Tag Archives: Duranies

DD Chat with Roger

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

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

Daily Duranie Zoom Meetup!

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

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

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

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

– A & R

Look out of the Window

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

Sure as Silence Follows Rain


Fingers in my brain

So, I’m going to open this post by saying I’m an idiot. I was apparently far, far sicker than I realized yesterday. Somehow, I wrote and posted an entire diatribe that wasn’t meant to post until today. Better yet, I didn’t realize that I’d actually posted the blog – even after people had commented on it. (No, I wasn’t on medication. I hadn’t even taken an aspirin!) It wasn’t until I was watching television last night just before bed that I realized I’d accidentally posted the blog that day. Not once before that did I give it thought, even when people tweeted that the blog was well-written.

I have somewhat emerged from the fog of illness this morning, enough to think about some things. As I commented yesterday, it’s just a very strange time. The world’s unrest, the elections for the US, coronavirus, and whatever else. More than one person commented on how awful the world, and life, is right now and that it must be difficult for the band to even be creative.

Who are you to fail

That’s an interesting thought. On one hand, I am a musician. I don’t think I’ve been this creative in many decades, and it is the one of a few bright spots in my life. However, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m seeing movie premieres scrapped until November, it makes me wonder. What about press conferences with health and city officials suggesting not to hug or shake hands? Watching good people leave presidential races because we’re back to choosing between two old white men yet AGAIN?? Well, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope or creativity, does it?

Then again, maybe it does…and to be frank, I sure as hell hope the band is past the writing stage of the album at this point now anyway.

Then there’s the coronavirus. What a fucking MESS. Sorry for cursing. Actually, no. I’m not. This is ridiculous. Yesterday, the state of California declared a State of Emergency. Health officials were on TV, talking about how to handle large gatherings. People, including myself, are wondering how long it’ll be before sporting events, concerts, and other events are curtailed. Costco is an absolute nightmare. A zoo. You think doing presales are bad? Try fighting carts driven by determined people headed for the toilet paper aisle at Costco. It’s like doing battle.

I’m having to rethink whether or not I should go to a party tomorrow night – my neighbors take turns hosting parties on the first Friday night of the month where we bring a bottle of wine and a dish to share – 150 neighbors are on the list, many of whom are over 60 years old, and I’ve been sick with a cold this week. Maybe one of them are sick now, and they could spread it to me or my family? It seems crazy to even have to consider this sort of thing. It’s a bizarre time to be living on this planet. Seems like music is one of purest joys we have left. And yet..

Who am I to resist

I still have to wonder where the people are? Where’d the fans go? It used to be that when we’d even get the slightest murmurings from somebody “in the back” saying that an album is going to be released six months (essentially) later than originally estimated, people would come out of the woodwork. There’d be calls for public floggings, people carrying clubs and/or torches… (slight exaggeration on my part, perhaps), but right now, it’s mostly silence.

*taps non-existent microphone*

This thing on???

Am I the only one left? Nope, can’t be, at least not here in America. I just checked Ticketmaster and it seems as though most of the seats for the two Vegas shows are gone. I’m going to apologize up front because I know there are people from other parts of the world who read this blog and will undoubtedly comment that I should be so lucky as to even have the band play in the US – therefore insinuating that I should shut up about the cost of tickets and Ticketmaster. Sorry, but I’m going to “go there” anyway because it’s my site and this is a real problem regardless of where the band is playing.

I try to leave the memory behind

As I checked seats using the password for the presale that TM sent me this morning, I noticed that on Saturday night, the cheapest seats available were about $300 and they were way back…like IN the back. Oh hell no, I’m not driving my happy ass through the California desert for the back at $300 plus fees!

I love Duran Duran, and I admit that I have paid a pretty penny to be near the front for a good many shows. However, one thing I haven’t done, and refuse to do, is pay an insane amount of money to be in the back. The seats I saw today were all on the secondary market, and they were all highly inflated, non-DD VIP pricing.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m out. These prices are crazy, Ticketmaster is doing nothing to stop the secondary market because – surprise surprise – they directly profit from it! I wouldn’t be surprised if the artists do as well to some limited extent. My thinking is: if people are willing to buy those super insanely priced front row tickets at $5,000 or more a piece – artists sure don’t have a difficult time saying that the command VIP prices of over $500 for second or third row (much less first), do they? Sorry, but I’m calling a spade a spade here. Everyone profits, except for the fans.

What’s left to believe in

Granted, maybe you’re one of the privileged few that doesn’t mind shelling out stacks of cash to have a front row center seat. Maybe you think a 90-minute show warrants a $500+ ticket price. For that matter, maybe you’re one of those that likes to buy as many tickets for all the shows they can – regardless of whether or not they’re actually able to attend the shows, so that they can sell them off one by one (at inflated prices) to fund the front row ticket habit. I’d just like to be one of the people to say thanks a bunch. You’ve managed to help price fans like me right out of your way.

Several years back, I knew I’d have to get very lucky to get those front row tickets, but at least I felt like I had half a shot. Likely, the same shot as anyone else. Sometimes I’d be lucky and other times I’d be in second or third row. Maybe back a bit further, but it was still all luck. Nowadays luck has gone right out the window. Ticketmaster, along with these crazy people willing to buy so many tickets at one time (buying a limit of four only is a limit if you use a single device along with one sign-in, people) and resell them for inflated prices, has kind of ruined the whole concert experience.

I don’t know. Seems to me that the world is off it’s damn axis right now. Nothing is working quite right. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but maybe, it already has.

-R

We’ve Come This Far

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

It’ll be alright in the end

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

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

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

Brings you down

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

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

Nobody knows

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

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

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

Would seem lonely

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

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

-R

One Billion Sets of Beautiful Eyeballs

Congrats to A-ha!

During my daily scroll through Twitter, I noticed that the video for “Take On Me” by A-ha has reached the crazy milestone of one BILLION YouTube views. It is only the second video from the 1980s to have reached that pinnacle. More on that later…

One billion views is a lot. If I only had a dollar…. well, away, that’s a lot of eyeballs watching a video from 1985. (note: the original song was released in 1984, but the video, along with the updated version of the song produced by Alan Tarney, came out in May of 1985

Now, I have a sneaky suspicion that many of you out there reading are wondering “Well, where do any of Duran Duran’s videos fit into this? Are any of them near one billion?? I mean, this is A-ha. Surely “Rio” has to be close to that, or “Hungry Like the Wolf”??) 

Have you ever wondered…

Let’s just have a look-see on YouTube. At first, I just looked up the videos I thought of first, but then (as typical with me) I got caught up into it and decided to check out ALL of their videos. The criteria was that I only took the stats for the official music videos unless otherwise noted (for example, Friends of Mine has [HQ] denoted because there is no “official” official version. This was the closest I could find). I didn’t track the exact number of views, relying on what my YouTube search gave me when I’d type videos into the search bar, so if they’re slightly off from what you find when you do a detailed search – I don’t need to know. I also didn’t choose to include the separate Sunrise edits for each band member.

In order of most views:

  • Save a Prayer 56 M 
  • Come Undone 53 M
  • Wild Boys 15 M
  • Girl Panic 7.7 M
  • New Moon on Monday 7.6 M
  • Planet Earth 7.5 M
  • Ordinary World 7.2 M
  • Girls on Film 6.9 M
  • Is there Something I Should Know 5.3M
  • Pressure Off (Uncensored version because JT is funny!) 5M
  • Union of the Snake 5M
  • Hungry Like the Wolf 4.8 M 
  • Serious 3.2M
  • A View to a Kill 3M
  • Rio 2.6 M
  • The Reflex 2.3 M
  • All You Need is Now 2.2 M
  • All She Wants Is 2.1M
  • What Happens Tomorrow 2M
  • The Chauffeur 1.9M
  • Skin Trade 1.9M
  • Electric Barbarella 1.7M
  • Notorious 1.2 M
  • Sunrise 1.16 M
  • Perfect Day 1.1 M
  • Friends of Mine [HQ] 1M
  • White Lines 844M
  • Do You Believe in Shame 797K
  • Too Much Information 659K
  • Burning the Ground 639K 
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare 632K
  • My Own Way 596K
  • Breath After Breath 566K
  • Violence of Summer 456K
  • Pressure Off (Lyric video, because you can’t get enough!) 362K
  • Night Boat 342 K
  • Femme Fatale 314K
  • Falling Down 297K
  • Last Night in the City 290K
  • Meet El Presidente 288K
  • I Don’t Want Your Love 253K
  • Careless Memories 116K 
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare (V2 – another official version) 97K
  • Edge of America (does not say official ) 88K
  • Pressure Off (Censored version, thanks to JT!) 76K
  • Make Me Smile 64K
  • Face for Today 59K

What does it all mean?

I have to admit, some of the results surprised me. I wasn’t expecting Save A Prayer to be the most widely viewed video, nor did I think that Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf would be so far down the list. Of course, if any Duran Duran video has been uploaded multiple times in addition to the “official” video and received views, that wouldn’t add into the total, which in turn wouldn’t help the band. That’s something to think about (in addition to respecting copyrights). I also was surprised to see how little love Edge of America or Face for Today seems to get, but then again – the band doesn’t appear in either video, and that seems to matter. Ultimately though, we have quite a ways to go before any Duran Duran video nears the 1 billion mark!

That other video…

I did mention that another video from the 80s has also hit 1 billion views. That video (brace yourself) is “Sweet Child o Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Please digest that information however you see fit. Out of a decade that saw massive video creativity and innovation, it’s a little off-putting to see a lackluster, everybody-does-one “rehearsal” video hit one billion views.

Billboard did a top ten best video list of the 80s. “Hungry Like the Wolf” was on it (as it should be), even “Take on Me” has a place on the list, along with “Thriller”, “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel and even “When Doves Cry”, by Prince, but “Sweet Child o Mine” isn’t on it at all. There’s no accounting for taste, but it is interesting to see how the general public feels.

Then again, maybe GNR watches their own videos. A lot.

Yes, I said that. My blog = my opinion, no holds barred. You’re welcome.

-R

Still Reaching

The time has come

Lately, I’ve been feeling far removed from the Duran Duran fandom. That isn’t so much a symptom of some personal strife keeping me from fully embracing all that is the band and fandom, as it is the effect of being between albums. Even so, aside from occasional dinners with my friend Lori, whom I met while road tripping to see Duran Duran in 2012, and writing this blog, there’s not much going on in my own fandom. (Real life, however, is very busy, and I’m enjoying it!) While I haven’t minded the quiet in Duranland, and I’m not in a hurry to have whatever is happening next to take place, I can’t help but notice the difference in how I’ve adjusted.

Before Paper Gods was released, I was chomping at the bit, almost angrily so, wondering why the album was taking so long. I felt like there was very little news coming from the band, and in a lot of ways for me personally, that seemed to make the waiting worse. This time around, for reasons I’m not entirely certain, I don’t seem to notice.

There still isn’t a lot of news coming from the band. I would say I know even less about this album, or what is to come from 2020 than I did Paper Gods. I barely batted an eye when John mentioned that the album wasn’t at a stage where it could be discussed, for instance. When rumors of summer dates recently trickled their way down to me, I didn’t really think twice about them. I figured when and if they’re announced, that would be the time to concern myself. I can’t imagine I’ve actually learned the art of patience before I turned the magic 5-0, so what is it?

Change

A lot of it, I think, really has come from just knowing this band. The album will arrive when it is ready, and hopefully not a second before. Dates are announced when it is time to announce them. Many of them will be in places I’m not able to travel. That said, I’ve already done more than my share. I’ve had a great deal of fun over the last fifteen years that I’ve traveled to see Duran Duran. I’m in a good place with all of that, and despite some objections from well-meaning friends otherwise, I’m seriously and truly not the least bit worried about how I’ll feel when and if concert dates are released. I don’t think I’ll feel left out, because I have one heck of a lot going on here at home. I’ll still do what I can, but the likelihood of traveling much beyond my bordering states is pretty slim. Believe it or not – I’m fine with that. I feel good about where I’m at.

Much more of my sense of disconnect though, comes from something different. I think I’m tired. Seeing posts from people who intentionally knock other fans just makes me roll my eyes in disgust. I really have come to hate the near-constant assertions of “I’m the best fan because ________________”. In that sense, I’m exhausted! Just today I saw a tweet from someone that read “eff the RCM haters”. Really? OK. That’s one hell of a way to make friends and influence people, but great. Sure, you can like or dislike whatever music you want. I couldn’t care less…and maybe that is what is really different from me now than five years ago.

At one point, I might have responded to that person in some sort of effort to A. take their attitude down a notch, and B. to prove that I’m not such a horrible fan for not loving every single song they’ve ever written. I’m sure it would have devolved into the type of “shouting” match that seems to happen on social media and nothing would have ended up being accomplished. I’d love to believe I have somehow grown past the urge to do that, but I don’t think that’s entirely it. This morning when I read a few posts of that vein, all I felt was an enormous sense of just being tired. I clicked off of the thread, put my phone down, and debated whether or not I even wanted to write. Is that a good or a bad thing? Difficult to say.

Go round together

I still love Duran Duran. That hasn’t changed one bit. I care about those guys, and intend to support whatever they come out with because seriously – forty years in, they’re still writing, recording, and performing. I’m going to applaud that because it’s far more than I’ve ever done or could hope to do. Their blood, sweat, and tears are worthy of my respect.

What I do struggle with though, is that although I write a blog for fellow fans to read – I am finding that I’m opting not to connect online any more than by writing each day. Whereas at one point I spent a great deal of time trying to cultivate more friendships, or chatting with fans, nowadays – I just don’t. It is as though I’m happy to go back to the band being more of a singular activity for myself – kind of as though I’ve run the entire trail and I’m back to where I first started. I never thought I’d get to the point where I just said “Enough!”, but here I am.

Music’s between us


Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy having heartfelt, genuine, knowledgable conversations about the music. Any music, for that matter. I find that I get far more out of talking about the history of rock and pop music in conjunction with American social history, than I do when I analyze why fans seem to fall into the same predictable patterns over, and over again. Again, I can’t decide if any of this is really a good thing, or a bad thing, or even how it might affect me or the blog going forward. That’s probably why I chose to write about it today. Sometimes, it helps to sort it all out. Today, I finish feeling conflicted, but at the same time a little relieved. At least my feelings are out there, and perhaps at a later date, everything will be clear to me. Until then, I’m off to enjoy some sunshine.

-R

I Still Like the Fairy Tale

A few years back, I wrote a blog about Slow Food. It was kind of an odd topic, given that this is a blog about being a Duran Duran fan. While you can read the blog here, it was about the convenience factor of MP3’s versus vinyl. I thought about that post as I wrote this one today.

What is an album, anyway?

I don’t quite remember the date I wrote that blog (I should have looked and didn’t), but here we are in 2020, and while vinyl has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, it isn’t as though one can carry vinyl along with them and play them. Streaming has become much more popular since the time I wrote that post. Using my own kids as the example, they almost never buy music.

Read that last sentence again. My three kids (I have a 23-year old daughter, a 20-year old son, and my youngest girl is 11) almost never buy music. They all stream. No one buys a thing, besides the premium subscriptions to whatever streaming service used, of course. I try not to think about that very often, because it makes my heart and head hurt. No liner notes? What about the album covers? No comforting hiss as the needle connects with the vinyl groove?? What?? Everything is played on a phone or a computer, streamed through a Sonos speaker (an obvious plug for my husband’s company!), or whatever-you-prefer.

Essentially, this means that for the sake of argument, kids today don’t really know what it means to have a cohesive, seamless album. To them, it is a collection of songs, and that’s at BEST. Many times, it isn’t even that. It’s one song. Maybe they put it into a playlist, maybe they just do a shuffle of a variety of artists/bands they like.

What do you mean, a collection of songs?

This is incredibly different this is from my own listening habits. Even when I stream, it is rare that I don’t listen to a full album at a time. I don’t like the idea of jumping around, particularly when we’re talking about *gasp* listening to more than one artist at a time. I like hearing a full album from one artist – start to finish – and then moving on. Maybe I’ve just got a raging case of OCD!

The thing is, I believe each album tells a story. It’s up to the listener to get it – but it’s there to consume. At the very least, each album is a snapshot of that period in time. I like that. To me, Paper Gods, for example, is a tale of the band’s career from their beginnings to 2015. Seven and the Ragged Tiger as another example, is about dealing with fame and success. When I listen to those albums (and the others as well), I think about the lyrics, the music, and what the band may have been trying to communicate at the time. For me, that’s a huge part of the listening experience.

As much as I feel like my way – consuming the album as the artist intended – is right, there are many other people who like the idea of an album just being a collection of songs. Sometimes, the song order needs a good tweaking. Maybe the album order really has no purpose other than how it ended up on the record! Perhaps the album order isn’t as much about telling a story as placement for commercial purpose. I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a study proving that most people only listen to the first 3 songs on each side of an album, and that the front (A) side is listened to twice as often as the B side. I’m not surprised.

I want the fairy tale

My problem, is that I still want to believe in the fairy tale. I want to believe that every album has a story, that the band still loves making music for the artful sake of it. Tours are done because they enjoy playing live, and that they do the meet and greets with fans because they like them. I want to still believe they play where they want, and that business has little to do with it. How cute, right?

Cognitively though, I know that money drives most every decision they make, because it must. Someone has to be thinking about the bottom line, am I right? Writing this blog for close to a decade hasn’t always made it easy to believe in the romance of fandom. I know, for example, that after forty years, a lot of this is just the “grind” to them. They didn’t sell-out, they’ve been doing business! A band does things like put out five versions of an album, or releases concert dates like a coffee drip because it makes them money. They don’t announce dates because they want the same diehard fans to be able to travel from show-to-show. In actuality, they don’t care who is the seats as long as there’s a warm body in them. Even so, from time to time, I still want that fandom fairy tale. No, I don’t just want it, I need it. So for me, the album becomes a story that only a fan would completely understand.

With all of that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an album as a simple collection of songs. After all, once the band has finished their writing, recording, engineering and mixing, and the album has been mastered and finally released – it is no longer theirs. It is their gift, or their work, for those who wish to consume it. Their blood, sweat, laughter, and tears ends up in our ears, to have and hold. To listen, reimagine, and rearrange. It then becomes our own story, the way we wish to hear it. I can’t fault anyone for going the extra mile between skipping a song – which lets face it – we all tend to do from time to time, and rearranging an album. The way you listen to Duran Duran isn’t a determining factor of fandom.

I do wonder though, how many people out there really listen to an album as it is originally released, and how many like to change it up? I don’t mean putting entire albums into a massive playlist and hitting ‘shuffle’, I mean single albums. Do you listen to them ‘as is’, or have you created your own version? Why or why not? Drop me a line and let me know!

-R

Transcendence

Where were you?

I can’t ignore the elephant in the room this morning. While I don’t know how many people outside of the USA follow basketball, I know that most people who live here knew of Kobe Bryant. Yesterday, he was in a serious helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. None of the nine people on board survived.

At some point during the afternoon, one of the television news anchors commented that this would be one of those moments where we would all be able to recall where we were when we first heard the news. I was sitting on the retaining wall overlooking our side yard. I’d lazily picked up my phone, quickly scrolling through Facebook when I saw something my sister had posted about the accident. At first, I thought it had to be a hoax. Within seconds though, I was able to see it was real.

There are some people who just transcend. For example, I am about as far away from a basketball fan as possible. The last time I sat through a full game, Michael Jordan was still playing for the Chicago Bulls! Yet, I knew who Kobe Bryant was. I was neither fan, nor foe. As time wore on past his retirement from the sport, he successfully redefined himself from basketball player, to philanthropist and business leader. He earned the respect of the public not through words, but action.

Elevated beyond fandom

I think what surprises me most in this particular situation is that nearly everyone I know took at least a second to send their good wishes, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. It doesn’t seem to matter if you were a fan of Kobe, a basketball fan, or just a regular person – he transcended all of it. He was someone that people globally looked up to, admired, and/or hero worshipped. There are some people who are elevated beyond fandom. Kobe Bryant was one of those individuals.

This morning, I can’t help but think about how forty-one years wasn’t long, yet he did so much with that time. Now, I realize for his wife, family, and surviving children – it wasn’t nearly enough time. That, I understand completely. Even so, to most people who aren’t personally affected by the loss (beyond that of being a fan, I mean) – Kobe did an amazing amount of “good” with the time he had on this planet. That alone seems to be something to admire.

I’m sure some may point out that he had less-than-perfect moments. In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape. I watched as his wife Vanessa stayed by his side, even as Kobe admitted to adultery. At the time, I wondered if the seemingly perfect Bryant was really a rapist in disguise. I’m sure many people still wonder. It would seem to me, though, that the body of work left behind is worth a lot as evidence of the true person.

Legacies live on

Ultimately though, Kobe Bryant’s legacy will live on, at least as long as his fans are alive. When things like this happen, I wonder how I’ll feel when the day comes that one of my biggest heroes passes on.

I’ll be blunt (as always) – for me, Duran Duran changed the direction of my life as an adult. I became a blogger. I traveled a little, made friends, and learned a lot about myself, music, and people. The idea that people who created something so pivotal for me will eventually pass on isn’t a good one. I don’t know what that day will be like, only that I would eagerly opt out if at all possible. I’m sure that is how many of Kobe’s most ardent fans felt as they read the news yesterday.

Rest In Peace

My thoughts are with Vanessa Bryant, her surviving children – who lost not only a husband and father, but also a daughter and sister yesterday, along with the families of all those on board that helicopter yesterday.

Yes, it is likely that I’ll always remember where I was on this fateful day. Similarly to how I recall coming out of my sixth grade science & math classroom to see my friend Marsha sobbing over the loss of John Lennon in 1980. There are some things, and some people, that just transcend everything else.

-R

It is About the Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R