Tag Archives: social media

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

Hey Girl, Want it All: Fyre Festival

Like many, I had seen quite a few postings and tweets on social media about the documentaries on the Fyre Festival. I’d bookmarked them on the ever-lengthening “watch” list in my head. On Tuesday, I went to dinner with my friend Lori, who insisted I should watch them. Yesterday was my movie watching day, and the documentary did not disappoint.

In a world that is paper thin

The Fyre Festival was a luxury weekend promoted as an amazing opportunity for wealthy young millennials. It would take place on a private island in the Bahamas for three days. Let’s face it – that sounds fabulous. The festival contracted top bands like Blink182 to perform and promised a full line-up. Some dished out as much as $12,000 just for general admission tickets. Many others wanted full-VIP treatment with private villas, and other exclusives, and paid accordingly.

The branding for the festival was slick, glossy, and fabricated. Supermodels gathered together with festival organizers for a weekend on what was supposedly once Pablo Escobar’s (think Medellin Cartel) island, named Norman Cay. Film footage from that weekend was put together as a montage used for marketing. Festival organizers paid social media influencers such as Kendall Jenner to post a burnt orange color square on instagram. Social media worked it’s magic, and news of the festival went viral. An air of exclusivity wafted over millennials, and the festival took off.

It’s nothing to be glad about

Unfortunately for all involved, the luxurious weekend of music, sun and fun is not what unfolded (and I’m leaving a lot of the details out due to space). Guests flew in, not by private charter to a private island, but by commercial jet to an airstrip. Buses shuttled them to an area of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, where a housing community was being planned. As they drove up, they saw that their luxurious accommodations were leftover FEMA tents. Leftover tents used to house Americans who had lost their homes after natural disasters, like hurricanes or fires.

Dinner consisted of some sad looking cheese between slices of bread and a salad. Not sushi. Not lobsters. No champagne. There was very little water, and definitely no full-bars. The island area itself had very little infrastructure. There were no white-tilted, clean bathrooms. A sea of porta-potties awaited use, but not nearly enough to accommodate. The tent city was completely occupied by dusk. They still had 2/3 of their guests due to arrive the following day!

The final outcome for the festival is not what fascinates me most about Fyre. It isn’t that the young entrepreneur – Mike McFarland – is nothing more than a con artist, or that many others behind the scenes knew that there was no way this festival was going to happen and yet stuck with it until the very end. My fascination comes down to the realization that a similar disaster to Fyre could, and likely will happen again. We are begging for it.

It’s all on sale for dirty cash

I can’t speak for other countries, but Americans seek luxury. We desire VIP treatment. Many are willing to pay monumental sums of money to get it. Most of all, we want that exclusivity. Nearly every adult of gen-x age or older I know openly scoffs at the idea of social media influencers. In turn, ask most any millennial and they will immediately and excitedly explain why they work. The Kardashians didn’t just suddenly fall into a money pit. They made themselves relevant. While maybe you or I don’t care, PLENTY of others do. The Kardashians and many other “influencers” are followed by the millions on any social media platform. Their followers will do almost anything to experience even a small bit of what influencers do on any given day.

48 hours after Kendall Jenner’s $250,000 instagram post, (amount wired to her by festival organizers for that post) the Fyre Festival had sold 95% of their tickets. Coincidence or example of her influence? You decide.

The total human race became a basket case

All one has to do in order to see the possibility of something similar to Fyre happening again, is ask a simple question. If you had the financial means to go see Duran Duran in an exclusive setting and be in VIP accommodations – would you go?

If you haven’t checked out the documentaries on either Netflix or Hulu, I highly recommend them. Have a paper bag handy, because you might either gag, or hyperventilate from anxiety like I did!

-R

(I just wanted to quickly mention that Duran Duran wrote “Paper Gods” prior to 2015….yet here we are. The lyrics lent themselves SO well I had a hard time choosing what to use!)

Trusting the Process

The holiday season just keeps on giving!!

Sure, the gifts might be small – depending upon how you may feel about pictures of the drummer “in residence” at the studio….

(does that mean he’s moved in for the duration?!?)

(that’s a joke)

(although really…maybe that would be more effective…)

(Ok, I’ve used too many parentheses… and now my WordPress editor hates me…)

The pictures make my day! The more the merrier, actually!  As I wander through my house, endlessly trying to find the holiday ribbon that was probably packed months ago, I will gladly accept even the tiniest of gestures to remind me that all is well. Seeing Roger in the studio, behind his drum kit, works for me!

At some point, the band will settle into the seemingly never-ending process of writing and recording, and the pictures may stop for a while. Until then, I’m going to cheer over every photo we get, and…yes…trust the process.

I don’t know how much “the process” has really changed for the band over the years. Naturally, technology has advanced, but beyond that, I don’t know if they really do things any differently. On this side, fans have the added benefit of being “plugged in”. Earlier albums seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I didn’t know they were recording until something was released. These days, thanks to the internet and social media, we are made more aware.

For me, this is a double-edged sword. I love seeing the pictures. I used to get so excited when they’d post snips of whatever they were working on. Some might even say we – or I – obsessed over details before we really knew they were even going to be real details on an album.  It wasn’t necessarily fair to the band. In hindsight I can say that doing all of that was part of MY process. I needed to learn how to blog. Understanding that I had a duty to be responsible with my words and opinions took me longer than I want to admit. The learning curve was a roller coaster, and at times I crashed and burned.

Balance is important. I might not be able to contain a grin, or a post or two when I see pictures indicating that the band is working in the studio, but I know that it is unfair to the band to dissect whatever new music may arise from this time before any of us even have it in hand. Not only would I be setting an unfair prejudice for their work, it would be unkind to fans. My hope is to be able to report on whatever progress is shared, without interjecting too much “early opinion”.  Overall, while the band is hard at work, I am hoping to be a bit more patient, introspective, and use my time wisely….once I finally unpack and find my holiday ribbon!

-R

Fans are fans: we’re all of the same stuff

I’m taking a break from life to reflect on a couple of very different, yet incredibly similar things I saw this morning.

As I woke up this morning, I grabbed my phone. I got into the nasty habit of doing this back when I worked at our resource center (think school). Sometimes a teacher would call in sick or I’d need to prepare for a sudden change in plans, so checking my phone helped to alleviate the panic I’d feel when walking through my office door a bit later to discover complete chaos. Nowadays, it is primarily that habit that drives me to grab my phone each morning. I check social media, often landing on Twitter to see what the people are talking about.  On this day, I saw a poll from a friend.

The friend – you may recognize his Twitter handle as “GuyFansofDuran” – had posted a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite. Sounds like a normal poll question we’ve all seen before, right? Well, there was a small twist – the songs were listed by abbreviation ONLY, and they weren’t your simple “AYNIN” or “HLTW” or even “TUA”.  No, these were songs that, for the most part, were more obscure, deeper cuts.  I enjoyed the challenge, figuring out the songs fairly quickly and then choosing my favorite. Others may have had a little more difficulty, taking the puzzles in stride and solving them with the help of Wikipedia or maybe even the discography on DD.com.

I don’t think knowing the abbreviations makes me any different from other fans, by the way. I think I just happened to wake up with all cylinders firing today, for a change! There have been other days where I couldn’t even think of what “MOW” or “DYBIS” could possibly stand for, so, take heed.

I loved that a group of fans could look at abbreviations, work through a bit of a puzzle, and continue to have a discussion over worthy answers. It felt to me as though one would have needed to be pretty astute with their Duran discography to easily grasp the answers. However, if someone really wanted to participate – it wouldn’t have mattered, because the answers could be found online. Even so, from what I could tell, most of the participants were fans I recognized from the community. I dare call them fellow “die hards”, and I appreciate our commonalities.

I enjoyed the banter, even though I knew as I clicked on my choice (which I am leaving vague on purpose) that it would be the least favorite.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the eight years I’ve blogged – we’re all different, and I don’t like choosing the same things as everyone else.

Only an hour or two later, my friend pointed out an example of an entirely different level of devotion to me.  Someone had taken the time to make a .gif that flashes through an animation of each of the album covers the band has created over their career alongside a tweet asking which was their favorite. I didn’t take the time to read all of the answers, but the one that caught my friend’s attention was one that didn’t call out a particular album by name, but by its background color.

Sure, one could make some assumptions based on that answer. I don’t know if the person knew the name of the album but didn’t bother to give it, or maybe they didn’t know the album at all and simply liked the color and imagery. I’ll never know for sure, and it would be a mistake to guess. What I can say though, is that in both cases, people engage on whatever level they’re comfortable. In as much as people took time to answer the poll by figuring out song titles, and sitting through the .gif to find a favorite album – fans were engaging.  A point upon which my friend and I agree.

The best fans aren’t necessarily the ones who know every song, every word, and every note. What does “best” really even mean, anyway? Knowing what “era” specific pictures come from based on hairstyles and clothing doesn’t help to rate the quality of a fan. Some fans might not know anything beyond Paper Gods. Maybe they don’t know that Warren ever played guitar, or that Andy left the band twice. They just know the music, or maybe they only know one album. Fans are fans. There is no good, better or best. Rating one another does very little to encourage people to engage.

Listen, I know how it is between fans. I’ve been at more than my fair share of meet-ups. We greet one another and then ask questions like, “How many shows have you seen?” or “Have you met the band before?” Some pose these questions in order to find common ground, others do it as a sort of fan “sizing up” ritual. I have watched eyes narrow, and then widen, while fans tell tales meant to impress of meeting band members, or narrating accounts from the front row.  It is what is done, and to pretend that sort of thing doesn’t happen or exist is foolish.

What I’ve come to know and accept, is that in the end, none of it really matters. Fans are fans. Sure, some know and have done more. Others might not even have enough experience behind them to know the full history of Duran Duran’s career, but they love that one album with the black and white cover, or the one that looks like a map on the back. That’s great!

-R

I Know I’m Going Nowhere

Am I the only one who laughed at Rhonda’s blog on Wednesday in which she discussed becoming a “top fan” of Duran Duran on Facebook?  I laughed hard while I read.  I cannot disagree with the sentiment that becoming a top fan does not really change anything or signal success.  Even though I know all that, I couldn’t help but to think, “That will never be me.”  Nope.  I’ll never get top fan status.  It used to be that this would bother me but I think I have accepted more of who I am and how I express my fandom.

So, I don’t really respond to Duran Duran on Facebook or Twitter.  I’m not totally sure why.  I could give a few possible reasons.  First, I have a job that does not really allow me to be on social media when I want to.  I cannot exactly tell my students to teach themselves while I check the latest.  Even when I have planning time (or time to prepare for class without students present), I don’t feel like I can just respond to social media much.  Take yesterday.  Rhonda and I exchanged tweets during my lunch.  This meant that I didn’t get an assignment graded like I had hoped.  I’m cool with responding to friends or family but to tweet  to or in response to my favorite band seems indulgent.  Besides, it isn’t like the work goes away if I don’t get it done during work hours.

Of course, that doesn’t totally explain it.  I could give the argument that I work a lot.  I do.  That is not a lie.  During campaign season, I work 70-80 hours a week.  Not kidding.  So I can certainly use that as a reason or excuse or whatever.  That isn’t the whole deal either, though.  A part of it goes beyond the lack of time or the strictness of my job.  No, it has everything to do with me.  I don’t respond to the band’s social media because it is easier for me that way.  What do I mean by that?  Simple.  I cannot get rejected and that matters more than the alternative.

Here’s a true story.  I have always been an outsider even with my Duranie status.  Some of you might be confused by that.  Even in 1984 when Duran was at the peak of their popularity in the US, it wasn’t cool to be a Duranie where I lived.  At that time, I lived on the south side of Chicago.  In 1984, Michael Jackson was king.  No one could compete against him in my neighborhood and in my school.  Yet, I dared to stick out that way.  Then, a couple of years later, I found myself in a different place and different neighborhood.  Did that help?  Nope.  People in my new hometown did not accept Duran either.  For my old town, it was that they weren’t as cool as Michael.  For my new one, they weren’t manly enough to be embraced.  Did I switch to become a fan of someone else?  Absolutely not.

Soon enough, though, I stopped trying to voice my opinion about music and bands.  I learned that all it would get me is dismissal at best and ridicule at worst.  Fast forward a couple of decades.  I assumed that life might be different.  I posted on message boards and started writing here.  Soon enough, I saw that I could not compete.  I wouldn’t respond in a way that was witty enough or smart enough or worse…I might come across as arrogant or a know-it-all.  None of this would get me accepted by other fans.  Even here, I have always known that I’m not as cool as Rhonda.  People have a harder time to relate to me.  I’m not married.  I don’t have kids.  My priorities are very different.  Outside of fandom, I’m a teacher and an activist and that feels right to me.

I could respond to the band’s social media but I figure that it would just leave me open to criticism or mockery.  I don’t need that in my life.  It would get in the way and make me feel crummy about myself like I couldn’t measure up.  Nope, it is easier and better to simply not play.  This allows me to save my self-esteem and to get my work done, work that matters a LOT.

In the past, I would feel badly about that.  Am I a big enough fan?  I would worry.  Should I be doing something else to prove it?  How will the band and their team know about me?  (How ridiculous that I even thought that.)  Now, I’m giving myself a break.  Yes, I know why I don’t respond.  I accept it but I also have to be okay with not being a well-known fan.  I know how much I love the band.  I don’t need to be out there on the band’s social media to prove it.  I accept my secondary fan status and that I won’t get some badge on social media.  I understand that there are not a lot of other fans who want to friend me or follow me since I don’t talk about the band much.  I am not cool and am okay with that.

-A

Social media can still be good – let’s work together!

“The random aspects of our lives
Come together once in a while
So blinding and decidedly”

I have a love/really dislike relationship with Twitter these days. There’s a whole lot of anger out there, my friends. Much of it completely justified, but it is a lot for any one person to digest, and I take it in very tiny doses as result. However, I still see the good in social media. It’s well-hidden, but when it works, it is golden.

Yesterday, I wrote about my completely unexpected exchange with Ian Little, the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Many other fans have had similar responses, saying that they too sent an email to musiceel@gmail.com  and received something back directly from Ian. It is wonderful to see someone connecting directly with the fan base.

The fact is, you and I know there are thousands of other Duran Duran fans out there. We compete with one another for tickets every single time the band announces a gig pre-sale! Duran Duran is able to routinely sell-out shows around the world, in arenas that seat thousands. But how to reach those people?

Nick once commented that the internet is a fat pipe of information. It is impossible to see it all. Amanda and I talk to fans nearly every single day who tell us they didn’t see our website or blog until “just a few weeks ago”. We’ve been writing for nearly eight years now. Yes, eight years! You’d think we’d have gotten the word out by now, but we still haven’t. We try, but it’s impossible unless you’ve got a lot of money and time to run ad campaign after ad campaign. We have neither, so we rely on word of mouth, or in this case…fast and furious typing!

It comes down to you and me, my friends. You and me. I have written about the Direct to Fan marketing platform in the past, but as a quick refresher—basically YOU are the ad campaign. Instead of hiring some slick PR company or ad company to get the word out, bands use the greatest “bang for their buck” they’ve got: their fans.  They market directly to their own fan base, and then harness their seemingly endless energy to go out and spread the word to their friends, and so on. In just a few tweets that are retweeted by others, and retweeted again (and again!), millions of eyes can be reached in just a matter of a few clicks. This campaign is exactly everything that Direct to Fan is about, and here is the time we can prove to everyone—from Ian Little to Duran Duran—that it really works.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to broadcast the news about Ian Little’s e-book based on his experience co-producing and living with the band for about a year during the writing and production of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Tell your friends to email musiceel@gmail.com  with DD Project in the subject so that they can be added to the list of real fans who are excited to support the project.  If you haven’t taken the one-minute to send the email yourself, get on it!  Then, tweet out the news, post it on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and anywhere else you frequent.

Why not also tweet the news directly to relevant social media influencers? 80s radio DJ’s, MTV personalities, maybe even authors of books on 80s music, just to name a few categories of people to start from. If we can get just a couple of those people to be interested enough to tweet this out, we might just get this social media engine working!

If I still haven’t quite convinced someone to email Ian yet, let me share a small anecdote he sent me about the making of my favorite Duran Duran song ever: “Is There Something I Should Know” (Ian refers to this as “Please, Please Tell Me Now”)

I am very proud of PPTMN because it was the first time I’d been present all through the writing process with a band. As you know PPTMN was my 1st outing with the band, I’ll let you into a little secret. As you can tell the song is built around Andy’s Beatlesesq guitar rift and originally the song started with that rift and the rest of the band. 

I said I felt it sounded too generic and that it needed a more distinct intro so that the second time someone heard it they’d know it was the new DD single. So I suggested using the drum intro from “Leader Of The Pack”, the Motown classic. So Roger played the beat – bam, boom-boom Bang! bam, boom-boom Bang! and Simon sang “Please Please Tell Me Now” over the top and we had a memorable intro!”
Isn’t that a cool little story?? It is something that not many people knew – and the book he is writing will be jam-packed with anecdotes like that, written just for fans.
I told Ian yesterday that SATRT changed everything I thought I knew about music, at the ripe old age of 13. It really did. This album took Duran Duran’s sound, which already felt multi-dimensional, and made it even deeper. More  layers, more sounds, it was amazing. The Beatles accomplished something similar when they wrote and recorded Sgt. Pepper’s or The White Album. Music was forever changed by those albums and the way they were written and recorded. History will say the same about Duran Duran. They changed music with albums like SATRT. Not just video, but music, too.
I hope that everyone who reads this blog and follows us on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media will take a minute to email Ian with their support, and then encourage their friends to do the same!

I said I wasn’t going to write about the set anymore

I swore I wouldn’t talk about the set list again…but then I did. As I’m asking myself “When will you EVER learn, Rhonda”, I figure I may as well write about it.

This past weekend, I saw a post on Facebook regarding the band’s set list. I read through the comments because, well, of course I did.  A question came up about whether or not the band plays a lot of their B-sides. Not deep album cuts, not bonus tracks, but B-sides. I felt like I could answer the question without getting myself into a huge discussion or trouble.

I responded by saying that as a rule, they really stick to the songs most people know. Not a controversial statement by any means, and I know well enough to stay away from the emotional side of that. How I may have felt about whether or not they played Late Bar or Secret Oktober, for instance, was immaterial to that conversation. Best to stay matter of fact and move on. I answered pretty offhandedly, without a lot of flowery words, and moved on to the rest of my day.

Later that night, I picked up my phone again, only to see that more comments had in fact been made. The conversation went from discussing the actual set list, to a sideways chat about who should be blamed (meaning band member). There was a time when I might have joined in, joking along. The KEY word in that sentence is “joking”, but even back then, some people would take us seriously.

Nowadays? Oh hell no, I’m not looking for that kind of fight, because when I say something, it’s seen and broadcasted as Daily Duranie is saying something.  I get it, and I’m not even going to step one little toe into all of that. The last thing I need, is to have the word get out that Rhonda from Daily Duranie is blaming Roger (purely for example and no, I don’t blame anyone!) for the set list. Ah, no. No I am not. Have fun fellow Duranies, and I’ll see myself out.

I did eventually go back and clarify my comment because I am a sucker for punishment and couldn’t just let it go.  As I said last night, the band has a fantastic problem.  They have a large catalog of great songs to choose from, and there’s no way to please everyone. They also continue to attract an audience of NOT just die-hard fans, but a wide variety of people. Many of those only know Duran’s hits, and while that might bother some – the band would be foolish to ignore that there are people in that audience that only know songs like “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  It’s just not all that simple. I think it’s pretty obvious I’d go to the shows no matter whether they play the same set list ten times, or they switch it up.

I’ve been to shows where the band left of “The Reflex”, for example. I would go home feeling great about the gig, and there would be people on Facebook complaining about how their favorite song was left out. People would say they’d never been to a show before and that their only wish was to hear that song, and since it wasn’t played the entire concert was ruined for them. I don’t know if the band ever reads or hears about that kind of thing, but it would send me straight over the edge if I were them. I’d get to the point where I’d probably play all of the hits, fearing more comments like that if I didn’t. Particular so, if I were the least bit sensitive.

Huh. Maybe there is something to that set list thing, after all.

And, while I’m at it – they’re not the only band to stick to the same set for an entire tour or more. I saw Chic when they played on the bill with DD quite a bit during the Paper Gods tour. Every night, they played the same set list, right down to Nile’s speech about getting cancer.  I was amazed that every single night, Nile was able to keep up the energy and excitement, even when he spoke – because it was the same show. Yet I danced and felt energized. Every single night, without fail, I’d tell Amanda that I wasn’t going to dance (out of being tired), and yet there I’d go, up and at ’em before the first song was even over. Those shows were among some of the best I’ve ever seen, too.

On the same token, I’ve been to shows where a band has decided to showcase their deepest cuts, songs that only the most ardent of fans would know – and I’ve been bored stiff. I saw The Cure many years ago, and they didn’t play a single hit. I left early out of boredom, and I’m not sorry.  I’m not a huge fan of The Cure, and while I appreciated that they wanted to play for their fans, this was at a festival. Judging by the amount of people who were leaving with me, I wasn’t alone in my boredom.

Actually, Duran Duran had gone on right before The Cure that night, and they played songs everyone knew. I was way the hell back on the lawn, and even back there, the crowd was wild, dancing away throughout their set. So, I can’t really find the words to complain when Duran Duran decides to play what people know.

No, the band is never going to get it perfect for every single person. I know plenty of fans who stopped going to shows during the Paper Gods tour because as they put it, “The shows are all the same and I’m not going to pay $400 or more to see the band play the same set over and over again.”  I can’t argue with them either. They certainly have a point. Maybe Duran Duran isn’t expecting their fans to go to ten or fifteen shows on every tour. I would venture to guess most people don’t.  Those that do, well, we should expect to hear the same basic set list at least most of the time and not complain.

The band really can’t win, though. It took me a while to see that and really get it. After all, I complained about the set list for many years – something that I can’t pretend didn’t happen. That said, I can’t keep finding fault with a band who is trying to entertain their audience as best they can. Sure, I’d love to hear a B-side or bonus track thrown in for good measure, and every now and then, it HAS happened. As a rule, the band does stick to the songs most people know or have at least heard before. But every now and then, they shock the heck out of me and play something I never thought I’d hear. I’m not going to complain about those moments.

This is why I’m not going to keep writing about the set list. I’m not going to complain about specific songs anymore, either. Sure, Nick might peer down from his “Great Keyboard Rig on the Stage” and watch my reaction during the first few notes of “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but I don’t need to write about that.

All any of you need to know is that yes, even after fifty shows, I’m still going back for more. It obviously doesn’t matter what they play, I’m still on board, and I still love it every single time.

If that’s not an endorsement to convince others to go see a band, I don’t know what is.

-R

 

 

How We Get Connected

The lyric, “This is how we get connected,” from Last Night in the City is one of my very favorites.  It is the essential idea behind fandom and fan communities.  Being part of a fandom can be very different than just being a “fan”.  Let me explain what I mean by that.  I am a fan of a ton of different things.  I really like vanilla lattes so I’m a fan of them.  My closet is full of boots as they are my favorite type of shoes so you could say that I’m a fan.  I enjoy the TV show, Designated Survivor so that makes me a fan.  That said, I’m not a part of any fandom related to any of those.  No, to be a member of a fandom, I believe, means reaching out to others.  It means making connections.

I remember when I fell for the TV show, Roswell, at the end of the 1990s.  Initially, I sought out online information to find spoilers as I was impatient about what was going to happen.  Soon enough, I found a message board in which fans spent time talking to other fans about the show.  I never really thought about doing something like that but after lurking for awhile, I decided to try it.  Not surprising to anyone reading this blog, but I really liked it.  That fandom and message board came at the very right time in my life when I needed to make connections with others.  It helped to ease a sense of loneliness and isolation I had from having moved to a new city where I knew no one.  Likewise, before joining that board, part of me really believed that I was all alone in the love for a little TV show and more.  Once I started chatting with people, I loved it and soon enough feelings of sadness were pushed to the side.

Then, of course, I fell back in love with Duran Duran.  This time, I didn’t hesitate to reach out to find other fans.  I had learned that making and having those connections were essential both for my outlook on life but also made being a fan fun.  Initially, those connections formed at a little message board called DuranDuranFans.com.  Over time, those connections and other, newer ones moved over to social media.  First, it was MySpace then Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Now, though, the chatter on social media is different.  It is a lot less about Duran Duran and a lot more on current events and politics.  This shift happened over time but partly as a result of less conversation about Duran and more concern about the current state of U.S. at least with the people I am connected to.

I do miss chatting with other fans about Duran Duran.  That said, I’m thankful that we have this blog so that I can still express how I feel about what is happening with the band.  In many cases, responses on Twitter or Facebook to blog posts remind me of those initially formed connections as people are simply talking about Duran and nothing else.  Back when I first joined the Duran fandom, post reunion, I needed that connection with other fans a lot.  Realizing that others loved the band as much as I do helped me to embrace my love for the band in a way that I wouldn’t have done if I remained a lone fan.  My fandom grew much deeper as a result.

Now, it is different.  It is no longer about forming connections but about keeping them.  My fandom is as secure as it ever has been.  It isn’t going anywhere.  That Duranie card will never leave my possession.  Those initial interactions with other fans have either become deeper in which a real, genuine friendship has formed or they have faded over time.  In participating in social media now, I do want to maintain those friendships.  Absolutely.  Yet, just like my Roswell fan self of the 1990s, I need to know that I’m not alone.  In 1999, I feared that I was the only person, especially the only adult, watching and enjoying the heck out of a TV show.  When I joined in on the message board, I understood that I wasn’t.

Something similar is true now, too.  I still worry that I’m all alone in how I’m thinking and feeling about what is going in my country.  When I see others say or feel like I do, I am comforted.  It allows me to not feel so alone.  I feel stronger with more hope.  That matters a lot to me.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to maintain my connections from the Duran fandom.  The opposite is true.  I want those friendships to be strong and I still want to discuss any and all happenings with the band.  I wish that there were more opportunities to do that.  Maybe there are and I’m not just aware of where.  Where do all of you talk about Duran these days?

When I was a kid, I remember thinking that I needed to choose one clear identity.  Was I going to a dorky person obsessed with bands and clubbing?  Was I going to be a serious teacher dedicated to helping her students at all hours?  Would my entire life be focused on political activism?  Throughout high school and college, I found myself picking one and attempting to dive into that one aspect fo myself.  For awhile, I would be extremely happy but over time, I found myself frustrated and missing a different element of my personality.  Now, I recognize that I am and need to be all of those things and can be simultaneously.  I can’t and shouldn’t try to hide part of who I am even if that makes me unpopular or uncool.

Therefore, I need to be able to connect with others for a variety of reasons.  My teacher friends allow me to vent or express concern over my job.  Political associates make me feel supported and reassure me that I’m not crazy.  My fellow Duranies remind me of good times and the band that I  love.  I need all of those connections.

-A

Are we still a Networker Nation?

In yesterday’s blog post, I mentioned the power of social media. Although I don’t have Sirius XM radio, within moments of the interview John Taylor did with Richard Blade on Monday, I knew what had been discussed. I felt triumphant.

Say whatever you like about the evils of Twitter and Facebook. They can definitely be a cesspool of humanity. I agree that Twitter can seem like an echo chamber. I don’t believe that Twitter changes anyone’s mind, and I don’t think it is necessarily the best place to chat about politics. In all honesty, I stay off of it as much as possible anymore because it isn’t enjoyable. The population of people that once posted has changed.  I think even the very function of Twitter has changed since its inception.

However, if I need information quickly, Twitter is my failsafe. I can put a question out there, and get an accurate answer in an incredibly  impressive amount of time. Twitter is reactive, sometimes explosively so. Facebook seems to be more of a warm, fuzzy place…most of the time. It is where I connect with extended family, and it is where I have learned things about family members that I really didn’t ever need to know. It is also where I get good and bad news from childhood friends, and find out that my former high school crushes have gained several chins and collected wives along the way in the same spirit as I have Duran Duran ticket stubs. Even so, I don’t tend to loiter on social media as I once did.

I do miss sitting around and tweeting with friends. It was like a giant chat room, and no, we didn’t always agree. That didn’t matter, though. It was about the gathering, the communication, even the immediacy and yes, even the friendship. Something happened though, and for all of the good that could be found, Twitter turned angry. It isn’t very enjoyable much of the time. I don’t see many fans on Twitter these days, at least not that are there for the pure enjoyment of being a fan. I suppose we take our cues from the band to some extent, who themselves seem to have left social media – at least as recognizable people using their own names (Not that I know otherwise. I’m just saying that if they wanted to participate under a blanket of anonymity, they probably could.)  I can’t really lay blame in any one direction. Even so, when I need information, it does have its place.

I don’t think we can ignore the fact that within moments of news breaking, whether that is a devastating earthquake, or a tour being announced, it is being discussed on Twitter. The same holds true for Facebook, although the reaction time is longer. Social media has its place, but where do we go to really enjoy being fans without the trappings that “real” life on social media has to offer? Is it that we’re all just too busy now? It wasn’t that many years ago when the message board and/or forum of DDM was a bustling place. Post counts jumped by the dozens within seconds. Does anyone still talk about the band anywhere?

Oddly, we have a message board that is largely ignored, and I need to shoulder at least half of that responsibility. I find that I spend very little time “online” these days. It isn’t because I have that much less time, it is because the last thing I want to see or do is talk politics, or read about more horrors taking place within my country. I don’t need five hundred friends sharing the same comments, memes, and complaints. I’m sick of it.  Rest assured, I feel the same as many of you, although likely not with the same intensity as some. I’m just tired of talking about it all, or reading about it. So, I stay offline as much as possible. I can’t imagine I’m alone. I check out Instagram, I smile at pictures. I love cats and dogs. I need the good things more than I need to read the bad things five hundred times.

So while there is certainly power within social media, and our fingers flying across the keys does far more to “spread the word” than it used to, I have to wonder where the fun has really gone. Is it time to fire up the message boards again? Sometimes, I wonder. I miss our online fun.

-R