Tag Archives: Duran Duran message boards

My Astronaut Story

Last month, I began a little blog series in which I took a look at the albums Duran Duran released during the month of October.  After giving facts and statistics about those albums, I then shared about my relationship with those albums.  I discussed Big Thing and Medazzaland.  Today, I turn to the last of the October albums, Astronaut.  I revealed the stats surrounding the album here and now I offer a little bit about myself and this album.

Astronaut represented the Fab Five’s reunion, the return of the five original members.  It represented my return as well.  In the early 2000s, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to Duran Duran at all.  I spent my time working, as a young teacher often does.  I remember sitting at my then dining room table on many Saturdays and Sundays creating curriculum.  If that wasn’t enough, I attended graduate school then as well.  I needed to add some teaching certificates in order to continue teaching students with special education needs.  On top of that, I figured that a master’s degree wouldn’t hurt.  Those two activities kept me plenty busy.

Despite (or maybe because) of my schedule, my social life lacked activity.  The city I lived in was new to me and making friends isn’t something I do easily.  Luckily, I had one lifeline, the internet.  Around the time of the reunion, I joined a fandom, but it wasn’t Duran.  It surrounded a little sci-fi teen drama called Roswell.  Looking back, I smile at the focus of my fandom.  It wasn’t super serious but there was something at the heart of the show that I related to.  Perhaps, it was the focus on people who felt alienated despite appearing like everyone else.  I have felt that way my entire life.  The combination between having internet access and admiring a TV show led me to message boards.  These message boards then provided the means with which to meet some people.  These people are, for the most part, still friends of mine (no pun intended).

As the Roswell fandom died down, I discovered that one of my Roswell associates was a Duran fan as a kid just like me.  That’s all it took.  It felt like someone lit a match over gasoline.  The fire caught instantly and grew quickly as we began sharing pictures, memories, and memorabilia with each other.  This led to searching the internet for the current status of Duran Duran.  Luckily, for me, grad school just ended and I found myself with more time and more money.  I spent my time reading every piece of Duran news I could find and my money buying albums I didn’t have.

Of course, part of what fed this fire was the idea that the original five reunited.  To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  I distinctly remember the first time I heard the song, Sunrise.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as goosebumps appeared on my arms.  It was beautiful and it was Duran.  For me, as someone who had been working her butt off for years, I felt like this reunion was my reward.  It felt like the world was adjusting itself back into proper alignment after being off kilter for decades.  For me, the end of the Fab Five coincided with a hard move.  After hearing Sunrise, I felt like the wrong of my move as a kid was made right.

Needless to say, I dove back into the fandom.  Unlike my childhood fandom which centered around watching MTV and buying magazines, now it was all about being online and chatting with fellow Duranies.  In early 2004, before the album came out, I joined and lurked at many Duran message boards, looking for a similar home to the one I had found with the Roswell fandom.  Duran’s official website had one, but it didn’t work for me.  I hated the chaos of how it looked and found it hard to follow.  More than that, it felt unfriendly to people like me, people who had stepped away from the fandom.  The official fan community appeared friendlier in terms of board format but also seemed to be tough to break into.  Finally, I found myself at DuranDuranFans.com.

This tiny message board looked great!  The group there was small but clearly liked each other.  While I wasn’t certain that I could break in there, either, I thought I had a better shot with a smaller group.  On top of that, the board had information regarding a little convention in New Orleans that was to take place in the fall.  I needed something to break me out of my boring, yet somewhat unfulfilling all work and no play existence.  Attending something like this, out of state, pushed me out of my comfort zone but also to a place of growth.

The convention took place a few weeks before the album dropped.  Yet, many in attendance possessed a copy already.  I took advantage by listening to the album there for the first time.  I loved what I heard.  Looking back and recognizing that this renewed fandom was so adolescent, so teenage crush like that I would have loved the album, no matter what.  I loved that the band was back together, which meant that the music had to be great.  Now, I still enjoy the album quite a bit but recognize some elements that could have been better.  That said, it represents the beginning of the second and more significant chapter in my fandom story.  It always will bring back positive memories.

In looking back on the three albums that Duran Duran has released in the month of October, I’m surprised at how well my fandom story lines up with Duran Duran’s history.  Big Thing represented a period of transition for the band and the same was true in my own life.  Likewise, Medazzaland represented a time in which the remaining members of the band were trying to hold on to their career.  The same might be said for my fandom at the time.  Lastly, Astronaut represented the return of the band from the 80s and my fandom followed right along side.  It will be interesting to see if the same thing will be true when I examine the albums released in November in future blogs.

-A

I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all over…

Don’t tell my kids, but I really hate rules….which is why I’m breaking one of mine and posting not one, but TWO “for real”, as in “I am sitting down and writing right now” blogs today.

After I’d already published my first posting for the day, I went over to check out Facebook, and a very poignant and much needed post grabbed my attention. My friend Jessica posted that ten years ago this week, she stumbled across a post on dd.com that beckoned her to a brand new message board, aptly titled duranduranfans.com.  She surmised that making the decision to join that board brought her many new and exciting experiences, and of course – a lot of friends.

I, too, found that post on dd.com. I remember exactly where I was in my house at the time, (upstairs sitting at the desk in our hallway…working on an art history thesis project.) and just how quickly I followed the link.  The funny thing is that the main reason I liked DDF (as it soon came to be called) was because unlike dd.com – the owner of the site (Robin Burks, who is also the owner of fangirlconfessions.com) chose to design the site with a white background – and it was much easier on my eyes than dd.com.  But, the longer I stayed, the more I noticed how much friendlier the place became.

Unlike dd.com – on this site, I was one of the original members. There’s a handful of us that can probably claim being there from nearly the beginning – and what I feel is truly unique is that for the most part, we’re all still friends. I consider many of those people to be among my most true-blue friends in the universe.  That doesn’t mean we all still chat daily, but I really do believe that if I needed something – I could call out for these women and they’d be there, Duran Duran or not.  (In fact, I’d say that for most of them – Duran Duran isn’t even really in the picture these days. They’ve moved on, and I’ve somehow stayed put.) But because we were the original members of this small board, I think that the “lizard mixture” of our personalities is what gave the board it’s flavor.  Since the core group of us participated and made ourselves  continually visible (and integral) to the vitality of the board – others were encouraged to play in the sandbox the same way, and I’m proud to say that 99% of the time, that is exactly what happened.

As I said before, many of us have moved on now. People finished school…started careers…got married…got divorced…started over…quit the band……wrote books..had that third baby they didn’t think they would be having(ha ha, says the mom!)…and some were even crazy enough to start a blog.  I can’t honestly remember the last time more than a few of us were in the same room together.  Maybe it was Jessica’s wedding?  That’s sad.

The thing is, and this is really the point I want to make here above all else – for that brief time when we were ALL fans and when we were ALL trying to find our little space in this community to exist together, we found one another and it worked. I run into people all the time that tell me they can’t be friends, like “real” friends, with other Duranies because when the band comes around – it’s all out the window.  Every fan for his/her own self, right? Well, that just doesn’t have to be true. I know, because I lived it.  I keep living it. The band did (and still does) an excellent job of providing background music, but when it came down to the friendships I made, I give the band no credit. I found good people, whom I love and adore to this very day.  When it comes down to it, I wish that for everyone – which is why this blog exists and keeps working like the Little Engine That Could.

I had no way of knowing back in 2004 that one teensy little click from one message board to another -one little link – would change my life so profoundly. I don’t think I can ever really articulate in words what making the decision to log into duranduranfans.com would eventually do, and continues to do for me. I’ve met so many people and had the opportunity to do so many things that I am positive I never would have done otherwise. In 2004, I was this meek little housewife with a very much buried wild streak that never really got to see the light of day. In a lot of ways, I’d been beaten by the world.  The light I had within was pretty dim at that point, I have to say. Something changed as I continued to grow strong friendships with other fans. I became reacquainted with the person I used to be, well before I ever met my husband or became a parent…and I really kind of liked her.

Ten years. In many ways, it still feels like yesterday, which is why it was so astounding to me to see that Facebook post today from Jessica.  But in other ways, I honestly don’t remember my life without any of you in it.  I just know how incredibly lucky I am to have you with me, whether in person, online or in my heart.

(and I still miss that damn message board, the Late Bar, and even that infamous poster named Moocher!!)

-R