Tag Archives: MTV

Another YouTube Star

Today is a busy day. I had an appointment in the morning and then a meeting with Amanda. I leave for another appointment in a few minutes. Later, I’ll pack for a trip to SoCal with two of my kids (and we’re crashing at the apartment of the third).

I’m headed to Vidcon.

Those are words I never thought I’d be typing. So far in adulthood, I’ve learned that saying “never” almost insures the opposite happening. Going to Vidcon, with all of it’s teen influencer glory, is exactly the opposite of what I’d hoped this summer. Alas….

Looking for the real world

My youngest is 11. This year for her birthday, she begged for a ticket to Vidcon. This is basically a convention for YouTubers. I’m still struggling with the idea that my child watches YouTube like I would have watched television, or even music videos! Anybody ever heard of MTV??

As convention time has grown closer, I’ve considered the full enormity of what I agreed to do. The thought of wandering around a very crowded convention center, dealing with the tween+ crowd for four days…. Well, I’ve likely lost any good sense I had left, anyway. I look forward to bonding and trailing behind her – likely FAR behind her (she is, in fact, a tween!) this week. I’m also inwardly groaning a bit. I’ve caught myself thinking about how I was as a tween several times this week. While my girl seems to have idols that are creators (she loves animation), I was obviously into music. My parents had just as much interest in taking me to see Duran Duran, as I do Vidcon in some ways.

My plan is to really be on the lookout for obvious displays of fandom. I suspect I won’t have to look far. Also, Amanda and I have been tossing around an idea for a new writing project, and I’m curious to see how some of the themes we’ve discussed may manifest themselves. The fact is, pop culture in the day and age of YouTube is something that I haven’t had too much of an opportunity to study. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person. Is teenage fandom in 2019 all that different from what I experienced during the mid-1980s?

In this screen-lit room

The good news is that I’m not the only adult on this road trip. Her big brother has moved back home. As a veteran Blizzcon attendee, he had all sorts of thoughts and ideas for his little sister and her first “con”. Then a light bulb went on – I could just get another ticket and have the boy go along with us! After all, he’s been on YouTube since it’s infancy. While he might not spend as much time watching now as he once did, the kid knows his way around a convention. He understands the community far better than I do, and this seems like a great brother/sister bonding opportunity.

I’m lucky in this regard, because my son and youngest daughter are very close. He’s taught her, or tried to teach her, everything he knows about computers and gaming. While he tries to play it off as not caring too much about Vidcon, I have a feeling he’s going to enjoy being there.

My first concert was seeing Power Station at Irvine Meadows in 1985. My cousin and I couldn’t go alone, so somehow her older brother was put in charge and had to go along with us. I suspect that whatever adult made that decision probably thought that it would be good bonding for us too. All I remember about any bonding going on was being told to “stop screaming like a girl and sit down”. Sit down? At a concert???

If we can stay awake

So tomorrow is the day. We will leave early in the morning, and I would imagine it’s going to feel like the longest day ever. However, I’m sure the littlest Rivera (who isn’t really that little anymore) will have a great time. Me? Oh, I’m going to find the Parent Lounge and park myself for at least part of the time – and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and trying to find some sort of smart commentary to make with regard to fandom!

-R

Carry the Fight

The other day my writing partner shared her childhood story on here about how and where Duran Duran fit in to her story and her coolness factor. She described how liking Duran is the closest she ever got to not being a nerd. If you haven’t read the blog post, you can here. I highly recommend it.

One of the best parts of sharing a blog with someone else is that I can get inspired by what my writing partner has written about like this particular blog. While I didn’t have a chance to read each and every response to her blog, when I glanced, it definitely seemed like the post resonated with others. I saw people share about how they had similar experiences or about how hearing Duran Duran changed their lives. It got me thinking. Did hearing Duran Duran change my life? Did becoming a Duranie make me cool or less uncool? Hmm…I’m not sure that I would say that. Then, last night I went to book club. We discussed a book that I didn’t read but had the message of making the best out of a bad situation and how there is honor in that. My fellow book clubbers also expressed admiration for that. I couldn’t do that as I wouldn’t just accept the bad situation. Then, when I thought about that message and my experience with Duran Duran, I finally got how Duran Duran shaped me.

As I am sure that I mentioned here before, my childhood was split in two. The first half of my life was spent in the south suburbs of Chicago while the second half was an hour or so away in a small town. While the distance between the two locations wasn’t all that big, it might as well have been two different planets as the two areas could not have been more different. The suburb featured a world of popular culture as Chicago radio was readily available and MTV premiered there pretty soon after it came out while the small town lacked any sort of popular radio and MTV didn’t come until the early 90s. They were night and day. The suburb was a fairly diverse place while the small town was as white as they come. I loved being close to Chicago and venturing into the city on a regular basis for school field trips and frequent White Sox games and hated the closed-mindedness that too many had in the small town.

The adult in me can now look at my perceptions of the two places and understand why I might feel as I do. Even though, I loved my suburban life, I wouldn’t describe it as a utopia. It certainly wasn’t perfect. At school, I was not well-liked starting right away in my half-day kindergarten where I met my best friend. For some reason that I never understood, I was not allowed on my school’s jungle gym until my best friend told others that I could come. Yes, I remember that at five. First grade wasn’t that much better at school as I became the number one target by a school bully. I don’t remember much about how that kid treated me but it was something about how I played. Too imaginative or something? Yet, I could survive that because I had a best friend. While she was no longer in my class, we still saw each other frequently despite not being in the same neighborhood. We always had such a great time together whether it was creating a fake store in my family’s basement or playing with her dog.

My best friend and I discovered Duran Duran together as we would often have B96 radio on while we played. Then, when MTV began, we found ourselves glued to the TV. I cannot remember who mentioned Duran Duran first or when or even why. I’m pretty certain that the first songs we heard the ones off of Rio but I couldn’t be certain. I have a very distinct memory of hearing New Moon on Monday one night when I spent the night at my friend’s. Did Duran Duran make me more cool? No. It brought my friendship closer as we shared the love for the band and soon began drooling over John Taylor together.

How did my Duranieness work at school? Did it me become more popular at school? Not really. I still wasn’t liked by the school bully. At lunch, though, when I avoided teasing, I sat across from some boys who loved to talk about music. Of course, in this era, Michael Jackson was king. My classmates certainly believed that Michael was the best ever and that Duran Duran was so uncool. Yes, that’s right. My classmates hated Duran. At the time, I had no idea why. Looking back, I’m sure that they felt that Duran got too much attention and that Michael and other African-American artists weren’t getting enough. Now, I get it. How did I respond to this debate? Oh, I would argue each and every day. I wanted to prove that Duran was the best and, yes, I pointed to their popularity as evidence. My classmates weren’t buying it but I never gave up.

My defiant attitude followed me to my new small town home in 1985. My new surroundings didn’t love Duran Duran either. Many of the kids in this town didn’t even know who Duran Duran was due to the lack of radio, MTV, etc. Later, as MTV showed up and more options for music came around, the kids in my little small town did not embrace Duran Duran or anything like that. No, most turned to more heavy metal and hard rock options. Duran Duran was completely unacceptable. After all, they seemed “too gay” for many of them. (See what I mean about closed-mindedness.) No, they only liked bands with “real men” that seemed to treat women like sexual objects. I could never buy into that as I held onto my love for Duran despite being so unpopular.

I’m sure that my Duranieness did not win me many favors or any friends. How did this small town treat me? Rhonda mentioned that she was never quite the person who ended up in trash cans. Well, I didn’t either but I did have rocks thrown at me as I walked home from the bus on a frequent basis. Why was I target? Does anyone really know? I am sure that I was different from having a more “Chicago” attitude and perspective when I arrived. Then, I was a religious minority that I didn’t hide. Looking back, my love for Duran was just another feature of who I was that made me weird. I don’t think it made me a target but it didn’t help me fit in either. Maybe I should have tried to change or fit in but I didn’t.

The book club discussion the other night made it seem like the only admirable way to approach a crappy situation is to make the best of it. I don’t buy that. I don’t believe that and never did. Some people decide to go with a bad situation and try to make the most to it. That is not a wrong or bad way to go. It just wasn’t and isn’t for me. I’m more of a fighter, someone who refuses to change to meet others’ expectations. I don’t like to accept bad situations and don’t try to adapt. Instead, I fight to end the situation. Now, I can see that my Duran fandom has always been a part of this defiance. I never changed and never walked away from Duran even if it would have made my life easier.

-A

Happy 37th Anniversary MTV!

Can you believe that MTV launched on this date in 1981—a mere 37 years ago???

I kept going back and redoing the math on that, because it just doesn’t seem possible. I can’t remember exactly when MTV arrived at my house. I know we had cable at some point, and I remember watching MTV for hours and hours. I just don’t know when we finally got it, although I’m sure it was before Live Aid in 1985.  What I do remember is that my friend Marsha had it as soon as it became available to residents in Covina, California.  I began spending many hours of my day planted in front of her TV as a result. (Thanks Mrs. W!!)

My musical tastes were formed by two things: playing clarinet, and MTV.  As a clarinet student, I learned far more about classical music than I ever thought possible. In the years before MTV, I knew more about classical composers than I did contemporary 1980’s-era artists on the radio. By then, I’d cultivated a deep appreciation for  Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart, along with many others. That list is long, my friends. Benny Goodman was and still is my hero and spirit animal, right alongside Pete Fountain and Artie Shaw.  On the other hand, I really didn’t know much about pop music. I discovered a local radio station – KROQ – before MTV came along, but once the videos got started, there was no stopping me. I relished every single video that came on the screen, along with juicy bits of music news and background information that VJ’s such as Martha Quinn and JJ Jackson diligently doled out in between.

I cut my New Wave and Alternative teeth on artists like Wall of Voodoo, Burning Sensations, The Motels, The Fixx, Visage, Soft Cell, Joy Division—I could go on and on and on, and you’d likely know every band and artist.

It blows my mind that this all began 37 years ago. Can it really be possible? Sadly, I know it is. Life goes by in the blink of an eye.

I wouldn’t mind sitting down in front of the TV to watch an MTV video marathon direct from 1981, even if only for a day. It is a shame we can’t step back in time, for even just one moment. The innocence of youth, hope for what the future might hold, and seemingly limitless energy all seem very appealing right now.

Yep, I’d take a little more of all that today.

-R

Time for Temptation

It is back to work for Amanda and I (and anyone else who works in education) for the school year, which is painful enough, but this year we’ve the added bonus of the band starting back on the road again for a few more dates.  I laugh a little ruefully because while I really do love my job, I love the band too – and Croatia looks lovely this time of year! Alas….

So this is the annual announcement that from now until June, half of my blogs will be written ahead of time, meaning that every now and then, I may miss a worthy news item due to timing. Please be patient. Also, if there is no news, there may be days where there is no blog. We do our best to make this a rarity, but it does happen.

Coming up in September, our little blog turns SEVEN.  Can you believe we’ve been doing this for seven years now? We are going to celebrate this moment by looking back at our blog a bit, but in the meantime, I’m just going to sit back and marvel a teensy bit. I can’t speak for Amanda, but aside from motherhood and marriage – I don’t think I’ve ever held one job for that long!  The good news is that we plan to keep going. Our mantra is that we’re not done yet, so the band had better keep going too!

I’ll leave you with one final thought.  On this date in 2003, Duran Duran received the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. Instead of showing the clip of them getting the award (which I post every year), I found a clip of the backstage interview after it was presented by Justin Timberlake.

Can you believe this was fourteen years ago?? Time goes by so fast now. I hate to blink in case I miss something!

Makes me wonder what the next fourteen will bring.

-R

Show Me My Youth

Yesterday, I found myself in a coffee shop with my former student teacher and a couple of students of mine.  As we sat, chatting, I found myself commenting on the songs being played as they were mostly songs from the 80s.  One of my students asked me how come I knew all the songs.  She assumed that I was someone with a beyond normal amount of knowledge about music.  I explained that I am nothing special and probably a ton of people my age could name the songs, too.

This statement, of course, led to more questions about why that would be the case.  I explained that in my generation we did not the options to pick and choose our music very much.  We had radio, video shows like Friday Night Videos and MTV.  In order to hear our favorite songs, we just had to tune in to one of those and wait.  This meant that we listened to a lot of songs/artists that we did not necessarily like but it also meant that our generation has a more unified cultural experience surrounding music.  We learned all of the songs being played at the time because we were a captive audience.  I explained to the kids that while this sounds terrible, it really wasn’t.  The music gave us something in common–a frame of reference, something to always talk about.  Now, as an adult, I feel like it unites me with others around my age.

As I left the coffee shop, I started to think about what my music would have been like if I had the choices to pick and choose the way kids today do.  Some people could just hear music right away and decide if they like it within seconds.  I have decided that I’m just not that way.  I need to hear songs a bunch before I really know whether or not I like it.  Then, of course, once I do decide that a song is fabulous–watch out because I will listen to it non-stop.  One example of this was Depeche Mode.  When I bought one of their albums as part of one of those Columbia House deals to buy 7 cassettes for a cent or whatever it was, I listened to it once and thought it was weird.  Too weird to listen to.  Then, I had a friend who talked about how cool Depeche was so I gave it a few more listens.  Soon enough, some of the songs got in my head.

Really, Duran Duran was no different even as a kid.  I probably heard a song like Save a Prayer at least twenty times before I got it in my head and decided it was fabulous.  It even took awhile before I would call myself a Duranie.  I liked a lot of their songs before I knew that I loved the band.  The same thing is true with new music of theirs that comes out today.  Sometimes, the first few listens don’t do it for me.  Whenever I try to respond too quickly, it doesn’t go well.  I think Rhonda would probably say the same.  This is one of the mistakes we made with the Paper Gods album.  We wanted to review the songs so badly, we forgot that we need time.  Now, in thinking about that conversation with my students, I have to wonder if the need for multiple listens is common among my generation.

My original belief that I am glad that I grew up when I did stands, at least when it comes to music.  While I am sure that there are a lot of songs and videos that I wished that I could have skipped to get to the next Duran track, I’m glad that I couldn’t.  I believed that I found a lot more songs and bands that way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

-A

To be a fly on the wall at the Rum Runner

To be a fly on the wall…

On this date in 1986, there was a party. It was a demolition party, held at the Rum Runner in Birmingham. The first scene of the crime, so to speak.

There are plenty of things I am thankful for at this point in my life, trekking the streets in Birmingham among them. I’ve even wandered down around the Cheapside area, where Duran Duran spent time before getting their big break. One thing I couldn’t do was visit the Rum Runner. Sure, I could see where it had once been, but that’s not the same as having gone inside, really. It’s not the same as seeing the mirrored tiles for myself, or smelling (what I can only assume would be) stale cigarette smoke, or just knowing that once upon a time, a band named Duran Duran once occupied the building.

Nostalgic much? Of course! I love that stuff!

There are just times when I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, just to get a small taste of what it was like to see the austere beginnings of this band, prior to Girls on Film and Rio. But on this date especially, I can only wonder what that party was like.

Also on this date, but in 1999, Behind the Music with Duran Duran was first aired.  In my attempt to find the video on YouTube to post here, a few things became clear—namely that it would seem there was more than one version of this made (and even then, I’m really not sure).  In any case, I found one that is Behind the Music Remastered, dated in 2010. I’m assuming that this edition is updated to include the reunion, which would not have happened yet in 1999. In any case, take a gander and see what you think!

-R

Skin Trade, 1987 (and other deep cuts): Do You Remember?

So let’s get right down to it: on this date in 1987, Working for the Skin Trade debuted on MTV. Do you remember?

I know one person out there does for sure.  Patty Palazzo, owner of Punk Masters and one time assistant for someone named John Taylor, likely remembers this without much problem. A year or two ago (maybe even longer?) I interviewed Patty for Daily Duranie. During that interview, we talked about Skin Trade, or rather – her obsession for the song. I haven’t forgotten that little tidbit!

So, in honor of this special day, let’s watch the video!

 

I like the days in history where we have a song, single or video to celebrate – it gives me a chance to watch again. I’m not one of those people who will purposefully get out my collection of Duran videos (I don’t really have much of one) and watch them. There’s not enough time…which is why whenever I’m at Amanda’s house I basically overdose on Duran videos when I have the chance!

The thing is, there are a lot of other songs that I almost never think about because they aren’t singles or on setlists…and some of them don’t even have videos at all.  On Monday morning, DDHQ asked what should have been a simple question: what is your favorite “deep cut” by Duran Duran. Deep cut meant a song that wasn’t a single.

My first thoughts were Late Bar and Secret Oktober, as always. But..DOH!…those were both B sides ON singles. Do they count? I’m always afraid of posting an answer and then realizing that I didn’t answer the question correctly. The last thing I want or need are 50 other fans telling me that I didn’t answer right (and yes, there are always some that take a certain amount of glee in setting someone straight). So I checked out some of the other replies before posting. I decided that no, I probably shouldn’t post those two songs because while technically they weren’t singles, they were B-sides and not even on the albums. sigh So what to choose?

My brain went blank. Amazingly, peacefully, blank. I might not have even been able to remember my name at that point. Seriously. What in the hell was (is…I mean IS) wrong with me?  So, I went album by album in my head. What was on the first album? I thought of those songs. Nothing really jumped out at me. Went on to Rio – what was on there? That’s when I came upon Hold Back the Rain. Always did like that one. Almost never hear it live. Hmm. Then I thought about other albums. Notorious was never one of my big faves (sorry). Big Thing was fine – shoot, now as I’m writing, I’m thinking I should have probably picked Land or Palomino. Wait, are those singles? (No, no they weren’t. I’m an idiot and need a brain transplant.)

So…I could have done that all day, as it turns out. I settled on Hold Back the Rain rather quickly because of two reasons: A. it is a good song and one I really like. B. I was trying to hurry.  But, I did think about Paper Gods. One of my most favorite songs off of that album is a pretty deep cut that you don’t even get unless you buy one of the exclusive versions – Planet Roaring.  That’s another one that I would probably give my eye teeth to hear live. (well, maybe NOT my eye teeth. I’d look strange without them. How about a molar??) The big fan in me wishes they’d play it live. It’s anthemic, it’s easy to sing along with them, and it would get the crowd going…or at least the crowd in the first three or four rows. sigh.  I hate it when my brain knows something my heart wishes to completely disregard.

So, go on then…what’s your favorite deep cut?  No pressure…we’ve got time…answer in the comments!

-R

My Big Thing Story

Yesterday I blogged about Duran’s Big Thing album as it has recently had an anniversary.  I wanted to take note of when it was made, what singles and videos it had and more.  Today, though, I want to take it personal.  What was my relationship with this album and where is it today?

Before I dive into Big Thing, I wanted to provide a little context, a little backstory.  I had moved with my family in late 1985 from the Chicago suburbs to a small town in Illinois.  A lot of aspects of my life felt wrong then, including my Duran Duran fandom.  I missed my best friend and a fellow Duran fan.  In my new town, no one knew who Duran Duran was and they certainly didn’t care.  I tried desperately to hang onto my fandom but it was tough.  Heck, I even attempted to persuade new acquaintances that they should love Duran like I did.  Thus, I loyally purchased Notorious as soon as it came out, but a lot changed in the two years that followed.

In between the Notorious and Big Thing releases, MTV arrived in my new home town.  My new friends and I were glued to the channel.  We couldn’t get enough, despite our growing annoyance with Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody that played on continuous loop.  One day, I happened to catch a world premiere video.  Of course, the big event was the brand new video for I Don’t Want Your Love.  My reaction?  It felt instantly like Duran.  While the video wasn’t as cool or as exciting as some of their previous ones in exotic locations with story lines, I still liked it.  I even recorded the premiere on my VCR.  Yet, it didn’t catch my attention for long.

By 1988, I was on an island surrounded by people who were not into Duran Duran in any way, shape or form.  My classmates played a lot of hair metal bands.  While I never got into that, my love for Duran had waned.  I couldn’t share it with anyone.  My video watching became a lonely, solitary activity, which was no fun.  I soon realized that it almost made me sad to watch this new Duran video as it reminded me of better, more fun times.  I hoped that MTV would feature Duran like they once did, in order to convince my peers that Duran was the band to love.  Unfortunately, while the video was played a lot, it wasn’t enough.  My new friends weren’t open to the band.

My fandom began to sink as I didn’t even buy the album for a long time.  By the time All She Wants Is was released, the band was out of sight, out of mind, for the most part.  When I heard about the band touring, I didn’t even look at the dates or try to go.  After all, we now lived about an hour and a half from the closest concert venue and I knew that I would have no one to go with.  Emotionally, it became easier to dismiss the tour as something I wasn’t interested in rather than really think about how cool it would be.

Of course, at some point, I did buy the album.  In fact, I bought it used as one of those used cd/book/dvd stores.  Now, of course, I know each and every song, but I wouldn’t say that I ever really bonded with it, not like I have with other albums.  This has nothing to do with the music.  It has more to do with the context of when the album came out and where I was in my life at the time.

That said, there are clearly some quality music on it.  For example, The Edge of America is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time.  The song captures a lot of what I see and feel from some of my students, a helplessness and anger directed at a country who has done harm too often in its history.  Speaking of history, I’m not sure that this album was a highlight in Duran’s catalog, not because of the music, but because like in my own life, this time period represented more of  Duran’s slide away from being the biggest band in the world (commercially and fame wise).  The tour, for example, was a massive one but had some moments that many fans look at now and question like the decision to feature dancing during All She Wants Is.

In many ways, Big Thing represents a period of real change and adjustment, I think, for both the band’s career and for me personally.  It may not represent the biggest commercial or critical success for the band, but it represents many qualities that I love about Duran.  They were not afraid to try a new direction or be influenced by the musical world at the time.  Their persistence remained despite all who wanted to shut the door on them.  The album was necessary for them to make the albums of the future.  Similarly, I continued to battle and had to push through to find a new me in my new town.

Perhaps, by placing Big Thing in Duran’s history as well as mine own, my appreciation for it will only grow.

-A

Being Hard Isn’t Being Strong

Yesterday was my first day back at work.  As with every other teacher inservice day, the agenda was filled with meeting after meeting.  One meeting involved us getting into small groups and sharing the path each of us took to become a teacher.  One of the specific questions involved childhood and our experiences as kids.  Interestingly enough, before yesterday, I had been thinking about my childhood and how that fits who I am now specifically in regards to my Duran fandom.

As I told my colleagues yesterday, I spent my formative years in two very different places.  I was born on the south side of Chicago and spent the first half of my childhood in the south suburbs.  Most of my classmates were African-Americans who like my family were part of the lower middle class.  Like many of you reading, during this time, I witnessed the explosion of MTV and found myself falling for five British guys with catchy pop tunes and fascinating, beautiful storyline-filled videos.  Despite it being the early 80s, Duran Duran was not popular in my neighborhood or in my school.  Michael Jackson was the be all and end all to most of my peers.  (For the record, I liked Michael but not like I loved Duran!)

I remember sitting at the cafeteria next to my friend, who was the only other Duranie I knew, across from very serious Michael Jackson fans.  We debated everything (or so it seemed from an elementary school position).  I can recall talking about the differences in videos from Michael’s Billie Jean to Duran’s Hungry like the Wolf.  Billie Jean was better, according to my classmates, because Michael “danced”.  While I couldn’t disagree with that fact, I focused on the more intense storyline and the exotic location of HLTW.  These (mostly male) classmates could care less about the storyline.  To them, Michael’s commercial success combined with awards received proved he was better.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to show that Duran was more compassionate by being on Band-Aid, months before Michael joined with others to do We Are the World.

Part of me loved these debates as it was thrilling to demonstrate my passion.  I also felt confident that I had enough information to really argue my point.  In reality, I desperately wanted to prove why Duran was better.  Looking back, I know that part of this desperation was that I believed I was judged by my likes.  If my friends didn’t like Duran and didn’t think they were cool, then would they still like me, I wondered insecurely.  I also really liked the idea that I could be SO convincing to increase Duran’s fan base all by my little self.  I wanted to feel powerful and to be looked up to.  I’m sure some of that feeling comes from being the youngest of three children and having brilliant older siblings that I never felt I could live up to.  Overall, though, the goal was to keep or make friends, something that never has come easy for me.

The lunchtime debate didn’t not last much past the release of the videos for Thriller and Wild Boys as I moved about 70 miles away to a small town.  Before I even stepped foot into my new bedroom, I already despised the town.  MTV was not available and there was no Top 40 radio.  My family moved into our new house on a hot August day with the idea being that my room would be all set before I would enter one of the town’s elementary schools.  As the movers pulled away from the curb, a girl about my age stopped her bike in my driveway, introducing herself.  Having hope for the first time that the town might not be as bad as I feared, I greeted her and began to ask about what liked.  My hope was dashed quickly as I found out that not only wasn’t she a Duran fan, she had never even heard of the band!  I was outraged!

Needless to say, I spent a few years feeling pretty alone.  Initially, I tried to engage in debates similar to the ones I had in the suburbs.  For whatever reason, these heated discussions turned negative and personal very quickly.  Soon enough, Duran was used to make fun of me.  The year was 1985 and I was all about John Taylor’s Power Station look.  I wore a lot of black and red as well as those black jelly bracelets that he sported at the time.  Unfortunately, kids in that town did not appreciate my fashion style and frankly dismissed Duran as a “bunch of homos”.

Now, I find myself still responding as I did as a kid.  On one hand, part of me wants to openly share my fandom and my love for Duran.  I want to prove them and my love of them worthy to everyone I can.  Part of the reason is because of the passion I feel for the band.  The other part has to do with me protecting myself and feeling good about myself.  If I can convince others that what I like is great, then they will be with me.  They will be an ally.  This would also make me feel really good and cool and who doesn’t like that?  They will want to be friends, perhaps.  The protective side knows that even if they don’t want to be friends, they at least won’t make fun of me.  It is hard to make fun of someone who shares your interests, right?  Strangely, adult Amanda still worries about this kind of thing, which is a big part of the reason that I seem so private.  The less people know, the less people can make fun of me for, the less I can be rejected for.

Sometimes, the fear is so strong that I just hide my interests including this fandom or elements of my fandom.  I’ll give an example that once again circles back to work.  Today, we are going on a community scavenger hunt.  The directions include a statement about wearing something comfortable.  My initial thought about what is comfortable is a Duran t-shirt.  The kids are not there yet.  I don’t need to look “professional”.  Lots of people, including my boss, know that I am a big fan.  Other colleagues wear t-shirts advertising their interests.  Yet, I struggled to put the t-shirt advertising my interest on today but I did it.  I wore the shirt.

It is funny how a simple discussion at work brought up a lot of realizations on my part.   Moving forward, I would like to be able to embrace my fandom–not to increase my coolness factor or to protect myself from attack but because it is a part of who I am.  I want to be authentic and confident enough about what I like and who I am.

-A

August Katy Kafe with Nick!

Duran Duran Appreciation Day was a little extra special this year.  Not only did fans show how much love there is for the band all over social media, but DDHQ posted a new Katy Kafe.  This one featured Nick!  His presence in the Kafe was VERY welcomed by many as the concern for him has been growing since his departure from the tour in early July.  I have heard many fans ask questions anxiously of anyone and everyone who might know something, anything about what is going on with him.  This questioning, generally, has been done out of love and concern as it is hard for people to sit back and be patient when worried.  Others have attempted to reassure by stating that no news is good news and that Nick is where he needs to be.  The real reassurance came this week, though, when fans could actually hear Nick’s voice for themselves in the latest Kafe.  Hearing his voice put a smile on my face, too!  Soon enough, I was itching to capture the highlights here on the blog.  Of course, if you want to hear it all (and I know you DO!!!) and without my commentary, then make sure you are a member of DuranDuranMusic.com.

Update on Nick’s absence:

Nick reminded everyone that he had to leave the tour to return to England to deal with a family matter and that this was the first time that he had to miss dates.  He is a little concerned that if he doesn’t return soon that Simon will take over the lead for the most times on stage with Duran Duran.  He described it as “relinquishing his crown,” which I thought was super cute!  Then, he apologized for not being at the shows but thrilled that MNDR could stand in for him.  He misses everyone but isn’t sure when he will return.  He felt strongly that the show was in a good place with the lights, the production, the setlist, etc. so he really didn’t want to cancel dates.  (As someone who attended shows, I’m couldn’t be more pleased that they didn’t cancel!)

Bloom Twins:

Nick is writing and producing their album with them and has been over the last 9 months.  The plan is for him to finish when they resume working in September.  He has been enjoying working with them because they are young and open.  Clearly, the implication is that they aren’t jaded about the business like others who are older or more experienced might be.  This is the first band Nick has worked with like this since the Dandy Warhols.   Speaking of projects that he has been working on, he and John hope that the writing for the musical is done this year as well.  (So do I!!)  Interestingly enough, Nick says that the Bloom Twins work really quickly, the opposite of Duran Duran.

MTV Anniversary:

August 1st marked MTV’s 35th anniversary.  Nick talked about how awesome the channel was when it first started.  The channel was started by “young, vibrant, passionate” people who really had a pulse on what was happening.  Whenever Duran showed up, MTV just went with whatever idea Duran came with.  For example, Duran brought Andy Warhol with them one day and that was cool with MTV.  Later, though, the channel shifted to be less flexible and even later became “game show” like.  (Like with so many other things in my life, I find myself wishing that I could have been there to witness those experiences Nick talked about with MTV in person.)  Nick and Katy discussed the possibility of MTV rebooting to once again show videos.  Both didn’t think that was going to work despite Nick’s obvious sadness over the loss of what MTV was.  (I feel his pain as I’m sure most of the people reading this do, too.)

BBC Music Day:

Duran participated in this by playing a show from the Eden Project, which is an attraction focused on plants from different environments, that was then broadcasted for people in the UK to see.  (It is on YouTube now, if you want to watch it for yourself.)  Nick hasn’t seen the broadcast and isn’t very good about watching his own shows.  He does like that the band was able to participate in something new, though.

Appreciation:

Nick sent his appreciation to everyone who has come to see the band on the Paper Gods tour, to all the fans who have been with them “forever” and to all the new fans.  He describes it as “quite a journey.”

2017 Dates??:

When discussing possible dates for 2017, the Far East, Australia and South America were all places mentioned that they need to get to since they haven’t been there yet during this tour.  I’m sure that would make MANY fans very happy!!!

Overall, we didn’t get much in terms of scoops or new information about what is going on behind the scenes.  That said, I, for one, was very glad to hear Nick’s voice and to know that he isn’t giving up his day job anytime soon!  That is something we can all appreciate!

-A