Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Standing On A Roof Up Here

This is where it starts

One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.

Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.

Saying goodbye to darkness

I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???

When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.

Now I can see the big idea

Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.

Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.

I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.

One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.

One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!

An empire in a day, built on hope

So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.

The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?

My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.

When I can raise it up again

I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.

I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!

-R

I’ve Been Fighting All the Way

In a month, I’ll be in Las Vegas.

I can’t decide if I’m ready as-is, or if I should immediately resort to a month-long fasting exercise. It is a joke to me now, but in the past…I may have been at least half-serious. It’s weird, because I don’t mind admitting that my prep for previous tours included being semi-obsessed with making sure I looked my best. I worried about how I looked to other people. I would shop for new outfits, get my hair done well in advance, go have a pedicure, and of course – I would make certain I was at fighting weight. (or dancing weight, as the case may be)

I’m really not sure what “my best” means these days. Honestly, “alive” seems like a pretty good goal to me. My friend Lori and I were having drinks (training) and dinner last night (can I just say how wonderful it is to actually LIVE near a good friend?!?) and as I sat there, thinking about the upcoming weekend, I realized that for the very first time that I can remember, I am not worried about what I look like.

I mean sure, I need to lose a few pounds. I ALWAYS need to lose a few pounds. I’m not perfect, and I’m not a size 2, either. My weight is a struggle. The number on the scale is in direct correlation with how much stress I’m under at the time, and what my blood pressure is like. I have never been thin, though. I’m just average to “I’ve got a little extra padding because I fall down a lot!”, so this struggle isn’t new. The weird thing is, for the first time in forever, I don’t mind what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m satisfied. Happy, even. For me…that’s bizarre. Good, but bizarre.

There have been moments where I’ve wondered if I’m even that excited to go see Duran Duran, because I haven’t been overly obsessed with what I’m going to wear or what I’m going to pack. But then, I’ll hear a Duran-song or I’ll think about seeing them walk on stage and I can feel a little bit of that familiar giddiness. Yep, excitement is still in there. I just know I’m going to roll on into Vegas, and I’m going to have a good time with my friends. I guess my goal is to be happy with what I see in the mirror, rather than worry about what anyone else is going to see when I walk into a room.

Insecurity is a strange thing. Admitting that I have been insecure about myself more often than not leaves me pretty vulnerable, I suppose. I know it would be fairly easy for people to dismiss me because of that imperfection. Insecurity isn’t attractive, but I’m betting that more of us suffer from it than we individually might believe.

In the past, I worried about how posting that sort of thing might make me look to readers. The funny (well, not so funny) thing is that once you admit that you were well on the way to being suicidal last year – you kind of don’t give a shit about what people say or think anymore. Once you’ve gotten through that particular alley of darkness, you’re so thankful to see the sun again that you don’t want to waste a single second on people who don’t get it. Yeah, I’ve been insecure. My validation came from other people, not from myself, or from within. Oh well!

It can’t possibly be age that has forced my change in outlook and attitude. That would be crazy! I think though that the past year, feeling so incredibly low about everything, and then coming out of that, has given me a different prospective. Things I thought were important before really might not be, after all. I’m learning to say “Oh well” a lot. Truth is, I never want to feel like I did last year ever again. No matter what.

I think back to something that a dear friend of mine told me while we were traveling in 2012. She reminded me to never let anyone take my bliss away. I think about that statement nearly every single day. She probably doesn’t even remember saying the words to me, but I do. I’ve carried them all this time, and they’ve proven very useful lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, I suppose. It is easy to fall back into old habits. I am sure I’ll still swoon if a band member even sort of appears to look my way. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll smile at the band and welcome smiles in return. I mean, let’s not get ridiculous here.

-R


I Try to Hold the Rising Floods

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little blog about how I am concerned that my fandom might be dying. In this blog, I explained how I wasn’t falling out of love with Duran Duran. No, I fully expect that I will always be a fan but I wondered if I was on my way out when it comes to the rest. What do I mean by the rest? Would I still want to go to shows? Would I want to talk about the band with other fans? Would I be interested in planning fan events? Would I stop buying Duran merchandise? Would I want to stop writing here? I could go on and on. The basic idea is that I might stop being part of a community of fans.

After that blog, I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t worry or fret. I just decided to continue with what I needed to get done. After all, it was a busy time of year with my two jobs and planning for Christmas. Since then, though, I have taken some time to just get caught up. This means that I have really cleaned my house. The Christmas presents were purchased or created and shipped off, when necessary. I made appointments and planned out the next month or so. On top of that, I listened to some year end Katy Kafes and updated the day in Duran history that Rhonda and I keep for this blog. Every time I checked off one item from my do list, I felt better. My list isn’t done even with my almost two full weeks off but the list is a lot smaller. I’m feeling less overwhelmed.

Since my stress has eased some, I am better able to examine where things are in terms of fandom. Overall, I feel like things are better. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Kafes and found myself smiling throughout them all. The idea of #DD15 gave me some excitement, no matter when it ends up getting done. Honestly, I think that is part of what has made this so tough for me. I have not had much to be excited about when it comes to my fandom. Now, I’m not new to this gig. I know how it goes. It isn’t like there is going to be something in Duraland each and every day that will thrill me. I know this. I recognize and even understand downtime. Heck, I’ve been so busy that I am almost glad that there hasn’t been a lot. I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy it much. It might have even added stress. Nonetheless, I miss having something Duran related to look forward to.

Now, those of you who have been reading this blog know that I do have something Duran related to look forward to. I have a couple of shows coming up in February. My friend, Lori, reminded me that there are less than 50 days until them even. I have to admit that I haven’t given them much thought. Again, I might give the lack of time as the reason and I wouldn’t be lying to say so. But it is more than that. I have missed the friendships that I have grown to associate with Duran Duran and my fandom. It used to be that when there were shows coming up that is all my friends and I would talk about. We became broken records with silly ideas and inside jokes. We had nothing but fun to look forward to. Now, it is different. We don’t talk very much. I wish that we did more, for sure, but I cannot control that. It is hard to develop those funny moments when there aren’t many chances to do so. It seems that we are all busy and have different priorities, for sure. That said, February will be fun. I have no doubt about that. I’m not sure it will be the same kind of good time. It might be more about that escape from reality rather than just letting it all go for a few days. It might be more about the lack of responsibilities as opposed to screaming for band members.

As I type all this, I cannot help but feel older, more settled, less wild. I have worked hard in the last year or so to find that ordinary world that we all crave. I think I have succeeded in that but the one I have made for myself doesn’t have a lot of time and space for my Duran Duran fandom. It felt like something that had to be pushed to the side. Yes, part of that is because I had and have more pressing concerns, but another part is that I didn’t trust that it would be there if and when I reached for it. It began to feel like something in my past rather than my present or my future. Listening to those Kafes made me realize that this feeling wasn’t about the band at all. I still love them to pieces. I look forward to seeing more Duranlive or hearing new music. It had more to do with my life and where I placed fandom in my list of priorities and why. It was still there but much smaller with little reinforcement besides what I got from writing on here.

I’m still not freaking out about any of this. This feeling I have may change. It may grow strong and fandom will take up less and less of my time and my heart. It could also be a situation in which the tiny flame that is barely there might be turned back up to a torch that all can see. Time will tell. Until I know which way for sure, I’ll keep holding the rising flood back from drowning what is left.

-A

As the Planet Turns Into the Light

I had a good day yesterday.

Before I dive into that statement, I want to acknowledge that I am lucky to live in the US. While I know why the band plays here, I can’t help but feel badly for the rest of the fans throughout the world. One can reasonably understand why things are the way they are, and still not like it. I am very lucky to live here, and I’m very sorry that business for the band is such that economically – they play here because they need to.  I wish it were different.

The crazy thing is, the real joy I felt yesterday wasn’t from scoring tickets to a show. Quite honestly, I didn’t get anything myself from the pre-sale but an empty basket. Over and over and over again! However, it is true that my friend Lori is a guru when it comes to getting tickets on Ticketmaster (and before her, it was Suzie that came to the rescue for last year’s show), and without them I’d be scrolling Stub Hub or even the reseller’s marketplace on Ticketmaster.  It definitely wasn’t the ticket buying that made me smile yesterday.

I actually spoke to Amanda for the first time since July! What was so strange, yet comforting, was that we dove back in without really even skipping a beat. It was as if no time had passed. We talked about the band. We talked about a possible meet-up/welcome party/mini-convention for the weekend. We talked about politics (we are more alike than different), we even talked about sexual assault and feminism. I think what made me smile most yesterday was how normal everything felt, particularly after nearly a year of life feeling everything but. I am lucky to have a friend like her.

We planned. We talked about what we’d like to do that weekend. Yesterday, we focused on something other than campaigning and moving. For me, that was glorious. It’s weird, because for the past eleven months, I haven’t thought too much about Duran Duran. Yes, I write the blog on the days I need to write it, but once I’m done composing a post, I really have to move on with my day. I’ve had to focus on my family’s needs and put my hobbies aside. Secretly, I’ve wondered if I was just over Duran Duran.

That’s the silver lining of hiatus, or quiet times when it comes to this band. For two straight years (if not more), I think both Amanda and I felt like we were “all in”. We lived, ate, and slept Duran Duran! Once the tour ended (and I mean the real tour – not these one-off, two off dates), we went back to our regular lives. We picked up on other things. Maybe that’s our idea of balance. I don’t know. We don’t even work for Duran Duran, yet sometimes I really wonder if it’s not some strange sort of indentured servitude going on here!

I think I’d forgotten the joy I get from just being a fan and doing my thing. Sure, we can talk about how the set list never seems to change these days, or take up bets on whether the set and costuming will remain. There are real discussions to be had about Ticketmaster, and ticketing in general, and how it ruins the experience for fans. I’m not sorry I’m going to see Duran Duran in Las Vegas though.

I’m excited to see my friends. It will be great to be with my people again, strolling around with our to-go cups and lids. Again, I feel so lucky to count these women within my small circle friends. I am eager to be in the audience for the gigs. My adrenaline will kick in, and I’m hoping the memory of my past year will be put to rest. I can’t wait to see Simon, John, Roger, Nick, Anna, and of course Dom. I’ve missed them. We’re definitely doing parties of some kind at the Hard Rock. Watch this space for details. If you’re not already coming for the shows, maybe a mini-Duranie convention will entice you to make the trip.

Yesterday was the most joyful I’ve been since last December. It hasn’t been an easy year, but I have real hope that things are beginning to look up.

-R

 

Hallucinating Durandemonium…in Vegas!

Hi everyone!

I feel battered, and not only due to the ticket pre-sale I just completely bombed out on. It’s been a rough few days. I’m sorry I didn’t blog yesterday. It’s been pretty stressful, and my body decided to respond with the worst headache I have ever had. I’m trying very hard to remain calm today, as stress seems to make my headache come right back up again.

About that pre-sale…

First of all, we did get tickets. I will get that out-of-the-way now. I’m not complaining about what we got, and I really don’t care to relive the horror with obtaining them. So I won’t. I’ll just say that I remain 100% convinced that Ticketmaster is corrupt. There is very little anyone could tell me to make me believe otherwise, especially while that company continues to own and operate a secondary marketplace. I am quite sure I’m not alone on that front.

However, I am relieved that we do have tickets, and that I can look forward to a much needed getaway with my best group of friends in February. I can’t wait to see people I’ve missed, and maybe even make new friends along the way. That, above all else, is what I will be thinking about in the coming months. I definitely won’t be thinking about what seats I have, or how skewed and corrupt the ticket buying system really is.

What happens in Vegas…

Here’s the deal: we were thinking about doing a welcome party at the very least…and possibly some convention-type activities on Friday and Saturday during the day before the show if there’s interest.

What I need to know though is whether or not there will be enough Duranies in town on Thursday night to actually do a party.  So let us know if there’s interest in a Durandemonium party to start the weekend off, and also if you think doing convention things during the day on Friday and Saturday might be fun, too.  That way, I can set to work figuring out what can be done so that we can all get the most bang for our buck out of the weekend!

Stays in Vegas….

Now comes the fun part in trip planning – figuring out when I’m leaving, and where we’re staying! This trip is just what I needed, and exactly at the right time. My husband has my birthday and Christmas gifts all wrapped up for him, and I have something to look forward to!

Let me know if you’re coming to Vegas and what you think about attending a Durandemonium party on Thursday night! (we wouldn’t do it on Friday because everyone would be getting ready for the show!) 

-R

Time is a Ribbon

We are finally in October. I say finally because September seemed to creep by, and I’m hopeful that my weather gets on board with the idea of October and cools off a little bit. One can hope, right?

October first is an interesting date for me, particularly when it comes to Duran history. I have not checked thoroughly, but I tend to believe that I have seen more Duran-shows on October first than any other date during the year.

The idea that I’ve been to that many shows over the course of a lifetime to even compare is ridiculous. However silly it may be, it is true. Even better, each show I’ve been to on October 1st has taken place since 2005. For my next trick, I will age some of you!

Do you remember the Agassi Grand Slam for Children Charity show in Las Vegas? That was on this date in 2005. A wild weekend made hundreds of times more fun and memorable because so many of my friends were there. From field trips by limo to see an 80s cover band play, to get togethers in the bar and our own special brand of after party that went until sunrise, it was a weekend I will never forget. I could be mistaken, but I believe that it was the last time I saw Andy Taylor perform with the band. I don’t remember the show itself being very remarkable (aside from the foot pounding we did in the stands back in the “Duranie” section during Wild Boys).  Isn’t it strange how those seemingly unremarkable moments sometimes end up as footnotes our history? So much has taken place during the thirteen years since, yet I can hardly believe it has been that long.

In 2011, I saw Duran Duran play at the Sky Theatre in Valley Center, California. This was the first show I had seen since flying to the UK in May for shows that didn’t happen. I was very nervous about seeing the band again and for the first few minutes they were onstage I couldn’t even look at Simon. Amanda couldn’t fly to California for the show, so I went with my husband. As much as I love the guy, he  had no understanding of what it felt like for me to be there that night. He didn’t get it, he’s never going to get it, and that’s that. Even so, the band was back and better than ever. I remember being shocked by how strong Simon’s voice was that night, and I still believe he is a stronger, more powerful singer now than he was before that mess with his vocal chords earlier that year. As for the rest of the band, well, I think the entire flow of events that year gave them a new appreciation for their craft. I know I certainly appreciate them. Seven years went by in the blink of an eye.

Then there was the Hollywood Bowl in 2015. That show remains as something out of a dream for me. Truth be told, Amanda and I were willing to break the bank to get the best possible seats for that show, and from our second row center chairs that night, we saw the first of many shows on the Paper Gods tour that night. The Bowl is a very special place, filled with a lot of personal memories for me, but knowing that I finally saw Duran Duran perform there, is at the top of the list. It nearly erases the memory I have of driving up the Grapevine that night after the show, knowing that many of my friends had gotten invited, or made their way into the after party for the band that night. Lucky souls! Can you imagine it has already been three years?

The moral here, of course, is that time flies. I have the luxury of taking the time to think back and take stock in those seemingly small moments. I mean, Duran Duran only played four songs that night in Las Vegas. I remember seeing Andy on stage that night, but I didn’t necessarily take special notice. Would I have done it differently if I’d known it would be the last time I’d see him with Duran Duran? Who knows? If I’d realized that so many of my friends got into the after party at the Hollywood Bowl, or that someone would have gotten in me in there if I’d asked – would I have stayed? Who really knows?  Lamenting history isn’t helpful, but what I find most poignant and worthy of tucking away is that those tiny little moments and memories matter. Sometimes, they might even determine what comes next.

-R

Convention update

Hi everyone, Rhonda here – not that it’s unusual for me to blog on a Monday, but it’s me. Anyway, I wanted to give a very brief update on convention plans. Many have asked us about it, and I want to be as clear as possible.

First of all, both Amanda and I would like to have a convention this year. Our friend Jason at the Hard Rock worked to get a very nice deal together for us, and we appreciate his efforts. At this point in time, however, we are struggling with two things: Money (for deposits) and time.

The money part is simple: it costs money for deposits, and while a few thousand dollars may not seem like a lot – I can assure you that it absolutely is when it is your money, you’re on a limited budget, and there’s some concern about whether or not you’d get it back.  We have had some discussion about doing a sort of Kickstarter where we offer various ticket packages and other opportunities so that we could earn the money for convention costs. We would offer everything from a way for people to support the convention, to VIP packages for the entire weekend. The hope would be to raise enough money where we could pay the deposits without Amanda and I having to be on the hook financially.

That leads me to the second issue: time. There is never really enough of that.  I’m finding that I have to devote my extra time to other personal family things right now. That may change in the next few weeks, or it may not. This is a time where I’d give my eye-teeth for additional help, but I know that most people just want to GO to the convention and not have to plan one. I just am not sure if I can devote all of the time necessary for it to be a success, and I can’t make that determination just yet.

This is not the update I would have wanted to give several weeks or months back. Life has a crazy way of changing and I sometimes struggle to keep up. I will be keeping Amanda updated with what’s going on, and from there we will make some decisions. That’s really the best I can do right now. No, it’s not where I wanted to be or how I wanted to do it – but it’s what I have to work with right now. I realize that some of you need time to plan for travel and so forth, and I apologize for not being able to give better answers right now.

-R

Twenty-one years and counting.

On the 22nd of January, twenty-one years ago, I woke up at 6:30am and new something wasn’t quite right. I was having short little pains, but they were enough to wake me up out of a sound sleep. Smiling, I began to time them, and oddly – they were coming at fairly regular intervals. Ten days late and counting, I knew that I was finally, blessedly, in labor with my oldest.

After what I felt was many hours of waiting, I finally got the OK to go to the hospital at about 1pm. It was in the middle of a snow storm, but I barely remember the drive from our house to the hospital, except that my mom was with us and we really had no idea what we were about to be in for. I’ll save everyone the details except to say that what began that morning didn’t actually finish until 12:05am the following morning – which if you’re following along, meant the 23rd of January in 1997.

I always like to say that Heather Kathryn Rivera was born in the middle of a blizzard (this is true), she was ten days late (also true, and really eleven if we’re counting – which believe me, at that point, I was), and that to this very day, the child is still late. She runs by one clock: her own. She still prefers the cold weather to our ever-sunny days, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she ended up back in the Chicagoland area after college. (then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if we did as well!)

Today, she turns twenty-one.

I’m marveling about that, because it doesn’t seem possible. I still remember seeing the snow fall that day and night in the hospital, I still remember sitting up in bed the following day, looking at her wondering how on earth I was ever going to be able to handle caring for another human being.  They say that to have a baby is to agree to allow a part of your heart to walk around outside of your body forever. That’s so true. It is simultaneously the apex of joy and some of the worst pain imaginable at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the peace in the world. (Most of the time, anyway!)

I remember not long after Heather and I came home from the hospital, I was watching Rosie in the afternoon while trying to feed Heather. Guess who were her guests?  Simon, Nick and Warren. They were there promoting “Medazzaland”.  I remember watching them while Heather was crying, and I was so upset because I could barely hear the interview. I was already learning who came first, of course, and before long I was crying right along with Heather. As much as I loved being a mom, and I really did, I missed being me. I didn’t know how to be both a mom and Rhonda, the human. Life circumstances at the time didn’t help, either. The real “adjustment” didn’t come until later, when I finally figured out that in order to enjoy being a mom, I had to enjoy being ME, too.

Guess when that happened? I can tell you the exact date. March 28, 2001.  House of Blues, Anaheim CA. Duran Duran walked out on that stage, and something in me that had been dark for many, many years suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree.

I’ve written about it before, but finding myself again was really the key to being a good parent. After that concert, I started being ME. I found friends, I went to a convention, I brought my own personality to the table of parenting. My kids know exactly who I am. They’re not afraid to call me out for it sometimes, too.  

My Heather is a beautiful human being. She is so much better of a person than I could ever hope to be myself. She’s got a sharp tongue, a wicked sense of humor, and a very kind heart. She’s tenacious in a way that I never learned, and she has more talent in her pinky finger than I do in my entire body. She’s danced her way through life so far, and now she’s twenty-one. She’s grown. I don’t even know how it happened, because at some point on the way home from the hospital, through the snowy streets and freezing temperatures, I blinked. Now she’s an adult. Where does the time go?

I guess I feel similar with Duran Duran, really. At some point after New Moon on Monday, I blinked. The past thirty years went by in a single blink. The last 17 in particular FLEW by, and I can mark the moments in Heather’s life by songs, concerts and road trips I’ve taken along the way.  She still smiles widely at the memory of going with me to the Astronaut signing in Hollywood when she was just seven or eight. She remembers Simon quizzing her about her favorite song and how he asked about the book she was carrying (I think it was a Nancy Drew book). She also remembers how tan they all looked for not being from California (I laugh about that because she’s right) and how they all wore more makeup than I did. (also true!)

Heather and I at The Pearl 2009

We still laugh about how she went with Amanda and I to see Duran Duran at the Pearl in Las Vegas in 2009. She was twelve, although a tall twelve-year-old at the time, and she STILL laughs heartily over her reaction when John walked up to the microphone during the show and called us Mother F*kers. Heather turned around and looked at me with her eyes as wide as saucers. I doubled over laughing. Yep, I’m that kind of mom!

Amanda and I always talked about employing her to drive us from gig to gig after she turned 16 so that way we didn’t have to drive ourselves any longer, but we’ve never done it. Today, she’s old enough to belly up to the bar right along with us.

 

Somehow, that doesn’t seem quite right. AT ALL.

Heather taught me how to be a mom. She patiently waited for me to figure out how to manage feeding and caring for an infant and yet still being able to take a shower and get out of pj’s by noon. She would smile and sit next to me when it came time for me to learn how to do it all again when her brother Gavin was born – so all of that x2.  Then she taught me how not to be one of those “stage moms” and how to provide a stable environment for her when everything else in her life was chaos with dance and school. She forgave me for having yet another baby just as she was becoming a teenager, and even offered to help with her youngest sister. I will never ever forget going through that pregnancy because Heather was by my side nearly the entire time. She’s become a second mama in a lot of ways to the baby of the family – who isn’t a baby anymore (so she constantly reminds me).

Heather listened to me complain about life, growing older, losing a parent, learning how to be a better caregiver and spouse, and even how to be a better mom to her as she grew up and had her own ideas that may or may not have been completely opposite to her dad’s and mine. I daresay that parenting is toughest after the children have grown.

Through most of that, she also had to contend with this crazy blog, my writing, the road trips, conventions, and the ups and downs within. Duran Duran has been a near constant presence in her life even though she’s only met them from across a table (same, Heather, same here for the most part). I don’t think she can really hear Duran Duran without thinking of me immediately at this point, and I don’t know whether to apologize or applaud.

So today, as I watch the kids at recess and continue thinking about the journey I’ve taken over the last twenty-one years, I’m also thinking about how this is just the beginning for Heather.  I love that kid and I couldn’t be prouder. Today is bittersweet for this mama, but I am looking forward to taking her out tonight for her first (legal) margarita. It has been quite a journey.

(BTW John and Nick… if you need a choreographer for a musical….I know somebody…..)

Happy Birthday, Heather-Feather. (You can thank me for not printing your REAL nickname at any time.) Be careful, but not too careful – Love Mom.

-R

You caught me in your web of youth: Those young Duranies

January 11th has got to be one of the most boring days on the Duran Duran history calendar, I swear. There are only three items of interest on this date, one of them being that they performed at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta in 1989.  That would have been during the Big Thing tour, I believe. Let us know if you were there!

As I was typing this, I thought of my friend Michael, who I believe is from the outskirts of Atlanta (or else I’m really getting this screwed up, in which case I still implore you all to stick with me…there really is a point, I promise!) Then I thought about the year 1989. I’m thinking Michael wasn’t even born yet…which blows my mind, to be honest.

You see, Michael is about one of the coolest Duranies I’ve met. It isn’t that he’s a rock star, or that he knows Roger Taylor personally, or that he’s a distant relative to Andy Taylor (none of which is true, at least that I’m aware of…), it is that Michael is young. By young, I don’t just mean younger than me. I mean that Michael is only two years older than my oldest! He’s YOUNG. And he’s a Duranie.

(and he put up with Amanda and I in Las Vegas, which probably should earn him some sort of medal)

Now, I don’t mean to pick on Michael, by now he’s probably reading this and wondering why on earth I had to go picking on him today, but it is people like my friend Michael that still give me great hope. He flew across the country to go to the show in Las Vegas, he hung out with some really great people (Amanda and I aside, the group he hung with were wonderful), and he really loves Duran Duran. I can’t even get my oldest to listen to Duran Duran.

Well, that’s not really true. She hears them while shopping, or even in the gym, and texts me things like

“IT IS A CURSE!”

“DO YOU PAY THEM TO FOLLOW ME?”

“I AM GOING TO HEAR THEM WHEN YOU DIE AND THEN WHAT, MOM??”

The thing is, I love that Michael found Duran Duran. And I’m really thankful he came to our Daily Duranie party. I love that there are young people who love the same band I grew up listening to, and that despite our obvious range in ages, we have this band in common. How cool is that?

Often, I’ll see younger fans post on Tumblr or even Twitter, and invariably, some older “get off my lawn” type of fan (basically someone like me, I guess!) will shoot them down and destroy their dreams in a single response.  Sometimes warranted, other times, it is just inhospitable. Sure, we’re all different. Times and music have changed. Yet, if we stop to think for a moment, we do have that band in common. It is the music between us.

Yep, on this date in 1989, Duran Duran played the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and that was way before my friend Michael was a twinkle in his mom’s eye…little did we all know the best was yet to come in the decades ahead, right?

-R

I came by invitation to general Chelsea mayhem

A fandom is populated by many different types of personalities. Some people are quiet and reserved, some are very outgoing with strong personalities, and still others are there solely for the object of interest itself.

As one might imagine, the same holds true for Duran Duran. Not everyone is here to interact with other fans. Some are here solely for the band. Some just want the music and don’t care about the band itself, other fans, or any of that. Others are curious about other fans but they’re not the type to jump in with both feet. Still others really want to create connections with other fans.

Durandemonium 2018 is going to be a fantastic, VIP-style, non-stop party. If you decide to accept our invitation and attend, you should know that you’re going to be in exceptional company with people who love Duran Duran, but also value friendships they’ve made (or will make) in this community. Those relationships and memories will more than withstand the career of the band, by the way.

The people who attend Durandemonium won’t be there to chase down the band as they go from black Escalade to elevator.  They aren’t expecting the band to play (however awesome that might seem!).  They will be there to celebrate being a fan and sharing that sort of kinship with other fans of Duran Duran. Our guests will arrive knowing that we are celebrating forty years of fandom, and the best way to do that is with one another. There will be singing and dancing, merriment and debauchery, but it will be our guests making it all happen. It will be those memories, from an exclusive weekend with like-minded friends, that carry them to the next tour and beyond.

There is nothing wrong with fans who plan their vacations around Duran Duran’s tours. Been there, done that myself more than once and my car has the mileage to prove it! I applaud the people who are so driven to shake Nick’s hand or get the best picture of Simon or Roger that they’ll wait all weekend for them. I love the avid concert goers that will drive all over the country just to catch the band in concert one more time. These are people after my own heart.

However, there are a ton of opportunities that already exist for fans like that. They’re called tours.  This party is for the cool people.

Everyone can be a fan, but not everyone can attend Durandemonium.

-R