Tag Archives: fandom

Look out of the Window

Is anybody bored yet? To be fair, I’ve had quite a bit to do here at home. Cooking and cleaning for the family proves to take up quite a bit of my day. I can’t say I’m all that domesticated, but you know – I really have no other alternative at the moment. Woe is certainly not me when I look around and see that I have it far better than most.

Even so, boredom is a thing. I mean, one can only disinfect so many times, right?? I have learned to crochet – the one thing I can truly say that most females on my mom’s side of the family kind of passes down from generation to generation. Up until now, I’ve been incredibly resistant. But this year, I decided I wanted to learn how to both crochet and knit before I turn 50. Let’s just say I’m “practicing”, and leave it at that for now.

I also had kind of a spur of the moment meeting of sorts with Amanda yesterday. It was the highlight of my week, although at the time we were working the kinks out of an idea we’re putting together for next weekend!

Collectively, a few of us have ideas of things to do to help console one another through this unusual period of time, and also help others at the same time. While I won’t give away details and steal his thunder, be on the lookout for an announcement from Jason (VelvetRebel) – he has a great idea to keep you singing and dancing. In addition, Amanda and I are working on another Daily Duranie video party to take place next Sunday.

How can you be filled with doom and gloom while watching Duran Duran videos, interviews and other assorted gems, all while chatting with other DD fans? Our hope was to find a site that would allow us to watch videos and chat all in the same window – that way we wouldn’t have to mess with Twitter or use a hashtag to keep everything tracked and organized. We tested Zoom yesterday, and it seems like that’s going to work well for our purposes. If you’re interested in participating, you should go ahead and look into downloading the program/app now so you’re ready. We’re hoping to do the party in the middle of the day California-time, that way perhaps getting some people from other parts of the globe involved too. Be on the lookout for details as the week rolls on!

Along with all of that, of course – is Duran Duran. If you were online last Friday, perhaps you were treated to the sights of Simon attempting to answer questions from fans at rapid fire pace for about 30 minutes. It was amusing to watch just how quickly Twitter can go!! The questions ran the gamut from suggesting a good cocktail for pandemic lockdown (admittedly that was from me and no it did not get answered) to requests for Simon to be someone’s lockdown buddy. (no comments needed from me…or Simon, as it turns out!) All joking aside, there were also questions about his favorite B-side. (after a few other mentions, he settled on Secret Oktober, which of course as far as I’m concerned – is the correct answer!) The one thing that struck me, was how quickly Twitter devolved from being more of a running conversation right back to a firing line of questions and even demands from fans. When the band is online, it’s a tough situation. One of them, thousands of us – you can see the problem. I wish there was a better way.

Meanwhile, I have baby chicks to raise, and a couple of banners to photoshop – so I’m off! Remember to be on the lookout for fun fan things to do online this week! Stay safe, wash your hands, and keep the space!!

-R

I Won’t Cry for Yesterday

Simon might not cry for yesterday but I will. In fact, I spent a lot of yesterday crying and consoling others who were also crying. In this case, we shed tears over losing our candidate for president who suspended her campaign. Yet, I feel like this day of grief is no longer the unique, extremely rare event that it once was. Rhonda said it well yesterday–the world is off its axis or something like that. I have been feeling that for a long, long time.

Looking back, this feeling for me started at the end of 2010 with a significantly bad campaign loss followed up by the death of my grandma and beloved cat. I barely bounced back when 2011 hit me with a new challenge in the form of a proposed law taking any rights at work that ended up passing despite the consistent protest of hundreds of thousands. This directly led to changes at work that have made teaching so much harder, so much more stressful, so much less joyful. Still, I bounced back. Then, my father was diagnosed with a significant autoimmune condition followed up with my mother being diagnosed with cancer. (Thankfully, both are doing well.) Through all this, more and more stress was added at work followed up with the worst election results I could have imagined in 2016 along with rejections for our writing. With each event, I grieved. I raged. Then, I pulled myself back up from the dark hole of despair to keep going, to keep fighting. Now, it feels like the hits are coming more and more frequently whether it is concerns about my own health or being smacked in the face by reality when it comes to putting women in positions of power.

It used to be that I wished for moments of joy and for fun. For a long, long, long time, Duran Duran provided that. I look back at 2011 and as much as I’m shattered at thinking about the loss of my rights, I also think immediately about traveling to the UK twice. Those amazing trips counteracted the crap that was state politics and the hits on my profession. I could survive and push through because I had something amazing to pull me out, into the smiling warmth of sunshine in the form of fandom. In fact, Duran Duran has been that beacon of pure joy for so long that I assumed it would always be there. Having this blog and having shows and tours to look forward to have helped me to right my emotional ship for so long. I’m sure that some will say that a band shouldn’t do that or that fandom shouldn’t take on that role. Maybe not but it did. Of course, along with my fandom came friendship, most significantly, my friendship with Rhonda. I could not separate Duran Duran, fandom, this blog and her.

Now, even that aspect of my life has changed. It used to be that when Duran shows were announced or any Duran news would come out, Rhonda and I would instantly contact each other. “This is a Duranie alert,” one of us would voice to the other. We would especially use that for shows that we might be able to attend. This Tuesday, in the midst of finding out some test results on my health and a frustrating all day meeting at work, the band announced some shows. Two shows. In Vegas. There were no messages exchanged between Rhonda and myself. At some point, we might have responded to a tweet or two but no grand announcement with a debate about what we thought about given shows. This isn’t because we are angry with each other. We are not. It isn’t because we don’t love Duran Duran. We do. I think part of it that we are both so wrapped up with what we are up to that fandom is on the back burner. I also think it is because it is one more part of my life that is no longer what it used to be.

I look at my life like sand on the beach. For a long time, the part of the beach that was mine was untouched by the ocean. I built a career in the form a sand castle school and found people to surround the world I created. Everything seemed good. I had my people. I had my career along with my family and friends. I could push for something more fun, more joyful, to reach for the stars to fulfill some dreams. Rhonda and I could do some research and push to write a book begging for publication. I could think about expanding my social circle. Then, slowly, the ocean started to creep into my section of the beach. At first, it just washed away some of the sand-created school building. Then, the loved ones in my area began to fade with more and more splashes of water. All this means that I’m no longer reaching for the stars or trying to improve my beach. It is about keeping what I have, saving what is left. Now, in 2020, it feels like I have just a tiny sliver of what I did. I spend all of my energy not only saving that speck of sand representing me but also to make myself okay with the new normal as each loss of sand brings more grief, more frustration, more heartbreak.

So do I cry for yesterday? Absolutely. I miss the way things used to be when it came to Duran announcements. I miss feeling secure, feeling appreciated, feeling powerful at work. I miss thinking that the world was on the right track, moving towards progress. I miss feeling normal. I miss focusing on what could go right as opposed to spending all of my time making myself okay.

-A

The Closing Down

This week, like many of the last few, has been pretty intense on a variety of levels. As I attempted to hold on, emotionally, I found myself wondering what life will look like and be like next year at this time. What about five years from now? Ten? 15? It reminds me of when I was a kid. Every year, my dad would sit us kids down to talk about our goals. This meant that we had to share our ideas for our future. As a kid, I just thought my dad was being weird. How the heck was I supposed to know what my goal in five years should be?! Now, as an adult, I get it more. For example, I am starting to see retirement far on the horizon. Granted, it is just a tiny speck and too far away but it’s there. When I think about that, I often wonder what it will feel like knowing that it was my last year of teaching. Will I get sad with every last whatever? Will I just not give a crap? Will I spend time appreciating every moment? Is it better to know it is the end?

This leads me to think about Duran Duran and my fandom. When I was a kid, I never once thought about when Duran Duran was going to retire or leave the business or even break up. Likewise, I never considered that I might stop being a fan. Even, when the side projects happened in 1985 or when Roger and Andy departed, I never thought about the end. I just assumed it would go back to what it was like. I didn’t realize what it meant when the band recorded, Notorious, as a three person group rather than five. I just put my entire faith that everything would work out. Ah, the innocence and ignorance of being young. What if I did get it? Would it have been better to really get it and know things were changing as it happened?

As an adult, I have often thought about the end of Duran Duran. Just to be clear before people start screaming at me–I’m not wishing that or thinking that is happening. I think as I have gotten older and have started to deal with some health issues, I have realized that not everything lasts forever even if I want it too No one has that much control, especially me. Whenever I begin to think about the end of Duran, or my fandom, I just go back to the question I asked above. Would I want to know? Would I want to know if this next album would be the last? What about the last tour? Would it be good to know? What about my participation? What if I know that a show is going to be my last–not just the last of a tour or until next time but the last last. The final. The end. Would it be better to know or not?

This is obviously not an easy question. If I knew it was the last album/tour/show, would I appreciate it more? Maybe. Perhaps, I would take time just to appreciate, to stop and smell the roses more. I could see myself documenting everything more. There might be more photos, more everything. In some ways, I think that would be great. I would try to capture as much as I could and I wouldn’t haven’t any regrets at the end. On the other hand, would this make it harder, emotionally? Would I be too sad to really enjoy myself? Would I be too worried about capturing it all that I wouldn’t actually experience it? I don’t have a good answer but it does make me wonder.

-A

I Still Like the Fairy Tale

A few years back, I wrote a blog about Slow Food. It was kind of an odd topic, given that this is a blog about being a Duran Duran fan. While you can read the blog here, it was about the convenience factor of MP3’s versus vinyl. I thought about that post as I wrote this one today.

What is an album, anyway?

I don’t quite remember the date I wrote that blog (I should have looked and didn’t), but here we are in 2020, and while vinyl has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, it isn’t as though one can carry vinyl along with them and play them. Streaming has become much more popular since the time I wrote that post. Using my own kids as the example, they almost never buy music.

Read that last sentence again. My three kids (I have a 23-year old daughter, a 20-year old son, and my youngest girl is 11) almost never buy music. They all stream. No one buys a thing, besides the premium subscriptions to whatever streaming service used, of course. I try not to think about that very often, because it makes my heart and head hurt. No liner notes? What about the album covers? No comforting hiss as the needle connects with the vinyl groove?? What?? Everything is played on a phone or a computer, streamed through a Sonos speaker (an obvious plug for my husband’s company!), or whatever-you-prefer.

Essentially, this means that for the sake of argument, kids today don’t really know what it means to have a cohesive, seamless album. To them, it is a collection of songs, and that’s at BEST. Many times, it isn’t even that. It’s one song. Maybe they put it into a playlist, maybe they just do a shuffle of a variety of artists/bands they like.

What do you mean, a collection of songs?

This is incredibly different this is from my own listening habits. Even when I stream, it is rare that I don’t listen to a full album at a time. I don’t like the idea of jumping around, particularly when we’re talking about *gasp* listening to more than one artist at a time. I like hearing a full album from one artist – start to finish – and then moving on. Maybe I’ve just got a raging case of OCD!

The thing is, I believe each album tells a story. It’s up to the listener to get it – but it’s there to consume. At the very least, each album is a snapshot of that period in time. I like that. To me, Paper Gods, for example, is a tale of the band’s career from their beginnings to 2015. Seven and the Ragged Tiger as another example, is about dealing with fame and success. When I listen to those albums (and the others as well), I think about the lyrics, the music, and what the band may have been trying to communicate at the time. For me, that’s a huge part of the listening experience.

As much as I feel like my way – consuming the album as the artist intended – is right, there are many other people who like the idea of an album just being a collection of songs. Sometimes, the song order needs a good tweaking. Maybe the album order really has no purpose other than how it ended up on the record! Perhaps the album order isn’t as much about telling a story as placement for commercial purpose. I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a study proving that most people only listen to the first 3 songs on each side of an album, and that the front (A) side is listened to twice as often as the B side. I’m not surprised.

I want the fairy tale

My problem, is that I still want to believe in the fairy tale. I want to believe that every album has a story, that the band still loves making music for the artful sake of it. Tours are done because they enjoy playing live, and that they do the meet and greets with fans because they like them. I want to still believe they play where they want, and that business has little to do with it. How cute, right?

Cognitively though, I know that money drives most every decision they make, because it must. Someone has to be thinking about the bottom line, am I right? Writing this blog for close to a decade hasn’t always made it easy to believe in the romance of fandom. I know, for example, that after forty years, a lot of this is just the “grind” to them. They didn’t sell-out, they’ve been doing business! A band does things like put out five versions of an album, or releases concert dates like a coffee drip because it makes them money. They don’t announce dates because they want the same diehard fans to be able to travel from show-to-show. In actuality, they don’t care who is the seats as long as there’s a warm body in them. Even so, from time to time, I still want that fandom fairy tale. No, I don’t just want it, I need it. So for me, the album becomes a story that only a fan would completely understand.

With all of that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an album as a simple collection of songs. After all, once the band has finished their writing, recording, engineering and mixing, and the album has been mastered and finally released – it is no longer theirs. It is their gift, or their work, for those who wish to consume it. Their blood, sweat, laughter, and tears ends up in our ears, to have and hold. To listen, reimagine, and rearrange. It then becomes our own story, the way we wish to hear it. I can’t fault anyone for going the extra mile between skipping a song – which lets face it – we all tend to do from time to time, and rearranging an album. The way you listen to Duran Duran isn’t a determining factor of fandom.

I do wonder though, how many people out there really listen to an album as it is originally released, and how many like to change it up? I don’t mean putting entire albums into a massive playlist and hitting ‘shuffle’, I mean single albums. Do you listen to them ‘as is’, or have you created your own version? Why or why not? Drop me a line and let me know!

-R

Transcendence

Where were you?

I can’t ignore the elephant in the room this morning. While I don’t know how many people outside of the USA follow basketball, I know that most people who live here knew of Kobe Bryant. Yesterday, he was in a serious helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. None of the nine people on board survived.

At some point during the afternoon, one of the television news anchors commented that this would be one of those moments where we would all be able to recall where we were when we first heard the news. I was sitting on the retaining wall overlooking our side yard. I’d lazily picked up my phone, quickly scrolling through Facebook when I saw something my sister had posted about the accident. At first, I thought it had to be a hoax. Within seconds though, I was able to see it was real.

There are some people who just transcend. For example, I am about as far away from a basketball fan as possible. The last time I sat through a full game, Michael Jordan was still playing for the Chicago Bulls! Yet, I knew who Kobe Bryant was. I was neither fan, nor foe. As time wore on past his retirement from the sport, he successfully redefined himself from basketball player, to philanthropist and business leader. He earned the respect of the public not through words, but action.

Elevated beyond fandom

I think what surprises me most in this particular situation is that nearly everyone I know took at least a second to send their good wishes, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. It doesn’t seem to matter if you were a fan of Kobe, a basketball fan, or just a regular person – he transcended all of it. He was someone that people globally looked up to, admired, and/or hero worshipped. There are some people who are elevated beyond fandom. Kobe Bryant was one of those individuals.

This morning, I can’t help but think about how forty-one years wasn’t long, yet he did so much with that time. Now, I realize for his wife, family, and surviving children – it wasn’t nearly enough time. That, I understand completely. Even so, to most people who aren’t personally affected by the loss (beyond that of being a fan, I mean) – Kobe did an amazing amount of “good” with the time he had on this planet. That alone seems to be something to admire.

I’m sure some may point out that he had less-than-perfect moments. In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape. I watched as his wife Vanessa stayed by his side, even as Kobe admitted to adultery. At the time, I wondered if the seemingly perfect Bryant was really a rapist in disguise. I’m sure many people still wonder. It would seem to me, though, that the body of work left behind is worth a lot as evidence of the true person.

Legacies live on

Ultimately though, Kobe Bryant’s legacy will live on, at least as long as his fans are alive. When things like this happen, I wonder how I’ll feel when the day comes that one of my biggest heroes passes on.

I’ll be blunt (as always) – for me, Duran Duran changed the direction of my life as an adult. I became a blogger. I traveled a little, made friends, and learned a lot about myself, music, and people. The idea that people who created something so pivotal for me will eventually pass on isn’t a good one. I don’t know what that day will be like, only that I would eagerly opt out if at all possible. I’m sure that is how many of Kobe’s most ardent fans felt as they read the news yesterday.

Rest In Peace

My thoughts are with Vanessa Bryant, her surviving children – who lost not only a husband and father, but also a daughter and sister yesterday, along with the families of all those on board that helicopter yesterday.

Yes, it is likely that I’ll always remember where I was on this fateful day. Similarly to how I recall coming out of my sixth grade science & math classroom to see my friend Marsha sobbing over the loss of John Lennon in 1980. There are some things, and some people, that just transcend everything else.

-R

Back in the Saddle

Hi, my name is Rhonda. You might not remember me….

As you can see, we’re back. In my case, it was a very good recess. The thing is, normally when I say I’m going to take a break, I really don’t. I end up tinkering around on the blog, spending time online, and still doing a lot of “Duran Duran fan” sorts of things. This time, I didn’t, and I’m not sure I really missed it.

Back in 2010 when I wrote the first post for Daily Duranie, I will openly admit that I had very little else going on that didn’t have to do with my children. I felt like a nameless, faceless body without an actual identity beyond that of “Walt’s wife” and/or “mom”. I was aching for something else, and Daily Duranie became that something. For years following that first post, I gave my heart and soul to the site, the blog, and even to some extent – even the band.

This blog is about being a fan, but unlike Amanda – I also feel that this blog is about me. Each day I write, I share some of who I am with those who take the time to read. I try to be as honest (sometimes painfully so) as possible. It is 100% me. I don’t write as a distant third party. I’m not a journalist, my voice is loud and clear in my writing, and that is by MY design.

Amanda and I became The Daily Duranie. We heard the words every time we were together. I don’t speak for her, but for me, it became less about us as autonomous fans when it came to fandom and Duran Duran. We were called the Daily Duranie girls, or A&R, or AmandaandRhonda. (No spaces intended) We were permanently connected as far as Duran Duran or the fan community is concerned.

I didn’t mind. I liked being equated with this blog we created together. There is a great sense of pride that this little piece of cyberspace has become something that other people enjoy and look forward to reading. For me personally, I didn’t feel like I was anything other than “mom” for a long time. Writing the blog filled in some blanks for me. I felt a sense of purpose that went beyond diaper changes or school drop-offs, and the feels I’d get along the way checked off quite a few boxes for me.

I also believed that there was something else out there for me beyond being a wife and mother. I just had to find it. I was convinced that the blog would lead me to something bigger. Incredulously, many people within this community quickly embraced the blog. They’d seek us out when we’d attend shows, and it was GREAT to feel that love. I needed it more than I can explain, or even knew at the time.

Since that point, it’s been a rollercoaster. Sometimes we’re up, and sometimes we’re down. Such is life. Late last year, I asked Jason Lent – a wonderfully talented music writer and friend – to take one of my blogging days. It wasn’t an easy decision for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with Jason, but it worked out. I really believe he’s reaching a new segment of readers that we’d never have connected with otherwise. Quite frankly, he’s a much better writer than I am, anyway.

Looking back, I don’t know if I actually found that “something” I was searching for. I don’t have any more or less of a career now than I did in 2010. I don’t really have more friends, and although many people recognize me when I’m with Amanda – if I’m alone, I’m rarely approached. Contextually, I think that if I’m not with Amanda, it doesn’t ring a bell to anyone. Why would it? The point is, the identity I thought I had all this time really isn’t ME – it’s the blog. It’s a side effect, and while I am the last person who will complain, I think it’s worth noting. Truth be told, I needed a break at the end of last year, both from day to day writing, as well as just feeling the weight of writing for ten years. So, I took it.

I’ve used the free time that Jason has given to reconnect myself with music in a different way. I’m playing clarinet again, and I’ve been working on some longer-term projects here at home. I’m spending a lot of my time focusing on things that make me truly happy, and not so much on the things that make me feel pressured to be something I’m not.

One of those pressures, oddly enough, is this fan community. Back in 2005, I was overjoyed to have opportunities to travel, see concerts, and do the things other people did. With each tour, I would up the ante, trying to do more. Lately, I felt this immense pressure to go to things, whether it was because if I didn’t I’d let someone down, or because “I’m one-half of Daily Duranie”.

Hi, I am Rhonda, and I am addicted to the chase of fandom. This is something I’ve thought about a lot during my time off.

First of all, it isn’t just about me. I am not an island, and I don’t live alone. My responsibilities are to my husband, and to our children. For far too long, I let that boundary slide in favor of making other people, including myself from time to time, happy. I accept those consequences – of which there have been many over the years – things I never write or talk about.

Second, I write Daily Duranie. I help run the website – but Daily Duranie is not who I am. It isn’t a person. I’m Rhonda, and this blog is just my hobby. At one time or another, I tried to make it into more than that for myself, but it just isn’t. Square peg, round hole…or something like that.

I am grateful that I started this website. It provided me with something to sink my teeth into when the drudgery of motherhood felt endless. Ten years later, with one child completely on her own, another that is grown but living at home, along with one tween to go —that part of my life doesn’t feel quite as much like a dark tunnel. I have new interests, things to do, and not nearly as much free time to brood.

Over the past month, I saw a lot of people post and tweet about flying here, or there, to see the band when they play next. Fans twittered incessantly about the Funko figurines, t-shirts, and so on. Duranies posted photos of themselves with the band, talked about parties they were at with some of them, posted about things they knew the band was working on or planning. Little by little, I realized something huge.

This blog, the things I’ve already done, the people I’ve met, and the precious little I know about the band beyond what is publicly “known”, I think this might be as far as the fan experience, or even the “career” as a blogger goes for me with this band. Not that I’m quitting, gosh no, but that I’m not going to continue the chase for more. I’m satisfied right here. For so long, I really believed it would all lead to something else. I don’t know what that “something” would have been. A book? A career? I didn’t know, I just believed that if I worked hard enough and got to know enough people – something would surface.

Let me be clear – in hindsight I can see that many things broke the surface for me. I’m so grateful! I interviewed people I never thought I’d have the opportunity. I’ve been places I would have never gone otherwise. The fun I’ve had, well – it kept me going. Allowed me to breathe when I needed, and laugh when I was hurting. That alone, and believe me when I write that it has been plenty as is, might be my full ride.

The band is still sort of an enigma, at least for me. I don’t know them. Hell, I don’t even know the roadies! I still chuckle that even though we’ve written Daily Duranie for nearly ten years now, I can’t say I’ve had a photo with most of them. I’ve waved at a few of them though, and clinked glasses with Simon Le Bon. I’ll take that any day!

This light-bulb moment isn’t one of sadness though, although it might read that way to many of you. It’s actually freeing to type the words. There’s no need for me to pressure myself to get to more things, attempt to network with people who clearly do not care one lick about me beyond what I can do for them, or try to be this super happy, stars-in-my-eyes, insipidly positive person that all of you know that I am not. I can’t be everything for everyone. I owe the very best of myself to my husband and children. That’s it. It’s taken me nearly twenty-five years to figure it out, but there it is.

I write what I feel at the time. My honesty can be painful to some, and PR is not my speciality. I’m not a sycophant for the band or anyone else. I’m 100% me, and I’m doing it my own way.

I am happier and more content than I’ve ever been, believe it or not. I’m also still very passionate about continuing this blog. However, I am through jumping through hoops to prove myself to be a worthy Duranie, or friend. I am not everyone’s cup of tea – hell, I’m not most people’s – and that’s fine. I have a family to manage, a small farm/homestead to run, and while I care about friends – my family comes first. I will happily cheer for people who are able to head to the UK and beyond for gigs, but unless I get extraordinarily lucky, I’ll be applauding from home. My traveling days are pretty much done, and I had a good run.

Maybe some of you can count yourself among the inner circle, the backstage people, the VIP’ers that get into everything. For the unaware, those people are the fans, friends, and yes – even sycophants, that certain staff, management, or band members seek out in the audience and beyond, awarding them with access passes or tickets to other gigs and so on. I’ve had friends who have gone from fan to inner circle and never looked back. It puzzles and confounds me how some make it, and others never seem to past muster. I just know aside from some very brief glimpses, I’m still on the other side of the curtain with most of the rest of you.

Admittedly, that used to bother me. I worked hard, as has Amanda. We’ve written this blog for years. Didn’t that mean something? The answer is no, it doesn’t. We’re fans. The extra time and effort we spend writing entitles us to nothing. My past discontent with real life bled into my passion for this band, and only now can I see how much it distorted my expectations.

I still love the band. Their music brings me a great sense of joy. Whether or not I ever go to another show, meet anyone in the band, sit with insiders at a bar, or anything else, changes nothing about their music makes me feel. This knowledge is the easiest part of being a fan, and continues to fuel my energy and creativity for writing.

Much of fandom has been great. I have a few friends I’ve made along the way, and some of them have learned to tolerate me, despite my shortcomings! On the flip side, I’ve also felt the burden to stick around, pay for expensive tickets, and even travel places when maybe I knew I shouldn’t, purely to keep up with friends and their own expectations. Not something I’m particularly proud to admit, but it is the truth. I’m just saying, it happens. It did to me.

Going forward, and yes – Daily Duranie will continue, you should expect to read the same unabashed, sometimes bluntly written posts from me as always. That won’t change. You may notice that I’m not present at as many shows or events as I once was. I’m not sad about that. I’m actually relieved to admit that this band and their concerts are pricey, and I can’t buy-in the way I did several years back. That doesn’t mean I’m not a good fan, or that I don’t still love them, but that I appreciate my real life means just a little bit more these days.

Happy 2020. I hope you’ll keep reading!

-R

Howl at the Wind Rushing Past My Lonely Head

It happens like clockwork. It seems to happen every year at the same time. No, I am not referring to the fact that we get to move our clocks back an hour this weekend (I’ll take that extra hour of sleep, thank you very much!). I am talking about the feeling that each and every day is rushing past me, that I’m barely hanging out to my to-do list. It is a feeling like I’m attempting to walk a tight rope and one wrong move, one gust of wind and I’m falling, ready to crash and burn. What causes this every year? What is my plan to survive? What does this have to do with Duran Duran?

I know that I had the same feeling of being overwhelmed last year. I think I figured that it was the fact that I was working on a campaign that was reaching its conclusion in a couple of short weeks. Now, though, I can say that the campaign (and any campaign at this time of year) adds to it but it isn’t what causes it. No, it is all about teaching. This time period marks the end of the first quarter of the school year. Practically speaking, this means that I have a lot of grading to do as well as report cards to fill out. Did I mention that I have 120 students? More importantly, it means that I can no longer deny that the school year really is here. I cannot go back to summer. No, I have to push through to get to the next summer. On top of that, I have to admit that these grand ideas I had about how much I would be able to do in addition to teaching related tasks were simply that; grand. They were also false. I’m lucky to get even a part of my work done on any given day. Forget about organizing my closet. That is definitely not going to happen. Nope. It is hard to do those extras when I’m working between 50-60 hours a week as well as everything I need to do to maintain a household.

So, now that I recognize that this is my reality, how the heck am I going to survive it? I don’t have any shows coming up. I don’t know when Duran might drop the next album. The answer is that I have no idea how to deal. You would think that after twenty years of doing this gig that I would get how to do it. In fairness to myself, the job has gotten harder. A lot harder. I keep trying to do various things in order to be more efficient or to create some sort of weird balance without being able to sustain the changes for more than a week or so. For now, I am trying to take it one day at a time while I brainstorm a potential solution for the 256th time.

One idea that almost always comes up when I mention this problem is to either quit my job and/or all of the other tasks that I do (like writing this blog post). First, when it comes to my job, there are definitely aspects that I would give a lot to change but there are others that I love. I have some great kids this year, for instance, and I love seeing my kids grow up, graduate and become amazing humans. On top of that, I kinda need something to pay my bills (not to mention Duran Duran tickets!). Moving on, what about dropping my political activity? As much as I would like to ignore what is happening, I would never be comfortable doing that. So, what about letting go of this? I could stop blogging. I could stop doing research and writing about fandom. I could. But I don’t want to.

Here’s the thing. One thing that I have figured out over the course of my life is that I need all of the above in my life. I would never be happy if I dropped the extras outside of my paying job. I just wouldn’t. Both activism and fandom are in my blood. They make up who I am. On that note, I’m back to where I started, trying to do it all.

-A

Do Crowds Just Make You Feel Lonely?

I was working on something a bit earlier that reminded me of how lucky I am to have found a place in this fan community.

It was a survey, and one of the questions had to do with where I found or created my current friendships. I answered that all of the friends I currently count as “close” are a direct result from Duran Duran.

How do you deal?

My circle of friends is small. It’s always been that way for me. Even back in grade school, I would have three or four good friends that I hung out with. I knew plenty of other people, but I wasn’t close with them. They were acquaintances, no more than friendly faces in the halls, I suppose. I think that when I moved on to college and joined a sorority, it was a culture shock. My house (small by most measures) had about seventy active members. I felt lost much of the time. There were about five of us who were in the same pledge class that grew close, but there was always drama of some sort. I ended up quitting about a year before I graduated, and once that happened – the rest of the sorority membership stopped speaking to me. It was bizarre, but taught me a lot about “friendships”.

Once I graduated, I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from college. A year later, I was married, and moved out of state. My friendships, so to speak, were all work-based. I guess I didn’t mind, although I have to admit that not having friends at my wedding seems weird now that I think about it. Even so, I didn’t mind not having a close friend that wasn’t my husband until I became a mom, and about that time was when AOL was “the new thing”. I joined online mom groups, and communicated with people that way, which really helped! Eventually, we moved back to California and those online friendships drifted. I wonder whatever happened to the women in that group. All of our kids would be Heather’s age now (she’s nearly 23). That is crazy to think about.

What do you say?

Anyway, that move back to California and to a new community allowed isolation to set in firmly. While I don’t think I noticed at first – I’m pretty content being alone – eventually I did. I joined a MOMS Club, tried different things, but nothing really stuck. Heather went to school, Gavin started preschool, I volunteered a lot, but I didn’t have a super close friend for a long time. I waved to other moms at school, went back home and did laundry. I became a Girl Scout leader, and tried to befriend my co-leaders, but not even that felt natural. I didn’t know anyone who was really like me.

It wasn’t until the reunion that I really got involved in this fan community. I don’t know how I missed it before. Regardless, I do believe in destiny to some extent, and I also believe that life has this crazy way of showing you what you need, as long as you listen. I found a group of friends here. There aren’t that many – I mean, yes, I know a lot of people. I know OF a lot more. But my truest friends—the people who know me, recognize that I’m a bit of a hot head and like me anyway—are remarkably few. I can count them on about one hand.

Last year, we moved away from the neighborhood and area that I called home for 21 years. The only part of the move that was difficult for me was saying goodbye to my coworkers and quitting my job. I didn’t ever fall in with the group of neighborhood women down in our cul-de-sac that planned playdates and went to dinner once a month or did group dates with their husbands. I just never felt like part of that crowd, so moving didn’t bother me.

You might find something to last

Despite the ease in moving, I find myself in the sort-of familiar position of isolation. My youngest goes to school, and our neighborhood is made up of retirees for the most part. There are younger people here, but finding them takes effort. So, I did something I swore I’d never do again, and that’s volunteer for the PTO. (Parent Teacher Organization – not sure if they have these in the UK or elsewhere, but basically they help the school staff in a variety of ways!) Our PTO was incredibly cliquey back in my old neighborhood and once I got out, I insisted I’d never go back. I went to a meeting last week at our new school though. We’ll see….

Then there are my Duran friends. These are friendships I treasure. No, I don’t see them that often, but to think that the only reason I met any of them was as a result of this band. Well, it’s a gift, really. Say what you will about fandom, or about traveling to see a band, but it’s given me some fantastic memories, and friends I treasure. I don’t ever feel isolated when I’m online talking about Duran Duran, that is for sure.

-R

Why Don’t They Drop the Bomb

The annual list of nominees for the rock-n-roll hall of fame came out yesterday and I spent the better part of my day haunted by the idea of the Dave Matthews Band being inducted. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely owned their first two (three if we count Remember Two Things) CDs in college. One of my favorite concert moments ever was seeing Dave, Tim Reynolds, and Jack Johnson singing Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks At Forty” as a light rain fell on the lawn at Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, HI. It was magical. Remembering that moment tonight reminded me to stop worrying and love the bomb.

The bomb? Are you high? 

(writer winks at cat)

Simon LeBon famously declared that Duran Duran would be the band to dance to when the bomb drops. And you know what, we will be dancing to “Planet Earth” if that ever happens regardless of whether they are recognized with a picture in a museum in Cleveland, OH. I’ve been to Cleveland. I’m not sure an offer to have coffee with John and hit an art gallery with Nick would lure me back (note: I’m lying, I’d walk there for that). Duran Duran does not need this validation and, in some ways, I hope they never get in. The Hall of Fame is a broken concept because a lot of people have forgotten what rock-n-roll is. 

Iron Maiden. Judas Priest. Motörhead. T. Rex. Kraftwerk. Five of the most influential rock bands of all-time are still awaiting the call. The first induction took place in 1986. In 1986, these bands were either still making important records or influencing everything we heard at the time. The theoretical branches of rock-n-roll stretch in many directions but these five artists are huge parts of the damn tree. 

The Hall of Fame lost the plot years ago and realized their only chance at staying relevant was to deny entry to important bands to sustain interest. Knowing the loyal followings of KISS and Rush, the Hall kept them at bay for years to build hysteria. Are they doing the same with Duran Duran? I doubt it. The institution laughably nominated the Dave Matthews Band in their first year of eligibility. They really are that out of touch with the spirit of rock-n-roll.

Rock-n-roll is a spirit that cannot be seen. It is an attitude, not a guitar. It is the voice of youth, of rebellion, of change. It is not a lifestyle that you can package and hang on a wall no matter how hard Hot Topic tries. The two most disappointing parts of this annual debate are how few women are being recognized by the Hall and how much resistance there is to black music, especially hip hop, by the audience. 

The roots of rock-n-roll are in the Mississippi delta. From the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to the Riverside Hotel where Ike Turner and his band worked up the first rock-n-roll song (“Rocket 88”), the town of Clarksdale remains ground zero. Listen to the lyrics of Son House and Muddy Waters. They embody the spirit of rock-n-roll with songs about overcoming the institutions that hold you back from your dreams. You can hear the same spirit in the best hip hop artists who used the instruments they had available to them: two turntables and a microphone. 

As for the lack of female artists being recognized, the Hall continues to prove that the patriarchy will never concede their power. If the Dave Matthews Band is eligible, that means that Ani DiFranco, Cyndi Lauper, Liz Phair, Alanis Morrissette, Tori Amos, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, Bjork, Mary J. Blige, and Annie Lennox are also eligible. These voices are more important to rock-n-roll than a band that sang “Hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me.”

Why aren’t I talking about Duran Duran more? That’s my point. I’m more disappointed by artists such as LL Cool J and Alanis Morrissette not being recognized. I could write 5,000 words on how Duran Duran was a subversive reaction to England under Thatcher and was more politically successful than the Sex Pistols (actually, I want to do that, soon). Or, how John Taylor’s bass lines are revered by other musicians and Nick Rhodes is a mainstream Brian Eno. But, it wouldn’t change the minds of those currently running the overpriced museum in Cleveland.  

Instead of knocking on the door of an institution that lost sight of why rock-n-roll is important to each new generation, we should be celebrating Duran Duran’s annual snub as a call-to-arms. With each new album and sold-out tour, Duran Duran are laughing at the Hall of Fame. It has reached a point that the Hall cannot admit they were wrong. Had the band stopped after The Wedding Album, the Hall would probably have inducted them when the band was hanging with Justin Timberlake; if only to seem relevant to the Timberlake demographic. But they didn’t and we should not think about being nominated ever again. Someday, the bomb really will drop and we still have Duran Duran booked as the house band. I’ll take that over a statue in Cleveland.

Is That Good Enough For You?

Turns on the animal

Sometimes I wake up, go through my morning and cannot figure out what to write about for this blog. I’ve written about this very thing before, but the ending is different this time so stick with me!

So today, like pretty much every day, I went through the motions of taking a shower, getting ready, then coming out and feeding the pets. First the cats, then I walk outside (it was 39 degrees F this morning, which was wonderfully brisk!) and take care of the chickens. Then I come back in, get coffee going, make sure the youngest is up, downstairs and eating breakfast. We leave the house at 7:40 and that’s when I turn on Feedback.

Sees the possibility

I know I’ve talked a lot about Feedback lately. Truthfully it’s because I finally have a vehicle that has satellite radio. I’ve listened on and off to Lori’s show(s) since she first announced being on Feedback, but nowadays – I can listen regularly. So, I try to listen every day. I might not get an entire show in, but I hear at least half. Sometimes I laugh, other times I’m yelling at Nik (oh yes), and still other times, I’m inspired. Today was that day.

This morning, they had Sarfraz Manzoor on, who is the author of Greetings from ‘Bury Park. His story was the inspiration for the recent movie Blinded by the Light. Ultimately, the movie is about being a fan of Bruce Springsteen.

He’s got the answer

One of the topics they discussed was how it felt to have Springsteen give backing to the movie. They talked about how Bruce showed up to the premier and then the afterparty…and Sarfraz said something so poignant, I’ll never forget it.

“Imagine you create something that’s really personal to you, and then he… the person it is partly about, graces your premiere and says ‘I give my approval to it.’ You know what I mean? It’s not the same as me going to a concert or seeing him on Broadway. It’s him coming to our party. And then he played!”

He goes on to explain that even crazier, after the “whole photography thing”, Sarfraz expected Bruce would go home. So he asks him, and Bruce answers, “I’m going to watch the movie with you.” And so Springsteen sat two rows in front of Manzoor and throughout the movie there is a silhouette of him, meanwhile the movie is going on and it’s about his (Manzoor’s) dad and all of these things…and he can see Bruce watching the film.

Stuff directly out of my wildest, craziest dreams…right there.

Doesn’t go away

Now, Lori and Manzoor (Nik too, although he was quiet and Lori took the lead here) go on to talk about the discomfort with how some characters in the movie love the Pet Shop Boys and think Bruce is over, and yet Springsteen was having to sit there and watch that in the film….but to me, that’s not really that important. (sorry Bruce, no offense)

No, I’m stuck back thinking about how it might have really felt to have that approval.

Here’s the thing – I’ve already admitted here that I seek approval, so this is totally in my wheelhouse, but can you imagine?

Several years ago now, I can remember chatting with someone online. At the time, Amanda and I were really hoping to have some sort of tangible acknowledgement from the band. Something beyond a follow on Twitter or a link on their site. Bear with me here, because this is tough to admit and write, but it’s true. At the time, I desperately wanted that approval. I wanted that validation, or so I thought. No matter what I said, how I responded, I don’t think I made my point clearly. This person’s response, and rightfully so, was that I needed to be OK with what I was writing completely on my own. I didn’t need the band to approve it. In hindsight, that person was right.

Don’t want illusion

It has taken me a long, long, time to come to terms with that. Did I think it would change my life or be an experience so profound that it might spark something in me? I don’t know for sure. I think it was definitely about validation though, at least for me. Approval and validation weren’t coming from any other places at the time for me, least of all from myself. So, I’d hoped to find that here. Perhaps that is saying far too much about myself, but I know that I’m a work in progress. If sharing some of my biggest flaws help someone else – so be it.

Since I’m in that introspective space, I’ll go one farther and say that part of my initial motivation for trying to write a manuscript and get a book deal was the band. It was as though I needed to get through all of that surface crap to really dive deep and find my own motivation. In a lot of ways, I wonder if that very thing isn’t part of what kept us from getting our projects published. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be sure, but I do know that I’ve changed along the way. The project Amanda and I are working on now is very different. Still about fandom, still about music, but Duran Duran isn’t my motivation. They, or at least the experience I’ve had as a fan over the years, is my inspiration, but it isn’t what is motivating me to write. No, that’s coming 100% from me.

Power glory ride

So when I say that I can’t really imagine what it must have been like for Sarfraz to have his hero show up and support his work, I mean it. I can’t. The emotion in his voice as he told the story was palatable. I mean, what fan wouldn’t want an ending like that? Is that enough to drive me, though? I don’t think it was enough for Sarfraz Manzoor, either. The approval from Bruce was just an amazing side benefit that was so big, he likely could not have dreamt it.

No, it’s not. While having the band’s approval and support would be otherworldly and of course, very welcome – that’s not why I keep writing. For me, this is personal.

Recently, I explained it to my husband. Some people do decathlons. It is a goal, and they train every single day to get there. Some people never even cross the finish line, but they are determined to keep trying and don’t give up. Other people start bands, or write screenplays. What about athletes who train for the Olympics? Many people never even get there, but they keep trying for as long as they can. For me, writing a non-fiction book that gets a publishing deal is my thing. That is my dream and I don’t want to give up. Writing this blog every day is part of that dream, too. It is almost like my brainstorm board, or my chalkboard. It keeps me thinking, dreaming, and working.

Now, I’ll share with you that no, my husband still doesn’t get it. He won’t ever get it because he is pragmatic, and doesn’t operate based on emotion. He’s very black and white. Writing makes zero dollars unless you are published and the book does well. Not just one tough thing, but two impossibly high hurdles in my way, I guess. As he pointed out to me, writing is actually costing money right now since we pay for hosting, research materials (research books are not cheap!), and all that good stuff. It’s menial, but it adds up. You can’t be a writer as a career if you never get anything published, or so he says. I could have continued arguing with him about that, but I decided to just let it go.

Won’t give up

This was my own light bulb moment, mainly because I answered my own “Why do you keep writing?” question. It’s not about the money (ha ha ha), or the fame (still laughing). It’s about reaching the finish line and doing it on my own steam. I just want to see it happen. For myself.

In a lot of ways, to circle this back towards Duran Duran, if I may – I think this is why Amanda and I have never tried all that hard to meet the band. I mean, yeah – both of us have gone to album signings and that was lovely and all – but I mean really meet them. Let’s face it, we’ve been doing this – the blog – for long enough now that if we really wanted to shove the issue, we could find a way. Many others of you have, and it is because it was worth it to you to do so. I get it.

I think about how even at the last show at Agua Caliente, I ran into people who went outside to see them pack up and leave. Where was I at the time? Oh, I was at the bar. Dancing to Duran Duran. What’s worse, I didn’t even feel a twinge of anything about not being there. I was doing what I wanted.

For me, the reasons for operating the website, posting the blogs and writing about fandom have far more to do with my innermost thoughts than they do about seeking approval from Duran Duran. That’s “the place” in my heart that motivates me and keeps me going day to day. The band, and this fandom, serves as my inspiration.

-R