When we first began composing daily posts for this website, our goal was simply to share the daily activity of Duran Duran fans. Sometimes it centered around the good things, of which there are many. Other times, we focused on the not-so-great, which are not nearly as numerous, but sometimes overshadow everything else. I don’t know that we were cognizant of how many times we would write about friendship.
As fans, the one thing that bonds us all is our mutual love for the band. While we may not see eye-to-eye on anything else, including our favorite songs and albums, we all share mutual admiration for this band, which is sometimes forgotten during the heat of debate. Often, we are so set on being “right” that we forget we’ve all come together, more or less, for the same reason. Even Amanda and I forget that from time to time as we discuss blog topics with others, or defend our positions on certain posts.
Over the years, we’ve seen a great many blogs come and go. What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, are podcasts. The allure of speaking and being able to make a succinct point without tiptoeing though the minefield of written word is there, at least for me. I just don’t know that the world needs to hear more from me, at least on the subject of Duran Duran. This is why I appreciate podcasts like The D-Side, produced by my friend David. This month marks the completion of his first year at the helm, and he celebrated both the new year and the occasion by hosting a party in his hometown of Atlanta over the weekend.
I was not able to attend, unfortunately, but what drew me to write about the event was that others did. Out of nowhere, people hopped on a plane to Atlanta in order to spend one evening with other Duranies in celebratory spirit. We’re not talking about a weekend filled with events, or even a special concert somewhere. It was one evening in a club, and for some, they left the very next morning to get back to real life. If that doesn’t speak to the true definition of friendship amongst Duranies – I don’t know what will.
Duranies get a bad rap at times. Sometimes, yes, it’s earned. Bad attitudes, snarky on-line behavior, and of course the ever popular “knife-in-your-back” way with which some handle themselves tends to color all of us with one broad stroke. Even so, true friendships are out there. Amanda and I consistently run into people who gleefully tell us they met because of the band, and have remained friends ever since. She and I are in that same category. We met at a convention and have traveled great distances to meet up or get together, whether for shows, to do a road trip, or even a fun weekend.
I suppose I’m just saying that if you haven’t quite found your Duranie tribe just yet, don’t give up. With each album cycle, we find new opportunities to meet new people. Even if they don’t become your forever best friend, those people can feel a lot like home when you find yourself going to something alone.
Congratulations to The D-side on a first full-year of podcasts. I look forward to hearing more in 2020! Something tells me we’ll both have a lot to talk about and mull over.
My friend David has a new episode of his podcast, The D Side, out now. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. It’s available at the link or through iTunes, Spotify…and other places I’ve forgotten to mention.
The thing I love about David’s podcasts is that the topics he tends to choose encourages thinking. While Daily Duranie tends to examine social aspects of fandom much of the time, David focuses on music. Episode 6 continues that well-established pattern.
A lonely figure there
This new episode centers around important albums. David makes sure to note that an “important” album is not necessarily the same thing as a “favorite. We all have that one album (or a few) we love to bits, but typically there are several in our arsenal that maybe spoke to us in a different way, introduced us to a new type of music, or otherwise opened our eyes and ears.
While listening to his descriptions of his own favorite and important albums (No spoilers here – go listen!), I thought about my own potential choices.
Not long ago, someone told me that this site is obviously biased towards Duran Duran. I’m glad that’s coming through, given that the name of the blog is Daily Duranie. I would think my loyalties for this blog would be fairly clear with that sort of name. If you’re looking for unbiased commentary on music of all kinds – this isn’t the place to get it, nor was it designed with that purpose in mind.
Hanging dust clearing from the air
It seems to me, based on a few conversations I’ve had over the nearly nine years I’ve blogged, that there’s an assumption that Amanda and I must only listen to Duran Duran – as if that’s the only music we know. It’s appalling, really, especially given that my minor in college was music theory. I am left wondering if the same assumptions would be made if we were male, rather than female. (another topic for another blog!)
Simply put, just because we’ve chosen to write a blog and manage a website dedicated to our favorites doesn’t mean that we don’t also have many other bands, artists and musical genres we love. While we write about Duran Duran fandom, this does not mean we are unknowledgeable about music. The music is what brought us here to begin with. This concept should not be difficult to grasp. I suspect that those who say such things are people who aren’t regular readers. While I could write volumes (and someday will), today is not that day.
It occurred to me that my job isn’t to win over the naysayers. However, I will take the time to share some important albums (for me) that do not have Duran Duran’s name on them. In a future post, I’ll share some of my favorite non-Duran albums as well.
The Firebird Suite – Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer, and at the age of 27, The Firebird was his first international success. The reason why this piece of music is so important for me is because it is the music I first conducted. I spent months learning both how to play the clarinet part, and then learning to read the entire band arrangement. Ultimately, it became the piece of music I auditioned with to be drum major of my high school band. (I was a very different sort of kid, we’ll just say that. Most kids choose marches, and I chose one of the most difficult pieces for a high school band to play on a field) I learned so much from just this one ballet. Yes, it’s actually a ballet, not a march. Anyway, it holds a very special place in my heart.
If you’re curious, here’s a video from the YouTube Symphony Orchestra (yes, that was a thing in 2009 and 2011) – it is their finale concert at the Sydney Opera House. The entire suite is much longer than this – most orchestras play just one movement. My marching band in high school obviously didn’t play this arrangement – there’s a audio of The Ohio State University playing the exact arrangement we did (but GALAXIES better than my marching band ever did!) on YouTube here. The YSO is performing Berceuse – the Infernal Dance, my favorite movement of the suite. This video is great because Michael Tilson Thomas is the conductor (one of my heroes), and the visuals taking place behind the orchestra add a fabulous element. Oh and yes, I wish I was in that clarinet section!
Blue to Brown – Blue to Brown
Another important album that is a little (well, a lot) closer to Duran Duran would be Blue to Brown. Yes, this is one of Dom’s projects – a blues album he recorded with his Dad When I bought this album, I knew it was probably going to be a struggle. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the blues. I can’t even really say I’m a fan at all. except that American rock and roll owes it’s backbone and emotion to the blues, so…. (I’m sorry Dom. I hang my head in shame) Anyway, I listened, and listened, and listened. I learned that the blues has so much more to it than just it’s twelve-bar progression. While I’m still not going to call myself a fan, I have a much bigger appreciation for the blues now.
It is a little tougher to find good quality video of Blue to Brown on Youtube, but I found “Going Down But Not Slow“.
Revolver – The Beatles
This was a tough choice for me…but when I think back to times when I really listened, and took the time to learn and absorb albums – Revolver was one of the first. My friend Marsha was a huge, and I mean enormous Beatles fan. She knew every single thing there was to know about that group. I can remember the day John Lennon was shot in 1980 – we were in sixth grade, which was middle school. News broke around campus at lunch time and if I remember right, Marsha heard from one of her teachers. She came out of class absolutely hysterical, and had me walk her to the office to call her mom and go home. I hadn’t yet discovered Duran Duran, and was fairly incredulous to the idea of leaving campus because a favorite singer had been killed.
The album itself is, in my mind, a masterpiece. I struggled choosing this one because it is also one of my favorite albums, but it has songs on it that just spoke so deeply to me at the tender age of what…ten(?), that I can’t let it go. From “Eleanor Rigby“, which is a song that I identify with to this very day, to “Yellow Submarine”, which is my least favorite, but still important stylistically. This album became that to which all others were judged by, including Duran Duran’s, so it is indeed an important album for me.
Your assignment is…
The “homework” that David had assigned near the end of his podcast was to choose an important album from Duran Duran, as well as an important non-Duran album, both being from adult years as opposed to albums that had maybe struck us as adolescents or children (as a couple of the ones I shared here did). I sent him my answers, that I’ll also post here:
Red Carpet Massacre – Duran Duran: I chose this because as most know, it is definitely not a favorite of mine. However, it is incredibly important. The album was released during the most turbulent time of my life, while I was pregnant with my youngest (at the “tender” age of 37, I might add!), and my father was incredibly ill. It is impossible for me to recall the period around this album’s release and promotion cycle without thinking about everything I was going through. Additionally, this album taught me an incredibly important lessons about fandom, music and even the recording industry. It is still not a beloved album, but an important one to me all the same.
Clear Static – Clear Static: This choice is simple, and inexplicably complicated all at once. I met this band in Chicago, 2005. They were opening for Duran Duran, and had all of the potential in the world. I became friendly with them, and even ran their MySpace page for a while, helping with their mail and their street team. I learned a lot from these wealthy and entitled group of kids from the northwestern edge of Los Angeles County. Not long after this album was released, the cracks in the group were evident. It takes far more to truly “make it” than simply opening for a well-established band. That is where the work begins, not ends. Unfortunately, that is where this band finished. I never listen to this album – nor do I plan to start now – but it did change my life and my thinking in many ways. I include it as an important, yet cautionary, reminder to myself.
At a later date, I’ll go back and offer my thoughts on my favorite albums, but for now, it’s your turn! What would you consider your favorite and important albums? Send a tweet to @GuyFansofDuran on Twitter!!
My friends, think back to the beginnings of the band’s career. For me, 1982 puts me at about eleven or twelve – which was during middle school. As I’ve asserted on any number of occasions, I was a nerd. An awkward, frizzy-haired, clarinet player in the band, potential good student sort of nerd. I was not only a nerd, but I was absolutely an underdog in every sort of way.
Much of sixth grade is murky for me. The memories are dim. I I know that maturity-wise, I was way behind my peers. Boys? They were fine for being friends or even playing kickball, baseball or tetherball, but as actual BOYS? Gross. I didn’t even know how to flirt!
Frog seeks Princess
I can remember sitting in social studies in Ms. Beck’s class though, and getting into the first (of many) arguments with another kid. My face flushed, I argued until the final bell. I grabbed my books and ran out of class, embarrassed because he had been one of the “cute, popular boys”.
Eventually, he asked me to “go around” with him, which was middle-school speak for being his girlfriend. I said yes, and then had no idea how to behave. Hold his hand? As if I liked him??? Ew. Sit next to him at lunch? Uh, I have friends for that. Slow dance with you at a school dance?? Not a single chance, buddy. Keep your hands off of me, or my dad will kill you.
I was not prepared for boys.
Our romance lasted for about three days, two of which included Saturday and Sunday, days where I didn’t see him. After that, he went out with another girl in my class also named “Rhonda”. That romance lasted for a lot longer, lucky for her. The entire memory still makes me chuckle and blush over my own naivety. Poor John. We are still friends on Facebook, and every so often he has to remind me about sixth grade. As if I could really ever forget. (I’ve tried!)
The other part of sixth grade that I do remember though, was music. First, I was a clarinet player. I sat through my regular classes in order to get to band at the end of the day. My real “academic” success, at least that year, was in band. In particular, I hated 6th grade math and science – in fact I got my first “D” notice in math from Mr. Thompson that year, who openly told my father at parent/teacher conferences that I’d probably never amount to much.
(I TAUGHT TWO OUT OF THE THREE OF MY CHILDREN, MR. THOMPSON – AND ONE OF THEM IS NOW MAJORING IN PHYSICS – A SCIENCE NO LESS – AT A UC. HOW’S THAT FOR NOT AMOUNTING TO MUCH???)
Second, I loved the radio once I figured out what stations I preferred. I would walk into my room and snap on my small, portable AM-FM radio/tape deck combo unit (not quite a boom box just yet), and let the music fill the air. It was during one of those moments that I first heard Duran Duran, in fact.
Soul sister hippy chick
I had very few close friends. While I wasn’t being thrown head first into a trash can every day, I wasn’t one of the popular girls, either. I’d avoid the mean girls like they had the plague, as they’d stand in the middle of the hallway lockers. If they saw me, they’d make fun of anything they could find about me that was “off” that day. (There was generally plenty to choose from. Fashion wasn’t a strong point and my hair was even worse.) So the girls I chose to spend time with were more like me, I guess.
When I marched to school the following morning after hearing Duran Duran on the radio for the first time – I thought I’d rock their little worlds. I had grand visions of my teeny group of friends thinking that I was some sort of secretly cool girl who knew all of the up and coming artists. What I didn’t expect was for my friend Marsha to roll her eyes and announce to all of us that she’d already heard of Duran Duran. I also didn’t expect for her to tell me that I actually already owned one of their songs on one of those K-Tel compilation records my parents bought me for my birthday. That girl knew everything!!!
What did happen though, was that everyone in that group, including me and Marsha, went home and tried to find as much on Duran Duran as they could find. We came back to school armed and ready to discuss the band, sharing pinups, interviews and anything else we’d come across. Eventually, we’d find t-shirts, hats, pins, and anything else that denoted we were fans. Sometimes, other slightly less nerdy girls would notice and comment on how cute the band was (I always enjoyed it when they’d screw up the names of the band members, because then I’d show my expertise by correcting them. Wow, how was I not trash-canned??), or they’d gush over how “cool” the band was. I felt in turn that if the band was cool, I must be semi-ok too. It was the closest I’d ever come to NOT being a nerd.
Where are you
What I don’t think I really paid much attention to until later was that while it was cool for me to like them, it was the opposite for boys. Admittedly, I didn’t care one bit about that back then. Boys? Who needs them?!? They had a plethora of other, more “rock” sounding music to choose from anyway. I never thought twice about it.
So, when my friend David O. from The D Side Podcast (check it out at the link!) discussed his theory in episode 4 that being underdogs kind of brought us to Duran Duran, it got me thinking. On one hand, indeed – I was a geek. It wasn’t just that I was a geek, but for the most part, I was invisible. It wasn’t until I made the local papers because I was the youngest person asked to join the California Junior Philharmonic that other students noticed I was even alive. The only thing aside from being in the paper that even sort of made me cool, was my love for Duran. Being a Duranie made me an instant part of a group. So while I was definitely still an outcast or an underdog – Duran Duran made me a little bit less of one.
On the other hand, I knew plenty of girls who liked Duran Duran that were not geeky at all. They might not have been in the upper echelon of popularity at my school, but they sat firmly on that second rung down the ladder. They were still cool to begin with. Duran Duran just made them all the more edgy.
Shake me up wild girl
The cool girls had more fashion sense in their pinky than I did in my entire body. They wore black eyeliner. I struggled with convincing my mother that it was OK for me to wear tinted lip balm. Their hair mimicked the styles I would see on male or female new wave artists in Tiger Beat or Smash Hits. Mine was this strange concoction of frizz and waves that could only be tamed by cutting the sides short and layering them to hell and back….a style I kept until the second year of high school.
In my head, being a Duran Duran fan made everyone seem cooler. But did it really?
Clearly, the trajectory for boys was different, although I’m the first to admit that in 1980-something, I didn’t even begin to notice. I didn’t care. A boy might have been cool until they mentioned Duran Duran in any sort of sentence that could have been construed as complimentary. Any self-respecting male wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to “Rio, much less “New Moon on Monday” or “Save a Prayer”. Once discovered, the G-word was thrown around liberally, whether the word fit or not. Looking back, I’m ashamed to think about how the boys who really were gay and struggling with their identity must have felt.
I don’t think the idea of gay or straight quite registered with me back then, at least beyond the near-constant name calling I’d hear in the halls. However, I did recognize the differences of black clothing, eyeliner, and sleek hair from the heavy metal, mullet-mania that was taking shape elsewhere around us. In seventh grade, I began to take more notice of the males around me. To me, the boys who liked new wave, and then the even smaller group that would admit to being closet Duranies really were cool – something I still believe to this day. I never saw those guys as underdogs in sixth or seventh grade, because I admired them. They were brave in a way I could never quite live up to myself.
Even so, I knew that the only boys who would even quietly admit under their breath to liking Duran Duran’s music were usually different from the other boys I knew. They were nicer to me, first of all. They didn’t try to snap my bra, or tease me about my hair, or even my body shape. Their interest in me started and ended with music. I was totally on board. Music was one thing I knew I could manage.
The funny thing, at least to me, was that I didn’t fit into THAT crowd either. I didn’t wear black. There was no way I was going to be cutting my hair in some “weird, asymmetrical style” (my dad was such a stickler). Fashion? “You don’t go to school for a fashion show, Rhonda Lynn. You go to learn, and you’ll wear the clothes in your closet.” I looked like Holly Hobby trying to fit in with The Cure. Even so, I liked Duran Duran. I had made it at least partway through the door marked, “You’re not half-bad”.
Someone is perfect for you
My friend David also believes that Duran Duran are underdogs. When I think about it, I agree. Whether due to their own looks, the androgynous fashion, hair and makeup choices of the 1980’s, their fans, or their music, they’ve never been completely accepted. They’re the band that everyone outside of Duranland thinks went away, but has actually been quietly working their asses off. We love them for that, too.
I tend to believe women have a harder time seeing that we might also be drawn to Duran Duran as a result of our geekiness. After all, I’ve met many women in the years I’ve been a fan that exude anything BUT geekiness. They’re far more “in-touch” than I’ve ever been, and I highly doubt they’d agree with David’s assessment that they’ve somehow bonded with the rest of us nerds as a side benefit of being a Duran Duran fan. Being a Duranie included me into a group I might never have found otherwise, and I don’t think I’m alone.
I also buy into David’s theory that, had the band made it in the same way as some others (like U2) – with the same sort of critical success, they might have hung it up already, out of boredom. Maybe fans would have done the same. Instead, there’s been a sort of “fuck you, we’re still here” attitude that has settled in. I admire that in-your-face tenacity. Not only do they tell us not to count them out, they show us.
Here’s looking at you
I like the idea that when it comes down to it – we’re all the same and have bonded together over this band, whether we’re male or female. I appreciate that when I chat with David or anyone else about Duran Duran – they don’t automatically assume that my experience and knowledge is different or less worthy because I’m female (or vice-versa). Perhaps our perspectives are different, but the end result is the same. We’re all fans, gathered together for the love of Duran Duran.
Happy Monday, everyone. I have a house full of guests this morning, so I am going to need to make this post a quick one. It turns out – there are several things going on that can turn a week of winter doldrums into something a little less boring!
First of all, John is going to be a guest in an upcoming “All Fan Question” Katy Kafe. If you have a burning question for John, tweet it to @duranduran during the next 20 hours or so with the hashtag #JTJanKafe. I don’t know about other people, but my mind completely empties of any thoughts at all when Katy asks for fan questions. I will do my best to think of some, though!!
Secondly, DDHQ asked an interesting, thought provoking question this morning that I thought I’d share here. “What is the most cinematic of Duran Duran’s songs? What images does it conjure for you?”
There are obvious answers here, one of which being the Fatal Kiss version of “A View To A Kill”, or even “New Moon on Monday”. Then, there are other, less obvious, but very interesting choices, such as “Before the Rain”. I loved scrolling through some of the answers. As for my own, I am leaning towards “Before the Rain” because it is so grandiose on one end; deep, dark and brooding on the other. What about you?
Lastly, I have something new to suggest checking out. If like me, you appreciate a good discussion about the music, you might enjoy @Guy FansofDuran and his new podcast venture, “The D Side”. I’m intrigued and can’t wait to see where the podcast goes. With a new point of view, it provides a starting place for fantastic, ongoing dialogue about the music. I think “The D Side” will do extremely well. Check out “The D Side“. Best of luck, David!
As for me, I’ll be back full-strength tomorrow. Have a wonderful day, everyone!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!