Tag Archives: Duranies

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


Cracks in the Pavement

Sometimes, fitting fandom into real life is hard. “Adulting” is tough enough, and squeezing the one true escape I’ve got into all of that isn’t always that simple. I think that’s why there have been times when I’ve conceded and given in to the daily pressures.

I don’t know if I’m the only crazy person out there that sees it this way, or if it’s a common thing. For me, it is as though I immersed myself in Duran Duran for a few years. I wrote this blog, went to many shows (more than I probably had business being at, in hindsight), researched and wrote a paper along with two manuscripts, and spread myself remarkably thin between my husband, children, family, my job at the time, Duran Duran, and friends. At some point, something had to give.

I shed my skin when the party was about to begin

Then late last year, something did. My husband lost his job, and that sent my immediate family into several months of turmoil. I couldn’t ignore what was going on at home, and so my attention turned inward. There’s no pretty way to say this: I was scared. There were a number of really bad things that happened along the way to make the pain even worse for all of us, but my family and I made it, for the most part. He found a great job, and then we needed to think about moving. Who knew that would take six months?!? They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, and “they” aren’t kidding.

At the time, I felt like I was constantly pushing a rather large boulder up a giant hill. That wasn’t unusual for me though. Even in the past, when I was focused on researching and writing – something I completely enjoy – I still felt the boulder threatening to roll backward and flatten me if I didn’t keep up the momentum. I know for sure I’m not the only person out there that feels this way. As we all know, one can only push that boulder for so long, and then they give up. So I think in some sense, I just laid down and let it bowl me over last year.

I’m making a break for the shadows

In the aftermath, I found myself in a rather deep and dark place. I did feel rather alone, despite Amanda checking on me – there were some things I just couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about, or admit to myself. I tried very hard to make it seem like I had it together, when really – I wanted to crawl into bed, hide, and never come out. I don’t even think my husband ever really knew how deep and dark I felt. I love the guy, but counseling is not his forté.

When I get overwhelmed, which I very much was at the time, I try to break down lists into reasonable daily tasks. I’m not really a list maker – to be honest even making the list can sometimes overwhelm the heck out of me, which it did with moving. So I lived day to day, knowing the few things that had to happen on that day, and getting them done. It was the way I survived without having a heart attack, and I mean that with every fiber of my being.

Don’t want to be in public

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for writing the blog, I don’t think I would have even thought about Duran Duran during the past year. I didn’t want to listen to the music, I didn’t want to hear a single Kafe (although I did), I wouldn’t even read interviews or things like that – and I don’t know why. Walt would even bring them up, or bring up the blog, and I’d wave him off. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to think about the band. The boulder had already knocked me flat on my back and was down the mountain. I just couldn’t manage. It has taken me an enormous amount of time just to begin reading the Classic Pop magazine that Amanda sent me for my birthday in November. I’m getting there.

There were moments, and if I’m going to completely rip off the band-aid, I’ll say there were weeks at minimum, where I really did wonder if I wanted to continue in this life. I was pretty depressed. Stupid things would make me feel worse – or I should say – I allowed them to make me feel worse. Even as I type the words here, I feel silly about admitting them to the world. Regardless, for me this is healing, and it’s important. It wasn’t just because Walt lost his job, or because I had to quit mine, or because of issues with some extended family. It was because I felt like nothing, and the longer it went on, the worse it seemed to get. I gained weight, I felt gross and ugly, and I felt old! The very last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone, so I didn’t.

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

This isn’t a story about Duran Duran saving me, though. I didn’t just hear a song and realize how great I’ve got it, sorry to say. It is a story about me saving myself. I don’t know what eventually started turning me around – I still go through days where I feel like a robot, but they are becoming less and less. I think that getting away from the traffic, pressures, and hectic nature of So Cal has helped. I love my new house, but I also love the peace. I spend more time outside now, and I’m looking forward to springtime. I texted with Amanda last weekend, and on Thursday we’re Skyping, which is something I would have totally said no to a few months ago. Mostly, I’m living and breathing.

I didn’t share this so that everyone could pat me and say “there, there”. I don’t need that, and I would rather that not happen, actually. I shared my story for a couple of reasons. The first being that by typing the words, admitting the truth and clearing the air – it really does make me feel better. The second is because I think sometimes it is easy to assume that since Amanda and I are writing every day, that we’ve got it together. I think it’s easy to see people online and assume all is well. That isn’t always the case. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else, though. Amanda said to me last weekend that the community can be very superficial, and she needs something deeper. I get that. Sometimes I do, too. I think we all might.

I’m walking back

Everyone manages “real life” differently. I’m not sure that I’m managing it or if it is managing me, but I’m working on it. I had to be reminded this morning that for most people, fandom IS the escape. It isn’t as though I don’t feel that way, but when you write a blog about being a fan every day – I think it is easy to forget.

I really am looking forward to next month. I do need that escape and to be amongst friends that accept me for who I am. In many ways, those friends have become my family – and I need them. I am looking forward to hugging a few people who are very important to me, and I’m excited to see that band onstage again. That’s a start.

-R


Do Crowds Make You Feel Lonely?

How do you feel?

If you read the blog with any kind of regularity, you may have noticed a couple of Amanda’s blogs as of late. She’s going through a bit of a weird time when it comes to fandom and Duran Duran, and I don’t think she’s alone.

I know I see and experience things a lot differently now than I did eight, ten or even fifteen or twenty years back. My emotions about the band – at least the most basic ones – are still the same. Obviously, I still love the music. I still really enjoy hearing from them, whether in Kafe’s or in interviews. That said, I don’t always get to everything right as it’s posted.

Several years back, my day would stop if Duran Duran posted a new Kafe. Well, I can tell you that I still haven’t listened to the year-end Katy Kafes yet. I was moving at the time, and while I had a moment to glance at each of the year-end lists that DDHQ compiled, I really didn’t have opportune moments to sit and listen to the Kafes. Amanda did though, and shared a few things with me that she heard, and there was definitely some giggling, at least on my end.

How do you deal?

We still get a kick out of talking and writing about Duran Duran. When we actually are able to sit down and talk about the band, there’s still a lot of love and joy there. That’s the point though – we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time talking or laughing together.

Quite a bit of that is due to me, and some of it is a result of not having a lot to actually talk about. We aren’t working on a writing project at the moment. Our energy was, and is, being spent elsewhere. I think that makes up a lot of the “magic” when it comes to fandom: you get out of it whatever you put into it.

Back when I was a newbie in the community, participation-wise, I spent hours online. I chatted with my new friends. We made plans. We giggled a lot. I was sold, hook, line, sinker. The community aspect of being a Duranie couldn’t be beat. I put my heart and soul into it, even before I ever blogged a single word. I loved being a fan, more accurately – I loved being a part of the community.

What do you say?

Shoot ahead about five years to the time when we began Daily Duranie. The blog still carries a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears from me (as it does Amanda’s). Things have changed though. I don’t look at this blog as quite the “end all” it once was. The blog doesn’t take up my entire day the way it once did. For example, I don’t think I’m going to find any sort of a career path because I owned and operated a DD-fan blog. Yes, other people have had success – but I think those people have very different personalities and talents that are far better suited to the industry than mine. I’m open to whatever may, or may not, happen.

Acquaintances smile, but that’s no understanding

At one time, I desperately wanted and needed validation from the band. Now, I don’t just mean a wink from the stage or a quick picture with them. I had ridiculously high hopes that ranged from having one of them write the foreword to a book, to actually being taken seriously instead of being labeled as just a fan. I don’t know how or when that changed, but it did. Obviously, it isn’t something I can prove to anyone just by typing the words in a blog post. All I can say is that at one time, having the band’s respect mattered more than my own personal satisfaction, and now – I’m more concerned with how *I* feel about Daily Duranie than having the approval of someone else. For me, that’s huge.

I suppose to some extent it comes down to wanting to be noticed. It is slightly intoxicating to be noticed out of a crowd by someone I admire. That feeling is also addictive, which is why I believe so many fans wait for the band for hours on end. They too, want that moment. Once they get it, they want it again and again. They’re willing to go out of their own way to get it, too. True confession time: I’ve fallen into that trap myself. It is far too easy to fool myself into believing any sort of attention or recognition is paramount to anything else.

At one time, I looked at fandom with some sort of starry, wide-eyed innocence, it just isn’t the same now. Granted, part of me misses feeling that excited sort of buzz that happens whenever I talk about Duran Duran. The thing is, when I really sit and think about it, that feeling is still there. It isn’t my love for the band that has changed. It’s my feeling about the community.

After a while, you keep falling off the same mountain

Fandom still interests the hell out of the both of us. I just don’t feel quite as connected to other fans these days. I don’t know if that’s the same for Amanda. In a lot of ways, I feel like an island out here in the middle of nowhere. I admitted to Amanda that those feelings of listlessness certainly contribute to my not feeling like I can organize a full convention. It is hard to give back when you feel like you’re mostly alone.

Amanda herself said that she looks to her political activity for the same sort of boost she once received from the fan community (and I don’t mean as bloggers – I mean just as fellow fans). I have to believe this is part of the journey, rather than feeling like we’ve just reached the end point.

-R

PS – I was alerted that there are some links online that seem to be generated from Daily Duranie leading to a site impersonating us that gathers personal and financial data. Here is the real deal: we don’t gather personal or financial data. That’s not who we are, and that’s definitely not what we’re about. You have my word on that. We have never interviewed a band member (other than Dom). If we did – we’d be shouting from the rooftops, and everyone would know. Word to the wise: if it looks too good to be true (no, we didn’t interview Simon!), it definitely is! I apologize for the confusion.


These Are Days of Hit and Run

I’m sorry today’s blog is a bit late. I knew I would only be able to stave off illness for so long and then it would come to get me…and it did. It was a very long night, so today’s post will be a bit short.

In the stream with everyone

Yesterday, there was a little drama going on in one of the fan groups. Someone had questioned whether or not it was time for a change in backing vocalists.

I will say that I’ve been around a long time now, and I don’t think I’ve seen a group jump on somebody quite so fast as they did yesterday. That might say everything that fan needs to know, actually. (Unfortunately, the person also chose to post their concern in three separate threads, worded slightly differently each time…and I don’t think that helped)

People have said things about other touring members as well. Dom, Simon W…even Chastity back when she was doing percussion. It is a topic of conversation. I don’t necessarily agree that anything needs changed, but it is still a reasonable topic. I don’t know what about this particular post set everyone off, but something definitely did. Surely there must be more to it than I was able to see.

On a wandering river

We fans are funny. Things are taken incredibly personally. Just look at a few of the statements below. I see some version of these nearly every day on one Facebook group or another, or even on Twitter.

You don’t like the Red Carpet Massacre album?!? That means you’re obviously not a good fan!

Wait a minute. You think Warren is a better guitar player than Andy? How can you call yourself a real fan – Andy was there first!

How can you not love Paper Gods? As a fan you have a responsibility to love and support everything they do…otherwise you’re just a fan of their older albums.

Going on together

I could go on and on. Maybe some who are reading even agree with some of those statements, too. You certainly wouldn’t be alone. There was a time when I would get my hackles up whenever one of those “hot button” topics would arise. Sometimes, I’ll still feel the hair on the back of my neck come up when I see things posted. I think though, I’ve gotten tired of arguing. Everyone is going to feel however they’re going to feel, and like what they want to like. The trick is finding a way to just shrug my shoulders and say “Oh well!” Otherwise, I’m spending a lot of valuable time being angry within the very thing (fandom) that I chose to participate in. Why bother?

Don’t get me wrong, I still have strong opinions about plenty of Duran Duran topics. Don’t we all? I just don’t know if I see the point in having heated debates with people I typically do not know, from areas of the world I’ve never been. I end up feeling less-than-happy while participating in something that is supposed to bring me joy.

-R


Suddenly It All Looks So Familiar

Happy whatever-day-this-is! I honestly am not sure. It could be Wednesday, but it also might be Monday. Or Friday. I really don’t know anymore. I am still struggling with giving out my current address correctly, so there you go!

It is currently 26 degrees (That’d be Fahrenheit) outside of my house. That’s up from 24 earlier this morning, and the 22 it was at about 3am (so my phone tells me). I’m obsessed with the temperature, so it may seem. I went from having no winter to speak of, to actually being below freezing from time to time. There are actual jackets hanging in our mud room, and boots waiting at the ready. This is exciting! It takes so very little to amuse me….

Don’t you know it?

This morning, I was alerted that my email had changed for an application I frequently use, and unfortunately it was done without my knowledge or permission. That led to me changing my passwords in a few different places, one of which being Ticketmaster.

I went to the site and logged in without a problem, and headed to change my password. How hard could it be? I typed in my old and new passwords, then hit “save”. From there, I was redirected to a page that said “The page you were trying to access was timed out.”

Ok, maybe I did take too long in thinking up a new password, I thought to myself. Fine. I went back and did it all again, speeding up the process. Nope. Once again I was sent back to the same page, indicating the time-out again.

And again, and even one more time because I just had to be sure. I tried logging completely out, clearing my history, and trying again. Surely it had to work, right? I mean, this place handles thousands of tickets and queries each hour. What’s a password change?

Nope. This is Ticketmaster.

They can drag me to the gates of hell now…

I don’t think I know of a single Duran Duran fan who hasn’t had their own share of trouble with the site. Tickets not being available, the site locking them out, or even credit cards not working that should have – I think most everyone has struggled at one point or another. If you haven’t, count yourself lucky, I suppose. I can now count myself among those who has had trouble with not only a pre-sale, but just with my account in general.

Rhetorically, I have to wonder what in the hell is the problem. Is it really that difficult to keep a site running? Is there that much traffic…on a Wednesday (yes, I checked and it is really Wednesday), that the site can’t manage?? Here I am, trying to be proactive and keep my account details current and still private – and the dumb site can’t even allow that to happen without torture.

I know that DDHQ truly believes that the only reason fans complain about Ticketmaster is because we didn’t get the best seats, or because we’re spoiled rotten. They might feel as though we blame them for issues with Ticketmaster. I can see why they’d feel that way. After all, using myself as a case in point: rarely do I bother to post when Ticketmaster has been especially kind. Fans tend to focus on only giving feedback when something goes wrong, rather than saying “Thank you” when things go right. I get it.

I’m not running away

I think the frustration from fans comes from the fact that even though many of us have shouted from the rooftops about Ticketmaster and their ridiculous process – nothing ever seems to change. Our concerns fall on what seems to be deaf ears. The problem is twofold: on one hand, Ticketmaster doesn’t care. Tickets go on sale, and someone buys them. Whether man, machine or both – the tickets get sold and that’s all they care about. They’re not going to change a damn thing because they don’t need to – they’re getting paid. On the other hand, fans don’t have a good understanding of how it all works. So, when things don’t work, they complain to the one set of people they “know”: DDHQ.

It doesn’t seem as though fans have a good understanding of how the money flows from ticketing agency – to venue – to management, and then to band. It certainly isn’t as though it’s an open process, either. For example, I know people who believe that it is the band that decides where to tour. I think they envision them sitting around a table with a map and a Sharpie. Others believe that DDHQ has a personal vendetta against fans, so they choose to work with Ticketmaster. Very few fans understand what the band (or DDHQ) has control over, so the blame game runs wild.

I’m still hanging in

My experience this morning has nothing to do with DDHQ, or Duran Duran for that matter. It is 100% Ticketmaster. I’m just using this forum – my own fan blog – to put it out there. The fact is, if we can’t even get the system to work when it comes to our personal account information or security, how on earth can we expect it to work for ticket sales?

Once again, I find myself incredibly frustrated with the machine, with incredibly little I can do to change any of it. When there is a monopoly such as this, there is no incentive to make sure the system works at all, never mind fairly or across-the-board for everyone. Ticketmaster’s concern over my personal details is infinitesimal. Even if I can’t get online or into my account to buy tickets, somebody else will. It isn’t about providing good service, it is about money.

Ain’t no final showdown…

Yet, when tickets go on sale for shows again, rest assured I’ll be online trying to buy them. Which is the #1 reason Ticketmaster will never change.

-R

Rhonda Is Out of The Office (until January 2019)

Well, this is it. My final blog of the year, written at the small little table we currently have in our dining area, for the very last time. It is weird to think that in a week, there will not be any furniture in the house, and I’ll be doing the last little bit of clean-up before we hand over the keys to the new owners. It feels a little anticlimactic because of how long I’ve been preparing for this.  I can hardly wait for a day when I’m anguishing over not having anything to write about from my personal life for a change. 

I think we all know it is only a matter of time before I have to share some crazy antidote about “life in the country”, which is something I’ve never really experienced before.  I’m actually nervous about not having a grocery store right down the street, as I’m infamous for forgetting things and needing to run out for one last ingredient.

My family celebrates Christmas, and this year is going to be different. I like to say “different” rather than “insane” or “a complete disaster”. Since we’re supposed to get the keys next Friday night, and our furniture is coming on Saturday, I have at least a small hope of pulling something together. Maybe. If it comes together, it will really be a Christmas miracle. If it doesn’t, well, it’ll be memorable! No matter what the outcome, I feel very thankful. My children and husband will all be together under the same roof, and really, that’s all I need for Christmas. I know that there are many families, many friends of mine, who will not have that this year. So, you can bet I’m treasuring that time, no matter what ends up on our plates for dinner. 

After Christmas, 2019 is headed straight for us. I really have no idea what lays ahead. In previous years, I wanted to know how to plan. I felt this need to be in total control. Then 2017 happened, as did 2018, and I realized that very precious little is under my control. I’ve gotten a little better at just “rolling with it”. It doesn’t come naturally, and I haven’t perfected how to remain calm and relaxed while chaos goes on around me, but I’m trying. I need to work on getting acclimated to my new home, but I’m also going to work on updating this site. 

I don’t know how long we’ve been hosting our blog now, but I think it’s been a few years. When we moved the site, I didn’t archive much. I just moved it all over and hoped for the best. Well, now the blog is enormous. I need to work on archiving, and I really want to do a site makeover.  I won’t get started on most of that until January, but it is on my to-do list and I have a goal of making it happen. So, 2019 isn’t going to be boring!

I did read somewhere that the band had finished their studio time for 2018. (did you blink and miss it, because it was over as quickly as it began!)  They plan to go back into the studio in 2019, and I did see that DDHQ tweeted something like “here’s to 2019 and #DD15”.  Could they really be planning to write, record and finish in a year?  I like that attitude. (although I suspect the insinuation might not have been that they’ll finish that IN 2019…but you never know)

Alas, the time has come. I need to bring this final blog (of mine – Amanda will still be posting tomorrow!) to a close. I wish everyone a merry whatever-you’re-celebrating. Have a wonderful holiday season. Take care of yourselves. Happy 2019. Stay safe!  I will “see” you in January, and until then – I’m sure you might see an occasional tweet or two from me!

-R




My Inner 14-Year Old is Screaming

No, those are not lyrics to a Duran Duran song. They are unapologetically, decidedly unpoetic, words for exactly how I’m feeling right now, though. 

Please please tell me now

For my birthday, Amanda sent me the special edition Duran Duran 40th Anniversary magazine from Classic Pop. I didn’t buy it for myself when it was released because money was tight, and I knew it wasn’t something I necessarily needed, only wanted. Without getting into detail, it is a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly this past year. “Do I really need this, or just want it?”  I remember commenting to other Duran fans that while the magazine seemed interesting, I couldn’t part with the money.  When I opened my package from Amanda, I was happy. It wasn’t even on my wish list, so it was indeed a surprise. 

As much as I wanted to sit right down and read it – which is something I would have done a year ago without thinking twice – I put it away. I didn’t even quickly thumb through the pages! At the time I had a house to sell, and even though I did have an hour or so of free time at night, for whatever reason lately – I have trouble reading.

Even today. I can’t sit still. I fidget, I can’t concentrate, and so the books I started in July are still sitting and waiting for me to finish. It is weird, and very unlike me. I can play games on my phone, and I do, but reading is a problem. I think it is my nerves – or anxiety.  I’m not trying to self-diagnose, nor am I looking for sympathy. I just think this entire year has thrown me for a loop, and I haven’t really processed much of it. Suffice to say that more has gone on than I blog about here, or even share with friends like Amanda.  Some things, not even I can write about. 

Is there something I should know

Yesterday, I spent my day in typical fashion. I drove the youngest to school, then I went shopping for stocking stuffers. Came home, did laundry and wrapped some presents. I’m happy to say that I’ve got about 99% of my shopping and wrapping done.  We even took the littlest Rivera to see Santa and get the obligatory picture last night. She asked for things I didn’t know about. (DAMN IT WHY DO MY CHILDREN DO THAT?!?) Anyway, in the afternoon, I had free time. Well, it wasn’t really “free” time, but I had the choice of washing towels and packing them or sitting down and doing something else.  I chose the latter.

Sitting down on the couch, I decided to try looking at that magazine. My mind races so much right now, it is as though I can’t relax, but I got through some of it. Anyway, I’d offhandedly remembered that Amanda told me to look at page 86, so I did. I glanced over the page but I saw that there were these little blurbs on the sides of the pages, and I read it.  Chances are, Amanda blogged about this already (sometimes, I miss posts), and I’m sorry.  Below is what I saw: 

I nearly had a coronary. I grabbed the magazine, walked right in to my husband’s office (which is not ever encouraged unless the house is on fire), and pushed the magazine right under his nose. 

Granted, it’s not like the article was about us or anything. We were used as source, and as the writer of the exact post being quoted – I can’t help but be a little proud. Sure, I’m thrilled they’re talking about Dom, but oh my gosh my blog is mentioned in a magazine. In a music magazine. IN A VERY SIMILAR MUSIC MAGAZINE  TO THOSE THAT I WOULD SCOUR THE IMPORT RACKS TO FIND WHEN I WAS A KID.

Is there something I should say

So yes, my inner-14 year old is still screaming, right alongside my current self this morning. 

This is about so much more for me than just being quoted somewhere. I’m struggling to find the right words to explain. I guess that for me, it comes down to a bunch of things.

First, it’s a little bit of an affirmation. I don’t suck. When you write a blog, two things happen: people say they love what you do – which I very much appreciate, and others make sure to tell you they hate it.

They do it in an endless variety of ways, but my least favorite is when they try to lessen the impact with their words. “What you two do is cute.” or “It’s silly, but fun for fans if they read it.”   Best: “It’s just a fan blog, right?” I usually nod my head yes, try to smile, and move on.

I love that as much as I do when people point out that the band has done absolutely nothing “for” us, as though that’s an indication of our self-worth. I’m not exactly sure what they’re supposed to do, to be honest. We’ve been writing for over eight years now. We’re linked on their site, and I think if they did anything else for us publicly, it would be like attaching a giant target on us. We’re good, thanks. If you don’t know what I mean, then you probably haven’t noticed the competitive nature that exists in this fandom. You’re lucky.  

The second part of how I’m feeling is a rather large entanglement of feelings, like a giant ball of yarn. I spent my teen years reading magazines similar to Classic Pop without ever thinking even one time that I’d ever write well enough to be in one, even by just being quoted. Sure, it’s a small thing, but for someone who has never had a career or experienced the type of success that some of my friends do on a regular basis—it is huge. I want more of that, without any idea of how to do it. 

That would make you come my way

That’s the oddest part of this whole blogging thing, really. When we started, I had no plan. Eight years later, and we still really don’t have a plan. By that I mean that each of us blog, but there’s no “end game” here. We don’t have an end goal other than survival. There’s been times where we thought maybe we could do something with it, but that door hasn’t opened for us, even when we’ve knocked. It might someday, but I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might not be the right door.

So, when something like this happens, regardless of how insignificant it might seem to some one not emotionally attached, I consider that maybe, just maybe, I need to keep looking for the right door.  Perhaps that angsty 14-year old inside of me knows the right way. 

-R 

 

Make Me Smile

I was in the car a couple of days ago, driving home from dropping off the youngest at school. Traffic was heavy, because it was raining.  I felt fairly brain dead and cold as I would tap the gas, then the brake pedal, over and over. The stereo was playing an endless conglomeration of Christmas tunes, and I was pretty weary of the whole episode. I reached over and switched radio stations, hoping for anything that might wake me up. The familiar backwards-piano sound from the beginning of Rio filled the car, and I immediately grinned. I went from dreary and drowsy to energized in less than a second, because of a single song. 

Rio is one of those songs that I can hear anywhere, and will almost always smile. I say almost because I don’t think I’ve heard it at a funeral yet. I’m not quite sure I’d smile if I did. Never know, but here’s hoping I don’t have to test that theory.  Not every Duran song has that superpower hidden within it’s tracks, at least, not for me.  For example, occasionally I’ll be out at a store and hear Ordinary World. While I will acknowledge it’s Duran Duran (I don’t actually stop people and tell them who it is – I’m not quite that far gone just yet), I might not break into a toothy grin. Though as far as “Rio”goes, that song has just the right magic.  I can feel the smile coming on, almost as a reflex. (Yes, really.)

(Although once again, I must reiterate I haven’t excitedly stopped anyone and said “That’s Duran Duran. I love them!! or “I know them!!” ….probably because I don’t know them.  BUT… I’m not going around shouting that I blog about them every day either. Yet. ) 

I know there are other songs in their catalog that wave a similar wand and cast the same spell on me. The list is rather lengthy when I think about it, which isn’t surprising. This IS my favorite band. I think the rather remarkable point is that like Rio, many of the songs I find myself smiling in response to aren’t necessarily at the top of my list of favorites. They’re unmistakably songs that my memory references as Duran Duran, of course – and typically they are ones that have great memories attached to them. 

For me, when I hear Rio, I think of touring and giant beach balls. The scene of the band kicking said balls in the general direction of the audience, while we attempt to aim them right back… oh wait…I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. 

Never mind. Nothing else to see or read there…

I think of summer and sand, and seeing pictures of the band in Hawaii.  That moment at the end of the show comes to mind, too. It is when Dom, John and Roger are all watching one another, waiting for Roger to signal that his chops have had enough for one night and he’s about to end the wind-up at the very end of Rio. I think of seeing John, Roger, Nick, Simon, Dom, Simon W., Anna and Erin at the front of the stage waving. I’m back in my happy place. How could I not smile?

What about you? 

-R 

As I walked on, I realized I was going up

Happy Monday! 

I can already tell how this week is going to go, because today I needed to update WordPress, which is the editor, along with the engine that makes our website work (kind of).  This new version of WordPress is significantly different, and there’s a bit of a learning curve for it. I can hardly wait for Amanda to try it out this weekend. Or tomorrow morning when she posts the daily question! EEK!

We’re moving, moving, moving

Up until now I’ve had to be pretty vague about my plans for the last half of December. Planning was a bit up in the air, and I didn’t know how or when things might happen. As most know, my family has been in the process of moving….for the past six months. I know, it’s been the longest move EVER. (Oh believe me, I know.) Well, the time has come, *cue Sunrise*, instead of music between us – it is a sea of plastic bins (not rubbish bins, storage bins!). We move next week! Tuesday and Wednesday, the furniture will be moved out of my house and then we move in to the new house that weekend. 

Timing is incredibly tight. The man in the red suit absolutely MUST visit on Christmas Eve, because our ten-year old still believes in the wonder of the holiday with all of her heart. I love that innocence about her and I refuse to let her down, one way or another. We get the keys to the new place on the Friday before Christmas at 6pm. That gives me three days to pull it together and make magic happen. I’ve got this. Probably. 

So where is my family headed? We’re moving from a suburb in Orange County about five hours north to the hills on the west side of Atascadero. We will be 15 minutes south of Paso Robles, and 20 minutes from Morro Bay – we timed it just the other day! Here in the OC we are in a tight neighborhood, and up there we’ll be in an enclave of ranches, where populations of chickens and goats outnumber humans. Down here, people collect Teslas and BMWs. Up there, folks are more concerned with what kind of coop you’re using for your chickens or what kind of small tractor or mower works best for clearing land. I’m not panicking. My nails are bitten down to the nubs, and my shoulders feel like bricks, but I’m fine. Probably. 

A holiday break 

So that leads me to this: I’m taking a little time off from blogging. Not because I need a vacation or because I’ve fallen off of the bandwagon (HA!), but because of logistics. So this will be my final week of blogging until after the new year. Assuming all is well (and it will be!), I’ll be back writing on Wednesday, January 2nd. If you don’t think you can manage that long without hearing from me, check me out on Twitter. Oh believe me, I’ll tweet the insanity. S news?

Studio Update?

Meanwhile, I heard that Duran Duran is finished in the studio until springtime, so those of you who thought 2019 might be a good year for a new album will likely be waiting a bit longer. I’m still going with 2020 as the possible target, at least for now.

Limitless Idolization

One more thing before I leave you for today – I saw that a fellow Duran blog is ending. Headfullofchopstick, artfully written in a way I can only envy, has published its final post. Fandom is a strange, wild trip. I won’t fault anyone for choosing to step off the path, nor would  I judge the reason why. There is a lot of talk about idolization, faith and glorification within fan studies. Unfortunately, many fans buy into all of that and more, at the risk of losing themselves in the aftermath.

The one thing I know from my own experience as a fan is that in order to last here, I needed to have my feet, head and heart planted firmly elsewhere. I love Duran Duran, and by that I specifically mean the music. Sure, I’ll say on occasion that I love the band members, but it’s different. I don’t know them that well. The love I have for friends and family is on another level entirely. Sometimes, I fear that some fans mix the two, at the peril of anyone else who happens to be in the way.  I too, recognize the crossroad. There isn’t anything, including being a die hard Duran Duran fan, that should be controlling or confining unless you allow it to be so. 

I wish Ruth well. 

-R 

Fans are fans: we’re all of the same stuff

I’m taking a break from life to reflect on a couple of very different, yet incredibly similar things I saw this morning.

As I woke up this morning, I grabbed my phone. I got into the nasty habit of doing this back when I worked at our resource center (think school). Sometimes a teacher would call in sick or I’d need to prepare for a sudden change in plans, so checking my phone helped to alleviate the panic I’d feel when walking through my office door a bit later to discover complete chaos. Nowadays, it is primarily that habit that drives me to grab my phone each morning. I check social media, often landing on Twitter to see what the people are talking about.  On this day, I saw a poll from a friend.

The friend – you may recognize his Twitter handle as “GuyFansofDuran” – had posted a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite. Sounds like a normal poll question we’ve all seen before, right? Well, there was a small twist – the songs were listed by abbreviation ONLY, and they weren’t your simple “AYNIN” or “HLTW” or even “TUA”.  No, these were songs that, for the most part, were more obscure, deeper cuts.  I enjoyed the challenge, figuring out the songs fairly quickly and then choosing my favorite. Others may have had a little more difficulty, taking the puzzles in stride and solving them with the help of Wikipedia or maybe even the discography on DD.com.

I don’t think knowing the abbreviations makes me any different from other fans, by the way. I think I just happened to wake up with all cylinders firing today, for a change! There have been other days where I couldn’t even think of what “MOW” or “DYBIS” could possibly stand for, so, take heed.

I loved that a group of fans could look at abbreviations, work through a bit of a puzzle, and continue to have a discussion over worthy answers. It felt to me as though one would have needed to be pretty astute with their Duran discography to easily grasp the answers. However, if someone really wanted to participate – it wouldn’t have mattered, because the answers could be found online. Even so, from what I could tell, most of the participants were fans I recognized from the community. I dare call them fellow “die hards”, and I appreciate our commonalities.

I enjoyed the banter, even though I knew as I clicked on my choice (which I am leaving vague on purpose) that it would be the least favorite.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the eight years I’ve blogged – we’re all different, and I don’t like choosing the same things as everyone else.

Only an hour or two later, my friend pointed out an example of an entirely different level of devotion to me.  Someone had taken the time to make a .gif that flashes through an animation of each of the album covers the band has created over their career alongside a tweet asking which was their favorite. I didn’t take the time to read all of the answers, but the one that caught my friend’s attention was one that didn’t call out a particular album by name, but by its background color.

Sure, one could make some assumptions based on that answer. I don’t know if the person knew the name of the album but didn’t bother to give it, or maybe they didn’t know the album at all and simply liked the color and imagery. I’ll never know for sure, and it would be a mistake to guess. What I can say though, is that in both cases, people engage on whatever level they’re comfortable. In as much as people took time to answer the poll by figuring out song titles, and sitting through the .gif to find a favorite album – fans were engaging.  A point upon which my friend and I agree.

The best fans aren’t necessarily the ones who know every song, every word, and every note. What does “best” really even mean, anyway? Knowing what “era” specific pictures come from based on hairstyles and clothing doesn’t help to rate the quality of a fan. Some fans might not know anything beyond Paper Gods. Maybe they don’t know that Warren ever played guitar, or that Andy left the band twice. They just know the music, or maybe they only know one album. Fans are fans. There is no good, better or best. Rating one another does very little to encourage people to engage.

Listen, I know how it is between fans. I’ve been at more than my fair share of meet-ups. We greet one another and then ask questions like, “How many shows have you seen?” or “Have you met the band before?” Some pose these questions in order to find common ground, others do it as a sort of fan “sizing up” ritual. I have watched eyes narrow, and then widen, while fans tell tales meant to impress of meeting band members, or narrating accounts from the front row.  It is what is done, and to pretend that sort of thing doesn’t happen or exist is foolish.

What I’ve come to know and accept, is that in the end, none of it really matters. Fans are fans. Sure, some know and have done more. Others might not even have enough experience behind them to know the full history of Duran Duran’s career, but they love that one album with the black and white cover, or the one that looks like a map on the back. That’s great!

-R