Tag Archives: fans

The Next Line: Should a band move on?

Duran Duran is my most favorite band. But there are other bands I also love and adore, and like more than a few Duranies out there – Spandau Ballet is on that list.

Up until a few years ago, I’d never seen Spandau live. I’d always wanted to, but timing (I grew up just a couple of years too late), and their own break-up made that pretty impossible until 2015. But the wait was worth it. I didn’t go all-out for tickets in the same way many of my friends did, traveling all over the country to see them, but I did see them a few times that year. And each time I saw them, the show seemed tighter, the band seemed more on fire, and I was thoroughly convinced that it wouldn’t be the last I’d see of them onstage together.

The end of the tour arrived, and not terribly long after, Spandau announced that Tony Hadley, their lead singer, would not return. He had his own plans for a solo career, and he was apparently satisfied with what he’d accomplished with Spandau Ballet. All good things must come to an end; out with the old, in with the new, and so on, right?

But what about the band? Many long time Spandau fans felt like Tony’s departure meant the band should also come to an end. I can’t tell you how many times I read that Tony’s voice is what made the band Spandau Ballet.

Actually, yes I can give an approximation of how many times I read that – just imagine the same happening in Duran Duran, and you’ll know exactly how often it’s been written.

I understand where those fans are coming from. There’s no denying that Tony’s voice is important to the sound we recognize as Spandau Ballet. If it were Simon and Duran Duran we were talking about, the very same could be said, and we’d all nod our heads in agreement. Yes, I’d also argue that the guitar, drums, bass and even sax are important parts, but the voice is the voice.

But there is another side to this story, and that’s of the band. Those other guys. There are many who feel like they’re worthy of some importance. I am firmly in that camp, whether we are talking about Spandau, or even Duran Duran. (yes, I said it) Is it fair for one person to call the shots for the entire group? Is it right that one individual decides the destiny for everyone else? Spandau vowed that this wouldn’t break them, and that they would return.  While I knew that in the moment they probably did mean every last word – I wasn’t so sure The Next Line would actually come to them . It’s one thing to be indignant and insist a group can move on, it’s another to actually do it.  I was supportive, but silently doubtful.  Let’s just say I was thankful I saw them live when I did, just in case.

All was fairly quiet until yesterday, when a curious email hit my inbox. Spandau Ballet sent an email….and yes my friends, they are about to write The Next Line. I silently cheered at my desk. They have a new, yet to be announced lead singer, and they are not only announcing their return, they’re playing a show in London at the Subterania on June 6th. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am GMT. They will sell out in a flash, and I desperately wish I could be there.

As any fan might, I wanted to see the reaction from social media. That’s the difference between today and thirty or even forty years ago – within a couple of clicks I can see fan reaction. Suffice to say, all was not well. There were fans, like myself, who were excited to see the band go on. However, many were not. Some say that because Tony has left, Spandau Ballet as we’ve all come to know it, no longer exists. Rename, reframe, and move on if they care to do so, but using the same name isn’t right. Many others think that no matter what the band does, it won’t be the same and that they should just quit.  Apparently for those people, Tony was the band.

I don’t know what Spandau will sound like. I’m assuming it will be very different with someone else at the microphone. Even in the case of Duran Duran – band members have changed, but Simon has always been the singer – changes still come with every album.  Some, I’ve loved, others, I have not. There’s no argument from me that a new lead singer will take getting used to, only that I really believe  they have the right to try.

As for the name of the band, that’s a legal thing, worked out amongst the members.  Tony continues to have Spandau Ballet songs in his set, although they’ve been totally rearranged so that the highlight is completely and totally on his voice. He doesn’t tour as Tony Hadley, ex-Spandau Ballet or whatever-you-will, he just tours as himself with a backing band. I think it’s bizarre (and not entirely successful, in my own opinion) to hear Tony singing, but to have other people playing a different arrangement of the songs I grew up with. He’s covering Spandau, so to speak. I think it sounds a little weird, but it is his right to move on.

Can you imagine if it were Duran Duran?  Spandau Ballet fans are easily as ardent as Duran fans. They are certainly as opinionated, and possibly as stubborn. I cringe and shudder to think what might be said if Simon were to go it alone and leave the band. I’m sure many are saying that the band would hang it up. Maybe they would. It is certainly their right to do so. But it would also be their right to try.  Wouldn’t we owe it to them, at least in some sense, to applaud their strength and fortitude to have a go at it?  We might not like it (but hell, as I said above, there have been entire albums I haven’t necessarily loved and yet I survived!), but I still applaud their willingness to keep going. That’s the creative process at work.

As a fan, it is difficult to see past the emotionality, but we should try. The band name brings out certain feelings and memories. To the band themselves – it’s more than that. In the eyes of the courts, Spandau Ballet is a partnership, a legal entity. The business is entwined with the time and energy spent together.  In the midst of the drama, I suspect the arrangements and legalities become more about the pieces of paper indicating who is entitled to what and so forth moving forward, than history and emotions. Someone said that dissolving a band partnership is like a divorce, and I don’t doubt that. In this case, the vocalist starts over, single and free with a solo career, the band keeps the name and marries a new lead singer. Fans are caught in the middle, just like the children. We’re pissed that our family name is continuing to be used by someone we don’t even know or recognize. It’s hard.

Ultimately, Spandau is trying to move on. I can’t blame them.  I wish them nothing but success. I suspect it must really be difficult to be in their shoes right now, and I applaud their bravery. I wish fans would think about that a little more before being so quick to tell them to hang it up. For us, it’s about music we love. For the band, it’s their career.  Why shouldn’t they keep trying? I’m going to keep cheering them on, even though I would love to be there in person to witness The Next Line at that first London show.

Here’s to possibilities and not giving up! Cheers!

-R

 

Memories of The Belasco Theatre 2016, or “GA lines aren’t that bad”

A couple of years ago on this very day, my husband kindly drove my friends and I up to LA for a show at the Belasco Theatre. It was a very warm day for it only being May, but we found a shady spot to spread out, and wait the day away in the GA line.

By contrast, today it is raining, and cool – at least by “Los Angeles-in-May” standards. Oh, and Duran Duran is NOT playing today. Yes, there is that, too.

I remember the day outside The Belasco well. Despite my plans to sit down and relax, I found myself up and walking around, talking to everyone I knew. The hours seemed to fly by as I chatted away with fellow fans from all over. I am one of the first people to say that I don’t like GA shows (I really don’t), but I have to say that standing (sitting) in line with everyone all day is not all that terrible. In a lot of very bizarre ways, it’s like a giant pre-show party.  You see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you gab about the band (of course), music, other shows you’ve attended, and maybe someone goes on a food run.

While sure, the waiting can be monotonous, and sure, I suppose it can be a bit cutthroat when you have people around you who are more concerned with being at the rail and loudly asserting that no one dare get in front of them than they are with making (and keeping) friends. I find that many times, those people are the minority, and in the end, don’t need to make a difference in my evening unless I allow it. For the majority of people who are there to have a good time, even if they end up in second, third row or beyond, I can think of far worse ways to spend a day.

The weird thing is that I did know a lot of people in that line at the Belasco!  It was a stark contrast to even a few years prior, when I went to a show at the Mayan Theatre. That show was also GA and required many hours of waiting in a line, yet I really didn’t know that many people then. I kept mostly to myself, talking with my husband and a couple who stood behind us, although I did say hi to the few people I recognized.

Everyone I know who isn’t a huge fan of a specific band the way I am always asks me how I can keep going to shows. They don’t mean financially – although my husband has certainly asked me that very question over the years! Ha ha! They just can’t understand why someone would want to see the same band fifty or sixty times, or more than once during a tour. The thought of going to fifteen shows during a single tour blows their minds. Yet, as we all know, my experience is tame compared to some who have gone to twice or even three times as many shows.

My answer is always the same: it isn’t purely about the band. In some ways, my life might be a lot easier if it were ONLY about Duran Duran! For me, seeing my friends is everything. I don’t live near them. Sometimes, weeks go by without even a single text…and those are just my close friends. There are many people that I just don’t keep in that close of touch with, yet I do consider friends. I see them when I go to shows. I look forward to seeing and hugging those people as much as I do seeing the band. After all, Duran Duran is only on stage for about 90 minutes these days (give or take). What in the hell do I do with the rest of the time while I’m away from home?  I talk to my friends. We get together. We go to lunch or dinner.  We do video blogs. (this is true…and we’ll do them just about anywhere, right Amanda?)  We have vodka tonics or sodas in to-go cups with lids that don’t fit! We try to squeeze in as much time together as we possibly can during the time we’re gathered.

 

 

I don’t know how I missed out on all of that for so long. The Belasco show was in 2016. The Mayan show was in 2011. Before the reunion, I’d only gone to a few Duran Duran shows, and I definitely didn’t know anyone from the fan community. In a lot of ways, I think I’m making up for lost time, now. When I think to my friends in the UK or even a few on the east coast – I can’t help but be a little envious. They grew up together. They spent their teenage years going to shows, waiting in the GA line (and yes, even waiting for band members outside of studios). I spent mine doing anything but all of that. I didn’t meet my touring buddies and best friend until after I’d already grown up, gotten married and had children. So now, I don’t miss an opportunity to go and be with them. It is a truth that is sometimes difficult for my family, but it is something that I don’t want to give up.

Yesterday, I had a student and parent at my desk at school. I was looking something up for them on my computer and they noticed my mousepad. It is one of my prized possessions these days – Amanda had it made for me. It is filled with pictures she and I had taken at various Duran Duran shows. I always smile when I look at it, even during the toughest days at work, and lately – there have been quite a few. Anyway, they wanted to know who those people were (the student, who is in middle school and is now one of my very favorites thought that one of the men must be my husband. HA). I explained that they were Duran Duran which of course led to a full discussion of how many shows I’d been to, who was my favorite band member, and of course – this blog – which I honestly try NOT to publicize at work. The question asked by the parent was simple “how long do you think you can really keep going to these shows and not feel silly?”

My answer? “How long can Simon and the band keep going?  They’re older than I am…and I’m not going to give up before they do.”

Note to the band: YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!

-R

 

Help a Fellow Duranie!

Last week, I got word that a distant cousin of mine was in the hospital. Before I go further, I should explain that I don’t know him well, and that after an initial scare, he’s making good progress.  However, he had an aortic dissection, which caught my eye. My mom has an aortic aneurysm, as does one of her sisters – and a dissection is a possible eventuality. One of my mom’s brothers had a massive heart attack two weeks after his 50th birthday, and another cousin of hers died (the mother of the distant cousin I mentioned above) from an aortic aneurysm. So, it’s probably fair to say that heart problems seem to abound in my mom’s family, if not aortic aneurysms specifically.  But I digress.

I think it was the very next day that I saw something on Instagram from a Duranie – someone I have met personally – about an aortic dissection. She was in the hospital, and from what I can gather, she’s lucky she survived. Two of these stories in the same week happening to people I know? That’s crazy! I said as much to this Duranie, who many of you reading may know or have heard of – Amanda Pants.

Amanda is a vibrant, friendly Duranie. I met her during the Paper Gods tour. She has this vibe about her—as though she not just living life, but getting every possible ounce of joy out of each moment—that is engaging and magnetic. She is someone who I really can’t envision bad things happening to, yet I’m certain she’s been through many of the same (or more) struggles that we’ve all had. I only met Amanda and talked with her during a few moments at the shows where I saw her, so my impressions of her are merely just instinctual. She is positive, and has grabbed life by the tail in a way I’ve never been able to manage. If I ever tried to be so colorful and vibrant, it would come off completely fake and wrong—yet on her, it’s natural, organic, and very real.

Seeing her, or at least part of her, in a hospital bed, complete with newly minted scars from surgery, was a total, unwelcome, surprise. But the good news, as she put it, was that she didn’t die on Saturday. She survived.

The next photo I saw from her was of a lot of prescriptions. I’ve seen the piles of drugs my brother-in-law had to take each day, and this was pretty similar. I’m lucky, as I only have my blood pressure medicines and an allergy pill to take each day. Yet, I still struggle to afford them while my husband is out of work. Don’t even bother talking to me about Affordable Healthcare. Insurance for my family, even with my husband out of work, is over $1800 a month. COBRA insurance is exactly the same. Walt brings home less than that in unemployment each month, and like everyone else in the world, we still have other bills and our mortgage to pay, much less have money left to feed ourselves. The numbers don’t compute. Sure, this is temporary for our family, assuming he gets a job soon. Not everyone is quite so lucky. Can you imagine having to take ten or more medicines each day? (and keeping them all straight? I struggle with remembering if I’ve taken my blood pressure pill!) Even better, can you imagine paying for them all?

When I saw that a friend of Amanda’s had set up a Gofundme for her, I felt like I had to do something. Admittedly, right now I am not in a situation where I can help financially, but I can certainly get the word out. If you’re able, I know she could really use the hand up.

No, this really isn’t Duran Duran news. I hope that those reading can see their way clear to helping if they’re able.  A member of our Duranie family is sick, needs help, and I’m putting it out there. I wish I could do more.

If you didn’t see the link above and want to find out more or even help, click below:

GO FUND AMANDA PANTS!

Good luck and get well soon, Amanda!

-R

You can fight it, or invite it

OK, so I obviously didn’t make the trip to Dubai for yesterday’s show. I know a few people who did, and I saw plenty of others who commented to Duran Duran on social media. The comments were by far positive. For the few songs I did see (thanks to the magic and power of the internet!) – I would wholeheartedly agree.

One surprise in particular was The Chauffeur. First of all, I applaud that it was put in the set.  The Chauffeur is one of those songs that gets circulated in and out of their set every so often. I’ve seen it live several times, but it isn’t in every set list.  Seeing it on occasion is  special. That said, last night’s rendition seemed different. I’m not sure if it was truly that way or because of how it was recorded. The end was the most noticeably different, but I could hear the guitar loud and clear, and it even sounded a bit different from I remember.  Granted, I like the hard edge of a guitar, and last night – the sound really delivered! I don’t know what it was, but I loved the juxtaposition of the guitar against the synthesizers at the end of the song. In the past I can’t say I picked up on it quite as much.  Anyway, I loved it. He didn’t overpower the song or anything, it was just that I could hear the guitar slice right through the music, and I felt it was just what the song needed. Others might disagree, to be expected.

In addition to some great footage from the show, I’ve seen quite a few snippets of video from some sort of an after party. The only band member I’ve seen has been Simon in short snippets. This brings me to reason #567,983 why I am thankful I’m not famous.

First of all, I don’t know why the person taking the videos feels the need to do so. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my Kodak moment with Simon too, and of course I posted it. I just don’t know why you’d take video and pictures of Simon doing whatever it is he’s doing during his own downtime and then broadcast them to all of humanity. To me, it’s a fine line that I don’t want to cross, and yet I know other people have no problem. I just don’t get it.

He’s with a group of women in a couple of the short videos, he’s playing bartender in a couple of others, and while all of them seem  innocuous, I don’t think that’s the point. I mean, it isn’t that I’m not amused. Part of my hobby here is teasing the hell out of the guy and that’s not going to stop. (He gives it right back at times, and I’d expect no less) That said, it will be a very cold day in hell before I start taking video of him and post it online. (outside of when he’s onstage, of course…in which case, game on!)

I know what many will say. “He should be used to it” , “I’m sure he doesn’t mind”, “it’s funny”.  “You’re the one with the problem.” Yep.  All of those things, I’m sure. I’ve had numerous conversations with various people about this over the years, and if we’re going to treat him like you would anybody else, why on earth are we still jumping over cocktail tables to get to him? It’s one thing to ask them for a picture. Lots of fans do that, and by all means – it’s part of the deal of being a fan, right? No one, least of all me, is saying that’s wrong. Don’t send me hate mail – take all the photos you want and post them.

But here’s another scenario:

Let’s say you’re at a show, and some friends invite you to a bar afterward, mentioning that the band “might” show. For most of us, we’d probably go along willingly. We’d have that nervous feeling of excitement welling in our bellies, only to tell ourselves that they probably won’t show. We get to the bar, grab a seat and settle in. Before long, a friend nudges you under the table and you look up to see Simon walk in. You grin, because well – of course you do! I haven’t met a fan that wouldn’t, even if we’re trying to cover it with a mock sense of coolness.

It takes a while, but Simon has this way of working the room when he wants. He eventually makes his way to your table. Inside, you’re screaming because again – of course you are!  He strikes up a good conversation. The next thing you know, he’s sitting down with your group and you’re having fun. Are you really going to film the entire thing? Are you really going to take out your phone, pretend you’re taking video of something else, and get him instead?

I guess if you’re nodding your head yes, I’m responding that I wouldn’t. I definitely haven’t. That moment, or evening, or whatever, is yours. It was mine. I don’t need the video to remember it all.  I also wouldn’t want to ruin the moment by reminding him that I’m one of those teenagers that had his posters on my wall. Not that I think he’d forget, but wouldn’t it nice to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the elephant in the room?? Yep, inside, I’d be freaking out for a bit, and sure – afterward I might have a good case of the squeals (who wouldn’t?), but that’s for later!

Perhaps I just don’t get it. That’s very possible. Maybe it’s just ME, and I don’t realize that since he’s been a rock star for seemingly forever, he doesn’t mind being treated like a circus animal even when he’s trying to wind down for the evening. I kinda think he does mind – but that’s just my opinion, take it for what it may be worth.

I wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so I’m not going to do that to him, or anyone else. Based on my limited experience, I suspect Simon prefers having a drink, making a toast to a good night or whatever, and not having people stick their camera phones up to video every last second to post online later. He might act like he doesn’t care, but I’ll bet it’s annoying. Maybe as you’re reading you believe I’m wrong about that, and hey – that’s fine. You all can do what you want to do. But, if you’ve ever wondered why there’s no video of us with Simon, or anyone in the band for that matter – what I’ve written is exactly why.

-R

The Web of Youth, Duran Duran and Justin Timberlake

Youth seems to be the theme of the day for me, as far as writing goes.

Like many, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. It is the one (American) football game I tend to watch each year. I don’t have the patience to sit and watch a lot of sports, and I certainly don’t design my weekends around who is playing. In that sense, I’m not a fan. Even so, I feel compelled to watch the final championship game each year, whether we go to a party or not. Yesterday, we stayed at home. I’ve been dealing with a sinus infection, or at least a recurring one, for nearly all of winter, so I was happy to have downtime.

I won’t lie, one of the biggest reasons I watch the game each year is the halftime show. Typically, I’m not even a fan of whomever they have playing, but I always watch out of sheer curiosity. Most of the time, the NFL hires someone who has incredibly wide appeal, whether that is Prince, Lady Gaga, Madonna, or even Paul McCartney. They typically do a medley of their hits because, with just about ten minutes (give or take), there’s not much else that makes sense. Invariably, people complain. That doesn’t really change from year to year, no matter what.

This year, it was Justin Timberlake taking center field, and not even he could escape the virtual “spin cycle” of justice found on social media. There was drama surrounding the proposed use of Prince’s hologram—regardless of where you sit on the debate—was shot down prior to show time. Instead, there was a giant, larger than life projection of Prince onto a piece of fabric as a tribute, and the lights outside of the stadium appeared to turn purple and morph into the design of Prince’s one time logo/name. I say “appeared” because there is apparently much debate over whether or not it really happened or was just the magic of TV.  I don’t honestly care.

While watching his performance though, one thing became crystal clear: Justin, now a father, is no longer a kid himself…and he seeks the same youthful image as every other band and artist out there. While a reasonably large portion of his fan base is in my age range, the “fans” he had surrounding the stage were as youthful as they get. 20-somethings, full of energy, happiness, and style, similar to the odd camouflage-design stage costume Justin wore, likely in a nod to his upcoming album*, “Man of the Woods”.  Even with all of that, youth matters to this industry.

My point isn’t to critique his use of a planted audience (they ALL do it), or to talk about his backing track. I don’t care about any of that because these days – it is more commonplace than not, particularly on live TV. I’m far more critical, if that is really indeed the right word for it, of the industry standards themselves.

At 37, Justin is far from the fresh-faced, curly-haired kid in N*Sync.  His solo career has done what many might have believed impossible, spanning generations of listeners. Even so, Justin finds himself in the undeniably difficult space of trying to connect with a younger audience in order to create buzz for his upcoming album.

As my husband and I watched last night, Justin ran up into the stadium itself to dance and revel with fans during the few final moments of his halftime performance. Mixed in with the sea of white males was one 13-year old kid named Ryan, who is young enough for braces to be on his teeth. Justin posed for a selfie with him, and social media did its work. Today, and even last night, memes of this kid looking at his phone and appearing “unimpressed” by Justin are all across social media, proclaiming that yeah, even Justin Timberlake has gotten to the point where today’s youth don’t know who he is.

Here’s the thing: Ryan knew who Justin Timberlake was. He was probably as shell-shocked as I might have been to be picked out of a crowd. He probably doesn’t know much about N*Sync or even a lot of Justin’s songs, but that doesn’t really matter.

You know what matters? The same thing that my husband and I commented on last night. Out of all of the fans in that crowd, Justin ran up to a kid. Sure, he did it because: A. Kids are cute and B. That kid was the only one around. But he also did it because like it or not, Justin Timberlake is a shrewd businessman. If you’re gonna stop and take a photo with someone, may as well be the kid who is most likely to buy your music. That’s not a slam against Justin. It’s reality. The industry says that it is kids like Ryan who buy the music, who decide which albums make it big, and which will ultimately be albums that only the hardest-core fan base will remember and embrace. Ryan took a selfie with Justin Timberlake, and that selfie went viral. With one well-timed photo opp,  Justin is now likable, accessible, and interesting to a brand new generation of listeners and music-buyers. Bingo.

Is it really just the youth that matter? I’m not sure. Here I sit as a 47-year old that still buys as many concert tickets as she can get away with to see the same band that she’s loved since she was a pre-teen. I’m not the only crazy person out there with multiple copies of Paper Gods, All You Need is Now or even Red Carpet Massacre and Astronaut.  I hardly think I’m the gold standard “fan” that the industry wants to think about. In turn, I’m also not the fan that the band wants to brag about – at least not business-wise. It’s frustrating on one hand as a long time fan and now blogger, and yet completely understandable on the other. But anyone who thinks it is only Duran Duran having to adjust their appeal to a younger audience need look no further than Justin Timberlake.

I suspect that at the very heart of it all, once we are past the dollars and cents, the spreadsheets and profit/loss statements, the constant pressure to appeal to younger and younger audiences must be maddening.

 

-R

*As it turns out, his album was released February 2nd. I’m a few days (and several dollars) short. Sorry about that. 😀

Seven years of burning the ground, and we reached our resource limit!

Crazy things happen. For example, last Thursday afternoon, someone let us know that our blog was displaying a strange screen instead of our website. I checked it out, and sure enough, our website was nowhere to be found. Instead, viewers were told that we’d reached a 508 resource limit.

(I sound like I actually know what I’m writing about. Amusing.)

Here’s the deal: I’m no webmaster. I try my best, but in actuality, I am  learning as I go. Seven and a half years ago, I was scared to death when Daily Duranie went “live”. I had no idea what I was doing.  A bit later, and I do the unthinkable. I decide we can self-host, and I have the audacity to think I can actually keep it all working. I move the blog to our own shared server space, and it works fantastically. Until of course, it doesn’t.

The thing is, starting out, MOST websites work unless you’re using a theme or plugins that don’t. However, when you’ve got seven years under you, there’s a lot of stuff. Things need cleaned. They need maintenance. It is like owning a seven-year old vehicle. Sometimes, things need fixing. I am not a mechanic.

So my Thursday night was spent getting close and personal with the back, back-end of the site. The first thing I had to look up was what a 508 resource limit meant! Then I looked at stuff on our back-end that, to be honest, I’d never looked at before. One thing I learned was that our server has its own site metrics, and its own stats. Both files are frighteningly more accurate than what we’ve got through WordPress.

I learned that we have, quite honestly, ten times as many unique page views as I’d ever thought, on SLOW days. During times when Amanda and I are actually on the road together, our traffic here is almost alarming. At first, I sat staring at the screen saying, “That’s just not possible. It just can’t be.”

Amanda and I had a good laugh, admitted our naivety, and surmised that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to the two of us. It explains a lot of things, though…including the problem at hand.

The 508 resource limit, which I didn’t know how to fix. I read some articles, and I watched a few YouTube videos.  (You can learn ANYTHING on YouTube!) It came down to a couple of basic things: 1. This site needed to be optimized. 2. I needed to clean out the crap. I did both, but once a site reaches your resource max – that means that you’ve used up all of the resources your server has allocated to you for that given period. I had to wait for the site to renew our allocations. Thankfully, that meant waiting until the following day. It worked. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen again.

I’ve done all that I can do at this point to ensure we never hit a resource limit again, primarily because I’m out of time, out of knowledge, and out of money. In order to ensure we never run out of allocated resources, we’d have to upgrade our hosting. As I said, we get quite a bit of traffic, and on a busy day –  if the site isn’t running at its optimum, we could easily run into resource limit problems again. As it is currently, the site costs us a fair amount of money each year to host. Upgrading isn’t cheap.  So how to make the site pay for itself?  Good question. Our ads never quite paid off for us, so I took them down. They looked like crap, and no one clicked on them anyway. That said, Amanda and I cannot afford to put more of our money into the site at this point.

You may or may not have noticed a new addition to the home page. If you look near the top right corner, just under our menu – there’s a “Donate” button. It’s not very big. It doesn’t have bright neon lights shouting it’s presence. But it is there, quietly asking for your support.

Amanda and I love Daily Duranie. I think it’s fair to say we loved it before anyone besides the two of us read a single word. We wrote for the love of the band, and we wrote for the love of being fans. We still do. That said, it costs real money to keep the site running. It costs real money to put on a convention, to do meet-ups, and to have fun. We are asking for your help – whether that is a few dollars, or a bit more if you are able and so inclined. If you know Amanda and I, you realize how difficult this is for us. We’re not very good at asking. I read a book about that once, and here I am. I need to ask for your help. I worry about doing this because I hate being vulnerable. It’s uncomfortable, and we wouldn’t do it if we really didn’t need your support. We’re not asking anyone to pay us a salary, or to fund the next tour.  We just want to keep the site running. Anything extra would be used for future conventions and meet ups, should we be so lucky to be offered that much help.

If you click on the link, it will take you to PayPal, where you can type in a monetary amount of your choosing to donate to “Discord & Rhyme”. That’s actually Amanda and I, so don’t worry! We’re trying to change that back to Daily Duranie, but for now – it’s Discord & Rhyme.

This isn’t going to be like your local PBS station continually asking for donations. The button is going to stay for a while, but this is the one and only blog I’m going to be writing about it. Should we want to try something different for fun, and we might as time goes on here, we may write about it, but other than that – it’s back to business as usual here with NO resource limit on the fun stuff! Love, friendship, music, party times, and Duran Duran.

Thank you in advance for helping to keep this site up and running. We really appreciate the love, kindness and support.

-R

Are we still a Networker Nation?

In yesterday’s blog post, I mentioned the power of social media. Although I don’t have Sirius XM radio, within moments of the interview John Taylor did with Richard Blade on Monday, I knew what had been discussed. I felt triumphant.

Say whatever you like about the evils of Twitter and Facebook. They can definitely be a cesspool of humanity. I agree that Twitter can seem like an echo chamber. I don’t believe that Twitter changes anyone’s mind, and I don’t think it is necessarily the best place to chat about politics. In all honesty, I stay off of it as much as possible anymore because it isn’t enjoyable. The population of people that once posted has changed.  I think even the very function of Twitter has changed since its inception.

However, if I need information quickly, Twitter is my failsafe. I can put a question out there, and get an accurate answer in an incredibly  impressive amount of time. Twitter is reactive, sometimes explosively so. Facebook seems to be more of a warm, fuzzy place…most of the time. It is where I connect with extended family, and it is where I have learned things about family members that I really didn’t ever need to know. It is also where I get good and bad news from childhood friends, and find out that my former high school crushes have gained several chins and collected wives along the way in the same spirit as I have Duran Duran ticket stubs. Even so, I don’t tend to loiter on social media as I once did.

I do miss sitting around and tweeting with friends. It was like a giant chat room, and no, we didn’t always agree. That didn’t matter, though. It was about the gathering, the communication, even the immediacy and yes, even the friendship. Something happened though, and for all of the good that could be found, Twitter turned angry. It isn’t very enjoyable much of the time. I don’t see many fans on Twitter these days, at least not that are there for the pure enjoyment of being a fan. I suppose we take our cues from the band to some extent, who themselves seem to have left social media – at least as recognizable people using their own names (Not that I know otherwise. I’m just saying that if they wanted to participate under a blanket of anonymity, they probably could.)  I can’t really lay blame in any one direction. Even so, when I need information, it does have its place.

I don’t think we can ignore the fact that within moments of news breaking, whether that is a devastating earthquake, or a tour being announced, it is being discussed on Twitter. The same holds true for Facebook, although the reaction time is longer. Social media has its place, but where do we go to really enjoy being fans without the trappings that “real” life on social media has to offer? Is it that we’re all just too busy now? It wasn’t that many years ago when the message board and/or forum of DDM was a bustling place. Post counts jumped by the dozens within seconds. Does anyone still talk about the band anywhere?

Oddly, we have a message board that is largely ignored, and I need to shoulder at least half of that responsibility. I find that I spend very little time “online” these days. It isn’t because I have that much less time, it is because the last thing I want to see or do is talk politics, or read about more horrors taking place within my country. I don’t need five hundred friends sharing the same comments, memes, and complaints. I’m sick of it.  Rest assured, I feel the same as many of you, although likely not with the same intensity as some. I’m just tired of talking about it all, or reading about it. So, I stay offline as much as possible. I can’t imagine I’m alone. I check out Instagram, I smile at pictures. I love cats and dogs. I need the good things more than I need to read the bad things five hundred times.

So while there is certainly power within social media, and our fingers flying across the keys does far more to “spread the word” than it used to, I have to wonder where the fun has really gone. Is it time to fire up the message boards again? Sometimes, I wonder. I miss our online fun.

-R

Durandemonium is coming. Again.

So what is this I hear about a Durandemonium convention in August? Whose crazy idea was THAT?!?

I hate to say it, but I think I might be the guilty party.

Imagine the scene: we’re at the Daily Duranie “Late Bar” party in Vegas, everyone is having fun and a few people have asked when we’re going to do a convention. I look around and realize that yeah, we probably could have a pretty rocking convention right here in Hard Rock Live. It’s a very versatile, exclusive yet open, space for meeting, partying, dancing, etc. Could we pull it off?

I mention it to Amanda, who I think may have threatened me with bodily harm. I can’t really remember now, come to think of it! I do know she did ask me several times if I meant it, and I played it off. It’s one thing to suggest it in jest, another to say it and mean it. I needed to think.

I drive home from Vegas, go through the New Year, and really start considering whether or not the idea is even worth discussing further. A few people ask about it, which does nothing to quell the idea. Amanda and I talk about it on Friday night, and we agree to throw it out to the community by way of a poll.

A poll isn’t very scientific, and the results are only as good as the sample size. Even so, a poll generates discussion, and the reaction might tell me whether or not it’s worth looking into. Amanda and I chuckle as we post the poll on Facebook and Twitter. We assume we’ll get less than 50 people to even answer.

Wrong.

We had fifty people respond by late Friday evening, and most were positive. This was a surprise, particularly since we made sure to indicate that ticket prices were likely to be over $200 a person for a Thursday evening through Sunday noon convention.

Nope, conventions are not cheap. They’re absolutely not free. I know that we do our meet-ups for free – and we really shouldn’t, because even those require some menial things that Amanda and I have just agreed to pay for over the years and not mention it, but a convention is very different.

It is a finely tuned balance. The risk is enormous, because we have to choose a city that Amanda and I can easily get to, as well as somewhere that fans WANT to visit. When we are planning, we have to consider how many tickets need to be sold in order to break even.  One way we encourage people to join us, is by having conventions in places that people already want to go.

That typically means sticking to larger cities, and those big cities cost money. No matter what city is chosen, we read posts from people who want to come but insist that the convention be closer to them, like in their own hometown. No matter where we choose, there is always going to be a city that is cheaper, a time of year that is better, a place we haven’t visited, etc. We do our best, and so far, we haven’t had a convention in the same city twice.

With all of that taken into consideration, is it any wonder why so few conventions happen in this fandom?

We soldier on because the one truth that Amanda and I hold most dear is that being a die-hard fan of Duran Duran is about far more than just the band. There is certainly room for those who care little about making friends and are just around to see Simon, John, Nick & Roger – and there’s something to be said for those people. They buy the same tickets and support the band in the same way we might. However, the friendships made along the way have made my  journey far sweeter.  Amanda and I believe that so fervently that we want to help facilitate more of those opportunities for fans to meet and befriend one another outside of a concert setting. In turn, those friendships are what create and maintain the community. It isn’t what Amanda and I post here on the blog that does that.  Not even  the events we plan create community. The friendships and bonds between people are what do that. Sometimes though, these conventions and meet-ups help to bring people together, and that is why we plan them.

Those who have been to other conventions and even meet-ups like the one in Vegas with us know this to be true. Somewhere along the way, it really does become the friendships that matter most. I met my best friend at a fan convention. I know other people met their closest Duranie friends at our last Durandemonium convention.  I saw a group of people who had mainly interacted online become better friends in Las Vegas, bonding over the band, karaoke and late night pizza. It wasn’t due to Amanda or myself that those things happened, but it sure gave me joy to witness it. That’s why we keep going. I love seeing people come together over the love of a band. The music is between us, and it bonds us. That’s worth celebrating. With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the very beginnings of Duran Duran, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than with people who love this band as much as I do.

That thought is what will keep me going until August.

Durandemonium is coming.

-R

 

Back to work in so many ways!

Today is my first day back at school after the holidays. I think it is fair to say that I’m not ready, I’m going in under protest, and I nearly pitched a fit when the alarm went off at 5am.

The whole “I need a paycheck thing”…gah. Gotta go to work. So I am, with a smile on my face and all the hope in the world that I have a great week ahead. At least my co-pilot (my youngest) will be with me today. The very best thing about my job is that when I walk out of the office to supervise recess, I see her smiling face as she runs to give me a hug. That pretty much makes the whole thing worth the effort, every single day.

It’s not just my paying gig that keeps me going, though. I have big plans for this blog, as well as the whole “Daily Duranie” platform in general. First off, Amanda and I have a paper to write, and a presentation to prepare for the Pop Culture Conference in March. That is huge, and likely the most important event I have this year, at least in this moment. I would like to also revamp this website because it has been the same for a few years now, and I think it is beginning to look a little stale. Also, Amanda and I are beginning to work on ideas for a little something that we’re not ready to put out in the world yet. I’ll just say that I am hoping we can all get together, even if it’s not for a show, exactly.  As I said, we aren’t ready to announce anything, but watch this space. I’m also hoping that

Then there’s the personal stuff. It’s always a balancing act between Daily Duranie and my everyday life challenges: jobs, homes, moving, not moving, birthdays, children in college, health and happiness…the list goes on. The first of January is always a time where I feel like I’ve got to clean up, clear out, and start fresh. This year is no exception, but I will say that this time, I feel like I have a little more “fight” in me. I don’t know what that really means, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Bring it, 2018. I’m ready to get back to work!

-R

Happy New Year 2018!

I drove home yesterday morning from a wild weekend in Vegas. I’m always tired at the end of a weekend like that, but yesterday I was also stressed (I have been writing that word a LOT lately and I really hope that settles down some in 2018).  But more on that later.

The weekend was fantastic. I saw friends, rocked out with a couple of different bands, and for a short time, forgot all about anything else and lived in the moment. I do have a list of people to thank and acknowledge, so bear with me. I know that we’ve already thanked these people but I’m doing it again because they deserve it!!

  • Thank you to Jason for offering up his Hard Rock Live to us for our Daily Duranie meet up. Above and beyond the call of duty in every single way. I don’t know how to return the favor. We can’t thank you and the management team enough for your kindness and hospitality. You made my whole weekend, and I’m not even kidding about that. (no offense Duran Duran, I’m getting to you…I promise!)
  • Thank you to Noelle Kahn for being a ROCKSTAR and jumping in to help Amanda and I out with selling raffle tickets that night. As we said in our video, logistics at these events are something we tend to forget about. If we’re busy selling raffle tickets and wristbands, it makes it very difficult for us to be good hosts. So thank you X 1000.
  • It was fantastic to meet Durandy for the very first time, and to see Kitty (Gimme A Wristband) again. They continue to inspire and remind me why I do this, even when sometimes I feel like none of it matters to anyone but me.
  • Lisa (I am being vague on purpose, but I hope your feet are doing better than they were on Saturday night when I last saw you!), both Amanda and I want to thank you for your kindness.  I know you probably feel like what you and your friend gave us was just a little thing, but it was not. People will go nuts. However, what we really appreciate even more, are the words of support from both of you. It matters more than I can properly articulate.
  • Lori and Suzie, I adore you both. I’m glad you’re my people and I hope that continues for a very long time…. you get me and haven’t even stopped to have me committed yet. Thank you for just going along with my obsessive behavior and letting me figure it out for myself that it was going absolutely nowhere. It was a good fantasy while it lasted. 😀
  • I feel very lucky to have friends that have my best interests at heart. Those of you who “show up”…whether in person or from afar, matter so much to me. You’re there when I need you, and I just want to look you virtually in the eye, since I can’t always in person, and say thank you. I mean it. You all know who you are. The hugs, the chats, even the quick smiles and waves in passing helped me to de-stress.
  • So glad I got to meet so many friends, readers, and twitter pals!

So about that show. Yes, we were in the sixth row, and yes, they were great seats. Nothing I’m about to write should get in the way of that fact. Our distractions of not one but two near-fist fights in the aisle next to us, as well as the constant persistence of people trying to get closer to the stage and the sea of people in front of us who insisted on seeing the entire flipping show through their iPhone as opposed to just watching it with their own eyes definitely provided challenges to enjoying the show.  And then there was the family of four – two parents and two very young children – behind me who were very upset when the concert started and everyone stood up. They left after the first two songs, and I felt bad because the wife clearly wanted to stay, but the husband was furious with Amanda and I because we stood up. I saw a lot of the show by peering into the space under the very tall gentleman’s arm in front of me,  as he held up his phone to video. I had to laugh, because in the end, it didn’t matter. I was seeing Duran Duran live onstage over New Years weekend! I am incredibly lucky, and I know it.

I especially enjoyed Hold Back the Rain because I could see the video screen on the wall behind the band, which showed a collage of pictures of a much younger Duran Duran. I won’t even lie about how emotional I felt when I thought about how that was my childhood up on that screen. I still have trouble getting my brain to accept that the people up on that video screen are in fact the same people on that stage…because there’s no way I could ever have gotten even this close (in proximity at a show) to those guys. There’s no way that I could possibly operate a website dedicated to that band. They were the Gods of my teen years. My brain does not compute!

If that weren’t enough, the sound was FANTASTIC. I’ve sat much farther back at some shows and yet the sound has been less-than-optimal, even if it should have been mixing well at that point.  Of course, when you’re in the front, you hear a lot from the monitors themselves and the sound doesn’t mix well at that point either. However, from where I was sitting this time, it was incredibly clear. Louder than heck, but clear. I had the chance to hear subtle things in the music I hadn’t before. Dom’s guitar part in Hold Back the Rain, John’s bass in the same song, even Sunrise and the tiny snippet of Universe Alone sent shivers down my spine. I loved the show, but there was something else on my mind that night.

Right before the show as we stood having a drink in The Chandelier, my sister-in-law texted me letting me know that my niece was in the hospital. She had been going upstairs and suddenly fainted, falling straight back and hitting her head on their tile floor. She is my only niece, and I adore her. It’s the kind of accident that a parent would have on replay in their head forever, because you want to rush to grab them but can’t get there in time. She’s in ICU now with a skull fracture and a slight brain bleed, but the most frightening part is in the process of evaluating her, they discovered an irregularity in her heart beat. It is a little more involved and more serious than I need to explain here, but she is seventeen, and is getting a pacemaker. 2018 needs to be a healthier year for my family. Enough is enough.

After the show, I tried to put my worries aside and enjoy the final evening out. Easier said than done, of course. Even with a couple of distractions, I had made the decision to get up early the next day and drive home. By 2am, my exhaustion took over and I went to bed, even though I still had people I wanted to see.

It is difficult for me to admit, but this time, the show wasn’t the highlight of the trip for me. Before anyone complains, let me explain. That doesn’t mean the show was bad or that I’m slagging off on the band. In fact, it wasn’t at all. It was just that this weekend, I really needed my friends, people who actually know me, not just the Rhonda who runs Daily Duranie with Amanda, or Rhonda-the-Duran-Duran-fan, but ME.  There might not be many people out there like that, but there are some, and I think they know who they are. I have pictures with people I haven’t seen in many years. I received great big bear hugs from wonderful, generous, kind, fans and friends who care about me. Each one filled my heart and reminded me that I belong with this fantastic tribe.

I had time to stop thinking about how awful the last quarter of this year has been and instead, look ahead to the possibilities of 2018. In truth, the band contributed. Simon said nearly those same words before he introduced Ordinary World. They helped me. I think they even helped him. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people, but the one thing the New Year seems to do – crazily so without fail each year – is give hope for better things to come. Right now, I’ll take it. ]

Happy New Year everyone. I hope I see many more of you this next year, even if the band doesn’t do many shows.  We may or may not have an idea up our sleeve to pass the time … stay tuned.

-R