Tag Archives: friendship

Whatever I’ve Done to Receive

Over the course of the almost eight years or so that Rhonda and I have been writing this blog, we have written many times about the positives of fandom.  I think back to all of the blog posts I have written that focused on the pure joy I have received at various Duran shows or at other fandom events.  It is common for me to point out that my favorite memories and best days of my life include those days when my entire being is surrounded by fandom.  I might describe an amazing moment like hearing the first few notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, England, and realizing that this is really happening.  Perhaps, I would describe the ridiculously fun times when I have found myself on a stage at a Howl at the Moon singing Rio with my fellow fans.  It is even the little moments like exchanging messages with your blogging partner while watching a brand Duran Duran special online.  Yet, this week, I am reminded of why this all matters when you boil it down.

My parents have been visiting my sister in North Carolina for the last couple of weeks.  My dad did not seem himself on the morning of their flight there but he has some significant health issues.  No one thought that much about how he was acting.  Unfortunately, throughout their visit, he had not shown any improvement.  Finally, after consulting his doctor, they took him to the hospital where he is has been receiving treatment for pneumonia.  Thankfully, he has been improving with the goal of him being discharged later today and returning home early next week.  I cannot say that this week was the easiest for me as I worried about him greatly while needing to get myself ready for the upcoming school year.

After all, my parents are my rock.  They are my go to people.  When something goes wrong or I’m experiencing frustration, I look to them.  When I was a kid, I might have sought them out for their advice or words of wisdom.  Now, it is more of a situation of having them be my sounding board.  There is no judgement with them and they understand where I am coming from.  Truly, I have always felt incredibly fortunate to have this type of relationship with them.  So many friends of mine have very complex relationships with their parents that includes both love but also utter frustration.  I have none of that.  Now, though, as they age and struggle more with their health, I am facing a new problem.  What do you do when your go to people are the people you now need to process about?  Who do you seek out especially when you are terribly in asking but often needing the support?  I don’t have a good answer to that other than I’m working on it.

In order to seek some emotional support, I decided to post about it on my social media.  I figured a lot of people especially on my Facebook would respond.  After all, like everyone else, I have cousins and other family who are my “friends” on that platform.  A lot of my high school friends got to know my parents quite well so I knew that they would reach out.  Current colleagues might also feel some sort of obligation to offer their kind thoughts and any assistance with work that I might need.  The one group that I didn’t really consider was the group that I would define as “Duranies”.  A number of people whom I have met and gotten to know because of being a fan of Duran Duran reached out.  Many of them just offered positive thoughts but a few went farther than that.  Six years ago, around this time, I, too, was in North Carolina.  Rhonda and I toured the southeast part of the country, which included a show in Durham.  This tour gave us the chance to meet fellow fans from that area.  Well, a number of those North Carolina or nearby fans offered to provide more than just emotional support.  They volunteered to go to my family there, if they needed something.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

Fandom has definitely brought me fun.  It has given me hours, days and even weeks of escape.  I love that about fandom.  Yet, I’m most grateful for are the people who have come into my life through my fandom.  Some fans remain casual acquaintances but some speak directly to my heart by being willing to help those people that mean the most to me.  At the end of the day, so to speak, this is what I will be most grateful for.  I cannot begin to appreciate the friends I have made enough through the Duran Duran fandom.

-A

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

 

The door is standing open

Rarely do I find time to write three blog postings in a single day, but on this Monday, I make the time. For me, this post, which will publish tomorrow afternoon, is about processing, cleansing, and still more processing, I suppose.

A little more than an hour or so ago, I stumbled upon news that another one of our extended Duranie family members has passed. Her name is Lisa Amaral, and I am certain that many of you reading probably knew her. She was a regular on DDM back when it was a busy “crossroads of the world” for Duran Duran fans, and from what I can tell, she was loved by many. To be that kind of person…I don’t know what that is like.

Despite my sadness, I didn’t really know Lisa. We were not friends, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise as I write this. That isn’t the point. I had a great many friends that were close to her, loved her, and are incredibly heartbroken today. Their grief is palatable on every level, and I wish I could hug each one of them.

Back in my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to delude myself into believing tomorrow would always be there. I only had a few friends that died between the time of middle school and college, and just one that I knew well. It was simple to tell myself that someone dying when they were my age was practically unheard of, unless they were very, very ill. I was healthy, young, and had a lifetime ahead of me.

In my thirties, I lost a few other friends. One that was very close to me in my local MOMS Club, and that was a tragic loss. I started realizing, but trying my best to ignore, that a “lifetime” didn’t mean any particular length. You get what you get.  I watched my own father die from a disgustingly evil disease, but even then, I pushed that thought out of my mind because I was a mom and had things to do. Tours to go see. Bands to meet. Friends to make.

Now I am cruising through my forties. The time seems to have sped up with each passing decade.  I have lost a few very close friends, and seen many family members and other friends battle illnesses that are meant to kill. I am still a major procrastinator.  The saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is one of my favorite. I’m awful.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but somehow, I still haven’t. I see friends at events like the weekend in Las Vegas and many times I’m the one standing there…or walking by… hemming and hawing about whether or not I should even go up and say hi. I immediately assume that I’d be interrupting them, or that they don’t really want to be attacked in the middle of a hallway as they’re standing by, waiting for an elevator or chatting with friends. I saw a lot of people I knew that weekend, but very few did I run up to and say hello, or hug, even if I wanted. I was content to either just wave from afar, or say nothing. Yes, I’m shy, but I’m also not very good at approaching people out of the blue.

We don’t know if we have tomorrow. That is a concept I can’t seem to teach myself. I wasn’t friends with Lisa, but I knew her. I knew who she was, and I saw her that weekend in Vegas.  It is unfathomable to me that life can just end without warning in three weeks time, yet it happens all of the time. It’s hard to process that idea.

I don’t like the idea that over the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I will have other friends and family die. I worry that I won’t do the things I should do in the meantime, because it’s easy to slip back into that place where I delude myself into believing I have forever to tell people how I feel. It’s maddening.

For those of you reading who knew and loved Lisa, you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry. A great deal of my friends are posting about their loss, and it is a testament to Lisa that she has so many friends that adore her and are heartbroken.

When these things happen, I always think about how I’m glad I went to the shows I did, or that I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful for the friends that are willing to put up with me, and for those that push me way the heck out of my comfort zones, too. This time though, I’m starting to think that I need to take more chances with my emotions. I need to make sure the people I care about know how I feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

-R

We’re the Ripples: Friendship in Duranland

Sometimes, without any warning whatsoever, this community will make me have a good case of the “feels”.  Those of you who have teenagers will probably know what I mean. The rest of you, well…just keep reading and you’ll catch on.

A couple of days ago, I was catching up on Facebook by reading my news feed. I noticed that I’d gotten some sort of video thing posted by Facebook notifying me that Amanda and I have been friends for 9 years.  In actuality, it’s been a bit longer than that – I’ve known her since September of 2003 when I met her in person at the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans – but the sentiment was nice, all the same. It looked like quite a few of my friends had gotten similar notifications with other people on that same day. One of them caught my eye because the other person (not my friend, but the person she was friends with) had passed away quite a few years ago.

It’s become sort of common for family members to decide to leave Facebook accounts up for people who have passed on. My friend Laurie’s family has done that, and while I make it a point NOT to visit her page (Though I’ve tried over the years, I just can’t yet. The pain is far too great.), many of my sorority sisters still visit and I know the page provides comfort to Laurie’s mom, in particular. This person’s family must have decided to do something similar. Out of curiosity, I clicked on her page because my friend had noted she met her because of Duran Duran. I found something remarkable and wonderful as a result.

This person was a Duranie and she was apparently well-known and loved, even though I myself have no recollection of her (I’m a west coast Duranie who had mostly kept to herself until this blog came about!) Over the years since her passing, many of her friends continue to visit her page, leaving photos commemorating their memories of her. It turns out that my friend had known this person for 30 years, as a result of being Duranies. The notes were sometimes poignant, sad, and yet there was definitely a silver lining to all of it.

This one band brought these people together, and to this day, this one person had given all of her friends and the people she had touched with her life a remarkable gift of something to remember her by.  Everywhere on the page there were pictures of hearts posted by her friends. Naturally occurring hearts, made from the shapes of leaves, clouds, shadows, light, and love. I had never seen friendship look quite so beautiful. Friendship that began (in many cases) over the bonding that happens when you’re fans of the same band.

I hear about that sort of thing every once in a while, but it still makes me take pause every single time. There are people, very VERY lucky people I might add, who have met people in this fandom and have been friends with them since childhood. Here we are, now in the throes of whatever “middle-age” might be, and some can still say they have childhood friends that continue to love this band and go to shows with them. It blows my mind.  I mean that. Days later and I’m still thinking about how lucky this woman was to have these kinds of friends. It’s funny because in some ways these friendships go against everything I tend to see in this community: the in-fighting, the envy, and the insipid bickering and arguing.

I don’t really know if Duran Duran really understands their impact, and I’m not just talking about musically. They brought so many of us together. I have a difficult time wrapping my head around that, much less writing words about it. These friendships go beyond what the critics said, or whether or not as kids we knew anything about music. One band brought an entire community of kids together from all across the planet, many of us are still here, and a lot of us know one another and count each other as friends and family.  That’s the real gift for fans. Sure, the music is great and will last forever, but nothing will last longer than my memories of the friendships I’ve made along the way. Not everybody gets that. Some people only have the music – and while that’s a huge, enormous thing on its own, those of us who are really entrenched in the fan community have so much more. We have friendship.  For me, those relationships are kind of the bonus silver lining in all of this, and I hope those of you reading can say the same.

I don’t really think about my own mortality much – it’s a pretty depressing thought.  I will say this though: I will consider mine a life well-lived if one day I have the kinds of friends that this Duranie had, who continue to have her memory so readily available in their minds – and their love for her so palatable that they continue to spread that love well after her passing.

It would have been easy for me to have scrolled right past that little note in my news feed that day. After all, it was none of my business – even though my friend had shared it (which is why I saw it) and in some ways I did feel like I was eavesdropping when I looked at this person’s page. That said, it touched me, and I’m glad I did. I’m still thinking about the love I saw that day. Duranies aren’t an easy bunch. We can be petty, jealous, vindictive and WAY competitive.  But sometimes, the friendships and love speak louder than anything else, and take my breath away.

-R

 

Something to Remember: Friendship and DDAD17

Friendship matters. In a world that is moving far too quickly, with relationships teetering towards collapse, a real friend can be hard to find and keep.

Before I ever began blogging, and well before I ever had the audacity to believe I could write a manuscript, I spent most of my days chasing after my two oldest kids. When we first moved to the neighborhood where we currently live, my oldest—Heather—wasn’t even quite a full year old. Gavin came along a year and a half later, and that’s when I joined the MOMS Club. Believe it or not, it’s an international club for stay-at-home moms. Joining the club was the best thing for me because I felt pretty overwhelmed here at home alone. Having somewhere to be each day, whether it was the park or another member’s home for cooking club, or just sitting on someone’s driveway while we let all of the kids play in the cul-de-sac, saved me. I made friends fairly quickly, and some were closer than others, but it still wasn’t enough. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on what I was missing, but it was something.

I stayed in MOMS Club until my oldest was in first grade, I believe, and that’s when I realized I’d moved beyond what they could offer. Playdates and sewing classes bored the hell out of me. What I really wanted was some adult time and a real friendship that went beyond just being moms, and that was beyond the premise of MOMS Club.

Around that same time, I went to the first Duran Duran concert I’d been to in probably seven years. I’ve told the story before, but it was mind-boggling. That reignited a flame I’d thought had long since been extinguished, and I went searching online to see what else was out there. Or who!  I think at the time, I believed I was going to look for information on the band. I  had no idea what they’d been up to since Medazzaland, and I felt like I must have missed something. I joined the duranduran.com message boards and tried to glean as much as possible from the obviously long-time posters there.

For me, dd.com was a tough place. I was very intimidated by the people there, because they seemed to rip everyone to shreds, including one another.  It didn’t seem friendly, and I didn’t want to put myself out there. So I kept searching and eventually stumbled onto duranduranfans.com, which became my online sanctuary.

The story of how I eventually met Amanda has been told over and over, but the truth is, she was somehow exactly who I needed to meet. We are forever bonded by Duran Duran, and now, also by this blog and our experiences. When I met her, I had no way of knowing that she and I were opposite sides of the same coin, or that we would be there to push and encourage one another when needed. Amanda and I are so different in so many ways, you might not even think we’d be able to be friends. It’s just the opposite, though. She is strong where I’m weak, and vice-versa. It is the first real, solid friendship I think I’ve had as an adult.

I’ve run into people over the years who say that they appreciate the ban for the catalog of music, but that we really shouldn’t thank or appreciate them for bringing fans and friends together.  I’m just not so sure. For me personally, it was going to a single concert that led me to find my best friend. It is that same band who continues to push and encourage the two of us to keep going. And let’s face it, if it weren’t for Duran Duran, there would be no Daily Duranie. That alone is worth a thank you, and maybe even a toast!

Since this blog is written daily, we’ve kind of gotten into the habit of appreciating Duran Duran each day.  In many ways, it’s our own moment of zen, now that I come to think of it. In no way can I appreciate them more, though, than thanking them for somehow leading me to an entirely different chapter in my life, complete with a friendship I can count on, and memories I’ll never forget.

See you all tomorrow on Twitter! #DDAD17

-R

 

 

Away from here

I try not to get political here on the blog because it’s kind of my escape. But then again, I’m not really sure if the word “escape” is appropriate here. For me, Duran Duran is just a part of everything else. I met my best friend at a fan convention. I write because I’m fascinated about fandom. I listen to Duran Duran music when I’m driving my kids around. I found some of my favorite people on earth because of Duran Duran. So I don’t know if I’d call the band my escape, or a just a really good and happy part of my life at this point. Whatever the case, I try to leave the stress at the proverbial “door” when I start writing, and enjoy the peace.

With that in mind, the solace of the blog has become somewhat more of a comfort in the past year. The world outside is pretty darn nasty right now. I can’t speak for what is going on in other countries of the world, but being American, I can absolutely speak to what I’m seeing and reading here. I don’t like it.

I’m not here to say who is right, who is wrong, or to judge anybody for what they believe. That’s what Twitter and social media is for. <insert big grin here>  My opinion is simply that regardless of who you voted for last November, I think it’s fair to say that our country is a mess. I don’t think anyone openly wanted to see something like what appears to be happening here unfold. I tread carefully here with my words because no one has been impeached, and I think we’re only at the very beginning of what might be a very long and dirty process. Despite what might seem to be the truth right now, there’s really no way of knowing what will happen in the months to come, and that’s no fake news. I worry a lot about what might come of it all in the end. But, I’m not really here to talk about American politics, thankfully.

It is during these times when I am most thankful for the fandom I’ve embraced, and the friends I’ve made along the way. It is so good to share even a few lighthearted laughs and tweets with people. I love that I can go online (at the moment, Twitter is that place for me), no matter what time of day, and see at least a few tweets about Duran Duran. Whether it’s someone reminding me of meaningful lyrics, or a picture, or even a memory from last summer’s tour, those simple tweets make me see that the sun really is still shining. While the rest of the world is surging to and fro similar to a washing machine, the simplest of things stay true. The music doesn’t change. Duran Duran is still Duran Duran. Thankfully.

-R

Lost Souls Diamonds and Gold

One of my favorite scenes in Duran’s Sing Blue Silver documentary is when John Taylor is woken up to do an interview.  During that interview, he comments about how the tour (he is referring to the 1984 one) was “never an assured tour”.  I always took this to mean that the band didn’t really know how the tour was going to go.  Would the fans show up?  How would they react?  No matter how many times I see that scene, I find myself shaking my head.  How could they not know?  Of course, the fans would show up and love it!  Duh!

Yet, this past weekend, that quote floated through my brain quite often.  After all, I, too, felt that way before this past little mini-tour of ours at Agua Caliente.  I didn’t know how it was going to go, which was weird and felt very odd.  In the days leading up to going, I found myself struggling to get excited in the same way that I normally do.  Yes, I looked forward to it but it wasn’t the usual jumping out of my skin in excitement.  Was I losing my Duranie touch?  Looking back, I think it had more to do with me.

Life hasn’t felt very friendly lately.  I lost a lot of motivation for many things and to be honest, my friendship with Rhonda felt strained.  I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific but we were distant from each other due to lack of time, lack of effort, and lack of understanding.  I knew this going into the tour.  In fact, I told some people that I fully expected this to be my last one  This wouldn’t be because I wouldn’t have fun or because my love for Duran would end.  I just thought that maybe it had run its course or it would seem like too much effort.

As the weekend began, I told myself to have no expectations other than having fun.  The weekend didn’t have to be perfect (whatever that even means) to be great, I figured.  If you read or watched our blogs last weekend and beyond, you are well aware that the weekend definitely exceeded my expectations.  The shows were so much fun.  While, yes, I grumbled and complained about the lack of Planet Earth, I didn’t let that tick me off (too much).  I figured that it gave me permission to give them a hard time back, right???  I sang.  I danced.  I screamed.  It was glorious.  Yes, I wished that we had at least 18 songs and, yes, I wish that Sunrise or Careless Memories or Planet Earth was on the setlist.  Instead of complaining or wishing for something else, I appreciated the heck out of Only in Dreams and Is There Something I Should Know?.

Then, there was everything surrounding the shows.  I loved having drinks with friends, seeing people I only see at Duran functions and being reminded that everyone connected to Duran makes a community, a family of sorts.  I got to know people better and I got to meet people for the first time.  And, yes, I was reminded of why Rhonda and I tour so well together as we were the last ones standing on both nights.  Perhaps, there is also a lot less vodka in the resort after we had been there (along with our fellow vodka drinking friends!).

Of course, Rhonda and I had a chance to talk as well, which was much appreciated and needed.  I feel confident that the conversation reminded us both to be supportive of each other even if we don’t always understand the other’s choices.  Since then, things have felt very normal, which is so nice.  So much has not felt normal for me for a long time.  I have been focusing on fighting to keep the normal as I feared that many changes, significant and negative ones, would be coming down the pike.  While I don’t regret that and embrace that part of myself that must fight back, I must also remember what is part of my normal, what I am working to keep.  My normal means that Duran Duran and fandom plays a significant part.  It includes touring when and where I can.  Having fun is necessary to keep going during the less than fun times.

The weekend, the mini-tour, reminded me that I can wear more than one hat at a time.  In fact, it is required.  I remembered how much fun touring is and why my friendship with Rhonda matters as much as it does.  It gave me motivation to keep working on a dream, in one way, shape or form.  I don’t know that I can say that the weekend was perfect or the best tour, but it really was damn good.  Even better, it didn’t even end before I started to plan for the next one.  That is the ideal way to be, isn’t it?  Lost souls diamonds and gold, indeed.

-A

But It’s Much Harder to Stay

Today marked the end of a quiet, relaxing weekend with some of my favorite people.  I “met” these friends who came out for the weekend in 2002.  Yet, we had talked for years before meeting face to face.  Fandom brought us together as we all loved the show, Roswell, and found ourselves chatting on various message boards before arranging to meet in person.  Those first meet-ups were both a little scary but also a ton of fun.  We found ourselves watching and re-watching favorite scenes and discussing all aspects of the show.  The show, unfortunately, didn’t last beyond the three years.  Despite that, we still have plenty to talk about, including fandom in general.

While a TV show fandom brought us together, all of us have participated in other fandoms.  My friend, Kate, for instance, loves the band, Hanson.  Robyn loves to go see live music but also traveled for other TV show conventions.  Therefore, it is pretty common that our discussions lead us back to talking about current and former fandoms.  Through the discussion, I began to wonder if certain fandoms are easier to belong to than others or easier to stay in, especially in light of some recent blogs that Rhonda wrote about various fan conventions.

Fandoms surrounding TV shows, movies, books, etc. definitely seem easier to belong to for a variety of reasons.  First, anyone can join the fandom and participate in a big chunk of fan activities.  Everyone can turn in to watch the latest episode on TV, right?  Money doesn’t factor much unless the show is on cable or through some other subscription service like Netflix.  Second, after an episode, fans can and do rush to the internet to discuss all aspects of what they saw.  Fans can all participate in the same time unlike some music fan activities like going to a concert in which only some fans can attend.  Third, fandoms surrounding a fictional story easily allows for fan fiction.  Fan writers can take what they read or watch and expand the story in some way.  Again, money does not matter.  It does not separate fans from other fans.

Music fandom is different.  While there are some shared experiences like hearing an album on release day or watching a brand new video, most of the rest of fan activities are not ones that all fans can and do attend.  Concerts only featured a small percentage of fans at any given time.  The ability to go to fan events like concerts are often dependent on one’s financial ability.  While, yes, all fans of a certain band can tune in when that band is featured on TV, not all fans can afford all concerts and certainly not all in the front row.  Likewise, fan fiction is much less likely in music fandom as there is no fictional story to expand.  There is just the history of the band and real people as opposed to characters who have been created.

All that being said, there are some other factors.  TV shows, movies and books often have a smaller life cycle.  It is a big deal when a TV show, for example, lasts ten years.  For Duran Duran fans, the band has been going for almost 4 decades.  The limited time of existence could make those kind of fandoms tough.  How do fans keep the passion alive when there is nothing new to talk about or get excited about?

At the same time, there is additional factor of the celebrities.  The chance to meet a rock star, for example, is limited.  Sometimes, fans can meet the rock star of choice through concert meet and greets or through CD signings.  Perhaps, one can have a brief encounter at the stage door after a show.  If music fans want a picture or an autograph, they either have to hope for some magical luck at finding the celebrity of choice before or after a show or they have to hope for an official signing.  Music fandoms generally don’t have fan conventions like TV shows, movies and books have.  Rock stars are not appearing at some weekend convention where fans can buy autographs or buy a photo with the star.

Music fans must rely more on money and luck in order to have any chance for interaction with their celebrities of choice.  TV show/Movie/Book fans have a greater chance at being able to have access at fan conventions.  Often times, those conventions happen in between projects, too, for actors and actresses.  This could help to keep fandom alive, too, as there might be less down time.

What I now wonder if there isn’t a way to combine elements of both types of fantoms in order to keep fans happy and to keep fandom alive.  As more of a music fan, for example, I would really like more chances to meet my favorite band members without having to have luck or a chance to meet them after a show.  Perhaps, if more fans had that opportunity then there would be less competition, making fandom a happier place.

-A

Friends in Fandom

As you might be able to tell, Rhonda and I have been thinking a lot about our early fandom.  We have been pondering how and why we became Duran Duran fans when we did, as kids.  Of course, we can talk about the catchy songs or the very cool videos that whisked us away from our sometimes less than fun childhoods.  All of that would be true.  Yet, when I really start to think about fandom, both then and now, one aspect becomes glaringly obvious.  Friends matter.  They matter big time.

As long time readers of this blog know, my first fandom wasn’t really Duran Duran.  Well, Duran was my first individual, self-chosen fandom.  It was the first one that I found outside of my family, but the first one ever was my White Sox fandom.  My family constantly had their baseball games on.  Unlike many/most people, I don’t remember my first live major league baseball game.  I went to my first game when I was very young, way too young to remember.  In fact, if I asked my parents when I went to my first baseball game, they wouldn’t know because going to games was so common.

Even though, I’m long beyond childhood, I’m still a Sox fan.  I always will be.  I still go over to my parents’ house to watch games and I’m not surprised when the Sox come up in conversation with family.  When something awesome happens with a game or the team, my family gets in contact with each other.  For example, when the Sox won the World Series in 2005, after my parents and I were done literally jumping up and down with joy, we called my sister and my brother to celebrate with them.  Thus, I can’t separate my Sox fandom from my family.  They made me a fan and they keep me a fan.

When I was about 8 years old, I became a Duran Duran fan.  I don’t really remember the exact song or video that I heard first.  I know that I listened to Top 40 radio and loved having MTV on in our TV room.  My childhood best friend, Beth, did, too.  Thinking back, I know that I liked what songs I heard and saw but I don’t think I became a fan until Beth and I talked about the band.  I have no clue who mentioned the band first but once that conversation happened, we were definite fans.  I often state how the Reflex made me a dedicated fan.  After all, the song and video became extremely popular in 1984 and it featured one seriously good-looking John Taylor.  While Beth and I drooled over John Taylor, we reinforced our newly formed fandom by constantly watching and talking about him.

We frequently exchanged phone calls whenever the video aired on MTV.  Soon enough, we searched to find the best magazines to buy and share with the other person.  The two of us spent many hours at Beth’s house watching Sing Blue Silver over and over on video since her family purchased their first VCR months before my family did.  With every fan activity we did, our fandom grew stronger.  Our friendship did, too.  We shared a common love, a common passion.  Our get togethers had a theme, a reason for happening.

Unfortunately, life circumstances separated us, geographically.  My dad’s job forced my family to move about 70 miles away.  While we tried desperately to remain best friends, distance made it tough, especially once her family moved as well making our separation even more substantial.  Our lives no longer could surround our friendship with each other or our Duran Duran fandom.  School and other activities drew us away despite our phone calls and weekend get togethers.

I distinctly remember a phone call I made to Beth in 1986 or 1987.  During that call, Beth told me matter-of-factly that she had taken down her Duran posters and was “moving on”.  My spirit was crushed.  I already felt isolated and an outsider in my new hometown.  Knowing that Beth still loved what I loved gave me the strength to be the weird one, the outsider.  At that moment, I felt incredibly alone and so uncool.  Was there something wrong with me, I wondered.  Should I, too, be moving on?  Was it wrong of me to continue to love this band?  I didn’t know.

I attempted to maintain my fandom.  For example, I bought Notorious as soon as it came out and tried to love it as much as I did the previous albums.  Fandom activities remained as I still searched for magazines and watched MTV for new videos and news but soon found myself losing interest.  Not having anyone to talk to about Duran took a lot of the fun away.  Soon, I found myself searching for a new interest that would fulfill the gaping hole of my heart.  That search lead me to other bands like Depeche Mode or even Skinny Puppy but none really grabbed me as my Duran did.

Once adulthood hit, I began to go beyond bands but looked for other forms of entertainment to grab me.  I focused on Star Trek for awhile as I figured that would bring me closer to my brother, which it did.  Yet, that didn’t provide the same level of excitement that Duran did as a kid.  Then, a little show called Roswell began to air on TV, focusing on a group of outsiders.  Something deep inside of me could relate to that feeling of not belonging, of being a perpetual outsider despite appearing to fit in.  The interest grew, leading me to seek out others who loved the show like I did.  As I formed connections with other fans, my passion grew.  Finally, I felt something like what I had as a kid.

Unfortunately, the show did not last long but some of the friendships I made during its run have.  In fact, my friends from that fandom are coming out for a weekend in a couple of weeks.  In the case of this fandom, the demise of the show led for all of us to pull away from it slowly, but collectively.  I didn’t feel the same sense of isolation and otherness as I did when Beth pulled back from her Duran fandom.  Perhaps, part of the reason for that is because I also rediscovered Duran Duran at the same time.  Maybe, the pull back from the fandom did not feel like a rejection of me, which in many ways is what Beth leaving Duran felt like.

Since then, my focus truly has been my Duran Duran fandom.  Despite this focus, other interests periodically grab me and threaten to pull me in.  For example, I was super excited when X-Files returned as that is a show that I have dearly loved.  During those new episodes, I found myself seeking out other fans, but no real connections were made.  Will my interest increase if there is a season 11?  Of course.  Will I seek out other fans then?  I suspect that it is possible.  That said, I believe that my passion will be temporary, though, unless real connections are made with other fans.

When I think about fandom throughout my life, the only logical conclusion I can have is that friends are essential to me diving deep into an interest.  They also help to maintain fandom for me over time.  In thinking about Duran Duran, I have to wonder if I would have become this hardcore had I not found Rhonda.  Would I still be as passionate about them today without her or other friends I have made?  Would I feel that same sense of isolation and loneliness if Rhonda were to leave the fandom like I did when Beth did?  I suspect I would.

Clearly, for me, friendship and fandom have gone hand-in-hand and will continue to do so.  What about the rest of you?  Is that true for you?  If not, how do you keep your interest in a fandom up without others to feed off of?

-A

Happy Birthday Rhonda!!

Today is a special day in Daily Duranie-land!  It is Rhonda’s birthday!!  I start looking forward to writing this blog about the same time as when I start pondering what to buy/make for her birthday!  (Fun Amanda fact–I love giving gifts!!!)  I want every birthday blog to be unique and special, including this one.  After 11 years of friendship and 5 years of doing this blog, I have learned a lot about Rhonda and about myself.  Most importantly, though, I have learned a lot about friendship!

Vodka is hobby

By now, all of you have heard about how/where Rhonda and I met.  Virtually, we met on the no longer in existence message board, duranduranfans.com.  In person, we met at the Duran Duran Fans Convention called Friends of Mine in September 2004.  Besides our mutual love in Duran Duran, we quickly discovered that we enjoyed having fun on a night out and laughing!!

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From there, we discovered that we both LOVE, LOVE, LOVE talking about anything and everything Duran Duran.  In fact, when others seekindred fansm to tire of the conversation or got other interests, there we were–still talking, still thinking, still analyzing.  We understood that we truly loved the band in the same way and for the same reasons.  Kindred fans.

Then, we discovered that our similar fandom philosophies carried over into toBiloxi lineuring!  Once we toured together, we knew that we had found our touring partners for life!  It seems to me that a lot of people can be friends and be good friends, but it takes something special to be able to travel together.  The two of us have been to many places around the country and to the UK twice.  We have been on planes, trains and automobiles together.  There have been many, many, many hotel rooms throughout our friendship history.  concert ticketsTraditions have been established and we fall quickly into routines when on tour together.  It is like we were born to tour!!!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that touring is really where we are most happy.  Of course, a big part of that is seeing those litle Duran Duran concerts but it is also where our friendship comes alive and gets renewed!

Of course, we didn’t stop there with just conversations about Duran Duranbest friend or going to see the band on tour.  No…we had to do more!  So, I said, “Let’s write a book about fandom!”  Rhonda said, “Cool!  Let’s do a daily blog, too!” And this little entity was born!  This monster, this beast, this larger-than-life thing is more than just a book or a blog or a website or many social media handles or meet-ups or conventions or a message board.  It is something much much larger than the sum of its parts.  No matter how we describe it or define it, it is truly our baby.  We gave birth and have nurtured it all along the way.  It has grown and developed and we couldn’t be prouder.

crazy friendLife, though, is not always smooth or perfect.  There are bumps along the way, especially when turns are taken.  At those times, when bruises are fresh, our friendship, our bond and our fortitude has gotten stronger.  Why?  Simple.  We have each other’s back, no matter what.  I have often thought about the friendships between the guys in Duran.  They have experienced the ups and the downs of life.  Throughout it all, they have managed to be able to work together, to create together, and to be friends together.  It seems to me that this gift is really rare.  How many people can say that they can work with their best friends?  How many people can travel with their beloyal st friends?  How many people have stuck with their best friends through all that life throws at them?  I suspect the number is really pretty low.  This is why I know how special my friendship is with Rhonda and I assume that she feels the same about me.

Amanda & Rhonda Ace RooftopOn this day, the anniversary of the birth of my best friend, I find myself feeling like the person who has received a gift.  I got the best friend I could ever ask for.  She is someone who makes me laugh and laughs at my wacko sense of humor.  She is someone who shares my passion for Duran Duran and is willing to work her ass off right along side mine to show that love and devotion through everything we have created together.  I couldn’t ask for a better touring partner-in-crime as we certainly know how to have fun together and always will and, most importantly, I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend.  She will always have my back and I will always have hers.  We will always, always be there for each other.  Truly, we share in this gift of friendship.  Durham drunk

Happy Birthday, my dear friend!  I absolutely wish that this is the best year of your life (until the next one!) and that you experience nothing but joy, laughter and fun as well as a little/lot of Duran Duran!!!  Love ya lots!!

-A