Tag Archives: Duranies

Rhonda’s Duranie Fandom Moments

Amanda had asked me to come up with my top ten Duranie Fandom moments several weeks back, after having sat down and doing so herself, complete with photos to illustrate. At the time, I had trouble coming up with even ONE. Stress does that to a person, and honestly  there are times when it feels like so long ago that I even attended a show…well, it’s just very far removed from daily life here at Casa Rivera these days. Yet I blog about Duran Duran each morning….how does that happen?!?

Truthfully, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s all I can do to jot down a few words about the date in history (which we’re now just calling “Duran Duran History”). Sometimes I’m just not feeling very fan-like at all. Maybe I’m really stuck in “mom-mode” or “wife-mode”…but definitely not “fandom” mode. It’s been a rough few months, to put it lightly.

As I said yesterday though, having a single weekend away helped. I was able to stop worrying about things I cannot control (we all have our weaknesses.), and just smile, enjoy the music, laugh…and remember why it is that I’m still writing about my Duranie fandom! So, I’ve decided that since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can take some time to describe my own top ten fandom moments.

Rhonda’s Top Ten Duranie Fandom Moments (not in any sort of order)

Finally meeting the band

After 20 years, or whatever it was at the time – I finally got the chance to go to a record signing. It was for Astronaut, and the signing was at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. I still remember standing in that line near the door to the store doing some major self-talk. “You will NOT sound like an idiot”….”You absolutely will NOT tell any of them that you’ve loved them since you were ten.” ….”Do NOT pass out.”  I pasted a smile (hopefully not maniacal) on my face and went in there with my head held high. I did great until I got to Roger, and only then did I gush with “Thank you so much for coming back to the band, Roger. You’ve always been my favorite.”  Seriously??  Oh well…I tried!!

Third Row – All State Arena, Chicago 2005

Astronaut Bus All State Arena 2005

There are probably many who will follow that up with “Oh, I had front row at____________”.  Yeah well, good on you. I’ve never won a meet and greet, either. Third row was the best it got for me on that tour, and let me tell you – I’d take those seats again and again and again in a heartbeat. I had never been closer, and up until that point I’d never attended a Duran Duran show with other Duranies. Talk about Duranie fandom. Oh yes. I will never forget Roger Taylor (did I mention that he was my favorite??) coming to the front of the stage during the heartbeat at the beginning of the show. I stood there shaking so badly that I continued to fumble with my camera the entire time he was in front of me. Oh well, at least I didn’t blind him before the show with my flash photography, right??

Front Row – DPAC, Durham 2012

Front Row without me in Durham

Yes, I finally got front row. Twice this tour…once in Biloxi because I was crazy enough to get myself to the venue by 7am and wait all day, and once in Durham because a good friend (thanks Jonee!!) saw something that she wanted to facilitate. (mainly that I had adoration for some guitar player who will remain nameless…) I squeezed up into that line of girls in the picture…and  I’ll just say this: BEST SHOW EVER.

Almost getting that drumstick at Voodoo 2006

oops...wrong sign. Well, we held this one up too!
oops…wrong sign. Well, we held this one up too!

No, I don’t have a drumstick in my “collection” (what collection?!?).  I do however, have a memory of Roger Taylor reading a sign I held up high for him at the Voodoo festival in New Orleans, cheekily asking if I could twirl his stick. (Wow Rhonda. Just wow.) I’m glad Roger is a good sport, because he just grinned and asked if I wanted it. (To clarify, by “it”…I think we all know he meant his drumstick, thank you.) I nodded yes. It sailed through the air, coming straight for me.  It was a perfect throw, until someone reached up and grabbed it right out of the air. Oh well. I looked back up at the stage, Roger winced, mouthed “I’m sorry” and I was in heaven. He spoke to me. Sort of.  No, I don’t have the drumstick, but the memory is vivid.

Getting a guitar pick from Dom

I’m not a very pushy fan, I don’t think. I’ve never ASKED the band for things. (Unless you count those front row tickets I’ve asked for here on the blog. In jest. Seriously in jest!!) I mean, sure – I asked for that drumstick I guess, but that’s different! In Biloxi though, I found my voice. I had been wanting Dom’s guitar pick since he joined the band, but I could never get close enough, and I never ran into him at a point where I thought he’d have one. At the end of the show in Biloxi, Dom came close enough to where I was standing that I could ask him. My voice worked. I asked, he flicked one to me. (in my head at the time he flicked it I was like “Are you kidding me? You’re flicking the damn thing? Do you not read the blog? Do you not know that I can’t catch??!! AAAH!) By some sheer miracle, I caught it. I put it in my pocket. Then his guitar tech came out and literally threw the other six of them from his mic stand right at me. Seriously. Two of them hit me square in the head. Thanks for making sure I got one!!

Interviewing Dom for Daily Duranie

A dream come true…and if I could do it again, I would do it completely differently. (I’d try for a face-to-face or Skype!!) Most know that I worked up a Q&A for Dom to answer, but I don’t think anyone but Amanda knows I emailed Dom to ask him if he would be willing to do the interview. I came home from the tail end of the All You Need is Now tour in 2012 and wanted to ask Dom if he’d be willing to let me interview him. I figured there was no way this would ever fly, a long shot at best. I emailed him. I figured he wouldn’t have the foggiest idea who I was – he meets thousands of people every night, and I’m just some face in the crowd. Well, he told me he knew exactly who I was. Then he agreed to a Q&A and the rest is history. I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I’m not dead. 😀

Conventions

durandemonium t-shirt design

Some might say that convention planning has become sort of a hobby. Others might say I’m crazy. Both are probably at least partially true. I can really say though that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has ever energized my Duranie fandom the way that planning and attending conventions has done. I love that feeling of freedom and togetherness that being at fan conventions gives. It’s like experiencing one shining, perfect moment with a lot of other like-minded people. Maybe it’s like a really long show without the band actually being there. I don’t know. I just know that in times when life isn’t working out as planned – I think of those weekends and they still make me smile.

A certain plane trip in 2006

Here’s a fantasy for you: you’re getting on a plane to go to a concert and you look up to see touring members from that band headed down the aisle towards you. Then they sit across from you. Go ahead, think about that for a minute or five. This happened. For real….and no, I didn’t get photos. I didn’t even THINK about photos, because I was too busy thinking “OH MY GOD”.  Duranie Fandom? Oh you bet. Did I speak? Yes, and I’ll never forget that two or three-hour plane trip. Good times.

Finishing the manuscript, writing this blog

Our manuscript
Side view of The Monster…our manuscript. It’s kind of big.

I know our book isn’t yet published. We’re working on it. The fact is, we finished the draft. That’s more than I could have hoped for even if it never sees the light of day beyond that. Who knew an entire book could be written on Duranie fandom?? I wasn’t sure…then I did it. If that weren’t enough, we write a blog every single day. I’ve learned how to create a website, MOVE a website (albeit not well, but you know….it’s a learning curve really), and do things I never, ever wanted to learn how to do. All for the love of a stupid band. Well, not stupid….but you get it. NOW FINISH THE ALBUM, DURAN DURAN!!

I’m almost afraid to give the last one, because the truth of the matter is – I’m not done. I’m not done living or going to shows or being a FAN for that matter. Seems silly to come up with a top 10 list of Duranie fandom moments when there hasn’t been an ending yet. That said, there is one moment that in my head, almost always rises to the top whenever I think of moments. It’s the saddest moment I’ve ever had as a fan.  On the same token, it’s the most meaningful.  

Standing in front of Simon as he told all those at the studio in May of 2011 that the UK shows would be canceled

Ice Cream makes it all better
We did what any heartbroken American would do. We had ice cream.

This memory is especially poignant, and even just the slightest bit painful. That day, Amanda and I had gone to the studio (here’s the funny part -I’m not even sure “which” studio we were at because someone else had taken us there. Had it not been for this person, Amanda and I would have never even seen the band on our first trip to the UK in May of that year, and if we were to go back to the UK, I don’t think I could find my way back there. That should provide some comfort for all involved!) We all said hi to Simon when he got to the studio that day, knowing that two of our shows had already been canceled and that this rehearsal would decide the fate for the rest. He didn’t sound bad, but he took the time to explain to us what was going on. He seemed particularly concerned for those of us who had traveled a long way to be there – and it was the first time I’d ever really felt connected in any way to him. I mean, I love Simon as does any fan – but this was different. I can’t put it into words. I just know that I’ve never felt fandom, my Duranie fandom, like I did that day.

Today I’m just thankful and counting my blessings. I’m so glad I convinced Amanda to start this blog, even though there are times – recent times – when I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because something isn’t working right on the blog, or because maybe in the past someone has written a horrible comment to us that I can’t seem to let roll off my back, or because I offended someone I hadn’t meant to offend. The overall experience has been beyond words. I’ve learned far more than I ever expected, both about myself and about the band, believe it or not. I’m lucky to say that I’m 50% owner of this operation, and that we’re headed into the next album with nothing but excitement and hopefulness for more incredible Duranie Fandom moments ahead. Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers, and Happy Thursday to the rest of the world.  Thanks for reading!!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Fandom is Always Better with Friends

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Wisconsin with my daughter Heather, who is in the middle of auditioning for BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) programs for college. The trip was taking us to both the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin Madison, and if you’ve been paying attention to the blog over the past four years – you know that Amanda, my blogging partner-in-crime, lives in Madison. (How convenient!!!) So while Heather auditioned, Amanda and I basically sat in a corner of the parent “waiting room” and laughed. (we’re awfully supportive that way)  At night, Heather would crash after dancing all day. Amanda and I?  We watched Duran Duran videos at what I like to call  “Daily Duranie Headquarters”.  We laughed, reminisced, and wished-aloud for more shows in the coming year.

I was only with Amanda for just shy of 48 hours, but even spending that little time together renewed my spirit. The past few months have been particularly stressful due to a job layoff for my husband (redundancy, for those who are not from the US and don’t quite get the vernacular), and there has been very little in the way of real “fun”.  Make no mistake,  in addition to the layoff, being the parent of a graduating high school senior isn’t easy. Those college applications don’t just fill themselves out, and oddly enough – most kids aren’t excited by the idea of writing essay after essay or scrambling to get test scores and transcripts to the various schools – all on top of the normal schoolwork. In my daughter’s case, all of that is accompanied by yet another application process to audition for dance programs, which come with teacher recommendations, dance resumés, videos, photos, head shots, etc. All of this can be filed under “Things-I-really-wished-I’d-known-and-thought-through-before-encouraging-Heather-to-start-dancing”.  As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m a wall-of-steel: nothing bothers me, nothing gets through my thick skin; the fact is – I’ve had a very tough time blogging lately. Working on the “back-end” of the site, the nuts and bolts, so to speak – has been much easier than coming to terms with the emotional side of being a fan. It’s easier to just talk about the date in history or learn how to move a website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org than talk about why I love the band or why I couldn’t go to Austin.  I may act like I don’t care, but the truth is that of course I do. I hate missing out, and I especially hate that it bothers me that I’m missing out!

Nevertheless, we arrived in Wisconsin on Thursday night, game-faces on, ready to go. I have to admit, up until I left, I let myself pretend that the only reason we were going was for Heather’s college future. I am not frivolous enough to dare plan a “fun” trip while my husband is unemployed, so this trip was going to be all-business. The plan was to go to Heather’s audition on Friday morning and then meet up with Amanda on Friday night and drive to Madison for another audition in the morning.

When we walked in the door of Amanda’s home on Friday night, I felt like I was finally able to take a full-breath again. Seeing her office, filled with mementos of trips we’ve taken together to see the band and tons of other memorabilia, gave me reason to smile. It’s really tough not to grin when I think of the fun we’ve had together over the years. I don’t know how it is that I’d virtually forgotten so much of it in the three months or so it has been since I stayed at her house last. Life just takes over, I suppose.

We did our fair share of Duran Duran viewing on Saturday night. We did a lot of laughing. Instead of feeling heavy with worry and dread that I desperately try to keep hidden here on the blog and even in my real life at home, I finally relaxed. I remembered why I’m anxious for the band to get back on the road. I’m a Duranie! I thought about the people I’ve met along the way and how each of those relationships – whether we’re talking friendships, admirations, or flat-out fandom, has affected me as a person and brought me to where I am (which is currently making lists of things I have to fix on this darn blog this week).

For me personally, this trip was very much needed, and in a lot of ways I feel guilty because while Heather was dancing and my husband was at home continuing to go through the ordeal of finding a new place of employment, I was able to forget it all for a day or so. A few weeks ago, Amanda asked me about coming up with my own list of top Duranie “fan” moments. At the time, I couldn’t even come up with a single defining second – much less a whole moment! (Yes, that really is a great example of how worried and stressed I’ve been) I’ve got a few things down on the list now, and I’m sure more will come to mind in the next several days.  I am still very much a Duranie. I just needed a lighthearted weekend with a dear friend to remind me.

If nothing else, THAT is why this blog exists, and THAT is why we continue.

-R

 

 

Happy Birthday Simon!

One of the most delightful things about social networking (Twitter, Facebook, Google+…etc.) is seeing all of the birthday shout-outs, photos and messages. Today, my Facebook news feed and Twitter timelines are filled to the gills with shout-outs and photos from Duranies around the world, for Simon, who celebrates his 56th birthday today!

Amanda and I have done our share of good-natured teasing at Simon’s expense over the years, but yes – it’s good natured and we tease purely because we love. However, we also know the world would not be the same without him. After all, this IS Daily Duranie, which would not be in existence had he never graced this planet.

Each time I see the band live, or even on TV, there is something very comforting about seeing Simon take the stage with the band. It just feels right.  Maybe it’s really just the familiarity with having him as the front man for so many years, maybe it’s that he feels like extended family at this point (that has absolutely no idea who the rest of us are), or maybe it’s just that for me, Duran Duran wouldn’t be Duran Duran without him. I’m not sure. I just know that I can’t help but smile when he is standing there, center stage, ready to go……(as long as he’s not coming towards us with a mouth full of water and they’re playing White Lines).

So, we raise our martinis (it’s REALLY early for this my time, and as dedicated as I might be to the cause…eek!) in a celebratory toast to Simon.  We hope this next year brings plenty of health, happiness, love, music….and some damn shows!!!!

(I couldn’t resist.  Sorry.)

Happy Birthday Simon!!

-R

 

Kingdom by Charli XCX (feat. Simon LeBon) out November 17!

The big news for this week: those anxious to hear Simon LeBon again (and I’m assuming that counts all Duranies) will get their chance again soon. Simon is featured on a song by Charli XCX that will be on the upcoming soundtrack for the movie, Mockingjay Part One. (Part of the Hunger Games series).

Lorde curated the soundtrack for the movie, putting together a compilation of songs with her own special stamp. She directly communicated with the artists chosen, such as Grace Jones, Miguel, The Chemical Brothers, and of course our own frontman.  Another name from the track list jumps out at me, as Bat For Lashes was at one time under the Manimal label (see the interview with the man behind Manimal Vinyl, Paul Beahan!).  It would appear that Simon is among good company, and provides an excellent chance to expose new audience to not only Simon, but also Duran Duran.

Track listing:

1) Stromae: “Meltdown” [ft. Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim]
2) Chvrches: “Dead Air”
3) Tove Lo: “Scream My Name”
4) Charli XCX: “Kingdom” [ft. Simon Le Bon]
5) Various Artists: “Track 5”
6) Raury: “Lost Souls”
7) Lorde: “Yellow Flicker Beat”
8) Tinashé: “The Leap”
9) Bat for Lashes: “Plan the Escape”
10) Grace Jones: “Original Beast”
11) Lorde: “Flicker” (Kanye West Rework)
12) XOV: “Animal”
13) The Chemical Brothers: “This Is Not a Game” [ft. Miguel]
14) Lorde: “Ladder Song”

I cannot tell a lie, I can hardly wait until November 17 so that we can hear the song and review it for the blog.  New music…two beautiful words to type this week.

-R

 

 

 

 

I Shed My Skin

 

DDMonium_Group
NEW “old” friends

 

By PamG

It’s been a year since Durandemonium. Obviously Rhonda & Amanda have shared their journeys and feelings about it with us, and I wanted to share what that weekend meant to me as one of the attendees. As they have have both said, their primary goal was to bring people together. And boy they sure did.

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. I had only been to three Duran shows, and they were all just within the two prior years. My primary fandom had been in the early 1980s as a young teenager, but my fandom had reignited with the All You Need Is Now album. From what I read on this website and social media, so many other people had been to a lot of shows, through different albums and tours. How could I fit in? I was afraid that I’d be the freshman at Duranie High School and all the senior Duranies wouldn’t talk to me. Would everyone else be like those truly diehard fans I’d seen in “Something You Should Know?”

Fortunately I had some encouragement from two friends. My first connection was Lori. We had chatted online through the DDM forums and met up at the ill-fated Atlantic City show in August 2012. Yes, that pun was intended because the show was cancelled just before showtime because of Nick’s illness. Even though she’s West Coast and I’m East Coast, we’ve remained friends since that night (sound familiar R & A??). A few months later she told me she was on the convention planning committee, so I felt relieved that at least I’d know someone else there. If I decided to go, that is.

What sealed the deal for me was my friend Stephanie. We’ve been friends for a few years now, but we didn’t know we shared the Duran fandom until after we were already friends for a while. Until then I didn’t have anyone whom I could talk Duran stuff with, at least not in the present tense. Of course I had friends who liked them back in the ‘80s too, but when I mentioned Duran’s great new album, they either rolled their eyes or redirected the conversation back to our poster-boy crushes. Stephanie and I were curious about the convention, and we both read Daily Duranie pretty regularly. After some deliberation and clearing some vacation time, we finally made the commitment to go.

After a little pre-gaming at a nearby bar that afternoon, we arrived at registration. I guess I hadn’t pre-gamed enough because I was still nervous about meeting these people we’d committed to spending the weekend with. But in retrospect, this convention’s reception was like most others I’ve been to: some people walk in the door with someone they already know, some people squeal with delight when they see someone for the first time in years, and others simply take a seat and quietly begin to get comfortable with the people around them. Some of the games felt a little awkward at first, but after a while I relaxed because we were all in it together and that felt pretty awesome. I could finally let my Duran-freak flag fly. It was fun to find out how far people had traveled to be there. And I felt relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who had seen fewer than 5 shows. They still let me hang out with them!

Next up Stephanie and I decided to meet up with bunch of others at Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. I’m still torn as to what the best part was: either the gang getting up on stage to sing along to Rio and HLTW, or the double-D ink stamp we received at the door! I actually have a double-D tattoo on my wrist, so getting the stamp at the door blew my mind. I tried to explain to the stamp-giver how cool it was that he was stamping a “DD” on my wrist and I already had a “DD” on my wrist! He didn’t get it.

Pams tattoo and stamp
How did the stamp guy not see how cool this is?

 

I really enjoyed Saturday morning’s author panel with Rhonda, Amanda,  Elisa Lorello, and Karen Booth. Seeing four women who had combined writing with their passions for the band, the music, and the fandom was truly inspiring to me. I thought combining your job with something that you love was something only a few people in the world are able to do, but now I know that it is possible. Thank you all for sharing those insights and experiences with me.

My highlight of the weekend was definitely the private viewing of A Diamond In The Mind. To the convention committee and everyone else who was involved in presenting that: I can’t thank you enough. I’d never been to a private screening of anything before, so that was pretty cool. But watching the live concert film on the big screen was like being at a show again: we danced and sang along and had a ball! I think the only thing that could have possibly been better would have been a private concert by the band. That’s how awesome the experience was for me. In hindsight, this experience was probably the moment when I knew that I belonged. Knowing that everyone in that audience is there for the same reason I was, and had the same excitement that I did was affirming. I didn’t feel weird, or immature, or like someone who was stuck in the past. I felt like I had found my people.

The rest of the evening confirmed those feelings. At the banquet people dressed up in a variety of ways to represent their favorite song. I generally don’t enjoy wearing costumes or dressing for themes, but I put on my leopard blouse and went with it. By this point in the weekend I shouldn’t have been surprised that another person (or three) had the same idea as me. I was among a like-minded group of friends. Later I boarded the party bus bound for la-la-la Late Bar. The folks there gave us such a warm welcome and even had a specialty Sing Blue Silver cocktail ready for us! I’m not sure if the bar always plays new wave music on Saturdays but I loved it. They had their blocks of Duran videos and music ready for us, and showed us much love while we were there. Like any offbeat club, there were some offbeat characters there too. I can only surmise that they were part of the local Chicago culture and I’ll leave it at that. (Those who were there know what I am talking about.) In all I think it was a fun way to top off the night.

Sunday morning arrived and I was surprised that I was sad to say goodbye to new friends. The weekend had gone by too fast. I’m happy to say that I’m still in contact with several friends I met that weekend (thank you Facebook) and can’t wait to do it again! If anyone else feels that way, I recommend you lend your support by visiting the Cafe Press store. (This message was not approved by the Daily Duranie campaign; it is truly from my heart!)

Before Durandemonium, I was still a bit shy about my fandom for the band. When people asked why I was going to Chicago for the weekend, I avoided the truth and simply said I was going to catch up with some old friends. Turns out that was exactly what happened, only I hadn’t met those old friends yet.

 

 

PamG

PamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.

 

 

 

Duran Duran at Dell World 2014

Austin is getting the Duran Duran love lately, aren’t they?  Just to note – if I hear of even ONE Duranie from Texas complain about the band not playing near them, I will cheerfully remind you of the time they’re spending in your glorious state this Autumn.

This love has now spread to Dell World, which is November 4-6. If you are keeping track, this means that they’ll be in Austin on November 1st for the ACL/Formula-One gig, and then they’re playing Dell World on November 4th for their opening event where they will headline along with Weezer. Neither event is for the faint of pocketbook – if you’re planning on going to Dell World and don’t have an “in”, you’re gonna pay $895 for the entire convention…but if you register now, you can bring a “colleague” for free.  (I believe in our case, fellow Duranies are absolutely colleagues!)

Daily Duranie will not be in attendance for any of these shows this November. Personally I can’t justify the cost, nor the time spent in travel. I know Amanda feels similar. We both feel it’s a ridiculous sum of money to spend to see the band at this particular point in our lives. Nothing personal, but we’d rather wait for a real tour and do a road trip with all the trimmings and experience new music if at all possible. I know other Duranies are happily throwing their money at Dell and counting their blessings at being able to go to both the F-1 event AND Dell World in a single week. I applaud their efforts, but my cash is staying in my bank account.

Granted, the rest of the world has taken notice of these upcoming shows, and I’d have to be blind not to see the rather pointed comments coming from all directions other than Texas. Fair enough. It is true, the band apparently likes Austin.  I wish I knew what to say to make the sting lessen, but all I’m coming up with for now is that they say there will be a tour…..at some point.

-R

 

It Begins and ends with you

As I was doing my very quick perusal of Twitter this morning, I came across an interesting group of comments directed at DDHQ…or at least the Duran Duran twitter handle.  The person was clearly disappointed that he/she was never acknowledged, and attributed this to the fact that they are a younger fan. Their feeling was that the older fans are acknowledged all of the time for showing off their collections and so forth, and that younger fans are ignored.

To begin with, I don’t know this person, and I really am not sure what “young” means. Even so, I was curious by their statements. I’m not entirely sure that the band, or their management or DDHQ, really takes the time to notice whether a tweeter is young, old, or something in-between when they’re acknowledging people. I think it happens far more fluidly than all of that, and I’m not entirely sure that fans understand just how many comments the band has in their twitter feed at any given time, and that’s during the times when they themselves haven’t tweeted!  Let them ask a question or call out an upcoming “Tweetstake” and their feed goes wild. So while I can understand wanting to be acknowledged, I think we have to be fair. There is just no way the band can respond to everyone. They would have to have one person dedicated 24/7, and even then, I highly doubt they could keep up.

Acknowledgement is important.  Social media, and specifically Twitter, is one way we can have an ongoing “conversation” with the band. Relationship building is very important, and is done completely differently now than it was even a decade ago. It’s taken us several years to even get to THIS point, where we’re all kind of beginning to understand how Twitter (and other social media) can be used most effectively.

Much to my dismay and that of many others…it is NOT used so that the celebrities of choice are on there to chat with fans all day every day.  I know, I know…it’s a shock….but we will overcome! (in case you didn’t read the sarcasm, read again. It’s there, I promise!)

It’s difficult to be a fan sometimes. Even I have found myself wondering what the point really is when weeks if not months goes by without a single interaction – and I’m not really talking about being singled out or acknowledged as much as I am saying that for me personally, it’s not as much about DDHQ remembering to say “Happy Birthday” as it is seeing members of the band active on social media from time to time. Then a day will come and without warning, John will post a photo, Dom might tweet something…maybe even Roger will post a picture on Facebook and dare to ask for it to be captioned.  I’ll see these things, smile, maybe even respond…and all is well.

What is it about THOSE moments that are so special and turn me right back into a giggly teenager?!?  I can’t help but laugh over the silliest of things, whether it is providing a snarky caption to the picture Roger Taylor posted on Facebook and believing he’ll actually take the time to look at the comments (it is not my fault that he left the door WIDE open to my constant teasing after practically promising to have the album completely finished by his year end Katy Kafe…), or noticing that Dom wore a particular t-shirt in a photo. It’s those tiny little things that make me (and hopefully others, otherwise I am way more into this “fan” thing than I thought…) believe that yeah, maybe they care just a little. Is it crazy? Probably so, but it’s fun. I’m sure you readers know that it’s fun as well. Otherwise, let’s be honest, we wouldn’t keep bothering. We’d listen to the music once in a while, maybe catch a show when it was convenient…or find reasons why we couldn’t..and say that we once loved Duran Duran.  Past-tense.

I’ve spent time observing fan behavior. I know that sounds bizarre, but when writing a manuscript about fans…you tend to observe. For some fans, that teensy bit of acknowledgment really matters. Some go out of their way to get it, by tweeting and retweeting the same article or photo over and over again.  When they are finally granted that RT from a band member or DDHQ, they wield it like a trophy, and I have no doubt that to those people – it really DOES matter that much. This isn’t about making fun, it’s about observing behavior. That’s why social media works, and that’s why bands like Duran Duran spend so much time doing it. For other fans, they like seeing the tweets from the band members, and if they are lucky enough to get a tweet back – they’re thrilled. To them, this little bit of interaction feels genuine, not forced, and as natural as chatting with a celebrity is going to get. Still others recognize Twitter and Facebook as just another advertisement for the band. They see it as a sales opportunity and don’t expect the band to really chat. They’re surprised by those who want or expect more.  Still others might be there to watch the whole thing unfold, but they’re disgusted by everyone else clamoring for attention. For as many fans as there are, there are at least that many expectations…resentments “in training”.

All of that in mind, I’m still not sure how fans can ever expect the band, or DDHQ, to acknowledge them. There are tens of thousands of fans. On Twitter alone, there are over 134,000 followers. That is a LOT of tweets. As someone who writes a blog dedicated to being fans of Duran Duran, it’s rare when the band responds or notices we’re alive. I’ve had friends ask the band to acknowledge my birthday or even the blog’s birthday and it goes unnoticed. I’ve said many, many times that if we were writing the blog or were fans purely because we wanted to be noticed, we should have never started. Sure, I could take all of that personally…but I didn’t become a Duran Duran fan thinking that someday I would be best pals with the band. I became a fan because I loved their music.  I fell in love with Planet Earth before I ever saw the faces behind the sound.  The rest was just fantasy. Fun, delusional fantasy…but still just fantasy.

-R

Guest Blog: Duran Duran Is

By PamG

Last week I saw the spectacular documentary David Bowie Is, a companion documentary and virtual tour guide about the museum exhibit of the same name.

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I admit that I was only moderately interested in seeing this film. I liked Serious-Moonlight-era Bowie. I know he was a major influence on a lot of musicians I like, including Duran. And since my local indie theater was one of the many across the nation to show the one-night-only screening (sound familiar?), I decided to take a chance.

My first Duran comparison came when I entered the theater and was pleasantly disappointed: the theater was almost full. Why was that disappointing? Because the recent one-night-only Unstaged showing (at a different theater in the same city) had probably only 1/10th of the audience that this film had. I couldn’t help but wish that Unstaged had a crowd like this, had received as much local advertising as Bowie’s film, and had been introduced by the theater’s program director who invigorated the crowd before the curtain went up.

Why was that a pleasant disappointment? Because it served as a reminder to me that we Duranies are part of a larger community. We’re not just Duran fans; we’re fans. Judging by the estimated ages of the crowd, I think most folks who came to see the film were around for the Ziggy Stardust era. This wasn’t much unlike when I looked around during the Unstaged screening. Or any of the Duran concerts I’ve been to. Or Durandemonium last year. For a lot of us, we’re fans of these artists because we grew up with them.

At some moments during the film, I witnessed some audience members bobbing their heads along to not-as-well-known (to me) Bowie songs. I instantly felt like I was on the other side of the looking glass. Were they enjoying their own Bowie version of Last Chance on the Stairway? Did I happen to catch them reveling in their own version of “switch it off?” Do they have their own inside Bowie-isms? Were they itching to get out of their seats to dance along to their version of “Rio?”

What dawned on me was that this film was not only a tribute to the legendary rock star and his influence in music, fashion, and art, but also a tribute to the fans. The exhibit is a befitting homage to Bowie’s life and career to date. However, the film adds a new angle: the reaction from those experiencing the exhibit. The film shows visitors inspecting the handwritten lyrics, watching the performance footage, inching closer to see the detail in the decadent costumes. The film editors could have easily filmed the exhibit when it was closed and simply relayed to us what was in the exhibit. But this way, we also got the fan perspective of the exhibit.

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As you might guess, my mind overflowed with the mere thought of what it would be like if Duran had a similar exhibit. We’ve already been lucky enough to have some impressive collections, such as Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran from Andrew Golub (Durandy) and Denis O’Regan’s ‘Careless Memories’ book and exhibit. But could you even imagine an exhibit that would encompass the band’s history, videos, live performances, costumes (maybe there are some we’d rather forget), handwritten lyrics, Simon’s tiger baby necklace, or even one of John’s fedoras? (Side note: I think my favorite moment from the film was when the fan turned to the camera and proclaimed “Bowie’s DNA is in those costumes!” Duranies would swoon. Oh, now, get your mind out of the gutters … you know who you are!)

Something Bowie’s exhibit would have in common with Duran’s hypothetical exhibit would be the collaborations. The film focused a bit on Bowie’s artistic collaborations with the likes of Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, and Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto. Duran’s would have to include David Lynch, Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. Like Bowie, Duran has extended their artistic collaborations to more than just music.

The final piece of the exhibit was a Periodic Table of Bowie, created by Paul Robertson. Designed in the format of the periodic table of elements, this clever infographic depicts the influences on Bowie, as well as those who have been influenced by Bowie. Among those influenced by Bowie are Lady Gaga, Morrissey, and Alexander McQueen. I was shocked that Duran didn’t make the chart. Shocked. But hey, we know that if Duran had their own periodic table, we’d have to put Bowie as one of their influencers.

So who or what is David Bowie? The film and exhibit certainly provide you with many suggested ways to finish the “David Bowie Is” statement. Do I think David Bowie is Duran Duran? Nope. I think what matters is what Duran Duran is to you.

The David Bowie Is exhibit is at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago now through January 4, 2015. Click here for more information.

Read more about the documentary here.

Have any of you seen the exhibit in person? Anyone else see the film? We’d love to hear your experience!

PamG

PamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.

Time is a River

I’m coming out of hiding today to make mention of a very special “anniversary” of sorts.  For those who have known me since the hallowed days of DDF – you might already be aware.  If not, allow me to age everyone properly.

On this date, TEN very short years ago, a little convention began in New Orleans called 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention.  It began on what was a Friday night and went straight through to Sunday, and for me personally it was a completely life-changing experience.

I hear a lot of you right now: Who really says that?!? I mean, it was really just a big party, wasn’t it? Who checks out of their life for a few days to go have fun, only to come back saying it completely changed the whole course of their life?  Believe me, I see the irony there, and I would normally agree with the naysayers out there. Except of course, I was there, and through much soul-searching, I see how the event really did change me.

Maybe it wasn’t so much of a change as it woke up my “inner-Rhonda”. I’ve written about this so many times here on the blog now that I worry it’s lost it’s appeal.  All I really know is that I really do believe that there are moments in our lives where we come upon forks in the road, and the direction we choose makes all the difference. This convention, and choosing to not only attend but to help organize it, really did change my direction. I will always hold that weekend, along with the months of planning prior, very dear to my heart.  So much has changed since that weekend in 2004, and yet I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I met Jessica, Mac, Amanda, Mags, Lisa, Krissie, Carla…and so many others in person.

I spent time yesterday and last night thinking about the convention and specific little things that happened, hoping to come up with a list. Maybe those who were there that weekend will have others to share…but here are some of mine:

*Having Jessica meet me at our hotel room that night. From the very second I met her, I knew I’d done the right thing when I got involved planning the convention and flying to New Orleans to attend.

*Sharing a hotel room with Lisa, Mags, Jessica and Carla.  We all fit and had a great time! This was also, I believe, the first, last and only time that I attended a Duranie event without sharing a room with Amanda (she cannot say the same!)

* Seeing Jessica’s red hair and watching it fade throughout the weekend. I don’t know why that sticks with me so much, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be the type of person that would die my hair vibrant red. (I eventually did not that long ago…and my red streaks faded to magenta right away too. LOL)

*Laughing at Lisa and a few others suck helium and say “Good evening and welcome to our show!” as we decorated for the dance party on Saturday night.  Some might roll their eyes and say “because that’s never been done before”…but the thing is, for me, I’d never seen anyone do it before that night.

* Listening to Mac tell us how Bourbon Street roped her (and a friend) in and tied them up.  I think Mac became my hero that weekend.

* Displaying all of my Duranie pins and t-shirts with pride that weekend. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I felt comfortable wearing a Duran t-shirt without people giving me strange looks, and if you know me – you know how self-conscious I can be.

*Listening to a copy of Astronaut before it was released *gasp* and declaring that the band “had ruined”  What Happens Tomorrow (compared to what I’d already heard them do live).  That’s right, even back then I was filled with nasty little opinions that I couldn’t keep to myself!

*Standing up and giving a speech in front of the crowd that night. Even though I had been president of my local MOMS club and involved in PTA for my kids school – I was nervous to be standing up there, but it was the very first time I can ever remember feeling like I really did fit in.

* Watching all of the men (both Duranies and Duranie husbands) grab chairs and sit down right directly in front of the screening area to watch The Chauffeur when the video played at the dance party.

*Buying drinks with Amanda at the dance party. I can’t remember if I was drinking gin and tonic or vodka and tonic that night (both are favorites)…but we very clearly started a tradition for ourselves.

*Commenting on Amanda wearing these boots with (what I felt were) high heels all over Bourbon Street. I don’t wear heels – ever – due to horrible neuromas on the bottom of my feet, so I marveled at how she could walk in those things. I was wearing flip flops, which are still my shoe of choice!

* Singing Rio on stage at what was then Howl at the Moon. (I’d say “Thank goodness there’s no video of that”….alas…it’s out there somewhere.)

*Saying good-bye to everyone on Sunday morning. I had such a great weekend, and I secretly worried about whether I would really see any of them again. How do you bond so quickly with people you’ve met in real life only once?  That Duranie connection runs very, very deep.

Thinking about that weekend makes me want to do it all over again. I swore I was done with New Orleans after Voodoo…but I don’t know….

Happy memories, everyone. I continue to thank my lucky stars that I met you all. Despite, time, distance and changes – my love and friendship runs very, very deep.

-R

1875 and counting…

1,875 posts. There is this nifty little tool here in WordPress where Amanda and I are able to properly track what is going on with this blog. We can see how many people subscribe by email, how many just read here online, what posts people tend to read most…and the list of stats goes on and on.  What I can tell you today is that as of the post I just published prior to drafting this one, we’ve written 1,875 posts. That is definitely a little more than a post a day, but we didn’t really start doing that until this past year when we moved to WordPress, so I’d say we’ve been busy.

If you didn’t already hear, we celebrated the fourth “anniversary” of this blog on Saturday. We call it a birthday because honestly, who doesn’t love a party?!? We celebrated with a online viewing party, utilizing a Daily Duranie Youtube playlist that Amanda and I had put together. We had a lot of fun, laughing at the comments and seeing friends who had stopped by to say hi and watch some videos with us!

Additionally, we had three fun little giveaways planned. The first two (one each for Facebook and Twitter) were based on people sending us their very best “DoJo” picture. Amanda and I each chose a favorite, which was a lot of fun because we had quite a few to choose from! Winners get their choice of a Daily Duranie coffee mug or a shot glass! The winners of that contest were Irene Turner and Leslie Kincaid! The second one, thanks to our friend Karen Booth, was  for a signed copy of her book, Bring Me Back. For that contest, we picked out a few blog titles we’d written over the years and had a bit of a scavenger hunt – all we really wanted to know was what the the blog that went with each title was about. The winner for that contest was Debbie from Twitter, so a copy of Karen’s book will be on it’s way shortly!

Winning DoJo entries:

 

I’ve said it before, but I am pretty sure I didn’t think about how long this blog would continue on the fateful day that I announced to Amanda, “Hey, we should do a blog since we’re working on this book!! Want me to get one together?!?” I’m also pretty sure that Amanda didn’t have any idea what I was getting her into on that day, because she agreed to try it! For me personally, the blog goes beyond writing a manuscript or being a fan. This whole “Daily Duranie” thing has taken on a life of it’s own. Some days, I feel like I’m dragging it uphill behind me, and on other days, I feel like I had better hold on tight because this thing is taking off like a rocket for a very wild ride. It’s been a crazy trip so far with much more to come, I am certain. However, for this occasion, I came up with four things about this blog (specifically the blog, not the book, not the band…etc.) that I am thankful for. My four “positives”, so to speak….one for each of the four “anniversaries” or “birthdays” we’ve celebrated thus far:

1. I would say that most people don’t realize that this blog shares it’s “birthday” with another birthday – my dad’s. He passed away in 2008, and he would have turned 75 this year. Rather than being sad on September 13, I am joyful because I’ve passed another milestone year with this blog. My dad was my hero in many, many ways that someday I might write about, but not now. I just know I’m so incredibly thankful that life has worked out this way, so that I don’t spend that day thinking of the what I’ve lost, but rather what I’ve gained.

2. There was once a period of my life, in high school no less, where I was so shy I had trouble working up the nerve to order my own food at McDonalds. I am not kidding, and I know I’m weird that way because while I couldn’t order my own food – I was drum major of the marching band, calling out commands to a group of 175 of my peers. Nutty, right? Talk about forcing yourself out of a comfort zone!! Nowadays I push myself to ask celebrities and important people for interviews for this blog – something that does not come at all naturally. Just last week I interviewed someone over the phone, and my nerves were at an all-time high, but I got through it, and more importantly, I really enjoyed doing it.

3. I should probably talk about my own fandom here. I think that without the blog, it would probably be fairly easy for me to just put Duran Duran on the back burner. I’m a busy mom, my husband isn’t really a fan, and I don’t have a group of friends here in California that are fans either. The blog forces me to stay in tune with what’s going on even when it might be easier for me to just focus on whatever is going on here at home. Sometimes that is remarkably easy, and other times – the band is in the middle of recording an album and there’s not a lot to keep us all going. I’ve learned to appreciate some of the smallest things – a tweet here or there, a news byte, or even unearthing a video I’ve never seen. I don’t expect all fans to be like that, but Amanda and I made a commitment to BE HERE even when the band is not, and we take that (although not necessarily ourselves) very seriously.

4. Writing this blog has taught me a lot about friendship. To begin with, I have a group of friends that I may not have ever met had it not been for Daily Duranie. I have friends in different states, different countries and even different continents. I’ve also learned that my friends, the real ones, are there for me even if I don’t see them every day, every week or even every year. They are the people that make the effort. They show up. Who knew that writing a blog would do all of this? Certainly not me.

I only covered four things here, but as I continue to sit and reflect, I know these are just the tip of the iceberg, and these four positives aren’t necessarily even the largest positives I could choose. I didn’t even mention all of the traveling or the increased sense of self-purpose or just the personal acceptance I feel on a daily basis, and for someone like me, who spent the majority of her life as a “wallflower”, hoping to fade into the wallpaper and not be noticed, I would have never guessed that writing a simple blog would turn my life completely around.

I said it on Saturday but it bares repeating, I tip my glass (well, this morning it’s really my coffee cup) to my partner-in-crime, Amanda. I hope that this is really just the beginning and that we’ve got at least four more even crazier years ahead. It’s wild to me that we’ve already been writing this blog for four years. How did we ever come up with that much to say?!?

And again, thank YOU. We would probably write even if no one ever read the blog, but because people do, it makes the journey that much sweeter. We hope you find us funny, insightful, intelligent, and even exasperating at times, and we look forward to hearing from you when any or all of that happens!!

-R