Six years ago, on this weekend, I was in Chicago at our Duran Duran Fan Convention that we called Durandemonium. This convention took place over 3 days with a variety of events that ranged from Duran games to watching A Diamond in the Mind in a movie theater to a dinner and dance. By any and all accounts, it was a success as people came and had fun. In fact, many people formed friendships that night and kept in touch past that weekend. From our standpoint, it was also a success in that we were able to pull it off without losing our minds or going into serious debt. Of course, the question that is always hanging out there is will there ever be another one?
Looking back at the convention, the first two main emotions and thoughts that pop up in my mind are pride and fun. Contrary to what some might believe but planning and hosting a three day convention isn’t easy. There are lots of details that need to be planned, decided on and completed. I remember the months leading up to the convention and how many phone calls were made to the hotel, to the restaurant, and more. My email inbox was always full of quick questions, answers, and new concerns that would that risen to the surface since the last time I had checked it. I swear that as the messages increased so did the worry. Would we get it all done? Would people come? Would they have fun? The money worry doubled the anxiety as each venue required deposits and at one point, I was literally on the line for $20,000 if we didn’t have enough people show up. Yet, we pushed through with the help of all of the people on the convention committee and managed to hold it without any major problem. I still feel proud about that. I always will.
I can also admit that I had a ton of fun that weekend in between having to be “on” at various points. I danced my heart out at our dinner as well at Late Bar (an 80s club in Chicago), Howl at the Moon (a piano bar chain) and NEO (club that held an 80s night). I enjoyed quite a few drinks and many laughs over the course of the weekend. If all that wasn’t enough, I got to sing and dance to A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen with other Duranies. Who wouldn’t love that? If all that wasn’t enough, I saw people talking, laughing and forming connections with each other. It reminded me of when Rhonda and I met and bonded at a different convention in New Orleans in 2004. Mission definitely accomplished.
So the next question that usually follows is: Will there be another convention? If so, when? I won’t lie. We have thought about it many times. Sometimes, we have even picked out a place, a venue and started initial talks but something always stops the process. For one thing, it requires a serious commitment in terms of the amount of work. It literally took us months of planning to pull it off. During that time, Rhonda and I weren’t doing much else but planning and blogging. I didn’t have big projects outside of work and things were relatively calm on Rhonda’s end. Nowadays, it is tough for us to do that. After all, we are in the midst of a new writing project.
On top of that, it was stressful, not just because of the planning but also as the person putting myself financially on the line. I didn’t mind doing it but, ideally, if we were to do it again, I would love, love, love to be able to raise money ahead of time so that I am not paying thousands of dollars upfront to reserve spaces. This, of course, not only takes work but also faith in other fans. Do enough fans want a convention? Would they be willing to give money ahead of time? Do they like one we had last time? After all, we have gotten criticism for just meetups. Conventions can be much worse in terms of disagreeing with how we are organizing or when or where. That gets tough to take. On top of all that, hosting a major event like that isn’t always easy. Neither Rhonda nor myself are super excited about being the ones up front and out in the spotlight. We are much more comfortable doing behind the scenes work but hosting an event means that you have to step up, to some extent.
So the answer to the question is that I don’t know. I am not sure whether or not we will hold another convention. Personally, I am not opposed to the idea and rather enjoy putting something like this together but I also feel strongly that it would have to be the right time and place and that both of us would need to be 100% on board to do it right. So what do the rest of you think? Would fans be interested in another Durandemonium or has that time passed?
This is not my typical blog. I wish that my writing partner had this one to write as she is so much better at this sort of thing than I am. I’m much more comfortable with facts, analysis, and statistics not because I’m unfeeling but because that is far safer. On top of that, my friend and her loved ones deserve the highest quality of blogs. That said, I’ll do my best for her and her loved ones.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, our friend, Alana, lost her fierce battle against cancer at the end of the week. The outpouring of love and grief on social media for her shows just a fraction of how much she meant to the people who knew her. I suspect that everyone who ever met Alana loved her and wanted to be around her. She was one of those special people who was just genuinely warm, friendly, and supportive. People were drawn her because her presence made everyone feel comfortable and safe. Even someone like me who cautiously watches people before opening up to them immediately knew that Alana could be trusted. It was obvious that she was just such a good egg.
I don’t remember exactly when we talked for the first time or actually met in person. I don’t think it was long after that first time that Alana’s presence in my world and in Duranland was felt. I know that it must have been fairly quickly after we started this blog. There were many times in the first few years that Rhonda and I weren’t always so sure about what we were doing here. I’m not even sure we really had a plan and so we often seemed to be wandering aimlessly, uncertain about ourselves. Yet, when we were really questioning continuing there was Alana offering her support and her encouragement. Even years later, after she had been diagnosed, she still supported us either through comments or through donations. She was so good as dropping in with some inspirational statement at just the right time that I began to wonder if she wasn’t psychic in some way. She just knew when she was needed.
Duranland needed her, too. This fandom of ours is not always easy. There is an inherent competition that continues to burst on to the scene despite any and all attempts at stopping it. Too often fans seek more of everything, including more knowledge, more insider information, more contacts with the band members, more photos, more VIP tickets, etc. Alana was the antithesis to that. Don’t get me wrong. She loved Duran Duran and loved being at shows and with other fans but she never tried to one up someone else. She was someone that we should all try to be more like, myself included. I think back to a general admission show in Biloxi, Mississippi in the summer of 2012. When Rhonda and I decided to go to this show, we decided to go all in. This meant getting up at the crack of dawn to wait in line, all day, in hopes of getting up close. Somehow when we got into the venue, Rhonda and I did, indeed, make it to the front, holding on to the front rail for dear life. Who was right behind us in more than one way? Alana. I remember turning around and seeing the huge smile on her face. Yes, she was thrilled to have a good spot to see the show for herself but she was just as excited for us, for having our first front row experience.
After that summer, with encouragement from people like her and others, Rhonda and I jumped in to plan a convention that we held in Chicago in October 2013. Again, Alana was there the whole time keeping our spirits up when things were tough with the planning and at the convention itself to help us celebrate. The night before most attendees arrived, a group of us went out to Neo, a club that I loved, for their 80s night. We danced and danced in between getting drinks and trying to explain to people there how all of us from such different places would be together in Chicago. As Planet Earth played, I remember this feeling of pure joy spread over me. I was at home, doing what I loved with my people, people who understood and accepted me. That feeling is not one that I have a lot but I knew then and I know it now that Alana had a lot to do with that.
Like many that Alana touched in some way, saying goodbye is tough. I wish I had more time, more fun, more Duran experiences with her but feel so lucky that I got to call her my friend.
One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.
Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.
Saying goodbye to darkness
I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.
I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???
When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.
Now I can see the big idea
Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.
Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.
I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.
One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.
One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!
An empire in a day, built on hope
So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.
The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?
My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.
When I can raise it up again
I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.
I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!
Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other. One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher. Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists. On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites. Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality. They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids. Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.
In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans. Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher. That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts. Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community. Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event. Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion.
In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com. Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other. Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine: The DuranDuranFans Convention. On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries. Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics. They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink. As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying. At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.
Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour. The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together. Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved. By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little. No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount. From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.
This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends. Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more. Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us. After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others. Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird. Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal. In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed. While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.
This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason. We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more. Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom. Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills. Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations. From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends. Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three. Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention. All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning. The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true. I definitely would not have done any of this without her.
Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship. I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities. For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:
Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows! They are truly our happy place.
Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.
Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions! I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December. Watch this space.
We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!
Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now! We are committed. Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…
Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!
In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime. Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done. I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her. I truly am the lucky one. So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday! Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday! I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!
When thinking about the year 2013-2014, I knew that I wanted to do something surrounding Durandemonium, the convention we organized in October 2013. I wanted to pick something about this convention because it was such a big deal for us. We spent over a year planning, stressing, pouring over details and worrying about whether or not we could pull it off at all. So when thinking about today’s post, the question became what kind of post do I pick. Do I pick a post that explains the purpose behind the convention? Something that sheds light on our hopes that it would bring fans together and create friendships? What about a post that shows the work that we (and our convention committee) did? Maybe, I should choose something that focuses on what the convention did for me? After all, I do tend to think that it brought me back from the brink of leaving the fandom. In the end, I opted to pick a post from the convention weekend. I think it shows a little bit about the event itself, including some of the activities we had. Years later, I still think that the event was a success, even if it wasn’t perfect.
Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!
Yes, there was an all night party. For some of us, that party lasted a little bit longer than for others. Perhaps, this is why this blog is late and why the authors of this tiny blog page are moving a smidge slower than normal. Okay, I won’t lie. We are moving a little more than a smidge slower but we are alive and conscious. I even called my parents to check in and the first question that popped out of my father’s mouth was, “Are you jail?” I responded as you might guess, “Why would you think that??!?!” My dad explained that it was there wasn’t a blog post today. Wow. Even my dad is pressuring me on the blog post today. While I was hoping to write a really articulate, special, insightful post, the truth is that I can’t do it. I apologize right now. Lack of sleep is a big reason to blame. Not shocking, right? We finally crashed at like 5:20 in the morning and had a little more than 2 hours of sleep. We didn’t quite reach up for the sunrise, but…we came close. While we considered writing then, we figured that we might be a bit more coherent now. Ha! Probably not so much, really. The second reason that I’m not going to be able to dazzle anyone with my words is simply that I’m feeling a bit emotional, a bit raw. I need time to process. We need time to process. So, instead of diving deep, I’ll give some highlights to the big day of Durandemonium and a few things to watch for in the future!
*Sharing the stage with fellow authors felt really good for the author’s panel. We are truly lucky to have talent like Elisa Lorello and Karen Booth in our fan community. Our moderator, Heather, was fabulous as well! Nothing like sharing a stage with smart, articulate women to start your day. It was also cool and a bit nerve-wracking to give a little preview of our book. It was the first sharing, really, of any part of it. I hope that it peaked some interest to those in the room.
A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen was BEYOND AMAZING!!! When the convention committee walked in and they showed us a preview, I literally got goose bumps! GOOSE BUMPS! I loved dancing and singing surrounded by friends! It really was the next best thing outside of a concert! Plus, hearing the different *squees at various shots made it so fun! Plus, it made my desire for shows increase by like a million and I heard others say the same!
*People liked playing Duran related game! I wonder if we shouldn’t try to market them!?! Although, I did hear that trivia was pretty dang challenging and I was called “evil” as a result! Sorry!!!
*We had some GOOD food at the banquet. I’m still thinking about all of the yumminess. It sounds like everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
*The fan slideshow was emotional for many of us despite struggling to fit it on the screen. We are going to try to get it included in the convention DVD and will put it up on youtube for the rest of the Duran universe to see. 🙂
*Lots of people won some great Duran goodies and we appreciate each and every person/organization that donated items for our raffles. We cannot thank you enough!
*I love party buses! No worries about getting to and from a place.
*Late Bar was amazing! They busted out many Duran video blocks for us and created the fabulous drink, Sing Blue Silver. We danced and danced and danced. We might have consumed a few adult beverages or two or more. Do doubles count as one drink or two?! I will definitely add this to my list of places to be in Chicago!
*It was nice to see so many people this morning, despite knowing that this was the end. People seemed to enjoy themselves over the weekend and connections seemed to be made, which is really the whole point of this deal to begin with! A by-product is that, for me, and others, there was a sense of renewal, a renewal of being a Duranie. That makes a huge difference that goes way beyond this weekend. The band can thank us later.
Key things to note:
*For convention attendees with pictures, Rhonda will send out information about our shutterfly account so that pictures can be shared. I, for one, am SO thankful as I have like NO pictures from this weekend and desperately want some!
*Also, we would love to hear from people who went about what they thought. What went well? What didn’t? Suggestions for next time, if we do another one, etc? There is a survey in your program with questions. Likewise, we would love to hear from others. What would get you to go to a convention? What would you look for, etc.? Don’t be surprised if we come up with another survey for everyone to do!
I’m sure that I’m forgetting something and I’m sure that this won’t be the last post about Durandemonium 2013. I will have more to say after some time and some SLEEP! That said, we did it. We really did it. Durandemonium 2013–what a wild, fabulous weekend!
Twelve years ago today I drove to Chicago to join my new Duranie friends for a weekend of fun and Duran Duran. While I had met many of these new friends months prior in New Orleans, the weekend in 2005 was the first time I would attending a Duran show with any of them. When those Astronaut tour dates were posted, we made plans quickly, including deciding to gather in Chicago to not only see the show, but to buy those more expensive VIP tickets. I purchased those tickets for myself, Rhonda and another friend of ours. In reality, I had no real idea if I could trust them to pay me back, but they did. I had no clue if I could really hang out with them for an entire weekend or whether or not Rhonda and I would share a hotel room without a problem. I took a leap of faith.
By 5 am on March 20th, 2005, I knew that it Rhonda and I were able to not only go to shows together but could travel “on tour” well together. During that weekend, I laughed more than I had for an entire year, I swear. I had so much fun that I wondered if it shouldn’t be illegal. I almost questioned my grip on reality because it exceeded every expectation I had. The joy I felt was pure and fulfilled me in a way that I wasn’t even aware that I lacked. To say that the weekend changed my life would be an understatement. Everything changed after that.
When I look back at the 12 years that have transpired between then and now, I almost cannot believe it and I certainly wouldn’t have believed it then. Rhonda and I have shared so much. We have traveled to the UK twice together. We have seen shows ranging from Glasgow, Scotland, to Toronto, Canada, to New York City, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, to San Diego, California and more. Beyond those shows, we started this blog here. The Daily Duranie became way more than just a simple, little blog about Duran Duran. It became about fandom and about us and about our fan community. The blog has become a part of us and who are are, both as individuals and as a pair. I think ending the blog would feel like cutting off an arm or at least a finger. I would miss it.
Beyond the shows and the blogging, we also organized many fan meet-ups and a weekend long convention. We have written two full manuscripts and have come up with many more ideas. The love that we had and have for a band blossomed, bloomed into real action on our parts. We have criticized widely for our approach, our questioning, our criticism. We have also been praised by our dedication (or insanity). We have been accused of being too negative by some and thanked for keeping the fandom going.
Rhonda and I met in New Orleans in September of 2004. While that weekend included some amazingly fun activities as well as an acknowledgement that we were kindred spirits when it comes to Duran Duran, it didn’t create the domino affect like that the weekend in Chicago in March of 2005 did. A convention is a one weekend off event. It is not something that can be easily replicated. Shows, though? They happen more often. Tours provide us the opportunity to relive that first weekend over and over, at least to some extent. That first touring weekend started a snowball of fandom that has grown even as it has changed. It solidified the beginnings of a friendship that has meant the world to me.
Now, on the anniversary of that date, I wonder what will come next. Will the snowball of fandom continue to get bigger? Will it stay the same in size while totally changing shape? What about Rhonda and myself? In many ways, our friendship has been tested a lot. We have faced rejection, been ignored, the receivers of some insulting and hateful comments over the years. Beyond that, we recognize that our “real” lives are often pulling us in opposite directions while we continue to work together and to be friends. I don’t know exactly how we will navigate the next twelve years, I just know that I hope we can continue to do it together. After all, we aren’t done with Duran Duran yet.
I’m really not on Facebook very much anymore. Yes, I go over there for Daily Duranie purposes or if someone tags me in a photo or post, but I don’t go there to scroll through people’s posts very often. In my busy schedule, something had to go and that seems to be one that is cut a lot. Part of the reason it is cut more than other things is because I just don’t see as many interesting posts as I used to. One aspect of Facebook that I do enjoy is the “See Your Memories” part. I often go to look at mine. I am reminded of what was on my mind when or what I was doing a year ago or three. This weekend, a photo popped up.
What the heck is all of this, you might be wondering?! This was the back of my parents’ van on this weekend two years ago. The van and its contents were headed to Chicago for Durandemonium, the Duran Duran fans convention we organized. Inside those boxes were banquet decorations, Duran games, merchandise for raffles and much, much more. In seeing this picture, I shared it to my timeline as it brought a smile to my face. What made me smile even more was all of the comments people posted in response, many of whom were convention attendees! It certainly made me think about planning the convention, the convention itself and the after effects of this convention.
Planning the convention was not as easy as I had assumed before I began the process. I knew that there would be a lot of details to arrange and take care of but I didn’t realize just how many. Then, there were the financial responsibilities of it as all of the businesses we worked with needed deposits and needed someone to charge for the costs. That fell to me and, at times, it seemed that I had put far too much risk on my own finances. Thankfully, it all worked out but still added quite a bit of stress in my life. Of course, beyond all of that, there were constant requests about when, where, how to have the convention. The truth we knew going in and got reinforced was that we can’t and couldn’t please everyone. Many people wanted a different weekend or a different location or different activities or a different cost. It was hard making those decisions, knowing that we weren’t going to make all people happy.
Once the event started, though, all of those worries wiped away. I had too much to do and was living in the moment so I couldn’t worry about criticisms. I wouldn’t worry. That weekend moved by so quickly. It felt to me that we went from one activity to the next with very little down time. (I wonder if attendees had that same feeling?). Some activities, of course, stick out WAY more than others. I admit that I loved running the “get to know you Duran games” during registration, but I really LOVED seeing A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen at a local movie theater. That Saturday night was a ton of fun with the banquet and after banquet party at Late Bar, a local 80s club in Chicago. Here are some pictures of that weekend:
At Late Bar!
Looking at these pictures and the video brings back a lot of good memories. You know what makes me smile even more? Seeing people who attended the convention now be friends! After all, that really is the point. Yes, of course, conventions celebrate the common interest (Duran Duran, in our case) but through that process, connections and friendships begin! I know I made friends that weekend. Lifelong friends.
Now, two years later, I really am beginning to believe that I’m ready to do this again! I learned a lot that weekend. While I truly believe that weekend was a massive success on many levels, I also think we could make it better as long as we have people interested in attending and people interested in helping. After all, the reasons to have conventions still exist as all still love Duran Duran and need/want connections with others who understand us on a fundamental level.
Amanda had asked me to come up with my top ten Duranie Fandom moments several weeks back, after having sat down and doing so herself, complete with photos to illustrate. At the time, I had trouble coming up with even ONE. Stress does that to a person, and honestly there are times when it feels like so long ago that I even attended a show…well, it’s just very far removed from daily life here at Casa Rivera these days. Yet I blog about Duran Duran each morning….how does that happen?!?
Truthfully, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s all I can do to jot down a few words about the date in history (which we’re now just calling “Duran Duran History”). Sometimes I’m just not feeling very fan-like at all. Maybe I’m really stuck in “mom-mode” or “wife-mode”…but definitely not “fandom” mode. It’s been a rough few months, to put it lightly.
As I said yesterday though, having a single weekend away helped. I was able to stop worrying about things I cannot control (we all have our weaknesses.), and just smile, enjoy the music, laugh…and remember why it is that I’m still writing about my Duranie fandom! So, I’ve decided that since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can take some time to describe my own top ten fandom moments.
Rhonda’s Top Ten Duranie Fandom Moments (not in any sort of order)
Finally meeting the band
After 20 years, or whatever it was at the time – I finally got the chance to go to a record signing. It was for Astronaut, and the signing was at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. I still remember standing in that line near the door to the store doing some major self-talk. “You will NOT sound like an idiot”….”You absolutely will NOT tell any of them that you’ve loved them since you were ten.” ….”Do NOT pass out.” I pasted a smile (hopefully not maniacal) on my face and went in there with my head held high. I did great until I got to Roger, and only then did I gush with “Thank you so much for coming back to the band, Roger. You’ve always been my favorite.”Seriously??Oh well…I tried!!
Third Row – All State Arena, Chicago 2005
There are probably many who will follow that up with “Oh, I had front row at____________”. Yeah well, good on you. I’ve never won a meet and greet, either. Third row was the best it got for me on that tour, and let me tell you – I’d take those seats again and again and again in a heartbeat. I had never been closer, and up until that point I’d never attended a Duran Duran show with other Duranies. Talk about Duranie fandom. Oh yes. I will never forget Roger Taylor (did I mention that he was my favorite??) coming to the front of the stage during the heartbeat at the beginning of the show. I stood there shaking so badly that I continued to fumble with my camera the entire time he was in front of me. Oh well, at least I didn’t blind him before the show with my flash photography, right??
Front Row – DPAC, Durham 2012
Yes, I finally got front row. Twice this tour…once in Biloxi because I was crazy enough to get myself to the venue by 7am and wait all day, and once in Durham because a good friend (thanks Jonee!!) saw something that she wanted to facilitate. (mainly that I had adoration for some guitar player who will remain nameless…) I squeezed up into that line of girls in the picture…and I’ll just say this: BEST SHOW EVER.
Almost getting that drumstick at Voodoo 2006
No, I don’t have a drumstick in my “collection” (what collection?!?). I do however, have a memory of Roger Taylor reading a sign I held up high for him at the Voodoo festival in New Orleans, cheekily asking if I could twirl his stick. (Wow Rhonda. Just wow.) I’m glad Roger is a good sport, because he just grinned and asked if I wanted it. (To clarify, by “it”…I think we all know he meant his drumstick, thank you.) I nodded yes. It sailed through the air, coming straight for me. It was a perfect throw, until someone reached up and grabbed it right out of the air. Oh well. I looked back up at the stage, Roger winced, mouthed “I’m sorry” and I was in heaven. He spoke to me. Sort of. No, I don’t have the drumstick, but the memory is vivid.
Getting a guitar pick from Dom
I’m not a very pushy fan, I don’t think. I’ve never ASKED the band for things. (Unless you count those front row tickets I’ve asked for here on the blog. In jest. Seriously in jest!!) I mean, sure – I asked for that drumstick I guess, but that’s different! In Biloxi though, I found my voice. I had been wanting Dom’s guitar pick since he joined the band, but I could never get close enough, and I never ran into him at a point where I thought he’d have one. At the end of the show in Biloxi, Dom came close enough to where I was standing that I could ask him. My voice worked. I asked, he flicked one to me. (in my head at the time he flicked it I was like “Are you kidding me? You’re flicking the damn thing? Do you not read the blog? Do you not know that I can’t catch??!! AAAH!) By some sheer miracle, I caught it. I put it in my pocket. Then his guitar tech came out and literally threw the other six of them from his mic stand right at me. Seriously. Two of them hit me square in the head. Thanks for making sure I got one!!
Interviewing Dom for Daily Duranie
A dream come true…and if I could do it again, I would do it completely differently. (I’d try for a face-to-face or Skype!!) Most know that I worked up a Q&A for Dom to answer, but I don’t think anyone but Amanda knows I emailed Dom to ask him if he would be willing to do the interview. I came home from the tail end of the All You Need is Now tour in 2012 and wanted to ask Dom if he’d be willing to let me interview him. I figured there was no way this would ever fly, a long shot at best. I emailed him. I figured he wouldn’t have the foggiest idea who I was – he meets thousands of people every night, and I’m just some face in the crowd. Well, he told me he knew exactly who I was. Then he agreed to a Q&A and the rest is history. I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I’m not dead. 😀
Some might say that convention planning has become sort of a hobby. Others might say I’m crazy. Both are probably at least partially true. I can really say though that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has ever energized my Duranie fandom the way that planning and attending conventions has done. I love that feeling of freedom and togetherness that being at fan conventions gives. It’s like experiencing one shining, perfect moment with a lot of other like-minded people. Maybe it’s like a really long show without the band actually being there. I don’t know. I just know that in times when life isn’t working out as planned – I think of those weekends and they still make me smile.
A certain plane trip in 2006
Here’s a fantasy for you: you’re getting on a plane to go to a concert and you look up to see touring members from that band headed down the aisle towards you. Then they sit across from you. Go ahead, think about that for a minute or five. This happened. For real….and no, I didn’t get photos. I didn’t even THINK about photos, because I was too busy thinking “OH MY GOD”. Duranie Fandom? Oh you bet. Did I speak? Yes, and I’ll never forget that two or three-hour plane trip. Good times.
Finishing the manuscript, writing this blog
I know our book isn’t yet published. We’re working on it. The fact is, we finished the draft. That’s more than I could have hoped for even if it never sees the light of day beyond that. Who knew an entire book could be written on Duranie fandom?? I wasn’t sure…then I did it. If that weren’t enough, we write a blog every single day. I’ve learned how to create a website, MOVE a website (albeit not well, but you know….it’s a learning curve really), and do things I never, ever wanted to learn how to do. All for the love of a stupid band. Well, not stupid….but you get it. NOW FINISH THE ALBUM, DURAN DURAN!!
I’m almost afraid to give the last one, because the truth of the matter is – I’m not done. I’m not done living or going to shows or being a FAN for that matter. Seems silly to come up with a top 10 list of Duranie fandom moments when there hasn’t been an ending yet. That said, there is one moment that in my head, almost always rises to the top whenever I think of moments. It’s the saddest moment I’ve ever had as a fan. On the same token, it’s the most meaningful.
Standing in front of Simon as he told all those at the studio in May of 2011 that the UK shows would be canceled
This memory is especially poignant, and even just the slightest bit painful. That day, Amanda and I had gone to the studio (here’s the funny part -I’m not even sure “which” studio we were at because someone else had taken us there. Had it not been for this person, Amanda and I would have never even seen the band on our first trip to the UK in May of that year, and if we were to go back to the UK, I don’t think I could find my way back there. That should provide some comfort for all involved!) We all said hi to Simon when he got to the studio that day, knowing that two of our shows had already been canceled and that this rehearsal would decide the fate for the rest. He didn’t sound bad, but he took the time to explain to us what was going on. He seemed particularly concerned for those of us who had traveled a long way to be there – and it was the first time I’d ever really felt connected in any way to him. I mean, I love Simon as does any fan – but this was different. I can’t put it into words. I just know that I’ve never felt fandom, my Duranie fandom, like I did that day.
Today I’m just thankful and counting my blessings. I’m so glad I convinced Amanda to start this blog, even though there are times – recent times – when I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because something isn’t working right on the blog, or because maybe in the past someone has written a horrible comment to us that I can’t seem to let roll off my back, or because I offended someone I hadn’t meant to offend. The overall experience has been beyond words. I’ve learned far more than I ever expected, both about myself and about the band, believe it or not. I’m lucky to say that I’m 50% owner of this operation, and that we’re headed into the next album with nothing but excitement and hopefulness for more incredible Duranie Fandom moments ahead. Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers, and Happy Thursday to the rest of the world. Thanks for reading!!
I thought this would be simple when I decided that this would be a good blog topic and one that would renew my Duranie spirit. You see, last week I said that I would share my top ten favorite fandom moments, which you could read about here. Yet, it wasn’t that simple. At times, I struggled to think of anything and, other times, I had a huge list pop into my head. After thinking it over for a week, here is what I finally decided on. I attempted to put this list in order with the biggest moment being last. I doubt that I was successful, but I did try. I will also say this. I enjoyed doing this. I want to see Rhonda’s Top 10 list. I would also love to see our regular guest bloggers join in and any of our readers. I think we could all use this right about now.
TOP TEN FANDOM MOMENTS:
10. Falling in love with the Reflex at the age of 8 in 1984
How could I not include when and why I became a Duranie? After all, it started it all, right? This song and video were on constant rotation in the spring of 1984. While my best friend, at the time, and I liked Duran Duran before, this song made us addicts. We were so ridiculous that we would call each other each and every time we saw it or heard it!
9. John Taylor’s James Bond socks in 2006
How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards in 2006? If you were and are a John Taylor fan, then, you probably hung out on the thread entitled, “Church of the Bass God”. Well, that year, the fans in that area of the board decided that we should send John Taylor socks for his birthday after he showed up wearing bright socks at the end of the Astronaut tour. Many pairs of socks were sent, including a pair from me. Pictures of John opening the box along with some of the socks made it back to the fans. I was super excited to see John with the pair I had sent him!!! Obviously, I sent James Bond socks! That isn’t the end of the story, though. Later, that year, at the Voodoo Music Festival, I held up a sign asking to see John’s socks. While he looked confused as heck when he read it, he still lifted his leg. Unfortunately, since he was right in front of me, all I saw was the bottom of his shoe! Fast forward to December of 2007 when Duran did an in-store cd signing in Chicago. When I got to John, I asked him about the socks. He clearly remembered the story and knew that we also sent scarves the next year! Very cool!
8. Walking around Birmingham in May of 2011
While my trip to the UK in the spring of 2011 did not go as planned because the shows got canceled, there was one important highlight. This highlight happened the first full day in the UK and was when Rhonda and I walked around Birmingham. I had done some research about where key Duran related locations were. We weren’t able to hit them all, but what we did see really helped us to see Duran Duran in a different light. I felt like I understood the band in a different way, in a more thorough way than I did before. It made them less celebrity and more human.
7. Seeing the band outside of their studio in May of 2011 when Simon lost his voice.
This highlight is connected to the last one. When we arrived in the UK in May of 2011, only the first 3 shows out of our scheduled 4 were canceled. We held out hope that the London show might take place. A friend of ours let us know where the band would be rehearsing. How could we not go? We were all the way over in the UK, right? Of course, we would not get in their way. In fact, we wouldn’t say anything unless they said something to us. I just figured it might be the only way/place for us to see them. When Simon arrived that day, he explained to the fans there, including us, that things were not looking good. At that moment, I felt certain that this was it. The end. I didn’t say anything to anyone–not even to Rhonda. I thought that if I said it, then it would be true. I couldn’t handle that. Yet, I had one comforting thought. If it was the end, then, I saw something historic, something important. I was there and we were able to give some support. Thankfully, it wasn’t the end and Simon bounced back, stronger than ever!
6. Listening to All You Need Is Now for the first time in December of 2010
It is no secret that Rhonda and I weren’t wild about Red Carpet Massacre. I was concerned that Duran might have lost their touch to make a complete, coherent album–one of quality and essential Duran elements. Yet, they did just that with All You Need Is Now. The album as an entire piece is fabulous. I still think that. It is one of the very best Duran albums ever. When I heard this album, I knew that Duran would have a great tour and I had to do as much as I could to participate. 2011 was a pretty tough year for me (cat died, grandma died, work was awful, had to participate in protests to defend myself, my colleagues, my profession, my rights). The only thing that kept me going was this album and the tour that followed.
5. The Chicago show in March of 2005
This was my first Duran show after the reunion. Interestingly enough, I believed that this would be the first time to see the entire Fab Five together. Andy couldn’t be there as his dad was very ill. Thus, it was my first show with Dom Brown. It was also the show that started most of my touring traditions that I still follow today, including touring with Rhonda. What are some of those traditions? Staying up really late, drinking all of the vodka in a city, eating at IHOP, laughing non-stop, keeping a list of quotes from the tour and more. On top of all of that, it was a great show!
4. Hearing/Seeing Duran performance Secret Oktober live in Brighton in November 2011.
I’m sure that we have talked about this moment on the blog before. Heck, we will probably talk about it again. After having seen Secret Oktober appear on set lists in various cities in the Fall, we were constantly hoping to hear it as it is a favorite of ours. When we got to the UK and to the show in Brighton, we were no longer focused on the setlist. After having gone to the UK earlier in the year only to have no shows and having fear that we wouldn’t even make this one due to a public union strike, all that mattered to us was seeing the show. Then, when those first notes began, I think our joy could no longer be sustained as we looked at each other and hugged. Like goofs. Then, we saw Nick look totally amused. It was a moment that represents our victory by getting to see the band play in the UK.
3. John Taylor wearing the Daily Duranie wristband at his Chicago Book Signing in October of 2012.
Another moment that I have blogged about here previously. This moment took place at John’s book signing in Chicago. When I got to the table to get John to sign my book (and Rhonda’s!), I decided that I should give him a wristband, a wristband about this little blog. After that, I walked away as my time was up and wasn’t going to think about it again. I’m a dork so I had to walk past his table one more time in order to get my coat. When I glanced over, what was he wearing?! The wristband!!! I couldn’t believe it! I never would have thought that he would have put mine on. After all, he was given a lot of stuff. I just assumed that he would have put it to the side. On days and moments that I allow myself a break from reality, I imagine that it means that he is supportive of the blog!
2. Creating this blog, finishing the draft of our book and successfully organizing Durandemonium in October 2013.
I don’t have much to say about this one. I know that Rhonda and I are a bit weird in that we have taken our fandom beyond what most people do. We weren’t content enough just enough to be fans. We had and have to do more with it.
1. Meeting Rhonda at the 78-03 Friends of Mine: Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in September 2004 and other friends then since then.
At the end, when the band ceases to create new music or play shows, this is what I will hold dear. I will hold my friendship(s) dear. What will live on will be these memories and my friendships. After all, really isn’t that what fandom is all about? Using an interest to make long-lasting connections to others? Absolutely.
I encourage each and every one of you to create your list and to send it to us as a guest blog!
It’s been a year since Durandemonium. Obviously Rhonda & Amanda have shared their journeys and feelings about it with us, and I wanted to share what that weekend meant to me as one of the attendees. As they have have both said, their primary goal was to bring people together. And boy they sure did.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. I had only been to three Duran shows, and they were all just within the two prior years. My primary fandom had been in the early 1980s as a young teenager, but my fandom had reignited with the All You Need Is Now album. From what I read on this website and social media, so many other people had been to a lot of shows, through different albums and tours. How could I fit in? I was afraid that I’d be the freshman at Duranie High School and all the senior Duranies wouldn’t talk to me. Would everyone else be like those truly diehard fans I’d seen in “Something You Should Know?”
Fortunately I had some encouragement from two friends. My first connection was Lori. We had chatted online through the DDM forums and met up at the ill-fated Atlantic City show in August 2012. Yes, that pun was intended because the show was cancelled just before showtime because of Nick’s illness. Even though she’s West Coast and I’m East Coast, we’ve remained friends since that night (sound familiar R & A??). A few months later she told me she was on the convention planning committee, so I felt relieved that at least I’d know someone else there. If I decided to go, that is.
What sealed the deal for me was my friend Stephanie. We’ve been friends for a few years now, but we didn’t know we shared the Duran fandom until after we were already friends for a while. Until then I didn’t have anyone whom I could talk Duran stuff with, at least not in the present tense. Of course I had friends who liked them back in the ‘80s too, but when I mentioned Duran’s great new album, they either rolled their eyes or redirected the conversation back to our poster-boy crushes. Stephanie and I were curious about the convention, and we both read Daily Duranie pretty regularly. After some deliberation and clearing some vacation time, we finally made the commitment to go.
After a little pre-gaming at a nearby bar that afternoon, we arrived at registration. I guess I hadn’t pre-gamed enough because I was still nervous about meeting these people we’d committed to spending the weekend with. But in retrospect, this convention’s reception was like most others I’ve been to: some people walk in the door with someone they already know, some people squeal with delight when they see someone for the first time in years, and others simply take a seat and quietly begin to get comfortable with the people around them. Some of the games felt a little awkward at first, but after a while I relaxed because we were all in it together and that felt pretty awesome. I could finally let my Duran-freak flag fly. It was fun to find out how far people had traveled to be there. And I felt relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who had seen fewer than 5 shows. They still let me hang out with them!
Next up Stephanie and I decided to meet up with bunch of others at Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. I’m still torn as to what the best part was: either the gang getting up on stage to sing along to Rio and HLTW, or the double-D ink stamp we received at the door! I actually have a double-D tattoo on my wrist, so getting the stamp at the door blew my mind. I tried to explain to the stamp-giver how cool it was that he was stamping a “DD” on my wrist and I already had a “DD” on my wrist! He didn’t get it.
I really enjoyed Saturday morning’s author panel with Rhonda, Amanda, Elisa Lorello, and Karen Booth. Seeing four women who had combined writing with their passions for the band, the music, and the fandom was truly inspiring to me. I thought combining your job with something that you love was something only a few people in the world are able to do, but now I know that it is possible. Thank you all for sharing those insights and experiences with me.
My highlight of the weekend was definitely the private viewing of A Diamond In The Mind. To the convention committee and everyone else who was involved in presenting that: I can’t thank you enough. I’d never been to a private screening of anything before, so that was pretty cool. But watching the live concert film on the big screen was like being at a show again: we danced and sang along and had a ball! I think the only thing that could have possibly been better would have been a private concert by the band. That’s how awesome the experience was for me. In hindsight, this experience was probably the moment when I knew that I belonged. Knowing that everyone in that audience is there for the same reason I was, and had the same excitement that I did was affirming. I didn’t feel weird, or immature, or like someone who was stuck in the past. I felt like I had found my people.
The rest of the evening confirmed those feelings. At the banquet people dressed up in a variety of ways to represent their favorite song. I generally don’t enjoy wearing costumes or dressing for themes, but I put on my leopard blouse and went with it. By this point in the weekend I shouldn’t have been surprised that another person (or three) had the same idea as me. I was among a like-minded group of friends. Later I boarded the party bus bound for la-la-la Late Bar. The folks there gave us such a warm welcome and even had a specialty Sing Blue Silver cocktail ready for us! I’m not sure if the bar always plays new wave music on Saturdays but I loved it. They had their blocks of Duran videos and music ready for us, and showed us much love while we were there. Like any offbeat club, there were some offbeat characters there too. I can only surmise that they were part of the local Chicago culture and I’ll leave it at that. (Those who were there know what I am talking about.) In all I think it was a fun way to top off the night.
Sunday morning arrived and I was surprised that I was sad to say goodbye to new friends. The weekend had gone by too fast. I’m happy to say that I’m still in contact with several friends I met that weekend (thank you Facebook) and can’t wait to do it again! If anyone else feels that way, I recommend you lend your support by visiting the Cafe Press store. (This message was not approved by the Daily Duranie campaign; it is truly from my heart!)
Before Durandemonium, I was still a bit shy about my fandom for the band. When people asked why I was going to Chicago for the weekend, I avoided the truth and simply said I was going to catch up with some old friends. Turns out that was exactly what happened, only I hadn’t met those old friends yet.
PamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!