Tag Archives: fandom

Howl at the Wind Rushing Past My Lonely Head

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

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

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

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

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

-A

Do Crowds Just Make You Feel Lonely?

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

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

How do you deal?

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

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

What do you say?

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

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

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

You might find something to last

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

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

-R

Why Don’t They Drop the Bomb

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

The bomb? Are you high? 

(writer winks at cat)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is That Good Enough For You?

Turns on the animal

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

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

Sees the possibility

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

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

He’s got the answer

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

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

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

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

Doesn’t go away

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

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

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

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

Don’t want illusion

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

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

Power glory ride

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

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

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

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

Won’t give up

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

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

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

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

-R

Seated In the Darkened Room

Do you thrill when the green light starts pulsing

I’m sure that by now, many of us have gotten social media requests from a Nick Rhodes, or a John or Roger…or even Simon They try to act as though they’re the REAL one, but of course, they never are. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten requests like that over the years. Even Dom has had someone spoof him and set up a page.

Normally, I wouldn’t draw attention to this, mainly because it’s silly – but I just have to wonder why people do it. Take this website, for example. It takes a lot of time to keep this up and running. I know I try to play it off as though it’s only a half-hour of my time each day, but that’s really just the writing portion. If I want to update the site, do any kind of maintenance, or God forbid there’s a problem, those things can take hours to figure out. Who has the time for more than that?

I realize that perhaps I’m missing the point. Maybe it is really fun to pretend you’re a band member and con several people (if not hundreds) into actually believing that Nick is chatting someone up on Twitter, or that Simon really cares who his fans are on Instagram. I’ll gladly admit that I’m totally missing the “fun” part of this. All I’m thinking about is that it takes a gawd awful amount of time to set up an account and then act believable enough to make people think they’re conversing with the real deal. Why would anyone bother?

Someone always watching what we do

Then there’s the whole “why on earth would you believe that Simon has the time and inclination to chat you up, anyway?” Seriously. As much as I’d love to believe that any one band member has time in their day to hear me wax poetic about them, the fact remains that they’re rock stars, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. My laundry and cleaning can pile up around me, and while my family might start giving me the sideways glare, it isn’t likely they’re going to fire me. (actually, I dare them to try it!) The band though? I don’t know, I kind of think when they’re in the studio or working to get something related, they’ve go better things to do than tell me all about how hard they’re working to make fans happy. Don’t you think?

I can understand wanting to insert yourself into the narrative. After all, I run a fan site. I get it. Where I end up lost is at the point someone decides that talking about the band isn’t enough – they want to be the band, or at least pretend. This sort of behavior is far more emotionally motivated than say, hacking into someone’s account. The perpetrator apparently wants the average fan to believe they’re the band member or celebrity, and I don’t understand why.

In the shadows

While I’m really not sure it’s completely in the same vein as Single White Female, or even stalking, it is in that general direction. Pretending to be someone you aren’t is bizarre, particularly when it seems to be done merely to gain attention, and it happens far too often to ignore and chalk up to just your typical “fan” sort of thing.

I’ve been a fan for a long time. Some might even say too long! Never once have I thought about starting a Roger Taylor account. I mean, it’s one thing to have a page about Roger Taylor (which I do not), it’s another to say you ARE Roger Taylor, you know? It’s way over on the other side of creepy as far as I’m concerned, but I’d love to know what anyone else might think is the motivation here. Chime in below!

-R

LIght My Torch and Wave It for the Last Night in the City

I left Vegas and our little mini-tour on Monday. It is now Saturday and, yet, I’m still thinking about the setlist that we were lucky enough to have on Sunday night. In case you have not seen it, here it is:

Hungry Like the Wolf 
I Don’t Want Your Love 
A View To A Kill (with 007 intro) 
Come Undone 
Anyone Out There 
Astronaut 
The Reflex 
Last Night In The City 
Chauffeur 
Ordinary World 
Sunrise / New Moon 
Notorious 
Pressure Off 
Planet Earth / Space Oddity 
Girls on Film 

Universe Alone/Save a Prayer 
White Lines 
Rio

Do you know what struck me that night and has stayed with me since then? I noticed how many of the songs had some connection to fandom. Some could relate to Duran fandom in general while others make me think about my own personal fandom. Let me explain what the heck I mean.

The first song that comes to mind is New Moon on Monday. I have often said that the chorus about lighting one’s torch and waving it is the essential lyric of fans. When you become a fan, it is because something grabbed you, something lit your torch. Then, when you are ready to show that you are passionate about that someone or something, you begin to let the whole world know. You wave that torch.

Next, in the process of waving the torch, you search for others out there who feel like you do, who can share your passion. You ask if there “is anyone out there”. Once you find the people who feel like you do, you realize that “the music is between you.”

Soon enough, it isn’t enough just to talk about the subject of your fandom. You need more. You need a “thrill and you know just what it takes and where to go.” So, you go on tour. You go to shows. You go on tour. Then, you recognize that this experience is the best EVER. “There is nothing gonna ace this.” In fact, it is so good that each and every time you do it, you get the same “pleasure when you take the hit.”

Then, of course, there is Last Night in the City. If that song does not capture touring, I don’t know what does. Being on tour is, indeed, “our time.” It results in not sleeping. Heck, even this last tour meant little sleep. I think that I got about 11 hours of sleep in three nights. I also love the sentiment of really focusing on that night and not worrying about “tomorrow”. The show, of course, features a lot of “hearts spinning all around” and I definitely believe that shows, meetups, is “where we get connected.”

If all those fandom related songs weren’t enough, the band played other songs that reminded me of my personal fandom journey. For instance, they played the Reflex, which normally doesn’t do much for me live but at the end of the night, I remembered that this is the song that made me a Duranie for life. If that wasn’t enough, they performed my very favorite, Planet Earth.

Did Sunday’s set list have everything I could have possibly wanted? No. There are a few songs that I would have exchanged (*coughComeUndonecough*) but the fact that it featured so many songs that relate to fandom made it “extra” special. As I walked out that night, I felt nothing but love for the band and secure in my fandom. My next show cannot come soon enough!

-A

The Story That We’ve Lived Through

Enough was never enough

Today is September 12, and in a weird way, I kind of like that I am the blogger on this day. (For those just joining us, I blog Monday through Thursday, while Amanda takes the Friday, Saturday and Sunday shift.) Nine years ago tomorrow, I posted our very first blog. Today, I’m posting the final blog of our eighth year of Daily Duranie.

Nine years ago, we were using Blogger as the platform, and I think it’s safe to say I didn’t know what I was doing.

OK, I’m not sure I really know what I’m doing now, either.

Anyway, I wrote the first post for the site. I think it was more of a hello than anything else. I’m fairly sure not one single soul read it, at least on that first day. Writing and posting felt like equal parts “Hello Diary” and “junior high school love note”, which I really liked, and still do. Awkward, shy, and wide-eyed, I posted that very first blog without really being aware of what it meant to be a blogger.

My karma train

My back story is simply that I was never one of the popular kids at school. Caught somewhere between nerd and loser, I did have a group of friends I hung out with until high school, and then I was in the marching band, which gave me a group of instant friends that I remain in touch with even today. During college, I joined a sorority, which was my worst attempt EVER to fit in. As it turns out, I don’t do especially well with large groups of females. I am sure this is not shocking to anyone out there but me. Suffice to say, I learned a lot about myself back then. I had fun being a Zeta, but I’m not your average sorority girl.

In adulthood, particularly as a stay-at-home mom, the isolation can be the worst, and it really was for me. I joined the MOMS Club (again, more females…but I survived), tried PTA (never, ever, again), and then reacquainted myself with Duran Duran. Thank goodness for Duran Duran. I mean that. Had it not been for this band, I think I would have lost my mind.

I don’t know what it is about me, but I was never quite satisfied with just going to shows or just being an onlooker. That’s the way I am about most things. I like to get involved! As shy as I am (and believe me, I am), I want to get in there and get my hands dirty. So when I joined a message board, I didn’t just read, I became a prolific poster. When someone wanted to organize a convention, I didn’t just attend, I joined the committee. (That was the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, aside from being a mom to my three children.) In short, I seek approval. It is devastating to me when I don’t get it. To sum it up, my friends, seeking approval is my own personal kryptonite.

My catch twenty two

So when people ask me why we’re still blogging, even nine years later, the real reason—the one I don’t talk about often because it shines too bright of a light on who I *really* am— is that I don’t want to be forgotten. I need that approval. It is my “love language”, as my oldest child has told me. Blogging has been about the only way I feel like I’m included, or get approval by many (but definitely not all) out in Duranland.

That’s the downside of blogging, right? On one hand, we have people come up to us or send us notes telling us how much they love what we do – and there’s really no way for me to put into words how high my heart soars and swells when we get those notes or when someone says that to us. On the other, there is a certain motivation that exists in a very competitive, female-driven atmosphere where some would rather tear people down, than give them a hand up, or admit that they matter.

The downside of blogging has taken me a while to come to terms with, and it is my ongoing achilles heel. As someone who desperately wants to be liked and accepted, it is horrendous when I know that I’m not. I try to pretend that my feelings don’t get hurt from time to time, but of course they do. I’m human. It is hard not to notice when someone is disgusted by your existence, and I very much admire people who are able to brush it off. I’m not. I’m working on it.

Strong is the human chain

You would think—oh hell, *I* would have thought—that by the time I was nine years into this thing, I’d have it all figured out by now. I don’t. Not much has really changed. I can still walk past the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan on a Sunday night with loads of Duranies in there – and either females will watch me walk past and whisper, or they don’t even notice at all. I’m not really sure which is worse. Thank goodness for Amanda. She doesn’t mind me (much).

So after nine years, what does it really mean to be a blogger?

A blogger protects their relationships. My friendship with Amanda is the most important thing about this website. She is my best friend, and knows far too much. <grin>

Dig in deep

I find that blogging has a lot more to do with the willingness to learn and uncover things about yourself, than it probably does the subject you’re writing about. I mean, I have learned far more about myself than I have Duran Duran during these nine years. My best posts, the ones I am most proud of, are the ones where I open up. No, they don’t always have something directly to to do with Duran Duran. However, those posts, or the subjects within, absolutely have a part in being a fan.

Blogging means being honest – even if your feelings upset people. All you have as a blogger is your own word. You have to be willing to own and defend your thoughts, and then be able to let them go. You’re not always liked. Sometimes people love what you say, and other times, they hate it. Readers and fans hold onto anger and grudges for FAR longer than I do, that is for sure.

Once you hit “publish”, your job as a blogger is done. The words don’t belong to you any longer, and they’re up to others to interpret. Sometimes, that works really well. Other days, it is a slow train wreck. Those are the moments when it is time to shut the laptop, and walk away. It took me a long time to learn to just walk away, but I can promise it was the most valuable skill I’ve ever learned (from blogging).

A feeling that runs so deep

Nine years. I just never thought we’d still be writing. I don’t mind marveling about it at the risk of getting hate mail from someone about bragging. Nearly every day for nine years we’ve written something. I’m proud of that, and I’m looking forward to at least nine more.

I hope the band is prepared to go that long. We’ll keep at it as long as you do!

Oh, that reminds me – tomorrow, in honor of our anniversary, Amanda and I are going to record a video and celebrate with cocktails, so that should be interesting. The blog, or vlog in this case, will be posted LATE tomorrow, so check it out over the weekend!

-R

For a Point of View

Here we are, the final Thursday of August. This time of year is always sort of weird for me. In the past, I’d be neck deep in ordering curriculum for my youngest, or I’d be in the middle of beginning-of-the-school-year prep. There were a couple of wonderful years where I had a “real” job and would be feverishly updating rosters, creating attendance sheets or taking inventory at the learning center. (I miss working there, although you couldn’t pay me to move back to Southern California) In the midst of all of that, I’d be thinking about September 13. This year, I’m getting ready for a visit from my sister, and a trip to Palm Springs and Las Vegas next weekend, while adjusting to having my youngest in public school. (She absolutely LOVES it, by the way!)

That date is special because of two birthdays. The first is my dad’s birthday, and the second is that it is also the birthday for this blog and website!

I have this picture hanging in my room

I am living proof that grief isn’t a process with a beginning, middle and end. My dad died eleven years ago, and I still think about him nearly every day. For me personally, September 13th has gotten easier for me to manage each year. While I can’t help but think about it being my dad’s birthday, at one point I handled it almost ceremoniously. I’d light a candle, make a coconut cake because it was his favorite, think about my dad, look at pictures and nearly wallow in my grief, along with a healthy dose of self-pity. I needed that time to allow the grief to wash over me a little, I suppose.

But I refuse to take you down

I used to set aside September 13 to remind myself of how much I missed my dad. Truth is, I don’t, or at least I didn’t, let myself really spend time thinking about it on most other days. As the years have gone by though, I’ve gotten away from most of that. Typically, the days leading up to it are a bit worse than the day itself. It is like I dread the inevitable until it gets here and I realize (once again), that I’m fine. Sure, I acknowledge his birthday – sometimes I just think about it, and other years I’ll tweet something. Then I let it go. It isn’t the end of the world. Yet honestly, if I’m really going to be transparent about it all (and why not now? I mean, I’ve been at this nine years now), in some ways my world did kind of end with his death, and now – well, this is just the new normal. His face and memory is never far from my thoughts, though.

My son Gavin is the spitting image of him, but with hair – because my dad went bald when he was 18. I never knew him with hair! <big grin here>), and little things remind me of him all the time. At one time, the memories would be sad, and I’d cry at the oddest moments. But now – they’re oddly comforting. I miss him, but I’ve learned to accept that he’s gone. His birthday is still special. He would have been 79 this year, and that boggles my mind. And sometimes, like right now – I can’t even believe our family went through all of that. I have to remind myself that yes, he really did die. Grief is weird.

These words are like sand

Then, there’s the blog. Yes, it is true that one day, nearly nine years ago – I hit “post”, and our very first blog posting went live. This is also something that I need to seriously sit back and contemplate each year. On one hand, I feel like I’ve been blogging for about half my life. On the other, I almost feel like I’ve got to count the years just to be SURE we’ve really been doing this for nine years now. Could that really be?? Just yesterday, Amanda and I were conferencing about a writing project, and she said something about how we’ve been going to shows together for fifteen years now and I had to do a double take. Really? It’s honestly been that long?!?

Even yesterday, I agreed with Amanda when she said that we’ve been blogging for so long now that it wouldn’t feel right if we stopped. The blog is an extension of myself in a number of ways. I’m not really looking for validation in the way I know I was when we started. I’ve learned that much of the time—I won’t get it, and as it turns out—I don’t need it anyway.

I’ve written this before, but it bares repeating. I started blogging because I had the audacity to want to be liked. The blog was essentially a mouthpiece, and I used it. I felt personally empowered just by getting the words out, whether one person read them, or many – although I love hearing from people who felt something from our writing. That feeling has not changed since the day we started. I’m still as socially awkward as ever, and I’m grateful I started blogging.

Just get blown away

What has changed though, is that I realize I don’t need hundreds of people to like me in order to feel validated as a human, or even as a fan. For me personally, organizing a convention, or hosting meet-ups are very difficult things. I much prefer being in the back, behind the scenes, working on the logistics. I don’t enjoy putting myself out there, and pretending to be outgoing, when I know someone is right around the corner laughing and hoping for my utter failure. There seems to be quite a bit of that going around this community at the moment, and I’m not sure why. What I do know is that I don’t need it. If you are with me, we’re still having a meet-up in Vegas. We would love to hang out with people looking to have some fun before the shows – both nights we’ll be in the CliQue Bar at around 5pm, so look for us!

For Amanda and I, writing Daily Duranie is almost a way we pre-write for projects. As those projects take shape, we send out submissions to publishers, and as a result – we’ve had our fair share of rejections. Each publisher has their own format for sending in submissions, but every single one of them wants to know what “big question” your book proposal seeks to address and answer. The first “encyclopedia” sized manuscript we did tried to answer the question, “What is fandom, and why do we participate?” It was a huge question, and the manuscript was laden in research. Our second tried to explain our journey in fandom. We wanted to explain fandom by using our own experience. That manuscript was fun, but in hindsight – very watered down. We wanted our fandom to sound friendly and inclusive. The publisher wanted more of the dirt, and specifically, she wanted to know why Amanda and I are groupies.

*sigh* We’re not groupies. Maybe that’s the problem…but it’s not our thing. Thank you, next!

All the things we’d like to say

Simply put, I think Amanda and I had to do all of that writing in order to whittle away little-by-little and finally get to the good stuff underneath. Some people can do it quickly, and some of us have to write three full manuscripts along with full book proposals to get there. C’est la vie. Someone wise told me that eventually I’d understand why I needed to be rejected, and why I needed to write those full manuscripts. I’m getting there.

I felt good about the direction we were taking in the writing, but yesterday really brought clarity to everything we’ve done for the past nine years (and then some). The real questions—the ones we’ve been afraid to say out loud or admit to anyone but each other— are the things we really need to writing about and trying to answer. So we are. These questions are the reasons we started blogging, They are at the root of what we comment about most when the band is interviewed (and no, I don’t mean John and Simon’s clothing choices!), and they are most definitely the things we get the most annoyed by in general. While I can’t say whether or not a publisher will see the worth in our project – I can say that on a personal note, I’ve turned a corner. I know why I’m still here.

-R

Still In the Pleasure Groove

I find that the best idols are the ones who have actually been, or rather still are, fans themselves. There are a number of reasons for this, but the first and most obvious, is that they know what it is like. They understand how it feels to be a fan. They haven’t forgotten.

That would indicate, of course, that many people HAVE forgotten. They have been celebrities, stars, or what-have-you for so long, or they believe their own BS to the point that they’re convinced of their godliness.

Now, I know that sounds harsh, and perhaps it is in some respects. All I can tell you is that there are people out there that you and I may idolize who just cannot quite believe they’re actually still human. Then there are others, like John Taylor, just to name one for example, that seems to still be a fan. He is someone who gets it. I need point no further than his induction speech [into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame] for Roxy Music, or even his own autobiography, as proof.

Side Men

He writes about going to see Roxy Music at the Birmingham Odeon with Nick. They initially stood in the lobby of the theater, and were told that the band was in the building (words that I myself have heard many times). “…if we hurried down the alleyway that led down the side of the Odeon, we could hear them playing. This is where I learned about the secret world of the sound check….We couldn’t see Roxy, but we could hear them, vaguely, playing songs from their new album, Country Life.”(47)

It gets even better…and strikingly familiar

As they’re standing there, clearly excited by the music (I can imagine this – I mean, I may have heard a sound check or two in my lifetime as a Duran Duran fan. Just once or twice….you know, in passing….), the sound comes to a halt and they see a black limo pull up. Just as quickly, Roxy comes rushing from a side door and straight into the car, which pulls away at lightning speed. A girl yells that she knows where they’re staying – at the Holiday Inn – and that she knows a shorter way. “off we went, Birmingham’s twelve biggest Roxy Music fans sprinting across the city at full pelt. This was a club I wanted to belong to!” They arrive at the hotel before the band, of course. (any self-respecting fan willing to follow the band would, you know.)

The part that makes me smile and chuckle most though, is this: “I asked one of the drivers to give me the champagne cork I spotted on the back shelf of the limo. I was proud of that. Was this strange behavior for a fourteen-year-old suburban boy? I didn’t think so.” (48)

Even reading the words again today, nearly seven years after I read them the first time – I still grin. I can’t help it, because in some bizarre twist of fate, I feel like I’ve found something in common with John. He knows what it is like to be me. I mean, sort of like me, anyway. I highly doubt he still goes around asking for champagne corks, but then again, neither do I, now that I think about it. For me personally, my love and respect for John grew a hundred-fold after reading his autobiography, and much of that has to do with the fact that yes, he really does know what it means to be a fan.

Sign of the Times

By that same token, I see Harry Styles in a bit of the same light. Now, I’ve never been a One Directioner (I can’t name one song beyond “That’s What Makes You Beautiful”), but I’ve been doing some research for a project. It turns out that Harry gets it too.

Some of this is not that hard to imagine. Harry and 1D came to be during the heyday of social media. In some aspects, they embraced the connectivity to their fans. They also became famous as teenagers, and I don’t think it is so awfully difficult for them to remember what it means to idolize. Harry displayed his admiration for Stevie Nicks during her induction ceremony [RRHOF], but he’s also talked about his teenage fans in a positive way.

“He’s always had a fervent female fandom, and, admirably, he’s never felt a need to pretend he doesn’t love it that way. “They’re the most honest — especially if you’re talking about teenage girls, but older as well,” he says. “They have that bullshit detector. You want honest people as your audience. We’re so past that dumb outdated narrative of ‘Oh, these people are girls, so they don’t know what they’re talking about.’ They’re the ones who know what they’re talking about. They’re the people who listen obsessively. They fucking own this shit. They’re running it.” (Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, “The Eternal Sunshine of Harry Styles” August 26, 2019. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/harry-styles-cover-interview-album-871568/ Accessed August 26, 2019)

Have the time of your life

I too, was one of those teenage girl fans once. It is a breath of fresh air to see an artist actually embrace the people who critics tend to write off as “know-nothings”. I appreciate that Harry continues to defend those people, and that he doesn’t talk about how there’s more men in his audiences these days, as if that is suddenly going to convince anybody that he’s suddenly relevant. He doesn’t need to do that, because guess what? He already matters to the music world. I know this because his first album was the fourth best selling album in the UK in 2017, and was the ninth best globally.

In some ways, I am defiant when I research fandom, or when I write about being a fan. There is plenty of judgment out there about fan girls like me. The assumptions about who I am, or the productivity of my life simply because I am a female Duran Duran blogger, writer and fan are pretty outrageous.

Even so, I’m not one of those super-enlightened “I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me” people. I wish I were. I’m still in the struggle between not caring, and worrying endlessly if I’m doing enough as a person. I say I don’t mind being called a “crazy fan”, in some attempt to tell myself that it really doesn’t matter. I’m not doing anything weird or wrong, even if I’m the only person in my family who writes a blog about a band, or travels to see concerts. Sometimes though, I wonder if I should have stopped doing all of this years ago. Then I’ll read something, and be reminded of why I still do.

-R

In the Magazine

Lately, I’ve had to be in my car a bit more often than normal. In an effort to reduce the sheer monotony as I make way up and over the Cuesta Grade, I’ve become addicted to Audible. It turns out that I love listening to books as much as I love reading them – and just as I find library books that I can’t put down, I have the same trouble with Audible.

The books I listen to on Audible are typically beach reads, or books that I can quickly “escape” within the pages…or words, so to speak. Authors like Lauren Weisberger, Elin Hilderbrand, or even Danielle Steele (oh yes, I even read her) are on my list of “go-to” listens for in the car. As opposed to the research books I have at home in my library or in my Kindle app, they’re a welcome respite. I don’t expect to hear much about fandom, which is why today’s topic is unusual.

Keeps me hanging on

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was young—and by young I mean anywhere from the ages of 12 to about yesterday— I wondered what it might be like to be married to a rock star. You know, someone in Duran Duran. Huge fantasy, right? I mean, even if you’ve grown out of it, or like me, you’ve been married for a hundred years, you still think about what it must be like. There are moments when I’m cleaning up the kitchen for about the fourth time that day, or taking out the trash (when I’ve already asked that it be taken out twice), or as I’m making the bed even though I was the first one up on and out (is it really that difficult to pull up a comforter and straighten a pillow???) that I fantasize about what it must be like.

Surely JOHN wouldn’t leave crumbs on the counter, right??? Simon would absolutely take out the trash when asked – the first time! Roger seems like the type to not only throw the comforter on straight, but maybe he’d even take time to smooth the sheets! Nick…well, Nick would probably teach me how to make my eyes pop just “so”. I can’t be mad at that.

Ok, maybe not…but in my fantasies? I’m going with a definite YES.

Shocking colour on the page

Never once in those fantasies, do I ever consider what the cost of being famous might really include. I’m sure all of us have stood in line at our grocery store, and while unloading the cart or waiting for the person in front of us to pay and leave, our eyes wander over the covers of the tabloids, brightly displayed at just the right level so that you can’t miss them. Elvis Lives….Aliens Invade Nevada City….<Insert famous couple here> Split! The headlines are everywhere. Most of them seemingly too “out there” to believe, but the magazines obviously sell. People want to know the nitty-gritty.

That tabloid fodder has to come from somewhere, and the most likely, at least when it comes to celebrities, are from paparazzi. I never really think about it, probably because my life is so much the opposite. I live on a winding, private road in a semi-rural, very middle-class, community. Our “big event” of the year is Crusin’ Weekend – where we gather and sit on the sidewalks on El Camino Real (it is our largest street) and watch old cars cruise up and down the boulevard. I’m not kidding. It’s the opposite of Hollywood and Southern California in every single way, and I love it. I have no idea what it might be like to not only be chased by paparazzi, but be stalked by them, as a hunter my lay in wait for prey.

Currently, I’m listening to a book named Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger. The premise is that a woman is married to a struggling musician who becomes signed to Sony, and becomes the next big thing. His first album goes platinum after four weeks, and so on. They go from living a quiet, private, life to fame, and the trappings that go along, including being followed by paparazzi. The plot thickens as the rock star is photographed in compromising positions, and his wife is fired from the job she loves, all because of her husband’s celebrity status.

Dare you not to notice

At various points throughout the book, I couldn’t help but think of Duran Duran. We fans can be fairly nasty to one another. Calling each other stalkers, or groupies…whatever name we can come up with that does the double duty of being an insult as well as policing our own fan-boundaries. As if those women waiting in the lobby, or trying to sneak in through side doors are the band’s only problems. What many of us fail to acknowledge is that for the band, not only do they have to deal with all of us (and let’s face it, that should probably be more than enough for anyone!), they have to deal with paparazzi and the overall lack-of-privacy. I know it isn’t something I think about very often.

The book describes the couple going on a trip to a quiet town and they head to breakfast. Neither of them is dressed nice – they’re on vacation and are new to the celebrity game. The next thing they know, photographers have pressed themselves to the windows, taking as many pictures as possible. It isn’t just the photos, either. Stories run in the tabloids that are outlandish, but with just enough truth to them to make the couple uncomfortable. Who can they trust? Anyone? No one?

While the book is clearly fiction – it is also obvious to see that it is based on something very real. It is a side of fame and celebrity to which few of us are privy. I know I’ve never really sat and thought about how it must really be to have no privacy, and to have to worry about not only what is printed – but “staying on message” and “mitigating damage”. Watching every word uttered for the greater good of the brand, rather than defending yourself.

Ick.

(Obviously I would not be very good at much of that. Let’s just be honest.)

Hard to escape when your head is stuck in the vice

We (and by “we” I obviously mean “I”….) wonder sometimes why Simon, John, Nick and Roger are hardly seen “out and about” these days. I think you know what I mean – after the shows – and that sort of thing. Fans aren’t THAT horrible, are we?

(definitely a rhetorical question…no need to answer)

It’s the collective. It’s not just about one of us, or a hundred of us for that matter. It isn’t all the people who are only there to see, meet and mingle…but also those looking for a story, even if they’ve got to create one. And perhaps there aren’t so many of those as there were back in the 80s and 90s — I honestly don’t know, but I do have to imagine that after living through all of that, why would someone want to invite it? I know I wouldn’t.

Sure, I’ll let myself think about the sheer fantasy of living the rock star life every once in a while…but I’ll also be thinking of all the reasons why I’m grateful I don’t. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean my kitchen, take out the trash, and make a few beds.

-R