Tag Archives: fans

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

Christmas – The Recovery (otherwise known as Boxing Day)

Good morning, world.  Did you survive Christmas…or as most of the world calls it, Monday? Today is what Canada, the UK, and a few other parts of the world call “Boxing Day”.  We don’t really celebrate that here, at least not in the same way. We use the day to recuperate and, perhaps venture out to return things that didn’t fit or were the wrong “thing”. (thankfully we won’t be participating in that ritual today!)

I did, but just barely. My youngest, who has never, EVER woken us up early to do gifts on Christmas, ceremoniously barged into our room precisely at 7am.

“Wake up, wake up, it’s Christmas!  Santa was here! Wake up, wake up!!”

I shot up from my pillow as though I’d been struck by lightning. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, especially given that I felt like I’d just gone to sleep a minute ago (actually I climbed into bed at 2am). But that’s how my day started, and although I was still very tired, I was glad she was excited enough to wake us up.

The rest of the day was spent unwrapping, cleaning, cooking, and talking with family. I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30, went up to my bed at 11, and didn’t hear a single thing until 7:30 this morning. I’m still tired.  It was a nice holiday, and today my feet will hopefully recover as I switch gears from Christmas to Las Vegas! As I look around, taking inventory of everything that needs accomplished before I leave, I find myself wondering why in the hell I thought this was going to be a good idea. I have so much to do, and I go back to work next week!

I don’t know when Duran Duran and/or Duranies are leaving for Las Vegas, but I will drive in to Vegas on Thursday morning. Today is Tuesday, and I think this is my recovery day in between events. I’m gonna need to find some energy between now and when I arrive in Las Vegas on Thursday, that is for sure.

So, today will be spent getting some much needed writing done. I also need to get real about my wardrobe. Much to my dismay, flannels and slippers are probably not appropriate attire for a New Years weekend concert.  I’m also going to need to deal with my hair color. The list goes on.

I think I’m also going to play with my new coffee maker, which came with some sort of crazy milk frother attachment, take a nap, and play some Mario Kart with my youngest.

One thing I am not doing today though, is cooking. That’s probably going to be a shock to a few people around here, but they can figure out how to use the microwave for once. Mama is done!

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

-R

 

‘Twas five days before Christmas…

…and all through the house, too many creatures were stirring (yes, I mean the cats. And kids. The dog too, I might add) in the very full house. Mama (that’s me) is dressed for the day, along with Papa, but all the kids are still cat-napping (except for the oldest, because her inflatable mattress – yes, we’re really THAT full here – decided to leak. Not good.). I’d love to say something about a long winter’s nap, but the truth is, we’ve been up since 7.  We’re both pretty stressed about a number of things, and let’s face it – who needs sleep anyway?

One good thing about going to Vegas next week, is that I’m going to Vegas next week to see a lot of my friends! I desperately need to see them right now, and yeah…Duran Duran, too. One very strange thing about going on a road trip to see the band at this time of year is that I haven’t thought much about it. I know I should have bought new clothes or something…and as I said the other night on Twitter, instead I’m fully prepared to show up to that fancy Vegas gig at The Cosmopolitan in flannel jammies and fuzzy slippers. I may get thrown out, but I’d be comfortable in the process. 😀

Hmm. Perhaps I’m taking this whole “we’re like FAMILY” thing a little bit too literally. No reason to scare people, I suppose. Although, the idea of wearing flannels and a pair of neon green trainers to a Duran show makes me grin a bit.

The truth is, I’m really stressed out about life right now. I’m fine from moment to moment, but when I start thinking about January and February, or what is coming down the road, particularly if it takes Walt a while to find a new job – I can feel the panic begin to rise.  Sometimes writing the blog can distract me, but this morning, it’s not happening. I cannot recommend this as a good way to go through the holidays, and yet my family has done it before. Seven times, actually.

Basically, I need the diversion that only a great concert and time with friends can provide, but the last thing I can really put any amount of time, effort, pain and/or suffering into at the moment is my wardrobe. I’ll come wearing clothes (you all can thank me later). The band should just be ready to make me forget about reality, if even just for a little while. If memory serves, they’re pretty good at doing just that.

-R

 

If You Know What It’s All About: Lyrics and Meanings

Over Thanksgiving, my oldest was at home. She is studying choreography in school, and this semester she is working on a final movement project. She showed me the piece she’s been developing, explaining that this is kind of a rough draft for a much longer and more involved idea she wants to work on for her senior year. She didn’t give me a lot of explanation beyond that and wanted me to watch and then talk with her afterwards.

I watched the work, and vaguely came up with the thought that the dance (this piece is pretty modern, as opposed to jazz, ballet, or even contemporary) must be about inner and outer struggles. I shared this with her and she brightened, saying that she was glad I recognized the basic concept of the inner and outer forces. Then we talked more about what she hoped to convey.  The story she shared with me was wildly different from my thoughts. I was a little dismayed because it all seemed pretty vague, and I shared this with her. Heather explained that she’s come to the realization that the actual meanings of the dances aren’t what matter. She’s not concerned about whether someone recognizes the full story she’s sharing. She just wants to convey the appropriate feeling. This confused me, because I always thought the whole point of choreography was to tell a story.  If the audience doesn’t “get” the story, what is the real point then?

I thought about this piece she’s in for an upcoming show. It’s called “Scanners”, and I have to say – it is very violent and animalistic. When I see it (I’ve seen her in it twice now), I have to try to forget that Heather is my daughter and just take in the piece for what it is. I’m actually amused at the thought that her grandparents are going to see her perform it, because the movements are territorial and savage. I can see that when I’m watching. I can hear it through the breathing on stage. The music doesn’t even convey those feelings – it’s all in the dance itself. But I don’t know the story of the dance. Not even a little. I just know that when I see it, it reminds me of how insensitive we’ve grown towards one another. I always say we’re losing our humanity. This dance conveys that feeling. I thought about that as Heather continued to explain choreography to me.

Then she said something that made everything clear.

In art, it isn’t about getting the meaning right. When we see a painting and it creates an emotion, or when we hear a song and it makes us feel something – it doesn’t matter what the artist originally intended, or what story they wanted to share. It’s about what the viewer feels. This is why artists don’t readily share what a painting is really about (some might, but most do not). It’s left to interpretation. Why? Because even though the artist used the work as a way to tell a story – our heart responds to a song or a dance work because of what WE think it means. Why would an artist want to precondition you to feel something rather than allow you to experience that emotion organically on your own? That would have the potential to change the entire encounter, because the perception would not be self-owned or pure.

As Heather and I discussed this, of course my mind leapt to Duran Duran. How many times over the years has Simon said that he doesn’t like to explain his lyrics? Granted, much of that may be out of a concern for his own privacy, but I have also read and heard Simon say many times that he wants the listener to be able to have their own meanings for the songs.

I can remember talking with someone about “Finest Hour”. I explained what the song meant to me. At one time it was my favorite song on Astronaut. This person said that the “real” story was that the song was about the US, specifically about the president at the time (George W. Bush). After hearing that, I never quite enjoyed the song in the same way, and I almost wish I didn’t know what the lyrics meant. It changed my perception entirely.

Another example I can give is even more recent. A few weeks back, the band celebrated the anniversary of Medazzaland, and Simon discussed the meaning of the song, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, saying that it was about his relationship with Warren. I knew several people that openly said they wished Simon never said anything about that, because it made them hear the song differently. Still others admonished Simon for writing about his relationship with Warren at all.

In both cases, listeners heard the song, and came away with their own perceptions and meanings, whether those were positive or even negative. It completely changes the way we hear a song or the way it makes us feel when we’re told the true meanings of the lyrics. I can’t say for certain if this is why Simon doesn’t like to share the exact meanings of the lyrics he’s written, but I think I understand the possible reasons even more so now than before.

There is no right or wrong “answer” for what a painting, picture, dance work, song, or even a book or poem might mean. We are meant to come away with our own feelings and meanings based on our own life experiences and perceptions. That’s a tough pill to swallow for those who operate in terms of black and white and want to know what Simon was thinking.  For the many who, like me, fall into the grey area – this is bliss. The songs can mean whatever we need them to mean. It’s a gift from the artist to the rest of us.

-R

 

 

 

 

Late Bar: The Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party!

Has everyone gotten their travel arrangements together for Las Vegas? If you happen to be arriving the day before the big show at The Cosmopolitan, we might have just the right answer for your evening!

Our friend Jason works at the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas, and was willing to put together a fabulous meet-up for us. On December 29th at Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on Vegas Strip (across from Monte Carlo) , we are going to party the night away in style, complete with a soundtrack provided by Duran Duran and other New Wave along with Happy hour drink specials. It is going to be a late start – at 9:30 pm – that way those who are arriving closer to evening time have a chance to settle in before they get out and enjoy our own special edition of Late Bar.  Hard Rock Live also has a comedy show happening at 8pm that night, and admission is FREE to  Daily Duranie followers who want to attend. Just RSVP to us at dailyduranie@gmail.com and we will get you on the guest list!

We have an event page set up on Facebook, and in the details I have the end time as 12:30am – truth be told that Facebook insists on an end time, so that seemed like a good one. Otherwise, this could be an all-nighter with Amanda and I reaching up for the sunrise before we call it done!

We have given this the tagline of our holiday office party because it is unusual that Amanda and I are actually in the same state, much less are able to celebrate the holidays together!  I can assure you – we will be making up for lost time that night. Come hang out with us, be social, make new friends, and create plenty of memories to bring in 2018!

Hope to see as many of you as possible that night – it will be a great warm up for the following evening!

-R