Tag Archives: friendship

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!!

d8c34-57-maybealittledrunk

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

 

Amanda Wins!

I have the best friend ever. You all can stop competing for the title, because Amanda wins, hands down. I pale in comparison.

This past Saturday, Amanda and I finally got down to exchanging holiday gifts, because you know, the holidays are year round when you’re Daily Duranie. (I don’t know why. I just wrote that because it sounded reasonable at the time.) I will not tell a lie, back when it really WAS Christmas, I had no interest in any of it. If I could have gotten away with forgetting the whole deal and just ignoring the festivities, I would have gladly done so. It was just one of those times, and unfortunately – much of that feeling continues around my home these days. I go through the motions of each passing event, hoping that I will come out the other side with my typical sunny and rosy…hmm….reasonably positive…ok…my normal “hoping for the best, expecting the worst” attitude restored.  So far, I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m trying my best. No, this is not chronic depression, this is just me trying to get through a very stressful time at home. We’ll just leave it at that and move on.

As I was saying, we Skyped and exchanged gifts. I am here to tell you that Amanda has “won” Christmas. The rest of us, including Santa Claus, can quit right now. Amanda took it upon herself to create a book commemorating the ten years of friendship she and I have experienced. The good, the band (that’s not a typo), and the downright hilarious.

This is no ordinary book. This is a full color, hard-bound 154-page (including our picture on the last page) printed book in a  8.5×10 landscape format. It has a full dedication that I won’t copy here, and the book includes photos, pictures of our concert tickets, quotes that we’ve said over the years to one another, anecdotes that she found and copied from old message boards that we were a part of, old blogs that we’d written, emails and private messages.  It is truly a complete representation of most everything that she and I have been together in the very short ten years that we’ve known one another. I was completely flabbergast when I opened the package, and I pretty much remain that way this morning. I spent much of the past two days reading every single word in the book – I can’t believe she put this together (but now I know why she’s been so busy!!!), and mostly – I can’t imagine why she would do this for me, but I’m awfully glad she did.

I also have to thank Amanda’s sister, Jenny…more than I could ever put into words here.  Her company, Interwoven Heritage Services, puts projects and oral histories like this together, and I know her help was invaluable, as was her time. If you ever consider putting your own story in print like this, I highly, highly recommend checking them out.

If I could, I would scan the entire book and show everyone right here on the blog. The reality is, I think we’d offend a great many of you in doing so. My husband, for instance, was quite surprised (not pleasantly, I might add) to read that his wife curses like a sailor, and drinks like a fish. (I really don’t. Much.) The fact that he was surprised by such things doesn’t really worry me as much as his actually reading this book does, to be honest! The band might not enjoy knowing that we have actually considered suing them for emotional distress more times than I can count. Fellow fans? Well, you’ve been the source of many a good laugh over the years. As have Amanda and I ourselves, I might add. We’re damn funny, at least in retrospect.  That said, I do want to show off my gift, at least in part.

Front cover of my gift
This is the front cover

So as you can see, Amanda chose some of the pictures we’ve taken over the years – you have probably seen most of them on this site.

But then there are the pages themselves. Like any good book, she starts at the beginning….

From the Astronaut tour that started it all

While this wasn’t the first time we’d met – it was the first “tour” we ever did together. Two whopping shows (together – Amanda did a few more with other friends while I went back home!) and we were hooked, both to getting to as many shows together as possible and touring together…because as I say here, “Once you find people you can tour with – you stick with them.”

John Taylor page

 

Our next tour together was for Chicago in 2006, right after they’d announced that Andy and the band had parted ways again. As you can see here – John Taylor is one full page, while the memories of that show, written by Amanda on the other side. Again – that story is from this blog.

Durham page from my book
Amanda tried to include as much as possible – including a screen shot of John’s response to something I’d tweeted him about our travels!

She really did her best to tell the full story of what we’ve done so far…with hopefully more to come!

Convention pages
She even spent time looking back at the convention, since that took up the better part of a year to plan!

So those are just a few pages from what I think is the kindest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received and certainly do not deserve. I’ll let you all in on a little secret – I have to give Amanda a huge apology. For the past several months, probably since late-September, I’d really lost hope that we’d ever find a publisher for our manuscript. It was just too large of a project for me to compile on my own and send, and it seemed to me as though Amanda had no interest or time to put into it once she got started in her new job. Sadly, I put the book on the very back burner, and chalked it up to being yet another experience I had only seen part of the way through. I was disappointed that I didn’t see it through, but I felt like my heart wasn’t really in it if she wasn’t able to be dedicated to it either. It never occurred to me that the reason she wasn’t working on it was because she was basically writing and editing an entirely different BOOK!  So, I have to apologize to her. I’d lost faith in our project at a time when I really should have been asking more questions!  Someday that monster manuscript is going to be printed!!

We talked a little on Saturday about what might be coming next. Only the band knows for sure (and I honestly have my doubts about whether or not they even know!)…but I have to thank Amanda so much for this gift. It not only reminded me of just how much fun I’ve had over these past ten years, but it also rekindled a bit of my love for the band. I’d really kind of forgotten…which is EXACTLY why they shouldn’t wait so long between tours and albums, but at this point I think it’s like herding cats to get them to really see. Either they can’t see it because they’re so stuck on the whole “we’re a rock band and you are just fans…what could you possibly know?” thing….or they just really cannot even begin to understand how integral THEY are to OUR lives. Their history is really OUR history, and if nothing else, the book Amanda created for me really demonstrates that point. Someday, I hope to show at least one of them this creation and maybe then it’ll hit home. Here’s hoping they won’t be offended my my creative use of the word “bastards” in there…. 😀

-R

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Ten Fandom Moments

I thought this would be simple when I decided that this would be a good blog topic and one that would renew my Duranie spirit.  You see,  last week I said that I would share my top ten favorite fandom moments, which you could read about here.   Yet, it wasn’t that simple.  At times, I struggled to think of anything and, other times, I had a huge list pop into my head.  After thinking it over for a week, here is what I finally decided on.  I attempted to put this list in order with the biggest moment being last.  I doubt that I was successful, but I did try.  I will also say this.  I enjoyed doing this.  I want to see Rhonda’s Top 10 list.  I would also love to see our regular guest bloggers join in and any of our readers.  I think we could all use this right about now.

TOP TEN FANDOM MOMENTS:

10. Falling in love with the Reflex at the age of 8 in 1984
How could I not include when and why I became a Duranie?  After all, it started it all, right?  This song and video were on cThe Reflex Coveronstant rotation in the spring of 1984.  While my best friend, at the time, and I liked Duran Duran before, this song made us addicts.  We were so ridiculous that we would call each other each and every time we saw it or heard it!

 

9. John Taylor’s James Bond socks in 2006
John socksHow many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards in 2006?  If you were and are a John Taylor fan, then, you probably hung out on the thread entitled, “Church of the Bass God”.  Well, that year, the fans in that area of the board decided that we should send John Taylor socks for his birthday after he showed up wearing bright socks at the end of the Astronaut tour.  Many pairs of socks were sent, including a pair from me.  Pictures of John opening the box along with some of the socks made it back to the fans.  I was super excited to see John with the pair I had sent him!!!  Obviously, I sent James Bond socks!  That isn’t the end of the story, though.  Later, that year, at the Voodoo Music Festival, I held up a sign asking to see John’s socks.  While he looked confused as heck when he read it, he still lifted his leg.  Unfortunately, since he was right in front of me, all I saw was the bottom of his shoe!  Fast forward to December of 2007 when Duran did an in-store cd signing in Chicago.  When I got to John, I asked him about the socks.  He clearly remembered the story and knew that we also sent scarves the next year!  Very cool!

8. Walking around Birmingham in May of 2011
While my trip to the UK in the spring of 2011 did not go as planned because the shows got canceled, there was one important highlight.  This highlight happened the first full day in the UK and was wBirminghamhen Rhonda and I walked around Birmingham.  I had done some research about where key Duran related locations were.  We weren’t able to hit them all, but what we did see really helped us to see Duran Duran in a different light.  I felt like I understood the band in a different way, in a more thorough way than I did before.  It made them less celebrity and more human.

7. Seeing the band outside of their studio in May of 2011 when Simon lost his voice.  
This highlight is connected to the last one.  When we arrived in the UK in May of 2011, only the first 3 shows out of our scheduled 4 were canceled.  We held out hope that the London show might take place.  A friend of ours let us know where the band would be rehearsing.  How could we not go?  We were all the way over in the UK, right?  Of course, we would not get in their way.  In fact, we wouldn’t say anything unless they said something to us.  I just figured it might be the only way/place for us to see them.  When Simon arrived that day, he explained to the fans there, including us, that things were not looking good.  At that moment, I felt certain that this was it.  The end.  I didn’t say anything to anyone–not even to Rhonda.  I thought that if I said it, then it would be true.  I couldn’t handle that.  Yet, I had one comforting thought.  If it was the end, then, I saw something historic, something important.  I was there and we were able to give some support.  Thankfully, it wasn’t the end and Simon bounced back, stronger than ever!

6. Listening to All You Need Is Now for the first time in December of 2010
3b3ed-duranduran_all-you-need-is-nowIt is no secret that Rhonda and I weren’t wild about Red Carpet Massacre.  I was concerned that Duran might have lost their touch to make a complete, coherent album–one of quality and essential Duran elements.  Yet, they did just that with All You Need Is Now.  The album as an entire piece is fabulous.  I still think that.  It is one of the very best Duran albums ever.  When I heard this album, I knew that Duran would have a great tour and I had to do as much as I could to participate.  2011 was a pretty tough year for me (cat died, grandma died, work was awful, had to participate in protests to defend myself, my colleagues, my profession, my rights).  The only thing that kept me going was this album and the tour that followed.

5. The Chicago show in March of 2005
This was my first Duran show after the reunion.  Interestingly enough, I believed that this would be the first time to see the entire Fab Five together.  Andy couldn’t be there asIHOP his dad was very ill.  Thus, it was my first show with Dom Brown.  It was also the show that started most of my touring traditions that I still follow today, including touring with Rhonda.  What are some of those traditions?  Staying up really late, drinking all of the vodka in a city, eating at IHOP, laughing non-stop, keeping a list of quotes from the tour and more.  On top of all of that, it was a great show!

4. Hearing/Seeing Duran performance Secret Oktober live in Brighton in November 2011.
BrightonI’m sure that we have talked about this moment on the blog before.  Heck, we will probably talk about it again.  After having seen Secret Oktober appear on set lists in various cities in the Fall, we were constantly hoping to hear it as it is a favorite of ours.  When we got to the UK and to the show in Brighton, we were no longer focused on the setlist.  After having gone to the UK earlier in the year only to have no shows and having fear that we wouldn’t even make this one due to a public union strike, all that mattered to us was seeing the show.  Then, when those first notes began, I think our joy could no longer be sustained as we looked at each other and hugged.  Like goofs.  Then, we saw Nick look totally amused.  It was a moment that represents our victory by getting to see the band play in the UK.

3. John Taylor wearing the Daily Duranie wristband at his Chicago Book Signing in October of 2012.
Another moment that I have blogged about here previously.  This moment took place at John’s book signing in Chicago.  When I got to the table to get John to sign my book (and Rhonda’s!), I decided that I should give him a wristband, a wristband about this little blog.  After that, I walked away as my time was up and wasn’t going to think about it again.  I’m a dork so I had to walk past his table one more time in order to get my coat.  When I glanced John Wristbandover, what was he wearing?!  The wristband!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I never would have thought that he would have put mine on.  After all, he was given a lot of stuff.  I just assumed that he would have put it to the side.  On days and moments that I allow myself a break from reality, I imagine that it means that he is supportive of the blog!

2. Creating this blog, finishing the draft of our book and successfully organizing Durandemonium in October 2013.
ARmanuscriptI don’t have much to say about this one.  I know that Rhonda and I are a bit weird in that we have taken our fandom beyond what most people do.  We weren’t content enough just enough to be fans.  We had and have to do more with it.

1. Meeting Rhonda at the 78-03 Friends of Mine:  Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in September 2004 and other friends then since then.
At the end, when the band ceases to create new music or play shows, this is what I will hold dear.  I will hold my fDurham drunkriendship(s) dear.  What will live on will be these memories and my friendships.  After all, really isn’t that what fandom is all about?  Using an interest to make long-lasting connections to others?  Absolutely.

I encourage each and every one of you to create your list and to send it to us as a guest blog!

-A

One Night (not exactly) Only! – Unstaged on the big screen!

It is Thursday, and I have ONE question for you, Duranies!  Have you seen any good movies lately?!?

With three kids and a schedule that makes most men cry – I really don’t get out to the movies much. (I don’t get out of my CAR much, either!) That said, last night my husband and I made an exception and drove to Anaheim Hills, California to meet up with my friend Krista.

All three of us had been in the audience at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles on that fateful night in 2011 when it was filmed, so for us, it was a special opportunity to relive a memory. I very clearly remember standing in the rain that day, already sick with a cold and shivering (the things we’ll do for this band….), and my husband ran to a nearby store to buy a scarf, mittens and sweatshirt for me. I had no idea what to expect from the show aside from the fact that I knew the Mayan was a small venue, and that the band would likely be playing new music. If you’d like, you can read my original review from the show. As I composed this blog this morning, I re-read my review. Interesting how distance gives you clarity and much different prospective. I had eventually seen Unstaged online, but I hadn’t yet seen it on a big screen, and I am pretty sure my husband had never seen it, so I was curious to see what he thought.

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t really understand what David Lynch was thinking or what he was trying to communicate with some of the images he chose, but that’s art. I was fine with most of it, but I still didn’t really get the mice, hand puppets or sausages on a BBQ. That said, I can’t deny that seeing the band on a big screen is a huge draw(just as it was when we did the special screening of Diamond in the Mind on a big screen for Durandemonium – one of the best things we planned for the entire convention, in my opinion!).  The theater that we attended was about 60% full, but everyone stayed seated.  In hindsight we should have sat in the back so that we could have gotten up and danced because I could barely contain myself and no one else around us danced. In fact, Krista and I kept singing along and doing all of the familiar hand Simon hand motions and clapping, and aside from the woman in back of us who announced that Krista and I were her kind of people, no one did much of anything.  My husband was very quiet during the show and didn’t even look sideways at me when I forgot who I was with and cheered for someone on screen. (Which someone?  HA….I’ll never tell!!!) We also watched for glimpses of ourselves on screen and were able to find all three of us, which was fun.  It was definitely a really fun memory to relive, overall.  My husband didn’t really appreciate the filters and graphics that David Lynch used either, which didn’t surprise me. He said that he just focused on the band, which made me chuckle. Don’t we all??

Hard to believe that this show took place 3 and a half years ago now. Where does the time go? We’d only been doing the blog for about six months by then, and now we’re about to turn 4.The show was before Simon’s vocal problems, before the two trips Amanda and I took to the UK, and before we completely lost our minds and planned a fan convention. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same. Here we are, on the cusp of a new album, a new tour at some point, and it only seems fitting to take a good long look back before we take a few steps forward.

Rhonda & Krista
Krista and I after the screening

-R

With You My Friend

So…I’m sitting in Amanda’s living room right now.  I arrived here yesterday afternoon after what felt like a long day of travel, probably because by the time I’d arrived here I had a migraine and was starving.  Gotta say, it’s nice to be Daily Duranie together in the same room for a change…and once again I put out a plea to my husband to please move us back to the Illinois/Wisconsin area.

Last night was spent reacquainting ourselves with our muse(s), in the form of bonding over a bottle of wine and laughing (I mean watching…just watching…) the band in some video footage we have from our last few “tours”.  Well, the band was touring. We were just following, I guess.  We also laughed at ourselves, because unbeknownst to all of you, Amanda and I take the time during each of our “field trips” to see the band in order to record our thoughts. We call these moments “Press Conferences”.  They aren’t open to the public (although we have definitely had them in public areas, and they are definitely not items we’ll be sharing on the blog any time soon. Or ever, really.  During these conferences, we talk about what we liked, didn’t like, or as was the case in May of 2011… they serve as therapy.  We laughed as we watched how far we’d really come since those days, and yet many things haven’t really changed. That saying, “The more things change, the more things stay the same”??  It applies.

I suppose that to a large extent, this blog is a natural, more public (and sometimes kinder) extension of those press conferences. This is where we share our thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Yes, we’re outspoken, but we also love this band beyond measure. That’s the one constant, and that’s the reason we keep going.

This week we plan to lock ourselves in here and work to finish book proposals that should have been done months ago.  We’re also likely to do quite a bit of laughing and cursing at this beloved band.  When it comes down to it, the friendship Amanda and I share is a direct result of being fans of this band. That friendship fuels the fire that keeps this blog going, even what the two of us openly refer to as “The Sahara Desert” of time between albums.  That friendship has taken a back seat many times to whatever work we’re doing at the time, and it’s nice to have a week together. While we’re absolutely working (I am not leaving until the proposals are done, and yet my husband is pretty insistent that I be on a plane back home to Orange County next Tuesday night), we’re also nurturing our friendship for a change. No shows, no driving at “stupid o’clock in the morning” to get to the next show, no staying out all night to catch a glimpse of a band member or two at a bar after the show.  It’s just us.

-R

PS – send vodka.  I believe there might be a shortage by Friday!!!

Today in Duran History – Happy Birthday Amanda!!

On this day in (a year I won’t mention today)…Amanda Pustz of Daily Duranie was born.  😀  Happy Birthday Amanda!!!

Let’s take a look at some special Amanda/Rhonda memories over the years, shall we?  In September of this year, I will mark 10 years as having known Amanda. Prior to our meeting in person at a DD fan convention, I did run into her posts from time to time on the DDF message board – but it was only after we met that I think she became more involved on the message boards and online communities for Duran Duran.  One might say that I was a bad influence.  However, I present the following as evidence in the contrary:

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Quick question: which one of us is holding the vodka bottle?

I thought so.

 

 

But…rather than embarrass Amanda (primarily because she will get me back in spades…and who really wants that?!?), I decided to pick out a few of my better memories with a few stories that go along with them:  (They aren’t in order. I’m not the organized one out of the two of us…)

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This is on Bourbon street in New Orleans. The date is right, so we were there for the Voodoo Festival Let’s see if anyone can guess what we’re yelling. (I’ll never tell…)

 

Below is from the same weekend. Club Ampersand – where a fan get together had been planned by DDM.  It was a fascinating beginning to the weekend, I must say.

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We made it to the star in LA and took photos. This isn’t just about it being Duran Duran, this is a memory that (for me) showcases how long we’ve worked together on our manuscript, this blog…and bigger dreams.

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Naturally, I can’t ever forget the trips we made to the UK. Who ever thought we’d go?? Twice?? In a single year?? Thankfully, I have a fantastic traveling partner.

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Success!!! This is a photo of us in Brighton Centre – I won’t ever forget that night, and I’m sure Amanda won’t either.

 

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And then there’s the night we finally found ourselves in front row!!

 

 

 

And lastly (for now), there’s Durandemonium. There is no way I would have ever attempted such a thing without her – and I can really say that had she not been there pulling me along – it likely wouldn’t have ever happened.  And now we’re planning another!

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We try to remind everyone that while the music is what brought us here, it really is the friendships that keep us coming back for more. Maybe I’m just a big sap, but as I was driving home in particularly nasty traffic last Friday afternoon, it occurred to me that if the band REALLY needs motivation to continue, or inspiration to write – they really need not look further than the real friendships that they, in an indirect sort of way, have helped to create.

Amanda, I hope you have a wonderful birthday – and next year, I hope we’re celebrating the release of some really fantastic music to add to the soundtrack of our friendship at the same time we’re celebrating your birthday!!!

-R

I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all over…

Don’t tell my kids, but I really hate rules….which is why I’m breaking one of mine and posting not one, but TWO “for real”, as in “I am sitting down and writing right now” blogs today.

After I’d already published my first posting for the day, I went over to check out Facebook, and a very poignant and much needed post grabbed my attention. My friend Jessica posted that ten years ago this week, she stumbled across a post on dd.com that beckoned her to a brand new message board, aptly titled duranduranfans.com.  She surmised that making the decision to join that board brought her many new and exciting experiences, and of course – a lot of friends.

I, too, found that post on dd.com. I remember exactly where I was in my house at the time, (upstairs sitting at the desk in our hallway…working on an art history thesis project.) and just how quickly I followed the link.  The funny thing is that the main reason I liked DDF (as it soon came to be called) was because unlike dd.com – the owner of the site (Robin Burks, who is also the owner of fangirlconfessions.com) chose to design the site with a white background – and it was much easier on my eyes than dd.com.  But, the longer I stayed, the more I noticed how much friendlier the place became.

Unlike dd.com – on this site, I was one of the original members. There’s a handful of us that can probably claim being there from nearly the beginning – and what I feel is truly unique is that for the most part, we’re all still friends. I consider many of those people to be among my most true-blue friends in the universe.  That doesn’t mean we all still chat daily, but I really do believe that if I needed something – I could call out for these women and they’d be there, Duran Duran or not.  (In fact, I’d say that for most of them – Duran Duran isn’t even really in the picture these days. They’ve moved on, and I’ve somehow stayed put.) But because we were the original members of this small board, I think that the “lizard mixture” of our personalities is what gave the board it’s flavor.  Since the core group of us participated and made ourselves  continually visible (and integral) to the vitality of the board – others were encouraged to play in the sandbox the same way, and I’m proud to say that 99% of the time, that is exactly what happened.

As I said before, many of us have moved on now. People finished school…started careers…got married…got divorced…started over…quit the band……wrote books..had that third baby they didn’t think they would be having(ha ha, says the mom!)…and some were even crazy enough to start a blog.  I can’t honestly remember the last time more than a few of us were in the same room together.  Maybe it was Jessica’s wedding?  That’s sad.

The thing is, and this is really the point I want to make here above all else – for that brief time when we were ALL fans and when we were ALL trying to find our little space in this community to exist together, we found one another and it worked. I run into people all the time that tell me they can’t be friends, like “real” friends, with other Duranies because when the band comes around – it’s all out the window.  Every fan for his/her own self, right? Well, that just doesn’t have to be true. I know, because I lived it.  I keep living it. The band did (and still does) an excellent job of providing background music, but when it came down to the friendships I made, I give the band no credit. I found good people, whom I love and adore to this very day.  When it comes down to it, I wish that for everyone – which is why this blog exists and keeps working like the Little Engine That Could.

I had no way of knowing back in 2004 that one teensy little click from one message board to another -one little link – would change my life so profoundly. I don’t think I can ever really articulate in words what making the decision to log into duranduranfans.com would eventually do, and continues to do for me. I’ve met so many people and had the opportunity to do so many things that I am positive I never would have done otherwise. In 2004, I was this meek little housewife with a very much buried wild streak that never really got to see the light of day. In a lot of ways, I’d been beaten by the world.  The light I had within was pretty dim at that point, I have to say. Something changed as I continued to grow strong friendships with other fans. I became reacquainted with the person I used to be, well before I ever met my husband or became a parent…and I really kind of liked her.

Ten years. In many ways, it still feels like yesterday, which is why it was so astounding to me to see that Facebook post today from Jessica.  But in other ways, I honestly don’t remember my life without any of you in it.  I just know how incredibly lucky I am to have you with me, whether in person, online or in my heart.

(and I still miss that damn message board, the Late Bar, and even that infamous poster named Moocher!!)

-R