Tag Archives: fandom

My Inner 14-Year Old is Screaming

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

Please please tell me now

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

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

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

Is there something I should know

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

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

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

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

Is there something I should say

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

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

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

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

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

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

That would make you come my way

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

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

-R 

 

Make Me Smile

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

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

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

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

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

Never mind. Nothing else to see or read there…

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

What about you? 

-R 

Trusting the Process

The holiday season just keeps on giving!!

Sure, the gifts might be small – depending upon how you may feel about pictures of the drummer “in residence” at the studio….

(does that mean he’s moved in for the duration?!?)

(that’s a joke)

(although really…maybe that would be more effective…)

(Ok, I’ve used too many parentheses… and now my WordPress editor hates me…)

The pictures make my day! The more the merrier, actually!  As I wander through my house, endlessly trying to find the holiday ribbon that was probably packed months ago, I will gladly accept even the tiniest of gestures to remind me that all is well. Seeing Roger in the studio, behind his drum kit, works for me!

At some point, the band will settle into the seemingly never-ending process of writing and recording, and the pictures may stop for a while. Until then, I’m going to cheer over every photo we get, and…yes…trust the process.

I don’t know how much “the process” has really changed for the band over the years. Naturally, technology has advanced, but beyond that, I don’t know if they really do things any differently. On this side, fans have the added benefit of being “plugged in”. Earlier albums seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I didn’t know they were recording until something was released. These days, thanks to the internet and social media, we are made more aware.

For me, this is a double-edged sword. I love seeing the pictures. I used to get so excited when they’d post snips of whatever they were working on. Some might even say we – or I – obsessed over details before we really knew they were even going to be real details on an album.  It wasn’t necessarily fair to the band. In hindsight I can say that doing all of that was part of MY process. I needed to learn how to blog. Understanding that I had a duty to be responsible with my words and opinions took me longer than I want to admit. The learning curve was a roller coaster, and at times I crashed and burned.

Balance is important. I might not be able to contain a grin, or a post or two when I see pictures indicating that the band is working in the studio, but I know that it is unfair to the band to dissect whatever new music may arise from this time before any of us even have it in hand. Not only would I be setting an unfair prejudice for their work, it would be unkind to fans. My hope is to be able to report on whatever progress is shared, without interjecting too much “early opinion”.  Overall, while the band is hard at work, I am hoping to be a bit more patient, introspective, and use my time wisely….once I finally unpack and find my holiday ribbon!

-R

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

We believe in the cold grey lights we dream

Hi everybody! I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday to post. I heard that there’s yet another reason to visit Florida in February (besides sun and warmer weather if you’re looking to escape winter!) – Duran Duran is playing in Miami Beach!

While Duran Duran announced a new show, I was busy and mostly unplugged yesterday. In just two very short weeks, my family and I will FINALLY relocate from the very busy OC, to a much smaller and peaceful town about five hours north. Yesterday we went to inspect our new house and do paperwork, which was joyful. The outside temperature was only in the 50s at our new house, even by midday, which only made me MORE excited to get up there permanently!

While I have been packing and worrying about how I’m going to make this all work (We’re moving just a few days before Christmas – and my youngest still believes in Santa!), I’ve also done a bit of reminiscing. We’ve lived in this house for so long that I can’t really imagine otherwise. It will be strange to be somewhere that my two oldest haven’t lived before, and my anxiety has been on overdrive, thinking about ways I can make the move seem less traumatic. Why? Because that’s what you do when you’re me, I suppose. I’m great at making lists in my head at 3:30 am.

All of the reminiscing has reminded me that not too many years earlier, I was in the height of my glory as a Duran fan. I had gone to the UK with Amanda, as she wrote earlier this week. My time there was fabulous. I saw so many new places, met lots of new faces that have now become dear friends. The experiences were both enriching and inspiring. I think about the shows fairly often. The memories are wonderful, comforting, and still manage to make me smile. Even more so though, I think about the travel we did while there. We were trains a lot. We saw quite a bit of the countryside, experienced winter markets, and tried new things. I fell in love with England and Scotland on that trip, and I really want to go back.

I remember walking through Bournemouth, which is a beautiful little town (as is Brighton and everywhere else I’ve visited so far). We walked along the shops and grabbed dinner with friends.  I can’t even remember the place, but the food was yummy and I was finally starting to relax. It began to rain at some point and so I bought an umbrella (I melt in rain, of course). It was zebra-striped and I had it up until last year, when it broke. I have no idea why I remember that so well, but I do.

Another memory I have from the trip was in Glasgow, after the show that Amanda described on her Sunday post. First of all, my blood is Californian, and I wholeheartedly admit that I froze from the second I got off the train in Edinburgh to the time I got back to California a few days later. I just could not get warm. So, one of my memories is of the cold weather. The arena where the show took place felt like it had its air conditioner on, as opposed to a heater, and I wore my big ski jacket until after the band came on stage, and I still remember shivering as the band busted through “All You Need is Now”.

Then after the show, we’d walked over to a hotel nearby, where there seemed to be a large gathering of Duranies. We grabbed seats and drinks, knowing it would be our final hurrah for that trip. As we sat and sipped, we look out the window and saw it begin to snow. Giant, fat, frosty flakes rained down, and while our driver worried about getting home – I remember thinking how magical the night seemed. I love that memory. I didn’t grow up with snow or even cold weather, so for me it was something out of a dream. Kind of like the rest of that trip, to be honest.

I need to break out of my reverie and get back to shopping online, wrapping, and packing!

-R

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

I am lucky to be the Monday through Thursday blogger because each year, right around this time, I am able to take a few moments and share my gratitude.

Today is Thanksgiving here in America, and while the rest of the world goes on about their Thursday, I will be cooking for my family. This will be our last Thanksgiving in this house, and I think for that reason, it will be particularly special. My two oldest are coming home, and it will be a quiet holiday here at home. I’m writing this ahead of time – on Wednesday – and will begin the marathon cooking session as soon as I’m finished.

Admittedly, cooking is something I don’t particularly love to do. I’m told that I’m very good at it, but then again – the people who say that are also somewhat dependent upon my cooking skills in order to eat.  <big grin here> I do my best and get through it, but I won’t lie – I’m looking forward to the following day when I REFUSE to cook, and force the family to fend for themselves.  This year though, I’m genuinely enjoying the challenge of getting an entire turkey dinner with all the trimmings ready with one oven and a microwave.

I want to say thank you to everyone who takes time to read our posts. We’ve been writing now for over eight years, and while we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve been so lucky to have people support us. There have been many times when I’ve felt like I’d lost my way, lo and behold someone – whether it was a friend or someone I’d never met – would take a second to tell me that something I’d written really  hit home. I’ve needed those boosts now and then, and I can’t thank you enough.

My small but steady and loyal group of friends continue to keep gratitude coursing through my veins. I am not one of those people who have thousands of friends, but the few friends I have are those I can count on, and I do. You know who you are, because you’re the people I text first when something goes right, or when life begins to implode. It has been a roller coaster year, and I’m grateful that even when I feel like I’m at wit’s end, you send reminders that vodka is the reason for the season, or that we are going to have the “breast” weekend ever in February. I belong to the best tribe.

Amanda, I’m so grateful for our friendship. This past year has sucked. Royally. There were times I felt completely paralyzed with fear, shock, and stress. I couldn’t even be a friend to myself, much less to other people, and you just waited patiently for me to return to normal. Most others might have walked away and you didn’t. I won’t forget that. I miss skyping, Vodka Fridays, and writing though, and once I get settled, maybe we can pick that back up again. We also have a mini-convention to plan, so there’s that too. Goodness!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Duran Duran and the DDHQ team. They’ve been patient and forgiving when I was anything but positive – something that I’ve learned from, and won’t forget. We really do try, along with an entire army of Duran fans, to keep the conversation going and the fandom growing. However, when it comes down to it, you are the reason(s) I started writing, and the reason(s) I keep going.

I’m going to go get started on the cooking. Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends, and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

-R

Twenty-Nine Years later – Decade!

Today is the 29th anniversary of Decade. TWENTY-NINE YEARS.  As my friend Durandy aptly wrote this morning, “I’m trying to let that sink in.  What a legacy.”

Indeed. You’d think by now, I’d be over this band. You might think I’d have heard “Rio”, “Girls on Film” or “Planet Earth” one too many times. Yet I’m not. I’m willing and ready to do it all again. I’m betting that many of you are just as ready.

It’s November, the month of being thankful. Well, I count Duran Duran among my many blessings. I am so thankful I can still go see their concerts, even if it means traveling by plane to get there. They are still performing. They’re still writing, even when many of their peers are not. We are lucky fans.

Just last night I had a crazy dream about them, which in and of itself is bizarre because I almost never dream these days, and definitely not about the band!  In this dream, I found myself quitting my job at a what I believe was an antique furniture store with coworkers I used to work with last year, and Amanda was waiting for me. We laughed about how I was now unemployed and had no money, but as is typical – we also talked about all the touring we were going to do, and found ourselves wandering about San Francisco (no idea why).

We were looking for John Taylor (as one does), and for some reason I knew someone – a past coworker – who knew where he was, but I couldn’t find the guy. So, we ended up at a bar. I know that’s a HUGE surprise. It shocked me too. The bar had an outdoor patio, and by the time we got there, I was tired and wanted to sit down. Amanda led us to a couple of stools along the perimeter of the bar area and I immediately sat, not really paying attention. Next thing I know Amanda is nudging me rather insistently and I look up. She nods her head to the side and I let my eyes follow only to see that it is Dom sitting in the table directly across from us.

Only something is different about him. His usually short, straight hair has been replaced by slightly wavy, not quite shoulder length locks. Almost as though he’d been growing it out. In my dream, I kept looking at him (not even trying to sneak them!) and thinking “Why?!?”

Equally, I am lucky that the band can still be my muse, and that I’m able to write about being a fan each day. Even so, it is a little difficult to believe we’re in the fourth decade here. Twenty-nine years after the release of Decade. Yet so much of it feels like it only happened a short time earlier.

This single band has had an indelible influence across so many mediums. Music, video, fashion, graphics, style and an entire generation of people like me…to name a few.  What a legacy, indeed.

-R

Basking in the glory of top fan

Ever heard of that “Top Fan” badge that is available on Facebook? I noticed the tiny little moniker that somehow made its way onto the top of the posts from people I recognized. It only shows up when one is posting on a page like Duran Duran, and not everyone has one, apparently. From the little I know, it is something that the math geniuses at Facebook derived an algorithm to apply for those people who post a lot on a particular page.

From the onset, it seemed like the whole “top fan” thing was a bad idea. I can’t speak for other fan communities, but the competitive nature of our own certainly makes it seem like picking fans and elevating them to top fan status would generally be a nightmare. Oddly though, not many have talked about it – at least not publicly. I don’t know if it is because the badge is so tiny that it’s unnoticeable, or if it is because people like me explained that it wasn’t the band choosing to crown people as top fans, but merely Facebook.

Can you imagine the bloodshed if it were John, Roger, Simon and Nick picking out the top fans?  Even if it were found to be DDHQ behind the act, I am convinced all hell would break loose. I mean, my goodness – even when the band used to participate on social media, fans would clamor for attention and regularly try to shut one another down, and/or shame one another in the process. The whole thing seemed sketchy at best, and if the band were involved – it was only a matter of time before the entire fandom erupted, nuclear-bomb fashion.

I really don’t know how long it has been that top fan status has been a thing on Facebook. For the most part, I didn’t notice it unless someone responded directly to me that had one. I found myself wondering how many times one would need to post or react to something before the algorithm would play out in favor. I didn’t know the answer or what might trigger it.

A few weeks back, there was a notification for me saying that I’d been “awarded” a top fan badge for Richard Blade’s page. Out of all the things….but hey, I was curious, so I claimed my badge. Not much happened. No heralding trumpets. Not even any confetti or congratulatory balloons, and to be perfectly blunt,  I don’t even know if I still have one on his page. Hey, it was something!

Then last night, I went to check out Facebook before I put my phone down for the night. Lo and behold, I have somehow been awarded top fan for the Duran Duran page.  I didn’t even realize I’d reacted much to their postings lately – but I guess I did!

Immediately, I began making retirement plans. After all, this must be the success Oprah warmly and kindly taught her viewers we’d find. (I just KNEW I’d learn and be able to apply something to my life  from watching her talk show for all those years!!) “Do what you love, and you will find success.”

I am living the dream, Oprah!!

I looked at my bank account this morning. It still needs some work…. along with several more zeroes attached onto the end of another real number, but you know – it’s coming. I feel it. I’m a top fan now. I’m at the height of my achievements! This is it!!

I explained to my husband that I could sleep in this morning because I’m a top fan now.  He looked at me a little quizzically as he walked out of our bedroom at 5am this morning to commute up to Santa Barbara.  Shame. Apparently he hasn’t figured out to do what he loves just yet. Poor guy. I’m sure my success will rub off on him though, and he’ll learn from me. Isn’t that how that works?

I’m going to get back to planning that retirement, though, so I have to wrap this up. I just need to set this blog to post, work on school with the youngest, do the laundry, wash dishes, take somebody to piano lessons, clean the litter boxes, vacuum, dust, make dinner, and wash the dog. Then it is back to basking in my glory.  I am a top fan now, baby!

I made it, Mom!!

-R

What is your most prized DD possession?

Sometimes, I have to borrow writing topics from “the experts”. Today is one of those days, as I try to untangle myself from the weekend and get moving. (Is anyone else struggling with the idea that Thanksgiving for the USA is next Thursday?!? How’d that happen???)

Over the weekend, and it might have even been yesterday – DDHQ asked fans for their most prized DD possession. I didn’t see many replies, but the few I caught were memorabilia like tour programs or signed CD’s.

When DDHQ sends out these questions, it takes me a few minutes of thinking before I settle on an answer worth tweeting. This time though, gut instinct took over and I tweeted right away. My answer wasn’t very exciting compared to those who tweeted signed photos or books or CD’s. My prized possession isn’t even my vinyl copy of Astronaut, signed by all five original members, although it’s a close second.

My most prized possession is the Encore CD set of the first time I saw all five original members onstage together in Costa Mesa, California in 2003.  I keep it hidden down deep in my sweater drawer and it is the one CD that isn’t already packed! I don’t really know why I’ve attached so much sentiment to one single thing. It isn’t signed, I rarely play it, and I didn’t even meet the band that night.  I suppose though, it has everything to do with why I’m a fan.

When I listen to the thunderous applause at the beginning of the concert, I know that I was one of those voices. We sat way back in the 16th row that night (“sat” is probably not the right word here. I jumped up and down. Shook like a tuning fork, even, but I didn’t really sit.), and I’ve never felt so much joy emanate through my body as I did that night. I couldn’t replicate the feeling if I tried, and I have. The memory of the concert that night still makes me smile and feel all tingly. I think it is that concert “high” that I still chase to this day.

Sure, the fact that all five were on that stage, playing together, is a wonderful memory. I am so grateful that I was able to be there and witness it. Andy was there, and I nearly came out of my skin when Roger stepped away from his set at the end of the show. I can remember seeing him walk to the front of the stage with his tongue hanging out of his mouth from exhaustion. I stared at John and Simon for most of the show, periodically pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming the whole thing. It was amazing and I could hardly believe I was there. Finally, after so many years! My heart still swells, just thinking about it.

There was something else that night though. I watched the audience before the band took the stage. People knew one another in the front. There was a lot of hugging, laughing, talking, and even some happy tears. I was so curious about all of that, because I knew no one aside from my husband, who was sitting next to me. It was an odd feeling. While I was overjoyed to be there like any Duranie might, I also felt just the slightest bit left out. I knew that whatever was going on with the people in the seats closest to the stage – I wanted to be a part of it.

There’s no question in my mind that my Encore CD from that show is  still my most prized DD possession. It is a memory from the show that changed everything for me. The friends I’ve made, the times I’ve had, and even the few encounters I’ve had with the band themselves – are in direct result from that show. I’m so grateful I was there.

There are plenty of moments from my Duranie life that I hold dear. I have fond memories of seeing Duran Duran (Nick, Simon and Warren) at the Anaheim House of Blues a couple of years prior. I felt that I’d left Duran Duran back in my childhood, only to have that “fan feeling” roar right back to life once again. That show in 2001 made me realize that I was still a Duran Duran fan, but it was the Costa Mesa show in 2003 that convinced me to participate in fandom. I wanted to meet people, make friends, and get involved.

Obviously, I took it a little farther than I’d planned. I’m funny that way.

-R

 

So today my world it smiles….and inspires

Not gonna lie, I’m in a mood…and I’m sick of fan squabbling.

I have a friend named Alana. (Hiya Alana!!) She is battling cancer, and she’s having a rough time. I worry for her.  Her battle is far more important than anything I’m going to deal with today or tomorrow, that is for damn certain. I don’t talk to her every day (in fact, it’s been a while), but I make a point to say a prayer for her every night. It isn’t much, and goodness knows who is really listening to my nightly rambles – but I try. I met Alana because of Duran Duran, oddly enough. We are both fans, and she came to a meet-up we had in North Carolina. I loved her (and her awesome hair!) immediately. She’s warm and friendly and kind. She’s the type of person you WANT to be friends with because somehow, you hope she’ll rub off on you and make you a better person.

Well, maybe that’s just me. I can admit my obvious failings and the need for inspiration and guidance!

I bring up Alana not because I want the world to know her business, but because sometimes, I need to remind myself that our fandom is filled with people like Alana. She’s quiet, well-liked amongst her friends, but she’s not necessarily the most well-known Duranie out there. She isn’t loud, and doesn’t really ever complain. I know for sure she doesn’t sit back in jealousy when she sees a photo of her favorite online with another fan. It is doubtful that she makes a note of how many times so-and-so has had the good fortune to run into Simon. I’ve never so much as heard Alana even grumble about missing a concert, much less complain openly about how other people always seem to be able to go.

I’m definitely not like Alana. I’ve done more than my share of complaining. I’ve whined about how the same people always seem to be lucky. You know the ones, they always seem to get front row. They go to shows over and over again with what seems to be a limitless bank account.  These fans know people, and they’re invited places that most of us couldn’t even dream about. Some fans are lucky, and damn if they don’t seem far luckier than I’ve ever been. I am by no means a perfect person, much less a perfect fan. The thing is, lately, whenever I start feeling the negativity rise to the surface – I remind myself that friends like Alana are fighting real battles. They’re worrying about things that I can’t even wrap my head around. The last thing I should do is throw my own negativity into the world when friends of mine are fighting REAL battles and never once complaining. Try a little gratitude on for size, Rhonda.

I’m pretty fortunate. I’ve done a lot of things that I never thought possible. I’ve met people like Alana – and there are a lot of them out there. I have a family and friends who love and put up with me. Every time I start to feel that green haze of envy come over me – hey, it happens from time to time – I remind myself of all of those things. I think about the fact that writing this blog has genuinely saved my life. Yes, many fans out there have had far more face time with the band than I have. There are people out there that have been able to turn their fandom hobbies into real careers. I could be jealous about those things. It’s easy to slip into the “Why not me?” mindset. I’m a mom, and a damn good one at that. It’s the one thing I know I do incredibly well.

I’m not perfect. I will openly and loudly admit that I’ve rolled my eyes more than once when I’ve seen the same people win contests, go to shows, be in front row, etc, etc. I don’t know why the world works the way it does. Spending time trying to figure it out, or poking holes in fan theories seems petty – yet I know I’ve engaged in those practices more than once.  I know I still slip from time to time, too. I’m no hypocrite – I’m not even remotely close to perfect here. People can change, and I’m working on it. I only know that I spend my time in gratitude for the Alanas in my life far more often than worrying and complaining online about why someone else is going to shows all over the country or is getting front row tickets. I’m a lot happier that way, too.

I’m closing this blog in a much better mood than I started, hence the title of the blog.  Maybe there’s something to that whole “gratitude” thing…imagine that!

-R