’ve taken on the “hobby” of keeping an immaculate home. I’ve become FAR too domesticated for my taste. Just the other day I told Amanda that I couldn’t wait to be worrying about truly important things again. You know, concert dates and pre-sales! Or telling my husband that I was going to be gone for weeks on end…in another country.

I even miss him coming home from work to see me laughing because I was in a chat room with friends. There were many times I wouldn’t have dinner ready and waiting because I had better things to do! Maybe I would be answering posts on a message board, or drooling over the band’s new video.  Sometimes I’d be cackling wildly over pictures of Simon with the best handlebar mustache I’d ever seen. Those things rarely happen now.

Since November of last year, nearly all of my time has been spent worrying. First it was our truck which needed a ridiculously costly repair, then a lay off which lasted for six months. A yet-to-be-completed huge family move, on top of trying to figure out how we were going to cover college tuition for both of our kids with only days to come up with it have rounded out my summertime and are currently leaking their way into autumn. No, summer didn’t feel like summer at all. No camping, no trips, and zero vacation. Aside from the couple of days I was in Santa Barbara house hunting, I haven’t really left the vicinity. Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to some Duran news to take the edge off, whenever it should come.

During the moments when I am truly taking a deep breath and trying to center myself,  I recognize the void that the fan community used to inhabit in my life. That isn’t to say I’m not still involved, but there is just a lot less to participate in.  I miss it.

-R

Signals in Smoke: Comparing DD History and Fan Support

Do you ever wonder if you are the only one to do something?  Sometimes, I think I’m way weird.  Am I the only one who thinks about the band’s history when pondering one’s life?  For example, when I have been a part of a winning campaign and feel like I’m on top of the world, my thoughts immediately turn to Duran’s history.  Is this what it felt like to play Madison Square Garden in 1984, I ask.  Am I the only one???  Maybe this is a sign that I have read too many histories of the band or watched too many documentaries that the band’s story is permanently etched into my brain.  Perhaps, it is the historian in me combined with my Duranieness.  Who knows?

So which part of Duran’s history have I been thinking about?  1986 is the year that I have been thinking about.  It was the time in which Roger and Andy left.  The band was in a transition period coming back from side projects and attempting to regain popularity and media attention.  They tried hard to get back to where they were in 1984 despite the changes.  Eventually, it seems to me that the band members had to find a new normal.  They had to accept that their careers might be very different from here on out.  (Some might argue that they haven’t really accepted that as they continue to push for commercial success that they once had.)  In thinking about this, I try to imagine what they must have felt like.  Was this change so huge that it was heartbreaking to them?  Was it frustrating?  Was there an underlying anxiety?  How did they know which aspects of the new Duran Duran to accept and which ones should they fight to maintain?  How did that acceptance come about?

I ask all these questions in the hopes of shedding light to my current situation.  I, too, feel like I’m in a transition despite having the same career (just like the band did).  There are parts of my life that are pretty significantly different than what they were two years ago.  In thinking about some of those changes, I’m left feeling lonely and a little heartbroken.  My natural tendency is to embrace whatever dark emotion I have and even wallow in it.  I’m trying hard not to do that.  Maybe the band members felt that way in 1986, too.  It is possible that they wanted to live in anger towards their former colleagues or the media or the fickle fans.  Yet, it seems to me that they did what I’m trying to do, which is to hold on to the elements that are at the core while accepting the new aspects to the best of their ability.

When I think of Duran in 1986, I don’t see people who were depressed or frustrated with many people and institutions.  Maybe they did and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t show it.  I can relate to that.  I suspect that I hide my feelings well or shield people from seeing the extent to my emotions.  The other theory is that even if people see that I’m not doing super well, I also seem unapproachable.  Yet, every once in awhile, someone pushes through, sees that things haven’t been great for me and reaches out.

I experienced this very thing this week when I arrived home to find a unexpected package in my mailbox.  What was in the package?  It was from Durandy who said that he heard that things have been rough for me so he wanted to send a little joy to me.  What did he send?  He sent a copy of his book, The Music Between Us:  Concert Ads of Duran Duran.  I cannot begin to express how much this touched me.  On top of being thrilled to have a copy of this book, it means the world to me to know that someone cares.  Of course, the gift in one that I look forward to really looking at.  I have already gone page by page once and cannot wait to really analyze each and every ad and story.  It is a gift that will keep on giving.

So, I guess, just this once, my signals in smoke were seen and received.  It definitely makes me feel a little stronger, a little more supported as I move through whatever weird transition period this is.  It also reminds me of the best of fandom, which is how fans can and do support one another.  That is another gift I will treasure.

-A

NYC Fan Meet-up!

Calling all Duranies, this is an official Duranie Alert for a fan activity!! (well, maybe not quite that official…)

Are you on the East Coast? Can you get yourself to New York City?  If you are so inclined, there is an upcoming Duran Duran Fan Meet-up happening at Loreley Beer Garden in Manhattan on October 6th!

Amanda and I love going to fan meet-ups! They are the very best way to meet new friends and celebrate Duran Duran. The connections fans make with one another are the lifeblood of the fan community, and it is exciting to see fan activities like this taking place, even if they’re on the opposite coast from this Duranie.

This meet-up sounds like a great way to bring in Autumn. There aren’t any Duran Duran gigs on the calendar until at least 2019 (KAABOO February 15-16), so what better way for a pick-me-up than a fan activity like this?

It would be outstanding to be able to give the beer garden a headcount, so drop us a line here at Daily Duranie to say you’re going and we’ll let the event organizer know. If you’ve already gotten invited to the event through Facebook and responded that way – no need to tell us. We’re just trying to help her spread the good news!

Do us a favor, and have some beer for us too!  We’ll each be at our homes, wallowing in self-pity. Maybe Amanda will be grading papers, and perhaps I’ll be packing and boxing. We both will be wishing we were in New York City, having a great time visiting with all of you!

Here are the details – don’t forget to let us know you’re going (send us an email!)

NYC Fan Meet-Up
October 6, 2018, 6pm EDT
Loreley Beer Garden
7 Rivington St. New York, New York 10002

So envious of anyone who is able to go – send us some pictures so we can post them!!

-R

Everybody, Everywhere, Feel It In The Air

Do you know what Duran Duran was doing on this date in 2015?  They were filming the video for “Pressure Off” at Black Island Studios in London!

The video for “Pressure Off” is stylistic and modern, filmed in black and white. I like its simplicity and the stark black and white look. Nick’s thick black eyeliner, that damn leather jacket John’s wearing as he slowly unzips the sleeve, Simon’s mirrored aviator shades, and Roger’s super white grin at the end are huge checkmarks in my “Yes!” column. Combine those scenes with appearances by Nile and Janelle Monae in what I think has to be the most effective use of guest artists in a video, and “Pressure Off” is a big winner.

I love the whimsical side of the video, too. I am absolutely not the only Duranie to laugh at John mouthing the good old “F**k you” at the very beginning. That was my first indicator that this video lived up to it’s name! The magic of editing helped us see John upside down, and the weightless jumps into space for Nick and Simon (thank you, slo-mo). The carefree jumping paired with Nick’s seriousness makes me laugh.  At one point, John even throws his guitar, and it seems to just hang in the air. There are times I’d like to throw this laptop in the same way. actually.  The smiles and camera stare-downs also remind me that this band has a great sense of humor. I miss it!

I like the way the video is black and white, and yet the live performance of this song on tour was quite the opposite. The band wore vibrant colors in one way or another, and the confetti cannon spread a rainbow of joy throughout the venue. I’m sure the intention wasn’t to be the opposite of the video, but it is something I’ve thought about. Either way, I can’t help but smile and feel jubilant. (the edge goes to the live show for that, but even the video makes me happy)

Rather that read my gushing, why don’t you take another look? It had been a while since I watched it last, and I have to admit that seeing it today made me a little less weary of getting back into homeschool mode…

…speaking of which, I’ve got some teaching to do. Have a great Tuesday everyone!

 

-R

What does Fandom Really Mean to Me, Eight Years Later

I’ve been pondering a question someone asked on Twitter yesterday.    Many of us have actively participated in this fandom for decades now, and he wanted to know our favorite moment.

My own response was easy: the convention I attended in New Orleans back in 2004. I loved every minute of that weekend. It was the first time I’d ever felt completely included in a group.  The fact that I’d gone to very few shows, or that I’d never shared breathing space with John or Roger didn’t matter.  Even though it was my first convention, or that I wasn’t a huge Warren-fan, no one cared. We celebrated the fact that we were all fans, and that the original lineup was together. So many of us relished that for the first time in our adult lives, we felt like we had “people”.

Cognitively, I recognize that I’m supposed to feel like my husband,  “completes” me. I feel just the tiniest bit guilty because that’s just not how it went for me. It was this fan community that completed me. Not my husband, not the band, but the community. The people I met. Friends. Those who shared in my journey. I felt right, for the very first time. If I could bottle that weekend, or my feelings about that weekend, I would.

Many other people responded with their own favorites, more often than not, they included the band in one way or another. Some cited a specific show, others mentioned a time they met one or more of them. Any fan gets those same gushy-feelings when they think about meeting a band member. I just don’t consider those moments as favorites.  I’m trying to understand what make me so different.

What does “fandom” really mean?

It is a question I think about a lot, probably more than I need, but I’m weird that way. I mean, if I tweeted that question right now, I’m sure I’d get plenty of answers ranging from it meaning the same thing as being a fan, or the “thing” we are a fan of.  None of that would be wrong. But what does “fandom” really mean to me?

I’ve met the band in passing, sure. I care about each of those guys very much, just like any other fan. I was thrilled when I met them, too. But for me, the idea of “fandom” is so much deeper than Simon, John, Roger, Nick…Andy, Warren or even Dom. (Sorry guys) I mean, the music brought me here, sure. But when I think about the word fandom, it goes beyond the music. Fandom, for me, is about the people, or the community. I spent a lot of time thinking about that yesterday, and even this morning.  What does “fandom” really mean to me?

That doesn’t mean everyone else who gleefully responded with tales of their meeting Simon or Nick were wrong, either. There’s no right or wrong. Fandom means different things to different people, nothing about that is wrong.

I’ll go one further: I sometimes wish my feelings about fandom stopped with just the band. My “relationship”, so to speak, with the band is simple. They write and perform the songs. I buy the records and concert tickets. We smile and say “Hi, how are you doing?” every few years. It is remarkably easy, transactional on many levels, and simple.

The relationship I have with the fan community is incredibly complicated. This blog hasn’t made the situation less entangled or messy. Even prior to blogging and upsetting people with my written words. I have never been one of those people that everybody loves. I’ve come to realize and accept that about myself, and while I wish it were different – I’ve also learned just to keep to myself for the most part. Popularity isn’t necessarily something I’ve needed in order to survive. All that in mind, I have a small circle of friends who know exactly who I am, and like me anyway. Those people came into my life because I was a Duran Duran fan, and stay because they are obviously as nuts as I am.

It would be far easier if I only worried about finding the band after the shows, getting photos and not bothering with making friends or being an active participant in the community. I just don’t think I’d be happy that way. I think I’d have already gotten bored with the process, to be honest. There’s something to be said for writing a blog for eight years, even if I have managed to make nearly everyone mad at me for something I’ve said at least once. (Then again, in and of itself, even that is an accomplishment!)

I think I’m using this question as a way to put my thoughts of the past eight years on a slow-simmer as I go about my business. As of September 13, Amanda and I will be entering our ninth year of this gig. This time of year always makes me a little introspective. Even our friendship has changed during the time we’ve written. We used to speak at least weekly if not daily, via text and email. Nowadays, it goes weeks, if not months. We’re both busy and I’m 99% to blame. She called me last, and I have yet to call her back. Not because I haven’t wanted, but because I haven’t had time or been alone long enough to really talk. I long for days when life returns to normal, but what if “normal” has changed? Everything is different and I haven’t even moved yet!

I avoid people when I feel out of sorts. For someone who loves to talk, I’ve kind of stopped.  I’ve held on to some things tightly, like music, memories, and things like that. Duran Duran’s music is a constant, and the fandom has kept me feeling rooted, even when I’ve felt unsettled.

-R

Fandom Made Me a Happier Person, Too!

I apologize for my tardiness with today’s post. The past 24 hours have been rather unkind. My home, which was spotless on Saturday, now looks as though it has been hit by a hurricane. There is a film of dust everywhere, combined with layers of plastic, tape and yes, paint.

Speaking of which, I have a PSA for anybody who ever plans to paint, or spoil themselves and have their house painted. Always remember to pull out blankets, pillows, and perhaps a few outfits, because otherwise all of your belongings – like maybe your entire house – will essentially end up piled like a life-sized Jenga game into the center of each bedroom, and then shrink-wrapped in plastic without any way for you to retrieve your personal items. I have it on good authority that you will be left wondering at 11:30 that night how you’re going to get your ten-year old to finally go to sleep.  Maybe your significant other will end up folding an old down throw blanket into a cushion and sleeping on the wood floor, perhaps your son will sleep on an office chair, and maybe you’ll be stuck on your couch, without a blanket or a pillow.  Oh, and god forbid you have a stomach virus while all of this is going on. Yeah.

So yep, the blog is late, and I’m tired.

Today, I ran across an article that I think every Duran fan should read. This article, titled “Fandom Made Me a Happier Person – And There’s A Very Real Reason For That” is posted on bustle.com. It outlines some fantastic “side effects” to participating in a fandom.  I replied to the person who originally tweeted the link to the article on Twitter to say that 99% of my experience in this fandom has been positive.

Yes, Amanda and I have examined some of the less-than-positive aspects to certain fan practices. That’s part of studying fandom. However, she and I would be among the first to jump and shout about the good things we’ve experienced and discovered simply because we happened to be Duran Duran fans.

I’ve written about many of these things before, but just the very idea of having some interest that is mine, and mine alone, has been empowering. I’ve traveled, I’ve made lifelong friends, and I’ve even challenged myself to leave my very comfortable “box”, in search of pushing my own boundaries a bit. I’m far from perfect or finished, but I’m much happier!

Sometimes, we all get so focused on the small, insipid annoyances that go along with socializing within a small community that we forget the broader, far more positive, payoffs. I have to thank Kelsea Stahler, the author, for the good reminder. Check out the article (linked in the text above!)

-R

Happy birthday John! (2018)

It’s a busy birthday month, isn’t it? Another quick observation – it is pretty bad when one has to begin putting the year into the happy birthday title. Is it a sign I’ve been blogging too long?

Maybe.

Or it just means we love this band a lot. There’s that, too.

Yes, there is a birthday boy amongst us. Or across the continent and ocean from some of us, anyway.  Happy birthday John! I am really the wrong person to be writing this blog today, as I have almost no exciting stories or anecdotes to share. I have never really met John, beyond raising my voice enough to tell him at a crowded table that Astronaut was a beautiful album. I did that at a signing in Hollywood once. But honestly that’s about it. I did see him walk out of a building and take a picture with Amanda – that was so exciting I remained rooted to my spot, standing off to the side, almost dumbstruck.

I’m REALLY good at the whole “meeting the band” thing. Can’t you tell??

Oh, there was that time I stuck my tongue out at him while he was onstage. Yeah, I did that. (I’m here to say that should you ever think that maybe the band can see you – EVEN if you’re in 9th row and it seems unlikely – if they’re looking right at you, they probably can and do see you. Trust me on that.)

So far here, I’ve established that I really don’t know him, and that I’ve already sort of insulted him (although I was just goofing around and he did it right back). Awesome start.

Despite not knowing him personally, there are few people who inspire me more than John. He has had real struggle in his life, just as any of us have in one way or another, and he’s turned it into something positive. I like that John seems to be a thinking person. He’s not all fun and games, or shallow. He seems to like to get into the real “meat” of it, and in some ways he reminds me of himself because he doesn’t seem to do things halfway. It’s either all or nothing, which is very much how I am.  Not that I’m claiming to be like him, just that I can identify.

He also reminds me a bit of myself because, during the very few times I’ve actually seen him offstage (and now that I sit here I can really only remember one time) – he doesn’t seem to like crowds. Or mingling.  When I’ve gone to wait for the band outside a stage entrance (yeah, I’ve done it once or twice!), I usually miss John completely because he’s already taken off. (and if I were ever in a band, that’s exactly how I would be)

The thing is, I may not always love the things that John says, or agree with every one of his statements, but I have a great deal of love and respect for him. I can appreciate that he’s a human being, not a robot, not able to commit to being everything for everyone. I love the saying “Expectations are future resentments”, which he talked about in his book. He’s right, and I’ve tried very hard to put that idea into practice. Life goes a lot better for me when I remain open to possibilities of things not happening quite as I expected.

(looks around while sitting on a balcony in Santa Barbara…yep, I definitely did not see this coming, and I’m totally OK with that!)

So for as much as I say I don’t know John personally, I feel like out of the entire band, he’s the one I tend to identify most with these days. I look forward to his Katy Kafe’s, and I enjoy hearing what he has to say…which reminds me that I need to go to YouTube in search of the speech he gave at the Brilliant Minds Symposium in Stockholm…

The happiest of birthdays to you, John. You’re a brilliant example of the saying “Not just a pretty face”, because there is one hell of a lot of substance going on in that brain of yours, and I appreciate that even after all of this time, I am learning from your examples. No, I don’t think you’re infallible and I try very hard not to put you on too high of a pedestal (expectations and all, right?), but you are by far one of the better humans I’ve never really met.  😀  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

-R