Tag Archives: social media

An Unexpected Peace

Generally, I would say that I don’t mind a bit of intensity in my life. Teaching is such that I could eat, breathe, and sleep the profession and my students. Campaigning also leads to a lot of work in a short amount of time with lots, lots, lots of pressure. Even my fun tends to a have certain level of passion. I wasn’t content just to be a Duran Duran fan. No, I have to be part of a daily blog that has also planned meet-ups and a full-blown convention, etc. and so forth. Yet, these days are filled with a heck of a lot of intensity that I could do without. Obviously, in terms of world events, there is a LOT going on, much of which has caused me sleepless nights and terror about the future. If that was not enough, my place of employment has made some moves to undermine its workers, including myself. I feel downright shaken by it all. So, I spend a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how to escape the insanity for a few minutes or a couple of hours.

Thankfully, Duran Duran has provided a number of ways to help me “get away”. When the pandemic hit home and we were ordered to stay inside, Duran opted to do some chats on Twitter, which Rhonda and I covered here. I “watched” each of the chats as band members showed up and fans rushed to ask questions, hoping to get said members to respond to them. As I observed these chats, I found myself inwardly cringing. Social media events like that set up fans to be competitive, to try to get attention over other fans. In some cases, people try to ask a clever question to rise above while others increase the frequency of tweets to do so. I hate it. Let me be clear here. I appreciate that the band wanted to interact with fans. I’m never going to complain about that, especially in the middle of a pandemic. That said, I am not criticizing any fan who participated. I totally get their desire to get attention from a band member. Who wouldn’t want that?!

But I hate the competition–if you get attention, someone else does not. It makes me feel icky. Now, I will be the first to admit that I shrink from competition like this. I don’t even try. It is less painful to not participate rather than try and fail. I mean…come on. I’m not going to ask a super clever question and I am not one to have a super quick and witty response. There is no way that a band member would see my tweet(s) over others. I’m just not that cool. So, yes, I admit that part of the reason that I’m not a fan of competition is because it makes me feel badly about myself.

Lately, though, the band has switched to other methods to remind fans that they are around and to give us something to distract us in this-less-than-fun times we are living in. No matter if it is John’s tutorials or Simon’s radio show, there is no competition present. Interestingly enough, both do allow for some fan participation. For John’s chats, fans can comment or ask questions on Instagram. Likewise, fans can send questions to Katy for Whooosh radio. Yet, I give both John and Simon credit in that they might take time to respond to a few people, they choose not to have that be the focus of their “shows”. They do not allow the competition to creep in. From this fan’s perspective, I never feel any pressure of “should I try to get a response”. No, I can just sit back and relax. I can just enjoy.

Over the course of my time in Duranland, there has been far too much competition for my liking. (Now I know that there are some fans who don’t see it, is not part of their experience or don’t mind it. That’s cool. I’m happy for them. I am only sharing my perspective and experiences.) That competition has, at times, threatened my enjoyment within this fan community. I, for one, am glad that I don’t have to worry about that right now. It has helped make fandom a place of just fun, escape, enjoyment again. That is much appreciated and needed.

-A

Meeting You

Since this pandemic/safer at home order began, I have found myself having lots of time to think about everything under the sun. In some ways, I feel like I’m beginning to understand myself better, including how I view connections, fandom, etc. Is it enough to just watch public performances? Is it enough to read and watch interviews? Is it enough to exchange messages online? What does it take to feel a real connection?

Initially, I started thinking about the idea of connection in relationship to politics and politicians. It is one thing to look at policies and positions and decide to vote for people based on that. It is another thing to feel motivated to campaign for them or to run someone’s campaign. When I look back at all the campaigns I have worked on, the ones that mattered most to me were not necessarily the ones with the highest position but the ones that I felt the greatest connection to. How did those connections happen? In the case of President Obama, I remember him telling a story about inner city students that felt like he had reached inside of me and brought words to my feelings. That said, my level of commitment grew when I met him. He acknowledged my work and spoke to me not as if he was the president or a presidential candidate but as my equal. It allowed me to feel instantly comfortable. In fact, I was probably too comfortable, which led me to literally whine like a middle schooler at him when he asked for more work out of me. Overall, though, getting to know political candidates as people has definitely increased not only my connection to them but my desire to help them succeed.

Does this kind of connection help with friendships and fandom? Friendship is an interesting case. As kids, people usually became friends with someone who goes to school with you or is involved in the same activities as you like sports or music. In some ways, adulthood is the same. I have met a lot of my current friends through work or my political activities. Sometimes, I have gotten to know neighbors at the various places I have lived. This would imply that face-to-face connection on top of having something in common really matters. Yet, interestingly enough, I think about Rhonda.

We first “met” online when we were nothing more than names on a message board or email. Would we have become friends through just those types of interactions? Maybe. It is hard to say. I won’t lie, though. As I started meeting more and more Duranies online, she did not stick out to me. There was nothing negative there but there did not feel like a connection, either. When I decided to go to the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004, I was looking forward to meeting, in person, so many people I had communicated with online but I cannot say that she was at the top of my list. No, it took to meeting in person, over vodka tonics, no less, that I started to think that a friendship could happen. Then, of course, the following year, we attended some shows together and the rest became history. Looking at our friendship, we are used to being far away from each other and rarely actually spending time in the same place. Yet, for me, at least, having some sort of face-to-face contact helps keep the connection.

So what about fandom? This is, obviously, a stranger situation to consider. Friendships are based on the personal. I have met many politicians through working for them or some other close connected campaign. Fandom is different, though. I am one of many. I cannot and do not expect actual connections. (I mean…my goodness…why would a celebrity want to meet me or any other fan? It just doesn’t work that way, which I’m more than okay with.) Yet, I have to admit that I like to see beyond the public persona, beyond the celebrity status. I’m not sure if that is because it makes my fandom stronger or not. It is just something I have noticed about myself. I think this is the reason that I seek out interviews. I want to see more than just their musicianship, in the case of Duran Duran. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Why else do people read magazines with celebrities or tune into talk shows? It also marks some sort of weird divide between being a casual fan and a more serious fan, for me. In the case of Duran Duran, I’ll watch any and all interviews. There are a number of interviews that I have watched a bunch. Yet, there are other bands that I would tune into an interview if it was convenient but would not go out of my way to see it. Depeche Mode comes to mind here.

As much as I watch and enjoy interviews with celebrities I am a fan of, I also know that there is still a persona that shields that person(s). I get it and do not blame them. They are, after all, aware that what they say and do could cause harm to their careers or their standing with their fans. I do the same thing standing up in front of my students. There is no way that I should step out of that role as teacher, not at that setting. Yet, I also get that my students like and enjoy when I am more myself and human with them as opposed to just educator. This is why I tell a lot of bad jokes and not-very-interesting stories. It does help to create connections. Hmm…so maybe the key is to allow some glimpses beyond a public persona to create or keep those connections.

Interestingly enough, I feel like this has been happening, naturally, in Duranland. I think we are getting some of those more human as opposed to rock star moments. Two examples come to mind. The first one is every time that John cannot get the social media platform he is using to work. His frustration is not only understandable but also relatable. It makes me think of the countless times in my classroom that I cannot get some piece of technology to work. In that moment, John Taylor is like me or I’m like him. We both have struggled in that department. Then, I think of the video that Roger recently did, which featured his kiddo. How many people have had children or pets venture into a video or conference call? Again, other people could relate. At those moments, they are no longer just celebrities on a pedestal but real people with lives, problems, moments of joy, etc. To me, those moments are even better than any interview. I get a glimpse of the real person and feel a connection. That will definitely keep me coming back for more.

A-

Guest Blog: A Deep Dive Into the Bass Odyssey


By Nat Mingo

I found myself smiling at the latest Stone Love Bass Odyssey announcement.  This small moment of joy surprised me so I pondered what I appreciate about John’s latest endeavor. Here is what I found.

Anticipation

The band’s official account and some related social media accounts are doing a great job of advance promoting John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey episodes. The event becomes something to record in my planner. It reminds me of the days when I would patiently record band radio interviews on cassette or elbow my siblings aside to record the band on the family VHS. Friday Night Videos, anyone?

Title

Only in Durandom would Stone Love Bass Odyssey make perfect sense!  I don’t quite understand it but I understand that this title must resonate with JT in some fashion.  I would welcome more elaboration through a Katy Kafe or any fan question opportunity.  Maybe it isn’t meant to be understood or, like other art, each person interprets it differently. SLBO also reminds me of Simon’s lyrics.  I don’t have a “favorite” lyric; I appreciate the unique moments as they come in songs. 

Platforms

Stone Love Bass Odyssey (henceforth typed as SLBO for brevity) can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit & Instagram. Using multiple social media platforms allows more people to engage. Not everyone uses all these platforms so there’s something for everyone.  The multi-platform approach also helps me to become more tech savvy as I awkwardly navigate to each episode.  SLBO gives me a legitimate opportunity to connect to the tweens/teenagers in my life as I name drop platforms in our conversations. “That sounds cool. I’m on Instagram as well; my favorite musician posts there.” 

Setting

John records in his personal space.  John seems comfortable in his Studio- Man Cave- Office- Library.  My home office serves this purpose for me.  My space has Duran memorabilia, Funko Pops, books, my everyday music collection and professional items.  It’s pleasant to watch his PunkMaster garbed-self  speak passionately about Duran music in his own “safe” spot. Plus, I enjoy peeping at the random objects on his bookshelf. Is that a Grammy?

Moniker

JT frequently introduces himself as “The Bass Man”. I hadn’t heard this nickname before.  Of course, we know that Simon is also Charley.  I wonder if this name was bestowed upon him or if John selected it for himself.  While its origin is unknown, John certainly embraces it as he proudly uses it in each episode. Perhaps this is a natural outcome when you formed a band with two other Taylors. 

Instruction

I am an educator who can’t read music.  At the heart of teaching is the ability to make something understandable and relate able.  John demonstrates these traits superbly in each episode. He names specific chords and deconstructs his basslines.  Then he combines the elements while weaving them through the songs. I find myself learning something new in each episode.  I’m also isolating his bass notes in individual songs more. I wonder how his instruction is impacting the musician-fans. 

Post Interviews

John has a conversation with various guests after each episode. He has spoken to a diverse body of musicians. He started with a younger musician, Dave of Chromeo. He spoke with Suzanna Hoffs, a peer, who also made music with The Bangles during the 80’s. He spoke with Mark Ronson, who was a fan and produced Duran. John spoke with Nile this week. John has openly spoken of his admiration with Nile, a music veteran. The performance background of each guest colors the conversations nicely. John finds ways to connect with the audience and the guest simultaneously. 

Live Playing

John plays during his “lectures”.  The bass he plays has little impact on me. My limited musical ability means that I celebrate when I can see if he uses a pick or not. When John plays, it reminds me of how much I love live music. It also reminds me of the strong bass lines of the soul-funk-disco 70’s music of my youth. John often uses a drum machine that I have dubbed “Wall-E” to accompany him.  I wish Roger would ambush an episode to play together with John. In my opinion, John’s basslines are so much more robust live than on Duran’s albums. I’m always in the market for fan recorded shows and I’m open to discussing this topic over drinks with any interested fans at a future time. 

SLBO isn’t a substitution for a Duran Duran concert. But while we wait, I appreciate this deep dissection into their music. And…I have ammunition for any foolish mortal who tries to call Duran Duran a “boy band”. John’s musicianship is evident. 

Stay tuned!

Nat

It’ll Take a Little Time

I have decided that there are some perks to working from home. For example, I have been able to sleep in longer. After all, I don’t have to make a lunch, get my bag together, drive to school, etc. I also get to take naps more frequently. One other big benefit is that I get to check into social media more regularly. Social media, for me, helps me feel less alone. I can quickly respond to friends, check in with the news and more. I am lucky in that I don’t have a lot of arguments or see a lot of fighting. Instead, I get the message that I’m not alone in thinking and feeling as I do. That helps me to keep going, to keep my head up, etc. As an added perk, I also get to see what Duran Duran is up to. When school was in session, I could and did check out social media in between classes, at lunch, etc. but it was always super fast, often not allowing me to watch or listen to what was posted. Now, though, I can check into things more immediately or participate as events happen! I could follow along on Twitter when each band member showed up to do a “chat,” instead of having to read the transcript later. Likewise, yesterday, I was able to watch John’s little bass lesson that he is calling “Stone Love Bass Odyssey.” I was able to listen in on his live chat with Dave from Chromeo, too.

As I watched John’s tutorial, I could not help but to smile and not just because he was educating all of us on Planet Earth (my favorite) but because he was playing teacher. Now, I will be the first one to admit that I don’t know anything about how to teach music but I do know education. Overall, I would say that he did a pretty impressive job in breaking tasks down, not going too fast, explaining each step well. Obviously, this is not a perfect learning situation. As someone who has been trying to do “virtual teaching” for awhile now, it is definitely not the same as being there in person. It isn’t like we could ask John questions or get immediate feedback. A lot of teaching is an instinct. You either have it or you don’t. Then, of course, education classes can take that instinct and add practices and strategies that take it to the next level, to reach all learners. If John wants to learn some of those, I am sure that I could offer some ideas to him. 😉

Of course, after the lesson, we got another treat, which was watching/listening/responding to John and Dave from Chromeo have a nice chat about music. As I watched, I could not help but think of John as a talk show host especially as he signed off by thanking everyone who tuned in. It made me smile.

One statement that was made that caught my attention was when John said that they had hoped that the album would be coming out this fall but have decided that it won’t happen now. Hearing that reminded me when I heard that I would not be going back to school this year. It didn’t surprise me as I was expecting it. Yet, it still made me stop in my tracks and made me feel deeply sad even though it is the absolutely right move. I’m not surprised that the band is not able to finish it right now. After all, they are separated from each other and it cannot be easy to try to work on music from afar. So, while I understand and totally get it, it still makes me sad. I would love to have new music to hear and digest it all. It would have been a welcome distraction. Heck, at this point, I love all forms of entertainment that can distract, help me escape from this dystopian world.

That said, my plan now, though, is to turn this piece of information from something sad to something else to look forward to when things return to “normal”. I know…easier said than done.

-A

I’m (Probably) Not Going to Sleep Tonight

I don’t know how long we’ve been on lockdown now. My youngest came home from school on March 13th, and that was the day I found out she wasn’t going back on Monday. I think it was the following Thursday that Heather and her boyfriend came up here because her studio had been closed, and I believe that March 19. Our shelter-in-place order might’ve come out the following day. Regardless, I’ve been pretty much at home since the 13th. I have left the property a few times, all for essentials of course. You know, things like hard cider, wine, oh…and a birthday cake for the youngest. All three kids home, husband working here, four cats, two dogs, and now 24 chickens. It’s April 30th (I originally typed May 30th only to find it later and fix it). I’ve got to tell you, I’m not doing great.

Every day feels like a re-do of the day before. I’ve said that here already, so now it has become Groundhog Day on Daily Duranie too. Sorry. I try to find the good things to laugh about, and there are some. I also get mad, and I’m not going to lie about that. I am furious we’re going through this. I don’t let that thought consume me, but some days like today, it is just plain difficult to manage.

I’m not sleeping that great either. Oddly, I fall asleep fine, but about two hours later, I wake up. Most of the time, I’m in pain when I wake up. My neck has really been bothering me lately and I think I must be stiffening up when I sleep. So, I wake up and then toss and turn unless I get up and take Ibuprofen. This is an every single evening exercise for me, and I wish I could still go to my old chiropractor. Alas, the OC is five hours away and I’m just nervous enough about someone adjusting my neck that I haven’t found a new one. Yay.

Then there’s my weight. I am not equal to the number on the scale (truth be told I haven’t stepped on my scale in months – and that is 100% out of fear. I’d really rather not know.), but the mirror isn’t lying and the story it’s telling me is that I need to be social distancing myself from the fridge. Like – I should be living in a tent on the back half of my property – kind of social distancing. It’s not good, friends. The pandemic has not been kind in that department, no matter how much time I spend outside. Even the good old “weed abatement” isn’t helping this year. I would have thought I’d sweat it off by now, but no.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I tried to make the day special for her, and she got plenty of presents with still more to come. I’d ordered her gifts on April 1st, and yet they’re still not due here until May 7th. Thankfully, she’s my easiest kid and doesn’t mind celebrating twice. I made her pancakes for breakfast, gourmet soft pretzels as a snack, and then potstickers for dinner (weird that the menu for the day began with the letter “P”, right? Coincidence!) I had ordered a pink champagne cake (again, “P”) that she’d requested from our famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and the highlight of my month was driving in my car to go get it. It was the first time I’d driven since March 13. That is crazy.

It was also Amanda’s birthday. I texted her, and I’m not going to lie – it took all the energy I had just to do that. I kept it short, wished her the best – because I really do – but I just couldn’t chat like I normally might. I’m through trying to make excuses for it. I’m struggling. It’s that simple. She asked me how it was here, and of course I said fine. What else am I going to say? I’m not under the impression I have it worse than anyone else. It would be crazy for me to explain my wild mood swings between “happy to have my kids here” and “completely pissed off at the entire world”.

Yes, I really do feel that way sometimes. At least I admit it. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I have one hell of a temper sometimes. I’m trying my best to remain calm and reasonable. Sometimes, that feels like more of a challenge than it probably should.

It wasn’t long after that when my husband came out into the kitchen. he was fiddling with his phone, and the next thing I know, I heard Mark Goodman’s voice over our Sonos One speaker. (A clear product plug if I’ve ever seen one…thank you Sonos for keeping my husband employed!!) He was introducing Duran Duran for a Town Hall to discuss Paper Gods.

I hadn’t ever listened to it before. Let me say – I didn’t get to listen to the entire thing (we have six people in this house, and as I’ve said before – I rarely get through anything without being interrupted 45,000 times. Yesterday was no exception.), but it was the best half hour of my day. I listened, smiled, made dinner, and forgot about Covid-19. My blood pressure seemingly returned to normal. *sigh*

There are days when I know I need to stay off of social media. This is one of them, but I wanted to find out about this new order from my governor that begins tomorrow. He shut all of the beaches and parks. I live close to Morro Bay, and we drive there pretty often, so I wanted to know more. It is very difficult to talk myself through my feelings when I see perfect strangers talk how we should all stay inside until a vaccine is found. Or, when people I know consider one “upside” of this virus being that perhaps an entire political party will kill themselves off. Kindness all the way, I guess???

Nope. I shut Facebook down pretty quickly after that. It isn’t even about how *I* feel, it’s that the world has gone off the rails!! That, combined with whatever I’m feeling that day is a nasty combination. I get it. Everyone is stressed. We all say shit sometimes. I just can’t take it today. So, I went to Twitter very quickly to check the Daily Duranie account. That’s when I saw a post from Duran Duran. Thank goodness for Duran Duran.

They posted what they characterized as a “never before seen” video from a Paper Gods photo shoot. I have to tell you guys, I don’t often take time to watch this stuff. There have been any number of things they’ve posted over the years that I just kind of skim over or scroll past. It isn’t that I don’t care – it’s just that I don’t have time to consume it all. So I don’t. But this time, I did. Set to “Last Night in the City”, the short video was cute. I saw the band smiling and laughing, and I’m not going to lie – I nearly cried. It was so nice to remember that once upon a time, I went to shows. We planned to do things together. I clinked glasses with Simon in a hotel bar. We’d smile at them onstage, and maybe we’d even extend a wave to one another. I’d sit on the edge of my seating waiting for new music. Amanda and I took road trips. We also spoke regularly, and I didn’t feel like waking up and getting through every single day was a trial. I miss those times. How about you?

So am I doing well? No. No I’m not. But I’m trying. I just thought it was better to be honest, and let the few regular readers we have left know that yeah – this is a struggle right now. My hope is fading a bit, but I’m working on it. What about you?

-R

Gone too Far This Time

Everybody has a limit, and I finally hit mine.

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009. I wasn’t one of the very first, but I was a fairly early adopter. Back then, people took the prompt “What are you doing right now” very seriously. There were tweets like, “I am feeding my cats”, or “Do you really need to know that I’m scrubbing my toilet?” There were more tweets questioning what Twitter was for than anything else. In short, Twitter was weird.

Over the years, Twitter has changed significantly. Recently, I read an article that said more than 70% of Americans get the bulk of their daily news from Twitter. People, whether celebrity, political talking head, or plain old mom from the ‘burbs, use twitter as a sort of running commentary. Sometimes it acts as a chat room; other times a loudspeaker. Entire careers have been created managing social media campaigns for companies and similar. What was once a weird, awkward way to communicate, has become a global lifeline.

Lately though, and by “lately” I mean since 2015, my Twitter experience has become more frustration and less joy. I could actually expand that to say “my social media experience has become more frustration and less joy”…but I’m gonna stick to Twitter for today. At first, I had followed everything and everyone who interested me. Duran Duran (obviously at the top of my list), anyone who was either IN Duran Duran or worked with them in some way, places I liked, people I enjoyed, political figures, news organizations, pretty much anything. I liked the banter, enjoyed the news bytes, and for the most part – it was good. Then John (yes, THAT John) left Twitter in 2012, Andy stopped posting and vanished until late last year, Dom stopped posting for the most part, and my Twitter feed slowly became a never ending sea of bad news.

By 2015, I was seeing swell after swell of ranting, complaints, anger, frustration, and yes – Donald Trump. I went back through and unfollowed anything that had the least bit to do with politics and news, hoping that the ocean of anger would subside a bit.

Unfortunately, the damage seemed already done. Very little of my timeline had anything to do with real connections or friendship or any of the original bright-eyed, bushy-tailed ideals or reasons for joining Twitter I once knew. Many, if not most twitter-users weren’t interested in making friends or communicating (for the most part). They were interested in seeing who could yell loudest, or get the most “likes” for the most appalling things they could say. Say the wrong thing, and you were unfollowed, called names or continually harassed. Either agree to the opinions of the Twitter masses, or expect to lose friends in the process.

And that was before the pandemic.

Since Covid-19, Twitter has become the place to blame and shame, right along with Facebook and Next Door – but again, I’m sticking to Twitter for today. It was, and still is, exhausting to see every day. I began feeling like the life was slowly being sucked out of me. As I told someone the other day, just because we are all experiencing the pandemic and the struggles therein does not mean we all have the same problems or experience. There’s some post about being in the same storm, but not the same boats. That’s about right. Just as I wouldn’t dare tell someone in New York how they need to handle themselves, I’d appreciate the same respect. Seems simple, yet incredibly complicated in practice. That, on top of the other mentioned tensions I’ve been feeling, pushed me over my limit and past my boundary. I quit. Finito. Done.

That’s right. I quit Twitter. Well, actually – I stopped updating my Twitter and deleted the app from my phone. I haven’t deactivated my account just yet, but I will at some point soon. I also deleted Facebook, and aside from absentmindedly grabbing my phone throughout the day and looking for something until I realize that I’m just in a bad habit, I’m good. I didn’t realize how much time I’d wasted not being totally present here at home. Don’t tell anyone!

Yeah, I know that Duran Duran sometimes engages with fans. Yes, I’m aware that I might miss something important (except I won’t because although I won’t keep my personal account updated, @dailyduranie still exists!), but I also have peace. Very much needed, wanted, and appreciated, calmness, stillness, and peace.

My social media footprint will shrink considerably from here on out. I think John had the right idea all along. Go figure! The best way for Duranies to stay connected with me is through the Daily Duranie Facebook page. My personal Facebook is kept to my closest friends and family. There was a small group of people I communicated with on Twitter that I’ll miss, so if you’re reading and don’t have my contact info, drop me a line on gmail.

I’m also on Instagram. I post a lot of pictures of my chickens and whatever I’m seeing or working on here at home. In fact, I would say that there will be more on there in the coming months. We continue adding to our farm animal brood, and work to add more pasture space for sheep and goats, and plant fruit trees. We’re growing apple trees along with several other types of fruit because my husband is starting a cidery – it’s our retirement plan. He made his first batch back in November, and it turned out fantastic. So much so, that he’s already made an agreement with a wine-bar owner in our town to make more in Autumn. Big changes will be coming, although I’ll still be around for Duran Duran. Always.

I’m still blogging here, don’t forget. That’s another reason I’ve stopped with the social media – I needed to back off just to have the peace-of-mind to keep writing. We all handle things differently, and we all live under very different circumstances. Not everyone lives in the country, and not everyone lives in a city with high density housing, and public transportation. I wish there was more true support than the vitriol for anything and anyone who feels differently. Just don’t forget to live. Wash your hands, but also LIVE.

-R

They Gave Your Game Away

I admit it. I’m still struggling to get things done. Normally, my inability to get household chores done is due to the excessive amount of work that I have to do. Now, I’m feeling relatively caught up when it comes to work and teaching. (Don’t worry I’m sure that will change by Tuesday, at the latest.) No, the problem is my lack of concentration. I push myself to get up, get moving and do something. After I finish whatever task, I then sit back down and waste time doing I don’t know what. I find myself seeking out tasks that distract me and are filled with a little fun. This week, two activities that fit that description popped up in my social media.

First on Duran Duran’s social media, DDHQ posted a little word search to occupy your time. You can find both the word search and an answer key here! I decided to give it a try and found that it took me longer than I anticipated. On top of that, it sufficiently helped me focus on that task alone, which I always appreciate. For awhile Rhonda and I were posting games and activities like that here. If you do a simple search for the tag, “games,” you should be able to find them just fine. If you all like that sort of thing, we can certainly do more. I might even go back and revisit some of those as I’m enjoying tasks like that. One of my new routines is to color a little before I go to bed. It has helped quiet my mind down so that I can go to sleep easier and faster.

The second game/distraction/activity this week came from Buzzfeed in the form of a quiz. Now, I suspect that I’m not the only one who is a sucker for those kind of quizzes that ask things like, “Which character are you most like” or “Which band member are you most like etc.” This one was a little different in that it asked how obsessed you are. My first thought, I have to admit was to begin to overthink it. What do they mean by obsessed? What about the fact that some fans don’t have as much money or time on their hands? What about fans who are new? Are those factors taken into consideration? (You know. In thinking about my questions, I wonder if I do that because I have to ask similar questions all the time about lessons I create. Can all students access this material? What about students with lower reading levels or struggle with English? Am I thinking about how this material might be triggering, emotionally? Yeah, this probably has made overthinking totally normal. ) Anyway, let’s take a look at the questions:

  • I own one physical album.
  • I own more than one physical album.
  • I own all their albums, singles and even rarities.
  • I have posters of them in my room.
  • I follow all of their social media accounts.
  • I have attended a concert.
  • I have attended more than one concert.
  • I have attended more than 10 concerts.
  • I have traveled to another state or country to see them.
  • I have met them in person.
  • I have met them in person several times.
  • I have been a fan for most part of my life.
  • I have seen their interviews so many times I can recite them.
  • I rewatch their music videos at least once a month.
  • I have seen all their documentaries.
  • I have seen all their documentaries more than 10 times.
  • I listen their music almost every day.
  • I have made friends because of them.
  • All my friends and family know about my love for them.
  • I named one of my children after something related to them.
  • I changed my own name to something related to them.
  • I have had dreams about them.
  • I often daydream about them.
  • I have read fan fiction about them.
  • I have written fan fiction about them.

Apparently the idea is that if you can answer yes to at least 20 of these questions you are obsessed. So what do we think about these questions? Are they solid? Are there questions that don’t make as much sense? Are there other ones that you would include?

Now, before I dive into what I think, I again want to acknowledge that this is supposed to be for fun. Therefore, it does not need to be completely scientific, right? The quiz starts out focusing on albums and music. This is a good place to start. That said, there seems to quite a jump between one physical album and owning everything. I also took note about the physical aspect. Does that matter??

Then, the quiz asks about posters. That makes sense for Duran Duran, specifically, but there are other merchandise questions that could be asked. For example, what about t-shirts? Tote bags? Mugs? Towels? I think the question could have asked about a bunch of merchandise and asked people to check it if they have two types of merchandise or something like that.

Next, the quiz goes on to ask about social media. Do you follow all of their social media accounts? All? So, does Duran have a Snapchat? If so, I don’t follow it. I have tried that multiple times with no luck. Tik Tok? Again, I’m not there and have no clue about the band. Couldn’t it be a broader question?

The quiz moves on to concerts, which again is a logical series of questions. I think for the most part this section of the quiz is good as it starts out small and builds up. There could have been way more questions about just that. Maybe that would be a fun quiz to create.

I really enjoyed the questions that focus on friends, family, etc. as many people can relate to those even if they are busy, have limited chances to go to concerts or meet the band. That said, it took a weird turn, I thought, when it asked about naming children after something related to Duran. How many people can really click that one? Some fans don’t even have children. Then, the ones that do have to go with the idea of naming them something related to the band. What about pets? I think that could have been added to make the question more common.

The last parts that I wondered about include the documentaries one. How many documentaries is the author considering? What about DVDs that the band created? Do those count? Should they matter more than documentaries that others made? Where were the questions about the videos? Then, the questions about fan fiction felt odd to me, too. How many fans read fan fiction about Duran Duran? How many write? I could see those questions for fandoms related to TV shows and movies but Duran? I’m not sure.

So, what do the rest of you think? Do you want to take the quiz yourself? Go here!

-A

I wish *I* Knew What’s in Their Head(s)

It is always nice when DDHQ gives me something to think about and chew on while blogging. Yesterday, they asked the “simple” question of what has been the most surprising change they’ve made during the course of their constantly evolving life as a band?

Naturally, this question is fully loaded. I can cite about 35 surprising things just off the top of my head. Should I answer the question from the POV I once had as a preteen Duranie? How about as an adult? Fan blogger? Overall?? Could I even begin to decide on ONE thing that has surprised me more than all others?

Let’s face it, there have been many things to shock the hell out of me over the years. Roger left the band, first of all. In my mind, that wasn’t supposed to happen in 1985, or any time. I can tell you exactly how I responded to that news: “Why is it always the band member *I* like that has to leave first??” Imagine that sentence loaded with all of the self-centered emotion of a 14 year old girl, and you’d pretty much have my feelings in a nutshell. The music didn’t surprise me much, but having my guy leave certainly did!

Warren came along right as the 80s were about to leave the building. Sure, I’d seen him getting in there, but to be fair – I tried not to notice too much. I figured that as long as he towed the line (Andy’s line, I might add), it would all be fine. Say whatever you want about him – at the time I didn’t know anything about Warren except that he wasn’t Andy Taylor. That fact, was unsurmountable, but I had high hopes until I started seeing one interview after another where Warren took great joy in announcing just how much better of a guitarist he was. To me, *that* was what was so surprising about him, not his playing. I’d always been taught that if you’re good at something, it’s your actions that put the proof in the pudding, not the words.

Then there was Ordinary World. Just when I had begun to think that was all there was, the band proved they had more gas in the tank! The song was nothing like “Rio” or “Planet Earth”, and yet they were getting more radio play than they had in years. I wondered how long it might last. Yes, I know Warren is responsible for the guitar part. It is not my favorite song by a long shot, but I appreciate that his work kept the band going.

More recently, there’s been Red Carpet Massacre. The album surprised me because it seemed like such a departure from anything they’d done previously. People have said there’s no “Duran Duran” sound, but I’d humbly disagree. There are certain qualities to most, if not all Duran Duran songs over the years that I can absolutely attribute to the band. Simon’s stacked harmonies, John’s bass lines, even the atmospheric synthesizer and keyboards from Nick. Those elements seemed to be missing or at least very hidden in the mix on Red Carpet Massacre. Add to that the likes of Timberlake and Timbaland being VERY audible, and you’ve got one surprising album.

Anybody remember the days when John was on Twitter? How about Simon’s vocal problems in 2011? Both things shocked the heck out of me to some extent. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to engage with a real member of Duran Duran on social media…or anywhere….ever…and I did! I tend to wonder if perhaps John didn’t see the value in being on Twitter, or that it made the relationship between fans and the band more complicated, between all of the “likes” and “follows”. That is certainly understandable, but the one thing I am grateful for when it comes to social media, is having that time. As crazy as it sounds, it made the band feel a lot more human to me, and while I can’t account for the feelings of every fan – I can say it was more than I could have ever hoped for as a kid, which in turn makes it one of the most surprising things this band, or members within, have done.

Paper Gods surprised me because it was all of the things that Red Carpet Massacre was not, incorporated into all of the things that Duran Duran has always been. While I am not going to say the album was perfect, I can appreciate the effort to modernize Duran Duran’s sound. It still surprised me though, coming off of All You Need is Now. Two incredibly different albums within the same decade. Amazing.

All of those things, plus so many others have kept me captivated and learning to expect the unexpected from Duran Duran over the years. The surprises have kept the band fresh, and their sound from becoming stale. I could name probably ten more things that made me sit up and take notice over the years. But, one thing above all else stands out in my mind as being the most shocking.

One night in 2003, I snuck into my husband’s office downstairs while my kids were playing and Walt was in the garage. Earlier I figured I could pop onto duranduran.com and check out the message boards before anyone (Gavin) learned how to build a bomb. What came up for me as the website loaded was beyond my wildest dreams. Five faces stared back at me, and even then, I was confused. Wait. Could it really? Nah…… But wait, is that…is that John? If that’s John, who are those other guys?? It was only after I read, and re-read the headline announcing a show at the Pacific Amphitheater over and over, and over again, that I even allowed myself to consider that maybe, just maybe I was going to be able to see all five members of my very favorite band for the first time. So yes, for me, having the fab five reunite was, by far, the most surprising thing this band has ever done, at least, as far as I’m concerned….and that’s not a dare for them to try to up the ante!

-R

Thought I Heard You Talking

Today marked the second Twitter chat with a member of Duran Duran. This week Roger participated and it went much like it did last week with Simon. Fans used the given hashtag and asked question after question or, in some cases, gave declarations of love, shared pictures, etc. You can see it all for yourself in the blog that Rhonda shared with screenshots of the questions/answers. As I watched the proceedings, I was left with one very strong feeling and wish. I want more of a conversation rather than a competition.

If I jumped on Twitter or another social media and my friends saw me or my post, what would they do? They would respond to what I said or say hi or something similar. Then, I, in turn, would react to them and vice versa. It would look like the normal give and take of a conversation. Of course, on social media platforms like Twitter, tweets are usually public so other friends might also see and join in. For example, I saw people in our Daily Duranie timeline talking about some poll Duran was in against the band, Wilco. Some commented that they were shocked that they could lose against that band (they didn’t) and others wondered who Wilco even was. Every tweet was part of what felt like a normal conversation.

Yet, with these chats with the members of Duran, there is no normal conversation. Fans are not interested in talking to each other much or so it seems. Instead, they tweet questions at Roger or whatever band member is present, hoping for a response. Then, he picks out a few questions to answer. For me, personally, this format does not work for me. Even if I have questions, it feels so unnatural of me to jump in and try to be “heard” or “seen” over others. That is not how I roll. I am pretty comfortable with being beyond patient. After all, I teach for a living. Now, in saying that, I am not blaming the band member present, DDHQ or the fans.

Last week, one of my friends suggested that maybe there needs to be a better or different way like getting the questions ahead of time. I could see why that could be a good alternative. Maybe the band member could answer more questions. Maybe they could search for frequently asked questions and respond to those. That said, I still wish that it could be more like a conversation. Do I have an idea for that to really happen? Not really. I, for one, would love if band member would come in and say, “Hi everyone. How is everyone doing? What is the status where you are?” Then he could share how things are where he is and with the rest of the guys. Honestly, for me, I really just want to know that they are doing okay. Then, people could respond to that opening or fans could respond to each other. I know. It’s not going to happen. I’m an idealist but dreams are free.

Clearly, other fans are also positive thinkers, too, based on the number of times I saw fans ask Roger about when they are planning to come play at place x. Obviously, they are hoping that this horrific pandemic will be gone and settled down soon. I would love for that to be the case, but I suspect that it won’t be. In case you missed the news yesterday, the Isle of Wight Festival has decided to cancel for this year. I was not surprised by the news. It still makes me sad to see things like this in print even when I think this is the right thing to do, in order to keep people safe. So, as much as I appreciate fans’ desires to see the band play live, I cannot imagine that any concerts will be scheduled anywhere for quite awhile. That said, I totally get wanting something to look forward to. I, for one, cannot wait for the day that I don’t have to utter or think about the word, pandemic.

So, maybe, on that note, what I should be focused on wishing was different is not a silly little chat on Twitter but that people who are fighting this pandemic on the front lines get what they need in order to stay safe themselves and others.

-A

You Can Make Your Rhymes and Paint Your Rules

It’s hard to feel like blogging today. I tried staying off of social media over the weekend. This morning it is definitely no better. Reading the same thing 50,000 times does little to heal, nor does it seem productive if you’re really wanting to change things. I would rather spend the time with people I care about, can see, speak with, and respond to in person. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it is what I intend to continue – a lot less social media, and a lot more “in person”.

At one time, I was a huge proponent of social media. Direct-to-fan marketing? YES! Fan-empowerment? 100% on board. I believed that social media was the way to bond with fans, and a great tool for marketing and promotion. I loved it all. What changed?

Thought that I was in control

I was just sitting here mulling over my social media trajectory as I considered what I’d write this morning. The idea that we could connect with others from all across the globe, using this wonderful conduit, sparked something in me. Virtually “meeting” people that I would have likely never had the opportunity to talk with otherwise, made the Duranie world feel so much more tactile and real. Message boards and social media made fandom fun. I wanted more.

I don’t think things can stay like that forever. For example, writing this blog now isn’t nearly the “wide-eyed and bushy-tailed” experience it was when we started, and that’s okay with me. I can only control what I write – not how readers respond to my words. Social media is the same. What was once pure fun for me, has turned into something quite different. I am still able to see the joy when I see posts from friends and they’re speaking about things in their personal lives or sharing pictures and things. Every once in a while a blog resonates with someone, or a complete stranger finds the website and feels compelled to connect with Amanda and I to say thank you or to excitedly share their feelings. Those moments are still golden and I appreciate them greatly.

On the other hand though, social media is a minefield. Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s just me or if others feel the same. I see posts from people, and immediately internalize them. It is unhealthy, and I am well-aware of when I’m allowing it to happen. Ultimately, I’ve gotten to the point where social media isn’t a friend, but rather – a foe.

Another trick of fate

Self-confidence is attractive. Conversely, it is never good when someone seems desperate, has little poise, or self-assurance. If I am not careful, I can easily slide down that hill into the woe-is-me cesspool, and I have zero interest in wallowing there. I can see that social media is the kind of kryptonite that can throw me there. While it can, and has built me up over the years, social media has also helped to tear me down.

Not being mentioned in a list of people that inspired a friend didn’t shove me into a cavern of despair. Seeing posts from people who have long since stopped being close confidants doesn’t make me wistful and sad for what once was. Reading tweet after tweet suggesting that wishing “thoughts and prayers” are now horrible things to say didn’t hurt me directly. Knowing that we didn’t even go a full 24-hours without a mass shooting didn’t altogether drive me over an edge. No. It is all of it, actually. All of it – collectively – made me see that social media is no longer my friend.

Nearly everyone has asked at one point or another why the band isn’t on social media anymore – at least beyond more than a post here or there. This morning, the nicest thing I saw on Twitter was from someone (*cough* Dom *cough*) who almost never posts. They retweeted a picture from freaking 2012. That was SEVEN years ago…and it was the best thing I saw in my timeline, amongst of all the other tweets (not specifically aimed at anyone) filled with vitriol, anger and insults. Seriously? That’s the best?

Gotta break it all

People like to blame a specific troll, or say it’s the “crazies” that drove band members like John from Twitter. Did you ever ask him personally? (I haven’t) What if it wasn’t any one thing? Maybe it was ALL of it. What if they realized that it just isn’t that helpful, and it really isn’t much fun? That’s where I’m at.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, or how to handle it. I’m still online, of course. Regardless of what I do in my personal life, Daily Duranie won’t be affected. I’ve talked about taking a break before, and for the most part I think I did. Maybe I need another, but perhaps I also just need to unplug a bit more extensively.

I don’t like being dramatic and announcing an exit. Fishing or sympathy or reassurance isn’t something I like doing. I truly hate seeing people beg not to be “cut” from the friend list, or what-have-you. If I’m going to cull my friends and followers, or if I’m going to completely quit social media in my personal life; readers are probably going to be the last to know. I’m not going to tell you all so that you can “kiss the ring” and stay. That’s kind of the opposite of the point.

That isn’t even the purpose of my writing about it here. I’m just wondering if anyone else feels the same. Social media is an integral part of being a fan. We all rely on it to stay connected. I’m just wondering how it would feel to disconnect myself, I guess. It feels so extreme. I wonder how other people manage it all. Any thoughts or ideas?

-R