Tag Archives: fandom

For the small things: a little gratitude

This week is my Thanksgiving break from work. My oldest is already home, and my son comes home late Wednesday night. We will have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner here at home, and then we are going up to Paso Robles with the other side of the family for the weekend. I’m especially thankful this year that we are spending time with all of our family.

Last May, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with AML – a type of Leukemia. He had two rounds of chemotherapy, went into remission, and was able to have a bone marrow transplant. The first 100 days post transplant are the most critical. Today, if I am counting correctly, is day 97 post transplant. We should be cheering, thankful that he beat the odds, and trust me, we are.

Walt and I are very close with my brother-in-law and his sister, and every time we see them we are both so glad he’s still with us. The one thing I learned this year was just how valuable those two are to me. He may be legally just my brother-in-law, but in my heart – he is my big brother and she is the older sister I always wanted. I need them. Life would change forever, otherwise.

Normally, transplant patients have a bone marrow biopsy (imagine having a hole drilled into your hip?!?) on or near day 100 to confirm that there is no leukemia present. Thanksgiving is day 100 for our family. Thankful? Most definitely.

Today, he is having his post-transplant bone marrow biopsy. We are all hoping for the best. Unfortunately, his platelet count is still very low, and they like to see it return to at least near-normal by day 60. His levels are nowhere near normal. This is worrisome, because even if AML is not present, the fact that his platelets are not recovering is problematic. We’re thankful, but I think it’s fair to say we’re all a little worried. On the flip side, we are also excited to be able to go to one of our favorite vacation spots later in the week to be together. I’m hoping it’s all just a crazy blip on the horizon, and we can go back to trying to convince him to agree to move up to Paso Robles and start the Rivera Family Compound with us.

I know most of you are sticking with this story to find out what this has to do with Duran Duran, or with being a fan. I had a revelation recently as I saw two groups of people I know going at one another. Pure drama. Is the band really worth all of that? In my opinion, it’s not even about the band, it’s just fandom, and while at one point I would have felt like I had something to prove to show my “place” in the community, I see it differently now. It just doesn’t matter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Duran Duran. I love their music. I also adore each of those guys as PEOPLE. I don’t need to fight about who loves them more, or who they’re going to sleep with next, because honestly – I couldn’t care less. That’s not what it’s all about for me, and it never has been. The rest of you can grapple with what constitutes the best type of fan. Some fans are new to the community and want pictures. They’re making up for lost time.  Some other fans trace back their fandom for decades, and everyone handles their fandom differently.

As for me,  the results of the biopsy that is happening right now as I type is all that matters right now. Fandom has become more about friendship than fawning, although rest assured I have done my fair share. Gratitude is an interesting thing. Sometimes, taking a minute to be grateful makes a difference. This weekend, I convinced my husband to forgo plans to clean up our backyard in favor of meeting his sister and brother-in-law to go to a winter art festival. My argument was that we have to take the time when we can. We had a great time that day, and both of us were glad we went. Chores can wait!

Today I’m thankful that my oldest is home and that my son finally answered one of my texts. I am trying to spend time in gratitude for what I have, rather than worrying about assurances I do not. It isn’t easy.  Duran Duran is the same way. I have no idea what that band really has planned for next year or beyond, but I am incredibly grateful for the career they’ve already shared. It is these thoughts that will get me through until Wednesday, when my family hears the results.

-R

 

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

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

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

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

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

Dammit!!

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

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

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

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

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

So, I typed in my password.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

You’ve Got That Thing That Makes Us Smile

I love the days when the blogs just write themselves. 🙂

I hopped on Twitter and Facebook this morning before preparing myself to do battle with a pre-sale a bit later. Blogging is an issue today because I’m short on time. I had no idea what I’d write about, primarily because writing about pre-sales, or the aftermath, is so passé. Been there, written it a thousand times. I’m sure I’m probably do it again. Just not today. Maybe. Oh, and yes, I’m participating in the presale I told Durandy not TWO days ago I was rethinking.

I just can’t stay home. It’s that simple. Let’s hope the ticket gods are kind.

To my surprise, Duran Duran posted a fan video this morning for Face For Today. Now, this is not your ordinary music video tribute to Duran Duran. No, this is truly a FAN video, and if you watch it, you’ll see why. For me though, I could get no further than 2.5 seconds into it before I felt some strange gooey feeling go through me. I suspect it might have been my ice-cold heart melting, but I’m not sure. 😀

(I know it’s wrong to include emojis in a blog. I don’t care.)

I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, but if you haven’t watched it, you should.

Addressing what I’m thinking or feeling right now without making too much comment is a challenge.  I’ll start here: over the years, I’ve seen a lot of comments from fans saying that the band doesn’t care. In fact, I have made comments similar to that (I actually think those very words have come out of my mouth from time to time, if not my fingers here on this blog). For fans, it is shockingly easy to come to that revelation. We all sometimes feel very far removed, and the music business itself isn’t really set up for human emotion at times. It’s run like, well, a sometimes vile and filthy business. I think that while fans forget that this is all about the career of four or five people (many others behind the scenes, I might add), the true business of Duran Duran may sometimes forget that fans are people. We’re not just dollar signs in the appropriate column, or part of a target demographic. We also aren’t just complaint bubbles with faces attached. The scenario is equal parts push and pull.

During the rarest golden moments, all of that extraneous, icky stuff that blinds us all falls away. We’re left to see one another, our faces beautifully vulnerable and real. That’s what this video is about, and I loved every minute of it.

The band cares. They can’t always show it in the same way that I cannot break down every single time a child hurts themselves at recess, or cries in kindergarten because they miss mommy, or is in emotional pain because my office is the only place they feel safe. That doesn’t mean I’m emotionless, it just means that sometimes we have to get the job done, still preserving a little something for ourselves at the end of the day.

Sometimes, it’s nice to see that those four guys: Simon, John, Nick and Roger, see us. They know we’re there even if they can’t always acknowledge it. I won’t copy their words, but the music really is between us. Nothing, and I mean it when I type the word nothing, in my life has ever inspired me more than witnessing the phenomenon of what happens when people come together to celebrate a band and their music.

Amanda and I aren’t in this video. We are just a couple of idiots who saw the call go out for selfies, and never got it together. Truth be told, in my own head – I saw no point if I couldn’t take a picture with her.  I never said these words to anyone, but without offense to the band, we’re a package deal. My face is really nothing without hers when it comes to this band. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t know her and our lives didn’t revolve (somewhat) around Duran Duran. Besides, in some weird way, I kind of like that this video is about everyone else. Yes, we’re fans, but YOU, dear reader, are the real story.

I saw so many familiar faces in that video, and yes, it made me smile. So many beautiful people from all over the world uniting. If that’s not inspiring, well, I just don’t know.

-R

 

My ten moments of joy

Amanda asked that I share ten fandom moments. So far, I’ve written down nine. Number ten is harder for me to put a finger on, but I’m going with what I’ve got for now!

These are moments of complete inner-joy. Oddly, they aren’t necessarily times directly in front of a single band member or anything like that.  Flittering seconds of sheer happiness, in a very uncertain world.

Childhood

I don’t have many vivid memories I can share as a preteen Duranie, but there is one that sticks out. It was the very first time I saw a Duran Duran video, and it was at my friend’s house. I am pretty sure it was during Friday Night Videos, on the ABC network. I don’t know if “Hungry Like the Wolf” had been out a while, or if this was really the premier (I doubt it?), but I can remember sitting on my knees on the floor, in front of her TV set that night. It seemed like forever before they announced that video was coming up next, but I can remember squealing and wiggling, as if to settle in. I could barely sit still, and then it started. I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open as soon as it began. It was so hard to catch every last detail. I wanted to watch it over and over again, but of course I couldn’t—she didn’t have a VCR then (only one of those huge laser disc players). We screamed, in excitement and in frustration when it was over. Although I’d already seen the band in pictures, there was something so unique and special about seeing a video. For a long time, I wanted to believe that the people in the video were just as they were in person. I suppose that’s where the whole idea of putting the band on a pedestal developed. Even so, those videos helped to fuel my fandom for many years—I didn’t see the band live until 1989—so videos were easily even MORE important to me than the live shows, back then.

Anaheim House of Blues, March 2001

I can remember the exact moment my fandom took a complete 180 degree turn back towards the band, and it was at this very show. Up until then, I falsely believed fandom was a thing for pre-teens. The band took the stage, and I recognized I was sharing actual breathing space with Simon Le Bon. Once that happens, there’s really no hope, is there? 😀

Sharing my fandom story at the Friends of Mine Convention

I have never been quite as proud as I was the evening I stood up, took the microphone, and shared my own fandom “truth”. It was a little bit speech, a whole lot of heart and soul shared that night. Never before had I felt like part of a group. That feeling fueled me for months, if not years after.

A little walk around Cheapside, Brighton, UK.

Some people go to England for vacation. Others, to follow a rock band on tour. Me? I go so that a rock band cancels their entire tour and I’m left to figure it all out.  Amanda and I suddenly found ourselves with nine days to fill in a country we had never been to before, in a city that we’d already been warned was “the pit” of England by the lovely man at Heathrow who inspected our passports. What do you think we did? We walked as much of Birmingham as we could! Our walk included the Cheapside area, which most fans know as the austere, initial “home”, of Duran Duran.  Seeing where the band began provided me with an entirely different view of where they sit now.  “Joyful” doesn’t quite cover my feeling that day. I will never be sorry I boarded that plane, no matter how many shows were canceled.

Valley Center, CA

This was the first show I attended when the band resumed touring that year. It was hard not to burst into tears the moment the band took the stage that night, but I didn’t. Instead I stared at the floor while “Before the Rain” played. I didn’t dare even sneak a peek at Simon. I had gone to the show with my husband, who thinks he gets my fandom, but he doesn’t. He would have half-dragged me out of there had I broken down in tears, and yet I could feel them all in my throat as I heard him sing each note. Eventually, I dared myself to look up, because really—what was I going to do, stare at the floor the whole night? I looked up and met the gaze of not only Dom, but Simon too. It was simultaneously awful and kind of beautiful because I think they knew what I was feeling. Maybe.

Later that same year…

Not quite seven months later, Amanda and I went to Brighton. In and of itself that’s a story, but the moment of pure joy came for me when Nick played the opening chords to my favorite B-side, “Secret Oktober”.  If I hadn’t been so firm on my rule of no crying, the flood gates would have opened that night for sure. The culmination of thirty some-odd years of fandom, flooding to the surface.

Later, in Birmingham

In my opinion, this wasn’t the best show of the four I attended in England 2011, but to be standing in DD’s hometown watching them was simply amazing. I’ll never forget. Pure, unadulterated joy.

And still later in Glasgow!

Yes, a lot of my pure joy was found in England. In Glasgow, I ended up in second row at the front of the stage. The show blew my mind, but turning around at the beginning of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” and watching the entire arena clap their hands overhead made me see how significantly SMALL of a part I play in this fandom. We all do. My heart still swells at the thought.

Durandemonium

I really enjoy seeing our community come together.  I especially enjoy seeing the community come together and thoroughly enjoy themselves, knowing that I played a tiny part in making it happen. Durandemonium was that for me. I still think about the committee of people who helped make it happen, mistakes I made, and things I would do better if possible. I also think about the successes of that weekend, and I’m proud of just having the audacity to even try.  Seeing everyone that weekend – well, that WAS pure joy.

And then there’s the bit where, after the last shuttle bus picked up the final revelers at the Late Bar and dropped everyone at the Amalfi Hotel, Amanda and I locked arms, and ran in the other direction away from the hotel! We went and got a very late-night breakfast.  Sometimes, even fandom needs a break.

Agua Caliente, March 2017

I’m not going to exaggerate – my “journey” with this band has been weird. I didn’t even think I would go to shows this year, much less see  four. I think because of that reason, I had no expectations beyond getting some sun and having fun with my friends. As a rule, I’m uptight and I know it. Stress is always just below the surface, and I let dumb things get to me and STAY with me. So, my plan was just to have fun. I did. Standing in front of the band that night made me see just how much fun I really have with them. They make me happy, and no one should ever be able to take your bliss away.

So those are my ten. I threw the last one in there just under the wire because when it comes down to it, Duran Duran is my bliss. Every time I see them, there is joy. I’m learning not to let the small things take that away.

-R

 

 

So Do You Hear, Do You Hear My Wish?

Tis the season. The season for making wish lists, anyway.  Every year since childhood, my parents would ask that I write out a wish list.  “What do you want for Christmas this year?”, my dad would ask.  I’d rattle off a few things, and then my dad would ask the question, “Are those things you need, or things you want?”

To be fair, my list usually had some of each. In my family, we didn’t always have a lot of discretionary income. Shopping indiscriminately wasn’t an option. School clothes shopping was a once-a-year deal, and I knew not to ask for a lot outside of that. I never felt deprived, but I knew plenty of kids who had far more, and some with far less. My parents tended to stick to the “need” portion of my list, with a few things I wanted sprinkled in for good measure. This was something I learned to accept and work with over the years. Duran Duran items were regularly found up near the top of my wish lists from the time I was about ten or eleven, and they’re still on them today. Some things don’t change

Justifying the need for whatever Duran Duran album would occupy my wish list was something I did out of necessity . I’m not quite sure whether or not my parents actually bought the stories of why I needed the music or the book or whatever I might have been requesting. At the time, I would look at my parents in all-seriousness as I’d explain that, I didn’t just want Seven and the Ragged Tiger, or Notorious, I needed it! “It’s for my collection!”, I would say emphatically.  Since money was scarce, I wanted to be sure my parents understood. I’d forgo the sweet-smelling clear plastic Hello Kitty and/or Twin Stars bags, erasers, pens, or pencil cases. Those were things I wanted in order to fit in at school. I needed Duran Duran to feed my soul.

In a weird twist of fate, it turns out, I really did need Duran Duran. Had I not continually asked for those albums, posters or books, I might not have kept quenching the immediate thirst of my inner fangirl. Without that youthful foundation as a fan, I’m not sure that I would be so zealous about fan studies OR Duran Duran today. What in the heck would I do without blogging and research?

Over the weekend, I thought a lot about how I’ve arrived at this point in my life. My parents, while wonderful people, weren’t necessarily encouraging me to go off and become a blogger. Never mind that we didn’t even really have PC’s, and later the internet, until I was older, anyway. Who knew I’d still be a fan and studying about it as I nudged my way towards the age of 50? Certainly not me. I guess that’s why remind myself that I need to be very careful of how I support and encourage my own children. You never know what seemingly nonsensical hobby will turn into a career some day.

Daily Duranie isn’t a viable source of income at this point, but just having a group of people give Amanda and I the chance to present a theory at an academic conference has given me a shot of confidence I needed.  It has also presented a challenge that I am looking forward to meeting head-on.  It is one thing to propose a topic and write an abstract, it is another to create a 15-minute long, engaging presentation. I am excited to begin.

Considering the big picture, everything I’ve experienced and done so far in my life has led me to where I am right now. None of it is bad. I needed the experiences, both good and bad, to be able to go forward from here.

No, I’m not a rock star, talk show host, or music journalist. I’m not a photographer, archivist, music producer, or publicist. I am a passionate researcher, blogger, and fan. The small amount of personal satisfaction I’m feeling happens because I love what I do so much that I’m just not willing to fail. Finally, at the age of (nearly) 47, I may have figured out what people have been telling me to do for years. “Do you what you love and are passionate about doing. Do something that you are not afraid to sleep in your car in order to be able to keep doing.”

At one point a long time ago, I put “find a career” on one of my wish lists. If I remember right, it was just after or just before I graduated from college. I had no idea what I wanted out of life. Nothing excited me. Nothing interested me. I just felt like I had to get a job and figure it out. I did, and I wasn’t very good at the things I tried. They were boring, and the people I worked for weren’t very smart (to be brutally honest).  I quit some of them, and was—yes, fired—from a lot of others. Each year, on the copy of my wish list that I keep for myself, the words “a career” have been on it.  While silly, it serves as a reminder to me to keep looking. At some points in my life, it has been a “want”, particularly while I’ve had children at home.  At others, it has been a “need”, like now. Personally fulfillment from something outside of my duties at home is something I crave.

Researching and writing on fandom niggled at something deep within me. I couldn’t name it or explain what was driving me, but I read everything in sight. Boxes were constantly arriving here from Amazon. My husband started asking if I was assembling some sort of  library.  Fandom enthralled me. Reading and theorizing about why I was so besotted with this one silly band from the UK sparked an interest I didn’t even know I had.  At the beginning, I nibbled on theories explaining why my heart went “ZING!” every time I thought I heard chords from “Hungry Like the Wolf” in public. Now, I devour theories deciphering why we—yes you, dear reader—and I, interact the way we do.  The more I learn, the more I realize there’s so much I don’t yet know.  I love it.

Today as I comprised my wish list for the upcoming holidays, I smiled as I erased one wish off of my list. To most people, an unprofitable blog and one speaking engagement does not equate to a career. That’s fair. I’m getting there, though, and failure is not an option.

-R

The Music is Still Between Us: Durandemonium 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this date in 2013, Duranies descended upon the fine city of Chicago for Durandemonium.

Held at a small, efficient-yet-boutiquey hotel (that no longer exists under the same name or brand) in downtown Chicago, fans from as far as Canada and the UK came together to celebrate Duran Duran over the course of a weekend. Activities ranged from a first night out at Howl at the Moon, where Duranies were invited onstage for their own rendition of none other than “Hungry Like the Wolf” (If the whole “writing about fandom” thing doesn’t work out – there’s absolutely no future in singing onstage for me), to an author panel and a private screening of Diamond in the Mind in a local Chicago theatre. The celebration culminated with a themed-banquet and after party at what has to be one of the best named alternative-music neighborhood clubs in the country – Late Bar.

It wasn’t just the activities that made the weekend special. It is the friendships that were created. Amanda and I love getting notes from people who went to the convention and still talk about how much fun it was. That’s how Amanda and I feel about the convention we attended in New Orleans in 2003. The activities were great, but the times we remember most were the talking and laughing in small groups. If I could bottle that part of what it takes to make a convention successful, I’d carry it with me forever.

Amanda and I have been approached countless times since that weekend about doing another. In the past we’ve even started the planning, only to be railroaded by one thing or another and forced to put the idea aside. Money is always an issue. Conventions are not cheap. Even our convention in Chicago required several thousands of dollars up front, and as one might imagine – blogging does not pay those kinds of bills. Time is another sticky problem. Planning a convention can take hundreds of man-hours, which are not always readily available. We’ve considered doing an event at a club one evening, and then suggesting a hotel to stay at to make a weekend out of it, so it’s more of a get together than actual convention, but because the two of us live a few states apart, the logistics are a problem. We’re in Duran downtime now though, so perhaps it is time to give it all more consideration.  Personally I think it would be a blast to pick a city, meet up at a hotel, and do a Duranie slumber party!  There’s still our dream of paying the band to come and perform a private gig, too (Who does not dream of that? Right after I win the lottery – I’m on it!)

I’ve had the chance to not only attend, but plan two enjoyable, cathartic events as a fan. Three if you count that one time I flew to Chicago on a whim for a weekend so that I could go to March MaDDness (a one night fan get together) with Amanda in the Foundation Room at the House of Blues. I’ve marveled over this fan community before, but going to a fan event like a convention changed my entire life. I want nothing more than to recreate the same safe space for other fans. So many of us are judged by the t-shirts we wear, music we play and concerts we attend. For me, it was a relief to finally be in a place where I could just be myself with others who understood. That’s what I mean by “safe space”. We’re never all going to agree on the minutia, and we’re not all going to be best friends, or even friendly in some cases. We’re all different. Our fan community is complex. We each have our own favorite memories, band members, songs, albums, or tours. When it all boils down, the music is still between us. The music is the common thread that connects us as fans. I feel like we should celebrate that as often as possible.

-R

 

 

 

There’s nothing gonna ace this

My desk calendar tells me that on this date in 2004, Duran Duran played on Good Morning America. It feels like a million years ago. Andy was still with the band and all seemed well on the outside, even if it may not have been on the inside. I had no inkling of the struggles it took to get the album recorded. I didn’t realize that drama from the past had somehow crept its way back into the studio and beyond, and I sure as heck didn’t know that over the course of the next year or so, Andy would stop performing with the band altogether. I was so naive, I had the audacity to believe that the original five would keep going. It never occurred to me that the relationships were so fragile.  Then again, I didn’t really know much of what had gone on behind the scenes in the 80s, either. I basked in the glory of having the band back together again, and in some small way that is typically unlike me, I appreciate that I had no idea of what was to come.

Wide-eyed innocence was sort of my theme for the entire Astronaut period. I was new to traveling to see the band, I was new to the fan community (although I’d been a fan for many years), new to message boards, and the group of friends I’d stumbled upon as a result were all brand new to me. At the point of this GMA appearance, I had just recently gotten home from the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans. I can remember sitting in front of my TV with Gavin on my lap, marveling over some of the women in the front because I’d met them at the convention. Prior to Astronaut, I had never known anyone who had even gone to something like that, much less gotten up so close! When I think back to those Astronaut days, I’m amazed at how naive I was to the entire fandom phenomena. Everything seemed bright, colorful, new, and lovely. I didn’t see much of the insipid bickering, or the jealousy between fans. I hadn’t gone to enough shows or mingled with enough hard-core fans to know that while all is fine and good when the band isn’t around, once they enter the room, the struggle to be seen and acknowledge is so great that we often push one another out-of-the-way just for that tiny bit of validation. In my head, fandom was a utopian paradise, and I wanted to take up residence, permanently.

There are shorter clips of this, but I chose the long one – nearly a full hour – because there are so many short snippets of the crowd.  On this day, it is a breath of fresh air to look back at the memory of what it was like to simply be in love: reinvented, reimagined, reinvigorated, naive LOVE. I particular enjoy the vision of an audience sharing those same feelings.  There is nothing that can ace this.

Yeah, I know the band isn’t nostalgic. Sometimes though, it feels good to look back. It reminds me how I got here, and why I stay.

Take a look. Breathe deeply. Squee if you must…I did 🙂

-R

The Art of Being Impatient

I am a fairly impatient person, by just about any standards. My children, sibling, and parents, in particular, are well-aware of this character flaw. I can remember my dad looking at me and calmly saying “patience, Rhonda” when I was young. Those memories make me smile because I would never use the word “patient” to describe him, but I suppose he was just trying to stop me from making the same mistakes he did.

Sorry, Dad. I try.

I didn’t realize just how impatient I was until I became a blogger. All is fine when you’re writing about something that is constantly making news, but when you’re trying to write a daily blog about a band that has been stuck in the studio for two years and doesn’t really give a lot of updates, it can be a challenge. That wasn’t something I thought about when I came up with the concept for Daily Duranie, mind you! In any case, both Amanda and I grew tired of waiting, and said so on the blog. It felt monotonous, even as the first month away from the road drew to a close, and I knew I was in trouble. It isn’t as though DD comes out with new albums on a yearly basis – and we didn’t really expect otherwise at the time. We just missed them, I suppose, and were fairly vocal (or wordy) about it here. Fellow fans chided us in response, saying that we were being ridiculous, overly negative or yes – extremely impatient.

Maybe so.

When Paper Gods finally neared its release, I was overjoyed. I had things to write about! Once again, blogging became a bit easier, there seemed to be an overabundance of blog-worthy topics to choose from. Life was good, if not easy.

Amanda commented over the weekend about some of the challenges she’s had with blogging during Durantime. I would concur. There are hours when it is still pretty easy and the words flow (like now), and yet I have no doubt that moments will come down the road a bit where I’m struggling to think of something to write. It happens, and it is symbolic of the blessing and curse of a daily blog. I’d like to think that now, seven years in, I am better about how I handle those moments. Time will soon tell.

Today I was looking over Tweetdeck in search of something that might spur my creativity. It is how I begin most days, actually. I saw that more than one person tweeted at Duran Duran, telling them they want them to get back at it in the studio.

I laughed as I saw the tweets. I know this feeling of impatience when it comes to Duran Duran. I’m sure we all do, to some extent. Many of us are likely still feeling the burn in our back pockets from the last tour, but still others are anxious. I dare say we might have awhile. They haven’t been home for even a month yet, and it might be asking a little much for them to be headed back into the studio already. Roger did say that they plan to go in towards the end of the year….for fun…whatever that might mean.

This time, I’m a little less impatient. I’m thankful that I’m working outside of the home now because I have less time to think, fixate, or what-have-you. I’m also not really writing on a regular basis outside of the blog, although I should be committing more time each week to bonding with a project I’m working on.  Basically, it all just means I’m not obsessing 24/7 about all that is Duran Duran. Overall, I’m glad I’m doing other things. Time goes by fast, and before you know it, we’ll be talking about #DD40 in earnest!

-R

This blog is made from blood, sweat, and tears

Amanda and I don’t use the blog to tout successes very often. We want to write about being fans, and the blogs come from our own experiences. This post is personal, in that aspect.

Not too long ago, I wrote a bit of a review for a musician from Denmark named Michael Kratz. He had released a song back in July that he worked on with Dom. I wrote about it because I am a fan of Dom’s, and kind of forgot about it. Michael contacted me a couple of weeks later to thank me, and then ask if I’d be willing to get another one of his songs early and then blog about it since this new song also featured Dom.

I was overjoyed. I appreciated that Michael really asked for my help and trusted me with his music. I am not an author or a journalist. I am a fan. A blogger. Not many people take that seriously.  I jumped at the opportunity, and listened to the song hundreds of times before writing. (I’ve learned my lesson well, thanks to Duran Duran and our friend Lori Majewski.) I published the blog and hoped it would be taken well.

It’s kind of weird to admit that as a woman in my 40’s, I own a fan blog. Part hobby, part “full-time job that I wish were a paying one”, Amanda and I have operated the blog for seven years now. My own big dream was to have this blog lead to something that I could make into a career. I had no idea how, or what – which has always been my problem – so it is no surprise that Daily Duranie is still very much my “volunteer work”. We pay to host this site, which isn’t super cheap. We travel on our own dime, pay to go to shows, and all that stuff.  I spend a lot of time working on this site. In fact, even right now I should be working on “homeschool” with my youngest, but instead I’m writing and we’ll do school a bit later today than normal. As for money, I don’t want to think about how much we spend right now, because I will truly have a panic attack, so I won’t. Yes, we pay to write about Duran Duran. Does that make us a joke? To some, probably.

I’m pretty unsure of myself on even the best of days. My self-confidence isn’t the greatest. Lately I’ve been battling a case of the insecurities. I read things, and then have a really hard time letting go.  I’ve gotten better about it, but I still have a long way to go.  Additionally, I have a very hard time seeing and admitting to myself the good things the blog has done. It’s easier to see and believe the bad things I read and hear about the blog, and even myself as a person, I guess.

Today though, I received a message that really made a difference.  It turns out that Michael was offered record deals in two countries, and in both cases the label mentioned MY article specifically. The best part is that he wanted me to know, so he messaged me today. I’m still beaming, because it feels good to see wonderful things happen to genuinely hard-working people. I’m sure the blog played no more than the tiniest part in his record deals, but the fact that he wanted me to know warms my heart in a way I really needed.

I know that most people don’t really care about a fan site. Hell, we have a hard time getting anyone—even most of the band’s backing players, to take us seriously enough to even fill out a Q&A so that we can in turn promote them and their own careers—so I get it. By the same token, it is not just fans that read and follow Daily Duranie. We have music producers, other bands, news magazines, radio and TV show hosts, authors, and even record labels following and reading, and I’m proud of that.

Today though, I am so pleased to know that a genuinely kind and incredibly talented person I met as a result of this very blog is in the middle of making his own dreams come true. Michael thanked me for writing, but the truth is, I need to thank him for taking me seriously and trusting me with the product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. That, my friends, is anything but a joke.

-R

The Joy of CD Signings

I apologize for writing today’s blog post so late.  I decided to let myself ease into the day during the morning.  This afternoon has been focused on grading.  Writing the blog is my break.  Before I started to write, I took a glance at the latest Duran tweets.  Today, they posted about this date two years ago when the band met fans at the J&R Music Express in New York City.  Obviously, this meet and greet, of sorts, was to advertise, promote their Paper Gods album.  CD signings are nothing new in Duranland.  After all, I can think of ones that took place during Astronaut and even during Thank You, just to name a couple.

I was lucky to have attended one myself in 2007 as the band was promoting Red Carpet Massacre.  I have fond memories of that experience.  It took place in a Best Buy in Chicago in the evening.  Immediately, after work, my friend and I booked it down to Chicago to then wait in line for a couple of hours in the cold as it was December.  Looking back, I assume that we had to wait in line because there was some fear that we wouldn’t make it to the front before the event ended.  Nonetheless, the time went by relatively quickly as I spent a lot of time talking to other Duranies there.  Then, I remember talking to Rhonda on the phone once inside.  In fact, we were on the phone when I reached the front.  I was trying to be so chill that I wasn’t prepared.  Therefore, my cd wasn’t even open, possibly holding up the line.  EEK.  Katy said something to me about procrastinating as a kid with my homework, which caused me to laugh and confess my current profession as a teacher.

Finally, I was in front of the band.  Simon was first and clearly wanted to assist me in taking the plastic wrapper off the cd as he said, “Just give it to me.”  Shockingly enough, my stubborn self replied with, “That’s okay.  I’ve got it.”  Perhaps, my stubbornness was not appreciated.  Who knows?!  Then, I only exchanged pleasant greetings with Nick and Roger before finally getting to John.  I wanted to mention to him about my participation in a campaign of sorts that had taken place the previous summer by members of the Church of the Bass God (COTBG), a popular thread on John’s board on DuranDuranMusic.  The campaign involved sending silly socks to John after we noticed that he had been wearing bright socks in concert.  Looking back on this, I have to laugh.  Even then, I took note of his concert clothing.  Anyway, members of the COTBG sent socks for his birthday and I participated in sending James Bond ones.  John was kind enough to send pictures of himself and the socks back to the COTBG members.  For some reason, it really mattered to me that he know that I was the one with the Bond socks.  Ah, fandom.  Here is the picture of John with the socks I sent.

Obviously, I was not able to attend the cd signing in New York City two years ago, but I generally think they are a good idea.  They provide fans a chance to meet their favorite band, have a chance to exchange a few words and get a personalized autograph.  I like that they are in controlled settings.  It is not as insane as seeing the band after a show or in a public place.  No, fans there know that they will all have their opportunity and the band knows that the fans will be in a line asking for a autograph and that’s it.  Seems to be a win win situation for both fans and the band.  Personally, I hope they do more in the future.

What do the rest of you think?  Have you attended a cd signing?  How did it go?

-A