Tag Archives: fandom

Covers, Covers, we got your covers!!

Second “real” blog post in two days.  You’d think I was gearing back up for an album or something…

I think most Duranies are aware of the Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album that Manimal records is producing, and if you’re not familiar with the yet-to-be-released full album, surely you’ve heard Moby’s Rio and Belief’s Sound of Thunder.   If not – go check them out, the links are there for your convenience!

Yesterday, John Taylor asked DDHQ to ask about your favorite Duran Duran cover song.  I almost tweeted back that I was going to sit down with some popcorn and drinks, and let the games begin.  I knew that I’d be reading a litany of “You can’t do Duran Duran better than Duran Duran”, but I was curious to see what other answers might come up.

Personally, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to covers over the years. I knew they were out there – but I didn’t really care. I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t really feel the need to hear them, either. I was so busy just enjoying Duran Duran that I didn’t think I needed to pay attention. I knew Reel Big Fish had done Hungry Like the Wolf, and I remember Hole’s version on The Chauffeur…and I can’t really forget the medley of DD songs that Rockapella performed  (I have it on my iPad somewhere…), but I didn’t take the time to really search or listen beyond that.  Somehow, I suspect I’m not alone.

So, when John Taylor asked about our favorite covers yesterday, I really thought about the question, and more importantly, why he might be asking. There were definitely an overwhelming number of  those “it’s nothing if it’s not Duran Duran” type-replies, and I suspect that John knew he’d see that. So, why ask?  I’m sure he was curious what we have heard. After all, not every single Duran Duran cover has been promoted by the band. (and from the research I’ve done in the past couple of days, I can understand why…) I think asking that sort of question gives him a reasonable gauge of what we’ve exposed ourselves to hearing.  I also think he wanted to somehow indicate that while he appreciates loyalty to the band and all – he fully expects that we might occasionally hear, and enjoy a cover of their music…and that it’s OK.  Additionally, just talking about covers gets fans thinking about covers, and maybe, just maybe…it gets us listening and exposing our ears to what is out there.

My own response, and theory to what is going on here with the complete dismay, dislike, and venom (I could go on…) for the covers of Rio and Sound of Thunder (not as much so for the LUXXURY version of Girls on Film…) is that quite simply: I don’t think fans are used to hearing them much.  We haven’t taken the time to expose ourselves. It takes time to accept that it’s OK that it’s not Simon singing the vocals, John on bass, Nick…Roger…etc, and the only way you grow to accept it is to force yourself to keep listening.  Eventually you realize that no, the world does NOT come to an end because someone covered a Duran Duran song. Even better, you start recognizing that yes, there are people out there who have a tremendous gift and can continue to be creative with what is already an amazing song. Then the pendulum starts to swing to the point where you want to see just how far someone can go with the original song.  How far can it be taken before it’s not really Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf or The Chauffeur?  Where are the boundaries?? Sure, this might not be the case for everyone, but I really kind of think it’s the case for many.  I know because I was there, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This was definitely me several years back.  I though I was being the good little fan by saying nothing was as good as the original.  I missed out on some really great music in the process.

I made the comment yesterday that part of the problem is that I don’t think fans have been exposed to many covers and that someone…maybe even a fan blog (because I’m a smart ass that way) should start posting some and getting people to listen.  I’ll say this much: after you hear some really bad covers, you start listening to the covers that might be way out there but still very creative much, much differently.  I can almost promise that.

So each week I’m going to take Wednesdays (since this is what day this is) and post some covers and a short little review of them.  It’s going to be YOUR job, as good readers, to listen and post whatever you think.  You are probably going to hate most of them at first. I get that. I’ll keep reminding you that they’re not as terrible (most of the time) as you think, and that no – Simon will not hate you for listening to them.  That I can pretty much promise.  Eventually you might just find something you like, and by that time, hopefully this damn #DD14 album will be READY TO PLAY!!!  (that was for you, John Taylor and Co….)  What I’m going to try to do is pick a song and then find a few covers of that song to post.  I might not ever find them all – in which case if you know of one to share, please do. Send a link, email us…and we’ll post it!

The question is where to begin. So this week let’s try Ordinary World. There are a TON of covers of this song, so I picked my favorites. If you have others that you want me to hear, send ’em!! Link is in the title:artist name. Short review is below each.

Ordinary World: Aurora

So this cover is different. The melody is definitely secondary to the rhythm track – in an attempt to make it danceable, and it has a much more atmospheric, spacey sound in parts. It’s also sped way, way up from the original.  That said, it’s completely recognizable…and the lead singer is apparently Robert Pattinson’s (of Twilight fame) older sister.  She has a beautiful voice.  Funny how I never thought much about females taking on Duran’s tunes before…but as you’re going to see over the next several weeks, MANY of the most beautiful covers out there are done by females!

Ordinary World: Gregorian

Very interesting, this Gregorian. (really…I’ve studied real Gregorian chant, and it’s not quite to that point) The music is somewhat subdued, and of course the voices are meant to stand out on their own.  For me, this doesn’t really quite do it…but you know, it IS beautiful in it’s own right. I just keep thinking it feels a bit too much like karaoke.

Ordinary World: Joy Williams

This is my favorite cover of this song (that I’ve found so far).  Haunting, emotional…it’s as though all of the sorrow that could be found in this song is packed into her vocals. No guitar, just piano…and it’s stunning in every single way.

Ordinary World: Red

Love the strings on this one and the additional synth sounds make it interesting and their own. The song is executed in much of the same style as Duran Duran, but it’s definitely their own spin on it musically with a little more of a rock anthem type of sound to it.

Ordinary World: Ainjel Emme

Another female artist.  This time, it’s just guitar and vocals.  Her vocals are stunning, and the guitar is acoustic – very pretty.  My only constructive criticism is that she does very little to make the song her own, and I’d like to hear what she could do to take the song to a different place.

Ordinary World: Rust

Wow. This is a much harder rock version. They kept the melody, the guitar solo…probably kept most of the synth that we know…and added a whole new element. Truthfully out of the covers I chose to include, this is probably the farthest from the original – but it’s interesting.  The hard rock gives the song a great gritty texture to it for those moments where I’m really just majorly pissed off AND sad at the same time!

That’s six different versions of Ordinary World. I know there are a ton more out there that I didn’t even include (I could be here for days…listening and writing away….), but it’s a start. Take a listen. Get your ears used to hearing other people performing Duran’s music. It won’t kill you. In fact, I think it broadens the horizons a bit.

-R

 

 

 

 

Engaged with sharper minds that cut you when you meet

I’m curious – how many of you out there pay attention to what the band wears when they do appearances in public?  Do you notice how they look on the red carpet?  Do you comment anywhere? What about when they’re with significant others?  What about that?  Do you notice what they’re wearing or how they look?

I’m not playing a “Holier than thou” moment here.  I certainly play that game.  When I see photos of the band, whether or not they’re with spouses or girlfriends, I might comment on their appearance.  Maybe I say that they’ve never looked better, maybe I say something different. I would guess that most of the time, I’m not commenting directly on the band’s Facebook page, but you know, maybe I have at some point. I’m not really sure. Maybe I’ve taken the time to notice Simon’s handlebar mustache or John’s teal bangs from several years back.  Maybe I’ve noticed when Nick has worn *gasp* denim…and maybe I’ve paid attention to the t-shirts they’ve worn and whether or not they’re Punkmaster.  Maybe you have as well.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed when Yasmin has worn something particularly striking. I definitely paid attention when she cut her hair. I know plenty, including myself, have noticed when Gela has worn fur, or when she did a teal ombre to her hair – much like John’s bangs.  I’ve taken note when Nefer has stepped out for a night with Nick, and even when Simon’s beautiful daughters have upstaged their dad with their good looks.  I’m positive that during some of those moments, I’ve commented about them on my friends Facebook pages.  We watch, we admire…and yes sometimes, we disagree with their fashion choices.

Do you ever watch the Oscars or other award shows where the stars walk down the red carpet?  They walk down that carpet, taking time to speak with various news and media outlets because that’s part of the PR machine that keeps Hollywood going, but they also walk down that carpet because they know full-well that they are going to be photographed and filmed, and that people are going to talk about what they wear. Otherwise, they wouldn’t walk down that carpet. Did you know that in many cases (perhaps not all, but by and large MOST), the celebrities do not HAVE to walk down that carpet or stand to be photographed? They may choose to enter whatever venue they’re at without having to do the carpet. Most choose to walk the carpet though, knowing that by standing there, they are allowing the public – you and I – the chance to see what they’re wearing and yes, to talk about their choices. Publicly.

Surely they know that not everyone is going to like what they’re wearing, and I would imagine that for many – they couldn’t care any less. They go out, feeling good about what they’re wearing and figure the rest will take care of itself. The fact is, even if the public decides they hate what they’re wearing, they’re still being talked about and their pictures still make their way around the web. It is the true PR machine at work.

The other day a celebrity went to an event and was photographed on a red carpet. This celebrity was female, and yes, she was well-known to Duran fans. A photo made it around to various fan and personal Facebook pages and was talked about – not necessarily positively in all cases. The person and the photo doesn’t really matter here, I’m after the bigger, er, picture.  In any case, I agreed with some friends that no, I didn’t care for the dress she was wearing at that particular event. Others made similar comments, and given that we were talking among friends (this was on a personal page), I kind of forgot about the entire thing and went about my day.

It apparently wasn’t long after when someone else took issue with the discussion. The insinuation was made that we were bashing and made a particular point to mention we should remember that the person is married – and that the person she is married to STILL wouldn’t give any of us a second thought no matter how this person looked or was wearing that day.

I found that comment to be curious, because in no way were any of us that were involved in the discussion even remotely intimating that her husband should throw her aside in favor of shacking up with one of us. I wonder why it is that in nearly every single instance where a disagreement comes about between DD fans, the insult that is hurled back at us like a whip is that since we’re fans of the band and we’re female, the only reason we’re here is to try and take one of them home with us. It’s not about the music, it’s not about the fact that many of us have been friends for decades now…no, it’s about the fantasy that we must still think we have a shot with a band member. Really?

There are so many ways I could go with this:  I could say that I wouldn’t touch any one of those band members with a 20-foot pole and a haz mat suit. (I actually have said that. Many times.) No offense to any of them personally, but let’s get real here: I’ve heard things about their behavior over the years. I could say that while of course they’re attractive, I’m married and that vow matters to me. I could also say that whether or not Simon, John, Nick, Simon and/or Roger finds me attractive has pretty much zero bearing on my self-esteem because I know what I see when I look in the mirror, and what is in my heart and head.  But does any of that really matter?  Even if I know these things…others always assume they know better. They know what I (and others like me) are really after. It comes up whenever there’s a disagreement among fans.  It is as though we all know what exactly what to say, and we wield that one sentence as though it were a weapon, waiting for precisely the right moment to strike.

“You know _____________ (insert band member here) is never going to sleep with you, right?” 

I have no doubt that there are women and men amongst us that, given the chance, would want to live out their adolescent and young adult fantasies. I also think that there’s something to be said for the fact that sometimes people bash one another in order to make themselves feel better. It’s sad, but it’s true. I also think though that most of us have a foot, and at least a big toe, firmly planted in reality much of the time. Oh hell yeah we go to the shows and try to catch the eye of a band member. Of course it feels good to see them smile our way.  We’re human. But even if if those winks and smiles never happened again, we wouldn’t write the fandom off. Our friendships between one another matter. The music certainly matters. The eye candy portion of it all is merely a bonus.

It’s funny but when I began writing this post, I was going to ask how readers felt about judging the appearance of band members and their significant others. Is it really that big of a deal to talk about what they’re wearing among friends?  But as I continued writing, I came to realize that the real issue here is how we continue to treat one another. I don’t really believe the band or their families give one lick about what I think about their clothing or hair, and honestly?  They shouldn’t. Fans are going to say whatever they’re going to say, and the sun will still continue to come up the next day.  We fans though…we’re still accusing one another of wanting to take Simon home and sticking around for the sex appeal rather than the music.  We’re still trying to downgrade one another as fans by virtue of lashing out and questioning motives in the most basic and yet demeaning ways possible. What’s more: we know exactly what we’re doing when we say the things we do.

As far as I know, fandom is not a competition. There is no tangible prize at the end. Some of us collect photos, some of us collect vinyl, some try to go to as many shows as possible, still others want to see the band in as many different places as possible. Many, many others just enjoy whatever they can find online or elsewhere because they’re not afforded the opportunity for much else. While each piece may matter to us on an individual level, not one “thing” makes any of us better or worse than another.  Yet we all try to coexist, and sometimes, we manage to do so without wanting to throttle one another or get into the schoolyard antics we should have left far behind. It’s not always easy, but we manage.  Then there’s Durantime…when the natives grow restless.

Guess what time it is?!?

-R

 

The Glitter Plan – The Daily Duranie Book Review

Once in a while I do something so completely out of character that it even surprises me.

This time, I read a book.

To be sure, my reading something wasn’t very shocking.  I wish I had even more time to read…and I will truly grab anything from political-based non-fiction (I just like reading things from a variety of points of view) to women’s fiction and romance.  (And if it has the name “Karen Booth” on the cover I’m sold. Immediately.)  However, this time, I actually read a book that at least in part, was centered on fashion.  I can tell you the last time that happened.  Never.

Anyone who knows me is well-aware that I am no fashion diva.  I live in denim and t-shirts (along with sneakers or flip-flops).  I make no apologies for that – it is who I am, and while I might not be the most edgiest dresser in the world, I’m comfortable, and that matters!  I love art, I adore music, love books…but fashion just isn’t something I’ve ever cared much about.  Don’t ask how I’ve stayed a fan of this band for so long…I think I’m more interested in the way they use their artwork and media to convey a message than I am about their clothes (which I realize is part of the story…so I’m not a complete loss), but don’t tell them that, OK?  It’s our secret!!

So, back to that book.  Believe it or not, I read The Glitter Plan, by Pam Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor. Truthfully, I heard about the book from one of John’s tweets (so social-marketing really does work, by the way…), but to be completely honest, I probably would have read the book had I found it on my own (and I would have – I am an avid Amazon shopper!), and here’s why: these are two women – best friends besides – who started a huge, successful company on just $200.  I wanted to read their story.  They took their passion and did something with it, and that seems to be a common theme here on the blog this week!

I had very little idea of what to expect when I started the book, aside from perhaps a few preconceived notions on my part. The truth is that many many years ago, there was an article in my local paper (OC Register) about Juicy. The interviewer spent an afternoon with Pam and Gela, and he made them sound as though they were the type of women who were brainless, spending their afternoons mindlessly shopping and speaking in baby-talk, trying to be cute. I remember reading  in this same article that Gela specifically said that they’d never make their clothes larger than a size 8 because you can’t be glamorous if you’re bigger than that.  I’m not going to argue whether or not that is factual at this point (either the quote from my paper or her feelings in general about size, because I don’t know the truth and it really doesn’t matter for this blog), but I’m a size 10 and have been since I was a teenager…and I feel good about my size. No fashion designer has the right to take that away from me, and so it was something I always kept in the back of my mind. Now, maybe some of that is a good description of them in some limited ways (shopping sounds like it might be a hobby, and I can’t/won’t fault them for that), but in others??  So, I’ll just say that going in, my expectations were low, but I had hope.

I’m going to get real here for a second. I don’t know Gela. (I also don’t know Pam, but since Gela is married to John Taylor…well, you get the point.) I’ve never met her, and while I’ve heard stories through the ever-present rumor mill – I would really like to give the benefit of the doubt to just about anyone before making my mind up rashly. Up until today I’d never even heard her voice before, believe it or not! I also know that there’s a certain faction in the Duranie community that is unhappy (I’m being as polite and PC about this as possible) with the use of fur in her clothing line. I don’t run their business, and I *do* support their choice to run their business however they so choose. Period. Additionally, I support MY choice, and YOUR choice as a consumer.  But my blog isn’t the place for grandstanding and soapboxing – you all have your own Facebook and Twitter accounts to do that if you so choose. I respect your right to voice your opinions. I also appreciate your consideration and respect for how I choose to run this blog. On the other hand, I wholeheartedly welcome comments about the book.  I encourage discussion on the topic at hand, always!

All of that aside, the one thing the book did do (aside from being entertaining!), was inspire. I watched an interview of Pam and Gela this morning – I think was called Good Day Book Club – that’s where I heard them speak for the first time.  Gela made a point near the end of the interview to say that one of the reasons they wrote the book was to inspire. She felt that if they could do it, others could as well. It takes passion and drive, and there’s plenty of that on example in the book.

While it’s true that when they’d start really talking about fashion a lot of the names and things they were saying went over my head (who is brainless now?!?), I couldn’t help but be impressed with the mere fact that they were so impassioned by what they wanted to do that they just went with it.  Once again it’s a case where some people are just dreamers, and some are doers…and the ones who take the risk are the ones who succeed.  Pam and Gela didn’t really have safety nets; they didn’t have irons thrown in the fire in three different spots – they went after the one thing they wanted most. That makes sense to me.  If you’re really that passionate about something you do, or if you really want something that badly, you do whatever you have to do in order to make it work.  I think that a lot of my life has been spent thinking “What if” instead of “what can I do to make it happen?”…and maybe I’m finally getting to the point where I’m starting to think about what can really be done.

I was surprised when I came to the end of the book. These didn’t seem like women who were hell-bent on making “less-than-petite” women like me feel bad about themselves. They didn’t seem like they were brainless, either. (Uh, hardly.)  There was one passage in the book when they talked about going to Taco Bell, and truthfully – I nearly fell over when I read that, and I did have a moment or several when I murmured “They’re just like us. Huh. Who knew?” In fact, there were a lot of times while reading that I thought they sounded very similar to Amanda and I (words I never really expected to type).  I kept thinking how maverick they were about the whole thing – they had no idea what they were doing a lot of the time, and they basically just tried to break as many rules as possible.  This sounds remarkably similar!

Whatever preconceived notions I may have had of Juicy, of Pam, and especially of Gela, went out the window after reading the book. These two women seem incredibly smart, business-savvy, and fearless. The book was a really fun read, I learned quite a bit, and maybe…just maybe…I’ll pay a little bit more attention to their clothing line as a result, even though at this point, it is way out of my price range unless I decide to never attend another DD show ever again in favor of buying clothing instead.

Let’s not go THAT far….

-R

To buy The Glitter Plan, and I highly recommend that you do…click on the picture!

The Glitter Plan

 

Never a Dull Moment – Simon’s Surprise May Katy Kafe!

I spied news that Simon decided it was time for an impromptu Katy Kafé yesterday, and I could have written right then exactly how it was going to go.  He had plenty to say, and Katy’s goal was to basically try and funnel the energy in the right direction.  I could hear the energy emanating from my computer speakers as he began the Kafe with all sorts of talk about pugs.  Yes, pugs…as in dogs. He goes on a full tangent coming up with every possible tagline for pug licking. Not that I wasn’t following along well, but I really wasn’t following.  Next time I’m going to need more caffeine before listening to a Kafe.  Or something.

As typical, I am going to attempt to decipher the news of the day. This is not going to be word for word, and as always – to really understand Simon, or at least so that you can be as thoroughly entertained as possible, you should get a DDM membership so that you can hear the Kafé in all of it’s glory. It was a very short Kafe, given that it was impromptu and all, nevertheless, we did get a scoop of sorts. No song titles, no snippets…but I think they might know just how long the album is going to be, and it sounds like they’ve settled on the tracks they’re going to use.

As of yesterday, it sounds like Simon would like the album to have eleven (11) tracks.  When asked why eleven, Simon said that it was because he couldn’t get it down to ten.  If only WordPress allowed emoticons…

At any rate, Simon then said that they could put out a 16 track album, but they’re not, and that sometimes less is really more.  I’ll be completely blunt: “more” for me at this point would mean getting us a song to hear soon, and then maybe spreading out the introduction of the entire album over the course of say…a few months.  How, you ask? Simple! By “releasing” a single song track a week or so, because it would create buzz and MORE buzz each time something was released and spread to the fan community and public over Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t a new idea, nor is it MY idea…but it’s a really good one. Rather than have two weeks, or even less, of a lot of “chatter” on social media, by slowing the release of the record to a song every week or so, you’re extending the life of the PR and social media chatter. Why? Each time something new is released, Duran Duran has the chance to be trending, and the music has an opportunity of being heard.  When you release everything all at once, really great songs get buried, and let’s be honest: people do not buy music by the album any longer.  Sales show that, and while I’m fully aware most Duran fans would buy the whole album – I hate to say it – we are not the the center of the universe.  Maybe the most important part, yes…. but surely not the center.  (That’s sarcasm)  Oh, and touring. Yes, “more” for me means touring.  Soon.  (I’m allowed to wish. I don’t care if the rest of you aren’t ready for them yet. I’m a fan, and I am ready!)

So what else did Simon say?  They were working in the studio with Mr. Hudson – and I believe that Simon and Katy spoke just yesterday so that means Mr. Hudson must be making a reasonably sized contribution to the album.  I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve

The reason for the impromptu Kafé was Simon wanted to share the events of the past couple of weeks with the fan community.  As we all know, Simon went to Ibiza last week to surprise Nile Rodgers at the IMS (International Music Summit) dinner. He presented Nile with the Legends award, and afterward jammed with Nona Hendryx, Nile Rodgers and George Clinton.

Then, a couple of nights ago he went and saw Caetano Veloso, one of the greatest Brazilian artists, at the Barbican Center.  Warren Cuccurullo turned him on to Brazilian music back in 1989 when they were staying in the South of France.

No song titles or other huge scoops…but it certainly sounds like they’re working, and with any luck the road to having a finished album before us is growing shorter!

-R

 

Fandom

I meant to post this earlier today…

A dear friend sent this to us, and I think it’s very worthy of posting here. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself.

Lovingly borrowed from Tumblr. Original posting found here.  (That means that Rhonda did not write this, nor does she claim to be even remotely this poetic.)

-R

“Fandom is focus. Fandom is obsession. Fandom is insatiable consumption. Fandom is sitting for hours in front of a TV screen a movie screen a computer screen with a comic book a novel on your lap. Fandom is eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome and not enough exercise and staying up way, way past your bedtime.

Fandom is people you don’t tell your mother you’re meeting. Fandom is people in the closet, people out and proud, people in costumes, people in T-shirts with slogans only fifty others would understand. Fandom is a loud dinner conversation scaring the waiter and every table nearby.

Fandom is you in Germany and me in the US and him in Australia and her in Japan. Fandom is a sofabed in New York, a roadtrip to Oxnard, a friend behind a face in London. Fandom talks past timezones and accents and backgrounds. Fandom is conversation. Communication. Contact.

Fandom is drama. Fandom is melodrama. Fandom is high school. Fandom is Snacky’s law and Godwin’s law and Murphy’s law. Fandom is smarter than you. Fandom is stupider than you. Fandom is five arguments over and over and over again. Fandom is the first time you’ve ever had them.

Fandom is female. Fandom is male. Fandom lets female play at being male. Fandom bends gender, straight, gay, prude, promiscuous. Fandom is fantasy. Fandom doesn’t care about norms or taboos or boundaries. Fandom cares too much about norms and taboos and boundaries. Fandom is not real life. Fandom is closer than real life. Fandom knows what you’re really like in the bedroom. Fandom is how you would never, could never be in the bedroom.

Fandom is shipping, never shipping, het, slash, gen, none of the above, more than the above. Fandom is love for characters you didn’t create. Fandom is recreating the characters you didn’t create. Fandom is appropriation, subversion, dissention. Fandom is adoration, extrapolation, imitation. Fandom is dissection, criticism, interpretation. Fandom is changing, experimenting, attempting.

Fandom is creating. Fandom is drawing, painting, vidding: nine seasons in four minutes of love. Fandom is words, language, authoring. Fandom is essays, stories, betas, parodies, filks, zines, usenet posts, blog posts, message board posts, emails, chats, petitions, wank, concrit, feedback, recs. Fandom is writing for the first time since you were twelve. Fandom is finally calling yourself a writer.

Fandom is signal and response. Fandom is a stranger moving you to tears, anger, laughter. Fandom is you moving a stranger to speak.

Fandom is distraction. Fandom is endangering your job, your grades, your relationships, your bank account. Fandom gets no work done. Fandom is too much work. Fandom was/is just a phase. Fandom could never be just a phase. Fandom is where you found a friend, a sister, a kindred spirit. Fandom is where you found a talent, a love, a reason.

Fandom is where you found yourself.”

 

Today in Duran History – Uruguay

On todays date in 1993, Duran Duran played in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Not a country I hear about them hitting on tour very often, I must say.

And since I’m a little bored this morning….I will share a scenario here that was posted on our FB page by Miss Amanda over the weekend.  If you care to reply (and you should), please send us a comment!

You are stuck in an elevator with a rock star.  Who would you want it to be??

The way I see this, there are two ways to answer this question. Either you go for the knee jerk answer, in which you don’t even consider the circumstances and you say the first person to pop into your head.  I’ll bet that’s how most people would answer, and I think that’s great.  Then there’s me.  Do I actually think about what fun this could be?  No. Of course not. The very first thing I think of in this delightful fantasy situation is my anxiety.  I’m not fond of elevators. Too closed in, and the thought of being pulled up and lowered by cables kind of bothers me a bit.  Don’t get me wrong – I use them and everything, but I try not to think about it much. So the idea of being stuck in one is not at all amusing, and no, I really don’t care who it is beside me at the time (I just pray the elevator is not full).  I can just imagine getting onto an elevator only to find a band member standing there – or being in one only to have the doors open with one of them about to enter.  Awkward.  I mean, it would probably be the ONE time I’m wearing a DD t-shirt, or carrying one of my VIP bags or something.  And then to end up stuck?!?  I can just see it – I’d roll my eyes, shake my head and mumble something about it being my luck.  I’ll bet many of you would consider it good luck though.  Not me. I’d likely call those minutes among the most awkward of my life.  What would I say?  Probably nothing at first. I’d be standing there thinking about what to say.  LOL Better sound smart, Rhonda!!  You can only stand there quiet for so long though before acknowledging the situation, right??  So the question comes down to who it is beside me in that elevator.  Who would I not mind being stuck with?  Who would I most want to speak with?

Let’s just go with the knee jerk here and say Nick Rhodes.  Yeah, I know you thought I was going to say Dom.  😉

-R

Today in Duran History – Tokyo

Way back in the dark ages…we’re talking 1982 people…Duran Duran played at Shibuya Kokaido in Tokyo.  I can honestly say that not only do I not remember this show (I definitely wasn’t there!), I really think that at that point in my life, my world began and ended at Sunflower Intermediate School in Glendora, California (a school that has since been closed).  I was eleven years old, and while I know I could have picked Japan and even Tokyo out on a map, overall the world felt an awful lot bigger to me then than it does these days.  I don’t know that I even dreamed about seeing the word beyond the US at that time.  There are moments when it is hard to believe there was once a time when the internet didn’t exist and we were forced to rely on radio, TV & magazines for our Duran Duran news.

Dark ages indeed!!

-R

Today in Duran History – Wembley 2004

On today’s date in 2004, Duran Duran played Wembley Arena in London, UK.  They played Wembley Arena five nights during this period in 2004: April 13, April 14, April 24 and then April 30 and May 1st.  I hear they sold the place out….

As you might recall, the band released a little DVD aptly named Live from London, which was recorded at Wembley during these shows… and if memory serves, there may have been a few theatre screenings of this DVD scattered across the US to celebrate it’s release.  Duran Duran on a big screen?  YES.

We should really do all that again, don’t you think??

-R

Showcasing Fandom: Shelly Duran – Twilight Fandom and Fanfic Writer

This blog is more than Duran Duran and more than being a Duran Duran fan.  As any regular reader would know, we are in the midst of editing a book that features extensive research on fandom, including what is fandom, what it looks like, why someone would want to be a part of fandom and why someone stays in fandom.  This blog has certainly allowed us to explore Duran Duran fandom both as observers and as participants.  Over a year ago, I asked people who participate in either different fandoms or who participate in Duran fandom differently than we do to fill out a questionnaire.  The reason for this was simple–to help me with research and to show how all fandoms experience similarities.  One of the people who volunteered is someone who participates in the Twilight fandom.  Here is how she responded to my questionnaire.

What fandom are you a part of?

Twilight

What drew you to this fandom? What did you like about the object(s) of the fandom?

Friends had been telling me for years that I should read the books but I resisted. I already had an active fandom. I didn’t think I had time for a second one. I saw the first movie on t.v. one night and knew I was hooked. I then read all four books in less than a week and saw all the movies. I even took a “mental health day” from work so I could see Breaking Dawn in the theater. The iconic love story of Edward and Bella appealed to me on a level I hadn’t experienced in years.

How long have you been a part of this fandom?

Since November 2011.

How do people communicate with other fans in your fandom?

Through different forms of social media- message boards, twitter, FB, tumblrs, various blogs and websites. I have become active in the fan fiction part of the fandom. Most stories are on one website and you can also leave reviews for the stories there. 

Are there some fans who are thought of bigger/better/important based solely on their communication?  What qualities do they have?

Yes, usually the bloggers who review fanfic and the BNA – the Big Name Authors, those that have written popular fanfic stories. They are valued for their opinions on the various stories and getting a recommendation from one of these people can really raise an author’s profile. 

What are the most common discussions?

There are three general areas: The films/books, fanfiction, and the obsession with the actors who played the characters in the films, most notably Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

The films/books are over so discussion is limited to recalling favorite moments or things that could have been done differently – hindsight. The biggest discussion in the book world is whether Stephenie Meyer will ever finish Midnight Sun, the unfinished manuscript of Twilight written from Edward’s point of view (EPOV).

I usually stay in the fanfiction realm. Fanfic is widely accepted in the Twilight fandom. Since these are fictional characters, there is no controversy about reading and writing fanfic like there is in the Duran fandom. There is an incredible amount of Twilight fanfiction- literally thousands of stories. I could spend years and years reading nothing but Twific.

I try to avoid the Robsten/Nonsten (those for and against the real life relationship of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) at all costs. However, I will say I’ve become a fan of Robert Pattinson as a result of being a Twilight fan. He is nothing like “Edward” but he seems to be a genuinely nice, humble person and I’ve enjoyed the other films he’s been in besides Twilight, most notably Remember Me and Cosmopolis. Yes, I also think he’s really, really, really um… attractive (I mean hot!). But then again, I seem to have a thing for 6’2″ British guys with great jawlines and long fingers. It’s definitely a pattern for me.

Do fans get together? How? Why? When?

Yes. There are various informal and formal meet-ups and fan conventions throughout the year. Some focus on just the movies, some on just fanfiction. Fans would camp out for days before the movie red carpet premieres whenever a new movie was released. Also, the Comic-con in San Diego has attracted scores of Twilight fans over the past several years. There are Twilight specific panels at the convention as well.

What activities are found in your fandom? Describe them.

In addition to fanfiction reading and writing, there are weekly fanfiction trivia contests on twitter. Fans also make banners, blinkies, and “manips” (photoshopped pics) relating to the stories. There are highly competitive fanfiction writing contests as well as weekly and monthly polls about the fanfiction stories. The prizes are usually banners or blinkies but the real prize is the “glory” of winning the contest. There are usually several categories for winners.

One thing that impressed me the most are the causes- Twilight fans have raised thousands of dollars over the past several years by having fanfiction auctions where bidders donate money to causes everything from the tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in Haiti, to various cancer charities. In return, authors will write specific stories- either “outtakes” of stories they are currently writing or those requested by the bidders. These stories will only be available to those who have donated for a certain length of time (3-6 months usually). 

Would you say that there is social status or a hierarchy within your fandom? How do people get higher status? Are the rules for this clear or very subtle?

Yes.  The usual rules of any fandom apply. I think also like tends to go with like.  Someone who doesn’t care for a certain character or actor isn’t going to spend a lot of time with those that are fans of those characters/actors.  In fanfiction, I think the easiest way to get “higher status” is for someone with higher status to recommend your story.  One or two mentions on an influential blog or by a “BNA” (big name author) can bring hundreds of new readers to a story.

Are there chances to have access to the object(s) of your fandom? Online opportunities? In person? Does every fan have the same opportunity? Is there tension from uneven or unequal opportunities or experiences?

Some of the same controversies in the Duran world about “stalking” vs. “being in the right place at the right time” apply here as well. There are those who go to film sets or to the actor’s homes in hopes of seeing them.  Then there are those who frequent concerts of friends of the actors.  Interestingly, Stephenie Meyer, the author of the stories attracts far less attention than the actors who played her characters. There is definitely tension over what is crossing the line and what is appropriate behavior. It is very reminiscent of the D2 fandom.

There is also tension in the fanfic world over “P2P” pulled to publish. Many, many Twific writers have removed their stories from the free fanfic websites in order to rework and then publish them as original works of fiction. The most famous (and one of the first P2P) is Fifty Shades of Grey.  Like it or not, the book has made its writer rich and famous.  Some fanfic writers don’t think fanfic should ever be published, regardless of how different the fanfic story is from the original story.

What is the range of behavior and statements regarding the object(s) of the fandom? Basically, what is said and done? What are common behaviors and statements and what are the extreme behaviors and statements?

Most of the extreme behavior occurs among those who follow the relationships of the actors from the Twilight movies- the “Robstens” vs. the “Nonstens”.  Again, I try to avoid that part of the fandom at all costs.  I have no interest in the personal lives of the actors. There are twilongers and twitter arguments between those who believe that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are still together and those that either never believed they were together or that they were but are now broken up. The fans argue everywhere – on blogs, fan websites, in the comments section of entertainment news sites, on facebook, etc.  It isn’t just the teen-aged fans. There are fans in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s engaged in these disputes.

Some of the P2P debates have gotten ugly too. I’m not into drama (unless it’s in a story) so I avoid those arguments.

Most fans of Twilight and Twilight fanfic are older than the stereotype.  There are readers in their 20’s-60’s who are active in the fandom.  They are mostly female so that part of the stereotype holds true.  I’ve actually met many Twilight fans who are also Duran Duran fans- Twiranies.

Are there subtle rules regarding said and done?

I’m sure there are some but I haven’t been in the fandom long enough to know. That said, I think there are definitely those who are fans of the actors that fall into different groups- those that follow them relentlessly, those that just take an interest in their careers, and those that are interested in their careers and their personal lives but try not to be too instrusive (i.e. looking at paparazzi pics or paparazzi sites).

-A

 

Careless Memories of a Mad World, LA style!

Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my Mad World book, picked up my own chauffeur from work (my husband!), some Daily Duranie wristbands (do you have yours yet?!?), my camera and made my way up to the Sunset Strip to one of my favorite bookstores: Book Soup!  My mission was to have my book signed by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, authors of Mad World.  I’d never been to a book signing that had a DJ along for the ride, spinning tunes as we stood in line.  My husband Walt commented as we stood in line hearing Echo and The Bunnymen that it felt like we’d been propelled back in time to the early 80s. Observant, that husband of mine…. I loved the music, and yes, I did stay long enough to catch the familiar chords of Girls on Film flowing in the air.  But back to that signing…

Book Soup is not a huge bookstore. It is this fabulous, homey feeling bookstore in the heart of the Strip. Situated just up the street from the likes of the Key Club, Viper Room and The Whisky among others, it’s in an unlikely spot, which is very much part of it’s charm. It reminds me of the independent bookstores I’d find on the main street of Glendora or Covina – my home town(s).  Not only can one find books in Book Soup, but there’s vinyl as well – bonus!!

As I arrived last night and stepped into the store, there was no way you couldn’t be immediately swept away back to the 80’s. Kajagoogoo was playing, and no – I can’t listen to “Too Shy” without thinking of Nick Rhodes. I’m forever cursed. Thanks Nick. I wound my way to the line snaking around the perimeter of one side of the store, and as I stood in line, I dared myself to think back to what it was like listening to these songs in the 80s.  I was pretty young back then, and if I only knew where it all might lead me… (and if I could figure that out now, well, maybe I’d actually be making a decent living!!) I just remember a time when I could turn on the radio and song after song would carry me away from my teenage problems to a world of daydreams.  Nowadays I struggle to find a regular radio station that I can actually stand to listen to more than a song or two. The joys of aging, I suppose.

I looked up as I stood in line and caught the wandering eye of Lori Majewski,  as she glanced to see how far back the line began. She  waved. I started to wave back but then thought to myself, wait a minute. She couldn’t possibly recognize you, Rhonda. She doesn’t even KNOW you. Now you’re waving like an idiot. Awesome. So I looked around, only to find that no one else was looking up.  She was waving my way after all.  Great job, self-confidence.  *begin slow clap here*  I swear it was it was my own personal Ducky moment from Pretty in Pink.  (watch the end of the movie if you don’t know what I mean…and why on earth do you not know what I mean?!?)

As I recovered from that moment (there are just times when I’m glad the band ISN’T there, you know??), I saw Patty Palazzo walk past me – and so I did what any normal person might do any Duranie might do, I got out of line to go say hi! I’d never met Patty before, but I have exchanged emails a few times….and actually, we’d agreed to talk that night about setting up an interview for the blog!! (I’m so excited about this news that I might burst! No really. I just ate carrot cake. I might honestly burst.) I don’t know where my courage came from because I am really not this brave ever, but I walked up and said hello, and even dared to hug her.  *gasp* I don’t know WHERE that came from, because my friends – Rhonda is not a hugger. I like personal space. I am not touchy-feely.  But I hugged Patty last night, and I’m pretty sure I violated her personal space.  Maybe this is why I’ve never really gotten anywhere near the band…I’m a closet hugger!!! *gasp* This is really why I should never be allowed to go to events like this unattended. (meaning without Amanda) I even got Patty and a few new friends to wear our Daily Duranie wristbands! Amanda should be so proud…because I had those darn wristbands in my bag, and I kept thinking to myself: do I dare hand them out? Really? Should I? Will I look as super cool as I do right now if I hand them out?

(The answer is no. No Rhonda…you never looked super cool to begin with, so…you’re safe. Go with it.) So I did! Never mind that it took my darling husband three or four tries to get a decent photo…

wristbands

Before I knew it, we were up to the front and Jonathan Bernstein was doing everything possible to make sure I knew it was time to hand over my book. I was too mesmerized by the process to see that he was practically grabbing my book out of my hands. (so sorry!) The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to Lori Majewski by Patty, and we’d set up a time to get together for something I’m not going to talk about just yet…you’ll have to just watch this space! (Again, I’m really thinking I might burst. Remind me that carrot cake is never an acceptable breakfast substitute…)

photo

It’s blurry (sorry Jonathan…I hope your photographer was better than mine!)…but it is a very cool memory.  Admittedly I am fangirling just a bit over meeting Lori. Back in the day, before writing Mad World, before Teen People, she was the editor of a Duran fanzine. How cool is that?? I don’t know where in the hell I was back then, but I intend to ask her all about that…when we meet up for that thing I’m not going to talk about just yet!

If that weren’t enough, and it’s really not EVER enough (I believe there’s a John Taylor quote to be had somewhere in there), after I had my books signed I had the chance to run into Duranie friends.  I know that I’ve lamented here about how much I miss the band, and I do. Maybe that’s overly sentimental, but I miss seeing them play and I especially miss that sense of “one-ness” that we all feel with them when the show is going right. We’re all in that same place together feeling the same thing. It’s a remarkably cool feeling that I hope all fans get to experience at one time or another. However, it’s in moments like some that I had last night that I remember how much I miss my friends from afar. Friends from the UK, Europe, the midwest, east, northwest…southeast…I’ve been very lucky to have made real friends in a multitude of places, and last night I had just the smallest taste of getting to see some of them again. We don’t gather very often, and it was really nice to catch up with a few of them. Friendships are the one collective “thing” about being a Duranie I treasure most. Well, there is the music too…I mean, duh… (can’t really forget to mention the band, can I??), but I love seeing friends from all over.

The night ended relatively early for us, as we had to get back home, but it was really a great night and I’m glad I went to the signing. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Mad World yet, do yourself a favor and look for it on Amazon. I have read the entire thing once and am going back through it a second time.  Jonathan and Lori did a fantastic job interviewing all of the bands, and there is just so much information in there – things we never would have ever known about the music we grew up with.  It is genuinely worth the read.  You should see my book, I was telling Jonathan last night as we left that my book is all marked up, highlighted, red-lined, complete with notes in the margin!  (Note to self: next time, bring a book that is not already marked up with your notes in it…)

-R