Tag Archives: Duran Duran fans

DD Chat with Roger

Today, Roger took 30 minutes to answer as many questions as he could on Twitter. I counted (yes, I really did), and there were over 500 questions submitted from 3:30 UK time on, and out of those, he replied to 22.

Even more difficult to follow than last week, many found that they were unable to really find all of Roger’s replies. So, I took screenshots and will put them here. I think I missed one or two that were just shout-outs, but the good content is here. Enjoy!! (They are not in order – I’m good, but not THAT good!) -R

Daily Duranie Zoom Meetup!

During a time when video meetings are quickly becoming the norm, Daily Duranie has jumped on board the train! As we brainstormed of ways to try and connect with other fans, even while concerts and tours are being cancelled. We thought about how we could incorporate videos and chat together in one single place.

Previously, we’d have these video parties by putting together a YouTube playlist, then chatting on Twitter, making sure to use a hashtag so that others could follow along. It wasn’t easy, particularly if you only had use of a single screen. We found that we could either watch the videos OR chat, unless we had a phone and a laptop or some other combination of screens.

Suddenly, it hit us that maybe we could use Zoom, particularly now while it is free for people to try it out. So, we are going to set up a meeting on Zoom for next Sunday 3/29. The party is scheduled to begin around 11:30 am PST so that way perhaps we can reach at least some people around the globe (we’ll start the meet up by explaining how to use Zoom for video viewing), and we’ll go from there. Our plan is to have a 3-4 hour video party, same rules as always – participate, have fun, and if you’re so inclined – have a cocktail or two! We’re trying to give everyone notice so that if you do not already have Zoom on your laptop, you can get it downloaded. Once we have the meeting details (there’s an ID number and password for each meeting), we will post those details on our FB event page that is going up this afternoon.

Hope to see many of you on Sunday – what better way to spend time than with Duran Duran and friends?!?

– A & R

Look out of the Window

Is anybody bored yet? To be fair, I’ve had quite a bit to do here at home. Cooking and cleaning for the family proves to take up quite a bit of my day. I can’t say I’m all that domesticated, but you know – I really have no other alternative at the moment. Woe is certainly not me when I look around and see that I have it far better than most.

Even so, boredom is a thing. I mean, one can only disinfect so many times, right?? I have learned to crochet – the one thing I can truly say that most females on my mom’s side of the family kind of passes down from generation to generation. Up until now, I’ve been incredibly resistant. But this year, I decided I wanted to learn how to both crochet and knit before I turn 50. Let’s just say I’m “practicing”, and leave it at that for now.

I also had kind of a spur of the moment meeting of sorts with Amanda yesterday. It was the highlight of my week, although at the time we were working the kinks out of an idea we’re putting together for next weekend!

Collectively, a few of us have ideas of things to do to help console one another through this unusual period of time, and also help others at the same time. While I won’t give away details and steal his thunder, be on the lookout for an announcement from Jason (VelvetRebel) – he has a great idea to keep you singing and dancing. In addition, Amanda and I are working on another Daily Duranie video party to take place next Sunday.

How can you be filled with doom and gloom while watching Duran Duran videos, interviews and other assorted gems, all while chatting with other DD fans? Our hope was to find a site that would allow us to watch videos and chat all in the same window – that way we wouldn’t have to mess with Twitter or use a hashtag to keep everything tracked and organized. We tested Zoom yesterday, and it seems like that’s going to work well for our purposes. If you’re interested in participating, you should go ahead and look into downloading the program/app now so you’re ready. We’re hoping to do the party in the middle of the day California-time, that way perhaps getting some people from other parts of the globe involved too. Be on the lookout for details as the week rolls on!

Along with all of that, of course – is Duran Duran. If you were online last Friday, perhaps you were treated to the sights of Simon attempting to answer questions from fans at rapid fire pace for about 30 minutes. It was amusing to watch just how quickly Twitter can go!! The questions ran the gamut from suggesting a good cocktail for pandemic lockdown (admittedly that was from me and no it did not get answered) to requests for Simon to be someone’s lockdown buddy. (no comments needed from me…or Simon, as it turns out!) All joking aside, there were also questions about his favorite B-side. (after a few other mentions, he settled on Secret Oktober, which of course as far as I’m concerned – is the correct answer!) The one thing that struck me, was how quickly Twitter devolved from being more of a running conversation right back to a firing line of questions and even demands from fans. When the band is online, it’s a tough situation. One of them, thousands of us – you can see the problem. I wish there was a better way.

Meanwhile, I have baby chicks to raise, and a couple of banners to photoshop – so I’m off! Remember to be on the lookout for fun fan things to do online this week! Stay safe, wash your hands, and keep the space!!

-R

We’ve Come This Far

Hi everyone! I need to thank Jason profusely for his expert handling of my blogging days during my absence. He did an outstanding job, and I am very grateful. Have fun in Chicago with the Cowboy Junkies, Jason!

It’ll be alright in the end

I wish I could say my life is all back to normal now, but it certainly does not feel that way. I don’t have much of an update except that my sister and I are working through the timeline of what occurred and when, along with figuring out what to do next so that we can help my mom. I guess it is sort of a new normal that I wasn’t quite prepared to manage. Naturally, my body responded to the stress, as I knew it would, by coming down sick. I had no voice at all yesterday, which was fun for my family.

It could be just my mood responding to everything around me, but nothing feels quite right at the moment. As I’m sure most know, Duran Duran announced two more Vegas shows yesterday. I knew immediately that I would not be going, so I didn’t stop to even entertain the thought for a single moment. The weird thing is that I saw very few others talk about it much beyond scoffing at the idea that the band would play the same venue, in the same US city, for what will be the seventh and eighth times.

Despite my understanding that the band doesn’t choose where they play – meaning that a promoter typically comes to management with a proposal to play certain cities and venues that s/he works with, and then management has to decide if the terms of the proposal meets their needs – it has become incredibly clear that most fans don’t understand at all. They’re angry, and rightfully so, that the band continues to play the US – never mind the same venue and city. I don’t know if Simon, John, Roger and Nick are even aware of how angry fans are at this point, but they should be – and maybe they don’t care, but it’s worse than I’ve ever seen it. I saw a post from Katy on Facebook and commented that it was nice to see the band getting out there only to be told that they’d only be getting out there if they were playing in other places besides the US.

Brings you down

Duran Duran is playing shows this summer. They’re not just doing the two gigs in Vegas, but also festivals in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Portugal. I highly doubt that is all they’ve got planned for the long haul, but at this time – it’s what I know. What is bizarre to me though, is how rarely I see fans talking about what shows they’re going to see. Even this morning, I sat down to see how the twitterverse did with the Ticketmaster Vegas presale. The program I use for Twitter allows me to watch several different accounts (both the tweets from the account as well as @ the account) at one time. I have it set up to see what is being tweeted to Duran Duran – and interestingly enough, for the first time I can remember, I didn’t see a single tweet about the pre-sales. Either no one is going, or no one is talking about it. Either way, that can’t be good.

When Amanda and I first started Daily Duranie, I couldn’t spend enough time on Twitter. The columns moved so fast, and if we dared say that we were going to a show or participating in a pre-sale, it seemed like comments came out of the woodwork, but no longer. These days, I’m far more apt to see retweets from followers about politics, than I am to see comments about the latest Duran Duran news. In a lot of ways, it is worrisome, but understandable. Times have changed.

Nobody knows

A few years ago, fans seemed to be gearing up for a 40th anniversary. Expectations were undoubtedly set incredibly high for something that has honestly gotten nary a mention from the fab five. Sure, they’ve talked about it a little, and there was even some mention of things they might like to do, but let’s face it fans, it’s already March of 2020. There’s probably not likely to be a spring release for this album, which isn’t a surprise – first of all, most of us have been around this block with Duran Duran before. We know Durantime rather well now. Secondly, the band was already starting to back away from their hopes of a spring release during some of the more recent Katy Kafes. Statements that were once fairly positive were more of a subtle, “We’re not sure about spring”. Patience is indeed a virtue!

I’ve heard mumblings of a possible show in honor of Simon’s first gig with the band, and a few “special” releases of material that will likely cost more than most can readily and easily afford, but little detail beyond. I can distinctly recall a certain group of fans claiming to have the ear of a manager, going as far as to amass a short list of items that fans might like to be done in order to celebrate. One has to wonder what ever happened.

At one time, I would notice times like these, where Duran Duran talk had slowed online and think “Well, it’ll pick back up once the new album is released”, and I think it will this time too…but at the same time it just feels different. Could absolutely just be me, but it could also be that many of us are no longer in our early or even mid-40s. Now we’re in our 50s or getting darn close to it, along with grown children, elderly parents, the cusp of retirement or at least thinking that it’s headed down the line, or we’re just tired!! Standing in GA for hours on end, dealing with Ticketmaster, or the attitudes, comments, annoyances, etc of other fans. These are indeed strange days. I never thought about fandom in my fifties, and for me – that doesn’t come until November, but even peering at it occasionally from this point seems offbeat at best!

Would seem lonely

Then there’s me. I’m not going to Las Vegas. I keep having to say the words to myself, or shout them to other people when not even asked – which I realize may get me shut into a padded room for while but maybe that would give me some peace anyway- just to remind myself that it’s true. I’m not going. I didn’t buy tickets for the pre-sale today. I didn’t even chat with Amanda about it. I just knew there was no way I was going. Even though I’ve gone through the motions of being told of shows within mere hours of pre-sales before, this time, it ticked me off. I have things to do, and to have all of that feel shoved aside in order to deal with DD ticket drama simply was not going to happen. I just said no. I thought about a lot of the bad taste I had left in my mouth after the last Vegas trip. The drama, the crazy comments about meet-ups, the travel stress, and the fact that I am sick of Vegas just made me say no. It is weird, I can’t swear that I won’t regret it on April 30th…or even March 5th (yes, that’s tomorrow)…but I didn’t get tickets today. So that’s not normal.

Maybe I’m alone here, but things just feel weird. Is it just that odd “no mans land” in-between period between albums, or is it something else?

-R

What Planet is this?

There’s no sign of life

It is a special sort of hell when Tuesday feels like a Monday. On one hand, I love having a 3-day weekend. My daughter was off from school yesterday, so we went to the movies and had a mom/daughter dinner together. Loved every second of that. Then this morning happened. It wasn’t any one horrendous thing, just a bunch of stupid little things. My husband is working in Santa Barbara all week so he was up early, which in turn woke me up way early (never a good thing, I might add). I go to get out of bed and immediately realize that somehow, I’ve managed to injure myself….while sleeping. Truthfully, I think it’s probably just arthritis in my knee and ankle. Regardless, it’s still dumb! Then, as I’m sitting in my car at 7:59am, a good 15 minutes later than acceptable, my daughter finally got herself out of the house. She was very late – so late that I am pretty certain I broke traffic laws getting her to school before the first bell rang. It was one of the Monday-est Tuesday mornings I’ve had in a while.

You’ll see I’m right some other time

Lately, I’ve been reading Rock Music in American Culture: The Sounds of Revolution by Robert G. Pielke. Amanda sent it to me for Christmas. I wanted a book that covered the social history of music in America, and this definitely fits the bill. It was exciting to see that not only did the book cover the beginnings of rock and roll in the 50’s, but it continues through the 80s and to nearly present-day.The author took the time to explain not only what was happening in music during each year covered, but also explained what was happening to affect our American culture. Not focusing solely on politics or historical points – but also covering popular culture, and then using those points paired with music to describe how cultural revolution took place.

I was thrilled that the 1980s were discussed at length. Granted, I’ve read more than my share of books about that period of time, but never something that really covered the social and cultural change. I was anxious to see how the author would describe New Wave and it’s influence on our culture – how that music, along with music video, pushed the envelope of conservative values and forced us to make change.

My head is stuck on something precious

More specifically, I was looking forward to seeing how bands like Duran Duran were commemorated or mentioned. Throughout the book, the author took the time to explore not just American bands, but the British Invasion(s), and covered a plethora of artists along the way. Granted I lived the 80s, but I like reading someone else’s point of view. I was very young at the time, and I’m sure my memory doesn’t do the time enough justice. As Amanda and I will continue to work on a writing project for several weeks this summer, I knew this book would be a great resource.

A number of bands of that period were mentioned, but not Duran Duran. Not only were they not included in the discussion, but the words “New Wave” are only found once in the book – as they describe each day of the US Festival in 1983. At first I was shocked, then sad, settling into disappointment. I just don’t know why a book would make mention of the Dead Kennedys not just once but four times, write at length about Boy George and Culture Club, but not bother to mention Duran Duran—even in conjunction with the rise of MTV. I mean, come on. That’s not a tough connection to make!

Granted, Duran Duran is not from America. Then again, neither are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Culture Club, The Clash or Freddy Mercury. So what is it?

Look now, look all around

The focus of this book was social and cultural change. The author worked to show that the change occurred not just in historical points, but mirrored in the music of the time – focusing on items that demonstrated the largest waves. To him, MTV was merely a ripple, while Boy George made us all rethink our gender roles. Ozzy Osbourne was mentioned due to a claim that his music induced suicide (the lawsuit was later dismissed). Duran Duran? New Wave? Apparently, according to this author – they did nothing.

There were chapters discussing gender roles, racial disparity, religion (Sinead O’Connor tearing up the photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live) and even pop culture characters such as Murphy Brown, but nothing about music videos and their effects on an entire generation. He couldn’t find one single thing to mention about one of the biggest band’s in the world in the 1980’s. Fascinating.

Granted, I am biased. There’s no arguing otherwise, and I wouldn’t waste my time trying. I guess for me though, it comes down to a simple fact: I don’t think we can accurately discuss or do justice to the 1980’s when we are communicating about music without mentioning New Wave, MTV and Duran Duran. Those three items changed everything going forward. I’ve yet to find a scholarly book that covering the 1980s that thoroughly explains their influence. This both frustrates, and intrigues me.

Is there anybody out there

On one hand, I wonder if I give the band far more credit than they deserve. To be fair, they were my biggest influence, and I remember them being the biggest band in the world at the time. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a magazine, a poster in a record shop window, or even t-shirts at the mall. There was never a question of IF a Duran Duran video would play on MTV – it was a matter of how long between each one. That said, maybe it wasn’t really like that for others during that same period of time. In my 1983 junior high yearbook, they were the most mentioned favorite band of the graduating class! I can’t imagine those kids were wrong….

Over the years, Amanda and I have shopped book ideas to publishers. Invariably, proposals have been turned down because of the topic at hand. Sure, we could self-publish, (and when we are ready, we just might!) but it confounds me as to how books on every band from Ratt and Poison, to Elvis Costello and yes, even the Dead Kennedys, can find publishing deals, but not Duran Duran. I don’t get it. Somehow, I’m expected to believe that a book on Elvis Costello has the potential for a larger audience than Duran Duran? What planet am I on???

I am brought back to something a friend has said from time to time – Duran Duran are underdogs. It is what has kept them going. If their continued longevity had been easy, they’d have quit long ago. Maybe so. I don’t think a little respect would kill anybody though.

-R

Fight it, or Invite It

Honesty

Yesterday morning, I received a text from Jason, letting me know that he’d posted the blog. (check it out here if you haven’t yet!) Somewhat cryptically, he mentioned that he hoped it wasn’t too rough. The guest blogger he’d worked with was open and candid with regard to her feelings about the videos they’d reviewed. He wanted an honest reaction, and judging by what I read, I believe he received just that.

I replied saying although I hadn’t yet read the piece, I wasn’t concerned. Following up, I told him that I valued honesty, and looked forward to reading it in a few minutes.

After making the drive to school, I pulled into a parking spot and grabbed my phone. He’d sparked my curiosity, and I found that I didn’t want to wait until I got home. As I read both his parts and those of his guest, I chuckled in more than one spot. I found Aurora Montgomery’s comments to be refreshingly genuine. She delivered them with a humorous approach that I aspire to incorporate into my own writing.

One particular sentence about “Electric Barbarella” made me cackle. “This robot woman exists and dresses solely for them, and from the beginning it was my sincere hope that she would end up murdering the band before the video’s close.” Brutal honesty. I like it.

Cuteness and condescension

Over the years, my writing and open opinion have taken a bit of a roller coaster effect. From love letter to brutally cynical, gushingly cute to overly critical, I don’t know if I’ve ever stumbled upon the magic formula for writing. It is difficult to compose a fan blog each day knowing in the back of your mind that many will never take you seriously. I’ve gone from being embraced to shunned in just a few keystrokes. Consistently though, I’ve remained honest.

When we invite guests to share their opinions, we accept that not everyone is on the same page. In the case of Aurora Montgomery, she’s not even a Duran Duran fan. Instead, she is a respected professional. I don’t think it has to be a given that a critic dislikes everything Duran Duran has done. However, I respect that her point of view will be vastly different (and unbiased) from my own.

Remaining unbiased is difficult. There is no denying that someone like me, a (nearly) lifelong fan of Duran Duran, is going to have a certain amount of emotion leading my opinions. The idea that somehow, on a blog named Daily Duranie, we would be unbiased is laughable. Fellow fans have commented saying that our blog is cute, following up by saying we’re so biased and fan-girly. All of the above delivered with just a bit too much all-knowing condescension to be kind.

Emotion is a complication

I tend to react by grimacing, knowing that there’s little I can do to change the perception. It’s irritating. On one hand, if I didn’t have any emotion for Duran Duran, why on earth would I write every day about them? On the other, I stopped being “cute” in about 1982. I realize blogging about Duran Duran isn’t changing the world. It isn’t going to solve the climate crisis, or find the cure for cancer. It is about music. Each of us who dedicate the time and energy to write here are fans.

Emotion is a complication. For me, it’s a constant struggle to find the sweet spot between having fun, acknowledging my fandom, while still exercising some critical thinking in the process. I love Duran Duran, but I don’t love everything they’ve done. That’s not likely to change, and that’s okay!

You want real?

I don’t live every second of my life worshipping the sand that Rio danced on. I still believe that Red Carpet Massacre was a half-hearted attempt to stay in the good graces of a label and remain relevant. That doesn’t mean I don’t love Rio. I’ve found several songs on Red Carpet Massacre to enjoy.

Paper Gods wasn’t an “instant like” for me. It took me months to come to terms with it. I did eventually bond with several songs, and there are more than a few lines of lyric on there that feel very much like they were written for me. Personally though, I think their best has yet to come, they’ve just got to find it. I hope they don’t give up before it gets written.

I was never a Warren fan, and and would like to slap the fans who grovel at his feet while he puts down Duran Duran whenever and however possible. It’s gross, and by the way—geniuses don’t typically need to go around reminding people that they are, in fact, genius. I still don’t like the fact that they don’t have a dedicated guitarist – even if that guitarist isn’t Dom. Do what you gotta do, but find someone who you’ll agree to having as a band member that has an actual relationship with you and your music. If pressed, I’d tell you that the one element they’ve been missing from their recorded music is a good, emotive, rock guitar that is the polar opposite of the synthesizer line. That goes across the board, from Seven and the Ragged Tiger through to Paper Gods. Bam. Those are my opinions, even if you don’t like ‘em. Real, and unapologetic. Yet, I’ll still be among the first to shout from the rooftops whenever Duran Duran needs. Go figure.

Emotion doesn’t make it unworthy

All of those opinions come with forty years of emotion, and ten years of blogging experience behind them. Does that make them any less worthy? Not to me, but please— you decide on your own. Even a music critic writes with emotion. Critics love music, even if they don’t love the album or even the band they’re reviewing at the time.

For the record, I think the video would have gone better with your suggested ending, Aurora. There’s some emotion for ya!

-R

It is About the Music

Time and time again, when it all boils down, the music brings us together. Each time I think I know this, it ends up being proven to me again. This time, with some of my neighbors.

During the year that we’ve lived in Atascadero, we have been meeting new people. Somewhat facetiously, I’ll mention how I can’t see my neighbors (mostly true), or that I don’t really even know the people who live across the road from us (well, we’ve waved at one another and I do know their names now…), but to be honest, Walt and I have hoped we’d meet some people we could eventually call good friends. Luckily, this happened not long after we’d moved in and were invited to a small neighborly barbecue on Memorial Day weekend. We hit it off with the brand new neighbors who were hosting. Occasionally we get together, which has been very nice.

Several months back, this couple joined a group of people who get together once a month for dinner. They take turns hosting, and essentially people come over on the first Friday night of the month with a bottle of wine and a dish to share. Everyone chats and eats, then typically by 9pm or so – everyone goes home. They invited us to try it out, and it was fun.

The thing is, most of the people who attend are at least 10-15 years older than my husband and I. Our neighbor friends are about our same age, but they have a drastically different lifestyle from my husband and I. They don’t have children, they live here only part-time, and they do quite a bit of international travel. I believe the last time I left the country was with Amanda when we crossed into Canada. They, along with my husband, work in the technology industry, so they share that. Otherwise, our main commonality is a love of wine, and of course being new to this area. At least, until I discovered something new last night.

After a weekend of digging holes to plant apple trees, I finally convinced Walt to go into town and have some wine at our favorite wine bar. He invited our neighbors along, and we were all in a jovial mood by the time we sat down at a small table. While we chatted, the subject of San Francisco came up, and somehow – one of them mentioned The Cat Club.

My ears perked up at this, because The Cat Club is probably one of my favorite places in the world. I have only been a couple of times, but the club is one of those places that immediately felt like home. The dark surroundings remind me so much of the club where I met Walt – Fashions on the Redondo Beach pier. That place closed a long time ago, sadly. Even now as I sit here typing, I can remember how the bench seating along the wall felt, or the way the highly lacquered and polished wood bar looked in the light when we’d order drinks. I spent many a Friday and Saturday night dancing to anything from The Cure to Gary Numan, Depeche Mode to Blondie, in that club.

The Cat Club, while much bigger than Fashions ever was, has that same inviting feeling. Actually, Amanda and I spent a couple of nights there when Duran Duran was playing in Oakland and San Francisco a few years back, and I’ve been clamoring to go back. We live a little closer these days, but we’ve yet to make the trip. In any case, the words “Cat Club” coming out of my friends mouth was enough for me to put down my wine glass and ask her to repeat herself. Once I realized what she said, my pavlovian reflexes kicked in. I enthusiastically responded that the Cat Club was the best dance club ever. I think maybe this was loudest I’ve ever been around them since we met!

Our two friends, immediately broke into huge grins, excitedly telling tales of their own visits to the club, and how they plan to return in mid-February for a night of dancing with other friends. They invited my husband and I along with them for the weekend, and without even looking at Walt, I was ready to commit. I couldn’t believe that these two people actually hung out at the same dance club I’d been to previously. It turns out that one of them fully committed to the whole New Wave thing when he lived in Germany while growing up, telling Walt and I all about how he had bleached the sides of his hair and the clothes he wore.

I couldn’t quite believe my luck. As much as we seem to have come from completely different backgrounds, our musical tastes are very similar. We talked about various groups we had seen live – and yes, they already know about my love for Duran Duran – and then moved on to comparing record collections. Suffice to say, I liked my neighbors well enough before, but now I know we have friends that will go with us to see concerts, too!

Music really does tend to bring people together. It’s the bridge and the gift that keeps on giving!

-R

Duran Knowledge

Earlier this week, Duran Duran’s social media posed the question, “What is your favorite video from the first album?” There were numerous answers on both the band’s Twitter and Facebook pages. In looking at those answers I noticed three types of responses: A definite one video answer usually with a reason, a list of multiple videos or a video from a different album. These answers were ones I have come to expect from fans. I’m never surprised when fans don’t want to choose. I guess it is possible that people like the videos the same. I generally don’t have a problem picking one favorite but I get that not everyone is like me. (The world is thankful of that. Very thankful.) But what about the fans who don’t know which songs are on which album?

In thinking about this, it reminds me of a game that we did at our convention in 2013. In this game, everyone had an index card with a song, an album, or something else Duran relate. They could not look at the card but had to ask questions of other fans to figure out what their card said. I believe that I had some song on Seven and the Ragged Tiger but as I went around to ask questions, people told me that my card was some song on Rio. By the time I got to Rhonda, I was asking about each individual song on the Rio album. I distinctly remember her looking at me so weirdly like she thought I had lost my mind. I couldn’t figure it out until she told me that I was asking about the wrong album. Clearly, not everyone knew which songs were on which albums. I made some comment that maybe I should teach Duran Duran 101 at the next convention. Some people around me chimed in that they thought it was a good idea. Interesting.

When I think about that moment at the convention or people’s answers this week, my first thought is always a bit of surprise. People really don’t know what’s on the first album? Then, I recognize that while I know what is on the first album, I might struggle with songs on Liberty, for example. I know that Rhonda and I have a review to do for next Friday. What exactly comes next after Liberty? I would have think about it and then I would probably check to make sure that I’m right. What’s the difference for me? Simple. I have listened to the first album a heck of a lot more than Liberty. On top of that, the first album has been in my life a lot longer. As an educator, I can tell you that frequency with material makes a big difference in retaining information.

This leads me to think more about teaching and learning. I don’t think I’m bad when it comes to Duran and the band’s history. I have done a lot of reading on my own and watched a lot of documentaries (way more than once I might add). I like that kind of stuff. I like learning. Maybe that is a reason why I became a teacher. Funny enough, I especially like learning about things I’m interested in, much like my kids. Of course, I don’t try and learn everything about all things I’m a fan of. I guess for me it is about how big of a fan I am or how into it I am. I suppose that is sort of normal, hopefully.

What about the rest of you? How much do you think you know about Duran Duran? Does it matter how much you know? Do you think that all fans should know sometimes? If so, what? How have you learned about Duran Duran?

-A

Someday, We Won’t Have a Choice

So in the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing this on Sunday night as opposed to trying to squeeze in writing time in the morning between school drop-off, groceries, and laundry.

Just a couple of hours ago, news broke that Ric Ocasek of The Cars was found dead in his NYC penthouse. He was 75. Earlier this week, news hit that Eddie Money passed away from cancer. Both musicians were a near constant on the radio back in the day, although I will admit that The Cars were much more of a personal favorite for me.

I was sitting outside on my patio, relaxing when I saw the news on Twitter. It was shocking enough for me to do a double take, and even as I sit here typing, I really struggle to believe it is all true. For me, The Cars were a mainstay. I have all of their albums, and I really can’t think of MTV
without remembering “You Might Think”. Tears sprung to my eyes as I read the vague news story about his death, thinking to myself that I would never have the chance to see The Cars live again.

This is why you buy the concert tickets.

Those words slammed into my heart as I thought about an argument I’d had yesterday morning with my husband. I’ve been priming him for a possible UK trip next year. I haven’t been abroad since late 2011 when I traveled with Amanda to see Duran Duran in December of that year. The trip was fantastic, and I knew even then that it wouldn’t be the last time. That said, timing is of the essence. We can’t travel when Amanda is teaching, and it is much harder for me to get away when I’ve got a child in school, too. The summer months are the only way, and naturally – I have no way of knowing when or if the band will do another tour in the UK. I’m hopeful.

The more I talk about our hope of returning, the more Duranies seem to be on board with the idea. Granted, it all hinges on whether or not Duran Duran decides to grace it’s own country with shows to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band with Simon as frontman. If they do, I think we have enough people wanting to go to seriously consider chartering our own plane. (not that we would…but we could!) Of course, this excites me even more, and I mentioned it yesterday morning.

The response was not positive. In addition to a litany of other things that are neither here nor there, blog-wise, he questioned why on earth I need to keep going. “Haven’t you seen enough??”

I couldn’t put it into words yesterday, but upon hearing the news of Ric Ocasek dying, I had no trouble. THIS is why.

Like many of you, Duran Duran saved me when I was in middle school. The band was the one thing that kept me going. I felt like such an outcast back then. You think I’m socially awkward now? Ha! I’m not being melodramatic – I’m being real. Adolescence was a tough time. I hated nearly every part of it, except for the moments when I would lazily thumb through a teen magazine in search of new Roger Taylor pinups or articles about the top ten things John misses most while on tour, or when I’d listen to “Is There Something I Should Know”, or even when I’d see the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” on MTV. Their songs are my songs – they are the soundtrack to much of my life. This fan community is my family. I already miss many of you, and it’s barely been a week. Someday, perhaps even very soon – I’m not going to have the choice to buy the ticket, or take the trip. I’ll be completely done seeing the band, whether I like it or not. Until then, I’m in a race against time to squeeze in as many shows, and joy, as I can.

I dread the day when we won’t have a choice to attend or not. Earlier this year, my friend Alana passed away after a serious bout with cancer. Not too many days go by before I think about how she and I talked about meeting at the next show. You just never know when it’s going to be the last time.

Buy the concert ticket.

RIP Ric Ocasek. Thank you for being just enough weird balanced with just the right amount of rock star greatness to keep me interested!

-R

Expectations and Back-Up Plans

Learning to expect the unexpected. This is a lesson that, despite my decades of experience, remains a struggle.

I’m not great with surprises. Knowing what is going to happen, and having a backup plan in case all else fails, are ways that I try to mitigate disaster, even within my own family. Today is the first day of school for my youngest. She was super excited this morning, bounding from her room without a single ounce of prodding from me. (highly unusual!) As she prepared herself a water bottle for the day, I asked her if she wanted to pack a snack, “just in case”. She looked at me strangely, and asked what “just in case” meant.

I suggested the scenario that maybe she’d get up to the front of the line in the cafeteria and the ID number she painstakingly memorized yesterday didn’t work. What would she do? Would she be hungry if she didn’t pack a little something? She looked at me with all the deadpan seriousness she could muster and said, “I’d tell my mom to stop worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong.”

This worry has gone on all summer. On separate occasions, I’ve told her about my own junior high experiences (spoiler alert: they weren’t great). I mused out loud regarding the first bad grades I ever received. They were in math, from a male teacher. (This was mentioned well before I learned that she too, has a male math and science teacher this year.) We talked about being girls, about make-up, hair, fashion…. Well, actually she pretended to listen. She thinks I don’t notice when she starts to tune me out. I did. I droned on and on anyway…about subjects that, at her age, I didn’t care about either. Go figure.

She’s eleven. I’m not sure she’ll make it to twelve. Her carefree attitude about life, school and even friends both happily surprise, and frustrate me. Worrying is not her forte. Preparing for the unexpected isn’t really something she does naturally, even with my suggestions. The youngest prefers to handle things as they come, no extra anxiety or energies needed. She doesn’t seem to care if she fits in, or if she does well in school. It may be a long year.

Me, on the other hand—I like to be fully prepared. Perhaps even overly so. I like knowing exactly what is about to happen, and how it will all go down. My biggest issue with this band – yes, Duran Duran – is that I never know what the new music will sound like from one album to the next. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not losing sleep over it. If that were happening, I’d qualify for therapy. It’s nothing like that. I was just sitting here, scrolling though Twitter and Facebook, thinking about where I was four years ago. Paper Gods hadn’t yet come out, although I believe by now I had heard some of the new music. I can remember being very concerned. Overly so, even.

At the time, my biggest worry was the guitar. I suppose I was concerned that the album would be more along the lines of Red Carpet Massacre, with more of a muted guitar than the upfront sound I tend to prefer. The project seemed to take forever as a whole, and the closer it came to the release date, the more I questioned what was about to happen. Would the band be the same? Could this album really be as good as the one before?

Granted, I did some of this worrying online, and in public. After all – we were blogging back then – and anything we write, people see and read. It isn’t the same as just vocalizing an off-the-cuff comment to a friend when you blog and publish. Whatever bad mood, negativity, or even well-meaning concern written on any given day, is immediately out there, for all to see, for eternity. Even so, I think back on that time, and occasionally I wonder what in the heck I was so worried about. It all turned out fine.

Even if it hadn’t turned out “fine”, I would have survived. Sure, it’s just music…but it’s also just the way it goes with a band like Duran Duran, sometimes. In the past there have been albums that I haven’t exactly jived with. Shock from the use of a beatbox, lyrics that just didn’t feel like they stood up as in the past, a change in personnel, or even an abundance of production, didn’t drive me away. Going from a mainstream, “pop” record to something decidedly more funky didn’t kill me, or my fandom. Years in between albums didn’t make me forget them. I’ve wondered if they could do anything that would cross the line in the sand for me….and then I’ve daydreamed over where that line in the sand might actually sit, or if it even existed at all.

I suppose that for me, those boundaries are always being tested and moved. Maybe that’s the point. New music requires a little growth out of the listener. Sometimes, I just can’t prepare in advance. Letting myself experience ripping off the shrink wrap, reading the gatefold, and setting the needle in the grooves of the vinyl, all the while wondering what I might hear next, is an important part of the process. There’s no back-up plan for managing the emotion that is about to fill my senses—good, bad, or indifferent.

That truth is sometimes tough for someone like me. I love hearing the news of where they are in the album process. Knowing they’ve already got a single in mind is exciting! Reminding myself that they’re not creating another All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…or even Liberty, is an exercise in managing expectations. I have no idea what the next album may sound like, only that if I allow myself to have no expectations and listen with an open heart and mind, I will ultimately grow as a music aficionados.

-R