Tag Archives: Duranies

Daily Duranie 30-Day Challenge, 2020 edition!

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone! In an attempt to find a archived blog worthy of reposting, I ran across a 30-Day Daily Duranie Challenge that Amanda and I organized back in 2011. Seeing the challenge made me wonder if anything has really changed for people during the nine years since we posted it! So, we’re going to do another! Read on for the original “rules” that I’ve kind of tweaked so that they better apply in 2020, and happy posting!!

Lately, we’ve seen (and possibly participated in) several daily challenges on Facebook.  We decided to come up with one of our own, and we hope many of you will go ahead and give it a whirl – we’ll be checking our Daily Duranie news feed on Facebook and Twitter to see your answers!

Here are the “rules”:  Each day starting RIGHT NOW, you post the challenge of the day as your status update on Facebook, Twitter, a favorite message board or where ever else you’d like and give your answer.  If you want to give a reason for your choice, fabulous.  If not, fine.  If you’d like to find and post a corresponding YouTube video – the more the merrier!   In order for us to find your answers (because that’s the fun of participating, so we can all read!) let’s use the hashtag, #DailyDuranieChallenge2020

Daily Challenges!

1. We’ll start off easy – name your favorite DD song!
2. Name your favorite DD video!
3. The one song off of an album that should have been a single but was not.
4. In your very humble opinion, the most underrated DD song.  (this can be off of any album or be any B-side, but it must be an “officially” released song.  No demos)
5. Demo that should have made it to an album.
6. Song that shouldn’t have made it past the editing room floor.
7. The most overrated Duran Duran song/video.  (come on, you KNOW there are a few!!)
8. The video/song with the best storyline.
9. The video/song with the worst storyline.
10. John’s best song/video
11. John’s worst song/video
12. Your least favorite video.
13. Fill in the blank: If I never heard __________________________, again, it would be too soon.
14. Your favorite DD performance video.
15. Your favorite DD YouTube clip – could be an interview, talk show appearance, or anything you’d like!
16. Favorite song you’ve never heard them play live.
17. Least favorite song you’ve never heard them play live.
18. Simon’s best song/video.
19. Simon’s worst song/video.
20. The video you always forget about, but then see again and say “Oh wow – I LOVE this video!”
21. The one song you hear that always brings a smile to your face and a memory of a show you’ve been seen.
22. Song or video that most quickly transports you back to your tween-age self when you first discovered the band and fell in love.  (and if you weren’t a tween, whatever age you were when you found them!)
23. Roger’s best song/video
24. Roger’s worst song/video
25. The song that makes you feel guilty…now whether it’s a guilty pleasure or a song that makes you think dirty thoughts is entirely up to you!
26. The video or a moment within a video that makes you laugh!
27. The DD song that describes you best.
28.  Nick’s best song/video.
29. Nick’s worst song/video.
30. The one song you will never tire of hearing live.

Happy thinking!!  We can’t wait to read your choices!!

Fandom Status: It’s Complicated

Jason’s blog yesterday, which you can read here, has kept me thinking. In it, he brings up the lyrics to “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and wonders about their context in today’s world.

I too, have thought about some of the lyrical content over the years, and not just of this band, but many others. I’ve admitted to listening to my fair share of hair bands over the years, and just one look at their lyrics or videos will tell you that women were often objectified across that particular genre. Yet, I managed to somehow ignore all of that in order to enjoy the music.

I think that brings up a subject worthy of discussion. So many people I know these days take stands and speak out on many issues. Politics, social (in)justices, and even religion. Often, I wonder how they are able to put that aside, or even if they put their feelings aside for music.

For example, what if you’re atheist and a band you’ve heard on the radio and have casually taken an interest in turns out to be Christian? Is that enough to drive you away? How about vice-versa – you’re Christian and the band has atheist members – as I know that to be the case with Duran Duran. What then?

What about if that band has political stances that do not align with yours, and they are comfortable speaking out? Would that make you uncomfortable, as I know has happened with some Duran Duran fans in the past. Is it really enough to force someone to turn away?

Then there are the gender issues. Duran Duran has their Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella, and yes – Hungry Like the Wolf – among others. How do fans reconcile those songs, lyrics, and videos, without compromising their own ideals? Obviously it must be able to be done, but how?

I’ve always felt that for the most part, music isn’t an area where *I* am willing to apply purity tests. My life and my belief system just isn’t quite that black and white. For example, I’m Christian, although I am pretty darn open-minded about it, and very respectful that my beliefs aren’t the answer for everyone. My best friend happens to be atheist, yet that’s never, ever been an issue for me. I respect her thinking. Very much so, in fact. We all find our own way, and in my case, I admit that I make it up as I go along! Don’t we all? I am similar about most social issues in that respect, and as I type, I’m not exactly sure where my own “do-not-cross-this-line” boundaries sit, with regard to music, that is.

Even so, other people do complain about the band’s past lyrics, or even their offstage behavior. I’ve seen many folks comment on past antics, getting so angry, and so offended, yet they’re still fans and show up religiously at every show. You can only scream and yell so loudly about your mistreatment when you turn right around and show up again, and again, and again, you know? It starts to seem strange after that. There is so much out there that could potentially affront, if not totally offend. Yet this band, and many others, have millions of fans, plenty of whom apparently see past the glaring, wild, and flagrant offenses, to still love Duran Duran.

Maybe we all should just mark the “Are you in a fandom” box with “It’s complicated”. We’re all human, and we all say and do things. Shit happens…Sex, drugs and rock and roll…Love is Love… and my favorite that I’ve only made up in this very moment, “I don’t know where my boundaries are until I run into them.” Fandom isn’t only complicated, it is downright messy.

This, by the way, is not a direct reflection on Jason’s blog post from yesterday. I am not finding fault with him in pointing out that lyrical context has somehow changed between 1980-something and today. He is absolutely right. Different things were seen as “okay” then. I appreciate his effort in pointing it out. (I also appreciate Lyrica Hall’s response that the lyrics directly say “Woman you want me, give me a sign”. Good point!! With that thinking, I have to ask, whom is really hunting whom?)

Not all lyrics stand up to the test of time, nor do all videos. Does that mean we should go back and not-quite-literally “burn” everything that doesn’t meet the social standards of today? How do you feel?

-R

There’s a Camera Rolling

Did you hear? DDHQ is gearing up to switch out the LOOKBOOK on their official merchandise site and wants to include fans!

Yesterday, this was posted on their official instagram:

COMPETITION TIME ! This Summer we are updating the DD Store Lookbook and we want YOU to be a part of it. If you want the chance of not only featuring in it, but receiving a £50 gift voucher to be spent in our store, follow the steps below: 
1) Take a picture of you and/or friend(s) or family member(s) wearing, using or displaying one of your favourite pieces of Duran Duran merchandise.
Upload the picture to Instagram (Note: please save the original full sized image, as we will require these from the winners) 
2) Tag @duranduran and use the hashtag #DDlookbook2020…include a brief background to the shot if applicable

There were some questions that I’ll try to answer here in case you missed the posting.

  • Some asked if it had to be official merchandise, and the answer was no – do what you do!
  • The same goes for homemade items!
  • The merchandise does not have to be brand new (as in it doesn’t have to be from the newest line)
  • The pictures can be old or new

The thing is, there were a few people that became immediately annoyed by the idea of wearing merchandise because it insinuates that one has the $40+ to buy said merchandise. I’d just like to point out that DDHQ made sure to say you could wear whatever, it should just be Duran Duran. This opens the door for anyone who desires to participate.

This seems like a very cool contest to be a part of, and I might even scan through my pictures to see if I’ve got anything worthy of sending in. I’d love to see fans participate and become part of this year’s Lookbook.

The last time they put one together, the pictures used were mainly of young people – children and friends of people on the DD team. While the pictures were good, many felt that they weren’t fairly representative of the people who support the band – the fans. I was actually one of those people who spoke out. My thoughts were simply that merchandise is usually bought by fans, so why wouldn’t fans be the ones in the photos – or at the very least – people who are in our broad age range?? Granted, I didn’t mind the kids in the pictures. They were cute, and I get it. I just thought that maybe it would be a great way to engage fans if they included us. And here we are.

(so yes, I’ll be digging through my pictures to send something in, even though I am pretty certain my photo will end up as the lining to a birdcage or similar!)

Here’s our chance to represent the band, and I hope that many will take the time to follow through. Can’t complain if we’re not willing to participate when asked, right??

Have fun!!

-R

Everything I Know About Fan Communities, I Learned From Watching My Chickens!

Raising babies!

Last year, I became a chicken mama with my first flock of hens along with one, very flamboyant, very-serious-about-his-business, rooster. My first flock is very tight-knit with a real pecking order that becomes very apparent if one spends any time watching them, which I do. Our goal was to expand our chicken population to twenty-four laying hens so that I could begin to sell eggs at a farm stand up at the top of our property. I know that sounds so…rural. It is. It’s nearly the opposite of what Duran Duran is, I suppose. Welcome to my life!

So, this past spring, I’ve gotten two sets of chicks in between the lockdowns, mask-wearing and store closures. I had one first set of eight chicks in the brooder that you can see below; and then later, another five were raised from teeny tiny babies to become hooligans that needed more room.

I swear there’s a point to this talk of chickens, so stick with me!

Tom rules the roost

As I mentioned before, there is a true pecking order in a flock. We call it a “pecking” order because that is exactly how the social hierarchy of a flock is determined. There’s some pecking, and hopefully not a lot of bloodshed, before it is determined which hen is at the top, and bottom. (did I mention that chickens are cannibalistic??) When new chickens are introduced – including when our rooster, Tom came to live with us (pic below) – it throws the pecking order out of balance and it shakes things up a bit.

This is Tom, our Silkie rooster. He might look pretty, but he rules the roost with a firm beak!!

Tom (I call him Tom-Tom) is at the top of the pecking order now. For a long time, he was not – but he’s made it very clear to a few of the hens that he’s not putting up with their BS. His relationship to the flock is different though because he’s the only male. The girls may not listen to him much, but they don’t challenge his position either. They accept that he’s there, and in some ways, he is their King.

Integration

Meanwhile, back to those chicks. The first set of eight chicks quickly grew out of the brooder and were moved to the halfway house at around eight weeks. Then the second set were moved out, and the first was integrated into the flock. Yesterday, we allowed the same of the second set of chicks.

None of this has gone smoothly. Many of the older hens were not, and are still not, enamored by the younger chicks. In fact, the youngsters were told, in no uncertain terms, that they were not welcome to drink from the larger waterer. They were not allowed to eat at the same time the big girls ate, and they were absolutely not allowed anywhere near their roosting area (where they sleep at night). For the most part, the older hens want nothing to do with the new inhabitants of the coop.

Lately, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time watching the flock figure it all out – the fact is, we’ve got one coop, and they are going to have to learn how to get along. We’ve added more roosting areas, expanded the egg-laying boxes, put out more waterers and feeders, but the rest is up to the girls. The process has been fascinating.

The pecking order

First of all, it isn’t ever the hens at the top of the pecking order that fight for position. In fact, it appears to me as though they couldn’t care less about who joins the flock. They know where they belong, they know they’re among Tom’s favorites, and so they have no reason to be mean to the chicks. I wouldn’t say they’re overly friendly and hanging out with the younger girls, but they’re not pulling tail feathers out of them, either. The newer chickens seem to understand that these girls are way above them on the pecking order, and they never go after them to assert themselves, either. It is as though they’re just too powerful to be challenged.

The hens in the middle of the pecking order are actually friendly with the new ones. They’ve stayed on the run (the fenced-in, secure yard set up for the chickens so that they’re safe from predators) with the younger ones, they eat with them, and seem fairly happy to have new friends around. However, when it comes down to it, they won’t defend the newbies, either, though. That might upset their own position in the hierarchy. So while they’re nice to the new chickens, if some other hen wants to rip their tail feathers out or peck them, they’re not going to stick their own neck out to defend them.

Tom-Tom is an interesting wrench thrown in the mix. He’s our only male, the only rooster in the flock. At night, he used to plop himself right in front of the door leading from the coop to the run so that way if someone dared to break into the run, he’d be the first line of defense for his hens. Tom-Tom would lay down his own life to save the girls. Chivalry is not dead in the poultry world. However, after the first set of chicks were introduced to the flock, Tom moved from sitting in front of the door at night to being up on the roost with his favorites. Literally, he sits in between Nugget – a Buff Orpington, and Lucy – a Barred Rock, which are his girls (or sex slaves, as I like to call them, for obvious reasons). Clearly, either Tom has decided on his own that the new girls (who aren’t of the age where they’re laying yet, meaning they’re not mature enough to mate, either) aren’t his problem, or the existing flock has told Tom that the new girls aren’t his problem. Either way, it’s a noticeable change.

That bottom rung

However, the real problem lies at the bottom of the pecking order. These hens are fighting to keep their position. They see the newcomers as a threat, or a potential opportunity to prove they ‘re not at the bottom of the heap, so to speak. So, they beat the crap out of the younger ones. Oddly, at this point, it is the middle set of chickens – the Gang of Eight, as I call them – at the bottom of the pile. They get beat up on more often than the youngest chicks, and as a result they stay in the coop and keep to themselves. The younger ones have been pecked and had feathers pulled, but they’re standing their ground quite nicely. They hang out with the rest of the flock, even though they are only about eleven weeks old and much smaller than the rest (The Gang of Eight are about fifteen weeks old now, in contrast).

Check out those weapons, sister

What has been so interesting to me about this “social experiment” amongst the poultry-sect, is how completely similar they are to humans …and this fan community in particular. While there might not be bloodshed, there have certainly been plenty of squabbles between fans over the years. The scenarios I’ve shared between hens aren’t much different from what I’ve seen take place at shows! Amanda and I have spent several years watching the way the social hierarchy of this fan community is developed, maintained, and sometimes challenged. Who knew that everything I needed to know about fan communities I could have learned from watching my hens?!?

-R

Quality Over Quantity: Fan Engagement

I don’t know how many people actually saw it, but John had a surprise for us over the weekend. Not quite satisfied with the birthday message he’d videoed for all to see, he “couldn’t resist” taking to Instagram live for a bit on Saturday.

I wasn’t around during the time he was actually “live”, but somehow I stumbled upon it later and was able to watch. While there were obviously sound problems (his sound went in and out during some of the most inopportune moments – so we’d only hear part of his answer to questions that fans were asking), it was really fun seeing him take to Instagram completely on his own that day.

I remember the days when John was on Twitter. He seemed to really take to the platform and would often get online for a few minutes at a time, navigating through a barrage of questions. Somewhat abruptly, he quit Twitter, and we didn’t really see or hear much from him again on any social media. Until recently, that is. It began with a Twitter Q&A, which – in my own opinion, was a nightmare. It has nothing to do with John, per se, but with fans themselves.

Any time the band gets on to Twitter, or anywhere that fans can directly engage – it’s a shit show of epic proportion. Yes, I said that. Truth be told, I find those moments oddly entertaining every once in a while, primarily because I’m not the one on the firing line. I’m in the peanut gallery, watching, making my own comments, and quite frankly – frolicking amongst the insanity.

My thinking is, I’m never going to get a single word in edgewise anyway, so best not to take any of it seriously. When the band started doing the Q&A’s at the beginning of the pandemic, I had some weird sense of hope that it wouldn’t turn into a free-for-all. As soon as the band announced that they’d take questions, it became a game of “How many times can the same person post the same question over and over again? Or “How many ‘I love you’ tweets can one band member receive?? It was utter lunacy. Hate is a strong word, and yet I showed up week after week anyway, so I’ll just say I disliked the exercise. Very much. Watching the Q&A’s was not really joyful, although I tried to find humor in them, and I can’t imagine there was a lot of joy in being the main participant, either. I’d commented to Amanda that all I really wanted was to be able to see and hear the band talk about something other than the new album, where they’d tour, how they were feeling, who they should say “hello” to…etc. etc, and not be interrupted for a change.

I don’t know if the band sensed the disquiet, were just looking for a way to engage without having to engage, or wanted some sort of creative outlet to pass their own time in lockdown. Chances are, it was all of it. Next thing I knew, Simon was doing his radio show with Katy, and John was offering his Stone Love Bass Odyssey chats on Instagram…and then the Q&A’s to follow. My jubilant cries could be seen all over Twitter in one form or another. This was what I’d been wanting all along.

Never did I think though…okay, I can’t really say “never” because I’m pretty sure John would occasionally hop on the DD Instagram to post a photo, or maybe even help Gela with her own…but I can’t swear to it…but I just didn’t see John wanting to do his own live Q&A thing. With fans. Even after Twitter?

Regardless, on Saturday when I saw he’d gone “live”, particularly at what seemed like a spur of the moment thing, I clapped. Yes, I’d missed the entire thing. I didn’t care about that part of it – that wasn’t the point. I mean, from my own point of view, John never minded chatting with fans on the internet. I don’t think he quit Twitter because of fans. As he says, he’s been a fan himself, and in turn I’ve appreciated how aware he is to the whole fan/idol debacle. On Saturday, he took questions and seemed very happy to be doing it, not at all like he was shackled to the computer, or some other form of torture treatment. I couldn’t see how many people had tuned in live, or how many questions were being hurled his way, but it seemed to go really well despite the obvious audio problems.

I’m not sure if I’m the only fan out there that feels this way, but the issue of quality versus quantity rings especially true. It isn’t the individualized milliseconds of “HiJohnI’mYourBiggestFanCanWePleaseTakeAPhotoRightNow” that I need while the band is on tour, or when I see them out and about. In fact, I’m a whole lot less likely to even approach them than most people, I think. I appreciate the other things, like when they take time out of their own day to do these shows (whether or not they have comments on!), or when they take the time to deconstruct the music and explain the evolution of their part, or whatever else they can come up with, for that matter. I don’t need to know when the next album is coming out, what the titles are, or much of anything about it right now, to be honest. I just like getting past all of that typical stuff and talking about things that matter. The music matters – it’s what got me here to begin with!

Maybe I’m just weird.

-R

It Was Thirty-Nine Years Ago…

So, 39 years ago yesterday, this little gem was released.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I still can’t quite believe it. Thirty-nine years? Did we do the math wrong?? It just seems hard to imagine that I’ve been a fan of this band for that long. (heh – just imagine what it must be like to have been one of them, having LIVED it all!)

When I think back, I can remember buying their debut album. First off, my original album doesn’t look like that one. It’s more like this one below:

Back then, I really didn’t know much about the band, only that I loved “Is There Something I Should Know”, which yes – I realize wasn’t on the original debut album released in the UK. I can also tell you that I didn’t buy the debut album first. For me, Duran Duran’s first album here in America was Rio.

Oh, I can hear the screams of protest from around the globe now…

As my story goes, I bought Rio first (which yes, was also a reissue with the Kershenbaum remixes. No, I didn’t know anything about that at the time). In fact, Rio was the only album available in my record store by Duran Duran on that fateful day sometime in April of 1983. That is because Rio was released in America on April 2nd of 1983…and the US reissue of Duran Duran’s debut album didn’t show up in record stores until April 25 of 1983. The original version of their debut was nowhere to be found. So yes, for me, Rio was in my record collection first. At that point, I was just 12 years old – the same age as my youngest right now (that’s mind boggling when I stop and think about it) – and I didn’t know much about Duran Duran. Heck, at that point, I didn’t know that much about music, unless it was Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms! (or Mozart. Can’t forget him.)

I guess by this logic, it really hasn’t been 39 years since I first bought their album….but I’m just going to go with it…

The very first poster I bought of Duran Duran was an enlarged version of the picture found on their US debut album. It hung on the wall behind my bed, just about my bedroom window. I couldn’t get over how tan Simon was, or Nick’s cheekbones (and hair, of course). If I remember right, I bought that poster the day I went in with my friend Marsha to buy Rio. That album purchase was a big deal, because as I recall, it was the very first record album I ever went into a store to buy for myself.

I can remember Marsha – she was the true rock music scholar of the two of us back then – explaining to me that we’d made an egregious error in buying Rio before getting their debut album. She was always so OCD and exacting about that kind of thing – I just wanted to buy their music, not caring so much about what came first or what “edition” I had. Marsha though, she was very particular about her music collection. Before Duran Duran, she’d been an avid Beatles collector (in fact I wonder a lot about her Beatles album collection nowadays, because I know she had the “right” versions of their entire catalog. She’d spent hundreds of hours – and many dollars – searching and finding just the right pressings to add to her collection even back then!), and she was well-versed in reissues, pressings, label changes, and that sort of thing.

Me? I just wanted to listen to “Is There Something I Should Know” every minute of the day….yay. I was more than slightly disappointed it wasn’t on Rio, since it seemed like since it had only just come out on the radio – it should be on that album! (See what I mean? I didn’t have a single clue)

Anyway, Marsha calmly and patiently explained that we’d have to go back to Music+ and buy the US reissue of their debut. She was insistent that we try and find the original pressing though, because for some reason, that mattered to her. I was 12. I just wanted my damn song. On one of the following Saturdays, we convinced her mom to take us back to the record store, where we each bought our now well-loved copies of their US reissued debut, along with this t-shirt:

Now, this isn’t exactly my shirt – which I still have. Mine was a muscle-tee, which meant no sleeves (if you’re going to do the 80s, do ‘em all the way, I guess…). I don’t wear that shirt anymore because, well, I’ve grown since I was 12.

Those that know me in real life could probably read this blog and say, “Yep, that sounds a lot like Rhonda.” While it’s true that I’ve had to get better about knowing the differences between say, Japanese and American album pressings, or what in fact the Kershenbaum mixes really are and how they’re different, because I write The Daily Duranie – for the most part – I have never been that great about paying attention! Certainly not when I was 12. I wasn’t that sort of collector or fan. I’m still really not! I love what I love, I don’t care what version I have, and I don’t try to get every single edition of whatever is out.

As I listen to Duran Duran’s debut album, and just so everyone knows – it has always been, and will likely continue to remain my favorite, so I play it the most often, I can truly say that I never once thought about how long I might listen to it when I bought it that day at Music+. Never did it occur to me that I’d grab it off the shelf thirty-nine years later, still proclaiming it to still be my favorite. Never once did I think that I’d see the band live, travel to shows, or make lifelong friends as a result. Sometimes I contemplate what the 12-year old in me would think if she had known on that day she was making what has come to be one of the biggest directional choices in her life by picking up that album that day at Music+. Knowing her like I do, she would have rolled her eyes at just the thought of growing old, never mind the rest of it.

I’ve said before that the one true constant I’ve had in this fandom has been the band itself. Duran Duran has been a part of my life in one way or another since just after I’d turned ten years old. Whether I’d only heard one song by them on a new radio station I was trying out, or I’d listened to their lead singer introduce new music I’d never heard of before on a podcast – the band has been a constant. They’ve smiled at me from on stage, signed albums for me, waved to Amanda and I while passing by in a lobby, clinked glasses at a bar (okay, so most of that is from Simon, now that I think about it…), allowed us to write about them every day for nearly a decade now – telling our own story of being fans, and most importantly, their music has genuinely saved me from some pretty low times during my nearly fifty years on this planet.

No, I didn’t think much about listening to the band nearly forty years after buying that first record, but I’m sure glad I am.

-R

Playing Catch-Up

Good morning (or afternoon) Duranie-world!

As a quick aside: I think I’ve made up more words for the Duran fan “world” over the years than what might be necessary...

Yesterday, I did something I would have never thought possible a few years ago. I forgot Dom’s birthday.

I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life lately, I suppose, and Duran hasn’t always been at forefront of my mind. Even so, he’s my favorite guitarist, and I felt pretty terrible when I opened my email yesterday to see that Amanda had written his happy birthday message. I didn’t even realize it was the 14th! Granted, the man hasn’t been on social media since what – January – so that might be part of it too, but I get it.

In the note posted on DD.com, Dom mentioned the challenges of homeschooling – something most parents and teachers are familiar with these days. I know his pain. My 12-year old daughter did her absolute best to do the bare minimum to survive, and that’s even with me looking over her shoulder each day to see that work had been finished. Assignments went unfinished, threats were made (by me), and then I heard from her teachers, who took great joy in telling me she was one of their only students that was *laughs* thriving. So much for my concern, I guess??? So yay for homeschooling!

I don’t mind saying that I’m really hoping…and pretty much willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to satisfy the Gods…for regular school next year. In any case, I couldn’t let the day go by without saying a very belated Happy Birthday to Dom. I’ve been cheering for you since the beginning, and it’s nice to hear you’re doing well! Stay healthy and happy!

In other news, I want to continue to encourage anyone who hasn’t taken the time to listen to the Whoosh! podcasts with Simon and Katy to do it. Put your earbuds in, grab your headphones, or even listen to it over a Sonos (yeah, that’s a shoutout for my husband’s company and I’m not even sorry) speaker. In return, you’ll be well-entertained for an hour or so and the music choices are stellar, too.

During the last episode from Friday, someone had asked him about lyrics, and Simon repeated a sort of mantra that someone had told me once and sticks with me every single day just before I hit “publish”. The words are yours until you release them. So whatever you meant when you wrote the line of lyric, the book, the blog, whatever…was yours until you allowed other people to read, listen and interpret them, then those words become theirs. I can’t quite remember who first gave me that advice, but it was by far one of the best tips I’ve gotten. Once I recognized that it wasn’t up to me to defend the words once they’d gone live and out to the universe, my life became far easier. He feels the same about his lyrics. Good advice for any writer!

Additionally, I just want to thank he and Katy for the extra work I know it takes to produce the podcast each week. Simon says he really enjoys doing it. Well, I really enjoy listening. So much so that I’ve taken time to listen to more songs by a few of the artists he has picked for the podcasts over the weeks. From last week’s show, I’m throwing out L.A. Priest and Denai Moore as artists to check out on Spotify. Both are super talented, and pleasing to the ears for sure. Give either of them a listen and let me know what you think! More of that to come later…

It is my time to sign off now, as I prepare to spend an afternoon at the beach with my youngest. Cheers for now!

-R

The Fandom Utopia

Last night, after exhausting the options available on regular TV (as in, there were none of interest), I decided to watch a couple of episodes of a show on Prime called Upload. About a month ago I watched a few episodes when all of the kids were here. (note to any parents out there – it’s not kid friendly and I think my youngest is still scarred from my clapping my hand over her eyes a few times that first evening!) The show is set in the not-so-distant future year of 2033, a time where cars operate autonomously and people can choose to “upload” themselves digitally after death.

Essentially, your personality and spirit are downloaded from your dying body and then uploaded to the mainframe of an enormous corporation that manages your “life” after your death. From there, based on the afterlife you or your loved ones have chosen to subscribe (oh yes, capitalism is still alive and well in 2033), you can continue a virtual “life”….one in which you can call and interact with your still-living loved ones. Can you imagine?

Upload intrigued me because I liked the premise. Personal faith aside, what happens after death? I don’t know. As I watched the first episode or two, it seemed like uploading oneself to a virtual afterlife would be the perfect answer. We live this sometimes very difficult life on this planet (and naturally, for some the life is always hard and punishing), and then after, we’re rewarded by living out our days in paradise. Is there any such thing as total paradise – or as we Duranies should probably call it – Arcadia? (Check the thesaurus for paradise, people.)

In the midst of this seemingly “utopian” world on Upload, there are a number of other social commentaries going on. The “haves” and “have nots” found on earth still exist in the virtual afterlife. Some people can afford a virtual life on a grand scale. They are uploaded to a gorgeous high end resort called Lakeview. The basics are included in the Lakeview package, however, even in the virtual after life, there are in-app purchases and upgrades! Others who need more of the budget-conscious afterlife settle for what is called “2 gig”, a place where the inhabitants have two gigs of data each month before freezing in place, and perhaps can’t afford clothing, or other things we’d consider necessities.

The reason I bring up the show, is that it got me thinking. When I first got involved in the fan community, I couldn’t believe how happy I was. I finally knew other people who were as obsessed with Duran Duran as I was! So many people knew more than I did – they knew of songs I’d never heard and videos I hadn’t seen. I spent months gleaning as much as I could from anyone and everyone I met! Then I went to my very first “fan” event – a convention! I hit the jackpot in a major way.

For me, that convention was three or four days of total immersion into what felt like a fantasy world. Three words: Real Life Arcadia. It was all-Duran Duran, all the time. There were no faces to clean, arguments to referee, or meals to prepare. I had the time to just. be. me. This utopia was one that while I couldn’t enjoy all of the time, it was worth the effort to revisit a few times a year.

So I did just that. Every so often, as the band toured and I was able, I’d plan trips with Amanda. We’d leave our real lives and enter Duran-mode, or my own personal utopia. I’d spend three or four days (or more), forgetting about the mom and wife part of me I’d left behind, and attempt to somehow blanket myself in the joy of fandom, hoping to absorb enough of it all to last until the next time.

The thing is, just like Upload – there’s really no such thing as utopia. The idea of a place where all is perfect with no trouble can be super alluring, particularly when real life doesn’t quite live up. This is why fantasies sell.

As time wore on and I went to more and more shows, the cracks in the facade began to show themselves. You all know and have experienced the basic elements: jealousy, obsession, competition, toxicity, fan entitlement…I could go on. Duran Duran fans aren’t any different than anyone else. When you get a group of people together, and as they start to get to know one another and forget about being on their best behavior, it all peels like an onion. None of us are perfect, least of all me. Even so, I wanted that perfect “place” to continue surviving. I needed it.

For me, fandom has taken me on a crazy ride. I went from being it’s biggest cheerleader, to thinking I could explain and control it, to being overly critical of the reason I am here (the band), to kind of hating fandom itself, and now I’ve landed…here. I’m not exactly sure how I’d describe where I’m standing now. It’s odd. Overall, I’m most thankful for the music. I crave that special spark that comes with live music, and I dearly miss the band who creates it. These days, I’m a lot less willing to put myself out there and have discussions with other fans, outside of maybe Amanda, about Duran Duran. We all feel whatever we feel about things, and there’s no changing someone because they don’t like Dom, or they love a song I just don’t. You be you, and let me be me. Sometimes though, I take the time to write on Instagram or Twitter about something the band has done – whether that’s about Whoosh! (DD “radio” program that Simon does with Katy), or John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey or something else. Whether they read them or not, I’ll never know for sure, and that’s okay. I don’t want to be sorry or regret not saying something I should have said or written, if that makes sense.

My most recent epiphany, is respecting the one constant I have had in fandom, the band themselves. Another post for another day.

What a weird trip it has been so far. Amanda and I had wanted to take our fandom and do something special with it. We created this blog, and when that didn’t feel like it was enough, we tried writing a manuscript, and when that wasn’t enough, we wanted to hold a fan convention. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of common thread running through all of it for me that I’m not admitting, or letting myself see, at the moment. The smart people out there – those that study fandom – always say that fandom has a lot to do with the things you’re NOT getting in your real life. Maybe so. Perhaps it is that I wanted to be liked, respected and/or even admired by other fans? I’m not above admitting that, I guess. At this point you all know a lot of things about me anyway. Surprise!!! I’m a flawed human!

Amanda and I upped the fandom ante for ourselves as often as possible, until it just didn’t seem like there was anything else that could be done. It was as far as we could go on our own steam. We didn’t publish a book (wrote a few though), we did host a convention, we didn’t get backstage or interview the band. Fandom – that means any of you reading and even those who refuse to read – has/have a love/hate relationship with us. They liked us until they hated us, are the words I like to use. At that point, or juncture, Amanda and I had to find our own path. We’re still friends, we’re still Duran Duran fans, and we still write the blog, but it’s different. I think she’d agree with me on that. Even our friendship is different now. In some ways, it is even better. In others, I miss the way we’d put everything aside and encapsulate ourselves whenever we’d talk. Back then, we’d talk often, and sometimes, throughout each day!

For me – I think that when I got to that point – I didn’t know how to feel. I still don’t, really. I look at people who have actually done something tangible with their fandom and made it into careers, who are so incredibly loved and revered by other fans, and wonder why that didn’t work out for me – at least not in an obvious sort of way. Just where on earth do I belong or fit in??

I still don’t think I know. Maybe I won’t. Hence, this is not utopia. Or paradise. Or even Arcadia.

I try not to get down on myself about not knowing, or maybe accepting my path, in the same way I once did. I just sort of respect that for whatever reason, my path lies elsewhere. I’m clearly standing on it, even if I don’t quite get what the hell I’m doing here or why. I’m still here blogging – or attempting to – at any rate. I’m also doing other things for other people who count on me that have nothing to do with Duran Duran. I hear that’s called “life balance”. <insert chuckle here>

Utopia doesn’t exist, at least, not for long. Even if I could upload myself to some virtual life that included a career outside of the home, with more friends and maybe even more obvious signs of personal success – what would it look like? Could I be any happier?

If you notice, I used the word “could” rather than “would” in that sentence. Maybe that says more about than anything else I’ve written today.

-R

Video Day!

In lieu of an uplifting topic today…I’m posting videos of songs and moments that make me happy. Enjoy!

Hold Back the Rain from Oakland 2017. My heart nearly burst when they played this.
There aren’t many mashups that make me as happy as Sunrise with New Moon on Monday.

The very first song I heard on tour in the UK 2011. I had to keep pinching myself to make sure it was real.
This was the last show I saw in the UK for that tour. Amanda and I were right where John and Dom met and played together on stage…and yes, I nearly died. Several times. 😀


The last time I saw Duran Duran. Feels appropriate to end with this one. Hoping that someday, there will be more.

I miss this band.

-R

When Summer Doesn’t Seem Like Summer

Today is the last day of school for my youngest. Summer is here. There’s no tasting summer today, that is for sure. It might be 99 degrees outside right now, but Oddly, I don’t feel that same sort of accomplishment that comes with another school year in the bag. I don’t even know that my daughter does. In fact this morning, we had quite the discussion over whether or not really was, in fact, the last day. She was convinced she went through Friday. It took me pulling up the school and district website calendar to prove my point, and even then, she’s semi-convinced I’m wrong.

Everything is so messed up, I can’t really blame her for not knowing whether she’s coming or going! Nothing feels right about this year. Who knew 2020 was going to be the colossal mess it’s proven to be thus far? Never in my wildest dreams did I see all of this coming, and while there’s a part of me that is most assuredly relieved that after today, I am not going to have to announce, “It’s time to get up!” or “If you don’t get out of that bed right now young lady, you are grounded from the computer for the rest of the week!” At least, I won’t have to do that for the next eight weeks or so, right?

Never in my life did I expect to come to a point where I couldn’t plan for more than a day, or even a week in advance, but here I am. We have no summer plans, obviously. I mean, who knows whether or not we’ll ever be out of this “shelter-in-place” thing that really doesn’t mean shelter-in-place as much as it means that we shouldn’t be out having a good time because there’s a pandemic lurking about that might only give us a dry throat, cough and fever…but it also might kill us faster than we can say “I am the virus, I lay a coil around your spine”. Sure, it might seem facetious for me to write that, but life feels like a game of Russian Roulette at the moment.

One also cannot forget that at the moment, I have a husband recuperating from a stroke. The more I type or say the words, the more my own brain insists I’ve taken leave of my senses. The blood clot was small, the effects were…not quite. He is better, don’t get me wrong. Progress has been steady. Each day I wake up to find that more and more of my husband is returning. I am lucky, but I am also terrified. It is a change that has affected me to my very core, and not something that I can really describe in words. I think of the memes I see posted on social media when a rare storm (the rest of you might call it “sprinkles” or “rain”) hits Southern California. The photo will be of a plastic chair blown over in a backyard and the caption reads “We Will Rebuild”. I feel that way, except the storm was real, and it’s obviously not just a plastic chair.

He’s back trying to work, which seems exceptionally quick. His speech is starting to return in that he is annunciating more clearly, but there are other things that are much slower. His personality has somewhat changed – that, I can’t put my finger on what it is, but it’s something I notice and no one else seems to mention. One week post-stroke now, and the doctor appointments tend to fill up the calendar, sometimes with little notice. It is a strange existence, particularly during a pandemic when you can’t really plan ahead. Everything feels last minute, and for those of us die-hard planners out there, it’s a different world.

I don’t think it’s any different for Duran Duran. Can you imagine how it must feel to be on the cusp of finishing a record, just yards from the finish line, only to have the whole thing put on hold? What about having to cancel an entire summer worth of gigs, and oh wait, looks like Autumn gigs will have to go, too. It isn’t even as though we can plan for next year, because truthfully – we don’t know what next year is even going to look like. Mindboggling. Just as we’re settling into one sort of reality, another comes knocking on the door, threatening to destroy whatever spirit we’ve got left in us.

I know I’m supposed to be focusing my blogs on Duran Duran. I wish I could. For nearly ten years now, I’ve spent most mornings thoughtfully preparing posts that reflect whatever is going on in Duranland, written from the perspective of a fan. That perspective, whether mine, Amanda’s, Jason’s, or even another guest blogger, is what makes this blog unique. We all feel and experience the band differently. We’ve tried to create a safe place to express that, although at times – we fall short. At the moment, real life feels like it regularly outweighs the band, and I’m betting I’m not alone. Life in 2020 is utterly chaotic. A dumpster fire beyond all measure. Even Yellowstone National Park is having a freak out. (There’ve been hundreds of earthquakes there within the past 24-hours, and no – I doubt that’s coincidence. Mother Earth isn ’t having it anymore.)

I need a vacation. I’m off in search of a bass player giving a tutorial, and a chat with another rock star. Be kind to one another. Patience is a virtue. Wash your hands. Remember the acronym BE FAST. It can save your life!

-R