Tag Archives: Duran Duran fans

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

I don’t own Duran Duran. Do you?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve seen some weird reactions since Monday, the day that most of us discovered that Simon was going to become a grandpa in June.

I’ve seen everything from joyful congratulations to downright lamenting age, and trust me – I’m right there with all of you. I’m sure to some degree, Simon might be too. After all, it is HIS daughter having the baby! My goodness, as thrilled as I might be to become a grandma (NOT ANY TIME SOON!), I think I’d still take a hard look at myself in the mirror. I think that’s probably normal for anyone.

While I think we might all be incredulous over how quickly time has passed, I’ve also noticed something different that I can’t quite put my finger on. In addition to the posts, tweets and comments of congratulations and joy, there’s been this weird sense of almost a sort of….ownership…familiarity? I’m not even sure those are the right words, but it is something I’ve noticed before.

Most fans have been so since their very early teens. Sure, there are some that have joined the family more recently, and I’m not discounting them – but a lot of us have been around for decades. I have to wonder if that hasn’t given us a false sense of familiarity.

I mean, it isn’t as though we know Saffron personally (for the most part). It is wonderful to send congratulations, but can you imagine what it must be like to be a member of that family and have people you have never even met telling you that if they had their preference, the baby would be a healthy girl? Or boy? It must be overwhelming, whether or not you and I think that Saffron, as Simon’s daughter, must be used to it by now.  I guess part of me wonders why should she HAVE to be?

By the same token, we fans are pretty damn overwhelming to the band, too. Can you imagine having some self-proclaimed blogger write about you every day? Complaining about how long you’re taking to write and record an album, then…just as the album is released, she criticizes it? Who in the hell does she think she is? Good question.

Yes, I think about these things a little differently now than I did a few years ago.

I can’t really find fault with people wanting to express their good wishes. Hell, I did the same thing. I posted a note and even wrote a blog. But after I published, as I washed my face and climbed into bed after a long day, I started thinking about how overwhelming it must be at times.

A few weeks back I was chatting back and forth with a friend of mine who also happens to play bass in a Duran Duran tribute band. We were talking about my absence at a lot of their gigs these days. I explained that I got tired of getting that feeling of entitlement from some of the other fans at their shows, and the attitude of “ownership” that went with it.  Here’s a band, a TRIBUTE band at that – and they still have fans who believe that because they’ve gone to every gig or most gigs, that they have somehow proven that they’re more worthy than others. My feeling is that I just want to listen to their music. I don’t need the rest of the crap that I feel at shows from the REAL band. Forget that nonsense.

The knowing looks, the narrowing eyes when one describes meeting the band or being in a situation that someone else hasn’t, the one-upping through Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and all of that. Gah! I just want to go to the show, enjoy the music, and not worry about the rest. I don’t want to have to “prove” why I am  worthy to be there, or why I am deserving of whatever experience I’m enjoying at the time. It drives me crazy. Sometimes, this community seems to be more about proving yourself than it is about just enjoying the band.

I admit it, sometimes, it is difficult to remember that my only “duty” as a fan is to enjoy the music. I am still learning how to approach it all.  As a blogger, it is easy to fall into the trap of critiquing more than enjoying. I know this because I’ve been in that pit before.  I much prefer writing in a way that celebrates (In some way) everything they’ve done rather than finding fault. It’s a slippery slope because, let’s face it, that isn’t the way I’ve always written. I’m not going to apologize or make excuses except to say the blog has been a journey. I’m learning, like it or not.

It is easy to feel like I am a big part of the history of this band because I’ve been walking with them since 1980-something. I feel like I know them, even though I really don’t. Many of us feel that way. I’m sure they are used to people like me, stepping on their every word. Even so,  I’m calling myself out here as much as anyone else. I don’t own Duran Duran. I might be a hard-core fan in desperate need of a new hobby, but that doesn’t mean they know me, or should abide by anything I write.

Hard truths for a Thursday.

-R

 

What Happens Tomorrow on GMA, 2005

Did you know that on this day in 2005, Duran Duran performed “What Happens Tomorrow” on Good Morning America?

I’m sure many of you were there. I was not…but I remember racing home from dropping the kids at school in order to see the band perform!

I always say it, but I just can’t get over this being thirteen years ago. Are we sure?!? The band looks good, don’t they? I must admit, I liked them in suits onstage. They looked sharp…and I was a big fan of John’s dark hair, too. Then there’s Andy. I’d nearly forgotten that he was with them at this time. There’s this odd sense of wistfulness when I watch them perform, probably because I know what comes later, and I see people in the audience that are no longer around.

If you watch the whole performance, you’ll see at one point that Simon makes his way over to Andy to sing with him in the same way he does with John. Andy doesn’t even turn towards him, and Simon is kind of left hanging. I don’t think I ever noticed it until I watched today.  I don’t know if that was by accident, on purpose, or an indication of the turmoil within.

Then there is the audience. I see several people I recognize – and it’s not hard to remember that during this time, Duranies were still basking in the afterglow of the original line up being together and touring. I love seeing the joy on the faces of fans during this period of time. For those who, like me, never thought the “Fab Five” would reunite – the period of 2001 through 2005 went by like a flash. A perfect moment designed to give us what we’d wanted, what many of us never had the chance to experience before, but not meant to last.  I’m glad I savored each moment I had.

We’ve come a long way since 2005, and yet sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday. Life is crazy that way.

-R

On this date in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went Platinum

I was beginning to do some cleaning the other day when I ran across my Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.  That’s not really surprising, because I still prefer to listen to vinyl when I have the opportunity, and back in the day, this album was probably my favorite.

On this day in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum. I don’t know that I ever really thought much about that at the time, but I do remember that nearly everyone I knew had a copy. The slanted DD logo, the design featuring the eye in the middle of the compass/sunburst, the crescent moon and star, the “7” symbol near the right corner, and the photo on the front seemed to be everywhere, from t-shirts and pins to carefully sketched drawings on school folders. I spent hours scouring the album, trying to decipher the map on the back as though it coded with specific directions for fans (I’m still not entirely convinced there’s not a hidden message in there somewhere).  My friends and I knew every single word to every song (probably not unlike those of you reading), and we painstakingly studied each line of lyric as though it were classic prose. If only I’d taken that kind of time with my eighth grade English class….

I know that today, Seven and the Ragged Tiger tends to take a lot of heat from die-hard fans who have now grown up and decided that the album isn’t nearly as good as we once thought. I read a lot about how over-produced it might have been. The space between the notes that Simon talks about enjoying on Paper Gods is pretty non-existent on SATRT. I too, recognize that perhaps the album wasn’t as mind-blowingly perfect as I once thought at the age of thirteen.  I can say that about a lot of music I liked then, though. For me, my love of Seven and the Ragged Tiger isn’t solely about the album itself. The memories I have of that time help to continually elevate the album to superstardom in my head. I loved being a Duranie, and this one album, likely above all others, illustrates that time.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I still get the silliest grin when I hear “New Moon on Monday” or “I Take the Dice”.  That’s really all I need in order to tell me that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is still worth its weight in platinum, and then some.

-R

Durandemonium is coming. Again.

So what is this I hear about a Durandemonium convention in August? Whose crazy idea was THAT?!?

I hate to say it, but I think I might be the guilty party.

Imagine the scene: we’re at the Daily Duranie “Late Bar” party in Vegas, everyone is having fun and a few people have asked when we’re going to do a convention. I look around and realize that yeah, we probably could have a pretty rocking convention right here in Hard Rock Live. It’s a very versatile, exclusive yet open, space for meeting, partying, dancing, etc. Could we pull it off?

I mention it to Amanda, who I think may have threatened me with bodily harm. I can’t really remember now, come to think of it! I do know she did ask me several times if I meant it, and I played it off. It’s one thing to suggest it in jest, another to say it and mean it. I needed to think.

I drive home from Vegas, go through the New Year, and really start considering whether or not the idea is even worth discussing further. A few people ask about it, which does nothing to quell the idea. Amanda and I talk about it on Friday night, and we agree to throw it out to the community by way of a poll.

A poll isn’t very scientific, and the results are only as good as the sample size. Even so, a poll generates discussion, and the reaction might tell me whether or not it’s worth looking into. Amanda and I chuckle as we post the poll on Facebook and Twitter. We assume we’ll get less than 50 people to even answer.

Wrong.

We had fifty people respond by late Friday evening, and most were positive. This was a surprise, particularly since we made sure to indicate that ticket prices were likely to be over $200 a person for a Thursday evening through Sunday noon convention.

Nope, conventions are not cheap. They’re absolutely not free. I know that we do our meet-ups for free – and we really shouldn’t, because even those require some menial things that Amanda and I have just agreed to pay for over the years and not mention it, but a convention is very different.

It is a finely tuned balance. The risk is enormous, because we have to choose a city that Amanda and I can easily get to, as well as somewhere that fans WANT to visit. When we are planning, we have to consider how many tickets need to be sold in order to break even.  One way we encourage people to join us, is by having conventions in places that people already want to go.

That typically means sticking to larger cities, and those big cities cost money. No matter what city is chosen, we read posts from people who want to come but insist that the convention be closer to them, like in their own hometown. No matter where we choose, there is always going to be a city that is cheaper, a time of year that is better, a place we haven’t visited, etc. We do our best, and so far, we haven’t had a convention in the same city twice.

With all of that taken into consideration, is it any wonder why so few conventions happen in this fandom?

We soldier on because the one truth that Amanda and I hold most dear is that being a die-hard fan of Duran Duran is about far more than just the band. There is certainly room for those who care little about making friends and are just around to see Simon, John, Nick & Roger – and there’s something to be said for those people. They buy the same tickets and support the band in the same way we might. However, the friendships made along the way have made my  journey far sweeter.  Amanda and I believe that so fervently that we want to help facilitate more of those opportunities for fans to meet and befriend one another outside of a concert setting. In turn, those friendships are what create and maintain the community. It isn’t what Amanda and I post here on the blog that does that.  Not even  the events we plan create community. The friendships and bonds between people are what do that. Sometimes though, these conventions and meet-ups help to bring people together, and that is why we plan them.

Those who have been to other conventions and even meet-ups like the one in Vegas with us know this to be true. Somewhere along the way, it really does become the friendships that matter most. I met my best friend at a fan convention. I know other people met their closest Duranie friends at our last Durandemonium convention.  I saw a group of people who had mainly interacted online become better friends in Las Vegas, bonding over the band, karaoke and late night pizza. It wasn’t due to Amanda or myself that those things happened, but it sure gave me joy to witness it. That’s why we keep going. I love seeing people come together over the love of a band. The music is between us, and it bonds us. That’s worth celebrating. With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the very beginnings of Duran Duran, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than with people who love this band as much as I do.

That thought is what will keep me going until August.

Durandemonium is coming.

-R

 

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