Tag Archives: meet-ups

Built on Hope and Burnt by the Sun

I had hoped that the summer would bring me more time to be involved and to be thinking about any and everything in Duranland. The last couple of weeks have definitely fulfilled that goal. There has been a lot more thinking, writing, discussing Duran, for sure. Interestingly enough, it has made me question some things rather than just bring me back into the fandom fold. Questioning isn’t a bad thing but different from what I thought would happen.

When I think about my history in this fandom, I go back to 2004 and what I wanted then. When I jumped in online, the reasoning was a simple one. I wanted to make friends and I wanted people to go to shows with. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. Did I accomplish that? I have met a ton of people through this fandom. There is no doubt about that. I couldn’t have been more excited and happy. I remember this feeling of utter contentment. Some of those friends did attend shows with me and many of them remain as people I would still list as friends even if we don’t speak much anymore. Of course, Rhonda is the big exception.

Speaking of, we quickly discovered that we could tour together easily and have so much fun. I never laugh so much than when I am with her. So fandom in 2004 and 2005 was just joy. Of course, this perfectly coincided with the conclusion of graduate school, which meant more time and money. Life felt pretty good. I was filled with hope that this could continue indefinitely. Naive is probably the best word to describe how I was then. Soon enough, as 2005 turned to 2006, cracks in the pavement (pun intended) started to appear. I began to notice that not all fans got along with each other and definitely felt the wrath of those who believed that I did not express my fandom appropriately, at all times. On top of that, the reunion excitement fizzled as Andy left and the Red Carpet Massacre era brought division.

Hope remained high still for me. Those intensely positive memories from the Astronaut era offered protection against the negatives even when I began to worry that I was all alone or would be all alone soon enough. I remember making the decision to go see the band during their Broadway run in New York City in 2007 as the band promoted RCM. I went with a college friend who knew next to nothing about Duran but was excited to see me and wanted to support my interests. I had a good time (as I would at any Duran show) but it wasn’t the same.

By the fall of 2008, my hope began to return as Rhonda and I began studying fandom. If I understand this social phenomenon, I thought then I could do what needs to be done to keep it all positive. Then, the All You Need Is Now era began and, for the most part, my life in Duranland was great. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. I went to the most shows ever and had a chance to see the band in the UK. We began to do meet ups and even planned a convention, hoping these events might bring friendships and joy to other Duranies like we had and that the fan community might be a more positive place.

Paper Gods brought a lot more shows and new friends. However, as the fandom wheel continued to go around, I found myself relying on shows and touring as my main means of escape and joy. Fandom provided the balance to the ever increasing stressfulness of my job and the real world. But I began to realize that the balance that fandom brought was delicate. Real life began to feel like I was walking on a very thin railing and hoping that I wouldn’t fall off. If I could make it to the shows or to a tour, it would feel like I made it across the railing to get to firmer ground. Yet, that firmer ground was getting shorter and less fun. It felt like I needed fandom differently than I had in the beginning. In 2004, I needed it for fun. By 2017, I needed it to keep me from falling into a deep, dark hole of sadness and loneliness.

Realizing this, I began to look around. Was fandom still providing me the same things that it once did? Was it bringing me new friends? Yes, I know people but I’m not sure how many of them I feel particularly close to or feel like I can rely on. So, I did what I had to do and focused some of my attention and energy on friendships outside of Duranland. What about going to shows? I still have people to go to shows with but those shows are getting harder and harder. Lately, it has always meant a long day of travel and the stress of missing work and flying. I have to wonder how much is it worth it. Yet, I fear that once I stop traveling to shows, those goals from 2004 will go up in smoke. It was the mark the end. Now, I am still a fan and will always be one. I just have to wonder if the days, my days in this fandom are numbered. In 2007, a lot of the friends I had made in 2004 and 2005 were walking away and now I feel that same sense. I pushed through then and kept hope alive but I’m not sure that I can now. I’m tired. I’m tired of being the consistently there and consistently strong one. I have to do that in real life so I don’t know that I can do it in fandom, too.

Now, I have been around long enough to know that how I feel right now may not be how I will feel next month or next year. Maybe I will have the most amazing time in Vegas in September that I cannot imagine myself not traveling to see shows. If the timeline about new music coming out next year is at all accurate, that might keep me around for another cycle. After all, I still think it would be cool to see the band play in the UK for their 40th, if that were to happen. This I do know. I cannot force any of it. I cannot control what the band does, what my friends do or how I feel. So, for now, I will try to keep that initial hope alive.

-A

Still They Come…to Vegas for Some Meet Ups

Got any plans on September 7th and September 8th? If you look at Duran Duran tour dates, you will notice that there are a couple of shows for those very dates in Las Vegas. The band is once again playing at the Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan and your favorite (okay…that was an exaggeration) bloggers will be there! In fact, not only are we going to be there but we have some meet ups planned.

We will be meeting at the CliQue Bar and Lounge, located within the Cosmopolitan at 5 pm on both Saturday, September 7th and Sunday, September 8th. This particular bar is located on the first level of the Chelsea Tower and is described this way by the hotel website:

“CliQue serves as an escape from the outside world, offering artisanal cocktails and house-made mixers. CliQue adds a new avant-garde lounge concept to the resort.

Guests looking to stimulate their palates can enjoy a variety of savory bites and shareable plates, including high-end street tacos, an array of sliders and salads, among other mouthwatering dishes, from award-winning chef Brian Massie.”

One of the reasons that Rhonda and I enjoy this place is that the shareable plates are great and the wait staff remember our order! (Actually, that probably says more about us then them but whatever…) Plus, we like the atmosphere there.

We would love to see each and every one of you there! Please head over to the event page on Facebook and indicate your interest to let us know who to look for. Here are the links for the two meet ups: Saturday night and Sunday night .

Now, it has been a while since we have held a more formal fan gathering and we are super excited to do so! One of the things that Rhonda and I have always tried to do is to bring the fan community together. As we started on this journey (about 10 years ago now!) of learning about fandoms, generally, and our fandom, specifically, we realized that fan communities can either be places where competition dominates or where people come together. We much prefer bringing people together (because it is WAY more fun that way), which is why we started holding meet ups or conventions to begin with! Here are some pictures from the last one:

I think back to 2004 and when I first jumped back into this fandom. I didn’t really know anyone and the few people I did were random strangers that I “met” online. At the time, I longed to find people to talk about Duran Duran with. Just as importantly, I needed to find *my* people. These are people who would not only give me space to talk about Duran but also encourage my love for the band. They would see fandom and going to shows like I did. So I did something that was totally out of character for me. I went to a Duran Duran Fans Convention. Sure, I dragged a friend with me but I went. I did it solely to find my people.

During that convention, I met lots of Duranies and even found people who would be willing to go to shows with me. When the Astronaut Tour dates came out, many of us from the convention discussed, planned and plotted. Who is going to what show? Who is going to go with whom? At the time, I had no idea if any of those people would really be my people or just cool fans. The show the group decided to all go to was the Chicago show in March of 2005. Rhonda flew in and I drove down. After getting very little sleep and food, laughing our asses off and screaming for those guys on stage, I knew that I found my people. Rhonda and I bonded that weekend and discovered that we had a guaranteed touring buddy for life. To say that we were lucky would be an understatement. Yet, none of that would have happened if we hadn’t gone to a fan gathering. They matter. So we try to provide the place and the means for other fans to meet their people with our meet ups and conventions.

Now, it is my understanding that there is another meet up (or two??) happening that weekend. I think that is super cool! We are not here to compete with anyone as that does not make things more fun. No, I think it is great that fans have options, choices because, after all, you never know when and where you are going to meet your people.

-A

Don’t They Understand

I don’t really hide my fandom much. My family and friends all know that I’m a Duranie. Heck, a number of my students even know that I’m a big fan. My wallpaper on my work computer is a group picture, after all. Recently, I found myself out with friends, many of them work friends. It is almost inevitable that Duran Duran will come up in conversation. Lately, when the band comes up, a friend or two will say something like, “I would love to go to a show with you!” Then, for the next few minutes, multiple friends will say how fun it would be! In those situations, I find myself not saying much beyond having a little smile on my face. Why don’t I say something? Do I worry about what they are thinking about me? Do I want to share the band with them? What about sharing my fandom?

Generally, the people who say that they would love, love, love to attend a Duran concert with me are those whom I am pretty close friends with. They do know how much the band and the fandom means to me. This leads me to think that they aren’t making fun of me but…I do wonder if there isn’t a little piece of them that would like to see me in this very different way. I suspect that they have a hard time imagining me as a fan since they see me as this very serious teacher or activist. Do they think I go completely wild? That I lose control? Act totally differently? I’m not sure what ideas go through their minds about me and my Duranie status. Those of you who know me or have seen me in person know that I have a great time at shows and on tour but I don’t think I have a totally different personality. *shrugs*

Could it be that I don’t want to share the band and the fandom with them? That is an interesting idea. Let me ponder what it would mean for my local friends to go to a show with me. In almost all cases, this equals traveling. My friends would need to hop on a plane with me to see the concert or two. That is a serious level of financial commitment that I don’t expect anyone to do unless you love the band. Then, when I go to a Duran show, I go for good seats. I might not try for those $1000 ultimate front row seats but I generally go for Gold. Again, that is a lot of money especially for a non-Duranie. Then, of course, I don’t like the image of that. I prefer that fans get the best seats. I would hate for a friend of mine to take a seat that a serious Duranie could have instead.

All right. Let’s assume that my friends would be willing to travel and willing to spend the money for tickets, would I want them to go? If not, why not? After all, I have no problem with any and all of my friends going to see bands like Depeche Mode or the Killers with me. What’s the difference with Duran?

First, Duran Duran is not just another band to me. They matter a LOT to me. (Obviously, I write this blog.) Now, I’m certain that if my friends were to go, they would have a blast. They would fall for Duran and see how amazing they are live. All this should make me want my friends to go. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to have more Duranie friends? Of course…yet, I still hold back, sort of. Looking at this situation, I have no problem with friends going to the show. I would like that actually. I’m just not sure that they should go with me.

First of all, this would feel wrong to me. I typically go to shows with Rhonda. That is the way it is supposed to be. After all, we have seen well over 30 shows together. This doesn’t mean that we go to every show together. When we go without each other, it always feels a little weird. Second, going to a show is more than the 2 hours the band is on stage. It is a much bigger event. On show days, I revolve everything around the show. When to get ready? What to wear? What time to meet others? All of that works to increase my excitement and to bring me closer to the other fans I am going with but also the other fans that I look forward to seeing.

I think back to the first time Rhonda and I had front row at a general admission show in Biloxi in 2012. We got up at the crack of dawn to get ready and to head to the venue to wait and wait and wait some more. We recorded a video at like 7 am of us talking to each other about how dumb we were to do this. Of course, we laughed while we said that and continued to get ready. Even if we were dumb, we didn’t head back to sleep. Then, as we stood in line all day, we talked with other fans, watched a Diamond in the Mind on computer, made up a setlist. We participated in all of these activities as if they were steps in some sort of religious ceremony or holiday. Would my friends get that?

What if they did attend a pre-show party? Would they have fun? More importantly, would they be able to contribute to the conversation? After all, it is likely that there would be discussion about Duran happenings from things like the setlist to studio news to fashion choices, etc. Maybe people would talk about previous shows or times that they met the band members. Now, my friends are smart people. If nothing else, maybe they would be fascinated by the whole thing. After all, the social scientist in me watches a lot and ponders the state of our fandom They might do something similar. Yet, I think that I would feel like I had to be the go between, the translator. I would have to make sure that everyone was happy. When I go to a Duran show, that is time that is just for me. It isn’t about doing for others. I spend a lot of time worrying about other people like my family, my students, my colleagues, etc. Being on tour allows me time for me.

I also think another reason I might want to keep my work friends from entering the world of Duran Duran fandom is because I need those worlds to be separate. My fandom world needs to bring me fun. My work friends help me get through the daily challenges of teaching teenagers in a large, urban school district. I don’t really want the reality of my job to sneak into my fun.

So, for now, I’ll just nod when this comes up in conversation but I won’t ever really push it. I like it the way it is as it is.

-A

You’ve Got That Thing Which Makes Them Smile

To say that I have not yet recovered from my trip to Vegas would be an understatement. I feel like I haven’t slept in a decade and I’m struggling to get going. My to do list is long and I am cannot get motivated no matter what I do. I’m crossing my fingers, hoping that I bounce back super soon as time is of the essence. Is this because part of me is still on tour? Still in Vegas? I’m sure. I also think that I want time to process last weekend and have had minimum time to do that. Despite that, I did realize something while I was in Vegas.

Could you describe yourself in one word? The other day Rhonda blogged about how she did not want to be defined solely by the term fan among others. It feels to her that being known for just one thing limits her and I totally appreciate that. After all, I don’t want to be known just as a “teacher” or “fan.” I am more than that. Yet, I do think that I could give one word to describe myself. That word is organizer. I certainly feel that in the classroom as I have to organize lessons and curriculum while organizing groups of children. Beyond that, that word fits when I think about my role as a campaign manager. I have to organize materials as well as events and volunteers to implement a plan. With both of my official jobs, I like the challenge of trying to figure out a game plan and how best to implement it. Not only do I like it, but I think I’m pretty decent at it, too.

Last weekend, in Vegas, we opted not to organize a big thing (ha!) or plan a real formal gathering. Instead, we went with the flow and had more unofficial meet-ups. While I enjoyed all of these gatherings, there was a part of me that felt removed, away from the action. Over the course of the last year or so, I have pulled back from the Duran community. There are a few reasons for this. Some of the reasons I have written about previously, including my incredibly busy life. Part of it, though, I realized, is that I don’t feel my participation adds much. I’m not terribly clever online and I don’t have any real insight into the inner workings of the band. I could talk about campaigning for hours. I could talk about fandom for hours but neither of those is what people look for in members of a fan community. People don’t share juicy gossip with me and even if they did, I don’t share what people share with me. I am pretty private so a lot of people don’t gravitate to me. On top of that, I don’t think a lot of people can relate to my life.

I hope this does not sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself because this is not what this post is about. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure myself out and develop self-awareness. I know who I am and am okay with myself. Likewise, I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to get, to understand fandom and fan communities. Here is what I have realized by all this. I like organizing events for the fan community. Does it make it easier for me to socialize and people with me? I’m sure but it also feels right. It is something I like and am good at. It gives people a way to get past my private exterior and gives me a way to open myself up in ways I cannot get otherwise. I won’t ever be that bubbly personality that everyone wants to know. I certainly won’t ever be that person with a connection to the band or to insider or even interesting info. What I can be, what I am, though, is an organizer.

It was right for us not to organize anything big this past weekend but I missed it and hope that when more shows come our way that we can go back to doing something.

-A

NYC Fan Meet-up!

Calling all Duranies, this is an official Duranie Alert for a fan activity!! (well, maybe not quite that official…)

Are you on the East Coast? Can you get yourself to New York City?  If you are so inclined, there is an upcoming Duran Duran Fan Meet-up happening at Loreley Beer Garden in Manhattan on October 6th!

Amanda and I love going to fan meet-ups! They are the very best way to meet new friends and celebrate Duran Duran. The connections fans make with one another are the lifeblood of the fan community, and it is exciting to see fan activities like this taking place, even if they’re on the opposite coast from this Duranie.

This meet-up sounds like a great way to bring in Autumn. There aren’t any Duran Duran gigs on the calendar until at least 2019 (KAABOO February 15-16), so what better way for a pick-me-up than a fan activity like this?

It would be outstanding to be able to give the beer garden a headcount, so drop us a line here at Daily Duranie to say you’re going and we’ll let the event organizer know. If you’ve already gotten invited to the event through Facebook and responded that way – no need to tell us. We’re just trying to help her spread the good news!

Do us a favor, and have some beer for us too!  We’ll each be at our homes, wallowing in self-pity. Maybe Amanda will be grading papers, and perhaps I’ll be packing and boxing. We both will be wishing we were in New York City, having a great time visiting with all of you!

Here are the details – don’t forget to let us know you’re going (send us an email!)

NYC Fan Meet-Up
October 6, 2018, 6pm EDT
Loreley Beer Garden
7 Rivington St. New York, New York 10002

So envious of anyone who is able to go – send us some pictures so we can post them!!

-R

So Today My World It Smiles – Thank You for Donating!

Happy Tuesday!

Duran Duran fans have been called “overwhelming”, “crazy”, “insane”, and “overzealous”. People like to call us “stalkers”, and we’ve all heard at least once that we should have grown up by now. People look at Amanda and I with incredulous looks when we discuss our joy for writing this blog. Even people within our community think we’re over-the top.

We’re also good and generously kind people, too.

I don’t know how many have taken notice of the donation button on our front page, regardless of whether or not you have used it. I can tell you though, that we’ve received several kind donations during the time it has been there, and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

When, at the urging of family and friends, I finally agreed to put a donation button on the site – I wasn’t entirely comfortable. Amanda and I never went into this seeking to make a single dime. I suppose my feelings about that had far more to do with keeping my expectations incredibly low than it did much of anything else. At the time, we weren’t paying for hosting, and it took very little of my time to manage. I was also concerned that we’d have people saying that we were trying to profit off of the band – which is another subject entirely – and I didn’t want to fight that battle. Times changed though. We now host the site ourselves. Ads don’t pay the way they once did. The website is costly, and it takes more time to manage. So, when the donation button went up, I winced, hoped for the best, and then tried not to think about it again.

I was overjoyed and incredibly thankful when notification of our first donation popped up in our mailbox. The hosting bill was due, and my bank account was very low. That person saved me having to beg Amanda for more than her share of website costs. A few others have come in over the month since, and they too have helped. What might seem “free” to do really is not. Since our website receives a lot of traffic now compared to 2010, I have needed to bump up our hosting limits.

My point is simple – I felt like it was high time to say thank you. I am not going to post names of those who have donated, but I want all of you to know that I remember each one of you. I know you sent us money, and I greatly appreciate that you did.  Please know that every time we get a notification that someone sent us money, I am sending silent thanks. We use those donations specifically for this site, and we have never taken them for granted. We have a special account set up purely for Daily Duranie, and that is exactly where it goes.

Daily Duranie—this silly little blog—got me through this past year. It was a rough one for me and my family. Writing the blogs gave me a chance to forget about what was going on here at home. It probably seems silly to all of you, but my anxiety kept me up at night. I’d wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat, and all that time, I didn’t dare share my worries with my husband. He needed to find a job, and I needed to stay positive.

Anyone who really knows me probably realizes how futile that particular exercise must have been.

There are many nuances to this story that are incredibly personal and private to me and my family, but once again I found that Duran Duran, specifically writing this fan blog, saved me. I didn’t even turn to friends or talk to Amanda, I just couldn’t. I clammed up and stopped talking to anyone besides my kids and Walt. Writing a simple blog each day though, that I could do. I focused on another topic for an hour, and that really helped with my anxiety.

At one point when we put the donation button up, I believe I’d said that we would use the leftover proceeds for the next convention.  Naturally, my life flipped up on end and is still in a state of organized chaos. I had to postpone any thoughts I had of a convention. We sold wristbands and raffle tickets to help pay for convention costs, too. I wanted to assure everyone that we haven’t forgotten. Both Amanda and I really want to do another convention. I hate saying, “Hey maybe next year” and then bailing out on those plans, so I won’t. I’ll just say that we will continue to save whatever is donated (through the button and/or raffles or wristband sales) towards our operating costs, both for the website as well as whatever meet ups and conventions come next.

In less than a month, Daily Duranie will celebrate its eight birthday, or anniversary. This has been the fastest eight years of my life. I don’t know what our plans are, going forward – except that I plan to continue writing. During previous hiatus periods (whether real or fan-perceived), I didn’t always have a busy schedule. I didn’t take advantage of the time. This year, I’ve been forced into doing that a few times, and in a few months I expect I’ll be needing to take some time again. I think Amanda has been using the quiet period to do some things that she feels she’s needed as well. I’m hoping that when the time is right, we’ll both be ready to switch into Duran Duran-mode and feel fresh.

The blog has become a part of my daily life, and the days where I’m not writing feel very weird, as though I’m forgetting something.  Some people have diaries or journals, and I have this blog. It is a part of me, and I’m not ready to separate myself from it. In fact, I kind of think the best may be yet to come!

Thank you again to those who have donated. We sincerely appreciate everything you’ve done.

-R

 

 

It’s the learning of this journey: Fan Events

Hi everybody!!

I’m writing to you this morning from a lovely hotel room in Kalamazoo Michigan. We stopped here last night on our way to Detroit for the show tonight.  Leaving Chicago was kind of sad—it is one of my favorite cities, and it is also where my sister lives. I took one last parting photo as we inched our way by on the highway, thinking about how long it might be until I can return.

I needed my sister this week, probably more than she realized.  We hung out, talked a lot, and she gave me some much-needed advice that I plan to follow on more than one topic.  Amanda and I had agreed to leave and drive last night rather than wait until this morning because I didn’t want to feel rushed getting to the show. That didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye and get on the road and I found myself a little emotional as I hugged my sister knowing she wouldn’t be going back to California with me at the end of the week.

Our meet-up turn out isn’t always huge. Some can be, but many of them have been less than 20 of us, gathered together. We make due with limited resources, and are thankful for each and every person who decides to join us. I also think it takes a certain amount of nerve to take a deep breath, walk up and say hi to people you’ve only chatted with online. Take it from me, I know that sense of anxiousness well. Walking up to a group of people and introducing myself is one of my least favorite activities, right up there with taking tests of any kind and say, having cavities filled.  It isn’t any easier for me to host these fan events, either. It takes putting myself out there, being “on” even if I’m tired or not feeling well, and being more extroverted, which certainly is not my style.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who comes to hang out with us!

At our last pre-show party, several friends we made at the Durandemonium convention in Chicago attended. What strikes me about these women is that before the convention, most of them didn’t know one another. Since that fateful weekend, however, I’ve seen news of their gatherings and travels. It is nice knowing that they bonded at an event Amanda and I organized.  One of this group had volunteered to help on the committee even though she’d never gone to an event like that before. Shy and not very confident, she was eager to help. Since then, she’s gotten married and really has started her own life. She seems far more self-assured now, although I know she’d probably argue with me—but I have watched her blossom and I silently encourage her to keep going.

Towards the end of the party, we took a picture together and she spoke with Amanda and I. She told us how thankful she was for these fan events and the things we do. She mentioned how we brought these people into her life, and how that made her feel. We have had people send us notes thanking us before, but never something like that. Raw from emotions that I have been keeping just under the surface, I found myself with a large lump in my throat, choking back tears.

Life has been rough lately. I haven’t even given myself time to grieve my family’s loss. Touring is probably the last thing I should be doing right now, but here I am. I knew I wanted to see my sister, Amanda and my friend Heather. I knew the band would be great. I just have all of these feelings bottled up that I don’t know what to do with. Listening to this wonderful Duranie tell me that I made a difference in her life and brought her friendships and things blew me away. I think I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since. Here I am, struggling, and she gave me such a gift that night. She’ll really never know, and these words don’t do it justice. I needed to hear what she said that night. It reminded me that fandom isn’t about how many shows you’ve attended or how many times you’ve met the band.

If anyone wants to know why I do these fan events (or any of it really), they can talk to Kim. She is the reason. It’s not because I make money. (uh, no)  It isn’t because I thought I would get closer to the band. (Never met most of them beyond a quick hello at a signing) It definitely isn’t because I want to be a big name in the fan community. I do all of this stuff because it is a way for me to give back. I found Amanda through being a fan. I want other people to have that same chance. It’s that simple. The band happens to provide the soundtrack for all of that.

-R

 

It’s Beginning…

…to look a lot like Christmas.  No, wait.  That isn’t right.  It isn’t December.  There is not snow on the ground or a definite chill in the air.  No, in fact, it is hot and sunny.  The days are long.  I’m not even getting up early in the morning so if it isn’t the Christmas season…what is it?  I think it is TOURING season!!  Yes!

Now, that I’m not glued to my computer chair writing or my desk chair grading, I can move on to bigger and better things…or at least more fun things!  The tour binder is OUT!  I am starting to print off all important documents like flight itineraries, hotel confirmations, and tickets before lovingly placing them in the proper locations in the binder.  The agenda has been started, waiting for little details to be filled in.  The trips to my mailbox are more fun as I wait for VIP packages and the last of the Chicago tickets to arrive.

Of course, while the tour binder is coming together, the rest of my to do list grows.  I have to figure out clothes (and probably shop.  EEK!).  I definitely need to get an oil change and the car washed.  I have to get the cat prepared for a rather lengthy visit to the grandparents’ house.  My hair appointment has been set as other appointments I squeeze in during the summer months.  I suspect that I’ll be far busier than I originally thought during this end of June.

We also need to figure out details for any/all meet-ups we plan on hosting.  Right now, we still plan on doing ones for Chicago with the idea being to just meet up for the show at the Ravinia grounds.  We have pondered doing a couple other ones, too, and now is the time to really decide where and get those details set up.

While there is always a part of me that enjoys planning and organizing trip details (what does that say about me?!?), I am also looking forward to our touring traditions.  I look forward to getting little sleep because we are having so much fun out and about that we don’t want the night to end.  I want to keep track of ridiculous quotes on some take out menu that we find.  I’m sure that there will be plenty of pictures taken and that much of the time will be filled with laughter.  I look forward to seeing friends whom I haven’t seen in a long time and meeting new ones.  While I love the city I live in, I’m looking forward to being in different places for awhile.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the whole thing!

What about the rest of you?  What are you looking forward to when it comes to these North American shows coming up (even if you aren’t going to any of them)?  If you are going to shows, which one(s)?  Do you have any touring traditions?  What makes going to a Duran show special for you, besides the obvious?

Now, maybe, I should start a countdown somewhere on my list…

-A

The Future Is Still Tomorrow

The future is, indeed, still tomorrow.  Yet, that doesn’t stop me and my partner-in-crime from thinking about the future and to dream big.  After all, dreams are free or so we have heard.  😉  Yesterday, I encouraged every Duran fan out there to embrace the current status of Duran Duran, musically, and activity wise.  This present album cycle is far from done.  In fact, just this past week, Simon discussed Duran Duran’s return to the US in the summer for more tour dates as part of the latest Katy Kafe (highlights discussed here).  This prompted Rhonda and I to think about one significant aspect of touring for us and that is the meet up!  If you have been reading for awhile, you know that we often like to set up meet ups before shows we attend when we can.  We like bringing fans together to meet, mingle, laugh, squee and share in the excitement.  Fandom is all about friendships and this is where friendships can truly begin.  Plus, the increase in excitement is sent back to the band during the show, often creating a better show for all!  It is a win-win.

As much as we have loved the meet ups in the past, we think we can improve upon them, make them better, make them for fun.  So, if dreams are free, then here is our dream, our vision of what the meet ups could be like!  In some cases, we have been able to do some of these things for one or two meet ups or for the convention, but not for all.  That’s what we want.

Pre-show Meet Up Features

Some of the elements we would love to be able to provide at every single meet up we plan, include:

  • Music and/or Videos of Duran Duran.  Of course, right?  That is a given.  The venue we host at must be willing and/or able to play/show Duran stuff.
  • Duran themed drink specials!  We were able to do some drink specials at the meet up in Durham in 2012.  Some of which people are still asking about.  Anyone remember the specific ingredients for the Stolen Leopard drink?  We were also able to do it for the convention.  While Rhonda and I love our vodka tonics, we are good with trying new drinks, especially if Duran inspired!
  • Icebreakers of some sort.  I hate the word “icebreaker” but we want to make sure that people are able to get to meet each other and get to know each other in a fun, low stress sort of way.  I, generally, hate these kinds of things so if I would think it is fun, maybe, you all will, too!
  • Photos!  We want to encourage lots and lots of photo taking!  People should be excited to meet each other and many might want photos to look back on after the facts.  Group pictures are a must!  Rhonda and I generally suck at the selfie but we have got  to work on this, especially for those group shots
  • For the Hollywood Bowl show, we planned the meet up for before the VIP reception.  We would definitely still do that so that everyone could attend.  Of course, if someone wanted us just do the VIP party at our meet up location or vice versa, I’m sure we could find a way!  We are creative!
  • Another fun idea we had is for raffles at the meet ups.  Wouldn’t it be cool to win some cool Duran merchandise or to win some Duran related experience of some sort, for example?  It would also be good to get a little gift for attending, too, right?  Now, if Rhonda and I would just figure out a way to buy these items…maybe we need to start playing the lottery?!

Surrounding Activities

Of course, in an ideal world and that is what I’m talking about here, there would be other activities that we would be able to coordinate for more than just one or two shows per tour.  What are some of those other activities?

  • Hotel Room Blocks!  Whenever I have stayed at a hotel with a lot of other Duranies, it is super fun!  It is easy to meet up with people and the partying can go on until the early morning hours in someone’s room.  Plus, with enough people, perhaps, group rates could apply!
  • Party Buses!  We have reserved some party buses in Atlanta in 2012 and for the convention in 2013.  In both cases, they were super fun and made getting to and from a venue so much easier!  Besides, who doesn’t like being in a large vehicle with someone driving YOU and others like you?!  The party then travels with you!!
  • Now, I know that some out there have mentioned renting a big RV to travel in between shows in (Yes, Heather–I’m looking at YOU!).  Rhonda and I are not opposed to that in our ideal meet up scenario.  Those, unlike dreams, aren’t free. Likewise, drivers aren’t either!  Back to the lottery winnings…While we wait for the big lottery win, we will suggest that road trips between shows definitely require a caravan.  A caravan of Duranies.  Of course, we should warn the various cities and highways that we would all be using at the same time!  It wouldn’t be because we would block traffic.  Oh no, it would be because loud music and *squeeing* will be heard!  I can see and hear the warning now, “*Alert!  Duranies are coming!!*”

Dreams vs. Reality

If we were to continue in our ideal vision for meet ups, I might mention our desire for seats on the Duran Duran plane or being sponsored by a favorite brand of vodka.  I might also suggest getting some advanced notice so that Rhonda and I could start organizing.  Heck, we would even take a rough outline like having the months and cities in order to have starting points!!  If the band is thinking about 2016, I might point out that the best times for us would be either March 19th to March 28th or between June 11th  and August 21st.  In all seriousness, we would love to do a lot/most/all of this for our fan community.  We want to get people excited to meet each other and get excited for the show!  We figure the better the experiences we all have, the more likely it is that we will do more shows, right?  I know that it is the case for me!  More fun equals more shows.  It is a simple equation!

-A

The Things We Do To Be Together

I have been thinking a lot about creation lately.  No, I’m not talking about creation vs. evolution but about how people go about creating something.  Obviously, I have thought about the band creating the album or my mom creating a new fiber art piece.  I have even been thinking about how Rhonda and I created this…whatever…you want to call it.  (Blog seems too simple, doesn’t it?!)  In the midst of my thinking, I discovered that sometimes, most of the times, the artist doesn’t really know what is going to be created before it has been worked on for quite some time.  I admit that I feel that way about this…company, partnership, blog, whatever.  When we started, our focus was simply to help us write our book on fandom.  It was an attempt to not only observe fandom in action but to also write about it, to put ideas/reactions/thoughts into words in an informal setting.  Initially, that seemed like a good goal.  Very quickly, though, we realized that we were doing a lot more than observing and reacting.  We were taking part, creating action.

What action were we creating or focusing upon?  I didn’t know for a long time.  Both Rhonda and myself could see that there were problems or areas of our fandom that could be improved.  We felt very strongly that we weren’t going to just complain but to offer solutions.  One area that we thought could use some improvement was the lack of community feeling–many fans were completely isolated.  Others had just a friend or two or, maybe, a small group.  Yet, there wasn’t enough intermingling.  There wasn’t a strong community spirit.  At times, a Duranie community feeling would pop up, but not enough to be sustained.  Why does that matter?  Simple.  The more community feeling, the better the experiences for fans.  Fans are far happier when they are hanging with other fans.  This translates to staying in the fandom longer and even bringing in new people.  Therefore, Rhonda and I brainstormed and continue to brainstorm means of creating greater community feeling.  We have attempted to reach this in a variety of ways, including blog posts, through social media and through in person activities.  In addition to planning and holding a fan convention, we also have held numerous meet ups, mostly around tours!

Our planned meet ups have happened in a lot of different places from London, England, to Hollywood, California, and everywhere in between, including Chicago, Durham, Atlanta and more.  We have found that at each and every meet up, the fans who show up have a great time meeting other fans or seeing other fans whom they haven’t seen in a long time.  Usually, lots of stories are shared as well as conversation, such as what songs people hope that the band plays at the show.  There is almost always discussion about where people are sitting in the hopes of sitting near new friends and connections!  In almost every case I can think of, these meet ups do more than just facilitate new connections and friendships but they get people super excited for the show, which translates to more energy at the show, which the band can feed off of.  It is a win-win!

Over these last 5 years, we have begun to notice a bit of a pattern.  We have had more and more requests for meet ups.  What do I mean by that?  I’ll explain with a few examples.  For this last tour, people contacted us and asked if we were having meet ups in _________________ (insert various city here).  Even after this mini-tour, we have been asked questions like, “When Duran tours in ________________ (insert another city) in 2016, will you be holding a meet up then?  I really want to go to one of your meet ups!”  Obviously, we are flattered by these requests.  More importantly, to us, though, is the confirmation that people actually enjoy and look forward to them!  When we probe these requests further, people always tell us that they really want to meet other Duranies.  This tells us that community matters.  It matters to Duranies and it is something that we all want.  We are happy if our meet ups give this to other fans.  We certainly have benefitted ourselves by meeting LOTS of great fans this way!

What does this mean for the future?  Simple.  It means that we will do as many meet ups as we can.  Obviously, they take time and effort to set up, to let people know, etc., but we definitely see that people enjoy them and that they get something from attending.  Once we know tour dates (assuming that there will be more), we will try to get meet ups scheduled for the show(s) we are able to do.  So, watch this space!

-A