Tag Archives: fandom

Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! ūüėÄ

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?” ¬†

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


Cracks in the Pavement

Sometimes, fitting fandom into real life is hard. “Adulting” is tough enough, and squeezing the one true escape I’ve got into all of that isn’t always that simple. I think that’s why there have been times when I’ve conceded and given in to the daily pressures.

I don’t know if I’m the only crazy person out there that sees it this way, or if it’s a common thing. For me, it is as though I immersed myself in Duran Duran for a few years. I wrote this blog, went to many shows (more than I probably had business being at, in hindsight), researched and wrote a paper along with two manuscripts, and spread myself remarkably thin between my husband, children, family, my job at the time, Duran Duran, and friends. At some point, something had to give.

I shed my skin when the party was about to begin

Then late last year, something did. My husband lost his job, and that sent my immediate family into several months of turmoil. I couldn’t ignore what was going on at home, and so my attention turned inward. There’s no pretty way to say this: I was scared. There were a number of really bad things that happened along the way to make the pain even worse for all of us, but my family and I made it, for the most part. He found a great job, and then we needed to think about moving. Who knew that would take six months?!? They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, and “they” aren’t kidding.

At the time, I felt like I was constantly pushing a rather large boulder up a giant hill. That wasn’t unusual for me though. Even in the past, when I was focused on researching and writing – something I completely enjoy – I still felt the boulder threatening to roll backward and flatten me if I didn’t keep up the momentum. I know for sure I’m not the only person out there that feels this way. As we all know, one can only push that boulder for so long, and then they give up. So I think in some sense, I just laid down and let it bowl me over last year.

I’m making a break for the shadows

In the aftermath, I found myself in a rather deep and dark place. I did feel rather alone, despite Amanda checking on me – there were some things I just couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about, or admit to myself. I tried very hard to make it seem like I had it together, when really – I wanted to crawl into bed, hide, and never come out. I don’t even think my husband ever really knew how deep and dark I felt. I love the guy, but counseling is not his fort√©.

When I get overwhelmed, which I very much was at the time, I try to break down lists into reasonable daily tasks. I’m not really a list maker – to be honest even making the list can sometimes overwhelm the heck out of me, which it did with moving. So I lived day to day, knowing the few things that had to happen on that day, and getting them done. It was the way I survived without having a heart attack, and I mean that with every fiber of my being.

Don’t want to be in public

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for writing the blog, I don’t think I would have even thought about Duran Duran during the past year. I didn’t want to listen to the music, I didn’t want to hear a single Kafe (although I did), I wouldn’t even read interviews or things like that – and I don’t know why. Walt would even bring them up, or bring up the blog, and I’d wave him off. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to think about the band. The boulder had already knocked me flat on my back and was down the mountain. I just couldn’t manage. It has taken me an enormous amount of time just to begin reading the Classic Pop magazine that Amanda sent me for my birthday in November. I’m getting there.

There were moments, and if I’m going to completely rip off the band-aid, I’ll say there were weeks at minimum, where I really did wonder if I wanted to continue in this life. I was pretty depressed. Stupid things would make me feel worse – or I should say – I allowed them to make me feel worse. Even as I type the words here, I feel silly about admitting them to the world. Regardless, for me this is healing, and it’s important. It wasn’t just because Walt lost his job, or because I had to quit mine, or because of issues with some extended family. It was because I felt like nothing, and the longer it went on, the worse it seemed to get. I gained weight, I felt gross and ugly, and I felt old! The very last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone, so I didn’t.

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

This isn’t a story about Duran Duran saving me, though. I didn’t just hear a song and realize how great I’ve got it, sorry to say. It is a story about me saving myself. I don’t know what eventually started turning me around – I still go through days where I feel like a robot, but they are becoming less and less. I think that getting away from the traffic, pressures, and hectic nature of So Cal has helped. I love my new house, but I also love the peace. I spend more time outside now, and I’m looking forward to springtime. I texted with Amanda last weekend, and on Thursday we’re Skyping, which is something I would have totally said no to a few months ago. Mostly, I’m living and breathing.

I didn’t share this so that everyone could pat me and say “there, there”. I don’t need that, and I would rather that not happen, actually. I shared my story for a couple of reasons. The first being that by typing the words, admitting the truth and clearing the air – it really does make me feel better. The second is because I think sometimes it is easy to assume that since Amanda and I are writing every day, that we’ve got it together. I think it’s easy to see people online and assume all is well. That isn’t always the case. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else, though. Amanda said to me last weekend that the community can be very superficial, and she needs something deeper. I get that. Sometimes I do, too. I think we all might.

I’m walking back

Everyone manages “real life” differently. I’m not sure that I’m managing it or if it is managing me, but I’m working on it. I had to be reminded this morning that for most people, fandom IS the escape. It isn’t as though I don’t feel that way, but when you write a blog about being a fan every day – I think it is easy to forget.

I really am looking forward to next month. I do need that escape and to be amongst friends that accept me for who I am. In many ways, those friends have become my family – and I need them. I am looking forward to hugging a few people who are very important to me, and I’m excited to see that band onstage again. That’s a start.

-R


Do Crowds Make You Feel Lonely?

How do you feel?

If you read the blog with any kind of regularity, you may have noticed a couple of Amanda’s blogs as of late. She’s going through a bit of a weird time when it comes to fandom and Duran Duran, and I don’t think she’s alone.

I know I see and experience things a lot differently now than I did eight, ten or even fifteen or twenty years back. My emotions about the band – at least the most basic ones – are still the same. Obviously, I still love the music. I still really enjoy hearing from them, whether in Kafe’s or in interviews. That said, I don’t always get to everything right as it’s posted.

Several years back, my day would stop if Duran Duran posted a new Kafe. Well, I can tell you that I still haven’t listened to the year-end Katy Kafes yet. I was moving at the time, and while I had a moment to glance at each of the year-end lists that DDHQ compiled, I really didn’t have opportune moments to sit and listen to the Kafes. Amanda did though, and shared a few things with me that she heard, and there was definitely some giggling, at least on my end.

How do you deal?

We still get a kick out of talking and writing about Duran Duran. When we actually are able to sit down and talk about the band, there’s still a lot of love and joy there. That’s the point though – we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time talking or laughing together.

Quite a bit of that is due to me, and some of it is a result of not having a lot to actually talk about. We aren’t working on a writing project at the moment. Our energy was, and is, being spent elsewhere. I think that makes up a lot of the “magic” when it comes to fandom: you get out of it whatever you put into it.

Back when I was a newbie in the community, participation-wise, I spent hours online. I chatted with my new friends. We made plans. We giggled a lot. I was sold, hook, line, sinker. The community aspect of being a Duranie couldn’t be beat. I put my heart and soul into it, even before I ever blogged a single word. I loved being a fan, more accurately – I loved being a part of the community.

What do you say?

Shoot ahead about five years to the time when we began Daily Duranie. The blog still carries a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears from me (as it does Amanda’s). Things have changed though. I don’t look at this blog as quite the “end all” it once was. The blog doesn’t take up my entire day the way it once did. For example, I don’t think I’m going to find any sort of a career path because I owned and operated a DD-fan blog. Yes, other people have had success – but I think those people have very different personalities and talents that are far better suited to the industry than mine. I’m open to whatever may, or may not, happen.

Acquaintances smile, but that’s no understanding

At one time, I desperately wanted and needed validation from the band. Now, I don’t just mean a wink from the stage or a quick picture with them. I had ridiculously high hopes that ranged from having one of them write the foreword to a book, to actually being taken seriously instead of being labeled as just a fan. I don’t know how or when that changed, but it did. Obviously, it isn’t something I can prove to anyone just by typing the words in a blog post. All I can say is that at one time, having the band’s respect mattered more than my own personal satisfaction, and now – I’m more concerned with how *I* feel about Daily Duranie than having the approval of someone else. For me, that’s huge.

I suppose to some extent it comes down to wanting to be noticed. It is slightly intoxicating to be noticed out of a crowd by someone I admire. That feeling is also addictive, which is why I believe so many fans wait for the band for hours on end. They too, want that moment. Once they get it, they want it again and again. They’re willing to go out of their own way to get it, too. True confession time: I’ve fallen into that trap myself. It is far too easy to fool myself into believing any sort of attention or recognition is paramount to anything else.

At one time, I looked at fandom with some sort of starry, wide-eyed innocence, it just isn’t the same now. Granted, part of me misses feeling that excited sort of buzz that happens whenever I talk about Duran Duran. The thing is, when I really sit and think about it, that feeling is still there. It isn’t my love for the band that has changed. It’s my feeling about the community.

After a while, you keep falling off the same mountain

Fandom still interests the hell out of the both of us. I just don’t feel quite as connected to other fans these days. I don’t know if that’s the same for Amanda. In a lot of ways, I feel like an island out here in the middle of nowhere. I admitted to Amanda that those feelings of listlessness certainly contribute to my not feeling like I can organize a full convention. It is hard to give back when you feel like you’re mostly alone.

Amanda herself said that she looks to her political activity for the same sort of boost she once received from the fan community (and I don’t mean as bloggers – I mean just as fellow fans). I have to believe this is part of the journey, rather than feeling like we’ve just reached the end point.

-R

PS – I was alerted that there are some links online that seem to be generated from Daily Duranie leading to a site impersonating us that gathers personal and financial data. Here is the real deal: we don’t gather personal or financial data. That’s not who we are, and that’s definitely not what we’re about. You have my word on that. We have never interviewed a band member (other than Dom). If we did – we’d be shouting from the rooftops, and everyone would know. Word to the wise: if it looks too good to be true (no, we didn’t interview Simon!), it definitely is! I apologize¬†for¬†the¬†confusion.


My Inner 14-Year Old is Screaming

No, those are not lyrics to a Duran Duran song. They are unapologetically, decidedly unpoetic, words for exactly how I’m feeling right now, though.¬†

Please please tell me now

For my birthday, Amanda sent me the special edition Duran Duran 40th Anniversary magazine from Classic Pop. I didn’t buy it for myself when it was released because money was tight, and I knew it wasn’t something I necessarily¬†needed, only wanted. Without getting into detail, it is a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly this past year. “Do I really need this, or just want it?” ¬†I remember commenting to other Duran fans that while the magazine seemed interesting, I couldn’t part with the money. ¬†When I opened my package from Amanda, I was happy. It wasn’t even on my wish list, so it was indeed a surprise.¬†

As much as I wanted to sit right down and read it – which is something I would have done a year ago without thinking twice – I put it away. I didn’t even quickly thumb through the pages! At the time I had a house to sell, and even though I did have an hour or so of free time at night, for whatever reason lately – I have trouble reading.

Even today. I can’t sit still. I fidget, I can’t concentrate, and so the books I started in July are still sitting and waiting for me to finish. It is weird, and very unlike me. I can play games on my phone, and I do, but reading is a problem. I think it is my nerves – or anxiety. ¬†I’m not trying to self-diagnose, nor am I looking for sympathy. I just think this entire year has thrown me for a loop, and I haven’t really processed much of it. Suffice to say that more has gone on than I blog about here, or even share with friends like Amanda. ¬†Some things, not even I can write about.¬†

Is there something I should know

Yesterday, I spent my day in typical fashion. I drove the youngest to school, then I went shopping for stocking stuffers. Came home, did laundry and wrapped some presents. I’m happy to say that I’ve got about 99% of my shopping and wrapping done. ¬†We even took the littlest Rivera to see Santa and get the obligatory picture last night. She asked for things I didn’t know about. (DAMN IT WHY DO MY CHILDREN DO THAT?!?) Anyway, in the afternoon, I had free time. Well, it wasn’t really “free” time, but I had the choice of washing towels and packing them or sitting down and doing something else. ¬†I chose the latter.

Sitting down on the couch, I decided to try looking at that magazine.¬†My mind races so much right now, it is as though I can’t relax, but I got through some of it. Anyway, I’d offhandedly remembered that Amanda told me to look at page 86, so I did. I glanced over the page but I saw that there were these little blurbs on the sides of the pages, and I read it. ¬†Chances are, Amanda blogged about this already (sometimes, I miss posts), and I’m sorry. ¬†Below is what I saw:¬†

I nearly had a coronary. I grabbed the magazine, walked right in to my husband’s office (which is not ever encouraged unless the house is on fire), and pushed the magazine right under his nose.¬†

Granted, it’s not like the article was about us or anything. We were used as source, and as the writer of the exact post being quoted – I can’t help but be a little proud. Sure, I’m thrilled they’re talking about Dom, but oh my gosh my blog is mentioned in a magazine. In a music magazine. IN A VERY SIMILAR MUSIC MAGAZINE ¬†TO THOSE THAT I WOULD SCOUR THE IMPORT RACKS TO FIND WHEN I WAS A KID.

Is there something I should say

So yes, my inner-14 year old is still screaming, right alongside my current self this morning. 

This is about so much more for me than just being quoted somewhere. I’m struggling to find the right words to explain. I guess that for me, it comes down to a bunch of things.

First, it’s a little bit of an affirmation. I don’t suck. When you write a blog, two things happen: people say they love what you do – which I very much appreciate, and others make sure to tell you they hate it.

They do it in an endless variety of ways, but my least favorite is when they try to lessen the impact with their words. “What you two do is cute.” or “It’s silly, but fun for fans if they read it.” ¬† Best: “It’s just a fan blog, right?” I usually nod my head yes, try to smile, and move on.

I love that as much as I do when people point out that the band has done absolutely nothing “for” us, as though that’s an indication of our self-worth. I’m not exactly sure what they’re supposed to do, to be honest. We’ve been writing for over eight years now. We’re linked on their site, and I think if they did anything else for us publicly, it would be like attaching a giant target on us. We’re good, thanks. If you don’t know what I mean, then you probably haven’t noticed the competitive nature that exists in this fandom. You’re lucky. ¬†

The second part of how I’m feeling is a rather large entanglement of feelings, like a giant ball of yarn. I spent my teen years reading magazines similar to Classic Pop without ever thinking even one time that I’d ever write well enough to be in one, even by just being quoted. Sure, it’s a small thing, but for someone who has never had a career or experienced the type of success that some of my friends do on a regular basis‚ÄĒit is huge. I want more of that, without any idea of how to do it.¬†

That would make you come my way

That’s the oddest part of this whole blogging thing, really. When we started, I had no plan. Eight years later, and we still really don’t have a plan. By that I mean that each of us blog, but there’s no “end game” here. We don’t have an end goal other than survival. There’s been times where we thought maybe we could do something with it, but that door hasn’t opened for us, even when we’ve knocked. It might someday, but I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might not be the right door.

So, when something like this happens, regardless of how insignificant it might seem to some one not emotionally attached, I consider that maybe, just maybe, I need to keep looking for the right door.  Perhaps that angsty 14-year old inside of me knows the right way. 

-R 

 

Make Me Smile

I was in the car a couple of days ago, driving home from dropping off the youngest at school. Traffic was heavy, because it was raining.  I felt fairly brain dead and cold as I would tap the gas, then the brake pedal, over and over. The stereo was playing an endless conglomeration of Christmas tunes, and I was pretty weary of the whole episode. I reached over and switched radio stations, hoping for anything that might wake me up. The familiar backwards-piano sound from the beginning of Rio filled the car, and I immediately grinned. I went from dreary and drowsy to energized in less than a second, because of a single song. 

Rio is one of those songs that I can hear anywhere, and will almost always smile. I say almost because I don’t think I’ve heard it at a funeral yet. I’m not quite sure I’d smile if I did. Never know, but here’s hoping I don’t have to test that theory. ¬†Not every Duran song has that superpower hidden within it’s tracks, at least, not for me. ¬†For example, occasionally I’ll be out at a store and hear Ordinary World. While I will acknowledge it’s Duran Duran (I don’t actually stop people and tell them who it is – I’m not quite that far gone just yet), I might not break into a toothy grin. Though as far as “Rio”goes, that song has just the right magic. ¬†I can feel the smile coming on, almost as a reflex. (Yes, really.)

(Although once again, I must reiterate I haven’t excitedly stopped anyone and said “That’s Duran Duran. I love them!! or “I know them!!” ….probably because I don’t know them. ¬†BUT… I’m not going around shouting that I blog about them every day either. Yet. )¬†

I know there are other songs in their catalog that wave a similar wand and cast the same spell on me. The list is rather lengthy when I think about it, which isn’t surprising. This IS my favorite band. I think the rather remarkable point is that like Rio, many of the songs I find myself smiling in response to aren’t necessarily at the top of my list of favorites. They’re unmistakably songs that my memory references as Duran Duran, of course – and typically they are ones that have great memories attached to them.¬†

For me, when I hear Rio, I think of touring and giant beach balls. The scene of the band kicking said balls in the general direction of the audience, while we attempt to aim them right back… oh wait…I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that.¬†

Never mind. Nothing else to see or read there…

I think of summer and sand, and seeing pictures of the band in Hawaii. ¬†That moment at the end of the show comes to mind, too. It is when Dom, John and Roger are all watching one another, waiting for Roger to signal that his chops have had enough for one night and he’s about to end the wind-up at the very end of Rio. I think of seeing John, Roger, Nick, Simon, Dom, Simon W., Anna and Erin at the front of the stage waving. I’m back in my happy place. How could I not smile?

What about you? 

-R 

Trusting the Process

The holiday season just keeps on giving!!

Sure, the gifts might be small – depending upon how you may feel about pictures of the drummer “in residence” at the studio….

(does that mean he’s moved in for the duration?!?)

(that’s a joke)

(although really…maybe that would be more effective…)

(Ok, I’ve used too many parentheses… and now my WordPress editor hates me…)

The pictures make my day! The more the merrier, actually!  As I wander through my house, endlessly trying to find the holiday ribbon that was probably packed months ago, I will gladly accept even the tiniest of gestures to remind me that all is well. Seeing Roger in the studio, behind his drum kit, works for me!

At some point, the band will settle into the seemingly never-ending process of writing and recording, and the pictures may stop for a while. Until then, I’m going to cheer over every photo we get, and…yes…trust the process.

I don’t know how much “the process” has really changed for the band over the years. Naturally, technology has advanced, but beyond that, I don’t know if they really do things any differently. On¬†this¬†side, fans have the added benefit of being “plugged in”. Earlier albums seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I didn’t know they were recording until something was released. These days, thanks to the internet and social media, we are made more aware.

For me, this is a double-edged sword. I love seeing the pictures. I used to get so excited when they’d post snips of whatever they were working on. Some might even say we – or I – obsessed over details before we really knew they were even going to be real details on an album. ¬†It wasn’t necessarily fair to the band. In hindsight I can say that doing all of that was part of MY process. I needed to learn how to blog. Understanding that I had a duty to be responsible with my words and opinions took me longer than I want to admit. The learning curve was a roller coaster, and at times I crashed and burned.

Balance is important. I might not be able to contain a grin, or a post or two when I see pictures indicating that the band is working in the studio, but I know that it is unfair to the band to dissect whatever new music may arise from this time before any of us even have it in hand. Not only would I be setting an unfair prejudice for their work, it would be unkind to fans. My hope is to be able to report on whatever progress is shared, without interjecting too much “early opinion”. ¬†Overall,¬†while the band is hard at work, I am hoping to be a bit more patient, introspective, and use my time wisely….once I finally unpack and find my holiday ribbon!

-R

Fans are fans: we’re all of the same stuff

I’m taking a break from life to reflect on a couple of very different, yet incredibly similar things I saw this morning.

As I woke up this morning, I grabbed my phone. I got into the nasty habit of doing this back when I worked at our resource center (think school). Sometimes a teacher would call in sick or I’d need to prepare for a sudden change in plans, so checking my phone helped to alleviate the panic I’d feel when walking through my office door a bit later to discover complete chaos. Nowadays, it is primarily that habit that drives me to grab my phone each morning. I check social media, often landing on Twitter to see what the people are talking about. ¬†On this day, I saw a poll from a friend.

The friend – you may recognize his Twitter handle as “GuyFansofDuran” – had posted a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite. Sounds like a normal poll question we’ve all seen before, right? Well, there was a small twist – the songs were listed by abbreviation ONLY, and they weren’t your simple “AYNIN” or “HLTW” or even “TUA”. ¬†No, these were songs that, for the most part, were more obscure, deeper cuts. ¬†I enjoyed the challenge, figuring out the songs fairly quickly and then choosing my favorite.¬†Others may have had a little more difficulty, taking the puzzles in stride and solving them with the help of Wikipedia or maybe even the discography on DD.com.

I don’t think knowing the abbreviations makes me any different from other fans, by the way. I think I just happened to wake up with all cylinders firing today, for a change! There have been other days where I couldn’t even think of what “MOW” or “DYBIS” could possibly stand for, so, take heed.

I loved that a group of fans could look at abbreviations, work through a bit of a puzzle, and continue to have a discussion over worthy answers. It felt to me as though one would have needed to be pretty astute with their Duran discography to easily grasp the answers. However, if someone really wanted to participate – it wouldn’t have mattered, because the answers could be found online. Even so, from what I could tell, most of the participants were fans I recognized from the community. I dare call them fellow “die hards”, and I appreciate our commonalities.

I enjoyed the banter, even though I knew as I clicked on my choice (which I am leaving vague on purpose) that it would be the least favorite. ¬†If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the eight years I’ve blogged – we’re all different, and I don’t like choosing the same things as everyone else.

Only an hour or two later, my friend pointed out an example of an entirely different level of devotion to me. ¬†Someone had taken the time to make a .gif that flashes through an animation of each of the album covers the band has created over their career alongside a tweet asking which was their favorite. I didn’t take the time to read all of the answers, but the one that caught my friend’s attention was one that didn’t call out a particular album by name, but by its background color.

Sure, one could make some assumptions based on that answer. I don’t know if the person knew the name of the album but didn’t bother to give it, or maybe they didn’t know the album at all and simply liked the color and imagery. I’ll never know for sure, and it would be a mistake to guess. What I can say though, is that in both cases, people engage on whatever level they’re comfortable. In as much as people took time to answer the poll by figuring out song titles, and sitting through the .gif to find a favorite album – fans were engaging. ¬†A point upon which my friend and I agree.

The best fans aren’t necessarily the ones who know every song, every word, and every note. What does “best” really even mean, anyway? Knowing what “era” specific pictures come from based on hairstyles and clothing doesn’t help to rate the quality of a fan. Some fans might not know anything beyond Paper Gods. Maybe they don’t know that Warren ever played guitar, or that Andy left the band twice. They just know the music, or maybe they only know one album. Fans are fans. There is no good, better or best. Rating one another does very little to encourage people to engage.

Listen, I know how it is between fans. I’ve been at more than my fair share of meet-ups. We greet one another and then ask questions like, “How many shows have you seen?” or “Have you met the band before?” Some pose these questions in order to find common ground, others do it as a sort of fan “sizing up” ritual. I have watched eyes narrow, and then widen, while fans tell tales meant to impress of meeting band members, or narrating accounts from the front row. ¬†It is what is done, and to pretend that sort of thing doesn’t happen or exist is foolish.

What I’ve come to know and accept, is that in the end, none of it really matters. Fans are fans. Sure, some know and have done more. Others might not even have enough experience behind them to know the full history of Duran Duran’s career, but they love that one album with the black and white cover, or the one that looks like a map on the back. That’s great!

-R

We believe in the cold grey lights we dream

Hi everybody! I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday to post. I heard that there’s yet another reason to visit Florida in February (besides sun and warmer weather if you’re looking to escape winter!) – Duran Duran is playing in Miami Beach!

While Duran Duran announced a new show, I was busy and mostly unplugged yesterday. In just two very short weeks, my family and I will FINALLY relocate from the very busy OC, to a much smaller and peaceful town about five hours north. Yesterday we went to inspect our new house and do paperwork, which was joyful. The outside temperature was only in the 50s at our new house, even by midday, which only made me MORE excited to get up there permanently!

While I have been packing and worrying about how I’m going to make this all work (We’re moving just a few days before Christmas – and my youngest still believes in Santa!), I’ve also done a bit of reminiscing. We’ve lived in this house for so long that I can’t really imagine otherwise. It will be strange to be somewhere that my two oldest haven’t lived before, and my anxiety has been on overdrive, thinking about ways I can make the move seem less traumatic. Why? Because that’s what you do when you’re me, I suppose. I’m great at making lists in my head at 3:30 am.

All of the reminiscing has reminded me that not too many years earlier, I was in the height of my glory as a Duran fan. I had gone to the UK with Amanda, as she wrote earlier this week. My time there was fabulous. I saw so many new places, met lots of new faces that have now become dear friends. The experiences were both enriching and inspiring. I think about the shows fairly often. The memories are wonderful, comforting, and still manage to make me smile. Even more so though, I think about the travel we did while there. We were trains a lot. We saw quite a bit of the countryside, experienced winter markets, and tried new things. I fell in love with England and Scotland on that trip, and I really want to go back.

I remember walking through Bournemouth, which is a beautiful little town (as is Brighton and everywhere else I’ve visited so far). We walked along the shops and grabbed dinner with friends. ¬†I can’t even remember the place, but the food was yummy and I was finally starting to relax. It began to rain at some point and so I bought an umbrella (I melt in rain, of course). It was zebra-striped and I had it up until last year, when it broke. I have no idea why I remember that so well, but I do.

Another memory I have from the trip was in Glasgow, after the show that Amanda described on her Sunday post. First of all, my blood is Californian, and I wholeheartedly admit that I froze from the second I got off the train in Edinburgh to the time I got back to California a few days later. I just could not get warm. So, one of my memories is of the cold weather. The arena where the show took place felt like it had its air conditioner on, as opposed to a heater, and I wore my big ski jacket until after the band came on stage, and I still remember shivering as the band busted through “All You Need is Now”.

Then after the show, we’d walked over to a hotel nearby, where there seemed to be a large gathering of Duranies. We grabbed seats and drinks, knowing it would be our final hurrah for that trip. As we sat and sipped, we look out the window and saw it begin to snow. Giant, fat, frosty flakes rained down, and while our driver worried about getting home – I remember thinking how magical the night seemed. I love that memory. I didn’t grow up with snow or even cold weather, so for me it was something out of a dream. Kind of like the rest of that trip, to be honest.

I need to break out of my reverie and get back to shopping online, wrapping, and packing!

-R

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

I am lucky to be the Monday through Thursday blogger because each year, right around this time, I am able to take a few moments and share my gratitude.

Today is Thanksgiving here in America, and while the rest of the world goes on about their Thursday, I will be cooking for my family. This will be our last Thanksgiving in this house, and I think for that reason, it will be particularly special. My two oldest are coming home, and it will be a quiet holiday here at home. I’m writing this ahead of time – on Wednesday – and will begin the marathon cooking session as soon as I’m finished.

Admittedly, cooking is something I don’t particularly love to do. I’m told that I’m very good at it, but then again – the people who say that are also somewhat dependent upon my cooking skills in order to eat. ¬†<big grin here> I do my best and get through it, but I won’t lie – I’m looking forward to the following day when I REFUSE to cook, and force the family to fend for themselves. ¬†This year though, I’m genuinely enjoying the challenge of getting an entire turkey dinner with all the trimmings ready with one oven and a microwave.

I want to say thank you to everyone who takes time to read our posts. We’ve been writing now for over eight years, and while we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve been so lucky to have people support us. There have been many times when I’ve felt like I’d lost my way, lo and behold someone – whether it was a friend or someone I’d never met – would take a second to tell me that something I’d written really ¬†hit home. I’ve needed those boosts now and then, and I can’t thank you enough.

My small but steady and loyal group of friends continue to keep gratitude coursing through my veins. I am not one of those people who have thousands of friends, but the few friends I have are those I can count on, and I do. You know who you are, because you’re the people I text first when something goes right, or when life begins to implode. It has been a roller coaster year, and I’m grateful that even when I feel like I’m at wit’s end, you send reminders that vodka is the reason for the season, or that we are going to have the “breast” weekend ever in February. I belong to the best tribe.

Amanda, I’m so grateful for our friendship. This past year has sucked. Royally. There were times I felt completely paralyzed with fear, shock, and stress. I couldn’t even be a friend to myself, much less to other people, and you just waited patiently for me to return to normal. Most others might have walked away and you didn’t. I won’t forget that. I miss skyping, Vodka Fridays, and writing though, and once I get settled, maybe we can pick that back up again. We also have a mini-convention to plan, so there’s that too. Goodness!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Duran Duran and the DDHQ team. They’ve been patient and forgiving when I was anything but positive – something that I’ve learned from, and won’t forget. We really do try, along with an entire army of Duran fans, to keep the conversation going and the fandom growing. However, when it comes down to it, you are the reason(s) I started writing, and the reason(s) I keep going.

I’m going to go get started on the cooking. Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends, and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

-R