Tag Archives: Duranies

The Shortcomings of Being a Die-hard

It is time for another confessional, don’t you think?  As if you readers haven’t read enough of my shortcomings….I still have more to share!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with something, and I’m wondering if I’m the only die-hard fan out there feeling this way, so I’m putting it out there.

I am excited to see the band has shows scheduled, I really am. I’m also excited to hear that the band seems to feel so positive about their upcoming album – after all, we take our cues from them. I trust that they really do love the work they’ve done, and from the teeny tiny little bit of Pressure Off that I heard (that has now seemingly vanished from the internet…), I am anxious to hear it all myself. I’m excited to support the album. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m ready to have the band back out there. The shows they’ve scheduled thus far have all been festivals, and it sounds as though they would prefer to play festivals than dedicated “only Duran Duran” shows right now. I can’t really blame them, it is an excellent way to expose oceans of people who may not already count Duran Duran among their favorite bands to their music. They’re playing these festivals to gain possible new fans, not necessarily to retain the people who have been around for thirty-five years or more. I know all of this in my head, and believe me, I recite those words to myself often. I tend to write them here a lot too, as a reminder.

However, there is also this small(ish) part of me that niggles at me in the dark crevices of my mind. It puts little doubts in my head. I can hear it saying things like, “Do they even care about their long time fans?” or  “What about us? What about playing to the people who have supported them when no one else bothered?”or  “Aren’t we enough?”

Before I go much further, I should probably explain: I hate festivals. I recognize that “hate” is a strong word, and there is a part of me that feels badly about typing that, but I DO very much hate them. I don’t love standing in a punishing throng of people, waiting all day for a band that won’t perform until a good 12-15 hours later. I don’t enjoy fighting kids who are honestly now half my age or even less for spots near the barricades. It isn’t fun being pushed and shoved around just because I want to see Duran Duran. My knees are not what they used to be, and my tolerance for heat/sunshine, a lack of clean restrooms is FAR less now than it was even ten years ago. I don’t enjoy festivals in the same way I don’t enjoy tent camping. It’s like roughing it vs. staying a clean hotel.  I’m over the idea of sleeping on the ground, dealing with rocks in the back, bugs and dirt. It’s the kind of thing I did in my 20’s (and 30’s…) with vigor, and I’m leaving it behind.  The same can be said for festivals…hence the niggling worry in the back of my head.

Of course the answer to whether or not we, the diehards, are enough is no, not when it comes to sales. We’re not “enough”, sadly.  If you look at the numbers of their last album(s)…I think that point becomes abundantly clear, and this band certainly has the right to make an obscene money from their art. (hell, don’t you wish you could do the same?) I wish we were enough. Try as we might, even as some of us have upwards of five or six different versions of their last album – it’s still not enough. If they really want to expose the people to their music, they’ve got to look past all of us and get to the people who haven’t already committed much of their lives to being fans of the band. (That last sentence sounded so much better in my head…because on the screen it makes us all sound psycho.)

As for the other questions, of COURSE I know they care. Every single time I’ve worried that maybe they’ve decided “out with the old, in with the new”, one of them will say or do something to make me see that of course they care.  This is all just part of the business of being a band, and when I think about it analytically or logically with my head instead of my (slightly oversized when it comes to this band) heart,  I know that to feel otherwise is silly.  I mentioned the slight misgivings I had about some of these festivals yesterday with some other fans who, like me, have decided not to jump for tickets just yet.  Her response was that she knew where I was coming from. She just hopes the band loves (us) die-hards as much as we love them.

Isn’t that really the question we all, or most of us have?  I think it’s come up a LOT in our fandom. In fact, that’s very much a part of the reason we started the blog to begin with. It’s hard to know where we really fit in to their picture.  As much as Amanda and I wanted to begin a dialogue with fellow fans, we also hoped that somehow, someway, our message – the collective message from the fans – would reach the band and they’d hear us. A lofty, ridiculous goal from two “commoners” who don’t even live on the same continent as the band in question. We’re dreamers in our own way, I guess.  As much as we know that the band probably couldn’t care less about what a couple of fans have to say…we hope they do, enough to put ourselves out there, hoping for some sort of affirmation from fans and band alike. Validation is a very big issue in our community, and this fact is proven every single time a band member tweets or posts and we all run to be acknowledged; or when the band makes an appearance and photos are taken with fans, or when jealousy erupts because one fan gets (seemingly) more attention than another fan from a band member. That validation is what many fans vie for, and it is a precious commodity.  Does the band love (us) die-hards as much as we love them?? It’s a constant question hidden in every online and in-person exchange.

This blog is difficult to write, really. I know I’m opening myself up for ridicule and probably a few well-intentioned folks are going to tell me I’m being negative. I’m really not being negative as much as I’m admitting that I have shortcomings like anyone else. I don’t necessarily know how important long time fans are to the band at this point. I mean, I know we’re important because we’re a part of their history. That’s just it though – collectively we’re the ones who have helped bring them to this point. But from here? Do we really still matter so much, especially when they’re trying to market their music to a much younger generation?  I can’t speak for the rest of you, but it’s awfully hard to hear the band talk about how All You Need is Now was great, but that album was really just for fans, and now this new album is for OTHER people.  Why does it have to be that way? My head understands the point completely. They need the new album to have a much farther reach. My heart? It says “ouch”, because AYNIN meant the world to me as a fan. Is it really the fault of the album’s material that it didn’t do well, or is it really that the album wasn’t promoted due to a lack of power and money from a major label?

I’d like to think the diehards still matter. That’s why Amanda and I work so hard to keep the fan community talking about the band, keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on, planning events to cultivate friendships and community, and so forth. We have strength not only in numbers, but in passion. We think fans, even those of us who have been around a few decades, still matter…and that we’ve got some power left in us to keep this ball rolling. I’ve said this before: fans are ready to stand on the rooftops and shout, they just need a bit guidance in knowing what to say. They (we) need a little validating, and a little love. Is that really so ridiculous of an idea?  Balancing the plan of exposing music to potential new fans (that join the fold of diehards) with enriching relationships with existing fans is the way to go.

Do I really think the band is leaving diehard fans behind? No, of course not.  Festivals are likely not to make up their entire tour. I have great hope that the band will do shows that we can all attend and enjoy. This is only the beginning – touring is a marathon, not a sprint. Those thoughts, however, don’t always stop me from occasionally having low points where I have doubts…and today I’m wondering if there’s anybody else out there fighting those same worries.

-R

Clever Words

I’m sitting here writing as I listen to Brandon Flowers’ new album, The Desired Effect. Yes, I realize I’m writing for Daily Duranie, and so this choice in music while writing might seem off. Fair enough. The funny thing is that while listening, I was reading some of the reviews of his work, and that gave me the idea for this post.

Before I forget…so far, I really like the album…and if you’re a fan of The Killers, or Brandon himself…or you’re just dying for new music, I think you should check it out.

I don’t know if I’m really that unusual by reading a lot of music reviews when one of my favorite bands come out with a new album. I like reading what others think about the music. Granted, over the years reading those reviews has sometimes made me want to scream, but I still read. This morning, I read a particular review on Consequence of Sound that really set poorly with me. It really wasn’t that the reviewer gave The Desired Effect a “C+” because a review is merely an opinion, and not everyone is going to love everything that I might. The real problem was that the review had precious little to do with the album in question, and far too much about Brandon himself. I came away questioning whether she really reviewed the music or if she was reviewing Brandon’s personality, particularly his opinion of Kanye West. (Which I happen to share. Proudly.)

After reading the review, I read the comments. I knew there would be some scathing replies by fans, because let’s be honest, no one likes reading reviews that trash a favorite band or singer. Sure enough, there was more than one comment in favor of Brandon, but most, if not all of the comments were written by people who found the same issues with the review that I had. A few even agreed that she was entitled to her opinions, but that they wished she’d back up the grade she gave the album with reasons – and I had to agree, she certainly didn’t give any reasons for the grade.  Instead, she wrote about Brandon’s tendency to have diarrhea of the mouth (her words, not mine) and the fact that he’s Mormon, which seemed out of place to me in an album review.  I was genuinely surprised by the lack of venom, and there wasn’t a single calling for this woman’s head, which was refreshing.  She didn’t feel the need to come back and answer the comments, nor did she run to call the fans and others who found fault “crazy”.

As I typed out a well-worded comment that I am sure will never be read by the reviewer, it struck me that very soon, I’ll probably be getting just as disgusted by reviews of Duran Duran’s new album. I can remember many times in recent memory where a show or even an album was reviewed less-than-favorably, and the Duranies came out in droves in defense of the band.

We fans are a loyal lot. We might really get down on the band for Durantime, and we might really be vocal about some of the things we don’t like from time to time (and I’m “speaking” collectively, not just about Daily Duranie!), but when push comes to shove – nobody had better screw with our band. (See that ownership?!?) The trouble is, Duran fans have been characterized as having a bit of a mob-mentality over the years. It’s not enough to simply disagree with someone’s opinion, we tend to want to tear them limb from limb for daring to cross Duran Duran. Instead of making our point(s) concise and clear, and sounding like intelligent people, sometimes Duranies come off sounding exactly as the world likes to characterize us, as “psycho fans”.  Yes, we’re loyal…to a fault, really.

With that loyalty and “ownership” comes great responsibility.  We must work to show the world that not only are we fans of the band, we’re also intelligent and understand music. We must illustrate that we not only know what we love(d) about the 80’s (Like it or not, reviewers and critics will ALWAYS be quick to remind us that the band were has-been pinups of the 80s, because that’s how they discount them), but we know what we like about current music…and before someone tells me there’s “nothing”  If we really want to support the band and respond appropriately to critics, we have to get past the “I love you’s”, not be completely stuck in the 80’s, and explain what it really is about their music that makes it worthy and relevant. Hopefully in a few short months, we’ll all hear the new album and know how to put the answers to those questions in words.  In other words, we might have to leave some of our more gushy fandom at the door.  We can’t seek “blood”…. we must seek to first understand, and then educate. This band has been around for  nearly 37 years at this point. Many of us have been fans for nearly all of that time, we aren’t wrong about our excitement and passion for this band. Their longevity proves that over and over again, before any of us even bothers to wield our fingers over our keyboards as possible weaponry.

-R

The real power of a fan community

I know I haven’t written much this week, but I’ve been fighting a horrendous throat infection. So, that’s my excuse this time.

Earlier, I was thinking back to Simon’s Katy Kafe last week for her anniversary.  Simon had made the comment that he really wanted the fans to take this album and really kind of make it their own. Their own project to get out to listeners – both new and “old” fans alike.  Katy had responded saying that she thinks that a lot of the fans she communicates with already feel that way about the band, that there really is a sense of ownership that comes with longevity.  I’ve written about that many times here on the blog, and so I definitely subscribe to that theory.

To that end of things,  I suppose that writing this blog is a sort of way that Amanda and I have tried to steer the ship (the ship being energy from fans) and use that energy or power or whatever you might wish to call it, for good.

We saw that there was at least to some limited degree, a disconnect between the fans and the band. It was as though they weren’t really hearing us – or maybe they didn’t even realize some of us were out here. I’m not sure.  So we started the blog, and then realized that we could even work to strengthen ties between all of us by getting together, doing pre-show parties and meet-ups and even a convention. None of those things are necessarily easy to put together, but we certainly feel they’ve had a positive effect on the community.  And now we’re coming to the beginnings of another album “cycle”, so to speak…and Simon is hoping we are all going to commit the band’s new baby to our own hearts and really get it out there for all to hear.

I know this fan community well enough to know that we’re all waiting and hoping the album is going to be as fantastic as we’ve all heard. And I also know that at least a few of us have had ideas on how to get the fan community excited so that we CAN be the ones to reach out. The label can certainly work to find new fans – the type of promo that they typically do can be extremely effective in that department. I’d just hate to see the fans, the ones who have stood by this band through thick and thin, to be forgotten in all of that mix.  There is a special bond that has been created between Duran Duran and their fans after thirty-some years, and if there is a way to cultivate and strengthen that relationship, at the same time exciting the fan community at large – I would hope that the band, their management and Warner Bros would take advantage.  What can all of that do for them? My theory is that if the label focus on getting the new album to people beyond the fan base…then others are able to focus on getting and keeping the fans excited. That way no one is lost in that shuffle, and we’re all working together to see this album make a huge splash. It can happen.

I just hope it is known that there are a couple of fans totally committed and ready to get this party started when the time is right.

-R

 

Pressure Is OFF now…until Summer!

It’s looking like a mid-summer release for “Pressure Off”, at least at the moment, much to the dismay of fans ’round the globe. Not only did Nick Rhodes mention a July release during his interview with The Daily Mail, but in the most recent DDBlast it would appear that even DDHQ is on the summer bandwagon for the first single off of the band’s new album.

This would not matter nearly as much had fans not already heard from the <incredibly inaccurate> grapevine that the single would in fact be out in May. Many were bouncing around the internet, openly tagging May as the month we would finally hear new music, but alas… We are going to have to continue to be patient and know that on the other side, it is going to be worth the wait.

I would venture to guess that at this point, I am not the only fan on the planet that is tired of the roundabout this band seems to keep us on. I’ve seen more than my fair share of fans worry “out loud” in comments online that they’re tired of waiting, or that they’re tired of being strung along. We don’t know why they’ve decided to wait a little longer. Maybe they’re waiting to do promo closer to the album release. Maybe they’re waiting so that the single release will better coincide with other events…and maybe I’m just making aimless guesses so that people see that it really might not be the fault of the band.

No, it’s likely not their fault, but yes…we’re impatiently ready to hear what they’ve been working on for the past three years.  I can only give a toothy smile and say that we’re listening and cannot wait to hear the final result!

Slightly more curious to me is the question of momentum. Did it make sense to have the band appear at that listening party of sorts at a winery? Your guess is as good as mine…and we can only hope that all answers will be revealed in time. I know I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold in the coming months.

I’m sure that many, if not most fans will be openly forgiving and still pledging their undying love and devotion for this band no matter whether the single is truly dropped in July of 2015 or July of 2020. Durantime? Sure…I think we all get it by now, even if we’re scratching our heads and wondering what is really going on with that hamster behind the wheel at times!

-R

Oh no, not again!

This is not my day to blog…but I find myself with something to say, and so I’m going to dash it off here before I forget or lose my way.

First of all, this blog is a spoiler for fans of Grey’s Anatomy. Specifically, if you are in the UK or other parts of the world and are not completely up to date with the show…I beg you to read no further. Look away…and do not email me if you choose not to heed my warning. Otherwise, this blog has very little to do with Grey’s Anatomy and more to do with being a fan in general.  🙂

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I’ve been a Duranie since I was about ten years old. I’m 44 now, and I can do math well enough to know that means I’ve been a fan for a long-ass time. (34 years and counting) Again, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a difficult time remembering days when I wasn’t a fan of this band. They are so completely interwoven with my life that my memories are entwined with whatever songs and albums were out at the time. I can remember that Red Carpet Massacre was out and they were touring while my youngest was born, Rio coincides with memories of sleepovers I had at my best friend’s house in middle school. We would watch Friday Night Videos and it is impossible for me to see Hungry Like the Wolf without thinking of how we’d laugh until my belly hurt those nights.  I can’t think of Astronaut without remembering the convention in New Orleans…and the list goes on.

The point is, Duran Duran is a part of our lives. Being a fan of Duran Duran is one slice of who we are.  After being a part of our lives for so long, it is nearly impossible to imagine life without them. With that familiarity and longevity often comes a sense of <likely misguided> ownership, and it isn’t just with Duran Duran fans.

I have watched Grey’s Anatomy since the very first day it was on TV. I haven’t missed a single episode. I’ve seen the characters develop over the years, and I can’t really imagine a Thursday night without watching. I’ve sat and cheered on Meredith, watched her lose friends, parents, gain family she didn’t know she had…and even fall in love, which for her character, seemed more and more unlikely the more we grew to “know” her. Grey’s Anatomy is nearing the end of their 11th season on the air, and this season has thrown fans through a loop, to say the least. Recently (and this is the part where, if you haven’t already stopped reading, my friends from the UK and beyond – YOU SHOULD), a beloved character has been written out of the show. This has happened before on the show, and it’s always stung a bit, but this time, it was horrible. I definitely didn’t see it coming. As I mentioned before, we saw Meredith fall in love with Derek – a one-time teacher/superior/mentor to her. They managed to get married on their own terms, adopt, have a baby of their own, survive a horrible plane crash, deal with Alzheimers….and I could go on. (It’s a drama, people.) Unfortunately, Derek, played by Patrick Dempsey, a favorite of mine since my teen years…was killed off. In one of the few episodes written by creator Shonda Rhimes as of late, she wrote him out of the show by having him in a horrible car accident, sent to a hospital in the middle of nowhere that did not have proper training, and he was eventually pronounced brain-dead.  The irony of course being that his character was an accomplished neurosurgeon on the show. As I said, fans didn’t see it coming, and hell hath NO fury like scorned fans.

I was one of those fans. I felt as though I’d given this show so much time, watched them build this show around the two of them, and then Shonda destroyed it all.  I felt like I’d been slapped, to be honest. I found myself saying, “Can’t we have ONE happy ending on this stupid show? Just ONE?!?” So many people had already been killed off, and we’re not talking about little-known characters on the show, I mean very central roles. People that convinced the viewing audience to love and cheer for them. Over and over.

There were literally thousands of Facebook posts filled with vitriolic criticism and anger towards Shonda Rhimes after the show aired. There has even been some sort of petition filed through change.org….which is laughable. It’s Shonda’s show. She is the creator, she really has the right to make the decisions even if the audience hates them.

Just as we feel a sense of ownership over the band at times – fans feel that way about television shows. It’s difficult to feel like you’ve put your heart and soul into something only to feel as though you’ve been backhanded when the show, or music…takes on a completely different direction.

I can’t help but remember when Red Carpet Massacre was released. I’ve never seen the fans in such an uproar (sans the time…times…when beloved band members have left the group). At first it was all negative, but little by little a few loud voices in support of the album tried to cut through. I can’t tell you how many times posters would remind others that this was THE BAND’S album, and that they could do whatever they wanted with their music. And they can. Very true.

The fact is, just as it is Shonda’s show to do with as she pleases, the band belongs to Simon, Nick, John and Roger. They own the right to do what they wish. It’s a hard fact to face sometimes as a fan – the music may be written for our consumption, just as a TV show is filmed for an audience to view, but that’s really where it ends for fans. We can express our unhappiness, and we can even choose to stop caring, stop watching, stop consuming…and perhaps that will be reflected in terms of sales, but the creative decision-making lies with the band, not us. Monday morning quarterbacking, such as it is, is merely a fan hobby that some of us (points at self) take a bit seriously at times.

I honestly doubt Shonda Rhimes cares much about whether fans approve of her decision to kill off Derek, as wild as that idea might seem to longtime viewers. The idea that a show or an album is written with the fans in mind is probably a way over-the-top romanticized idea that a fan came up with along the way.  Some may argue that fans have changed the course of a TV show, and that may be true. I know of shows that were up for cancellation that ended up being renewed based on fan efforts. Perhaps we have had some effect on the band from time to time, but the creative direction?  That decision lies with the creators, and we can and should exercise our right to buy and/or consume.

Food for thought.

-R

 

The Pressure is ON.

I am officially horrible at this blogging stuff. The fact is, I’ve gotten out of the practice of finding things to write about. I apologize for that, but I think we all know whom we can really blame, right??

No news. It’s difficult to write something worthy of print when there’s not much in the news department with which to react. That seems to be an ongoing problem, at least for me, because while I wasn’t reacting, another favorite of mine has announced a tour.  My current quandary? Do I buy tickets to see Brandon Flowers, or do I hold off in hopes that Duran Duran finally announces something for the fall? Carpe Diem??

Let’s face it – money is not necessarily flowing freely from the water pipes (nor is water these days, since I live in Southern California), and so I do have to spend smartly. I am sure that I cannot possibly be the only Duranie in the world thinking the words, “I wish the band would finally announce something!”

Yes, I’m aware that their album is due to be released in September, and the chances of a tour happening then is not likely. I’m also aware that at least in the past, the band has done promotional appearances when they’ve released an album. Is it really too much to think that there’s always that possibility?  I say not. I’d hate to be elsewhere when and if the band should happen to actually visit LA.

It is frustrating when other artists are already announcing their Fall gigs and we’ve yet to really hear a firm release date or much of anything else that would indicate a future return to this part of the world. Maybe I’m just really impatient. (maybe?!? HA. Try “I’m really very impatient!!”) Maybe, just maybe…I’m not the only one feeling that way.

It would seem that at any point now, we’d be seeing the triumphant return of the band to social media…and that we’d see them talk about how great the album is, and how they can’t wait to share that with us. I tend to see a lot of tweets asking John if he’s ever going to tweet again, photos of Simon in Paris at the Grande Palais…and not much at all from a Mr. Dom Brown aside from the occasional tweet indicating who he worked with most recently at his studio.

But, not all is lost. To those who pay attention, a certain Mr. Taylor has returned to social media….just not necessarily where you may have guessed.

John has become quite the Instagramer! Not more than a day or two goes by without a picture from John, and while not all (or even most) of the pictures have anything to do with Duran Duran per se – I have to commend him for sticking with it and finding something that works for him. I know for sure I’m not the only one who delights in seeing a new post from him – just recently he posted a picture of a Jacaranda tree in full, brilliant purple bloom, with the caption “I love Jacaranda season”.  Me too, John. It’s one of the best parts of So Cal in the spring.  No, it’s not quite a conversation with John, but does it have to be? I don’t think so. I actually appreciate the posts of the more “mundane” much more than I did the obvious “selling” tweets in the recent year or so…and interestingly enough (at least to me), it’s visual, for a band member that loves the visual. There’s still the occasional “I LOVE YOU JOHN” comments in reply, but if you wade through that – there is a lot of good happening there. This works, and I like it. I’m not even sure I really miss the tweetfests where one could barely get a tweet in edgewise.

Now to get the rest of them doing something, somewhere.  I really wish we didn’t scare them so much….so many of us are far, far more than just fans. (In fact, aren’t all of us more than that?) I know, I know, the crazy seems to speak far louder than the sane. I’ve seen that firsthand…but you never know, maybe the sane really does leak through in conversation every once in a while, in between interruptions.

-R

 

Ten years post Astronaut

Time really just flies by as though we’re standing still, doesn’t it?

Last month while on break, the tenth anniversary of shows I attended in Chicago and Milwaukee for the Astronaut tour passed. I really don’t know where that time went, yet a lot of things has happened in the years since. I made a group of friends, many of those same friends have wandered away, I had another baby, my dad passed away, I finished my gemology degree, this blog was created, a manuscript was written…and those are just a few things I can come up with off the top of my head. Time flew by, and I wasn’t really just standing still.

I didn’t really think much about that anniversary until this past week when Amanda and I got together and went to LA for the Lynch gig. There was one point, probably as we were standing together outside waiting to get up to the rooftop bar that I realized I was with a completely different group of people than in 2005, with the very notable exception of Amanda. My entire circle of friends has evolved and changed for the most part, but the very thing that brought me to this large community of people, Duran Duran,  is still the same. I still go to shows. I still consider myself a fan. I’m still very thankful that I have had the opportunities to meet wonderful people through the band. I still get angry with Duran Duran, and I still forgive. Mostly. (Still completely pissed about the way they treat Dom though, and I won’t even lie about that.)

If I could sum up some of the past three years as we’ve waited in between the last tour and this point, I would do it in this way: We’ve all heard the rumors. “This is the last album“…. “The band never wants to tour again“…”The band is only doing festivals this time“….I could go on and on. Talk about depressing. Wow. Let me be clear in case one of the band members actually reads this blog… when someone (like me) hears their idols say that they aren’t interested in touring and doing shows, it sounds very much like they are saying that they’re not interested in seeing their fans, they aren’t interested in sharing their work and success with their fans, and that they don’t CARE about their fans. For fans, who by the way have likely helped fund that fabulous lifestyle that band members may be currently enjoying, that really sucks. And by the way, we’re not just fans. We’re PEOPLE WHO FREAKING CARE. (I hate the way the word fans somehow equates somebody to being less-than-human, but that’s another topic for another blog that I fully intend to write in the coming days) So Duran Duran? We care!

Yet, from the folks I spoke to last week, some of which are affiliated with or work directly for Warner Bros, along with others who are in the industry and all have actually heard the whole single, tell me that this isn’t a band that is ready to quit any time soon. I hear that they have a fantastic deal from Warner, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got in store for the next several years. If the band isn’t ready to quit, neither should we. Forgiving some of the off-hand, aforementioned, “We’re not interested in touring” comments is easier when you feel the excitement in the air.

While yes, the topic is somewhat nostalgic when you sit back and think about ten years passing – that’s really not what brought me to write this post. We’ve all changed in the past ten years, haven’t we? I don’t really want to sit back and wax poetic on the errors of my ways, or the band’s ways for the past ten years. I think what I’m trying to do now is look ahead with great anticipation. Just about ten days ago we got our first real glimpse, a snippet if you will, into the first single off of #DD14. (if they don’t name the album #DD14 I sense that I may have major difficulty adjusting to typing the name at this point…) I know plenty out there are saying that they couldn’t really hear it to decide, and even others are saying they didn’t like it. Well, I loved it. I didn’t have too much trouble hearing the little we got, and it excited me. Sure, it could have used a little (LOT) more guitar. Yes, it could have been longer…but I can see the potential. I’m excited. It has been one hell of a long time since I have been able to really type those words and mean them here on the blog. So I’m going to focus on those words going forward.

Ten years post Astronaut. For me, that was the tour that really got me started. I had seen various shows prior, but never had I gotten myself involved with a fan community. I’d never toured with other fans, much less written a blog, organized a convention or traveled to see a band. I never realized that being a fan could be so fun. It’s a roller coaster at times, filled equally with uphill climbs and races downhill, but I wouldn’t trade any of those moments. I am EXCITED for what is yet to come.

-R

One day at a little street cafe…

We talk a lot about fandom experiences here on the blog. Let’s face it, there really isn’t anything more exciting in fandom than finally being able to say you met your idol…and I don’t think Duran fans are exactly immune. I’ve written many words on the subject of the measures we go through to meet our idols, and as most readers know by now, Amanda and I suck at meeting the band.

I’m here to tell you that the struggle is real, and I have a personal story to prove my point.  Prepare to laugh.

Amanda and I got together over her spring break from teaching here at my house.  The plan was simple: we were going to the David Lynch show in LA together.  Amanda was to fly in on Monday night, and then, due to some last-minute arrangements, we were to drive up to LA on Tuesday and come home the day after the show, which was Thursday.

Monday arrived, Amanda landed in “The OC” safely. Tuesday, we got up, I got my youngest off to school, packed and we were on our way. We made the drive to the hotel safely, got settled in, and did what Daily Duranie does best: we went to the lounge.

So our hotel, the lovely Luxe Center City (across from Staples Center and LA Live – thumbs up from me!) has a lounge with an outdoor patio. They were running what I feel to be an obscene special for pitchers of yummy white sangria, so we did what any Duranie should do.  We ordered the pitcher and figured we’d stay awhile.  Pink sunburnt faces and about three hours later, we were ready to check out the lay of the land.

The Theatre at the Ace was really about .71 miles from our hotel, and it was about a 15 minute walk if you were lucky enough to time the lights correctly. I know this because we made this walk about 45 times over the next two days. (a slight exaggeration, but not by much…) I amused myself each trip by joyfully pointing out the Mayan Theater to Amanda. Every. Single. Time…well, at least up until the time I nearly face planted on the sidewalk for not watching where in the hell I was going and tripped over a crack….in the sidewalk.

By the time we get to the theatre and see that yes, it really is right next to the hotel and that no one seems to be around, we both realize we’re thirsty.  We decide we’re going to sit outside at a really nice cafe next door (but attached to The Ace) because it’s a nice day and so we settle in.

Here is where the story goes from mildly amusing to just well…I’ll let you all decide for yourselves.

I check my phone for messages, mainly from home, because my children and husband honestly cannot seem to manage without me for any length of time. Thankfully, at least at this moment, I am free to resume my short holiday and so I look up. (In some ways I almost wish I were doing this blog by video so that you can see my facial expressions.) I see someone I think I recognize walking up to say hi to some crew members two tables down from us at the cafe. It takes my brain entirely too long to realize that yes, it’s Dom…and even once my eyes register who it is, my brain refuses to believe.  What do you think I did then?  Yell out his name?  Smile his way? Grab my phone to take covert pictures and tweet them randomly?  No. Let me reenact the scene for you.

Me: (whispering emphatically) “Oh my GOD. Amanda. It’s Dom. It is Dom and he is like…right there. It. is. Dom.”

I literally turn my head away from Dom’s direction so that he can’t really see my face, but not before I get a really good look right at him. I was worried he’d see me because well, gee…I don’t know, but it turns out that on this particular day, Dom isn’t incredibly observant…because I’m pretty damn sure he’d recognize me and know exactly who I am right off the bat.  Instead he pays zero attention and just talks to the crew.  For some reason, I’m thankful.

Also, I kind of think I must have been trying to talk without moving my mouth too…which is even more hilarious when I think back. LOL

Amanda: (also whispering) “Yes, I can see that, Rhonda.”

Me: (pauses) “Wait, how?”

Amanda: “I can see him in the window of the damn cafe, Rhonda. Say something to him. Here’s your chance. Say something!!”

Me: “No!!! I can’t. I think I’m hyperventilating right this second. Oh my gosh I gotta breathe. I’m going to faint. If I go down it’s going to be really obvious and I will look like an ass!!!….” I grip the table and try to take a deep breath without looking like a complete imbecile, but of course it’s too late for that as far as my partner-in-crime is concerned. I am sure that had I looked at Amanda, she’d have been rolling her eyes at my drama.

This is no joke though. At this point, my heart rate was nearing warp speed and I could feel it beating through my chest as though it were about to take flight without the rest of my body in tow. My head started getting really dizzy. You know that moment right before you faint where you realize you’re going down and that there’s nothing that can be done? Yeah?? THAT.

Amanda (interrupting): “He is leaving. Yell at him. I’m going to call him…”

Me: “No, no. It’s…it’s not right. We can’t!”

I look up just in time to see Dom walk right the fuck past me and into the hotel. 

I look over at Amanda to see her sitting there, lips pursed. I knew I was in big trouble. I took deep breaths…not because I was still in danger of fainting (Oh hell no. That ended as soon as Dom walked away,) but because I knew what was coming.

Me: “Oh wow. Yeah…I know…”

Amanda: “I should have just called after him. Why didn’t you do anything?”

I tried to explain that I just couldn’t move. Honestly, had I been able I think I would have scrambled out away from the table and ran from him when he walked up. My shyness was in overdrive that afternoon. The thing is, I wanted to say hi. I really did. I just couldn’t. So I tweeted (by DM) a friend who was insistent that this time I was going to meet that band and get pictures no matter what. I had to tell her I’d failed. Here are some edited pieces from that conversation…

 Me: So we are at the cafe connected to the Ace. A couple of crew are sitting one table over to my left and Dom JUST walked by.

Friend: FOLLOW HIM!!!!!

Me: He stopped, talked to the crew and then went inside. I looked at him, immediately started to hyperventilating and couldn’t open my mouth. As I sit here I can’t seem to feel my fingers.

Friend: OMG Rhonda!!!!!!  That was the opportunity!!!

After reading that, I look over at Amanda. She is still not happy. I’m thinking she is going to ask me for my Duranie card and tell me to grow a pair at some point in the next thirty seconds, but somehow that moment does not come. She stays mostly silent, probably waiting for me to return to my senses and acknowledge my own dumb-assery. I look back down at my phone and type a reply.

Me: No, he will have to come back down here at some point.

(incidentally I don’t know what I was thinking here…did I think I was going to sit my ass there at the Cafe until Thursday waiting???) 

Me: Amanda was shocked he didn’t see me. LOL

Friend: Girl, GET ON THAT. And quit drinking!!!! :p

Me: I haven’t had anything to drink in about 2.5 hours! And I am completely sober. That sangria was that strong. At all.

Friend: Coffee. Now. You aren’t thinking clearly. LOL

Me: I am drinking iced tea thankyouverymuch.

Friend: :p You had better have a fucking photo by the end of the night!!!!

This was the point when I started realizing what I’d just done. I’d thrown away the one chance I thought I’d get. I mean, I don’t live in the UK. I can’t just head on down to his studio or show up at one of his shows, and even if I could, I don’t think I would purely because I am not a stalker. Sure, I will go to show after show. Yes, I will try to get as close as possible at shows, and always sit on his side. I might even hold up signs for him. Definitely, I tweet to him on occasion and I also tease him mercilessly, never really knowing if he even reads my tweets. But I’m not a stalker.

I also make no sense. I start feeling a mixture of frustration and sadness, knowing that I am probably not going to get that second chance, and that once again I over thought before I acted. I try to cover though because I’m not going to ruin our trip just because of my own idiocy.

Me: I know I blew it but he seemed like he was in a really big hurry and it all happened so fast… and I am an idiot.

Friend: :'( I get that. It’s intimidating.

Me: literally he was not five feet from me.

Friend: Maybe I was wrong. Maybe you should drink MORE.

In the meantime, I apparently did in fact “grow a pair” because I tweeted Dom. Yep, right @ him.  Because… if you’re gonna feel like an ass, you may as well do it all the way… I told him that I’d just seen him and that he walked right by.  I did sort of leave out the fact that I nearly ducked under the table as he walked up and that I almost fainted because well, who really needs details like that??  He explained that he was really spaced-out from jet lag and that I should have said something.

No kidding? Ya think??

Now, I will tell everyone that yes, I did finally get that photo with him, and that yes, he was very kind. I know everyone is waiting to hear that story – but the truth is that there isn’t much to tell, and what there might be are just memories for me to keep. I will say one thing though: I had a tough time hearing and understanding him, and he had a really tough time hearing me because we were in a pretty loud bar. So that went well. I felt like I was screaming at him and then trying to decipher what he said in return.  I am still thinking of things I could and should have asked him or talked about that had nothing to do with music and especially not Duran Duran. (I really wanted to know if he was watching Better Call Saul, for instance!!)  It is just that when you get in front of your idol, whether that is Simon LeBon or Dom Brown or someone else entirely – your brain freezes, or at least mine did. I just wish I could have gotten past that fan-girl brain freeze quickly enough to show that I’m a real person. I’m not really just a fan girl after a photo and autograph. I really didn’t need to only talk about Duran Duran or what I thought about the show. But, before that could happen that night, we were interrupted by someone else, and that’s the way it goes.

I still don’t think he knows that I was seeing the world spin or that I was honestly and truly going to faint had I even attempted to say his name out loud that day in the cafe. I have laughed about The Incident over and over with Amanda – who I think has mostly forgiven me at this point – but I can’t promise it wouldn’t happen again. What’s bizarre is that I’d already met Dom before and had a full conversation with him many years prior (on a plane), and for that matter I’ve “met” all the band members when they signed my Astronaut CD many years ago. Never reacted anything remotely like  I did that day.

Truthfully, I am incredibly shy in person. Horribly so, in fact. I have a really hard time meeting new people. I hate mingling at parties. I used to be so bad that I wouldn’t even order my own food at restaurants. I try to hide it very well, and of course I’m super brave online, but for some really weird reason that day – ALL of my insecurities came out to frolic in the warm sun at the same time! Embarrassingly enough, it reminded me of what it was like in middle school as I would sit with the rest of my really awkward friends and see the boy I secretly thought was really cute (and way the hell out of my awkward, nerdy league) walk by.  How dumb is that?!?

I am 44 years old. I’ve been married a week shy of twenty years. Mom of three. My oldest is 18. You’d think I’d have grown up by now.

Somehow though, I’m still glad I didn’t.

-R

 

 

 

 

Duran Duran History – Salt Lake City

Duran Duran history for March 12 – TEN YEARS AGO TODAY in 2005, Duran Duran played at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This show was part of what tour??  The Astronaut tour!

Ten years ago. Holy cow what have we all been doing since then?? Seems like we should be having reunions, don’t you think?!?

Happy Anniversary, Duranies. It’s been ten long years since many of us completely lost our minds at seeing all five on stage playing brand new music. Good times.

-R

When is Duran Duran news not really news?

I am struggling with how to write this blog so the point is taken, but no one feels like I’m flogging them.  Anyone who knows me recognizes that I can be very blunt, sometimes overly so, and so yes, in this case for me, the struggle is real.

For the past couple of days, I’ve seen a Duran Duran news story being flaunted, retweeted and posted by Duranies. The unfortunate point I would like to make (or fortunate, depending upon your view), is that the story is completely false, as is the joke of a “news” website that somehow makes money by creating stories such as these.

I’m not going to mention the topic of the story or give a link because quite frankly – we need to stop.

There are a good many of us that work for the benefit of this band. By “work” I mean, we spend a great deal of man hours searching the web for news, writing articles, reposting news stories, pictures and tidbits, all for the love of Duran Duran. We all do great work, and it takes all of us (creator, partaker, reader, listener, cheering section, or otherwise) to create this fan ecosystem. However, from time to time, something comes over us. We forget to pay attention to where we’re getting this “news” from. We worry more about being the first to post than we do about the “news” actually being real. Or important. Or even ethical.

What am I talking about?  Let me explain what I don’t mean. This isn’t about posting what we believe to be a real show date only to find out that no, it’s not and that you were mistaken. Mistakes happen. This isn’t really even about speculation about albums, tours, and music. For crying out loud – that’s what we do as fans. This is about posting stories and rumors that can be hurtful, deceitful, and possibly harming someone’s reputation and career.  Even if you’re not the person who not-so-cleverly decided to write a horribly personal rumor about someone and publish it, when you decide to repost that rumor without bothering to investigate and verify the truthfulness, you’ve just added to the problem. Saying you didn’t know isn’t good enough. It does not show due diligence, and it definitely isn’t responsible.

From time to time, even Amanda and I have been caught up in the excitement. It takes the two of us to put ourselves in check. We’ve been sent music – not recently mind you – but prior to the last album being properly released we were sent the full album anonymously. I’m quite sure the band didn’t send it to us, but we really did not know who it was from. It took all of my willpower not to post it and brag that we had the album. Ultimately, we did the right thing. We waited, because even in that moment, it was not OUR news to tell. The band deserved to have the album drop when they wanted and without our broadcasting it ahead of time. We also saw many friends  boast about having it and hearing it ahead of time, but we felt that as a public blog, it was best for us to wait. Maybe we were foolish, but ultimately, it takes that kind of critical thinking to decide what is right and what really is not, even if it would have brought a ton of traffic to our site.

The bottom line here is that for those of us who are bloggers or “fan-producers” of any kind (as all of my fandom textbooks like to call people like Amanda and I), whether it’s by posting photos, writing stories, keeping up a news blog, etc…. not only do we have a responsibility to our material, we have a responsibility to the band and to one another. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be a critical thinker. be BETTER.  Check your sources. Check them twice. A news website that is really “the news” is never going to say that reprinting their material is never OK, even if you have their permission.  That doesn’t even make sense.  Just because a story shows up in a Google search or as a Google alert doesn’t mean it’s truthful.  Just because something is written on the internet doesn’t make it true.  Defamation is a very real thing. Let not be defaming the very people we claim to care about. Real news really WILL come, and when it does, you can be proud to be a part of the brigade of fans that cares about this band.

Mistakes happen. We all make them from time to time. Sometimes we read something thinking it says one thing when in fact it says another. Defaming someone through libel though is a very different thing.  Be aware.

-R