Tag Archives: fandom practices

Everyone’s Their Own Universe

I’m taking a break from writing about shows that most people can’t get to in order to write a little about my friend Alana.

I first met Alana in 2012 when Amanda and I did several shows in the southeastern part of the US during the All You Need is Now tour. When I met her, I can remember that I loved her long hair. It was blond with dark undertones and even some peek-a-boo purple. She kept it straight with long layers, and it was exactly the type of hairstyle I’d want if I had the patience to let my hair grow. The next thing I remember about her from that first meeting were her glasses. They were similar to mine at the time (for reading), and I noticed she had more than one pair that she’d coordinate with her outfit, which I also thought was cool. Lastly, but most importantly – I remember how comfortable I was with her when we met. She is just a very real, genuinely nice person.

After that initial meeting, we stayed friends. I saw her at Durandemonium in 2013, and then again in 2015 at the Ravinia shows in Illinois. All the while, we’d tweet back and forth on Twitter. She has a sunny disposition, and even when she doesn’t have the best news, she has the uncanny ability to make anything sound like it’s just not that bad. I love that about her.

She’s been sick lately, and right now she’s in the hospital. I think it’s fair to say that she’s fighting for her life at this point. I traded tweets with her not that long ago, but before she was admitted into the hospital. She’s still positive that she and I are going to meet up at one of the DD shows on the next tour, and I’m still counting on it.

After hearing this recent news about my friend, it made presales, ticket buying and hand wringing over cost seem pretty silly. I went through the motions yesterday, thinking about how lucky I was to even have the choice to go. Alana doesn’t, at least not right now. In that sense, just buying the damn ticket feels right. On the other hand, spending so much to see one band for one show also makes me feel dumb. What am I thinking?

I kind of said that on Twitter yesterday. One can love Duran Duran, be thankful they tour here, and still feel like the shows are pricey, which I do. All of that said, I wish more than anything else right now that my friend Alana was healthy and able to go – for that, I’d pay just about anything to see.

-R

You Own the Money

…and then there are REALLY days.

Don’t monkey with my business

This morning, I got up and drove my youngest to school – which is about 15 minutes from our house. Not bad. No traffic because we live in the middle of nowhere. Sort of.

All was fine at first, but as I was getting off the freeway I noticed my car suddenly shift gears at a weird time. Noting it, but not saying anything, I drove on, only to have it happen again after exiting the freeway. Still, I said nothing. I mean, why acknowledge the inevitable??

As I pulled into the school lot, I realized that the engine sounded a little weird, like it was revving the teeniest bit. I let Sabrina out, who broke the silence by saying “Good luck getting home, mom!” and then shut the door as if she was glad to be rid of the insanity. (I get that!)

Here’s one you don’t compromise

I started to pull around to exit the lot, and noticed it was still shifting weirdly. Pulled over and texted the husband (who of course is in Santa Barbara today – easily two hours away and in all-day meetings of the utmost importance, you know). He suggested I try to drive it home. “After all, what’s the worst that could happen? You get stuck. Oh well!”

Oh how I love that man. I really do. I reminded myself of that as I put the phone back down and started the car. I threw out a not-so-silent plea to my trusty car to “please, please just get me home”, and left the lot. At first, it was fine. Should I get on the highway (freeway if you’re from CA)? Sure. Why not?!? After all, what’s the worst that could happen???

I could miss the Duran Duran presales. Amanda was counting on me for our Sunday night tickets. Gotta get home. “Please, please just get me home, car!”

I heard your promise

It made it off the freeway. Yeah, it may have limped for the final quarter of a mile, but it got me off the freeway. Then for the 1 mile drive to my neighborhood. It started shifting strangely more and more often, and I feverishly started noticing that my engine was revving quite a bit. EEK. Do I pull over or just chance fate?

I kept going. I had presales to do in less than an hour.

Kind of mostly coasted down the hill to the entrance of my neighborhood. I didn’t need the gears to shift if I didn’t press on the gas, right?? Turned the corner onto my street (but still had to drive about 2/3 of a mile up the twisty-turns to get to my gate). Uphill… uphill was a problem. My car started not wanting to go into any gear, and revving wildly, then catching the gear and going. I figured if I could just keep this up, I’d get it to the top of my drive, and then coast down.

What was the worst that could happen? I had 45 minutes to presales, and there’s literally no shoulders to park on in my neighborhood.

Fight it out

I rounded the next to last corner before my gate. I saw it – waiting for me just to get the car up there. Just a little more gas to get me up the hill. Then nothing. No gear. No moving forward. Just backward. So I stop the car on our narrow two-lane road and realize I’m screwed. What do I do?

Well, one of my neighbors, whom I’ve never met, was out walking. She saw me and between the two of us, we got my car onto the expanse of “grass” between the neighbors driveway entrance and mine – the ONE spot in my entire neighborhood that actually has a bit of a shoulder area. (I use that term lightly because right now, it’s brush season and there’s no green anyway. It is brown.)

My car is safe. I’m safe. My car literally got me *almost* home. I ran up to my fence, got inside and walked down our driveway just in time for presales. I was frantic. Panicked. A little emotional, and pretty freaked out. I had no idea how I was going to pick up my youngest or what I’d do with my car, but I was at home in time for presales.

Not wild about it

At this point, I didn’t even want the damn tickets. My stomach was nauseous and I was busy calculating the cost of a new transmission in my head. (Spoiler: it is a lot.) I figured I’d just try for tickets and if nothing came up, that’s the way it is, and oh well.

When the clock struck ten and I was able to get onto Ticketmaster (I was buying for Sunday night in Vegas first), it was weird. Nothing came up as available, and I mean nothing. I was perplexed, a little annoyed, but oddly calm. I refreshed the best seats option a few times, and suddenly – seats started coming up.

Then I started looking at the final cost. $440ish total for a gold package ticket. That stung a bit, particularly when I consider that at least based on previous gigs this year, the band is going to do a 90-minute show and then an encore. I thought about it, checked ticketing prices for Mtn Winery, and decided that no, I wouldn’t do more than Vegas after all.

Lay your seedy judgments

I could have done ALL the shows. I had the ok from my husband – because we consult one another when we’re doing stuff like this – and the time worked for me. When it came down to it, I realized that for me, this is my breaking point. I am not going to continue paying nearly $450 a show to see Duran Duran – particularly for multiple shows each tour. That’s insanity.

I love this band. There’s no need for me to prove that to anybody. I do, however, need to retire at some point. College is expensive and I’m not finished paying for my kids education. Now, I’ve got some sort of a crazy car expense coming up. I had more than enough money in the bank to pay for tickets to all of the shows. That isn’t the point. It is that I think it is crazy for me to spend that much money.

Now, I’m sure some are saying, “You don’t have to go for gold!” You’re 100% correct. I don’t, and I didn’t, when I checked into other venues after buying the Vegas tickets. There’s just something very off-putting over paying what will amount to nearly $150 (ticket price + fees) to sit in the extreme back of a venue. I’m not spoiled about being in front, but I’m also not crazy enough to think I’d enjoy being in the very back. For many other bands yes, but not DD.

You pay the profits to justify your reasons

So there you go. I’ve seen so many people talk about the prices this morning. Far more than normal. Many have complained about the Ultimate Front Row package not including a meet and greet for $1000. Others complain about the fact that even front row at the Hollywood Bowl was “just” $600. My answer? The only reason the band and venue can charge this much is because people have no problem paying the price. Supply vs. demand. New transmissions, Duran Duran, and college. These are real problems. <grin>

I bought for the two Vegas shows out of the five dates I’d originally planned to buy. I feel good about my decision, and can’t wait to see friends in Vegas. What did you do?

-R

We Light a Spark

Do you ever get tired of it? You know…bickering about the band? Rehashing topic after topic?

This post isn’t about this blog. We write daily, and we try to write about different ideas, bring different angles, and sometimes, we even end up changing our own views about a previous topic. There is a challenge to writing daily, even though Amanda and I split the writing duties. It isn’t always that easy to come up with something new to write about, particularly during times where the band isn’t necessarily “active” outside of the studio, or if they’re on hiatus. When we started Daily Duranie, we recognized the challenge would be the “daily” part. For the past eight years and seven months (who’s counting?), we’ve stayed committed. It definitely isn’t my blog that I’m pondering. Writing is my joy.

A drop of blood on evil beach

Lately, but I’ve seen a dedicated effort to rehash nearly every single “hot button” topic regarding Duran Duran. Is it due to downtime? There’s nothing really “new” to discuss, yet fans want to talk Duran. It is easy to get a conversation started when someone posts a volatile blanket statement about who is the most important member of the band, or blasts into a tirade over various personnel over the years. Don’t we get tired of it?

The thing is, when I look at the people starting the conversations, they’re not names I typically recognize. I’m one of the admins for a DD fan Facebook group, and we still have people requesting to be admitted into the group almost every day. Whether these fans are my age and just haven’t been active, or they’re much younger and are just discovering the band, for the most part it is fair to say that they’re new to this part of fandom.

Here lies the misadventure

Back in 2000, as I made my own first forays into the world of online fandom, I can remember the message boards constantly abuzz with topics just like what I see today on Facebook or even Twitter. The activity was constant. The debates and the occasionally very heated arguments were par for the course. Then the noise started to settle, and people drifted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some fans floated away completely. Maybe they still went to shows but didn’t participate in the online community portion. Perhaps, as several of my own friends have done, they got their fill, and moved on completely.

Yet, here we are in 2019, and there are still very active posts on Facebook with many participants discussing guitarists, the most important member(s) in Duran Duran, and even songs that should have been included on various albums. While part of me is appalled and bored with the discussion, because “dang it haven’t we already beaten this topic to death?!?”, another part of me realizes that the problem isn’t with the posts at all.

I’ve been an active “online community” fan for 19 years now. I don’t know about the rest of you reading, but that seems like a crazy amount of time. It doesn’t feel like 19 years – the time went by in the blink of an eye. When I first started participating, my two oldest kids were 3 and about 1. Heather, my oldest, is going to graduate from university in 10 days, and my son Gavin is in his second year. I didn’t even have my youngest yet!

Feel the same as you yourself

My point though, is that during that 19 years, I’ve written, posted, and talked a LOT. I’ve seen fans come and go. I’ve seen blogs and websites come and go, too. As crazy as it seems, when I think of the big picture – there does seem to be a bit of a fan cycle. People get energized, or even re-energized. They seek out information online. They connect with other people, then they talk about every possible Duran Duran topic under the sun. They go to shows, experience album cycles. At some point, they get tired of talking. Outside life pressures need more attention. Maybe they even get tired of participating with the community at large. They go to a show or two, but ultimately, they drift away. From what I’ve seen, particularly lately – there are always people with brand new energy, ready to take up that slack.

While sure, there are some people who rather enjoy posting the same information and photos, hoping to somehow get attention, there is also an influx of new and energized fans, ready to dissect the differences between band members, albums, and songs.

Truthfully, that’s the way we want it, too. My “get off my lawn” attitude aside, I’m recognizing that it’s all great. New blood is a good thing. Seeing people continue to write and talk about the nonsense of leaving “Beautiful Colors” off of Astronaut is something to be applauded. If it were left to the rest of us who have already had our fill of the hot topics- the fandom would slow to a trickle. It wouldn’t be “Planet Roaring” at all, now would it?

-R


There’s a Fine Line

If you’ve followed our blog for a reasonable length of time, you are probably aware that Amanda and I write about fandom. Rather than this blog being a constant, never-ending, series of love notes to Duran Duran, we write about being a fan. The act of being a fan. Additionally, we write about fandom studies (yes, there is an entire section of studies that focuses on fandom). Today’s blog is going to be a little bit of fandom studies, and a little more “being a fan”.

If I listen close

Who watched the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last weekend? If so, you were treated to seeing Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, The Cure and of course, Roxy Music, (among others) inducted into the Hall of Fame. Naturally for Duran fans, the best part of the night was likely when John and Simon gave their speech for Roxy Music.

In full disclosure, I’d already seen their speeches prior to the show on HBO. So when I comment, I’m referring to what I originally saw in full, since HBO cut part of their time as the show went to air. Regardless, their speech impacted me in a few ways. For one, and likely the most important – I loved seeing just how vested John and Simon were in the moment. Clearly it was a point of pride to be chosen to honor Roxy Music. It wasn’t difficult to see that yes, they too are fans. I loved that. That validated so much for me. Overall, it confirmed that yeah, even rockstars can be fans of something. I also felt a great deal of pride hearing the thunderous applause from the crowd as John and Simon took the stage. Yes, there was also some screaming. Obviously, there were Duran Duran fans in the house.

I took the cheers as a positive. That seems like it should be obvious. There were plenty of people sitting in the audience that like Duran Duran. The applause was loud, and it was long. I may be reaching a bit, but it felt an awful lot like “we’re glad you’re here”, or “it’s about time your band is on this stage!” There were a great number of peers in the audience, in addition to fans.

I can hear them singers

Then of course, we’ve got to talk about the screaming. It was there and yes, it was hard to miss, particularly as John and Simon were trying to speak. I could have written the headlines I would eventually see the following day. As proud as I was to hear those cheers and screams, I had a feeling there would be a collective marginalization in 2019, just as there was in 1985.

I didn’t have to wait long, and in fact – DDHQ were the ones to find it for me. The web-mag Vulture carried an article titled “The Highs, Lows and Whoas of the 2019 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony”.

I knew this was a big mistake

The tongue-in-cheek subheading of “Whoa: The Horny Ladies of Barclays” did absolutely nothing to quell my concerns of depreciation, and I readied myself before reading on.

“At least, we think it was a terrific speech, as the near-constant screams from excitable women in the audience hindered Vulture’s transcription. Those ’80s New Wave heartthrobs — they’ve still got it!”

(Vulture.com “The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony 4/27/2019, Devon Ivie, 2019 New York Media LLC)

The chosen title was bad, at least from where I sit. Horny ladies. Really? It couldn’t be that the women in the audience actually knew their career? Loved their music? Listen, I’m no fool, and I do have eyes. Of course John and Simon are good looking men. I wouldn’t dare suggest otherwise. I just don’t see a whole lot of critics or music journalists commenting on the libido of male fans just because an audience happened to cheer loudly for a female artist. Why is that, exactly?

Then there’s the actual text, which doesn’t really make the sting any less painful. Duran Duran has been in existence now for over 40 years. 14 studio albums, a zillion (highly technical term that means “many more than I can count!” tour dates, millions of albums sold, and several personnel changes later, it still comes down to the fact that they attracted a largely female audience in the 80s? Really? Nothing else they’ve ever done or will ever do matters because I (and many others like me) once had my bedroom walls completely lined with their pinups? The time has come to stop equating the band’s entire career with the words “New Wave Heartthrobs”. For crying out loud it is 2019, people. At least get creative with your dismissive comments.

Give me strength, at least give me a light

Many took the comments from Vulture as positive. Certainly, some will say I’m too serious or that I should lighten up. Indeed, I saw many fans – mostly female – respond online, giggling over being called “horny”, some going as far as to agree. If guys whistle and cat call while you’re just trying to walk down the street, do you laugh and flirt back, or do you show annoyance? To me, it is the same thing. It comes down to deciding how people are going to treat you.

The slope is slippery. A male fan can hit it off with a band member and say “Hey, we should keep in touch” or, “Come hang out with us and have drinks”, and no one thinks he’s trying to make a pass at them. Should a woman dare to do similarly, and suddenly it’s assumed they must want something entirely different. It is asinine, and yes, I speak from personal experience. I’m 100% over it. My God, I’m 48, married, and have three kids. The LAST thing I need is another man assuming I’m ready to jump his bones. I could, however, always use more good friends. This isn’t difficult, people.

If it had been mostly males cheering in the audience that night – I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been anything written about the band being 80s heartthrobs. Instead, their enduring talent and legacy would be heralded. Their looks would have never been mentioned, much less the sexual drive of the audience in question.

It is 2019. I’m over it.

-R

A Shared Obsession, a Shared Ambition

This morning, I listened to my now favorite podcast (OK, in all honesty it is the first one I ever listened to, but I love it), The D Side . David (@boysmakenoise) was interviewing Baranduin Briggs (@bbamok), a fellow Duran Duran fan, and very gifted photographer. Amongst a garden variety of topics, one of the discussions was about how Baranduin experiences shows.

While someone might attend a concert and feel fully immersed in the music, their body trying to soak in and store every single note like a sponge, she sees the show in frames – as in camera shots. I thought a lot about this as I listened to the rest of the podcast, which was very entertaining. I chuckled and smiled a lot, thinking back over the first time I’d met Baranduin in Las Vegas. (I think that was 2016, right??) She’s a seasoned Duran Duran concert traveler now!

I think that our other hobbies likely influence the way we experience Duran Duran. For example, Baranduin takes thousands, and I do mean thousands, of camera shots at the shows she attends. She commented that at the recent New Orleans show, she had a front row spot and took 5,000 shots – to which she later said she’d only end up with maybe 15 pictures that met with her seal of approval (methinks maybe she’s a bit harder on herself than necessary…) While some might assume that because she’s so focused on pictures she’s missing the show, I’d argue that for her, the pictures are what enhance her experience. The photos are personal to her enjoyment.

When I think about my blogging partner, Amanda – she’s an organizer. I don’t think that’s a hobby for her though. It’s her passion, and she utilizes that throughout most aspects of her life, whether teaching (um, take it from me – you’ve got to be organized and plan ahead to teach), politics, or even in fandom. She really loved planning fandom events and really wanted to do far more with them than I ever did. I think being an organizer enhances her fandom. Yes, planning takes a lot of energy, but I think perhaps Amanda feels less connected without them.

Besides Duran Duran – what would you say is your biggest obsession? It doesn’t have to be another band. It could be a hobby like cooking or quilting. Maybe it’s cosplay, or perhaps you’re a movie buff! Do you find that in someway it plays a part in being a Duranie or is it a separate thing?

I’m thinking about what my own obsession might be. I’m honestly not sure I have one outside of writing this blog. I like writing. I thought about that a lot while listening to The D Side. Oddly, when I’m out, I think about writing quite a bit. What would work as a blog topic? How can I write about something in a way that hasn’t been discussed before? However, just because you love doing something doesn’t mean you’re necessarily great at it. Writing is sort of that thing for me. I am not blind to the enormous talents of other bloggers and writers – such as Jason, our contributor. I’m hoping to absorb some of his skill by screen time osmosis.

Let me know about those obsessions. Meanwhile, I’ll be outside mowing what has gone from beautiful green native grass to now golden yellow brush!

-R



Dark Sun Rose on the Ridge

Cut clear across the sky

I’m late. I know I’m late, and I’m sorry. (and here comes the strangest sentence I’ve written YET…) I needed to go to the Farm Supply Store for Chick Grit and mealworms.

This morning I learned that chickens can be cannibalistic. I did not know that before this morning, and to be fair – I kinda wish I didn’t know now. However, I came home armed with all the aforementioned supplies, along with bottles to both heal a chick that is getting pecked as well as stop the others from thinking it is also a live buffet.

*sigh* The more you know…

The funny thing, and the topic of this blog for the day, is that as I was driving out of the Farm Supply parking lot, I thought to myself: Wow, cannibalism. That sounds an awful lot like what happens at Duran Duran GA show, or even in our fan community at times.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, no?

String of pearls meet bits of gems

It is true though. I mean, overly dramatic yes, but still true in some sense. I’ve seen it happen on message boards, in Facebook groups, on Twitter and most certainly in person. We tend to go after our own.

Online, it seems to happen when one chick, er, Duran Duran fan, tries to assert themselves over and above whomever is the strongest (read as “most popular”, “well-liked”, etc.). Maybe they call somebody out on their BS, or maybe they just disagree over a song or something even less “important”. At first, maybe there are a few nips or well-placed comments between the two involved. Invariably, someone sends a larger shot over the bow to make their point known to all bystanders.

Regardless of how or whom, the community tends to jump “en force”. The seemingly “weaker” fan is left defending themselves much of the time against a mob of fans willing and ready to defend the more popular fan. As if they really need defending, right? Regardless, eventually the “challenger” crawls away, the fight dies down, and some sort of normalcy prevails. Sometimes, I even see the two who were initially arguing end up as friends. It is as though a sense of mutual respect is spread between the two.

Honestly, I just think it’s weird. It’s also human nature, combined with female territorial instincts. We don’t want other women to have what we have, even when what we have is all in our own damn heads to begin with.

Enter the battle of the lenses

At shows, it is the same way. At GA shows, I’ve seen entire groups band together over one person who threatens to interrupt the balance of a crowd. Maybe that one person is drunk, or refuses to acknowledge personal space, or shoves just a little too much while waiting for the band to take the stage. If it bothers one person, well, maybe not much happens. However, let that bother enough people, or that one person in a group of people who just isn’t going to have it – and the next thing you know – there’s a real problem happening. The weak end up moving. The strong stay in their spot. It is survival of the fittest.

Are we really cannibalistic? Will we really go after our own? I kind of think we do, figuratively speaking of course! I tend to believe in survival of the fittest, even amongst humans. All one need do is observe Twitter for any length of time. The mob mentality is there. Let someone with a less popular point of view dare assert themselves and people will come out of the woodwork to band together and bring the offender down. Drag them into the proverbial street, make them into an example for all to see. I don’t think fandom is all that different.

After all, we’re all friends until we’re not. Whether that point is when the band shows up, or when someone points out that you’ve spent far too long in too many hotel lobbies, the shots are fired, and before you know it – we’re at war with the people who were our friends last week or even last night.

Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, indeed. I’m off to save my chick from the rest of the flock!

-R

I Don’t Really Know What I’m Doing Here

Sometimes I’m caught in a landslide

I think I’m beginning to realize that it’s over for now. Everyone has gone home, and we’re all coming out of the haze of exhaustion that surrounds us like a snuggly cloak when we’re in the thick of it. We don’t even notice how tired we really are on those mornings in between shows – at least not much beyond saying we need coffee, or that we’re SO TIRED – because we have another gig waiting. That energy tends to keep us fueled up, and ready to keep dancing.

Yeah, that was all fine and good until last night for me. I was tired when I got home on Sunday night, sure. I mean, I left the Vespar bar at Cosmo around 4am (what on earth was I thinking?!?) and only got a few hours of rest before my body decided it was wake-up time. Even so, it wasn’t that bad. Monday night, I’d say the same. I was tired from dealing with school – my youngest is really giving me a hard time at the moment – but I was fine.

Last night though? It was my body telling me that I was done. I had gone on a walk in the late afternoon, charging up the steep driveway from my house and out into the surrounding neighborhood. I just needed time to listen to my audiobook and not think. By the time I got back, I couldn’t wait to be done with dinner so I could go to bed!

My beat’s so in time

This morning I had to take the child to school and run to the store. On the way back I was thinking about the weekend. I had such a great time. That, in and of itself isn’t a surprise. I was in Vegas, my friends were with me, we ate, laughed, drank, danced and talked our way from Thursday straight to Sunday. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.

I think that for me it is knowing that it will be awhile until I see my friends again that makes me saddest. Amanda and I have been friends for fifteen years now – truthfully I think it was just about this time in 2004 when she first posted on our message board about going to the convention. Might have been a few months later, but not much. Our lives have changed a lot since then.

It is unreasonable to expect that nothing will change. I think even the way she and I look at shows or prepare for them is different now than it was in 2005 when we first went to that Chicago show. I didn’t know much of anything then, and the entire “process”, so to speak, felt new. In some small ways, I miss that “brand new” feeling.

I’m out of reach, I’ll talk if it feels right

Nowadays, Amanda and I don’t connect nearly as often. Every once in a while we do catch up – but right now, she’s far busier than I am, teaching at school and managing a local election campaign. I’m proud of her, and I am thrilled she’s going after her passion. Sometimes though, I worry that her joy in doing this – the blogging and the fan thing – has waned. Yet, I understand. Last year I had zero passion for anything, really. Packing boxes is what got me through. I wouldn’t think, I’d just pack. Fandom isn’t something that you can’t pick back up again, though. Sometimes you really do have to put it down for a while in order to fully appreciate it.

Getting together this weekend felt like a triumph, really. I found that I appreciated being there, seeing the lights, feeling the hugs, and seeing the joy in the faces of my fellow Duranies and other friends. It was truly beyond words. Coming home hasn’t really been a let-down, but it does make my heart hope for more to come.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to feel that way once in a while. Participating in fandom can be really fulfilling. I had told my friend Patty, and even Dom at one point that going to these weekend things where we have the chance to hang out together after a show, feels a lot like family reunion. We might be dysfunctional from time to time, but we’re still family.

-R

Hi, My Name is Rhonda

Good morning, Duranies!!!

I have approximately 30 minutes to write about something that could easily take hours, and then I’ve got a full day of homeschooling a less-than-motivated 10 year old (with the attitude of a 13 year old) along with laundry and grocery shopping ahead. Yay me!!

Today though, I’m going to write about being a fan. Now I can hear you saying, “Don’t you do that every day???” Yes, I suppose so, on some level. However, there’s more to it than that…which is really the point I’m about to make.

Those words are all remainders

I had a conversation this weekend with someone who may or may not be known as the touring guitarist for Duran Duran. We had a very short chat about being a fan. As odd as it seems, I think I dislike being “labeled”. Just think about it for a minute. I go through my entire day here at home, and I’m almost never addressed by my actual name. I’m “mom”, most of the time. That is followed closely by “Daily Duranie”, “fan”, and then “dear”.

My name is Rhonda. I don’t really mind hearing someone call me by my real name all that much. That’s one reason why I made sure Dom (yes, that Dom) knew my name back when we met, and not just “that-crazy-fan-who-writes-the-blog”. He meets tons of people all the time, and yet I had the nerve to quiz him several times about my name. More on that later.

He never forgot my name, by the way. For some really weird reason, that small, seemingly silly thing made me see he was a real person. He wasn’t just a musician…a rock star…who didn’t care about the people he was meeting.

I’m changing my name

Identity is huge, isn’t it? For example, I know that I’m identified by this community, most likely members of DDHQ, and perhaps even the band and support people as “Daily Duranie”. They know me as a fan, and a big one at that.

Now, that word “fan” has a certain connotation to it. I’m no dummy. I’m well-aware of both the positive and negative attributes associated with the term. l am both proud, and a little weary of the word myself.

As I explained this weekend, sure, I’m a fan. There’s no getting around that at this point. I write a blog that is happened to be named DAILY Duranie. Some might automatically assume that makes me Mayor of Crazyville. I hate that part. Truly, 100% despise it.

I wouldn’t say that you were ruthless or right

It’s funny. In order to write this post, I keep typing things and then I delete them, thinking it’s too much or that I want to keep the conversation private. The truth is, in order to really explain my point, I have to share the context. I hope this post makes it back to Dom though because he needs to read it. Obviously.

I had just finished saying something to him that his problem (with me specifically) was that he sees me just as a fan. I’m one of thousands in an audience. I can imagine where some of you are going in your heads with those words…let me explain before you freak out. Context is key.

He’d asked me where I was at the shows. I told him I had been in 4th row that night. He was incredulous because he said he had been looking for me. He actually accused me of sitting on *gasp* John Taylor’s side. Indignantly, I replied that I had been on HIS side (thankyouverymuch), and followed up with my comment about being a fan. Making the point that because I’m just a fan to him, I was just one in a giant sea of faces. One of thousands. How on earth could he possibly see me anyway?

Can’t tell the real from reflections

Again, don’t read more into his looking for me than what he said. I’ve known Dom since Andy quit. We met on a plane to New Orleans. Yes, I knew who he was, but at the time… he was just some guy standing in for my favorite guitar player. No one really knew him. Most fans just accepted that he was the session player. Then the band announced the split and that Dom would fill in for a while. Those were big shoes to fill, and I saw how people treated Warren when he joined. Hell, for that matter I knew how *I* felt about Warren. This felt very different. Talking with him on the plane was easy. I couldn’t help but like him. So I’d regularly wave at him when I’d go to shows after that, while he was onstage. Usually, he’d see me immediately. Almost like we were being friendly. Imagine that!

As an explanation that came a few years back, Dom told me I was one of the few familiar and friendly (see? friendly!!) faces he saw at shows, so yeah, he looks for people he recognizes. He mentioned that he usually finds me near the front with all of the die hard fans. Of course now there are many, many, fans he knows. Oh, there’s that word again. Oops. Anyway, the point was that we were teasing one another about his not seeing me on Saturday night, until he answered my comment about being just a fan to him with, “Well, you ARE a fan.”

I visibly bristled. On one hand, he isn’t wrong. I AM a fan of Duran Duran. I’ve loved them since I was ten. I go to shows, write blogs, watch videos, etc, etc. Yep, I’m a fan. No doubt about it.

When all these faces look the same to me

I’m a fan of a lot of people and things. My daughter Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and I attend every performance possible. I cheer for her, buy tickets to see her (Oh yes, even for my daughter – there are no free rides!!), and applaud the competition teams she coaches. I have friends who are in other rock bands, too. Seeing their shows, going backstage, and even wildly cheering for them, are all things I do in support of them. I’m their friend, and I’m a fan of their work. I am proud of what they do.

When I think about Duran Duran though, my feelings are a little different right now. They are people I’ve never really met, beyond a quick hello at a signing. I put posters of them up on my wall, and I’ve waited for them outside of venues. They were my idols, particularly when I was growing up. I never imagined I’d ever meet them, nor did I ever fathom writing a daily blog…about anyone for that matter.

Even so, just as I replied to Dom that night, I don’t really follow any of them anywhere after a show. I haven’t been backstage, or to afterparties. I have ended up at the same place, but only out of silly, dumb, luck. I’ve never “stalked” any of them, or waited for hours in lobbies, or outside of restaurants, or even at their homes. Some might even say I’m terrible at being a fan if all of these things act as the litmus test. I mean, think about this: after meeting Dom in 2006, I have seen Duran Duran approximately 42 times. Out of those 42 possibilities, I have spoken in person to Dom maybe five times, and I think that’s probably an overestimate. I have taken a picture with him just one time. Just once! I’m a fan, but I’m pretty sure I suck at it.

No steel reproaches on the table from before

I would imagine that some might assume from this blog post that I think I’m entitled. I can hardly wait for those emails and comments to come rolling in! That’s not really the point I was trying to make, either with Dom, or in this post. Make no mistake. I know I’m a fan. It’s the connotations that go along with it that bother me, I guess.

Much of that feeling comes from writing this blog. People assume Daily Duranie is synonymous with “obsessive.” I hear the judgment all the time. “Oh, they’re fans.” Sure, some people can be overzealous. I get it. Unfortunately those people tend to be louder than the rest. Then there’s the people who act normally, and are there gathering because they’re friends with one another. There’s even a few people who make it past that barrier and genuinely become friends or even more, in SPITE of originally being fans. *gasp, shock, awe…horror*

I can still feel those splinters of ice

I wasn’t in that bar that night because I thought anybody from the band would be there. Usually, I’m dead wrong about where anyone is going to be anyway! I was there because I wanted to see my friends. Turns out, some of my friends happen to be involved with the band, in one way or another.

So in short, yes, I’m a fan. I’m also a pretty damn good friend along with a thousand other things.

My name is Rhonda, by the way.

-R

(took WAY longer than 30 minutes…)

Feel It In The Air

Do you feel it? The sense that shows are right around the corner? Lately, when I have had the time to glance at social media, I notice that there has been more and more discussion about the upcoming shows. Specifically, I’m seeing more and more chatter about people’s plans for the upcoming shows. As I saw these discussions, I was reminded of how it used to be on DuranDuranMusic in which there was always a flutter of discussion before a show or tour. Initially, I felt a sense of sadness that things are not like that anymore but then I realized that there were elements of the past that I don’t miss all that much.

How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards during the peak years of 2004-2007ish? I was as it seemed like quite the place to be. People hung out there day and night writing countless posts about various band members, the news, rumors and more. While the regular day was busy, it felt one couldn’t keep up when there were shows on the horizon. As soon as shows were announced, threads would be started that included roll calls for each and every show. The idea here was to have everyone going on a list. This seemed totally awesome and was for a lot of people. After all, wouldn’t it increase your excitement to know that a lot of your friends were going to something? I know that it does for me. After all, I check to see who is going to someone’s party when I am invited to one in my non-fandom life.

From a fandom stand point, a list of who is going is all good. It is a sign that a fan community is healthy and thriving, that a lot of people not only want to go but are planning on it. This could encourage others to make the decision to go as well. Maybe they see who is on the list and it is a lot of their friends so they pull the trigger to go, so to speak. Perhaps they just want to be a part of something that seems popular with the promise of an amazing time. It all shows that the subject of the fandom is doing well with their fans as people want to go see them or go to an event about them.

Yet, there is something about it that still bothers me. Does a list like a roll call do more than show how many fans are going? Does it also indicate a sense of popularity? I distinctly remember looking at these lists and seeing the same names over and over again. Are those the “in” fans I wondered? Are they the ones who know more or have more social status within the fan community? What if you are a fan who isn’t well-known? Do other fans just brush off your name, not caring that you are going? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that making or contributing to a list like a roll call is bad or mean-spirited. I don’t. Heck, I am sure that I have put my name on one a time or two or ten, but I always felt a little weird about it. I’m sure that it was done to do exactly what I said up above, that it was done to increase excitement or to just share how thrilled someone is about going. But for me, it felt problematic.

The roll call, itself, didn’t do much besides share who is going to a show or many shows, depending on how many roll calls were posted at one time. That said, they often had another element which was when additional information was shared like where their seats were. While I’m certain this just continued the excitement, I wonder how this would make the fans who couldn’t go or couldn’t go VIP. Maybe this was only a problem for me. Admittedly, I worried that no one would care if I was going or worse, that my presence would deter others from going.

Let me be honest. I know how those old threads made me feel. For a long time, I was not someone who could go to many shows. Then, even when I did, I couldn’t go VIP except for a couple of special shows. I remember how it felt to not be able to be a part of that. I know that no one was trying to make me or anyone else feel badly but they did. They made me feel like I just wasn’t part of the cool group and would never be. After awhile, I just started to pull back and stop trying to fit into the cool group whether on DDM or elsewhere.

About the same time that DDM started to die down, social media grew in popularity. At that time, it felt like Twitter was the place to be, especially when some band members were around, tweeting. That feeling of not being good enough stayed with me from DDM, though, which is why I opted not to say much. I didn’t even try. So, for me, I don’t really miss those roll calls even though I could include my name more than I ever did back then. It feels better this way to me.

-A

It’s a Lonely Burning Question

Our little corner of the world is certainly small, isn’t it? The longer I am a participant in the fan community for Duran Duran, the more I realize just how tiny it really is.

Unlike most other bands I go to see in concert, with Duran Duran I tend to be more involved. (Shocking, right?) I subscribe to their fan club (DuranDuranMusic), and I tend to buy VIP tickets to most shows because I’m greedy and I want the best seats. I can’t lie about that. The thing is, there are quite a few of you out there – many of you reading, actually – that are right there with me!

I am I myself alone

I don’t make it my business to introduce myself to the “who’s-who” in the fan community. I’m not buddies with each and every person who seems to be attached to the band in one sense or another. I’m not somebody who will go bouncing up to someone I’d call a “well-known fan” just because I recognize them and want to make nice. That’s not me. I hate approaching people as it is, unless I’m comfortable and actually know them.

There’s no way I’m going to just insert myself into someone’s evening just because I happen to know they’re friends with a roadie, married to someone in management, or is actually on “the team”. I would be a horrible politician, and it is very obvious that I’m not the greatest at making connections. All one has to do is look at my LinkedIn to know that I fail horribly at networking. I always assume I’m putting someone out, or that I’d be bothering them. I guess I’ve mostly stayed to myself, as much as one can when they write a familiar blog, I guess??

The thing is, and I’m going to be brutally open about this – the “It” list of fans, you know the ones – they tend to be at most of the shows, they always seem to know where and when to be, and how to get places that normal, everyday fans don’t – aren’t really on our reader list. At least, not that *I* know of. They’re not usually people who will even admit to reading this, or any fan blog for that matter. I suppose we might be a bit too pedestrian, maybe too wide-eyed, and probably far too “Fan” like. With a capital F. I get it.

Got to show now, got to move on

In a lot of ways, I’m more of a watcher than a participant. I remember a number of years back when I was in Chicago for a show. A group of us met up afterward and walked to a local bar. When we got there, the place was packed, to the point where we were turned away at the door because it had reached capacity. We stood outside for a bit, trying to decide where to go next. As I glanced towards the windows of the bar, I saw somebody inside. She was waving at me and kind of laughing. I could guess what she was laughing about. There I was, along with a small group of others, proverbially on the outside looking in. She was IN, along with several members of the band, I might add, and we were most definitely OUT. Weakly, I waved back and tried not to feel like a complete loser. Story of my life.

At every single show I attend, I’ll see quite a few of the same people. Over and over again. I silently marvel at how they’re able to be everywhere. It isn’t jealousy as much as it’s curiosity. I know how tough it is for me to be at the several shows I can attend each tour, and I can promise that from here on out – it will be far less than it was during Paper Gods. (Or so my husband assures) How do they manage?!? Even more so, I’ll watch other fans flock to these people, befriend them, and situate themselves near them. I don’t even know their names or who they are beyond their faces, and yet the fan-community-at-large are already Facebook friends with them, at the very least! On one hand, I’m surprised I don’t know everyone’s name by now, I guess. On the other, I am not one of those super outgoing and bubbly people.

Puts my faith in none of the above

The kicker for me, is when I’m online and happen to be reading a Facebook post or reading through a Twitter thread. As I go through it, I realize that most all of my friends are actually connected, to some of those people I mentioned above. They’re not just “social media” connected, but obviously know them. Or maybe I’m surprised by people who have not really been active in the fan community for very long (not that they haven’t been fans – that’s different), but are very connected to the “A list” of fans and people in the Duran Duran circle. Perhaps I’m shocked when I realize that the reason why so-and-so IS at all of the shows is because she’s married to somebody who works for the band. It could be a million other scenarios, because for as long as I’ve been in the fan community, or have been actively blogging – I know very little about the people within.

I know how people behave as a group. The trends and patterns of behavior are easy for me to recognize. I can, and have helped put together some really fun meet-ups and parties over the years. But do I really KNOW people?

Probably not so much. It is strange how one can blog for eight years and yet really still be on the outside looking in, isn’t it?

-R