Tag Archives: Duran Duran

It’s As If I Don’t Recall

Is fandom dead?

Well, maybe not dead…but different from when I was a kid? Last night, as I was cooking dinner, I skipped around the channels on the television, looking for something to…well, completely distract me from the task at hand. (I still hate cooking) As I scrolled along, I saw that Breaking Dawn, Part 1 & 2 were on Freeform channel.

Now, while you chuckle at that disastrous movie series, for me, they bring back memories of trading Twilight books with my oldest, talking and giggling over Edward and Bella, Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, and going to see the movies on the first night of their release. These were the books my oldest grew up with (she wasn’t a huge Harry Potter fan), and she came upon them right around the same age I was when I found Duran Duran.

I can remember the first time Heather asked me if she could read Twilight. I was skeptical because the content seemed a bit mature for her, but agreed, as long as I read the books first. She didn’t love that she’d have to wait for me to read and absorb the content before I passed them on to her, but luckily for Heather – I was a super quick reader, finishing the first book in a matter of hours, not days. Sure, it was a little mature, but I was able to use the subject matter as a way to broach issues that I knew would be eventually on the horizon. Say what you will about the content, the writing, or even the implications of controlling relationships as described in the novels – for us, Twilight was a bonding experience that I will always appreciate.

For one, I understood what it meant to be a fan. Lifelong Duranie, right? I not only understood, but encouraged Heather to enjoy the ride. I jumped on the merchandise train, buying her posters, t-shirts, books, and anything else that seemed worthy. Her bedroom started to look a little like mine had in the 80s, sans the big, bold colors and Nick Rhodes eyeliner. For another, it was the last chance I really had to bond with Heather before the teen years began in earnest. Those moments mattered.

I remember going to see the first movie on opening night. We stood in line with a gaggle of other girls her age, parents in tow. The other moms peered at one another over the heads of the excited throng of pre-teens, commiserating and smiling ruefully as we listened to their chatter. Once we were seated in the crowded theater, a security guard actually came down to the front, and stood on the small stage in front of the screen, while he explained to the kids that they absolutely needed to stay in their seats, and there was to be no screaming.

Let me reiterate: the kids weren’t supposed to scream…in delight, mind you…at a screen. It wasn’t even as though the actual celebrities were in our theater. No, kids were screaming at a movie screen as though they were at a rock concert. I was thoroughly amused.

Sadly, it all ended as quickly as it began. By the time Breaking Dawn part 2 was out, Heather hardly seemed interested in going. I talked her into it purely because it was the final movie – the others had turned out so dismal that she said it was difficult be excited. I understood the disappointment, but told her we owed it to ourselves to see it through anyway. Not long after the movie, Heather took down her posters and grew out of her t-shirts. We didn’t talk too much about Twilight after that, until last night when I turned to her and suggested watching.

To my utter disappointment, Heather wasn’t interested. “Nahh….” she said, as she headed into the office with her boyfriend.

“What? Really??” I marveled out loud. “You don’t want to watch with me? Oh, come on…it’d be like old times!”

Heather laughed. “No thanks, Mom. Those movies were the worst!” She walked into the office, sliding the door shut behind her. I sighed heavily. Out of sympathy, my husband decided to sit with me and watch. Not quite the same, but better than being alone!

We watched both parts to Breaking Dawn on my own, enjoying each one despite marveling at how awful the acting and special effects were (Part 2 is still the best one out of all the Twilight movies, though). I also reflected back on how, for a very short time, I saw how much fun fandom could be for a young pre-teen. That period of parenting was a gift for me, softening me for some tougher times ahead.

Reflecting a bit more today, I can’t help but wonder if fandom is just different now altogether. None of my kids ever got into something with the same sort of gusto I did with Duran Duran, and definitely not music. Both of my girls have had their favorite book series, and Gavin was a huge Starcraft II fan (and player) for quite a while, but nothing like the lifelong, hardcore fandom I have in Duran Duran.

I think they missed out, actually!

-R

I’m (Probably) Not Going to Sleep Tonight

I don’t know how long we’ve been on lockdown now. My youngest came home from school on March 13th, and that was the day I found out she wasn’t going back on Monday. I think it was the following Thursday that Heather and her boyfriend came up here because her studio had been closed, and I believe that March 19. Our shelter-in-place order might’ve come out the following day. Regardless, I’ve been pretty much at home since the 13th. I have left the property a few times, all for essentials of course. You know, things like hard cider, wine, oh…and a birthday cake for the youngest. All three kids home, husband working here, four cats, two dogs, and now 24 chickens. It’s April 30th (I originally typed May 30th only to find it later and fix it). I’ve got to tell you, I’m not doing great.

Every day feels like a re-do of the day before. I’ve said that here already, so now it has become Groundhog Day on Daily Duranie too. Sorry. I try to find the good things to laugh about, and there are some. I also get mad, and I’m not going to lie about that. I am furious we’re going through this. I don’t let that thought consume me, but some days like today, it is just plain difficult to manage.

I’m not sleeping that great either. Oddly, I fall asleep fine, but about two hours later, I wake up. Most of the time, I’m in pain when I wake up. My neck has really been bothering me lately and I think I must be stiffening up when I sleep. So, I wake up and then toss and turn unless I get up and take Ibuprofen. This is an every single evening exercise for me, and I wish I could still go to my old chiropractor. Alas, the OC is five hours away and I’m just nervous enough about someone adjusting my neck that I haven’t found a new one. Yay.

Then there’s my weight. I am not equal to the number on the scale (truth be told I haven’t stepped on my scale in months – and that is 100% out of fear. I’d really rather not know.), but the mirror isn’t lying and the story it’s telling me is that I need to be social distancing myself from the fridge. Like – I should be living in a tent on the back half of my property – kind of social distancing. It’s not good, friends. The pandemic has not been kind in that department, no matter how much time I spend outside. Even the good old “weed abatement” isn’t helping this year. I would have thought I’d sweat it off by now, but no.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I tried to make the day special for her, and she got plenty of presents with still more to come. I’d ordered her gifts on April 1st, and yet they’re still not due here until May 7th. Thankfully, she’s my easiest kid and doesn’t mind celebrating twice. I made her pancakes for breakfast, gourmet soft pretzels as a snack, and then potstickers for dinner (weird that the menu for the day began with the letter “P”, right? Coincidence!) I had ordered a pink champagne cake (again, “P”) that she’d requested from our famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and the highlight of my month was driving in my car to go get it. It was the first time I’d driven since March 13. That is crazy.

It was also Amanda’s birthday. I texted her, and I’m not going to lie – it took all the energy I had just to do that. I kept it short, wished her the best – because I really do – but I just couldn’t chat like I normally might. I’m through trying to make excuses for it. I’m struggling. It’s that simple. She asked me how it was here, and of course I said fine. What else am I going to say? I’m not under the impression I have it worse than anyone else. It would be crazy for me to explain my wild mood swings between “happy to have my kids here” and “completely pissed off at the entire world”.

Yes, I really do feel that way sometimes. At least I admit it. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I have one hell of a temper sometimes. I’m trying my best to remain calm and reasonable. Sometimes, that feels like more of a challenge than it probably should.

It wasn’t long after that when my husband came out into the kitchen. he was fiddling with his phone, and the next thing I know, I heard Mark Goodman’s voice over our Sonos One speaker. (A clear product plug if I’ve ever seen one…thank you Sonos for keeping my husband employed!!) He was introducing Duran Duran for a Town Hall to discuss Paper Gods.

I hadn’t ever listened to it before. Let me say – I didn’t get to listen to the entire thing (we have six people in this house, and as I’ve said before – I rarely get through anything without being interrupted 45,000 times. Yesterday was no exception.), but it was the best half hour of my day. I listened, smiled, made dinner, and forgot about Covid-19. My blood pressure seemingly returned to normal. *sigh*

There are days when I know I need to stay off of social media. This is one of them, but I wanted to find out about this new order from my governor that begins tomorrow. He shut all of the beaches and parks. I live close to Morro Bay, and we drive there pretty often, so I wanted to know more. It is very difficult to talk myself through my feelings when I see perfect strangers talk how we should all stay inside until a vaccine is found. Or, when people I know consider one “upside” of this virus being that perhaps an entire political party will kill themselves off. Kindness all the way, I guess???

Nope. I shut Facebook down pretty quickly after that. It isn’t even about how *I* feel, it’s that the world has gone off the rails!! That, combined with whatever I’m feeling that day is a nasty combination. I get it. Everyone is stressed. We all say shit sometimes. I just can’t take it today. So, I went to Twitter very quickly to check the Daily Duranie account. That’s when I saw a post from Duran Duran. Thank goodness for Duran Duran.

They posted what they characterized as a “never before seen” video from a Paper Gods photo shoot. I have to tell you guys, I don’t often take time to watch this stuff. There have been any number of things they’ve posted over the years that I just kind of skim over or scroll past. It isn’t that I don’t care – it’s just that I don’t have time to consume it all. So I don’t. But this time, I did. Set to “Last Night in the City”, the short video was cute. I saw the band smiling and laughing, and I’m not going to lie – I nearly cried. It was so nice to remember that once upon a time, I went to shows. We planned to do things together. I clinked glasses with Simon in a hotel bar. We’d smile at them onstage, and maybe we’d even extend a wave to one another. I’d sit on the edge of my seating waiting for new music. Amanda and I took road trips. We also spoke regularly, and I didn’t feel like waking up and getting through every single day was a trial. I miss those times. How about you?

So am I doing well? No. No I’m not. But I’m trying. I just thought it was better to be honest, and let the few regular readers we have left know that yeah – this is a struggle right now. My hope is fading a bit, but I’m working on it. What about you?

-R

Duran Duran Radio!

Last Friday, Simon and Katy embarked upon a new adventure with their first installment of what I feel may become my newest favorite thing – Duran Duran Radio! It’s been a few days since it was posted, but I thought it might be time to cover it a bit for those who may not have had the opportunity to give it a listen yet.

There is much to love about Duran Duran radio, and not just it’s name. This particular episode is similar to a podcast because it was pre-recorded. I appreciated that I could hit “pause” (With my entire family here…I’m interrupted a lot), and then there was that moment when my stupid WiFi router decided to restart out of nowhere I love rural life, I really do, but the technology can *sometimes* be a problem.

I love the banter between Katy and Simon in between all of the songs. I also appreciate their song choices. “Horse with No Name” by America started off the show, which is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. I loved hearing that it was the very first album Simon ever went into a record store to purchase on his own. (Mine? Duran Duran’s debut album!!) Katy said it was a song she’d hear while camping and sitting by the campfire. I can remember riding in my parents car when I was very young – some sort of Pontiac if I remember right – and I have the distinct memory of hot vinyl seats, the window down, and that song on the radio!

While I wasn’t familiar with all of the music choices, I am 100% familiar with their third pick of the show – “The Man” by The Killers. I was thrilled to see it on the list, and listening to Simon explain how Erol Alkan changed the song from one that he (Simon) really didn’t “get” as he first heard the demo into one that become the biggest bonafide hit from Wonderful, Wonderful certainly made me even more excited to hear Duran Duran’s next album since Alkan is listed as one of the producers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minutes, and learned more about Simon during that time than I did while he sat on the “firing line” of Twitter answering questions. No, it’s not the same thing as sitting in a room with him chatting, but at the same time – I’m not sure I need that in order to feel like I’ve gotten to know more about him. Does that make sense? I like hearing his thoughts on music, or anything else really. It has nothing to do with Duran Duran, yet it’s everything. I just really enjoyed getting past the same topics and hearing about something else entirely for a change.

Wow, I probably don’t sound like a fan at all, and that’s really not it. Couldn’t be farther from reality. The way I’d explain it is simply that everyone has their own “thing”. Some fans insist on pictures every time they see them. Some really want Simon to give a shout out on Twitter or where ever. They just want him to say “hi”. Others need to know when they’re coming to tour (and maybe some people want all of that). For me, I’m at a point where I’ve been a fan for a very long time now, enough to where I know Simon doesn’t necessarily want to talk about the album, he gets asked the same basic questions every time he’s interviewed, and while I can’t think of anything specific to ask – I like talking about everything BUT Duran Duran. I like hearing about other music, and other topics in general from him. Fair enough?

The one constructive criticism I’ll make about the program is the inconsistency of the volume. The segue from “The Man” into another favorite of mine, “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer was abrupt (“The Man” ends abruptly, which is just the way it is!), but the volume change is pretty drastic. I had to turn down my volume for “The Man” and then turn it right back up for “Sleeping Satellite”. It’s not a big deal, just something I noticed. A slightly bigger problem is the volume difference between Simon and Katy. I don’t know what can be done about that without some sort of mixing (and I’m not sure they want this to become that much of a production) but I would highly suggest that both of them get external microphones with pop filters. They don’t have to be expensive (even my youngest has one!), and they’ll cut out a lot of that background “shhh” noise that you hear. But Katy’s volume is especially problematic, at least for me. I could barely hear her at times, and I didn’t want to miss anything.

Overall, the first episode of Duran Duran Radio was very enjoyable. Even more so than I would have thought. It is very difficult for me to sit down long enough to listen to the radio without being interrupted 45,000 times right now, and yet for this – I’d make the time. At under an hour, it’s the perfect length, and the song choices were great!

Loved it!! Definitely check it out if you haven’t given it a listen yet. Looking forward to the next one!

-R

Check Out God (America ’20) Cover!

As we wait patiently for time to pass, countries to reopen, vaccines to emerge…. and perhaps even for some politicians to be voted out or removed from office….I stumbled upon a new cover that I felt compelled to share!

Do you remember that spoken word piece called “God” that was a B-side to “Do You Believe in Shame”? Well, I found something a little more updated. Alright…I admit it, Jason sent me the link and it’s a little something he did all on his own… and it’s fantastic!

Not only is VelvetRebel a masterful DJ…but he writes a cool lyric and edits videos, too!

Thirty-two years earlier, in 1988, the words had more to do with the Iran-Contra hearings. In 2020, it’s a pandemic, yet the feelings are the same.

“…it was just the thought that in this particular democracy, and probably every other one in the world, there is somebody who believes he is more right than all the people who put him there.”

And with other updated lyrics such as “Outside the wind was howling the doo-doo’s from Hungry Like the Wolf”…it provided me with a much needed chuckle. After all, we can’t stay mad ALL the time, can we?

Kudos to Jason (@VelvetRebelMusic) for taking the initiative, and Strangeways Radio for posting it on YouTube. I love it!

-R

Gone too Far This Time

Everybody has a limit, and I finally hit mine.

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009. I wasn’t one of the very first, but I was a fairly early adopter. Back then, people took the prompt “What are you doing right now” very seriously. There were tweets like, “I am feeding my cats”, or “Do you really need to know that I’m scrubbing my toilet?” There were more tweets questioning what Twitter was for than anything else. In short, Twitter was weird.

Over the years, Twitter has changed significantly. Recently, I read an article that said more than 70% of Americans get the bulk of their daily news from Twitter. People, whether celebrity, political talking head, or plain old mom from the ‘burbs, use twitter as a sort of running commentary. Sometimes it acts as a chat room; other times a loudspeaker. Entire careers have been created managing social media campaigns for companies and similar. What was once a weird, awkward way to communicate, has become a global lifeline.

Lately though, and by “lately” I mean since 2015, my Twitter experience has become more frustration and less joy. I could actually expand that to say “my social media experience has become more frustration and less joy”…but I’m gonna stick to Twitter for today. At first, I had followed everything and everyone who interested me. Duran Duran (obviously at the top of my list), anyone who was either IN Duran Duran or worked with them in some way, places I liked, people I enjoyed, political figures, news organizations, pretty much anything. I liked the banter, enjoyed the news bytes, and for the most part – it was good. Then John (yes, THAT John) left Twitter in 2012, Andy stopped posting and vanished until late last year, Dom stopped posting for the most part, and my Twitter feed slowly became a never ending sea of bad news.

By 2015, I was seeing swell after swell of ranting, complaints, anger, frustration, and yes – Donald Trump. I went back through and unfollowed anything that had the least bit to do with politics and news, hoping that the ocean of anger would subside a bit.

Unfortunately, the damage seemed already done. Very little of my timeline had anything to do with real connections or friendship or any of the original bright-eyed, bushy-tailed ideals or reasons for joining Twitter I once knew. Many, if not most twitter-users weren’t interested in making friends or communicating (for the most part). They were interested in seeing who could yell loudest, or get the most “likes” for the most appalling things they could say. Say the wrong thing, and you were unfollowed, called names or continually harassed. Either agree to the opinions of the Twitter masses, or expect to lose friends in the process.

And that was before the pandemic.

Since Covid-19, Twitter has become the place to blame and shame, right along with Facebook and Next Door – but again, I’m sticking to Twitter for today. It was, and still is, exhausting to see every day. I began feeling like the life was slowly being sucked out of me. As I told someone the other day, just because we are all experiencing the pandemic and the struggles therein does not mean we all have the same problems or experience. There’s some post about being in the same storm, but not the same boats. That’s about right. Just as I wouldn’t dare tell someone in New York how they need to handle themselves, I’d appreciate the same respect. Seems simple, yet incredibly complicated in practice. That, on top of the other mentioned tensions I’ve been feeling, pushed me over my limit and past my boundary. I quit. Finito. Done.

That’s right. I quit Twitter. Well, actually – I stopped updating my Twitter and deleted the app from my phone. I haven’t deactivated my account just yet, but I will at some point soon. I also deleted Facebook, and aside from absentmindedly grabbing my phone throughout the day and looking for something until I realize that I’m just in a bad habit, I’m good. I didn’t realize how much time I’d wasted not being totally present here at home. Don’t tell anyone!

Yeah, I know that Duran Duran sometimes engages with fans. Yes, I’m aware that I might miss something important (except I won’t because although I won’t keep my personal account updated, @dailyduranie still exists!), but I also have peace. Very much needed, wanted, and appreciated, calmness, stillness, and peace.

My social media footprint will shrink considerably from here on out. I think John had the right idea all along. Go figure! The best way for Duranies to stay connected with me is through the Daily Duranie Facebook page. My personal Facebook is kept to my closest friends and family. There was a small group of people I communicated with on Twitter that I’ll miss, so if you’re reading and don’t have my contact info, drop me a line on gmail.

I’m also on Instagram. I post a lot of pictures of my chickens and whatever I’m seeing or working on here at home. In fact, I would say that there will be more on there in the coming months. We continue adding to our farm animal brood, and work to add more pasture space for sheep and goats, and plant fruit trees. We’re growing apple trees along with several other types of fruit because my husband is starting a cidery – it’s our retirement plan. He made his first batch back in November, and it turned out fantastic. So much so, that he’s already made an agreement with a wine-bar owner in our town to make more in Autumn. Big changes will be coming, although I’ll still be around for Duran Duran. Always.

I’m still blogging here, don’t forget. That’s another reason I’ve stopped with the social media – I needed to back off just to have the peace-of-mind to keep writing. We all handle things differently, and we all live under very different circumstances. Not everyone lives in the country, and not everyone lives in a city with high density housing, and public transportation. I wish there was more true support than the vitriol for anything and anyone who feels differently. Just don’t forget to live. Wash your hands, but also LIVE.

-R

Spinning Tunes and Dancing away

I have two things to share today. Just two, and so this post will be short.

Get your eyeliner ready because our favorite online DJ is having another dance party! That’s right, VelvetRebel will be back on Twitch this Saturday night, spinning tunes that will bring back the sweet scent of cloves mingling with the faintest hint of hairspray and kamikaze shots. Jason has his own Twitch channel, so you’ll tune in there for the party. http://twitch.tv/velvetrebel1984

Hmm…maybe that’s just my memory of the late 80s, then. Moving on….

Second, have you seen Duran Duran’s tweet from earlier today?? If not, run, don’t walk, to Twitter right now and check it out! #DuranDuranRadio, is that a thing?? It is now…or soon will be…on Duranduran.com! The possibilities are endless, and the music…well, that’s a given, isn’t it? Love the idea, looking forward to tuning in as soon as they get it up and running! If they can’t play live in front of thousands, MAYBE…just maybe…they can play DJ!

I’m off to do mom things. Have a great day!

-R

Is This the Napster Moment of Live Gigs?

It’s Thursday. I have to keep reminding myself of what day it is, because like everyone else currently in residence on the globe, I find it difficult to keep track.

The one thing – and it is a very small thing – I do know, is that I miss events. Getting together with friends, going to dinner, having drinks, leaving my front gate, the live gig. My fear of the virus (I’m not going to lie – I have zero fear of this virus itself, but I recognize many of you out there might.) isn’t about my family becoming ill or dying, it is about the effects it has had on our lives going forward.

In my state of California, we’re getting quite a bit of news about how the state is beginning to plan for what comes next. How will we “reopen”? What will or will not be allowed? The discussion is not an assertion that the state is opening today or tomorrow, but is more of a broad discussion of a roadmap of what will be done when the right time arrives, and what that moment will look like. So, along with that has been talk about large events such as concerts, trade shows, festivals right on down to summer community events like Concerts in the Park, or Fourth of July picnics. State, county and city officials have been noted as saying that they don’t expect concerts to be back in the picture until at least 2021, and if there’s no working and readily available vaccine by then – not even at that time.

Clearly, this is the time for creativity and innovation. I try to remind myself of this every single day. We may very well have our lives changed in this moment (although right now, “this moment” doesn’t feel at all brief), but there have been great signs of adaptation and innovation along the way. People are “meeting” virtually, classes are being wholly taught online, graduations and other ceremonies are being rethought and reconfigured, and yes – many artists are buying into this challenge with gusto. Rather than simply waiting for things to return to normal, which could be years away at this point – thus outliving the shelf span for many – they’re taking to the ’net, and connecting with fans in new ways.

Live events, and/or event planning on the backend, is an enormous industry. Innovations absolutely must be made. Who is up for the challenge and how will it all pan out? Interestingly enough, this morning, as I continued on my daily quest of staying out of politically motivated conversations about the virus and so forth, I stumbled across an online panel on SBC regarding the very subject.

Oisin Lunny (technology and music journalist) hosted the panel and was joined by Ted Cohen (technology consultant and former music executive), Muki Kulhan (Executive Digital Producer), John Textor (CEO of Facebank Group), Scott Cohen (CIO of Warner Music Group- you may have heard of them??) and Nathan Newman (Creative Marketing and Media Consultant for the Social Broadcasting Network).

Notably, the challenge isn’t IF live music will survive, but rather, how? What form will it take? Nearly one of the first questions posed by Scott Cohen (again, you all should recognize the company he works for – it’s Warner Music!) is whether or not this is the “Napster” moment for the live music industry in the same way there was a “Napster” moment for recorded music.

The answer comes back to artists being innovative and able to improvise during this time in order to connect with their audience in new ways. Those that adapt quickly will survive. Those who choose to wait it out may not find a space for them once this pandemic is over. 2021 is a long time to wait. (and remember, if there is no vaccine, there are likely not to be concerts!)

Scott gave a couple of examples of artists who are already excitedly embracing this revolution. Dua Lipa appeared on the “Late Late Show” recently, and I have to say – I was very, very impressed. Not only did she show up, she did it with style and grace, alongside her band AND her dancers. You’ve got to see it to believe it:

As Muki Kalhan aptly put it, there is a challenge to “stay on air”. We’ve all seen it – shows such as the Late Late Show with James Cordon, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, or even Ellen – have all moved from the studio into the home. They’re figuring out how to create entertainment with whatever they’ve got, and what they’ve “got” is themselves. Sure, this wasn’t all done in a single live chat, video latency and lag would have been a mess. Each participant likely sent their own video and it was all synced together for broadcast. Watch for yourself, but I thought the performance was great.

The performances I have seen as of late have relied on acoustics. Artists play the music for what it is. Their voices are as nature intended, so to speak. Somehow, that near nakedness connects with fans. Their willingness to show up without hair, makeup, lights and sound techs and just be themselves speaks volumes. Turns out, smoke, mirrors and all of the character in the world isn’t quite enough right now. In the end, talent matters. Slick styling and glossy images aren’t going to sell nearly as much as the ability to find and sell your authentic self through a webcam. Content regains it’s rightful position as king. For some, like Dua Lipa, it looks easy. Others who may not have grown up in the age of Instagram or YouTube might not find it quite so.

The same questions matter now as they did in the 80s. Scott Cohen asked, “How did Madonna reach and connect with so many utilizing video?” I’d ask the same about Duran Duran. (shame that Cohen forgot the true Video Vanguards…) All of that innovation they, and others like them had back then, needs to come out in blazes right now.

Sure, there’s a real worry that live events will not return. “Death by Zoom” is a authentic, primal, fear, and not just in the music industry. Even so, there are still questions like “How do we “enjoy” each other? Meeting up online for drinks is obviously not the same as meeting in person and grabbing coffee. Just as a review, many of things we once eschewed and balked, from MP3s to streaming, cable TV to YouTube, have not only been made readily available, but are now embraced by the general public and beyond.

Virtual meetings are meant as an enhancement to real life, but during months of a pandemic, those that are able to be open minded, rise to the challenge and figure out how to use it best will be the winners during the years to come.

-R

I wish *I* Knew What’s in Their Head(s)

It is always nice when DDHQ gives me something to think about and chew on while blogging. Yesterday, they asked the “simple” question of what has been the most surprising change they’ve made during the course of their constantly evolving life as a band?

Naturally, this question is fully loaded. I can cite about 35 surprising things just off the top of my head. Should I answer the question from the POV I once had as a preteen Duranie? How about as an adult? Fan blogger? Overall?? Could I even begin to decide on ONE thing that has surprised me more than all others?

Let’s face it, there have been many things to shock the hell out of me over the years. Roger left the band, first of all. In my mind, that wasn’t supposed to happen in 1985, or any time. I can tell you exactly how I responded to that news: “Why is it always the band member *I* like that has to leave first??” Imagine that sentence loaded with all of the self-centered emotion of a 14 year old girl, and you’d pretty much have my feelings in a nutshell. The music didn’t surprise me much, but having my guy leave certainly did!

Warren came along right as the 80s were about to leave the building. Sure, I’d seen him getting in there, but to be fair – I tried not to notice too much. I figured that as long as he towed the line (Andy’s line, I might add), it would all be fine. Say whatever you want about him – at the time I didn’t know anything about Warren except that he wasn’t Andy Taylor. That fact, was unsurmountable, but I had high hopes until I started seeing one interview after another where Warren took great joy in announcing just how much better of a guitarist he was. To me, *that* was what was so surprising about him, not his playing. I’d always been taught that if you’re good at something, it’s your actions that put the proof in the pudding, not the words.

Then there was Ordinary World. Just when I had begun to think that was all there was, the band proved they had more gas in the tank! The song was nothing like “Rio” or “Planet Earth”, and yet they were getting more radio play than they had in years. I wondered how long it might last. Yes, I know Warren is responsible for the guitar part. It is not my favorite song by a long shot, but I appreciate that his work kept the band going.

More recently, there’s been Red Carpet Massacre. The album surprised me because it seemed like such a departure from anything they’d done previously. People have said there’s no “Duran Duran” sound, but I’d humbly disagree. There are certain qualities to most, if not all Duran Duran songs over the years that I can absolutely attribute to the band. Simon’s stacked harmonies, John’s bass lines, even the atmospheric synthesizer and keyboards from Nick. Those elements seemed to be missing or at least very hidden in the mix on Red Carpet Massacre. Add to that the likes of Timberlake and Timbaland being VERY audible, and you’ve got one surprising album.

Anybody remember the days when John was on Twitter? How about Simon’s vocal problems in 2011? Both things shocked the heck out of me to some extent. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to engage with a real member of Duran Duran on social media…or anywhere….ever…and I did! I tend to wonder if perhaps John didn’t see the value in being on Twitter, or that it made the relationship between fans and the band more complicated, between all of the “likes” and “follows”. That is certainly understandable, but the one thing I am grateful for when it comes to social media, is having that time. As crazy as it sounds, it made the band feel a lot more human to me, and while I can’t account for the feelings of every fan – I can say it was more than I could have ever hoped for as a kid, which in turn makes it one of the most surprising things this band, or members within, have done.

Paper Gods surprised me because it was all of the things that Red Carpet Massacre was not, incorporated into all of the things that Duran Duran has always been. While I am not going to say the album was perfect, I can appreciate the effort to modernize Duran Duran’s sound. It still surprised me though, coming off of All You Need is Now. Two incredibly different albums within the same decade. Amazing.

All of those things, plus so many others have kept me captivated and learning to expect the unexpected from Duran Duran over the years. The surprises have kept the band fresh, and their sound from becoming stale. I could name probably ten more things that made me sit up and take notice over the years. But, one thing above all else stands out in my mind as being the most shocking.

One night in 2003, I snuck into my husband’s office downstairs while my kids were playing and Walt was in the garage. Earlier I figured I could pop onto duranduran.com and check out the message boards before anyone (Gavin) learned how to build a bomb. What came up for me as the website loaded was beyond my wildest dreams. Five faces stared back at me, and even then, I was confused. Wait. Could it really? Nah…… But wait, is that…is that John? If that’s John, who are those other guys?? It was only after I read, and re-read the headline announcing a show at the Pacific Amphitheater over and over, and over again, that I even allowed myself to consider that maybe, just maybe I was going to be able to see all five members of my very favorite band for the first time. So yes, for me, having the fab five reunite was, by far, the most surprising thing this band has ever done, at least, as far as I’m concerned….and that’s not a dare for them to try to up the ante!

-R

Come On Boy, Let’s Change the Pace

I don’t think Amanda or I commented on John Taylor’s chat day on Twitter. Did we?? Friday feels like it happened a month ago.

In opening, I want to express how much I looked forward to, and appreciated, the Friday chats. Sure, they were chaotic, and at 30 minutes (give or take), they were a small fraction of the time I’ve had suddenly made available to me lately. Even so, they mattered. Yes, I joked about some of the questions and general hilarity that ensued – Twitter feeds can still move lightning fast when needed – but I still enjoyed the process. No, I didn’t have a single question answered, but for me, that wasn’t the point.

I think that my entertainment came two-fold. First, I like seeing fans interact, whether with one another or with band members. Sure, there were a lot of questions like, “Simon, will you be my quarantine partner?” or “Will you tour in my town <fill in the blank here with your town name> this time?” There was also a lot of joy. Seeing people commune on Twitter again, talking about something else other than politics or strife, was refreshing.

Second, I loved hearing from the band members. There’s something reassuring when you read tweets from them acknowledging the current state of the world. Seeing that they were right smack in the middle of getting the album done and just having time sort of come to an abrupt halt felt very familiar. I did feel as though there was more Q&A to it all than chatting though, which, given the traffic on Twitter, was understandable.

However, John was able to make it just a little more personal with one simple tweet that was both an answer to a question, as well as an inquiry of his own. He wanted to know what WE were doing to pass the time.

Not everyone answered, but many did, including me. I was only too happy to share news of learning to crochet and knit, raising a new flock of baby chicks, and building raised garden beds. Amanda wrote about getting back to teaching, and many others shared their own creative sojourns. It was nice.

The thing is, and it’s what I’ve always said about this band – it’s not really just about the hand-to-mouth (or ears) process of the band making music and the fans and listeners being the consumers – that keeps me coming back. It is rare, but there are sometimes these teeny-tiny shining moments when I feel like the band sees US. Not just as dollar signs with legs, but as real, genuine people who just happen to be fans. When John asked that question on Friday, it felt that way. I can’t even be sure that he read my tweet…or anyone’s for that matter, but it felt like a conversation, less like watching a hockey goalie (or footie goalie!) standing in the net taking shots.

Don’t get me wrong, I did those moments are rare. They really are! One can’t go around expecting that sort of thing very often. Expectations being future resentments and all…. Sheer numbers and math tell me that it’s just not possible to connect on a personal sort of level with every single fan. I just appreciate when it works out that way, even if it’s just for a second.

Someone asked me if that was the last chat DD was going to do, since we’re all still sort of quarantined and all. I responded saying I didn’t know. Back when DDHQ announced the Twitter chats, I doubt anyone knew how long this all would go on. I’m not sure if we have any better of an idea now! I would just encourage the band that, if they saw fit – to try different things. Instagram is a fun platform to do something “live” where you answer questions, and fans can see them in real time. Not sure if the band is feeling their best or is “stage” ready (goodness knows I’m definitely not these days!), but it’s an option. Even posting a YouTube video might be fun…and they don’t even have to give album scoops! They could just pick a subject and talk about it for five minutes or whatever. Just a thought. I just know the chats have been a highlight of some dreary weeks for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Hope everyone is doing well out there. Wash your hands and get some fresh air if you can. I find getting air really helps me with coping. It’s beginning to warm up into the 70s with regularity now up here along the Central Coast. I have eight chicks that are now approaching the age where I can move them to an outdoor brooder, although not in with the big girls (chickens are brutal and they’ll kill the little ones)

-R

On the Other Side

I was thinking this morning about this band, and how with each album, particularly post-reunion, we seem to run into roadblocks.

Granted, Duran Duran isn’t alone. Crazy things happen all of the time, and sometimes to all of us at once – like right now. I just had to chuckle a bit when I thought about it all though.

During Astronaut, they were managing their own reunion. I believe John used the words “Union of the Snake” in some way to describe the sometimes tenuous recording sessions and band meetings. So while to fans, the band getting back together wasn’t a terrible thing (far from it), for the band it must have been incredibly fraught with frustration at times.

Red Carpet Massacre saw the end of the Fab Five. It began as one record and ended as another. I don’t think the recording process is ever that smooth – ask any five musicians their opinions on writing and recording, and I’m sure you’ll get five different responses, but to have your guitarist quit and go from self-producing to working with someone you’ve never met before couldn’t have helped.

Most people likely recall All You Need is Now. Goodness knows I sure do. What started off with a bang (at least with fans), ended up having a serious false start as Simon had to end the UK tour before it started due to vocal problems. The momentum ramped up, only to hit a virtual wall. Crazy times indeed.

Paper Gods seems to be the outlier here….although I know that John said something (why is it always John, or is it just that I pay more attention to him?? Hmm…I’ll add that to my list of future contemplations!) about having to overcome some sort of serious strife or gulf between band members in order to finish the album. My guess is that there’s always something!

Which brings us to present. The unnamed album #15. It seemed as though the creative process was on a good roll. They were nearing the finish line, and sure enough – Coronavirus. Come on now. They’ve had festivals canceled. The 40th anniversary is now going to be a 41st, or even a 45th if we’re not careful. Hyde Park, The 501st and 502nd DD show at The Cosmopolitan (a minor exaggeration on my part)….all of it wiped out for the spring and summer. 2020 has been canceled, as far as I can tell.

The one thing I will say about Duran Duran, even when I’m frustrated, even when I don’t love some of their decisions – is that they’re resilient. Quitting is not in their collective vocabulary. This is a band that could have fallen apart a dozen or more times by now. Things that could have crushed other bands have ended up making this one stronger. (pretty sure there’s a saying about something like that) Sure, John (I think this is the third time I’ve mentioned him in this single blog…) had Coronavirus, and yeah, that pandemic has pretty much stopped the entire world on its axis for a bit, but they’ll be back.

-R