Tag Archives: Duranies

Meet Bridey Heidel – Tahoe’s Own “Yes” Girl!

Hi everyone! Happy Friday to you! Today, we have a treat that we’re very excited to share. During the recent West Coast mini tour, we heard a little bit about a teacher from Lake Tahoe. The entire Tahoe community, as well as many within the Duraniverse, seemed to be staging a concerted effort to arrange a meeting between 9th grade English teacher Bridey Heidel, and Duran Duran. We were intrigued. Many people obviously want to meet the band, but what made Bridey’s story so different?

In Bridey’s case, her campaign to meet the band didn’t stop with a few well-coordinated tweets. She had been interviewed by her local paper, and it turns out – there was quite a back story. While we very much want everyone to take the time to read the original story, which we linked above, the snapshot is simply that Bridey’s childhood wasn’t the easiest. She switched schools 26 times before graduating from high school, living anywhere from motels, to cars, to couches. The fact that she is not only a teacher, but teaching at the high school from where she graduated, is indeed a triumph, not to mention that her dream to meet Duran Duran did come true! Here’s a link to that final newspaper article about their meeting.

We don’t do a ton of interviews for Daily Duranie, simply because logistically – it’s tough. Additionally, Amanda and I haven’t invested in the type of equipment we need to do these types of interviews professionally and seamlessly. In this case though, we are so glad we did it anyway.

One thing we’ve realized, and is probably the “real” secret behind the longevity of this blog, is that we continue learning. We get far more out of writing and blogging than people will ever know. The lessons we learn from fans we meet, and the people we have come to know along the way – like Bridey – are so affirming, we can’t imagine not writing, or doing Daily Duranie.

When we reached out to Bridey a few days ago, we didn’t understand the full extent of her story, but something about what we’d read and seen intrigued us. How many people get local paper support behind a campaign to meet the band? We just don’t know of a lot of people that go to that much effort. (including ourselves, but that is neither here nor there!) It turns out, the lesson was so much bigger than the dream of meeting Simon Le Bon, or even Duran Duran. We hope you all appreciate listening as much as we did.

I need to apologize, because our microphones, and even the video seem to cut out on occasion (that’s a problem with Skype), amounting to some sound and video problems.

-R

September 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

There are days, and then there are days. Today is the latter. I’ve spent my morning neck deep in the throes of webhosting madness, and now I am rewarded with a new Katy Kafe!

Roger was still in LA for one more day before traveling home, and found time for a chat with Katy to fill us all in on the DD happenings over the summer.

Mini-Tour

They just finished the mini tour and KAABOO Festival in Del Mar (just north of San Diego). Roger said he loves touring the west, making note of our constant sunny days and the positive energy he felt from all of the audiences. He and Katy also made note of the audience in Tahoe, saying that they were surprised by the amount of people who came out to see the show, saying that it felt more like a festival. They moved Wild Boys to the encore that night and ended up doing four songs for what he thinks may have been the first time.

Roger commented that he was happy to get “Anyone Out There” back out, along with “Astronaut”, and mentioned how lucky they were to do the NASA gig, too. He ended by saying how it “gets to a point in life where you’re really happy to still be in the room”, referring to the hundreds of other bands out there who were just as talented, but for some reason didn’t go the distance.

Above Ground

While in LA, Roger found time to attend a charity show benefitting Above Ground, an organization committed to working with musicians with varying types of mental illness including depression. The show featured many artists, including Billy Idol, whom Roger met that night for the second time.

The first meeting took place many years ago after Billy and his band Generation X played at Barbarella’s in Birmingham. Roger told a story about how he’d gone to see them play (they were his favorite band at the time), and they were booed offstage! During that time in Birmingham, punk was still very much on the scene, and Generation X had begun to slide a bit more mainstream – which did not go over with the crowd. Roger met Billy and had him sign his Generation X album, which remains the only album Roger has ever gotten signed.

When Roger met Billy in Los Angeles, he shared the memory of the show at Barbarella’s, and Billy remembered. I loved the anecdote, simply because it is endearing to hear of my own biggest idol meeting his idol. The only difference is that I’m still shy enough to where if I ran into Roger, I’m not sure what I’d say!

Album update

I know everyone chomps at the bit to hear news of what may be on the horizon. I’m happy to say that Roger was pretty forthcoming! He didn’t even need much prodding, and said that they are pretty well advanced on the album, citing Erol Alkan’s influence as producer, “He has given us a good boot up the backside!” Katy asked if there would be other producers on the album, and Roger said they worked a little with Mark (Ronson), and that there has been talk of Giorgio Moroder…but the bulk of the album would be completed with Erol Alkan.

The greatest news is that they’re hoping to have the album out by SPRING…which is amazing. Roger said that they had really only gotten back into the swing of things this past year, which means they’ve worked at a pretty decent speed.

Katy spoke of how it has been five years in between Paper Gods and this one (assuming it is released in 2020). I took pause at that. Has it really been that long?? I suppose so. I know that Amanda and I have tried to talk about just about anything but the album they’re working on – figuring that it will happen when the band is ready. Meanwhile, I guess we’ve all been busy!

Paper Gods was released in 2015, but as Roger explained – they toured the album extensively for a couple of years. So while it will be five years in between albums, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long to me. I would also say that having the band break up that time with the occasional run of shows has also helped!

The touring question

That brought the discussion around to why they haven’t toured in many of the places fans wanted. **Please note the disclaimer here. Do not shoot the messenger. **

If the band was able to tour so much with Paper Gods, why is it they focused on so few regions of the world?

Roger was very clear, explaining that “in America in particular, people do not forget [them] and show the love.” They are able to fill arenas, no matter how long the span of time has been from show to show. Katy continued, saying that she feels bad because she receives emails from fans wondering why the band doesn’t go other places. She says they don’t understand that while “they, and their friends…and even their friends friends will go see them, that just isn’t enough to fill an arena.”

In order to make touring in many places of the world economically viable, they don’t just need to fill an arena once, either. They need to be able to fill more than one, multiple times. Otherwise, the cost to ship and rent equipment along with transportation, housing, food, etc etc means that essentially, the band would be paying to tour, which wouldn’t work for long.

Vegas Residency Revisited

Katy asked Roger if they’d do a Vegas Residency. In my head, they’ve just done one – having played the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan six times over the past 18 months or so. That seems like enough, doesn’t it? Roger paused, and said that it would have to be something very cool, mentioning the show, Love, the Michael Jackson show, Cirque du Soleil and even Elton John. He mused over how it would be to stay in Vegas for any length of time, suggesting that it is not the same as LA or New York, and he doesn’t know if he’d like that. Katy suggested living in LA and then commuting to Vegas for weekends. While I don’t think a residency is really on their radar, it didn’t sound to me as though Roger was ready to write off the possibility, either. We’ll see!

New dates??

Katy suggested that maybe there might be new dates prior to the release of the album, saying that maybe the East Coast would get some love this time – although they did do the NASA show in Florida. So, my East Coast people – don’t be surprised if the band suddenly pops dates and pre-sales on you before the holidays!! That’s your warning….

Until next time…

-R

Three To Get Ready

the lasting first impression is what you’re looking for – “First Impression”

The excitement of unwrapping a new cassette, CD, or vinyl record, and settling into a new listening experience retains its sense of excitement no matter how old we get. There is something magical about hearing new music from a favorite band and, often, the first three songs of the album are a strong indication of where you are headed together. The trio of songs that open U2’s The Joshua Tree and Prince’s 1999 are astoundingly good and a huge reason both are considered classic albums. Does Duran Duran have a trio on the same level? Maybe not but it made for a fun Duran Dissection project.

Duran Duran (1981)

The camera shutter of “Girls On Film” is certainly prophetic given Duran’s success in front of it on MTV and countless teen magazines. Then you get “Planet Earth”, a song that encapsulates a moment in time when all the various styles of the 1970s were coalescing into a new sound that would change the world. While “Anyone Out There” might have made it back into recent set lists because of the NASA show, it would be hard to find someone unhappy about it. Not necessarily single-worthy, “Anyone Out There” remains one of the strongest album tracks the band would ever record. 

Verdict: A- (I decided to use letter grades since Amanda is a teacher and we need more heroes like her on the front lines of education)

Rio (1982)

From the dark clubs of the New Romantic movement to the world stage, the more colorful sound of “Rio” is pop perfection and succinctly captures the spirit of the 1980s. The trio gets a little shaky, however, with the album version of “My Own Way”. No matter how much I love this album, there is always a voice in the back of my head telling Roger to speed it up on this song. I much prefer the Carnival remix and the night version to the original album version but maybe that’s just me. I also prefer the longer version of “Lonely In Your Nightmare” on the remixed US version of the album. The mood and atmosphere are allowed more time to capture your imagination. 

Verdict: B+

Seven & the Ragged Tiger (1983)

Nile Rodgers gets the A for his remix of “The Reflex” because the original is pretty flat overall. Given the anticipation for this record, it is a disappointing start. “New Moon On Monday” feels more fully realized but then the album loses momentum again with “(I’m Looking For) Cracks In the Pavement”. While not a horrible song, it isn’t essential to the album. One of the weakest opening runs of any Duran Duran album, it might have frightened casual fans away from the magic that awaits on side two. 

Verdict: C-

Notorious (1986)

A statement of purpose, the title song ring in a new era of Duran Duran that feels a little chippy (at least towards a flaky bandit). Then, “American Science” sways like a palm tree in the dark. Full of sophistication, the new Duran Duran were growing up faster than some fans; including me. The sexy “Skin Trade” should have faired better as a single and rounds out a thrilling opening suite of songs. The overall mood of the album comes through on these songs and all hold their own individually. 

Verdict: A

Big Thing (1988)

I sense that the title track is a love it or hate it moment in the band’s history. In 1988, I was definitely a little hair metal kid so the punch of it instantly appealed to me. Then, the band delivers two of their finest singles. I’ll argue all day that “I Don’t Want Your Love” and “All She Wants Is” are stronger singles than “The Reflex” and “New Moon On Monday”. OK, maybe I’m stretching it, but this album was criminally ignored by the industry. 

Verdict: A-

Liberty (1990)

I just waxed nostalgic over Liberty here so I’ll keep this brief. The first two songs are solid introductions to a slightly uncertain time for Duran Duran. That uncertainty turns into a hot mess on “Hothead”. I’ll leave it at that.

Verdict: D+

Duran Duran (1993)

Please, please let me know. Are we officially calling this The Wedding Album now? Despite the slight hypocrisy of the lyrics in “Too Much Information”, the song practically explodes from the speakers after the timid Liberty. Where would Duran have ended up had “Ordinary World” not turned the tide on their commercial free fall? I’d rather not think too hard about that. Unfortunately, “Love Voodoo” hints at some of the uneven music that follows on The Wedding Album

Verdict: B

Medazzaland (1997)

Experimental, bold, fresh. There are so many words to describe the mysterious Medazzaland album. The opening three songs are all of the above-mentioned adjectives and more. The album loses its luster the deeper you go but the opening trio lays to rest any concerns about Duran Duran bouncing back strong from the critical mess that was Thank You. It is hard to resist “Electric Barbarella” as a single. The percolating synths and guitars work well together. Its classic Duran Duran even if the video’s stab at humor fails to overcome the sexist premise.

Verdict: A-

Pop Trash (2000)

A new century of Duran Duran began with “Someone Else Not Me”, a fine song but a difficult album opener. Bordering on 60s psychedelic folk-pop, the song challenged us to open our minds to what Duran Duran could sound like. The opening guitar and drums of “Lava Lamp” could pass for a Matchbox 20 song before Nick and Simon arrive while the swirling “Playing With Uranium” manages a decent chorus. I find that I enjoy Pop Trash in a single listen so any three song run from this album leaves me indifferent.

Verdict: C-

Astronaut (2004)

And then they were back. “(Reach Up For the) Sunrise” has a chorus worthy of a stadium. It is contemporary but without sacrificing the values of early Duran Duran. “Want You More!” is the sort of synth-pop gold that the band used to dispense with ease. LeBon’s voice sounds particularly strong on “What Happens Tomorrow”, a mid-tempo rocker the band seems determined to put on every album since the success of “Ordinary World”. This time, it works out beautifully.

Verdict: A-

Red Carpet Massacre (2007)

Opener “The Valley” suffers from confusing production. This song should be a distant cousin to The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette” but it ends up trying to be something urban and hip. The title song and “Nite-Runner” are better examples of what the band was aiming for. It might have driven Andy to Ibiza and left me dreaming of what Reportage will someday sound like but this project has grown on me.

Verdict: B-

All You Need Is Now (2010)

Such an incredible album, the band hasn’t kept any of the songs in the set list since the tour ended supporting it. I’m not bitter. Yet. The title song is the best Duran Duran single since “All She Wants Is” and introduces an album that holds its own with the band’s best work during their imperial phase. “Blame the Machines” and “Being Followed” get the adrenaline racing with the perfect balance of synths and guitars. This is Duran playing to their strengths in every respect.

Verdict: A+

Paper Gods (2015)

One of the most instantly intriguing opening tracks the band has ever done. When the instruments come in, you can hear a little of M’s “Pop Muzik” buried in the DNA of the track. It’s an instantly likable blend of the band’s pop aspirations and art-school fixations. Of all the band’s albums, this one suffers the most from the sequencing. “Last Night In the City” is the sound of a screeching car crashing into a wall with some EDM blasting through the stereo. It feels out of place after the moody opener. “You Kill Me With Silence” feels like the appropriate follow-up to “Paper Gods” and doesn’t create such a disjointed listen. I could write an entire Daily Duranie piece on restructuring Paper Gods. Maybe, I will.

Verdict: C-

Someday, We Won’t Have a Choice

So in the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing this on Sunday night as opposed to trying to squeeze in writing time in the morning between school drop-off, groceries, and laundry.

Just a couple of hours ago, news broke that Ric Ocasek of The Cars was found dead in his NYC penthouse. He was 75. Earlier this week, news hit that Eddie Money passed away from cancer. Both musicians were a near constant on the radio back in the day, although I will admit that The Cars were much more of a personal favorite for me.

I was sitting outside on my patio, relaxing when I saw the news on Twitter. It was shocking enough for me to do a double take, and even as I sit here typing, I really struggle to believe it is all true. For me, The Cars were a mainstay. I have all of their albums, and I really can’t think of MTV
without remembering “You Might Think”. Tears sprung to my eyes as I read the vague news story about his death, thinking to myself that I would never have the chance to see The Cars live again.

This is why you buy the concert tickets.

Those words slammed into my heart as I thought about an argument I’d had yesterday morning with my husband. I’ve been priming him for a possible UK trip next year. I haven’t been abroad since late 2011 when I traveled with Amanda to see Duran Duran in December of that year. The trip was fantastic, and I knew even then that it wouldn’t be the last time. That said, timing is of the essence. We can’t travel when Amanda is teaching, and it is much harder for me to get away when I’ve got a child in school, too. The summer months are the only way, and naturally – I have no way of knowing when or if the band will do another tour in the UK. I’m hopeful.

The more I talk about our hope of returning, the more Duranies seem to be on board with the idea. Granted, it all hinges on whether or not Duran Duran decides to grace it’s own country with shows to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band with Simon as frontman. If they do, I think we have enough people wanting to go to seriously consider chartering our own plane. (not that we would…but we could!) Of course, this excites me even more, and I mentioned it yesterday morning.

The response was not positive. In addition to a litany of other things that are neither here nor there, blog-wise, he questioned why on earth I need to keep going. “Haven’t you seen enough??”

I couldn’t put it into words yesterday, but upon hearing the news of Ric Ocasek dying, I had no trouble. THIS is why.

Like many of you, Duran Duran saved me when I was in middle school. The band was the one thing that kept me going. I felt like such an outcast back then. You think I’m socially awkward now? Ha! I’m not being melodramatic – I’m being real. Adolescence was a tough time. I hated nearly every part of it, except for the moments when I would lazily thumb through a teen magazine in search of new Roger Taylor pinups or articles about the top ten things John misses most while on tour, or when I’d listen to “Is There Something I Should Know”, or even when I’d see the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” on MTV. Their songs are my songs – they are the soundtrack to much of my life. This fan community is my family. I already miss many of you, and it’s barely been a week. Someday, perhaps even very soon – I’m not going to have the choice to buy the ticket, or take the trip. I’ll be completely done seeing the band, whether I like it or not. Until then, I’m in a race against time to squeeze in as many shows, and joy, as I can.

I dread the day when we won’t have a choice to attend or not. Earlier this year, my friend Alana passed away after a serious bout with cancer. Not too many days go by before I think about how she and I talked about meeting at the next show. You just never know when it’s going to be the last time.

Buy the concert ticket.

RIP Ric Ocasek. Thank you for being just enough weird balanced with just the right amount of rock star greatness to keep me interested!

-R

A Durandipitous Sunday Night

It is rare when Jason submits an article to Daily Duranie without a title…and when he does, I take full advantage. “Durandipitous” is my newest word creation. It’s not a word, you say? It is now. -R

I wasn’t going to go. The amount of Duran Duran shows coming through Vegas since Paper Gods was released had worn me down. It’s an emotional experience to dig deep into my soul and light the fuse of nostalgia. And tickets are getting out of hand in Sin City. The last pair of dates left a sour taste in my mouth with two predictable and pretty much identical set lists. I could miss this weekend and hold out for a new album and tour while saving up to someday get a seat up front. 


A visit to Jeff and Jason’s pop-up shop on Friday got my juices flowing. Then, the Duranies met up that night at a Tiki bar and the cocktails started to flow. I met Larry, who first saw Duran Duran in Miami, FL on the Big Thing tour. Same as me! If nothing else, the Daily Duranie party on Sunday was a must for me. There is something special about the Duran community these days. We are survivors, and the band’s continued success is our sweet reward. 
Playing StubHub bingo, I hit refresh about 5,733 times throughout the meet-up to no avail. If I was going to clean out my PayPal fun money for a ticket, it wasn’t going to be a standing room, obstructed view night. Honestly, seeing the passion and swapping stories about Duran was all I needed. Instead, there I was, watching everyone go into the show, ready to head home. Then, a Paper Goddess walked up and granted me a miracle. I was in. Not only that, I was sitting next to the curators of the pop-up shop and two of the most inspiring fans I know: Jeff and Jason. This was Durandipity! 


Opening with “Hungry Like the Wolf” is a masterful stroke. As much as I love a moody, art-pop opener like “Paper Gods”, the energy of a major single sets fire to the room. The casual fans are instantly on their feet, which is essential to a good show. I’m not sure if “I Don’t Want Your Love” counts as a major hit, but nobody sat down after the opener, and the energy was building.  While “A View To A Kill” isn’t Simon’s strongest vocal, he sells it like an exuberant uncle playing James Bond at Halloween. 


If I came for one song, it was “Anyone Out There”, which had surfaced at some recent shows. The excitement of hearing that turned out to be just the start. I never expected to hear “Astronaut”, but the opening synth of “The Chauffeur” is when I officially lost my mind. It is the one classic that I never heard live, and I had not seen it on many set lists. The video cut out a few times so maybe the video engineer was even caught off guard. It didn’t matter, the pocket of Duranies that I saw the show with were singing at the top of their lungs and there were hugs and hi-fives all around. Next to “The Seventh Stranger” earlier this year, it is probably my favorite live Duran moment so far. 


The surprises continued with a rocking “(Reach Up For the) Sunrise” with the “New Moon On Monday” snippet, but the “Planet Earth” mash-up with David Bowie stole my heart. As a music critic, my fandom often finds itself in conflict with the more honest and rationale side of my brain. This Duran Duran show more than satisfied both sides of my being. The band sounded energized, playing with a little swagger instead of going through the motions and the set list was a gift to fans. What a night!


The recent NASA show obviously served as an impetus for this short run of shows, but the thematic arc of the set represented more than that for me. As cartoon spaceman flew around the screens above the band, I kept picturing MTV moon men; the award given at the Video Music Awards in the 1980s. Perhaps they still give them away but I can’t be bothered to go see what MTV is up to in 2019. Still regarded as a video band by many, the band have proven to be so much more and all the moon man imagery of this tour playfully pokes anyone who would disagree. 


It’s hard to choose a favorite set list from a band but Sunday night in Las Vegas is probably it for me. It delivered surprises and the band seemed to have an extra gear that, honestly, isn’t there every show. When a set list changes night to night, musicians cannot lapse into muscle memory and it leads to a better performance. I see enough shows to feel confident in that assessment. I count myself lucky to have been there singing “The Chauffeur” on Sunday night and even luckier to have found a tribe of so many amazing Duranies, especially one Paper Goddess who made it all possible. Thank you. 

Coming Out of My Cage

(yes, I know that’s a line from The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. It fit, and I’m in a hurry. Sorry!!)

This is going to need to be a super quick post, because I’m chin-deep in tasks that must be accomplished before I am allowed out of my cage tomorrow.

Alright, I’m kidding about the cage – but I really do have a lot to finish. You’d think the house could run itself for four or five days, but that’s not the case at all. Unfortunately, my husband is so used to me doing it all so that he can focus on his job, that he really isn’t going to be able to take over seamlessly during my absence. I’m just hoping the youngest makes it to school on time, isn’t left at school at the end of the day, and that no one (including the cats, dog & chickens), dies…which concerns me because at our last discussion, my husband said that feeding the chickens wasn’t his first priority, and that maybe I could just leave out enough food and water so they could manage until the weekend when he’d have time.

At some point, I’m going to use that last sentence in reference to something my husband needs for himself….so I’ve filed it away for later. Meanwhile, I’ve got things to do!!

I’d genuinely forgotten just how difficult it is for me to leave when school is in session – we homeschooled for so long that I grew accustomed to having flexibility. Yeah, not so much these days. This is the last time I’ll try to go anywhere during the school year, that is for sure. It isn’t easy when you don’t have support, and I really don’t have someone that can double for me around here.

Speaking of which, I need to remember to write down the schedule for feeding the animals…along with what to feed them!!

Moving on…tickets are printed, snacks have been bought, and I’m still working on laundry while I ask myself why I ever thought this was a good idea anyway. *sigh* Yes, it’s pretty much the same as normal around here. I’m pretty sure I’ll be reminded “why” tomorrow night as I cheer during (oh yes) “Hungry Like the Wolf”.

Off to fluff, fold, and eventually PACK!

-R

We’ll Light Up the Land

Welcome to Tuesday, or as I like to call it – two days before I leave for Palm Springs! I have a million items on my “to-do” list. I have a full-house of family. To top it off…we had no electricity from about 7am yesterday until about 1am today. Oh, and it’s also been about 100 degrees here during the day. So…yay?

It’s Travel Time!

I saw that some members of the band were already making their way to the west coast, or may already even be here, which is very exciting. It’s hard to believe the time has nearly arrived. I’m looking forward to seeing Amanda and my other friends this weekend!!

The thing is, and I think most will understand – I would swear it takes a super human effort to make it all happen sometimes. Getting out of here is going to be nuts. There are scheduling issues, I’m having to remind my husband of school start and dismissal times for my youngest, the chickens are something that my husband doesn’t not normally manage….and the laundry.

Oh….the laundry right now… ugh. Thanks PG&E for taking 18 hours to get our electricity back working. But hey, we’ve got power!!

Vegas Parties and Meet-ups!

Just a reminder that we are meeting for drinks in the Clique Bar on the first floor of the Cosmopolitan, both nights before the show. We’ll be there around 5pm, and everyone is welcome to join us. This is meant to be an informal, relaxing, and judgment-free gathering. If that’s something that appeals to you, and you’ve got time before the show, by all means come down and say hello. We’d love to hang out! There are snacks and small plates available at the. bar as well, which is one reason why we choose this place as our pre-show hangout in Vegas.

There is also a party hosted by other Duran fans taking place in the Chandelier Bar at 1pm on SATURDAY. We encourage everyone to do as much or as little as they’d like. The whole point is to meet people and have a blast!

Oh yes, there are several of us getting into Vegas on Friday afternoon that have decided to get together for early evening drinks. If you’re going to be in town early on Friday and don’t have plans – let me know!

Lastly… If anyone is still looking for Vegas tickets – I know of someone who may still have tickets available for 9/7 (Saturday) in Floor 4. Send me an email (dailyduranie@gmail.com) and I’ll connect you.

Can’t Forget Palm Springs

I don’t know if anyone is headed to Palm Springs on Thursday, but I will be there along with my sister. Our schedule is pretty tight that day, given that we’re driving from the central coast to get there – but I’m hoping to see people before and/or after the show! We’re not staying at the Agua Caliente this time, but we’ll be around.

I’m off to spend some time with my sister and oldest daughter…and tackle the to-do list!

-R

For a Point of View

Here we are, the final Thursday of August. This time of year is always sort of weird for me. In the past, I’d be neck deep in ordering curriculum for my youngest, or I’d be in the middle of beginning-of-the-school-year prep. There were a couple of wonderful years where I had a “real” job and would be feverishly updating rosters, creating attendance sheets or taking inventory at the learning center. (I miss working there, although you couldn’t pay me to move back to Southern California) In the midst of all of that, I’d be thinking about September 13. This year, I’m getting ready for a visit from my sister, and a trip to Palm Springs and Las Vegas next weekend, while adjusting to having my youngest in public school. (She absolutely LOVES it, by the way!)

That date is special because of two birthdays. The first is my dad’s birthday, and the second is that it is also the birthday for this blog and website!

I have this picture hanging in my room

I am living proof that grief isn’t a process with a beginning, middle and end. My dad died eleven years ago, and I still think about him nearly every day. For me personally, September 13th has gotten easier for me to manage each year. While I can’t help but think about it being my dad’s birthday, at one point I handled it almost ceremoniously. I’d light a candle, make a coconut cake because it was his favorite, think about my dad, look at pictures and nearly wallow in my grief, along with a healthy dose of self-pity. I needed that time to allow the grief to wash over me a little, I suppose.

But I refuse to take you down

I used to set aside September 13 to remind myself of how much I missed my dad. Truth is, I don’t, or at least I didn’t, let myself really spend time thinking about it on most other days. As the years have gone by though, I’ve gotten away from most of that. Typically, the days leading up to it are a bit worse than the day itself. It is like I dread the inevitable until it gets here and I realize (once again), that I’m fine. Sure, I acknowledge his birthday – sometimes I just think about it, and other years I’ll tweet something. Then I let it go. It isn’t the end of the world. Yet honestly, if I’m really going to be transparent about it all (and why not now? I mean, I’ve been at this nine years now), in some ways my world did kind of end with his death, and now – well, this is just the new normal. His face and memory is never far from my thoughts, though.

My son Gavin is the spitting image of him, but with hair – because my dad went bald when he was 18. I never knew him with hair! <big grin here>), and little things remind me of him all the time. At one time, the memories would be sad, and I’d cry at the oddest moments. But now – they’re oddly comforting. I miss him, but I’ve learned to accept that he’s gone. His birthday is still special. He would have been 79 this year, and that boggles my mind. And sometimes, like right now – I can’t even believe our family went through all of that. I have to remind myself that yes, he really did die. Grief is weird.

These words are like sand

Then, there’s the blog. Yes, it is true that one day, nearly nine years ago – I hit “post”, and our very first blog posting went live. This is also something that I need to seriously sit back and contemplate each year. On one hand, I feel like I’ve been blogging for about half my life. On the other, I almost feel like I’ve got to count the years just to be SURE we’ve really been doing this for nine years now. Could that really be?? Just yesterday, Amanda and I were conferencing about a writing project, and she said something about how we’ve been going to shows together for fifteen years now and I had to do a double take. Really? It’s honestly been that long?!?

Even yesterday, I agreed with Amanda when she said that we’ve been blogging for so long now that it wouldn’t feel right if we stopped. The blog is an extension of myself in a number of ways. I’m not really looking for validation in the way I know I was when we started. I’ve learned that much of the time—I won’t get it, and as it turns out—I don’t need it anyway.

I’ve written this before, but it bares repeating. I started blogging because I had the audacity to want to be liked. The blog was essentially a mouthpiece, and I used it. I felt personally empowered just by getting the words out, whether one person read them, or many – although I love hearing from people who felt something from our writing. That feeling has not changed since the day we started. I’m still as socially awkward as ever, and I’m grateful I started blogging.

Just get blown away

What has changed though, is that I realize I don’t need hundreds of people to like me in order to feel validated as a human, or even as a fan. For me personally, organizing a convention, or hosting meet-ups are very difficult things. I much prefer being in the back, behind the scenes, working on the logistics. I don’t enjoy putting myself out there, and pretending to be outgoing, when I know someone is right around the corner laughing and hoping for my utter failure. There seems to be quite a bit of that going around this community at the moment, and I’m not sure why. What I do know is that I don’t need it. If you are with me, we’re still having a meet-up in Vegas. We would love to hang out with people looking to have some fun before the shows – both nights we’ll be in the CliQue Bar at around 5pm, so look for us!

For Amanda and I, writing Daily Duranie is almost a way we pre-write for projects. As those projects take shape, we send out submissions to publishers, and as a result – we’ve had our fair share of rejections. Each publisher has their own format for sending in submissions, but every single one of them wants to know what “big question” your book proposal seeks to address and answer. The first “encyclopedia” sized manuscript we did tried to answer the question, “What is fandom, and why do we participate?” It was a huge question, and the manuscript was laden in research. Our second tried to explain our journey in fandom. We wanted to explain fandom by using our own experience. That manuscript was fun, but in hindsight – very watered down. We wanted our fandom to sound friendly and inclusive. The publisher wanted more of the dirt, and specifically, she wanted to know why Amanda and I are groupies.

*sigh* We’re not groupies. Maybe that’s the problem…but it’s not our thing. Thank you, next!

All the things we’d like to say

Simply put, I think Amanda and I had to do all of that writing in order to whittle away little-by-little and finally get to the good stuff underneath. Some people can do it quickly, and some of us have to write three full manuscripts along with full book proposals to get there. C’est la vie. Someone wise told me that eventually I’d understand why I needed to be rejected, and why I needed to write those full manuscripts. I’m getting there.

I felt good about the direction we were taking in the writing, but yesterday really brought clarity to everything we’ve done for the past nine years (and then some). The real questions—the ones we’ve been afraid to say out loud or admit to anyone but each other— are the things we really need to writing about and trying to answer. So we are. These questions are the reasons we started blogging, They are at the root of what we comment about most when the band is interviewed (and no, I don’t mean John and Simon’s clothing choices!), and they are most definitely the things we get the most annoyed by in general. While I can’t say whether or not a publisher will see the worth in our project – I can say that on a personal note, I’ve turned a corner. I know why I’m still here.

-R

Still Fangirling

I came by invitation

When I was in middle school, my experience as a fan pretty much consisted of buying teen mags, searching for pinups I didn’t already have, gabbing with friends about Nick’s seemingly new (to us) hair color, John’s fedoras, or maybe even Simon’s tiger baby pendant. I would listen endlessly to the Duran Duran albums I had, and whenever my friend Marsha’s mom agreed to take us to Tower Records, I’d search the record bins and inevitably I’d find new Duran Duran singles in there that I’d never heard of prior. As MTV arrived in my town and Friday Night Videos or Video One became a thing, I spent a fair amount of time waiting for the next video to arrive, or calling in to local radio stations, begging the DJ’s to play a request. Concerts weren’t really a thing for me, although I would sit and listen intently to friends who had either already seen the band at the Greek theatre (not many of us were that lucky), or were planning to go to the Forum in 1984.

I didn’t really have stories of my own to tell. No descriptions of late nights, running into a band member as he walked out of a club. There were no tales of sitting in lobbies, or trying to tail them from Milwaukee back to their hotels in Chicago. There were just the pinups, the music, the videos, my friends, and me.


Going on to somewhere

In many ways, those times were easy. The only way we could truly “compete” for Duran Duran real estate, so to speak, was through knowing everything there was to know about the band, and whatever we owned – pinups, music, t-shirts, and other merchandise. We’d each lay claim to our favorite band member, and hope no other friend decided to make a contest out of it…although I suspect that even then, we knew there was almost zero chance of any of us ever meeting the band, much less marrying one of them!

Decades later – and in a lot of ways it pains me to type those words (how can I really be nearing 50 anyway??) – fandom, or at least the practice thereof, has changed a bit for many of us. Hannah Ewens wrote in Fangirls, “Fandoms are a sphere where contribution increases with age, the more stories the better, the more access, the more information, the more gossip, the longer loving.” I’ve been thinking about quote that a lot this morning.

Back in 2003 as I attended my first Duran Duran fan convention, I can distinctly remember being fascinated by the stories. So many people I met had their own Duran Duran tales to tell. Stories of traveling, of meeting them in the 90’s, running into them in bars, hotels, restaurants. I wasn’t jealous, I was shocked. The world I never thought would collide with my own was right there, almost within reach.

A crush panic

I can’t really argue that as I’ve aged, I’ve done things that would have seemed completely out of this world in 1984. The very idea of ever being in front row, for example. In late 1983, as tickets for the Sing Blue Silver tour went on sale – my parents were dead set against the idea of even trying to get a ticket. My dad felt that I was far too young, and without having any older siblings (he absolutely wasn’t going to be taking me), I was pretty much sunk. My friend Marsha’s father stood in line the day they went on sale and came up completely empty. The tickets sold out very quickly, and she was sad when she came to school the following day. We stood around at break, listening to some of our other friends squeal in delight that they had not only gotten tickets, but their mothers – clearly wiser and far more hip than our own – had called a local ticket agency and gotten even better seats. Some of our friends were as close as third row, and their moms had no issue with forking over $100 or more to be up there.

This was 1984, I’ll remind you. One of my friends went to the Forum show, and I believe her seat was $11.00. Comparatively, $100 seemed like a fortune. It absolutely did to my dad when I told him later that night! After watching my dad’s face go from his regular ruddy complexion, to tomato red as he gasped in horror at the ticket price, declaring that he would never be “the kind of fool to pay those kinds of prices just so his kid could sit near the front of a damn rock concert!”, I figured front row wasn’t going to be an option. Hell, even just going to a concert was a long way off as it was. Little did I ever realize that someday, I would do exactly that…more than once!

My stories aren’t that amazing in the sense that no, I don’t have tawdry backstage tales, or memories of hanging with the band. I do, however, have some wonderful friends I’ve made. We’ve traveled to far off places that, back in 1984, wouldn’t have ever been in my biggest daydreams. My fandom is so much bigger at 48 than it was at 12 or even 13 – I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.

Midnight traffic in her eyes

My tears during Seventh Stranger in Las Vegas were as much about my youth and experiences along the way as they were the band’s. Seeing the images I remember of Duran Duran from the 80s, bigger-than-life onscreen, combined with the Duran Duran I know from today felt like a lightning strike on my heart. We’ve walked a lot of miles together. Duran Duran created a safe place for me during my most awkward years. They gave me a place to grow, to feel connected to others, and to be understood. They still do.

When I’m in the audience at a Duran show – I can see thousands of different versions of myself in the audience. The shy introvert, the confident mom, the girl who saved up extra change from lunch to buy her first Duran Duran t-shirt, the new mother who survived post partum depression, the middle-aged woman that isn’t completely satisfied with her life or marriage. The seventh grader who just wants to be accepted. We’re all out there, living the music, enjoying the moment, together.

“Being a fan means you don’t have to be the person you are in this moment, restricted by time, space and circumstance, rather you can be strengthened by and exist through all the others you’ve been.” (Ewens)

-R

The Music is Louder than All of their Roar

August is a tough month for blogging. You’d think by now, Amanda and I would have figured this out and agreed to take the month off from blogging each year. For most of the world – August is a vacation month. For us, August is a rush to get back to school, all the while thinking about all of the things we didn’t finish this summer.

One of those things we didn’t finish is a project that we’re going to keep working at. Part of me wants to hurry up and write because I don’t want to miss a window of opportunity. The other part knows that this is going to take a while, and I shouldn’t beat myself up because I wasn’t able to get anything done this week.

I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t talk about our project online. Some of that is because I don’t know where it will go – if anywhere. I also don’t want to put pressure on myself to get something done. That said, I like throwing ideas out there via blogging, because sometimes it sorts through what I’m thinking.

Shackled and raised for a shining crowd

Lately, I’ve been reading about pop music. Not really a stretch, I know. However, the research I’ve been working on has to do with WHY people like pop music.

Did you know that pop was originally created for women? It’s true. Even back in the days of Frank Sinatra – one of the original poster boys – the point was to attract women. It was created so that women could listen to it at home while cleaning house, or later on -piped into businesses because it kept women calm, and productive. There was even a thought that if women listened to music at work, they’d be less apt to gossip, or form groups (unions) to protest work issues.

Pop music wasn’t meant for listening, oddly enough. It was originally created as music to be played on cheap speakers, so it didn’t need to have the depth or the musical texture that rock music – music made specifically for men to listen to on expensive sound systems – required. Pop stars weren’t picked because of their talents or musical abilities. They could be taught how to sing. They were marketed based on their looks, as a package deal. If you don’t quite buy into what I’m attempting to sell you, just ask yourself one simple question:

Having the time of your life

How many times did you read Tiger Beat, Seventeen, Smash Hits, Bop! Magazine, or Jackie (among a myriad of others) and actually read about the music? How many times did you read music reviews in those magazines? Concert reviews?

When I first stumbled across this notion, I immediately started going back through old teen magazines. Was it really true? They never talked about music? Really? NEVER? I couldn’t believe it. What’s more – I was appalled at myself for never noticing, but it was true. The true “teen” magazines didn’t cover music. Ever. They might suggest in an interview that a new album is coming out, or a tour might be taking place – but there were never in-depth looks beyond that. They’d be more apt to discuss Nick’s fashion sense than what keyboards he used. Why is that? Just think about it.

What’s more, I never noticed.

Scandal in white on a tangled vine

I would gleefully tear through those magazines each month, scouring each issue for all the articles on Duran Duran. I’d dissect the magazine, making sure to carefully remove pinups or photos I wanted to keep. Never once did I ever consider WHAT I was reading. I just knew that Nick loved champagne and strawberries, Roger was incredibly shy like me, and John’s nickname was Tigger. What more did I need to know?

It kills me that I never wondered why the music wasn’t discussed…and it wasn’t! Not only did they sidestep the issue, they completely and totally ignored that “small” facet of the career of any pop star. It came down to top ten lists of things they liked, and why they would “break your heart”.

Gross. And I fell for every word. Hook. Line. Sinker.

It can only bend to a tune of its own

This isn’t to mean I never cared about the band’s sound. I very much did. I would study each new album as though it were a textbook. In fact, if I had spent half as much time studying for school as I did Duran Duran, I would have easily been my class valedictorian.

I just don’t remember reading that much about their music in magazines. The pop magazines didn’t cover them, and critics mostly ignored Duran Duran. I’d grab whatever books I could find (Book of Words, anyone?), and much of what I learned came far later.

Spinning a compass to choose your way

I also talked with friends about music. The funny thing is, when I think back on it – there were friends I could discuss music with, and friends I could not. The first group were the people who listened to a broad variety of bands. These were people who subscribed to Billboard, or collected albums. They would sit on the concrete sidewalks, leaning their backs up against the school building and talk about the latest music.

Then there were the small circles who spent far more time trading pinup images in the quad area at lunch. They’d spread out their jackets for sitting, flatten their brown lunch bags on the grass, and set their sandwich, baggie of potato chips, and Hostess Twinkie on top, along with a napkin. They’d quickly munch on the sandwich, and then unzip their backpack and pull out the latest issue of Tiger Beat for group perusal.

I always felt too intimidated to share much in the first group, and would quickly bore of the second. I wasn’t a moody artsy type, but I also wasn’t quite the clothes, hair and shoes, type of girl, either. I would flit back and forth, trying to soak up as much as I could.

Which ever way you can be sure

I still feel the flush of heat in my cheeks when I think about the magazines I loved as a kid never covering the music. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was swept into the “romance” of it all, without even thinking twice. I’d venture to guess I wasn’t alone.

-R