Tag Archives: fandom

Fandom Status: It’s Complicated

Jason’s blog yesterday, which you can read here, has kept me thinking. In it, he brings up the lyrics to “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and wonders about their context in today’s world.

I too, have thought about some of the lyrical content over the years, and not just of this band, but many others. I’ve admitted to listening to my fair share of hair bands over the years, and just one look at their lyrics or videos will tell you that women were often objectified across that particular genre. Yet, I managed to somehow ignore all of that in order to enjoy the music.

I think that brings up a subject worthy of discussion. So many people I know these days take stands and speak out on many issues. Politics, social (in)justices, and even religion. Often, I wonder how they are able to put that aside, or even if they put their feelings aside for music.

For example, what if you’re atheist and a band you’ve heard on the radio and have casually taken an interest in turns out to be Christian? Is that enough to drive you away? How about vice-versa – you’re Christian and the band has atheist members – as I know that to be the case with Duran Duran. What then?

What about if that band has political stances that do not align with yours, and they are comfortable speaking out? Would that make you uncomfortable, as I know has happened with some Duran Duran fans in the past. Is it really enough to force someone to turn away?

Then there are the gender issues. Duran Duran has their Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella, and yes – Hungry Like the Wolf – among others. How do fans reconcile those songs, lyrics, and videos, without compromising their own ideals? Obviously it must be able to be done, but how?

I’ve always felt that for the most part, music isn’t an area where *I* am willing to apply purity tests. My life and my belief system just isn’t quite that black and white. For example, I’m Christian, although I am pretty darn open-minded about it, and very respectful that my beliefs aren’t the answer for everyone. My best friend happens to be atheist, yet that’s never, ever been an issue for me. I respect her thinking. Very much so, in fact. We all find our own way, and in my case, I admit that I make it up as I go along! Don’t we all? I am similar about most social issues in that respect, and as I type, I’m not exactly sure where my own “do-not-cross-this-line” boundaries sit, with regard to music, that is.

Even so, other people do complain about the band’s past lyrics, or even their offstage behavior. I’ve seen many folks comment on past antics, getting so angry, and so offended, yet they’re still fans and show up religiously at every show. You can only scream and yell so loudly about your mistreatment when you turn right around and show up again, and again, and again, you know? It starts to seem strange after that. There is so much out there that could potentially affront, if not totally offend. Yet this band, and many others, have millions of fans, plenty of whom apparently see past the glaring, wild, and flagrant offenses, to still love Duran Duran.

Maybe we all should just mark the “Are you in a fandom” box with “It’s complicated”. We’re all human, and we all say and do things. Shit happens…Sex, drugs and rock and roll…Love is Love… and my favorite that I’ve only made up in this very moment, “I don’t know where my boundaries are until I run into them.” Fandom isn’t only complicated, it is downright messy.

This, by the way, is not a direct reflection on Jason’s blog post from yesterday. I am not finding fault with him in pointing out that lyrical context has somehow changed between 1980-something and today. He is absolutely right. Different things were seen as “okay” then. I appreciate his effort in pointing it out. (I also appreciate Lyrica Hall’s response that the lyrics directly say “Woman you want me, give me a sign”. Good point!! With that thinking, I have to ask, whom is really hunting whom?)

Not all lyrics stand up to the test of time, nor do all videos. Does that mean we should go back and not-quite-literally “burn” everything that doesn’t meet the social standards of today? How do you feel?

-R

Everything I Know About Fan Communities, I Learned From Watching My Chickens!

Raising babies!

Last year, I became a chicken mama with my first flock of hens along with one, very flamboyant, very-serious-about-his-business, rooster. My first flock is very tight-knit with a real pecking order that becomes very apparent if one spends any time watching them, which I do. Our goal was to expand our chicken population to twenty-four laying hens so that I could begin to sell eggs at a farm stand up at the top of our property. I know that sounds so…rural. It is. It’s nearly the opposite of what Duran Duran is, I suppose. Welcome to my life!

So, this past spring, I’ve gotten two sets of chicks in between the lockdowns, mask-wearing and store closures. I had one first set of eight chicks in the brooder that you can see below; and then later, another five were raised from teeny tiny babies to become hooligans that needed more room.

I swear there’s a point to this talk of chickens, so stick with me!

Tom rules the roost

As I mentioned before, there is a true pecking order in a flock. We call it a “pecking” order because that is exactly how the social hierarchy of a flock is determined. There’s some pecking, and hopefully not a lot of bloodshed, before it is determined which hen is at the top, and bottom. (did I mention that chickens are cannibalistic??) When new chickens are introduced – including when our rooster, Tom came to live with us (pic below) – it throws the pecking order out of balance and it shakes things up a bit.

This is Tom, our Silkie rooster. He might look pretty, but he rules the roost with a firm beak!!

Tom (I call him Tom-Tom) is at the top of the pecking order now. For a long time, he was not – but he’s made it very clear to a few of the hens that he’s not putting up with their BS. His relationship to the flock is different though because he’s the only male. The girls may not listen to him much, but they don’t challenge his position either. They accept that he’s there, and in some ways, he is their King.

Integration

Meanwhile, back to those chicks. The first set of eight chicks quickly grew out of the brooder and were moved to the halfway house at around eight weeks. Then the second set were moved out, and the first was integrated into the flock. Yesterday, we allowed the same of the second set of chicks.

None of this has gone smoothly. Many of the older hens were not, and are still not, enamored by the younger chicks. In fact, the youngsters were told, in no uncertain terms, that they were not welcome to drink from the larger waterer. They were not allowed to eat at the same time the big girls ate, and they were absolutely not allowed anywhere near their roosting area (where they sleep at night). For the most part, the older hens want nothing to do with the new inhabitants of the coop.

Lately, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time watching the flock figure it all out – the fact is, we’ve got one coop, and they are going to have to learn how to get along. We’ve added more roosting areas, expanded the egg-laying boxes, put out more waterers and feeders, but the rest is up to the girls. The process has been fascinating.

The pecking order

First of all, it isn’t ever the hens at the top of the pecking order that fight for position. In fact, it appears to me as though they couldn’t care less about who joins the flock. They know where they belong, they know they’re among Tom’s favorites, and so they have no reason to be mean to the chicks. I wouldn’t say they’re overly friendly and hanging out with the younger girls, but they’re not pulling tail feathers out of them, either. The newer chickens seem to understand that these girls are way above them on the pecking order, and they never go after them to assert themselves, either. It is as though they’re just too powerful to be challenged.

The hens in the middle of the pecking order are actually friendly with the new ones. They’ve stayed on the run (the fenced-in, secure yard set up for the chickens so that they’re safe from predators) with the younger ones, they eat with them, and seem fairly happy to have new friends around. However, when it comes down to it, they won’t defend the newbies, either, though. That might upset their own position in the hierarchy. So while they’re nice to the new chickens, if some other hen wants to rip their tail feathers out or peck them, they’re not going to stick their own neck out to defend them.

Tom-Tom is an interesting wrench thrown in the mix. He’s our only male, the only rooster in the flock. At night, he used to plop himself right in front of the door leading from the coop to the run so that way if someone dared to break into the run, he’d be the first line of defense for his hens. Tom-Tom would lay down his own life to save the girls. Chivalry is not dead in the poultry world. However, after the first set of chicks were introduced to the flock, Tom moved from sitting in front of the door at night to being up on the roost with his favorites. Literally, he sits in between Nugget – a Buff Orpington, and Lucy – a Barred Rock, which are his girls (or sex slaves, as I like to call them, for obvious reasons). Clearly, either Tom has decided on his own that the new girls (who aren’t of the age where they’re laying yet, meaning they’re not mature enough to mate, either) aren’t his problem, or the existing flock has told Tom that the new girls aren’t his problem. Either way, it’s a noticeable change.

That bottom rung

However, the real problem lies at the bottom of the pecking order. These hens are fighting to keep their position. They see the newcomers as a threat, or a potential opportunity to prove they ‘re not at the bottom of the heap, so to speak. So, they beat the crap out of the younger ones. Oddly, at this point, it is the middle set of chickens – the Gang of Eight, as I call them – at the bottom of the pile. They get beat up on more often than the youngest chicks, and as a result they stay in the coop and keep to themselves. The younger ones have been pecked and had feathers pulled, but they’re standing their ground quite nicely. They hang out with the rest of the flock, even though they are only about eleven weeks old and much smaller than the rest (The Gang of Eight are about fifteen weeks old now, in contrast).

Check out those weapons, sister

What has been so interesting to me about this “social experiment” amongst the poultry-sect, is how completely similar they are to humans …and this fan community in particular. While there might not be bloodshed, there have certainly been plenty of squabbles between fans over the years. The scenarios I’ve shared between hens aren’t much different from what I’ve seen take place at shows! Amanda and I have spent several years watching the way the social hierarchy of this fan community is developed, maintained, and sometimes challenged. Who knew that everything I needed to know about fan communities I could have learned from watching my hens?!?

-R

Quality Over Quantity: Fan Engagement

I don’t know how many people actually saw it, but John had a surprise for us over the weekend. Not quite satisfied with the birthday message he’d videoed for all to see, he “couldn’t resist” taking to Instagram live for a bit on Saturday.

I wasn’t around during the time he was actually “live”, but somehow I stumbled upon it later and was able to watch. While there were obviously sound problems (his sound went in and out during some of the most inopportune moments – so we’d only hear part of his answer to questions that fans were asking), it was really fun seeing him take to Instagram completely on his own that day.

I remember the days when John was on Twitter. He seemed to really take to the platform and would often get online for a few minutes at a time, navigating through a barrage of questions. Somewhat abruptly, he quit Twitter, and we didn’t really see or hear much from him again on any social media. Until recently, that is. It began with a Twitter Q&A, which – in my own opinion, was a nightmare. It has nothing to do with John, per se, but with fans themselves.

Any time the band gets on to Twitter, or anywhere that fans can directly engage – it’s a shit show of epic proportion. Yes, I said that. Truth be told, I find those moments oddly entertaining every once in a while, primarily because I’m not the one on the firing line. I’m in the peanut gallery, watching, making my own comments, and quite frankly – frolicking amongst the insanity.

My thinking is, I’m never going to get a single word in edgewise anyway, so best not to take any of it seriously. When the band started doing the Q&A’s at the beginning of the pandemic, I had some weird sense of hope that it wouldn’t turn into a free-for-all. As soon as the band announced that they’d take questions, it became a game of “How many times can the same person post the same question over and over again? Or “How many ‘I love you’ tweets can one band member receive?? It was utter lunacy. Hate is a strong word, and yet I showed up week after week anyway, so I’ll just say I disliked the exercise. Very much. Watching the Q&A’s was not really joyful, although I tried to find humor in them, and I can’t imagine there was a lot of joy in being the main participant, either. I’d commented to Amanda that all I really wanted was to be able to see and hear the band talk about something other than the new album, where they’d tour, how they were feeling, who they should say “hello” to…etc. etc, and not be interrupted for a change.

I don’t know if the band sensed the disquiet, were just looking for a way to engage without having to engage, or wanted some sort of creative outlet to pass their own time in lockdown. Chances are, it was all of it. Next thing I knew, Simon was doing his radio show with Katy, and John was offering his Stone Love Bass Odyssey chats on Instagram…and then the Q&A’s to follow. My jubilant cries could be seen all over Twitter in one form or another. This was what I’d been wanting all along.

Never did I think though…okay, I can’t really say “never” because I’m pretty sure John would occasionally hop on the DD Instagram to post a photo, or maybe even help Gela with her own…but I can’t swear to it…but I just didn’t see John wanting to do his own live Q&A thing. With fans. Even after Twitter?

Regardless, on Saturday when I saw he’d gone “live”, particularly at what seemed like a spur of the moment thing, I clapped. Yes, I’d missed the entire thing. I didn’t care about that part of it – that wasn’t the point. I mean, from my own point of view, John never minded chatting with fans on the internet. I don’t think he quit Twitter because of fans. As he says, he’s been a fan himself, and in turn I’ve appreciated how aware he is to the whole fan/idol debacle. On Saturday, he took questions and seemed very happy to be doing it, not at all like he was shackled to the computer, or some other form of torture treatment. I couldn’t see how many people had tuned in live, or how many questions were being hurled his way, but it seemed to go really well despite the obvious audio problems.

I’m not sure if I’m the only fan out there that feels this way, but the issue of quality versus quantity rings especially true. It isn’t the individualized milliseconds of “HiJohnI’mYourBiggestFanCanWePleaseTakeAPhotoRightNow” that I need while the band is on tour, or when I see them out and about. In fact, I’m a whole lot less likely to even approach them than most people, I think. I appreciate the other things, like when they take time out of their own day to do these shows (whether or not they have comments on!), or when they take the time to deconstruct the music and explain the evolution of their part, or whatever else they can come up with, for that matter. I don’t need to know when the next album is coming out, what the titles are, or much of anything about it right now, to be honest. I just like getting past all of that typical stuff and talking about things that matter. The music matters – it’s what got me here to begin with!

Maybe I’m just weird.

-R

When Summer Doesn’t Seem Like Summer

Today is the last day of school for my youngest. Summer is here. There’s no tasting summer today, that is for sure. It might be 99 degrees outside right now, but Oddly, I don’t feel that same sort of accomplishment that comes with another school year in the bag. I don’t even know that my daughter does. In fact this morning, we had quite the discussion over whether or not really was, in fact, the last day. She was convinced she went through Friday. It took me pulling up the school and district website calendar to prove my point, and even then, she’s semi-convinced I’m wrong.

Everything is so messed up, I can’t really blame her for not knowing whether she’s coming or going! Nothing feels right about this year. Who knew 2020 was going to be the colossal mess it’s proven to be thus far? Never in my wildest dreams did I see all of this coming, and while there’s a part of me that is most assuredly relieved that after today, I am not going to have to announce, “It’s time to get up!” or “If you don’t get out of that bed right now young lady, you are grounded from the computer for the rest of the week!” At least, I won’t have to do that for the next eight weeks or so, right?

Never in my life did I expect to come to a point where I couldn’t plan for more than a day, or even a week in advance, but here I am. We have no summer plans, obviously. I mean, who knows whether or not we’ll ever be out of this “shelter-in-place” thing that really doesn’t mean shelter-in-place as much as it means that we shouldn’t be out having a good time because there’s a pandemic lurking about that might only give us a dry throat, cough and fever…but it also might kill us faster than we can say “I am the virus, I lay a coil around your spine”. Sure, it might seem facetious for me to write that, but life feels like a game of Russian Roulette at the moment.

One also cannot forget that at the moment, I have a husband recuperating from a stroke. The more I type or say the words, the more my own brain insists I’ve taken leave of my senses. The blood clot was small, the effects were…not quite. He is better, don’t get me wrong. Progress has been steady. Each day I wake up to find that more and more of my husband is returning. I am lucky, but I am also terrified. It is a change that has affected me to my very core, and not something that I can really describe in words. I think of the memes I see posted on social media when a rare storm (the rest of you might call it “sprinkles” or “rain”) hits Southern California. The photo will be of a plastic chair blown over in a backyard and the caption reads “We Will Rebuild”. I feel that way, except the storm was real, and it’s obviously not just a plastic chair.

He’s back trying to work, which seems exceptionally quick. His speech is starting to return in that he is annunciating more clearly, but there are other things that are much slower. His personality has somewhat changed – that, I can’t put my finger on what it is, but it’s something I notice and no one else seems to mention. One week post-stroke now, and the doctor appointments tend to fill up the calendar, sometimes with little notice. It is a strange existence, particularly during a pandemic when you can’t really plan ahead. Everything feels last minute, and for those of us die-hard planners out there, it’s a different world.

I don’t think it’s any different for Duran Duran. Can you imagine how it must feel to be on the cusp of finishing a record, just yards from the finish line, only to have the whole thing put on hold? What about having to cancel an entire summer worth of gigs, and oh wait, looks like Autumn gigs will have to go, too. It isn’t even as though we can plan for next year, because truthfully – we don’t know what next year is even going to look like. Mindboggling. Just as we’re settling into one sort of reality, another comes knocking on the door, threatening to destroy whatever spirit we’ve got left in us.

I know I’m supposed to be focusing my blogs on Duran Duran. I wish I could. For nearly ten years now, I’ve spent most mornings thoughtfully preparing posts that reflect whatever is going on in Duranland, written from the perspective of a fan. That perspective, whether mine, Amanda’s, Jason’s, or even another guest blogger, is what makes this blog unique. We all feel and experience the band differently. We’ve tried to create a safe place to express that, although at times – we fall short. At the moment, real life feels like it regularly outweighs the band, and I’m betting I’m not alone. Life in 2020 is utterly chaotic. A dumpster fire beyond all measure. Even Yellowstone National Park is having a freak out. (There’ve been hundreds of earthquakes there within the past 24-hours, and no – I doubt that’s coincidence. Mother Earth isn ’t having it anymore.)

I need a vacation. I’m off in search of a bass player giving a tutorial, and a chat with another rock star. Be kind to one another. Patience is a virtue. Wash your hands. Remember the acronym BE FAST. It can save your life!

-R

Surprising Fireworks and Sudden Silence

I’m a big fan of the deeper thinking questions that DDHQ occasionally throws out to fans for contemplation. Yesterday was no exception as they asked what was our fondest Duranlive memory.

Invariably when I see these questions, I end up stumped. Sometimes, the answer is as clear as day and I’ll post, but other times, like yesterday, I can’t think of a single memory that stands out above all others. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t because I don’t have great memories. Hardly. It’s because I have so many.

My time as a Duran Duran fan has been such a bright light in my life. I’m not talking about the time I’ve blogged, or even the time I’ve been a host at a party or a convention, though. I mean the times when I am simply a fan. I’m not half of Daily Duranie, not even L8BarMom. Just some…woman…standing in an audience, cheering for her favorite band. There’s no question, at least not in my head, that I’ve loved being a fan of this band. The music fuels my daydreams, motivates my words, and keeps me coming back for more. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Even so, I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for my friendship with Amanda, I wouldn’t have gone to half as many shows as I have over the years. It is far too easy for me to say “I can’t”, and let it go at that. In fact, that’s what happened with the Vegas shows that were just cancelled. I didn’t even talk with her about them, I just said “I can’t”, and went about my day. While that might have made my life easier here at home at the time, it wouldn’t have made my heart quite as full.

Maybe not so surprisingly, I have thought quite a bit about the shows we’ve been to over the years, particularly lately. It’s so weird to me that so few of the memories seem any more “over the top” to me than others. One time that comes to mind – and I mean, it happened within a blink of an eye – was when I realized they were actually playing Secret Oktober in Brighton back in 2011. Context is important here, so let me describe it.

Amanda and I had already made one trip to the UK that year, and so we’d gotten ourselves to Brighton by sheer luck again in November of 2011. I say “luck” because we managed to get there despite a union walkout for public transportation, leaving my family, Amanda leaving her job, I don’t know how we made it work, but we did. I’d been begging for the band to play Secret Oktober at one of those shows…for months. Make no mistake, I knew the chances were about none, but I begged anyway. We’d gotten to Brighton in time, went to our crazy modern hotel, got ready and got ourselves to the show. There we stood in our spots, and all of the sudden this song starts and I’m not sure what it is until I KNEW what it was. If only to have a picture of my jaw hitting the ground that night at the precise moment I knew what they were playing…the rest of the song is an absolute blur to me, but that moment? Golden. Amanda and I hugged one another, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that much pure love and joy in a single second.

There are a ton of precious memories like that, occupying space in my head. I’m lucky. The thing is, most of those memories are just of being in the audience. Sometimes I can’t even remember where I was standing at the time – front row, fourth row, tenth row or beyond – it doesn’t matter now. I couldn’t tell you what was on the set list at the time, or what I was wearing, or even where the concert was at the time. The only thing that seems to matter was that I was there, with Amanda, and we were having the time of our lives watching this band that we’ve grown up watching.

Sure, some small things stand out. Like the time Roger shook my hand, when Dom flicked a pick my way once, when he ran over to be sure and grab my hand, every single time we duck from Simon’s baptismal blast during during White Lines…and seeing Nick look down at us and laugh in response, and when John looks our way. Those moments, though, aren’t necessarily what my mind drifts towards first. Just being there, basking in the glory of still being a fan of this music. Marveling in my head that I can still go see my favorite band along with my best friend. How could I ever have gotten so lucky?

A lot of things have changed in the past couple of months. I’m really not sure when I’ll feel comfortable traveling again. Getting on a plane again does not excite me. Wearing a mask in order to go to a show isn’t going to happen for me. Donning one for an entire plane ride is my idea of hell. I’ll just drive, thanks. I’m so thankful I did all of the things I could in the years before this stupid pandemic, because who knows when I’ll do them again next?

Thinking about being in the audience of any Duranlive experience brings a smile to my face, and sometimes, even laughter. Today more than ever, I realize how lucky I’ve been. I don’t think I can say that enough these days.

-R

Is Fandom Genetic?

Is fandom genetic? I ask that question not really looking for an answer as many will want to tell me “no.” I also not talking about raising one’s kids to be Duran Duran fans because they have grown up listening and loving them. That situation, I think, would be an argument that the environment plays a big role in developing tastes, hobbies, etc. Goodness knows, I am a White Sox fan because I grew up in a house that watched a lot of White Sox baseball. I spent many hours attending baseball games in old Comiskey Park in the 70s and 80s. My entire family cheers for the team, even my nieces who grow up far away from the South Side of Chicago. No, the White Sox fandom is a situation in which nurturing created fans. To me, the question is more about having a gene that makes it likely for you to join a fandom. Is there something within my genetic makeup that draws me to fandom, for instance?

Let me be clear here. I think everyone can be a fan and probably is a fan of something. Not everyone seeks out others who are fans, which is more of what I mean about fandom. Relatively few people want to commit serious chunks of time doing something related to what they are a fan of. Even my dad who is a big White Sox fan only spends so much time and energy on it per week. Yet, some of us dive into a fandom, wanting to eat, live and breath it. Obviously, I fit into that category. As much as other things take my time, I still make sure that my week allows me to focus on Duran and being a Duranie at some point. I write this blog, at least three times a week, and spend quite a bit of time thinking about the band, especially when they are around in some capacity or when I see/hear/read something online about them. I would go see as many shows as I could and happy that I have collected as much as I have. So how come I wasn’t just content with buying their albums when they came out, going to see a concert or two? Why did/do I need to do more? Why did I need to connect with other fans?

As I start to think about this question, what pops in my head is passion. I don’t just like Duran Duran. No, my feelings are much more intense than that. When they do something awesome, I feel like I’m on top of the world. When something happens like a band member leaves, my level of concern is overwhelming. I feel deeply. That’s the question when it comes to the fandom gene. Why do I feel deeply about Duran Duran and my sister, for example, doesn’t feel deeply about anything she is a fan of? How is that since we grew up in the same house and had shared experiences?

I have pondered this question over the past week after having a long conversation with my youngest niece. My niece and I have been watching a show “together” for months now. While we live far away, we pick out a TV show to watch, agree on how many episodes to watch per week and then plan a time to discuss. At times, when we are both busy, the discussion might take place via email. Now, we are calling each other more and more to talk about the shows since we are both stuck at home. This last time led us to talk about fandom. My niece gets very passionate when she is into a show and feels deeply with various plot points. We talked about how we both loved some of the shows we watched, which led us to discuss conventions with the actors or creators attending. I told her that I had been to a couple of those conventions and enjoyed myself. As soon as I said it, I realized that I would love to go with her to one! She enthusiastically agreed! I explained that I attended those conventions alone in the past and would love company. I wanted to be with someone who got it, who understood fandom. She immediately understood and went on to share about how weird it is for her, at home, because no one at her house gets it. Her sister, her dad and her mom just like shows, movies and music but they don’t love them. No, my youngest niece and I are more kindred spirits in that way.

So how did my niece get the passion for various TV shows that she did when she did not grow up in a house with fandom? I could say that she learned it from me or her uncle (who loves comic books) but we all live far away and when we would get together, fandom was rarely a part. This is why I wonder that maybe there is a fandom gene?! What do the rest of you think? Do other members of your family also participate in fandom? If so, why? Was it learned or just part of their nature?

-A

We (Will) Carry On

Do you miss live music? Small, intimate gatherings at a local pub, watching a local artist perform? Nights at a theatre in the city, walking down the carpeted aisle to your cushioned seats near the front as you wait anxiously for a band to take the stage and transport you for an evening of fun? How about festivals, where the gates open and you rush to the field, press yourself up against the cold, metal rails. The adrenaline coursing through your veins, sweat pouring down the middle of your back while you throw yourself into the show with abandon?

Turns out, we’re not the only ones. Dave Grohl wrote a startlingly honest and open piece for The Atlantic that circulated yesterday. He wrote of the same thrills that we all hold dear, and admitted that yes – THEY SEE US. With any luck, they see us at our most free, joyous, abandoned, without an ounce of shy self-consciousness to be found. (I’ve had to work on that last one, particularly while in front row)

This isn’t a huge surprise, of course. I’ve been close enough to the front to know that of course they can see. Sometimes, they can see startlingly far into the crowd. Amanda and I experienced that for ourselves on more than one occasion, most recently in San Francisco when Duran Duran played at the Masonic. We were stuck way, way back in the standing room crowd, making lemonade out of lemons, doing our damndest to enjoy the last set we’d hear for a while even though we were smooshed behind one of the tallest men I’ve ever run into, and next to semi-drunk and sloppy dancers on either side. Out of nowhere, Simon caught sight of Amanda in the crowd and grinned a grin that lit up the room. Sure, anyone can say that and there’s question whether it was meant for them or not, I guess…but I saw it, and it was. The point is, as I think we’ve all noticed and experienced over the times, it isn’t only about the music. The energy in the room, the knowledge that the encounter between artists and fans is happening in person, in real time, and that give and take between band and audience explodes like nuclear fusion. Concerts are a moment in time, like lighting in a bottle.

The sense of “we’re in this together” is never more powerful than at a concert. When this is over, and yes – I have to keep reminding myself and believing the words – we will come together again, and that moment will be incredible. After all, we’ll be able to say we went through hell and back, and came out stronger than ever before. We can do this. We have to. It is what I think about every day as I write my blog, and it is what I dream about before falling into slumber each night.

I miss the live show. I wasn’t planning to go see Duran Duran in Vegas last weekend – truthfully, I couldn’t afford the tickets this time, and having had the luxury of seeing them a few times in the same venue, I felt like I could miss the weekend of festivities and be okay. I didn’t have much of a choice, so I just resigned myself and went on with life.

Funny how things work out. I’ll be buying the ticket next time, even if it means not being in the front. It isn’t just about where you sit or stand, the venue, or even the town. I think it is about communing with people who love the band as much as I do, coming together, celebrating life, love, and yes, music. I’ll be there.

-R

It’s As If I Don’t Recall

Is fandom dead?

Well, maybe not dead…but different from when I was a kid? Last night, as I was cooking dinner, I skipped around the channels on the television, looking for something to…well, completely distract me from the task at hand. (I still hate cooking) As I scrolled along, I saw that Breaking Dawn, Part 1 & 2 were on Freeform channel.

Now, while you chuckle at that disastrous movie series, for me, they bring back memories of trading Twilight books with my oldest, talking and giggling over Edward and Bella, Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, and going to see the movies on the first night of their release. These were the books my oldest grew up with (she wasn’t a huge Harry Potter fan), and she came upon them right around the same age I was when I found Duran Duran.

I can remember the first time Heather asked me if she could read Twilight. I was skeptical because the content seemed a bit mature for her, but agreed, as long as I read the books first. She didn’t love that she’d have to wait for me to read and absorb the content before I passed them on to her, but luckily for Heather – I was a super quick reader, finishing the first book in a matter of hours, not days. Sure, it was a little mature, but I was able to use the subject matter as a way to broach issues that I knew would be eventually on the horizon. Say what you will about the content, the writing, or even the implications of controlling relationships as described in the novels – for us, Twilight was a bonding experience that I will always appreciate.

For one, I understood what it meant to be a fan. Lifelong Duranie, right? I not only understood, but encouraged Heather to enjoy the ride. I jumped on the merchandise train, buying her posters, t-shirts, books, and anything else that seemed worthy. Her bedroom started to look a little like mine had in the 80s, sans the big, bold colors and Nick Rhodes eyeliner. For another, it was the last chance I really had to bond with Heather before the teen years began in earnest. Those moments mattered.

I remember going to see the first movie on opening night. We stood in line with a gaggle of other girls her age, parents in tow. The other moms peered at one another over the heads of the excited throng of pre-teens, commiserating and smiling ruefully as we listened to their chatter. Once we were seated in the crowded theater, a security guard actually came down to the front, and stood on the small stage in front of the screen, while he explained to the kids that they absolutely needed to stay in their seats, and there was to be no screaming.

Let me reiterate: the kids weren’t supposed to scream…in delight, mind you…at a screen. It wasn’t even as though the actual celebrities were in our theater. No, kids were screaming at a movie screen as though they were at a rock concert. I was thoroughly amused.

Sadly, it all ended as quickly as it began. By the time Breaking Dawn part 2 was out, Heather hardly seemed interested in going. I talked her into it purely because it was the final movie – the others had turned out so dismal that she said it was difficult be excited. I understood the disappointment, but told her we owed it to ourselves to see it through anyway. Not long after the movie, Heather took down her posters and grew out of her t-shirts. We didn’t talk too much about Twilight after that, until last night when I turned to her and suggested watching.

To my utter disappointment, Heather wasn’t interested. “Nahh….” she said, as she headed into the office with her boyfriend.

“What? Really??” I marveled out loud. “You don’t want to watch with me? Oh, come on…it’d be like old times!”

Heather laughed. “No thanks, Mom. Those movies were the worst!” She walked into the office, sliding the door shut behind her. I sighed heavily. Out of sympathy, my husband decided to sit with me and watch. Not quite the same, but better than being alone!

We watched both parts to Breaking Dawn on my own, enjoying each one despite marveling at how awful the acting and special effects were (Part 2 is still the best one out of all the Twilight movies, though). I also reflected back on how, for a very short time, I saw how much fun fandom could be for a young pre-teen. That period of parenting was a gift for me, softening me for some tougher times ahead.

Reflecting a bit more today, I can’t help but wonder if fandom is just different now altogether. None of my kids ever got into something with the same sort of gusto I did with Duran Duran, and definitely not music. Both of my girls have had their favorite book series, and Gavin was a huge Starcraft II fan (and player) for quite a while, but nothing like the lifelong, hardcore fandom I have in Duran Duran.

I think they missed out, actually!

-R

I’m (Probably) Not Going to Sleep Tonight

I don’t know how long we’ve been on lockdown now. My youngest came home from school on March 13th, and that was the day I found out she wasn’t going back on Monday. I think it was the following Thursday that Heather and her boyfriend came up here because her studio had been closed, and I believe that March 19. Our shelter-in-place order might’ve come out the following day. Regardless, I’ve been pretty much at home since the 13th. I have left the property a few times, all for essentials of course. You know, things like hard cider, wine, oh…and a birthday cake for the youngest. All three kids home, husband working here, four cats, two dogs, and now 24 chickens. It’s April 30th (I originally typed May 30th only to find it later and fix it). I’ve got to tell you, I’m not doing great.

Every day feels like a re-do of the day before. I’ve said that here already, so now it has become Groundhog Day on Daily Duranie too. Sorry. I try to find the good things to laugh about, and there are some. I also get mad, and I’m not going to lie about that. I am furious we’re going through this. I don’t let that thought consume me, but some days like today, it is just plain difficult to manage.

I’m not sleeping that great either. Oddly, I fall asleep fine, but about two hours later, I wake up. Most of the time, I’m in pain when I wake up. My neck has really been bothering me lately and I think I must be stiffening up when I sleep. So, I wake up and then toss and turn unless I get up and take Ibuprofen. This is an every single evening exercise for me, and I wish I could still go to my old chiropractor. Alas, the OC is five hours away and I’m just nervous enough about someone adjusting my neck that I haven’t found a new one. Yay.

Then there’s my weight. I am not equal to the number on the scale (truth be told I haven’t stepped on my scale in months – and that is 100% out of fear. I’d really rather not know.), but the mirror isn’t lying and the story it’s telling me is that I need to be social distancing myself from the fridge. Like – I should be living in a tent on the back half of my property – kind of social distancing. It’s not good, friends. The pandemic has not been kind in that department, no matter how much time I spend outside. Even the good old “weed abatement” isn’t helping this year. I would have thought I’d sweat it off by now, but no.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I tried to make the day special for her, and she got plenty of presents with still more to come. I’d ordered her gifts on April 1st, and yet they’re still not due here until May 7th. Thankfully, she’s my easiest kid and doesn’t mind celebrating twice. I made her pancakes for breakfast, gourmet soft pretzels as a snack, and then potstickers for dinner (weird that the menu for the day began with the letter “P”, right? Coincidence!) I had ordered a pink champagne cake (again, “P”) that she’d requested from our famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and the highlight of my month was driving in my car to go get it. It was the first time I’d driven since March 13. That is crazy.

It was also Amanda’s birthday. I texted her, and I’m not going to lie – it took all the energy I had just to do that. I kept it short, wished her the best – because I really do – but I just couldn’t chat like I normally might. I’m through trying to make excuses for it. I’m struggling. It’s that simple. She asked me how it was here, and of course I said fine. What else am I going to say? I’m not under the impression I have it worse than anyone else. It would be crazy for me to explain my wild mood swings between “happy to have my kids here” and “completely pissed off at the entire world”.

Yes, I really do feel that way sometimes. At least I admit it. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I have one hell of a temper sometimes. I’m trying my best to remain calm and reasonable. Sometimes, that feels like more of a challenge than it probably should.

It wasn’t long after that when my husband came out into the kitchen. he was fiddling with his phone, and the next thing I know, I heard Mark Goodman’s voice over our Sonos One speaker. (A clear product plug if I’ve ever seen one…thank you Sonos for keeping my husband employed!!) He was introducing Duran Duran for a Town Hall to discuss Paper Gods.

I hadn’t ever listened to it before. Let me say – I didn’t get to listen to the entire thing (we have six people in this house, and as I’ve said before – I rarely get through anything without being interrupted 45,000 times. Yesterday was no exception.), but it was the best half hour of my day. I listened, smiled, made dinner, and forgot about Covid-19. My blood pressure seemingly returned to normal. *sigh*

There are days when I know I need to stay off of social media. This is one of them, but I wanted to find out about this new order from my governor that begins tomorrow. He shut all of the beaches and parks. I live close to Morro Bay, and we drive there pretty often, so I wanted to know more. It is very difficult to talk myself through my feelings when I see perfect strangers talk how we should all stay inside until a vaccine is found. Or, when people I know consider one “upside” of this virus being that perhaps an entire political party will kill themselves off. Kindness all the way, I guess???

Nope. I shut Facebook down pretty quickly after that. It isn’t even about how *I* feel, it’s that the world has gone off the rails!! That, combined with whatever I’m feeling that day is a nasty combination. I get it. Everyone is stressed. We all say shit sometimes. I just can’t take it today. So, I went to Twitter very quickly to check the Daily Duranie account. That’s when I saw a post from Duran Duran. Thank goodness for Duran Duran.

They posted what they characterized as a “never before seen” video from a Paper Gods photo shoot. I have to tell you guys, I don’t often take time to watch this stuff. There have been any number of things they’ve posted over the years that I just kind of skim over or scroll past. It isn’t that I don’t care – it’s just that I don’t have time to consume it all. So I don’t. But this time, I did. Set to “Last Night in the City”, the short video was cute. I saw the band smiling and laughing, and I’m not going to lie – I nearly cried. It was so nice to remember that once upon a time, I went to shows. We planned to do things together. I clinked glasses with Simon in a hotel bar. We’d smile at them onstage, and maybe we’d even extend a wave to one another. I’d sit on the edge of my seating waiting for new music. Amanda and I took road trips. We also spoke regularly, and I didn’t feel like waking up and getting through every single day was a trial. I miss those times. How about you?

So am I doing well? No. No I’m not. But I’m trying. I just thought it was better to be honest, and let the few regular readers we have left know that yeah – this is a struggle right now. My hope is fading a bit, but I’m working on it. What about you?

-R

Duran Duran Radio!

Last Friday, Simon and Katy embarked upon a new adventure with their first installment of what I feel may become my newest favorite thing – Duran Duran Radio! It’s been a few days since it was posted, but I thought it might be time to cover it a bit for those who may not have had the opportunity to give it a listen yet.

There is much to love about Duran Duran radio, and not just it’s name. This particular episode is similar to a podcast because it was pre-recorded. I appreciated that I could hit “pause” (With my entire family here…I’m interrupted a lot), and then there was that moment when my stupid WiFi router decided to restart out of nowhere I love rural life, I really do, but the technology can *sometimes* be a problem.

I love the banter between Katy and Simon in between all of the songs. I also appreciate their song choices. “Horse with No Name” by America started off the show, which is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. I loved hearing that it was the very first album Simon ever went into a record store to purchase on his own. (Mine? Duran Duran’s debut album!!) Katy said it was a song she’d hear while camping and sitting by the campfire. I can remember riding in my parents car when I was very young – some sort of Pontiac if I remember right – and I have the distinct memory of hot vinyl seats, the window down, and that song on the radio!

While I wasn’t familiar with all of the music choices, I am 100% familiar with their third pick of the show – “The Man” by The Killers. I was thrilled to see it on the list, and listening to Simon explain how Erol Alkan changed the song from one that he (Simon) really didn’t “get” as he first heard the demo into one that become the biggest bonafide hit from Wonderful, Wonderful certainly made me even more excited to hear Duran Duran’s next album since Alkan is listed as one of the producers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minutes, and learned more about Simon during that time than I did while he sat on the “firing line” of Twitter answering questions. No, it’s not the same thing as sitting in a room with him chatting, but at the same time – I’m not sure I need that in order to feel like I’ve gotten to know more about him. Does that make sense? I like hearing his thoughts on music, or anything else really. It has nothing to do with Duran Duran, yet it’s everything. I just really enjoyed getting past the same topics and hearing about something else entirely for a change.

Wow, I probably don’t sound like a fan at all, and that’s really not it. Couldn’t be farther from reality. The way I’d explain it is simply that everyone has their own “thing”. Some fans insist on pictures every time they see them. Some really want Simon to give a shout out on Twitter or where ever. They just want him to say “hi”. Others need to know when they’re coming to tour (and maybe some people want all of that). For me, I’m at a point where I’ve been a fan for a very long time now, enough to where I know Simon doesn’t necessarily want to talk about the album, he gets asked the same basic questions every time he’s interviewed, and while I can’t think of anything specific to ask – I like talking about everything BUT Duran Duran. I like hearing about other music, and other topics in general from him. Fair enough?

The one constructive criticism I’ll make about the program is the inconsistency of the volume. The segue from “The Man” into another favorite of mine, “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer was abrupt (“The Man” ends abruptly, which is just the way it is!), but the volume change is pretty drastic. I had to turn down my volume for “The Man” and then turn it right back up for “Sleeping Satellite”. It’s not a big deal, just something I noticed. A slightly bigger problem is the volume difference between Simon and Katy. I don’t know what can be done about that without some sort of mixing (and I’m not sure they want this to become that much of a production) but I would highly suggest that both of them get external microphones with pop filters. They don’t have to be expensive (even my youngest has one!), and they’ll cut out a lot of that background “shhh” noise that you hear. But Katy’s volume is especially problematic, at least for me. I could barely hear her at times, and I didn’t want to miss anything.

Overall, the first episode of Duran Duran Radio was very enjoyable. Even more so than I would have thought. It is very difficult for me to sit down long enough to listen to the radio without being interrupted 45,000 times right now, and yet for this – I’d make the time. At under an hour, it’s the perfect length, and the song choices were great!

Loved it!! Definitely check it out if you haven’t given it a listen yet. Looking forward to the next one!

-R