Tag Archives: fandom

Since when did being a fan become a bad thing: Crazy Some’d Say

I could probably just post this picture and be done with the blog for today, because it probably says everything (and much, much, more) than I’m about to say anyway.  I am consciously reminding myself that sometimes, the toughest blogs to write turn out to be the ones most needing to be read.

Yes, I went to some shows this weekend, and yes, I had a fantastic time. I am so grateful that I had the chance to go and be with friends.

So, while I was basking in the sheer glory of being up front, screaming for one of my favorite people on the planet, a friend took the photo.  I (OBVIOUSLY) had no idea it was being taken at the time. I’m not so sure I love my face, but I see the sheer joy. It’s kind of hard to miss, really.

I pride myself on being pretty low-key. (HA!) I have a great time at the shows, but I also recognize that the band are indeed real people. Being on stage is part of their job, in the same way that wrangling young children during recess and lunch is mine.  I don’t have children screaming for me at work (but I do have a few that are insistent about coming to visit me nearly every day for tummy aches or to apply band-aids to non-visible “injuries”).  In the same respect, once the show is over, I typically don’t bother the band. Yeah, I’ve ended up at the same bar once or twice, but other than that – I expect them to resume their normal lives. My students don’t come to my house and wait out front for me, and I try to be the same way with the band. I get it. It’s a job.

Since Dom is the lucky guy in this photo (which btw was taken by my friend Suzie at the “breast show ever”….just go with it and don’t ask…), he’s part of the example here.  As much as I love this photo, I also struggle with it. I tweeted it out, but stopped short of tweeting it directly to Dom. I wanted to share it with him because it’s both hilarious and really kind of sweet at the same time, but I just couldn’t.  Why?

On one hand, if you really need an explanation of fandom, it is all right there in that shot. I suppose that yeah, you could look at that photo and see all the craziness you want.  Context is important here, because at the time Dom was playing the guitar solo for White Lines, and he knows that I love that song live.  I smiled at him when he started it, and he came right over to me, and this picture was taken just before he bent down to play.  He does an excellent job, and I was screaming for him. I’m proud of his work, and I’m not shy about that.  I was also in the front, and I was thrilled to be there.  I had so much love and joy flowing through me in that moment, and this picture captured all of that.

On the other hand, and this is the part I have a rough time with – I almost hate using the word “fan” because it immediately puts me on the crazy train.  Since when did the word “fan” make me so damn self-conscious?  Here I am, writing a fan blog, and I’m worried about someone thinking I’m a fan?

There are so many different directions I can take this post from here. The path that seems most relevant is simply to say that we fans, collectively speaking, have been equated with the word “crazy” for so long now, that at times it is painful to admit that I am, indeed, a fan. I’ve been a Duran Duran fan since I was ten. I don’t remember life much before being a fan. Yet everywhere I go, particularly when at shows, all I hear is the word, “crazy”.

“You’re still one of those crazy Duran Duran fans? How old are you again?

“You’re a woman out on the town going to a show without your husband?  You’re just crazy to get into Simon’s pants, right?” 

“You crazy Duran fans…we know all about you guys!” 

If that’s not enough, we even admonish one another while we’re at the shows!

“Don’t rush the stage, the guards will think you’re crazy!” 

“I don’t want to go up and try to say hi, because if I do, he’s going to just think I’m some crazy fan.”  (In this case, this fan was ME, and I was specifically talking about going up to say hi to Dom in the hallway. Even though he saw me clear across the hallway and smiled – I was still concerned about how it would look if I got up from my chair at the bar and walked over there. I knew he was trying to just get up to his room and I didn’t want to bug him. For the record, I did finally get up the nerve to walk up and say hi, and I don’t think he believes I’m crazy. Imagine that!)

“Look at those fans fighting over the set lists. They’re crazy!” 

The word surrounds us and it is never-ending.  Even I’m starting to buy into the hype. Since when did being a fan become a bad thing?? Pictures don’t lie – when I look at that picture of Dom, the girl at the bottom is a FAN. That girl is me, yet it’s the last thing I want to be known for. It’s silly because of course I’m more than a fan. I’m Rhonda. I write. I am smart. I play a couple of instruments. I have three amazing kids. My life is pretty damn full, and I have feelings. I refuse to be just another face in the crowd.  When I get up the nerve to walk up and say hi to a band member (or anybody for that matter) in a hallway and even get a hug, the last thing I want for that person to think is that I’m just another crazy fan who won’t let them go up to their room. Yet, in the back of my mind – that is always my worry.

This blog aside, of course. Because yeah, it IS pretty crazy that I’ve written a fan blog for 78 months now. (That’s six and a half years for those of us who don’t love math.)  Someday I’m going to switch the name of this to Daily Duranie Rehab and we can call it group therapy!

The relationship we have with our idols and other people we care about is complicated at best. (I have a tough time calling Dom my idol, I have to be honest. I didn’t grow up with him on my posters, or worshipping the ground he walked on in the same way I did the rest of the band. It isn’t the same.) Impossible at worst. Not everyone gets to have their moment, even fewer become true friends, but somehow – those of us who have been around awhile get called “crazy”, and it’s unfortunately a term that has wrapped itself around my core.  Sure, we can say we don’t care what other people think, but what about what WE think about ourselves?

Food for thought.

-R

 

Just a number on the metal fence

2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s humble beginnings in Birmingham, UK.  When I stop and think about that, I’m convinced of two things: 1. There’s obviously been a miscount. 2. Time really does fly.

There is a group out there that is working to collect data from fans-at-large in order to put together some suggestions that the band may or may not consider if they should decide to put together a tour or collectors editions from their catalog, etc.  I think it’s great to try to gather some sort of collective voice from the fans—after all, it is something Amanda and I have been doing for the better part of nearly seven years now.

When we first began the blog, I really don’t know that we gave thought or credence to the idea that the band would actually HEAR us. We just knew that there was a lack of a central…place…for lack of better words, for fans to gather and really talk about Duran Duran fandom.  Message boards were pretty scattered, fanzines didn’t really allow for discussion. Facebook was Facebook, and even that has changed quite a bit over the period of time the blog has been around, and rest assured it has evolved, too. Over the past four years or so (give or take), Amanda has asked daily questions and polls.  While she’s tried to do a variety of topics, a lot of them have had to do with songs, set lists, etc.  What is your favorite album? What song do you wish they’d play live, and so on. She’s great at being able to take that information and see trends, and I love the way she breaks it down in her wrap-up blogs on the weekends.

So, when I stumbled upon word that a group that is working to compile similar information for the possibility of shows and other special releases in 2018, I was curious. Amanda has done survey after survey in seven years, and while we could always use more participation – we have a reasonably sized sampling of those who are active on social media, and I remember how clear some of the winning songs have been over the years.  I wondered if they would get different answers than we might have gotten over the years for similar questions. Would their sampling be all that much different?  How would that change the results? I was looking forward to reading more about it all.

Amanda and I never did our daily questions with the intention that the information found would make its way back to the band. Unless management reads the blog, it isn’t like we’re sending a dossier to the band each year.  Yeah, we joke a lot, much of it being tongue-in-cheek, but we don’t expect much. For a time we were overly hopeful with grandiose dreams of meeting the band and somehow getting dream careers out of this – but believe me when I say that our feet are firmly planted back on the ground. (I almost said Planet Earth….) The blog is our hobby and about the only thing we take seriously about it is our dedication to writing it each day.

Yesterday I stumbled across what is apparently the top 10 list from the survey that @DD40_2018 compiled from the request survey they devised.

  1. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  1. Serious/Friends of Mine/Hold Back the Rain

  2. Election Day/New Religion

  3. The Chauffeur

  4. Secret Oktober

  5. Do You Believe in Shame

10 The Seventh Stranger

I was surprised that such a relatively new song like The Man Who Stole a Leopard would take away the entire survey, being the number one most requested song. When I looked back at some of the surveys we’d done in the past – specifically those that discussed set lists, The Man Who Stole a Leopard was always requested, but in the overall scheme of things, the song didn’t even make the cutoff for the 17-song setlist that Amanda compiled based on our survey results in October of 2016. (I’ve copied and pasted that list below).

Planet Earth
All You Need Is Now
New Religion
Wild Boys
The Chauffeur
New Moon on Monday
Save a Prayer
Pressure Off
Hold Back the Rain
Nice
Union of the Snake
Before the Rain
Come Undone
Rio
What Are the Chances
A View to a Kill
Paper Gods

Some of the rest of their top 10 list are the usual suspects, including Secret Oktober, Friends of Mine, Hold Back the Rain… and only one of those is included on the fan-requested set list we compiled. I see that What Are the Chances and Paper Gods are both included in our results and I have to wonder if those results would come out the same way if asked again tomorrow. I would bet not. Even so, the lists are very different.

Why is that? Well, to begin with it could be the survey itself.  As I recall, we had participants create their own set list back in October. So people sent in their own set lists, made from whatever songs they wanted – and I believe Amanda kept the framework to 17 songs. In contrast, the DD40_2018 survey had people choose the songs they wanted to hear most off of each album, but the songs were not ranked in terms of importance. So for example, if you wanted to hear five songs off of the first album – you clicked on those five songs and then moved on to the next album. There was no way to indicate which song(s) you might want to hear most. We’ve done similar in the past – and in every case, no matter how we’ve worked the survey, the song that wins by a landslide, is New Religion.  In their results, it landed at number five, behind a few songs that didn’t even make the final setlist in our case. Fascinating, right?

I also wonder if knowing that these suggestions will be presented to management for touring consideration made a difference to respondents.  In our case, the surveys have always been done for fun with no promise of the band paying any sort of attention. Does that make a difference in the way people answer? I don’t know, but it’s a possibility.

The sampling of participants for surveys counts as well.  As I’ve noted in the past, different people are drawn to different places on the web. Those that read here might not be on a message board, and those on Twitter might not be as active on Facebook, etc.  I also think the sample size matters as well – the more respondents a survey has, and the closer that sampling is to the actual demographic ratio of the fans, better the chance that the results will accurately represent our community. It isn’t always easy to get people to respond to a survey.

I’m not here to suggest that one method or one set of results outweighs another, that’s silly.  My interest is only to note the differences in the results. I might even make a broader claim, as it turns out, that perhaps no one survey is going to really provide an accurate assessment of what the fan community at large wants. What that may or may not mean with management actually taking such suggestions seriously, I don’t know.  Admittedly, Daily Duranie is not in such discussions with management or anyone else – we just write our blogs and do our surveys with the same basic goals in mind we always have: to provide a place for discussion and to make fandom just a little more fun.

-R

When the curtains are pulled back: a little thankfulness

Yesterday I wrote about appreciation. I have great appreciation for the fact that I’m starting to have fun with this fandom thing again. I can’t really say how long it’s been that I’ve actually wanted to carve time out to sit down and watch, say…Live from London, or Sing Blue Silver, or even Diamond in the Mind. I’m starting to feel that again, and yes—I definitely appreciate that feeling.

Today, I’m going to write about being thankful, because I am.  Just yesterday, I saw something on Twitter about airline pilots at O’Hare airport in Chicago. They are going on strike over the weekend. Political statements aside here—I feel for the travelers because their plans to get home, or get away, might be entangled in a giant mess.  When I read the tweet though, my mind immediately went back to 2012. I was supposed to fly to O’Hare to meet Amanda and then we were going to fly on to Heathrow so that we could go to four DD shows in the UK.  On Black Friday, I spent a lot of the day on the phone with Amanda. We were freaking out because there was to be a huge public workers strike in the UK, and naturally that was planned for the day we’d arrive. Anyway, I smiled at the memory and tweeted it to Amanda – saying that at least we wouldn’t have to worry about that kind of thing this year.

Amanda is going to DC over New Years, and she’s going to see Duran Duran. She’s going with someone else, and yeah, it’s weird. I’m somewhat wistful about the entire thing.  She’s gone to shows without me before, as I have without her. The difference is, she’s traveling by plane for this one.  Normally, in fact, I can say that since we met – if I’m traveling to see the band, it is with her.  We go together like peanut butter and jelly. That’s not happening this time. On one hand, I want to go. On the other hand, it has been one HELL of a year for my family. It’s been one hell of a year for me. I need to be here and I need to be thankful for what I have, and what I’ve done. But yeah, I wish I were going…but I’m very thankful I didn’t spend the money on tickets at the same time.

For a long time now, Duran Duran was sort of a job for me without it actually being a job. I’m not saying this to complain, I’m saying this to point out my stupidity to others. Lately, I’ve been enjoying doing things, like actually gawking at the band.  I’ve watched some videos. For fun! And…I’ve been listening to their albums. FOR FUN.  I realize that to many of you this is like, well…breathing. It used to be for me, too. I’m getting back to that, and dammit I am thankful.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pay some respects to my touring drink of choice, vodka. (although wine still comes in at a very close second, followed by coffee and then iced tea. Caffeine surges through my veins. ) Time for truth for anyone who might be concerned: I don’t drink often. Even so, when we tour, we TOUR.

I am thankful that I get to have my three kids and husband together with me for a few days this week. That’s unusual for us anymore, and we’re going to one of my favorite places – Paso Robles.  Yes, there will be some wine tasting, but also a lot of laughter and love.

Amanda and I have been friends since 2004. That is twelve years. I wouldn’t say our friendship is necessarily complicated, but our lives certainly are. There have been moments when I haven’t felt as close as others, but I value our friendship. We are proof that you don’t necessarily have to be the same in order to be friends – our mutual respect, love, and loyalty is what carries us. I’m lucky I found her.

I feel particularly thankful that I have met so many wonderful Duranies over the years. Some, if not most, have flowed in and out of my life, their time with me not always a constant. What has been really eye-opening for me though, is that in every case, they’ve had some sort of life-long effect on me. Whether teaching me to be more open-minded, or to embrace the adventures that life has to offer, or even to be more forgiving and careful with the feelings of others, I’ve learned something. Thank you.

I am learning not to take what I’m about to say for granted – but I’m really thankful for those five guys (ok, six or seven guys) who have been, or are in Duran Duran. I may not know all of them personally, but they have also been invaluable to my life in some way.  Even in the few instances that I have been around a couple of them – they managed to give me something to think about for the long-term.  They gave me something to look up to when I was young, something to aspire to when I most needed it, and reminded me that yes – even though they are rock stars, they really are human. I am particularly lucky that they happen to create some decent music, too.

I know it’s a day early, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US and celebrate. If you’re elsewhere in the world, thank you for allowing me to indulge!

-R

 

When the lights of hope are fading quickly

Yesterday was Thanksgiving at my house. Actually, that was the second time we celebrated—on Sunday, we were at my sister-in-law’s home with her side of the family. We’re celebrating early because we’re going to Paso Robles for the weekend, and I’m excited because all three of the kids are going with us.  Sunday was lovely, but my oldest, Heather, had told us she wouldn’t be there. She was on campus, working backstage as part of the crew for a show. It is part of the requirements for her major and requires a lot of time, including striking the stage, which was happening that night. We’d agreed as a family to then have our Thanksgiving yesterday when Heather could be at home.

We had just finished our meal on Sunday and were talking with family when the doorbell to my sister-in-law’s home rang, and someone shouted out “It’s Heather!” I was in the living room and heard the commotion at the door, and thought to myself, “Who’s Heather?!” Then I saw the long brown hair and knew.  She’d gotten off much earlier than expected and came as a surprise. It’s ridiculous really, because Heather lives just a half hour from me and I have seen her, although since the beginning of October she hasn’t been able to come home and stay, but I was still overjoyed.

I’m finding that more and more often, I cannot get all three of my kids, my husband and myself into the same room for any length of time. There are too many independent parts, so invariably it ends up being my husband and I with one or two of the kids. One is always not available, and this is likely not to improve any time soon with our next one getting ready to graduate from high school. I treasure the very few moments I get, and there is something incredibly special when all three of my kids are together here.  I used to find fault with my mom when she’d complain how she never saw my sister or myself—I get it now.  Something that was at one point commonplace or expected (and sometimes even dreaded – imagine that at one point, we’d divide up the kids between Walt and I so that it wasn’t quite so crazy!) is now something I yearn for.  (we will see if I still feel that way Sunday night!)

Lately, I feel that way about Duran Duran, too. I wrote the blog, went to a lot of shows, and while they were all fun, I’m not sure I actually appreciated them. I mean, of course I loved seeing the band play, or hearing new music or seeing a new video.  The only way I can explain myself, is to say that at some point, I stopped really listening for enjoyment. Weird words to use, maybe, but they’re truthful.  I can remember back to when I saw Duran Duran in Costa Mesa in 2003, or several weeks later when I saw them at 4th and B in downtown San Diego. I was so excited at the mere thought of being in the same breathing space that I couldn’t sleep the night before.  I listened to their albums here at home, in the car, whenever I could.  I think my mind would be on them (leading up to a show) so much that I’d dream about running into them somewhere crazy, like at a gas station!

Somewhere along the line though, that stopped. It is similar to when I bought annual passes to Disneyland when my kids were little (and the passes weren’t so darn expensive!).  It was great at first, but it got to a point when Walt and I would tell Gavin and Heather that we were going to the park for the day and they’d complain.  (Yes, complain. I mean, who wants to go to Disneyland when you can stay at home and play video games, right??) That was the last year we bought passes, I might add.

Don’t get me wrong, I never complained about seeing the band. That would be monumentally stupid since I was the one buying the tickets! Nobody forced me to go, and I always had a blast. I just think the idea of going to show after show lost a little of that magic, and I did it to myself, really.  I started comparing venue to venue or being more annoyed by the silly, trivial things about going to shows. I stopped listening to Duran Duran in the car.  I certainly never listened to them here at home. I didn’t watch their videos very much, or if I did – it was solely for blogging or researching.

In a sentence: it stopped being fun.

I felt it happen. I think a lot of you probably saw it happen through my writing. Instead of being fun, it felt like a job. That isn’t how this is supposed to work. I didn’t know how to turn it all around, until I had no other choice.

You see, as so many have rightfully pointed out to me, touring is expensive. I’ve recently had to get real and cut back on my expenses. I stopped writing and rewriting a manuscript Amanda and I had been working on because the last one that seemed like it had a good shot was rejected. After putting so much hard work into it, I had to stop. My brain was tired and I was emotionally SPENT. I wasn’t even sure I could keep writing this blog. Then I got a job, and little by little – I was forced to put the blog and even my love for Duran Duran on the back-burner.  I’ve been feeling this way since August for sure, but if I really think about it, I think I’ve probably had these sorts of feelings since before Paper Gods was released.

 

Yesterday, I blogged about Notorious.  As I was writing, I realized that  I probably hadn’t listened to that album in years. Not the whole thing, and definitely not just for pleasure. I put it on. I finished blogging, and then set the table for Thanksgiving. I found myself singing along, not really deeply listening for every single guitar chord or synthesizer track – but just enjoying the music. I really enjoyed it.  Two nights ago, I woke up after having a dream.  I’d run into Simon somewhere and he took down my name because one of my shows had been canceled and he was going to help me out. (clearly a dream, right?) I haven’t had a dream about Duran Duran…or really ANY dream….in many months. Most importantly, I’m thinking about blogging again. Thinking about what I want to write.

No, I’m not planning to see the band live any time soon, unless they come to the west coast again…but I feel like I’m enjoying being a fan again, and I’ll take that over a show any day. I suspect the next time I do see them, I’ll be far more appreciative. That isn’t about being Daily Duranie, or blogging, or trying to write a manuscript. It’s about just being me. A fan.

-R

 

My Astronaut Story

Last month, I began a little blog series in which I took a look at the albums Duran Duran released during the month of October.  After giving facts and statistics about those albums, I then shared about my relationship with those albums.  I discussed Big Thing and Medazzaland.  Today, I turn to the last of the October albums, Astronaut.  I revealed the stats surrounding the album here and now I offer a little bit about myself and this album.

Astronaut represented the Fab Five’s reunion, the return of the five original members.  It represented my return as well.  In the early 2000s, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to Duran Duran at all.  I spent my time working, as a young teacher often does.  I remember sitting at my then dining room table on many Saturdays and Sundays creating curriculum.  If that wasn’t enough, I attended graduate school then as well.  I needed to add some teaching certificates in order to continue teaching students with special education needs.  On top of that, I figured that a master’s degree wouldn’t hurt.  Those two activities kept me plenty busy.

Despite (or maybe because) of my schedule, my social life lacked activity.  The city I lived in was new to me and making friends isn’t something I do easily.  Luckily, I had one lifeline, the internet.  Around the time of the reunion, I joined a fandom, but it wasn’t Duran.  It surrounded a little sci-fi teen drama called Roswell.  Looking back, I smile at the focus of my fandom.  It wasn’t super serious but there was something at the heart of the show that I related to.  Perhaps, it was the focus on people who felt alienated despite appearing like everyone else.  I have felt that way my entire life.  The combination between having internet access and admiring a TV show led me to message boards.  These message boards then provided the means with which to meet some people.  These people are, for the most part, still friends of mine (no pun intended).

As the Roswell fandom died down, I discovered that one of my Roswell associates was a Duran fan as a kid just like me.  That’s all it took.  It felt like someone lit a match over gasoline.  The fire caught instantly and grew quickly as we began sharing pictures, memories, and memorabilia with each other.  This led to searching the internet for the current status of Duran Duran.  Luckily, for me, grad school just ended and I found myself with more time and more money.  I spent my time reading every piece of Duran news I could find and my money buying albums I didn’t have.

Of course, part of what fed this fire was the idea that the original five reunited.  To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  I distinctly remember the first time I heard the song, Sunrise.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as goosebumps appeared on my arms.  It was beautiful and it was Duran.  For me, as someone who had been working her butt off for years, I felt like this reunion was my reward.  It felt like the world was adjusting itself back into proper alignment after being off kilter for decades.  For me, the end of the Fab Five coincided with a hard move.  After hearing Sunrise, I felt like the wrong of my move as a kid was made right.

Needless to say, I dove back into the fandom.  Unlike my childhood fandom which centered around watching MTV and buying magazines, now it was all about being online and chatting with fellow Duranies.  In early 2004, before the album came out, I joined and lurked at many Duran message boards, looking for a similar home to the one I had found with the Roswell fandom.  Duran’s official website had one, but it didn’t work for me.  I hated the chaos of how it looked and found it hard to follow.  More than that, it felt unfriendly to people like me, people who had stepped away from the fandom.  The official fan community appeared friendlier in terms of board format but also seemed to be tough to break into.  Finally, I found myself at DuranDuranFans.com.

This tiny message board looked great!  The group there was small but clearly liked each other.  While I wasn’t certain that I could break in there, either, I thought I had a better shot with a smaller group.  On top of that, the board had information regarding a little convention in New Orleans that was to take place in the fall.  I needed something to break me out of my boring, yet somewhat unfulfilling all work and no play existence.  Attending something like this, out of state, pushed me out of my comfort zone but also to a place of growth.

The convention took place a few weeks before the album dropped.  Yet, many in attendance possessed a copy already.  I took advantage by listening to the album there for the first time.  I loved what I heard.  Looking back and recognizing that this renewed fandom was so adolescent, so teenage crush like that I would have loved the album, no matter what.  I loved that the band was back together, which meant that the music had to be great.  Now, I still enjoy the album quite a bit but recognize some elements that could have been better.  That said, it represents the beginning of the second and more significant chapter in my fandom story.  It always will bring back positive memories.

In looking back on the three albums that Duran Duran has released in the month of October, I’m surprised at how well my fandom story lines up with Duran Duran’s history.  Big Thing represented a period of transition for the band and the same was true in my own life.  Likewise, Medazzaland represented a time in which the remaining members of the band were trying to hold on to their career.  The same might be said for my fandom at the time.  Lastly, Astronaut represented the return of the band from the 80s and my fandom followed right along side.  It will be interesting to see if the same thing will be true when I examine the albums released in November in future blogs.

-A

Don’t worry if you’re confused

My goals with this post today are as follows : first, I want to clarify a couple of things going on here internally, and secondly, I want to explain where we’re headed from here.

I was asked something privately this weekend, and I want to make it clear that Amanda and I are fine. We’re still friends, and we still run this blog together. She and I met in 2004. That means we’ve been friends just over twelve years now. Friendship changes a lot in twelve years. In that time I’ve had a baby and sent one – soon to be two children – off to college. She’s moved, had a parent fight cancer, and changed jobs. I’ve gone back to work, she has volunteered on multiple electoral campaigns…and we’ve gone to over thirty shows together. Lately though, yes, we haven’t spoken much. It’s not because we haven’t wanted to…but because we’ve each been busy and we live in two different time zones on two totally different schedules. As Amanda mentioned yesterday, priorities change. When I started the blog, I could give it nearly all the time I wanted. Now? I can barely eke out the hour or two I need to write on Mondays and Wednesdays, much less Tuesday and Thursday. It is a problem. I’m not giving up the blog because it’s one thing that is for me – it is a source of my joy. But yes, there’s been some growing pains in figuring out how to make it work better. No argument there, but both Amanda and I will find the answers. Thank you for your patience and encouragement.

The blog has run the full gamut: it started as an experiment, got serious, and now we’ve pushed it back into hobby territory. It is back to being a fun thing that we do because we enjoy, not something we do because must. That’s a good thing, overall.  Duran Duran is something we enjoy, and hopefully our writing will reflect that. After all, if it can’t be fun, why do it?  We put a lot of ourselves into writing this each day. This blog isn’t JUST about Duran Duran. It’s about us and how we fit that fandom into our lives each day.  Fandom changes a lot over ten years or more. This Autumn, fitting it in has been a challenge, no doubt there.

Going forward, I plan to write as I always have done. Granted, it is difficult to write blogs about the band and fandom when the band is on a vacation or isn’t doing anything public to speak of. In those cases, you’re likely to find blogs about the date in Duran history, which is absolutely fine. There is a lot of history to cover! Additionally, we are always looking for bloggers. If you are someone who would like to dedicate themselves to writing one or two blogs each week about being a Duran Duran fan, please let us know via gmail. Guest blogs are also welcome.

Lastly, I just want to come out and publicly support Amanda. She and I do not always agree, but I wholeheartedly encourage her to do whatever she feels she needs to do.  This isn’t about whether we’re conservative or liberal; democrat, republican or libertarian. It’s about being human. I know this fight may very well take her away from the blog from time to time in the same way that my family and responsibilities take me away. No matter, this is her home, and I completely encourage and support her right to speak out, even if I do not always share the same level of passion. I’ve been lousy at saying I support her lately – it seems like I blink and another week has already gone by,  so I felt like saying it here would be best.

-R

 

 

 

The Power of Music to Connect and Heal

I am a sucker for heartwarming stories. I believe in the healing power of music, and I know firsthand how much I treasure my fandom. So, when I stumbled across a beautiful story featuring all of those elements, how could I not share?

This story shared with me on Facebook because my friends know I’m always on the lookout for good stories about fandom. In a world filled with near-constant negativity (and election sound bytes, which these days are always negative) – I need the occasional pick-me-up to remind me that the world isn’t all bad.  I would imagine our readers feel the same. Daily Duranie is all about “the good stuff”.  Fandom, for that matter, is the happy place!

So, before I go much farther – here’s the link to the story.  While you read, I’ll be sitting here with my coffee.

First of all, I realize this isn’t a story about Duran Duran. That said, I think every one of us has something to gain from reading. Music heals. I’ve said those words over and over again. This story is just further proof.  The power of music is undeniable. It brings people together, it fights evil, and when many of us cannot get past our differences—it is music that can bridge the gap.

It wasn’t so much that Bruce did anything special. After all, they went to a book signing and spent the same amount of time with him as anyone else. This isn’t really a story about the artist as it is about the family and their journey.  But when you think about it, out of all the music they could have played for their daughter while she spent those six months in the hospital, they played Bruce Springsteen. Tom, Juniper’s dad, was what I would consider to be a pretty hard-core fan.  They mention that he followed Bruce on tour for forty years. It was second nature to play the music that likely comforts him for his daughter. I would like to think that I would have done the same, as would likely many of you.

We all know the music that connects with our heart, whether that is Springsteen, Duran Duran, or something else entirely.  When we take the time to share that with our children, we are giving them part of ourselves. I have no doubt that my kids will always equate Duran Duran with me, long after I leave this planet.  While yes, some days that might be a curse (!!), on other days – it is a gift.  In the case of Juniper and her family, that music not only connected her and her parents when she was so fragile should couldn’t be held, it also healed.

I can’t think of anything else more beautiful than that. This is why music is so powerful.

-R

 

 

 

Come Down From Your Pedestal

Never have I been so glad as to talk about something other than politics.

Like many of you, I spent my weekend glued to TV. I’m a news junkie. I won’t lie. By last night, after the debate, I needed an intervention. 🙂 It doesn’t really matter where my views lie, but I will say I’ve been outraged since Friday.

Unlike my dear friend and counterpart, I’m not really politically active. I vote, I watch the news (sometimes obsessively), I research the things I will be voting on. But I don’t campaign, I don’t volunteer, and no – I don’t donate to campaigns. I don’t put bumper stickers on my car, I refuse to put signs on my lawn. I don’t even post memes online, although I have been known to tweet a few politicians directly and let them know how I feel in no uncertain terms. Other than that, I leave “politicking”, so to speak, to others.

I miss the days before social media when it comes to politics. I had my voting positions, my friends had theirs, and no one really talked about them. They were private. I didn’t feel ashamed when some politician from my party did things that were wrong. I blamed the person, not the party, knocked the politician off of the proverbial pedestal I may have had them on, and went on about my day without scorn from others. These days, it’s very different and hard to escape.

The thing is, for both Amanda and I – Daily Duranie is our baby. It’s our safe place, and it’s kind of an island. Amanda and I have agreed (although we’ve never really had a discussion – we just “know”) to leave politics at the door. Nobody comes here looking for those types of discussions, and I’m thankful for that.  I see enough of that on Facebook and Twitter!

That said, the political climate of the world sometimes has a way of lending itself to discussions here. Yesterday for instance, Amanda talked about how the band isn’t known for saying and doing some of the things we’ve heard from other notable celebrities as of late.  I think she’s right, to my knowledge I haven’t heard those things.

I’m no innocent at the age of 46. I’m well-aware of storied tales from the 80s and beyond. I’m just glad, to some extent, that I haven’t had personal experience with much of it. When I read Amanda’s blog yesterday, I thought about how I might feel if I heard a band member talk the way Trump did in his now infamous video. I wondered if I didn’t still have the band on a pedestal.

I won’t lie, I expect certain behavior from the band. I expect them to act like gentlemen, and to behave with some decorum when needed. That doesn’t mean we don’t all have times where we’re laughing and partying it up, but for me—there’s a pretty big line between that and what was on that video, for instance. Yes, I’ve seen things in the years I’ve even been nearby the band after the shows, though.  I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that celebrities get away with a lot. Even so, I remain very thankful I haven’t seen too much. I still feel they live up to the type of people I want to be around, and yet I am fully aware that alone might be a bit of a pedestal for them.

Maybe that’s the mystique talking. Would we all still like them as much if we knew they behaved differently?  Isn’t that always the question?  We (the public, the fans) assume that the Simon Le Bon we see on stage is the same Simon Le Bon that we might run into off stage, and when it is not—hell hath no fury like a disappointed fan. Isn’t that really the issue? Very, very, few of us are able to make the distinction between the person who is onstage playing the “part” and the real person offstage. I would imagine that goes for even some celebrities themselves. If they didn’t know themselves and who they really were before fame…how on earth do they manage WITH fame?  Those pedestals can be pretty high, and for me, it’s worth considering if I’m being fair.

For me personally, these are much easier concepts to think about than politics today. I appreciate the breath of fresh air, and I hope others do too!

-R

Twelve Years In the Role of Diehard Fan, Already?

The other day, Amanda mentioned that it had been twelve years since the convention I met her at in New Orleans. I read her blog that day, but I kept going back to the line about it being twelve years.

Where in the hell does the time go?

By my memory, I have been a Duran Duran fan since 1981. I didn’t really get involved in the fan community, until I was an adult. It was 2001 when I stumbled upon duranduran.com, and then later, duranduranfans.com (now defunct).  Planning the convention was my first foray into fandom. I’d never done anything like that before, and I still chuckle when I think about how my family reacted towards the idea of my flying across the country to have a convention with people I’d never met before.

I got so involved, so fast. I have a little trouble remembering what I did to occupy my day before being a Duran Duran fan took such a huge role in my life. I do remember though that I was bored. I’m pretty sure my days went from being monopolized by kids, playdates and laundry to all of that plus stolen moments in the afternoon on our upstairs computer, reading and laughing over message board posts…and that was just the beginning.

I have this motto of sorts that I have dutifully recited to my children over the years. No one gets out of childhood unscathed.  At this point, I am semi-concerned it will end up on my headstone, but I soldier on. We all have histories and moments from our childhoods that shaped us. In my case, I’m a people-pleaser. I seek approval. I am a rule-follower, and that also means fitting myself into the supposed role that people around me (i.e. my family) have marked as “Rhonda.”  Let me be clear: Duran Duran fan was nowhere to be found in that description. Blogger? Nah. Convention planner? No way.

So to read that I’ve been at this full-force fandom thing for twelve years really hit home, particularly since I’m sitting here entering the first full week of my new job. I won’t lie, in a lot of ways I feel as though I’m sliding back down the hill I’ve been trying so hard to climb. Rather than continue to fight the good fight, get a manuscript or four sold, plan some conventions and make this into something – I’m sliding back into the role of “good mom and wife”, because it’s easier.

And easy it is. It is MUCH easier to stop thinking about going to shows. It is simple to just get a job and spend my extra time earning some money to help pay college expenses rather than write and rewrite a manuscript. It is much easier to stop talking about Duran Duran (although he certainly brings them up on his own) in front of my husband. It is easy to tell him I’d rather travel with him than see my friends.  And he wants to hear all of those things, no doubt.

But will I really be happier?

Here’s the thing: I’ve spent my entire life doing what was expected of me.  There are many, many times I can point out where I did what my parents expected rather than what I might have really wanted purely because I needed their approval. I had to have it, no matter what. Even as an adult, I have often done what was expected rather than take the more arduous route purely because it was easier. I took the easy ways instead of fighting because I didn’t want people mad at me, and I can see and feel myself doing that now.  It is frustrating, and I think a lot of people reading will probably be able to relate, whether you’re a mom, single, childless, female or male.

I suppose that for me, the trick is whether I’m willing to find the sweet spot where I can do the things I want to do and still be a responsible adult, wife, and mom. Even just trying to find that balance is going to cause strife because no matter what I do, someone is always mad unless I do what everyone else wants. I just don’t know if I can fall back into that role and feel satisfied…and I don’t even know if I want to try.

Funny thing, Dom retweeted this picture from @Barneydrums this morning. It’s pretty appropriate, except I think my version would have “buy concert tickets” as the other option.

Sound familiar?
Sound familiar?

So, that’s a quick glimpse into what has been occupying my thoughts lately.  I’m about to run off to work now, so I will shut all of that of which honestly is a bit of a relief. Sometimes it’s easier to put one foot in front of the other and just go.

-R

Oh, It’ll Take A Little Time

So, it’s Thursday evening and I’m just now blogging. Yeah, there’s a good reason for that—it was my first day at work.

The good news is that it was fun, the day went by quickly, and I’m still employed. The bad news is that I’m completely overwhelmed, I have a lot to learn, and dinner seems to be up in the air for tonight. Sorry, family.

It has been twenty years since I last worked outside of my house. Never once during that twenty years did I feel as though I was falling behind, until today. Funny thing—I was always one of those women who laughed as I would hear or read tales of women who would return back to work after being at home for many years. I mean, how much can you possibly forget? It reminded me of the kind of thing TV sitcoms would over-dramatically exploit for an episode.

I stand corrected.

I haven’t spent the past twenty years in a hole. I may not have earned a steady salary, but I definitely worked. I have two college degrees along with a professional certificate. I’ve been an Area Coordinator for an international organization. I planned two silent auctions for a non-profit group. I’ve been a Girl Scout Troop Leader (don’t laugh – by far the hardest job I’ve had!), and then there’s this blog and website. I thought I’d kept up a decent pace over the years.

Wrong.

When I last earned a salary, I had to use a time-card to keep track of my hours. In fact, I’ve always had one because I’ve never had a salaried position, but the point is—I’ve always written my hours out by hand. Even as an office manager in staffing, everything I did was written by hand. The last time I was employed, one would be lucky if their company had a mainframe (now THERE’S an old word for you) to use. In my case, it would have been used for employment applications, and then maybe I could search for certain skills. It was basic, and only one of the companies I worked at had one. We all had phones at our desk, but very few of us had computers, and by computers I mean those old CRT’s that took up half of the workspace on a desk! Today, I was on the phone for half the day trying to get my stupid sign-in to work in order to clock in and out, and at some point while the IT guy and I wrestled with the time and labor functions, I realized just how much I’d missed and how far behind I’d really been left.

Sure, I’m thankful I’ve been at home with my kids. I have thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed that time. I’m very defensive about being a stay-at-home mom for a variety of reasons, but I’m proud that I made the right choice for my family. I have family members that have spent the past twenty years trying to put me in a box, assuming that since I didn’t take a job I must be stupid, and let me tell you my friends, that has been a very bitter and painful pill to swallow. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting back tears at family gatherings, I’ll say that much. And even so, I will go to my grave saying that staying home was the right thing to do. On the other hand, my gosh—when I last worked we didn’t even have laptops. Thinking about everything that has changed since I last set my alarm to get up and get ready for work psyched me out a bit today, I’ll admit. There were a few technical challenges as well, one of which being that I’m a diehard Mac-user and I had to work using my boss’s Windows computer. I managed, sort of.

As I sat with my boss’s cell phone on speaker this afternoon, waiting for Mr. IT Man to make it possible for me to account for my time in the coming weeks, I realized that as overwhelming as it might be—I’ll figure this out. I’ll keep trying things until something clicks, and eventually this new job will feel like an old one. And really, isn’t that similar to what Duran Duran has gone through during their career?

Sure, they’ve continued to record through the decades, but they constantly adapted with each new album, and not just through music. Every time they went back into the studio, the circumstances changed. They’ve lost members. Gained members. The world has evolved, and the industry has been turned on its head. Even if they were on solid ground with their music, everything else around them continued to turn. Talk about being on a roundabout! When I think about everything that has changed since 1981, especially considering my experience today, my head spins.

No, I haven’t always embraced everything the band has done. There’ve been times when I’ve wondered why they didn’t zig when they zagged. Fans question nearly every single thing they do, second and third guessing anything from the release date of a video to their setlist. I’ve been a party to plenty of that, myself, right here on this blog. Wonder we haven’t driven them crazy….

The bottom line, at least for me, is that Duran Duran keeps going. They are cruising through their fourth decade, and they’re not letting little things like time or progress stop them.

Neither will I. Just as soon as I work up the energy to get off of this couch.

 

-R