Tag Archives: Duranies

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

A Relevant Catch-Up!

It’s a Thursday catch-up before my weekend begins!

RRHOF Class of 2020

The inductees for the class of 2020 were announced yesterday directly from Cleveland at the Hall of Fame museum. They include: T-Rex, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston, and the Doobie Brothers.

There are three things that happen whenever the subject of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes up. The first is that people complain about who isn’t listed. Secondly, other people are thrilled by at least one band on the list. Third, someone announces that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t relevant.

First of all, I’m always more fascinated by the acts that didn’t make it. You can call that “being negative”, I call it being critical of the process. I have that luxury since I work for myself. The real story here for me is understanding the convoluted, secretive, process for how these acts make it, or don’t. So for example, in this year’s class, we have both Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Yet Kraftwerk, who truly paved the road that both of those aforementioned bands travel upon, was overlooked. Kraftwerk has been nominated six times prior, yet bands that they inspired will be inducted before they are honored.

Another questionable outcome of this year’s inductees is that the winner of the fan vote – which by their own description of how the fan vote works is supposed to weigh upon the final decision – was not included. In this case, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I will live another year without the Dave Matthews Band being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (if you don’t read my sarcasm here, you should), but I still find the outcome curious. Why have a fan vote if it doesn’t matter in the end? (also, thank goodness it didn’t matter this year. What happens when the day comes when it is Duran Duran?? If it didn’t make a difference for DMB, will it for DD??)

Secondly, I’m thrilled for Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode. Yes, I feel as though the velvet rope keeping New Wave acts out of the RRHOF has been lifted a bit. I like seeing bands from the 80s and beyond be recognized and included. And, now that Trent Reznor and Depeche Mode will be part of the voting body in future years, it will be interesting to see if the list of nominees and inductees changes at all going forward.

Lastly, there is a difference between making a comment on news items, and being emotionally vested in something. Seeing the forest through the trees here is an important life skill that many seem to lack. As an example, my level of concern over the RRHOF (which truthfully is minimal beyond the day the nominees are announced, and the day the years inductees are mentioned) has far more to do with the larger implications on social history than it ever would about any one specific band or artist. I would venture to guess it is that way for many who choose to comment. Once again, I find it far more fascinating to ponder over the omissions than I do the inclusions.

There are always those who indignantly inform me that the RRHOF doesn’t matter anywhere else in the world besides the US, as if that somehow makes it matter less. “Oh, it’s only the US who cares and there’s a much larger world of people out there that don’t even think about it.” Of course that’s the way it is. The lion’s share of the music and entertainment industry is here in the USA. This is not news, nor is it a surprise! This is about the bigger cultural picture, not just whether Duran Duran has, or will ever be nominated. Whether or not Duran Duran even cares about the Hall of Fame is not something I’m arguing for, or against… I’m commenting on the news in general as it refers to music and social history. Carry on.

Tis the season…for rumors!

It’s the time again when Duranies can’t seem to wait for things to be announced, and instead hang heavily to online conjecture. So far, I’ve learned today—via Twitter—that the band plans to do shows in 2020, and that there are many “surprises” coming our way to celebrate DD40.

No kidding. You don’t say?!?

I don’t have a line of communication with DDHQ, nor do I have a bevy of insider information to share. That said, I can confirm that the band is doing festivals in 2020, because I’ve been following their announcements…just like everyone else. I also am aware that there are at least 40 surprises coming from the band, because DDHQ shared as much at some point… although your guess is as good as mine as to what those might be. I’m almost afraid for my bank account to even guess.

I’ve also heard unsubstantiated, not-even-remotely-confirmed tales of a new boxed set coming, a special show in Birmingham to commemorate the actual date of anniversary, a 4 week residency in Vegas at The Chelsea, and a new album that will drop just before their date in Ireland with an advance single…and who knows what else because I can’t remember some of the more outlandish things.

To be fair, some items on that list seem plausible. I can certainly see a new boxed set happening because why the heck not? 1997-2015, maybe??? I wouldn’t be shocked by the band playing in Brum because…well…they should! They’ve said over and over again that they hope the new album will be out in time for their festival appearances, and of course they’re going to have a single off of any new album as a promo, that’s what bands do! The only item I really question is the Vegas residency because…well…really?? The band has already played there a bunch during the interim between albums. That said, Vegas shows seem to sell well. I can’t imagine the band staying there for four weeks, but then again, they could fly in and out (although I still say “really???” Who knows? I’ll believe it when I see it, I guess. Regardless, tis the season for rumor, and we’ll keep you updated!

As for me, I’m out for the weekend! Stay safe and play nicely!

-R

Out In the Stars

There’s one I want to meet

Every once in a while, I run across something I either haven’t seen before, or forgotten that I’ve already seen! Today while browsing Facebook, a link for a fan-made video for “Northern Lights” popped up. I have the vaguest recollection of hearing that this existed, so I clicked on the link.

The video is complete with titles, suggesting that it was produced by Duran Duran (not exactly), and takes scenes from 1977’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, mixed with what I believe are clips from “What Happens Tomorrow”. Overall, it isn’t a bad piece of video, and provides a little visual context to the music. Props to ReborninOktober for the effort. (This person has done videos for other DD deep cuts as well – check them out on YouTube)

Coming round now to share

While I watched, I thought about how the band ran a video production contest for the entire All You Need is Now album. Fans submitted videos for each of the songs and the band chose their favorites. I seem to recall the videos being shown before DD gigs on that tour at some point. It was a great way to showcase fan production along with meeting their need for videos. After all, at one point or another, they had mentioned a hope of doing videos for the entire album. Done!

In this day and age, I’m not sure of the value behind music videos. My kids, for instance, don’t ever mention them. All three of them are avid You-Tube viewers, but music videos aren’t the type of content that keeps them going. It would seem to me that it is only my generation, the MTV kids of the 80s, that hold them with any sort of esteem. These days, marketing a rock band takes a different sort of direction from great lighting, story boards and say—supermodels.

Do you hear my wish

Don’t get me wrong, I love music videos. I’m one of those 1980s holdovers. While I have eagerly gotten on board with social media of all kinds, and loved connecting with the band when they were active on Twitter, I miss good videos. I miss good Duran Duran videos. Hell, I miss real MTV! I don’t know if it’s really the type of music I listen to that ages me, as much as my enthusiastic eagerness to back another music video channel that sends me straight to middle age. However, who takes the time and creativity with music videos anymore? I think maybe they’ve become something more of an afterthought than anything else of value.

So, where does that leave us? I dare suggest we’re at a point where fans take the effort into their own hands. All across YouTube, I find live performance clips, amateur photo montages, cleverly chopped and edited video mashings, and even expertly storyboarded, completely original production masterpieces—all done by fans, and not just for Duran Duran, but a plethora of bands, musicians, and artists. While at one point I may have worried about copyright material (and perhaps the lawyer types out there still do), I also consider the artistry and creativity, done with the inspiration of a favorite artist. While I doubt there’s any mistaking most, if not all of these videos for Russel Mulcahey’s genius, it is likely his work that served as brainchild and inspiration for many of these people.

Nothing I would rather like

No, it isn’t MTV. I suspect there will never be another. I do spend a little time mourning over those days gone by. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the era in which I grew up and matured. I also appreciate that in this day and age, we’ve been given tools to create our own masterpieces if we so choose. Many fans have done just that, and while they’re not widely broadcast, there are plenty out there worth watching. Sometimes, I’m even hard pressed to decide if it’s an official video or not!

In the meantime, here’s the link to a video for “Northern Lights”. If anyone happens to come across a video to share – let me know!

-R

We Twist and Shout

When we first began composing daily posts for this website, our goal was simply to share the daily activity of Duran Duran fans. Sometimes it centered around the good things, of which there are many. Other times, we focused on the not-so-great, which are not nearly as numerous, but sometimes overshadow everything else. I don’t know that we were cognizant of how many times we would write about friendship.

As fans, the one thing that bonds us all is our mutual love for the band. While we may not see eye-to-eye on anything else, including our favorite songs and albums, we all share mutual admiration for this band, which is sometimes forgotten during the heat of debate. Often, we are so set on being “right” that we forget we’ve all come together, more or less, for the same reason. Even Amanda and I forget that from time to time as we discuss blog topics with others, or defend our positions on certain posts.

Over the years, we’ve seen a great many blogs come and go. What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, are podcasts. The allure of speaking and being able to make a succinct point without tiptoeing though the minefield of written word is there, at least for me. I just don’t know that the world needs to hear more from me, at least on the subject of Duran Duran. This is why I appreciate podcasts like The D-Side, produced by my friend David. This month marks the completion of his first year at the helm, and he celebrated both the new year and the occasion by hosting a party in his hometown of Atlanta over the weekend.

I was not able to attend, unfortunately, but what drew me to write about the event was that others did. Out of nowhere, people hopped on a plane to Atlanta in order to spend one evening with other Duranies in celebratory spirit. We’re not talking about a weekend filled with events, or even a special concert somewhere. It was one evening in a club, and for some, they left the very next morning to get back to real life. If that doesn’t speak to the true definition of friendship amongst Duranies – I don’t know what will.

Duranies get a bad rap at times. Sometimes, yes, it’s earned. Bad attitudes, snarky on-line behavior, and of course the ever popular “knife-in-your-back” way with which some handle themselves tends to color all of us with one broad stroke. Even so, true friendships are out there. Amanda and I consistently run into people who gleefully tell us they met because of the band, and have remained friends ever since. She and I are in that same category. We met at a convention and have traveled great distances to meet up or get together, whether for shows, to do a road trip, or even a fun weekend.

I suppose I’m just saying that if you haven’t quite found your Duranie tribe just yet, don’t give up. With each album cycle, we find new opportunities to meet new people. Even if they don’t become your forever best friend, those people can feel a lot like home when you find yourself going to something alone.

Congratulations to The D-side on a first full-year of podcasts. I look forward to hearing more in 2020! Something tells me we’ll both have a lot to talk about and mull over.

-R

Another Edition of True Confessions of a Duranie

Welcome to the irregular series where I say something that I am almost sure may get me invited to a public flogging ceremony, but I’m bound and determined to do it anyway! Call it a confessional, call it crazy…hell, call it stupid if you will, but I’m doing it anyway because I can!

I think “Leave a Light On” is probably one of the weakest Duran Duran tracks I know, carelessly thrown onto on one of their strongest albums. Now, before you start throwing tomatoes (I see you out there. Put the tomato down and back up slowly), let me make my case.

Spoiler alert: it’s the music. Not the vocals, and not the lyrics. Simon brings his end of the bargain…but what about the rest of the band?

There aren’t a lot of songs in the DD catalog that force me to quell an urge to cringe upon hearing the first note. No, not even Hungry Like the Wolf does it to me (although the eye-roll is automatic) This song though, is pretty damn cringe-y. (is it with an e? Without? I can never decide since it really isn’t a word….)

It’s that keyboard that has the somewhat ominous sound of a cheap Casio model. Now, I know that Nick is about as likely to employ the use of a Casio keyboard as I am to get remarried in a pink suit surrounded by flamingos…but I can’t help what I hear. (so that means it’s not totally out of the realm of possibilities, but the overall chances? Not good)

Once upon a time, I wanted to be Nick. I bought a couple (ok, a few) Casio keyboards. Turns out, it wasn’t the keyboard that was the problem. Oh well, back to clarinet I go…. Anyway, while I’m definitely no expert, and Nick should have not one single concern about losing his place in the band, I can replicate the beginnings of Leave a Light On pretty easily. Sadly, I can’t decide if that’s a win or a lose.

Moving on to the other perpetuators of this sonic disappointment…. The beat is so slow. So, so, SO very slow. I know it’s meant to be a ballad, but the tempo drags like I do after a Last Night in the City with Amanda. After that initial cringe, I feel like I’m in need of finding a couch to nap on nearly every time I hear it. I have to ask – where in the heck is the bass? What about the guitar? It’s hardly in there! I know, I know – Dom is even listed as songwriter. That alone makes my confession blasphemous. Alas…

There’s no bottom to the sound, so the keyboards sound completely unsupported and out on their own. The sound is thin and I dare say, cheap. To my ears, it is a song that is in the process of being written on a keyboard in hopes of having other instruments join in later. Maybe that’s the point, and it’s meant to sound impromptu. That Casio keyboard. My ears!!

Sure, Simon sounds great. When his voice comes in, I can feel my body relax. His voice pours over the melody like honey. The lyrics are solid and heartfelt. I like the meaning I’ve applied to them, because the song kind of reads like a love song to the fan community…at least in MY head. His voice softens the entire song, particularly that whiny, tinny keyboard line, and I almost start to think I might come around to liking the song after all…and then it’s it’s the last verse, and I can hear Simon’s voice start to strain a bit, and then it’s decided. Nope. Hard pass.

For the longest time, I pretended this song wasn’t on the album. It totally ignored it’s existence in the same way I ignore Nite Runner. People would ask about All You Need is Now, and I’d dutifully nod and say I liked every song, never even casting more than a nervous glance in the general direction of Leave a Light On.

I can’t help it!!

This tune. I just can’t. Now, I understand what kind of social suicide I’m attempting by even daring to mention that a song off of this, or any Duran Duran album, might be weaker than most. Particularly on an album like All You Need is Now, where nearly all of the songs tick the right boxes for me, it is hard not to see and hear this song as the sore thumb. I’ve lived in secrecy long enough! Come at me, world.

-R

If I Had a Time Machine

DDHQ asked their typical Question of the Week today – wondering what show we would attend if we had a time machine.

At first, I gasped at the enormity of the question. Forty years of gigs seems like quite a few to wade through before settling on an answer. Do I go to the biggest one? Was there one show that I regret not being able to attend more than any other? Hell if I know!!

Suddenly, the answer became clear, which I’ll admit —is strange. I mean, we’re talking about an answer coming to me over the course of composing a single tweet, but it did. As easily as flipping a switch to turn on a light bulb, I knew exactly what I would choose.

In 2005, I did something that was so far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed for myself – I still think about it from time to time. I boarded a plane headed for Chicago. Once I got there (late night on St. Patrick’s Day, no less), I took a shuttle bus to a nearby hotel (The Doubletree near O’Hare) that was christened the Duranie Dorm. Inside, I was immediately greeted by people I hadn’t seen in six months. I don’t think I can properly describe the warmth, happiness and pure joy that spread like a bright light – going from the pit of my belly through to the ends of each of my fingers and toes. In that moment, I felt every bit of the Duranie magic that I have longed for in the years since. I was a part of the crowd: wanted, welcomed and included.

The following night, Amanda, my friend Jessica and I went to the All State Arena. First, we attended the VIP cocktail party – which by the way, was much nicer than they are today. I don’t mean that the food was better or that the drinks were fancy – it wasn’t that. It was the energy of the room. This was before the days of a fan hierarchy, before we were all aware of ourselves, so to speak. We were all there as fans from the 80s, looking to make good on a promise to ourselves to see this band play new music live. It didn’t matter who knew them, who had met them, or who had photos with them as much as it did that we were all there together in that room. Rather than listen with jealous ears over the tales of previous chance band encounters, most of us listened with thoughts of “could that really happen to me?” Our hearts and souls may have even answered that question with “Maybe. You never know.”

Once we heard the beginning sounds from Clear Static, the opening band – we raced down to our seats in the third row, right in front of where John would later stand. I still can’t quite believe I was there. Nearly fifteen years later, it feels like it was all a dream. We stood, danced and cheered for Clear Static. and then—we heard the heartbeats indicating that the band, the one we came to see, was in front of us.

I can distinctly remember being so nervous—I mean, John AND Roger were directly in front of us, smiling away—I couldn’t make my camera work. I fumbled with it, my hands shaking. Third row was so freaking close!! The rest of the show comes back to mind in teeny bits and pieces, so fragmented in my memory now that I can never be sure if it was something that happened that night or one evening later in Milwaukee. John grinning at us, Roger twirling his stick, and some guy playing guitar over in the far corner of the other side of the stage – trying to hide in the wings and not draw attention to himself (This was one of the shows when Dom stepped in for Andy while he was gone).

Afterwards, we squealed, talked, celebrated and basked in the afterglow. I’ll never forget it.

For me, my fandom isn’t defined by the things I didn’t have the chance to do (oh sure, I still think about that 1984 Sing Blue Silver tour from time to time), but by the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. That night, and really – the entire weekend – was magical.

In many ways, I think that in the fifteen years since that show, I have continually tried to recreate that experience. It was the first concert I went to with not just one friend, but many. I had never traveled to see Duran Duran, or any band for that matter, so that was a first for me. The fan community felt far more like a warm hug than the rabid, cannibalized mob it tends to morph into whenever the band has been present in the years since. I can’t say times were so much better, but my own experience as a fan was shaped by that gig. I’d gladly do it all again.

-R