Tag Archives: fan community

Got To Do the Things the Way I Do

I’m giving you the news

This past weekend, my husband and I went out with a couple from our neighborhood. Like us, they moved in last winter, and have been acclimating themselves to the area. Unlike us, they don’t have children, and they still commute to the Bay Area (San Jose, which is about 2 and a half hours from here) during the week for work. Their home in Atascadero serves as their weekend home, and eventually they’ll live here full time. We went to a local wine bar in our tiny little downtown area, which was nice. While we were there, we talked about nearly everything under the sun, including this website, blog, and the writing project Amanda and I are working on.

For me, these little outings tend to make me feel just the smallest bit like a fish out of water. Most of the time, I’m the only one who doesn’t work, and so I don’t have a lot to add to conversation about high tech jobs, marketing, or engineering. On this night though, I had the opportunity to explain what I do with my days. Tentatively, I tried to give a basic overview of Daily Duranie, without raising the “oh my gosh, you’re a crazy fan” alarm bells.

I’ve got a right to say

I have decided it is nearly impossible to explain a fan blog. I mean, once I start in with “Well, I write a daily blog about being a Duran Duran fan…” and before I’ve finished, they’re already looking at me with an amused expression. I find that from there, the more I try to explain, the more stuck they are on the fact that I’m still a fan “at this age”.

Personally, I think it’s sad that more people our age aren’t big fans of something. On this night though, I dive in headfirst, no thinking it through before the words flow. I explain that I write this blog, and have done so for nine years. Then I say we’ve written several manuscripts that remain unpublished, but that we’re working on something new that really excites me.

To my shock, both want to know what I’m writing, and how it is working with a co-author long distance. Normally it’s at this point that my voice trails off, because is obvious that I’ve either lost their attention, or they’re going to quiz me about how big of a Duran Duran fan I really am. Invariably, it is also at this point when my husband speaks up, talking about his huge record collection. In some ways, I think he does it to try and cover for me, and in other ways, I know he believes the blog to be a waste of time. He might be right, but it has kept me sane for nine years, so I’m not sure I’d call it a total waste. Regardless, I’m pleasantly surprised. I almost never get this far! I realize that I have to explain what we’re studying in fuller detail.

If you know what it’s all about

I think it may have helped that this couple, or at least the male, grew up in Germany. He has an appreciation for Duran Duran and other bands of that era that is wildly unlike anything I’ve dealt with from men here. (unless of course you are a male Duranie – the “unicorn” of our species!) It was refreshing to be able to show excitement for what I’m working on without worrying about how the information was being received – it was obvious he had no preconceived notions about female fans.

I came away from the evening feeling very good about our project, and even about being a fan of Duran Duran, which was nice for a change. Normally – unless I’m surrounded by Duranies, like I was in Vegas, it isn’t even worth discussing my writing. Either my work is totally discounted because I haven’t been published (therefore it is obviously a waste of time) or I’m having to argue my points with someone who doesn’t quite get it.

It isn’t often when I feel satisfied, or validated in the same way I do when I’m with my friends, like a couple of weeks ago in Vegas. I fully appreciate when I’m explaining something I’m working on to people who genuinely understand, and even find value within what we’re doing. The word is probably “encouraging”. There’s joy in that for me, too. The idea that I can be myself – not having to hide part of who I am, or what I do, is so freeing. At home, my time is split between being “mom” and being “wife”. There isn’t a lot left over for me. Not many people understand that. For me, I have to find the time to fit in a blog, or to take notes on a paper, or even write. It’s not just about Duran Duran, either.

Always trying to control me

I’ve been trying to find a week so that I can start going to practice for the community band, something that has proven to be an exercise in futility at best. Either one of the cars is down for the count, thereby relegating me to the role of “chauffeur”, making my driving schedule impossible; or, like this past week – my trusty clarinet needs at least two pads replaced before I can really play. Naturally, these issues are temporary. I keep telling myself that if I really want to put myself out there and join this group, I have to just push through and do it. It reminds me of when I was young and my parents were trying to go back to school. In both cases they gave up because the hurdles were just too numerous, and too high to conquer. I refuse to be beaten, though. Not this time. This is one thing I desperately need, and I’m doing it.

If there is one thing about being a fan as an adult has taught me, is that it’s not easy. When you’re young – there always seems to be time. It isn’t hard to sit down and listen to an album or thumb through a magazine. As we get older though, free time is difficult to come by. The ability to go to concerts might be easier, but the logistics make it tougher. I find that I have to really want it in order to make it happen. The same holds true for writing, and even for things like the community band, too. I have to want it at least twice as much as I did when I was young.

I’ll put it this way, as alarming as it might seem: I need this. There are times when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of quicksand. The only way to get unstuck, is to follow my heart, even if it takes forever to get there. For me, that includes (but is not limited to) writing this project, and playing in the band. Those two things are on the life raft at the moment, and I’m not going to give in and let go.

-R

From This Cloud Where I Hang

Dangled in the blue

I quit Girl Scouts when I was in fourth grade. I think it might have been near the beginning of the school year, because I have no memory of actually wearing the green junior uniform my mom had bought me that summer. My brownie troop had combined with a junior troop, and several of the girls in that troop were popular, and immediately decided they didn’t like me. These fifth grade girls took it upon themselves to comment on every single thing I did wrong, from my clothes, to my hair, to the way I spoke. The friends I previously had in our troop stopped wanting to be my partner when we’d go on field trips, because the other girls made it very clear that anyone who hung out with me was as big of a loser as I was.

Slowly but surely, I stopped wanting to go to troop meetings. I’d been playing clarinet for a while by this time, and it wasn’t long before my dad suggested I make choices about what activities I wanted to stick with and ones I was willing to give up. Girl Scouts was immediately chopped because I knew I was the odd girl out.

I quit sorority in college for the same reasons, although there were financial concerns to help me double down on my decision. In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking when I went through Rush to begin with. I’ve never gotten along with groups of girls, and the more popular and/or catty they are, the worse it becomes. ZTA was no different. I had a group of a few pledge sisters that I was very close with, but other than that – many within my sorority house grew to dislike me. Let’s face it, I’m very outspoken, blunt, and quick to be annoyed by drama – and I was no different in 1991. I stuck out like a sore thumb, and believe me, I had no false hopes that I was liked by many people. When I left, I’m sure it was a relief for them as much as it was for me and my wallet. Fitting in was not an option for me.

I wish that I could be like you

I suppose you can say I’m socially awkward. I’m not insulted by that. In a lot of ways, I feel a little less weight on my shoulders when I just admit it. I’m not cool, I’m not put together. I’m me. That awkwardness sometimes makes it a little difficult to meet people, which is why I remain thankful I met Amanda so early on. She and I talk about that a lot, and I think that’s why we first decided to try hosting a meet up back when we’d started the blog. I mean, if she and I – two of the more awkward people on the planet, I presume (sorry Amanda) could meet and become best friends, couldn’t others? Shouldn’t we help other Duranies like ourselves find their people?

Our plan was simple: invite people to come hang out with us before a show. If NOTHING else, we could talk about Duran Duran, right? It is always common ground to start from. While I don’t take credit, we’ve seen wonderful friendships start at some of our events. I’m grateful to be able to see those connections happen. If something as easy as mentioning what bar we’re going to be hanging out at, and inviting others to join us, helps somebody find a friend, I’m overjoyed. The friendships have nothing to do with me personally, but it warms my heart to see somebody who might have just as much trouble in a crowd as I do, find their person to go to shows with. That matters to me more than I can even put into words.

As a result, we’ve been having meet ups for nine years. Whenever the band is touring, or has a show that we can get to – we try to do something. Although, Amanda and I are also the first to say we can’t always meet before every show we attend. We’ve tried though, and if we couldn’t meet before, usually do something after. We know what it is like to come out of a Duran Duran gig on a high and have nowhere to go, or anyone to talk to. So we try to plan something – even if it’s just sitting at a bar, or even standing outside of a venue to talk. We just try to include people, make them feel comfortable, and hope the community grows as a result.

Love is flawed now

This time, we’ve done some advertising for our meet up – and that accomplishes a number of things. First, every single time we go to a show and then get back home, Amanda and I get messages from fans who aren’t super involved in the community (or are brand new) saying they wish they’d heard about our party. No matter how many times we announce it here on the blog or on Twitter and Facebook, it is difficult to make sure everyone sees it. Running a Facebook ad campaign helps a little. Second, the ad works to get people curious about Daily Duranie, and from there they can look up our FB page, and then our website. Just like anything else, ads work to stir up traffic, and we need that from time to time, or else there’s never any growth.

The ads aren’t just to promote the party, even though at first glance that’s what they’re about. If someone can’t go to the party, maybe they’d look up our name and see our page, and then check out the blog itself. Ads are a great way to spread the word about our site and blog.

See the lawless cry

We’ve invested a lot of our own time, energy and yes, money, into Daily Duranie. This site and blog is our labor of love. It has never turned into a business for us, exactly, but I think Amanda would agree that we’ve both gotten a great amount of joy from it, and to be blunt- it kept me alive when not much else seemed to keep me going. I know some people think we’re crazy for investing so much into this, but the fact is – we’ve gotten more out of Daily Duranie on a personal level than we have ever put into it.

None of this is really about Duran Duran, though. We never had grand schemes that this blog would get us in front of a band member or four, Although, we’ve run into many people over the years who seem to be incredulous that we haven’t been given access to them. At first when people would tell us about how so-and-so gets free tickets, etc,I guess we were naively hopeful. That came to a halt quickly, though. In hindsight – we were foolish. Even if we had gotten in front of them, or had been given comp tickets, what then? No, we didn’t do this for free tickets, or for access—not really for any of that, although I’m sure that is hard to believe if you’re not Amanda or I.

The thing is, we write what we want to write. We feel what we want to feel, and we have been doing it that way for nine years. You don’t do something like this for very long, much less nine years, unless something other than meeting the band is your motivation (particularly because the closest we’ve gotten to them, collectively speaking, is in front of a stage at a gig). My motivation, to be honest – is just being liked. For once in my life, I just wanted to be liked, included and accepted, even with all my socially awkwardness. If I’m one of two people planning the events and writing the posts, I’m included!

Cut my cord now

Events over the past week or so have made me think twice, and maybe even three times, about what Amanda and I are really trying to accomplish. My biggest weakness is that I worry over what people think of me. I’m well-aware that there are some within the fan community that I’ll never quite win over. I know that I’ve written things that have upset people here and there. It is no secret that I’m not in the current “popular” crowd, and to come toe-to-toe with those people might mean dealing with their ire in force. I don’t like any of that. I just know that we’ve been connecting fans for nine years, and have no plans of stopping now. This time, I’m not quitting.

So here’s the thing: we’re having two meet ups in Las Vegas. They’re Saturday and Sunday at 5pm in The CliQue Bar downstairs in the Cosmopolitan. Amanda and I will be there hanging out and having drinks (and food) before the show whether a hundred people show, or we’re the only people in the bar. We would love company. If you’re already friends of ours, we can’t wait to see you! If you’re new to the community and don’t know anyone, we will happily introduce you to anyone we can. In all cases, expect that we’ll be chatting about the music, and having a great time!

I would be very unfair if I didn’t mention that there’s also another group having a Duran Duran Fan event in the main bar of The Cosmopolitan earlier in the day on Saturday – I believe it is at 1pm. I’m sure it’s going to be a great crowd of people. Amanda and I don’t feel like anyone needs to “choose” which event to attend, and we’re happy to see other Duran fans planning fun events for all of us to enjoy that weekend. Too much is NEVER enough, isn’t that right???

(I heard that somewhere…)

-R

Makes My Hair Stand Up On End

Synchronize but don’t comprehend

Lately, I’ve been stealing topics from Twitter. Shout-out to @BoysMakeNoise for drumming up such great discussion topics through his album surveys. (He’s also the brilliant mind from yesterday’s blog, and I failed to credit his genius directly!) They get me thinking, and that leads to writing.

The fact is, I have little to discussion in terms of actual “fandom” practices these days (give me time, because shows will be happening and I’m sure there will be much to discuss). So I’ve been going back through albums, listening and rethinking. Today is an Astronaut day.

What got me started on this particular album was a survey that @BoysMakeNoise posted on Twitter. It was a simple question – “What do you listen to more often?” The choices were Astronaut and All You Need Is Now.

All You Need is Now won by a virtual landslide, in case you were wondering.

Another moment I commit

The question itself is interesting because of its wording. He didn’t ask which album is preferred, just which one is listened to more often. Upon first thought, one might scoff and say it’s the same answer, but I’d challenge you to think again. For example, if you posed Notorious against Red Carpet Massacre and asked me – LATELY – I’d have to say RCM. I’ve been listening to that a lot lately for a number of reasons, but I still prefer Notorious!

So back to Astronaut. It was the first, and only album, for the fab five post reunion, and that alone caused me to listen to it non-stop for a long time. I knew every subtle nuance, every change in dynamics, and each drum fill. (probably just like anyone else reading!) However, after the Astronaut tour, I admittedly got tired of it. I put the album away, only to listen to a few songs here or there.

I’ve pulled Astronaut out every once in a while, and each time I do – I notice that I don’t need to hear it from start to finish. I tend to choose a few songs, skip around, and then I don’t need to hear it all again for a while. I can still remember how I felt when I first heard the album: mixtures of pride and excitement leveled with a teeny bit of disappointment that some of the demos I’d originally heard weren’t included or that songs were changed.

I’m addicted to the state you’re in

For a long time, I didn’t differentiate my excitement for being involved in the fan community, the joy of the band being back together, or even the elation of traveling to be with friends and go to shows, from the album itself. Those feelings were all entwined, tangled together, indecipherable from one another. Time has done it’s job, and I feel a bit less biased these days than I might have at the time it was released in 2004.

When I listen to Astronaut now, the album shows some age now. There are a few standout songs for me, like the title track, Sunrise, Chains, and even Still Breathing, but I find that a lot of the rest of the album is easy to leave behind. Unlike albums such as Paper Gods, or Rio, or even Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the songs don’t necessarily flow from one to the next. The theme of the album…if there is indeed one (I’d argue there is not), isn’t carried. There’s very little cohesion. Now, that’s not necessarily a fault of the band as much as it might have been the recording style of the day – I’m just glad that they’ve gone back to recording an album as though it is one complete story from the first song to the last.

Where it’s gonna end up, anybody knows

Oddly, these points don’t make Astronaut less endearing to me. I still love it because of what time it represents during the band’s history. I think there is much to love there – who would have thought in 1997 or 1998 that a brand new album from the original five members was just around the corner?? Instead, I find a great deal of satisfaction from being able to sit back and thoroughly examine Astronaut’s chapter in Duran Duran’s history.

I also think this discussion provides a great springboard into the topic of listening to complete albums versus playlists. Is there still merit to recording a full-album? I have to wonder how the band feels, as well as how fans feel about it in 2019…but that will have to wait for another day.

-R

What does Fandom Really Mean to Me, Eight Years Later

I’ve been pondering a question someone asked on Twitter yesterday.    Many of us have actively participated in this fandom for decades now, and he wanted to know our favorite moment.

My own response was easy: the convention I attended in New Orleans back in 2004. I loved every minute of that weekend. It was the first time I’d ever felt completely included in a group.  The fact that I’d gone to very few shows, or that I’d never shared breathing space with John or Roger didn’t matter.  Even though it was my first convention, or that I wasn’t a huge Warren-fan, no one cared. We celebrated the fact that we were all fans, and that the original lineup was together. So many of us relished that for the first time in our adult lives, we felt like we had “people”.

Cognitively, I recognize that I’m supposed to feel like my husband,  “completes” me. I feel just the tiniest bit guilty because that’s just not how it went for me. It was this fan community that completed me. Not my husband, not the band, but the community. The people I met. Friends. Those who shared in my journey. I felt right, for the very first time. If I could bottle that weekend, or my feelings about that weekend, I would.

Many other people responded with their own favorites, more often than not, they included the band in one way or another. Some cited a specific show, others mentioned a time they met one or more of them. Any fan gets those same gushy-feelings when they think about meeting a band member. I just don’t consider those moments as favorites.  I’m trying to understand what make me so different.

What does “fandom” really mean?

It is a question I think about a lot, probably more than I need, but I’m weird that way. I mean, if I tweeted that question right now, I’m sure I’d get plenty of answers ranging from it meaning the same thing as being a fan, or the “thing” we are a fan of.  None of that would be wrong. But what does “fandom” really mean to me?

I’ve met the band in passing, sure. I care about each of those guys very much, just like any other fan. I was thrilled when I met them, too. But for me, the idea of “fandom” is so much deeper than Simon, John, Roger, Nick…Andy, Warren or even Dom. (Sorry guys) I mean, the music brought me here, sure. But when I think about the word fandom, it goes beyond the music. Fandom, for me, is about the people, or the community. I spent a lot of time thinking about that yesterday, and even this morning.  What does “fandom” really mean to me?

That doesn’t mean everyone else who gleefully responded with tales of their meeting Simon or Nick were wrong, either. There’s no right or wrong. Fandom means different things to different people, nothing about that is wrong.

I’ll go one further: I sometimes wish my feelings about fandom stopped with just the band. My “relationship”, so to speak, with the band is simple. They write and perform the songs. I buy the records and concert tickets. We smile and say “Hi, how are you doing?” every few years. It is remarkably easy, transactional on many levels, and simple.

The relationship I have with the fan community is incredibly complicated. This blog hasn’t made the situation less entangled or messy. Even prior to blogging and upsetting people with my written words. I have never been one of those people that everybody loves. I’ve come to realize and accept that about myself, and while I wish it were different – I’ve also learned just to keep to myself for the most part. Popularity isn’t necessarily something I’ve needed in order to survive. All that in mind, I have a small circle of friends who know exactly who I am, and like me anyway. Those people came into my life because I was a Duran Duran fan, and stay because they are obviously as nuts as I am.

It would be far easier if I only worried about finding the band after the shows, getting photos and not bothering with making friends or being an active participant in the community. I just don’t think I’d be happy that way. I think I’d have already gotten bored with the process, to be honest. There’s something to be said for writing a blog for eight years, even if I have managed to make nearly everyone mad at me for something I’ve said at least once. (Then again, in and of itself, even that is an accomplishment!)

I think I’m using this question as a way to put my thoughts of the past eight years on a slow-simmer as I go about my business. As of September 13, Amanda and I will be entering our ninth year of this gig. This time of year always makes me a little introspective. Even our friendship has changed during the time we’ve written. We used to speak at least weekly if not daily, via text and email. Nowadays, it goes weeks, if not months. We’re both busy and I’m 99% to blame. She called me last, and I have yet to call her back. Not because I haven’t wanted, but because I haven’t had time or been alone long enough to really talk. I long for days when life returns to normal, but what if “normal” has changed? Everything is different and I haven’t even moved yet!

I avoid people when I feel out of sorts. For someone who loves to talk, I’ve kind of stopped.  I’ve held on to some things tightly, like music, memories, and things like that. Duran Duran’s music is a constant, and the fandom has kept me feeling rooted, even when I’ve felt unsettled.

-R

From Wembley to Website – my family

Get out your Live from London DVD’s, everyone.

On this date in 2004, Duran Duran played at Wembley Arena in London. During their Reunion tour, they played Wembley five times in the month of April and first of May.

April 13, 14, 24, 30, May 1.

The shows were sold out (of course!) and, lucky for all of us whether we were there or weren’t smart enough to board a plane and get ourselves, there – we have the Live from London DVD to enjoy.

I wasn’t even there, and I still believe the shows were electric. The band was on fire, and these were moments to never forget. It is difficult to believe it has already been fourteen years since those Wembley Arena shows. Sometimes I feel like I just blinked and ended up in 2018. Other times, I think about all that has happened.

In 2004, I was a fan but I barely knew a soul. I hadn’t even really been  to more shows than I could count on one hand. I didn’t have fellow Duran fans as friends, and trust me – blogging wasn’t even on the radar. I knew nothing about fandom other than I felt really silly about admitting that at one point, I’d spend entire afternoons scouring magazines for pictures and information about Duran Duran, or that I mapped out my entire bedroom so that I could plan how I was going to rearrange my posters. In 2004, I regained my sanity by joining a message board, and making friends with people that had NO problem admitting that they too, loved Duran Duran.

I write about it all the time – and every single time I do, someone responds, thanking me for writing the words they couldn’t. Before I joined Duranduranfans.com – I was isolated. My world consisted of taking my two kids (who are now nearly 19 and 21…and have a younger sibling who is about to turn 10!) to and from school. My socializing consisted of the ten minutes before and after school where I would stand and chat with other parents outside of the classroom.  I didn’t have friends, I didn’t “do lunch” (I still really don’t do any of that OC “ladies who lunch” crap. My real friends don’t live here and I’m pretty proud of that, actually.) Even so, I can honestly say my life was pretty damn dismal at the time. I should have been very happy – I had two beautiful kids, I was going to school, which I enjoy – but I wasn’t. I didn’t feel satisfied.

(I still have work to do)

I was looking for something. Anything. I needed a hobby, an interest…(and probably a job but we’re not going to talk about that) I felt SO unsatisfied with my life. For crying out loud, I was the president of my local MOMS Club, and then became an Area Coordinator for them purely out of boredom. I needed something. It was by luck that I found DDF, and that I was even brave enough to begin posting there.

The first women who were there (and yes, it was all women for quite some time) – Robin, RovOstrov & JTDuran, they’re the first people I really “met” online. They made it OK for me to be a Duranie again. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough because what they really did was teach me that it was perfectly OK for me to be ME. In a lot of ways, they saved me, or at least they helped me to save myself.

The only way I can even sort of describe how I felt that year was to ask you to imagine being thirsty and finding a natural spring somewhere. At first, you ask yourself whether or not you should even drink the water. I mean, you might get sick, right? But then, you convince yourself that since it’s a spring – chances are minimal and it’s probably healthier than the tap water you’re drinking at home. So you take a tentative sip. You sit back and let the coolness wash over you. I mean, you can feel that water hit your belly as you swallow and it feels great. So you drink more. Before you know it, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and filling up your water jug. You’re contemplating how you might be able to take more of it home with you because that water is so good you’re never going to be able to go back to just having tap water ever again.

Finding this community was just like that. No, it’s not perfect and yes, the people have changed a lot. Even so, it’s home for me. It isn’t purely about the band, or about the message boards, and it isn’t even about this blog so much as it is that this is my family.

Not that long ago, I tweeted to Dom that he had been around so long that he was a part of this crazy family whether he liked it or not.  It is true. We don’t all get along, and we haven’t all been fans for 40 years – but we’re a family. It takes all of us, from the band, the touring band, roadies, and management to fans, bloggers, website owners and everyone else in between – to make this fan community a family. Through good times, and really bad ones, it’s home.

-R

The door is standing open

Rarely do I find time to write three blog postings in a single day, but on this Monday, I make the time. For me, this post, which will publish tomorrow afternoon, is about processing, cleansing, and still more processing, I suppose.

A little more than an hour or so ago, I stumbled upon news that another one of our extended Duranie family members has passed. Her name is Lisa Amaral, and I am certain that many of you reading probably knew her. She was a regular on DDM back when it was a busy “crossroads of the world” for Duran Duran fans, and from what I can tell, she was loved by many. To be that kind of person…I don’t know what that is like.

Despite my sadness, I didn’t really know Lisa. We were not friends, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise as I write this. That isn’t the point. I had a great many friends that were close to her, loved her, and are incredibly heartbroken today. Their grief is palatable on every level, and I wish I could hug each one of them.

Back in my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to delude myself into believing tomorrow would always be there. I only had a few friends that died between the time of middle school and college, and just one that I knew well. It was simple to tell myself that someone dying when they were my age was practically unheard of, unless they were very, very ill. I was healthy, young, and had a lifetime ahead of me.

In my thirties, I lost a few other friends. One that was very close to me in my local MOMS Club, and that was a tragic loss. I started realizing, but trying my best to ignore, that a “lifetime” didn’t mean any particular length. You get what you get.  I watched my own father die from a disgustingly evil disease, but even then, I pushed that thought out of my mind because I was a mom and had things to do. Tours to go see. Bands to meet. Friends to make.

Now I am cruising through my forties. The time seems to have sped up with each passing decade.  I have lost a few very close friends, and seen many family members and other friends battle illnesses that are meant to kill. I am still a major procrastinator.  The saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is one of my favorite. I’m awful.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but somehow, I still haven’t. I see friends at events like the weekend in Las Vegas and many times I’m the one standing there…or walking by… hemming and hawing about whether or not I should even go up and say hi. I immediately assume that I’d be interrupting them, or that they don’t really want to be attacked in the middle of a hallway as they’re standing by, waiting for an elevator or chatting with friends. I saw a lot of people I knew that weekend, but very few did I run up to and say hello, or hug, even if I wanted. I was content to either just wave from afar, or say nothing. Yes, I’m shy, but I’m also not very good at approaching people out of the blue.

We don’t know if we have tomorrow. That is a concept I can’t seem to teach myself. I wasn’t friends with Lisa, but I knew her. I knew who she was, and I saw her that weekend in Vegas.  It is unfathomable to me that life can just end without warning in three weeks time, yet it happens all of the time. It’s hard to process that idea.

I don’t like the idea that over the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I will have other friends and family die. I worry that I won’t do the things I should do in the meantime, because it’s easy to slip back into that place where I delude myself into believing I have forever to tell people how I feel. It’s maddening.

For those of you reading who knew and loved Lisa, you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry. A great deal of my friends are posting about their loss, and it is a testament to Lisa that she has so many friends that adore her and are heartbroken.

When these things happen, I always think about how I’m glad I went to the shows I did, or that I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful for the friends that are willing to put up with me, and for those that push me way the heck out of my comfort zones, too. This time though, I’m starting to think that I need to take more chances with my emotions. I need to make sure the people I care about know how I feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

-R

Good seats, white flags and the Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party

Sometimes, I can be so naive it ends up being a little embarrassing.  Yesterday morning, I participated in the pre-sale for The Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I knew going in that the show was probably going in high demand, but I felt that with the DDM VIP membership, I’d have half a chance at good seats.

Let me define “good seats” for you, because I suspect my definition might be different from yours. Basically, I want to be closer to the front, not necessarily front row probably within the first ten rows, and in the middle. I’ve sat on both sides before, and while they’re not terrible, I like the middle best. Chances are, this has something to do with Amanda’s favorite being John and mine being Dom. Middle is what suits us, as the compromise. Before each pre-sale, we call one another and decide on how far over we’re going to be wiling to go, and how far back we’re willing to sit.

This time, since purchasing VIP meant that I’d be giving up food for the next few weeks (joking), we felt that spending $400 a ticket on something like 8th row was too much. That doesn’t mean that one of you should feel terrible for doing so, its just OUR limit. Yours can be different and that’s fine. No judgment.

Our trouble began when we found out the password was “Simon”. I joke, but Amanda and I agreed the pre-sale would either go really well, or be a disaster, and if it was the latter, Simon cursed us.

Dammit!!

From the get-go, neither of us were getting the VIP packages to show up once the sale began. Then once they did show up, we quickly tried clicking on seats. We’d select the tickets only to be told they couldn’t process the transaction. Then we’d get bounced out of the pre-sale and would have to re-enter the password, only to see that the seats we’d just try to buy were still available. We did this for five or ten minutes, panicking the entire time. I decide to tweet Duran Duran and tell them that I think the system is broken.

This is where my naivety came in. First, I was dumb enough to believe that anyone at DDHQ or DDM actually cared. Yeah, I know I wrote all about how they care yesterday. That was before pre-sales and as I said yesterday – this part IS business. The truth of the matter is, it’s not their system. It’s Ticketmaster’s system. DDHQ couldn’t fix it even if they knew what was wrong. I know that.  I just thought they should know that no one seemed to be getting anything. Secondly, never once during all of this did I consider that perhaps it’s just bad luck on my end. I wasn’t meant to get tickets today. Some people get them, others don’t. This happens for every single resale.  I just thought something was really wrong, like a server issue. What was probably really “wrong” was that other people, whether bots, scalpers or real people with quicker computers or phones or whatever, were probably grabbing the tickets from me. I was stupid in thinking that once I selected the tickets, they were in my basket. Nope.

This happened over and over again for over a half-hour. Never mind that it continued to require me to type Simon’s name over and over and over again, which was also really stupid. I suppose those are all measures to stop bots and scalpers, but I doubt it.

Then suddenly, I had third row seats. I was able to get through to the next screen to begin the actual payment process, and then Ticketmaster decided I needed to log in. I was amused at first because I’d already logged in and even in the corner of the screen it said “Hi Rhonda”. Yep, that’s me, I thought. It’s STILL me, motherfucker!! 

(I curse like a sailor during pre-sales and today I was pretty damn tame until that moment. My mother would not be proud.)

So, I typed in my password.

Nope, Ticketmaster didn’t recognize that combination. OK, try it again. Type slower, Rhonda.

Nope, still doesn’t get it. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Ok, asshole hamster working behind the scenes….I am the same freaking person I was an hour ago when you let me log on. GIVE ME MY TICKETS!  Why do I even have to log in? Can’t I just be a guest??!

(Yes, the song “Be Our Guest” came into my head at that moment.  Get your head in the game, Rhonda, I thought firmly, trying to redirect myself from the ear worm. You have no time for Disney movies, you’re buying Duran Duran tickets!!) 

Amanda saves me at this point from throwing my laptop. She suggests I use her password. Surely that will work, I thought.  I type very, very, carefully.

Nope. I try mine again. Denied again. It now says I’m locked out of my account. Bye-bye tickets. My stomach begins to do flip-flops and I can feel myself suddenly get very tired and a cold, clammy feeling washes over me. I am worried that if I keep trying Amanda’s, she’ll be locked out as well, so I stop. I tell her to keep trying, and I set about requesting a new password from Ticketmaster. Oddly, they sent it to me right away, even though I’d been locked out. I reset my password, time ticking right by. I logged back on. Everything seemed normal, except there were no VIP package seats available whatsoever.

From then on, I pulled nothing that was VIP.  Keep in mind, we are now about 40 minutes into the pre-sale. The realization that I’m not going to be getting VIP seats to this gig begins to dawn. I tell Amanda I’m done, that I just won’t go, this is a sign from the universe, and that I’m too tired to go on.

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

While all of this was happening, the other two people in our four person extravaganza struck gold. Literally, because they pulled two good seats in the third-row for themselves. Amanda and I were happy for them, but we were feeling pretty dejected at the same time. I mean, it sucks when things don’t go right. That’s not just me being a poor sport, it’s reality. It’s a bummer when you can’t get what you want. Ticketmaster and I are no longer friends, and I’m really not sure we ever were.

One of our friends sends a text, “Do you want us to keep looking for you?” I’m halfway tempted to say no, that I’m staying the hell home and that I hated Duran Duran, which is untrue on even the worst of days.  I didn’t really hate them. I hate the process. Trust the process,  my ass. (Sorry John.) I’m sick of this pre-sale nonsense. But I said none of that. Instead I said “Sure.” I figured they wouldn’t find anything or they’re just being kind, or that like us – they’d see tickets, select them, and be told they couldn’t complete the transaction at that time.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I continued to go through the motions of selecting, being denied, refreshing the “best available tickets”, entering the magic word (I have never typed Simon’s name so many times in a single day. Ever!), selecting different but still good seats, and being continuously denied. It was awful, and as Amanda cheerfully pointed out, “The very definition of insanity.”

I did not laugh or share her cheer. Instead, I groaned.

Our friends texted back saying they’d found a pair of tickets but they were way off to one side, and then another pair to the other side at the very edge of the stage. Nope. While we wanted to be at the show, neither of us felt comfortable paying $400 for tickets that were going to be staring at speakers or the wings of the stage. Picky? Probably so, but again – they’re our standards, they don’t have to be yours. I was just about to say goodbye to Amanda and head out to a piano lesson when I got another text about good seats in the sixth row, just to the right of middle by a few chairs. They were good, just back a pinch more than we’d agreed initially, but things change over the course of a pre-sale!

“Take them”, Amanda said. I could hear the white flag being raised in her voice. We were both pretty spent.

We’re going. We have good seats. We’re not complaining about our seats at all. The process though, kicked our asses.  While I’d heard about bots and scalpers buying up seats en mass before, I haven’t ever had this much of a problem getting VIP tickets in the past. It was a genuine mess for us this time.

Later on, someone pointed out to me that it was just bad luck, not operational issues.  They felt I shouldn’t have tweeted the band about it because it made me seem whiny. This person continued to say “It was your turn, and about time for you to have bad luck.”  The insinuation was made that Amanda get to do more than anyone else in this fan community and that they’re sick of seeing it. First of all, we don’t go to everything. We do what we can do. You do what you can do. But to go around wishing for one of us or the other to have bad luck is just mean.  I know that life isn’t always easy or peachy keen for either Amanda or me, but perception is everything. Point taken.

Sometimes pre-sales are really hard, and other times Duran Duran and/or the venue doesn’t use Ticketmaster as the agency and it all goes smoothly. We don’t expect to have good seats every single time. Overall though, Amanda and I aren’t going to be salty (my new favorite word, courtesy of my son) about this. We’re going to Vegas. We’re going to hang out over the holidays, exchange our gifts in person and drink at our own freaking Daily Duranie holiday office party, and everyone is going to be invited. What could be better than that?!

-R

 

 

I’m Not Thinking About the Future

I really cannot believe that for Amanda and I, this tour is quickly coming to an end. We waited so long for the time to come, and now those moments are drawing to a close. We do still have one final show to attend in Chula Vista tomorrow, and it has been a fantastic time so far. We’ve had great luck on this tour. Yesterday, Amanda and I took a drive up to Hollywood to see a friend of ours. (Yes Robyn, I count you as a friend now too!) We had lunch, wandered around Amoeba Records for a while, and then met up with a couple of other friends for coffee.

These other friends we met up with were from San Diego and Argentina.  (Shout out to Shelly, her daughter Rachel, Faby and Gerardo!) As we walked to Starbucks in search of a caffeinated afternoon-pick-me-up, I thought about luck.

I’m not one of those people who wins many contests. I don’t typically have the best fortune when it comes to running into band members the way some of you do. In fact, I could be given solid information about where they are at any given time and STILL not find them, which is kind of funny! (if it’s not meant to happen, it’s not happening – right?) I have several friends and acquaintances that just seem to have their life together. I’m sure they’ve worked very hard to land their dream jobs—please don’t read this as though I’m saying otherwise—but I haven’t quite “found” my dream job yet, I guess. I’m still sort of floundering and trying to figure it out. Later in life than most, but I’ve also spent twenty years at home with my kids. I am definitely not one of those people who has just had everything fall into place yet. I keep trying. I would probably say that I’m not necessarily lucky. Hard worker? Yes. Good at buying pre-sale tickets? Probably. (unless Ticketmaster is involved!)  But otherwise? Not quite sure about that.

On the other hand though, I have hit the jackpot and then some when it comes to my friends. I started thinking about all of the people I have met while being active in the fan community for Duran Duran. I know people from all over the world at this point. I have a very small circle of friends that I can count on to bring me up when I’m feeling down, talk me away from the proverbial edge as necessary, and within that small group, a couple of very close friends that push me to keep going when I most need it. Those same two are also not afraid to call me out when it is deserved, and remind me that life doesn’t suck, no matter how hard it seems at times. I don’t think they know how much they matter to me.

My days are pretty mixed up right now, but a couple of nights ago Amanda and I were recording a video blog to “review” (so to speak, anyway) the Las Vegas show. I think we rambled onto the topic of how sad we were going to be when we came to our last show. It was important for us to convey how we’ll feel when it ends, because let’s face it—we’ve ALL heard rumors over the past few years about how this might be the last album, etc.  I think that concern hangs over me at times like this.

First of all, going to see Duran Duran is my break. It is like planning a giant “girls weekend”.  That isn’t to say we couldn’t plan one without them, but there are girls weekends, and then there are girls weekends with Duran Duran.  I think most of you understand the difference. The band adds another dimension, and I don’t want to see that end.

Secondly, there’s the music. I thrive on live music. I love seeing bands play and being consumed by the sound and energy on the stage. I like being up close and seeing the band’s reaction. I love being farther back and hearing the subtle nuances I miss when I’m up front.  I can’t imagine never having that again with Duran Duran. Can you?

Then, there are the meet-ups that Amanda and I plan. Strangely, I haven’t always enjoyed those meet-ups, believe it or not! They push me so far out of my comfort zone of hiding in a corner, I can’t even tell you. When we host parties like that, I have to mingle and be social. For me, there’s a fair amount of anxiety associated with that. I always have that few minutes as we’re sitting there, all set-up and waiting for people to arrive where I wonder if anyone will show.

Thankfully, you people are typically gracious and don’t leave me wondering for long! People begin to wander up and say hello, and I meet lots of new people. I begin to relax. In Las Vegas this past week, we had a huge turnout. I saw people I hadn’t seen in at least five or six years, and there were moments that I really had to swallow a lump in my throat because I was so thrilled to see people. It made my heart so happy, and for those of you who weren’t aware—I really needed some of that happiness.  For me, this pre-show party wasn’t just a meet-up, it was like a family reunion.  I walked away that night having new appreciation for these parties.

When I think that after tomorrow night, I won’t be planning pre-show meet-ups for a while, it makes me sad.  Every time we talk about one party we’ve hosted, someone shoots us a message asking if we’re coming to their city to do another. Believe me when I say that I really wish we could.  The trouble is, these meet-ups aren’t a job for us, and so the cost in organizing, traveling and attending is completely on Amanda and I. So we do what we can.  The idea that we’ve done a few and now they’re over really does hit hard. It’s not just going to the shows that matters—it is rallying the troops, organizing events for fans, and really strengthening the community that matters.  I meant it when I said that our fan community is like a big, dysfunctional family. So our parties and events really are like reunions. I hope we have the opportunity to host more of them before future shows.

How long will it be before I see some of these people again? Now, of course I know that Amanda and I could plan parties without the band touring. In fact, we really are doing a Durandemonium convention in 2017 (Mark your calendars for August 10th – which is a Thursday, through August 13th – a Sunday!!!)  Even so, it’s not the same as a tour. It’s the whole “group therapy” thing—the concerts—that are missing. Sure, we could probably pay the band to play in the same way that people hire them to do private shows…. (How much are y’all willing to pay in ticket prices, because I’m pretty sure that band isn’t cheap! I highly doubt the word “affordable” would characterize a ticket to a convention where they were going to appear, in other words.)

When I stand in the audience tomorrow night and begin to cheer as they come on stage, I’m going to try my best to push thoughts of the future out of my mind. I am going to focus on the hearts beating all around me, and staying in the present for the show. Every single second of the show needs to stay with me until the next opportunity I have to do this all over again. But, during New Moon on Monday, I won’t be surprised if a few tears threaten to escape. I don’t know what it is about that song for me on this tour, but just hearing it reminds me of how much this band and their fans mean to me. I am so lucky.

-R