I’m coming out of hiding today to make mention of a very special “anniversary” of sorts. For those who have known me since the hallowed days of DDF – you might already be aware. If not, allow me to age everyone properly.
On this date, TEN very short years ago, a little convention began in New Orleans called 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention. It began on what was a Friday night and went straight through to Sunday, and for me personally it was a completely life-changing experience.
I hear a lot of you right now: Who really says that?!? I mean, it was really just a big party, wasn’t it? Who checks out of their life for a few days to go have fun, only to come back saying it completely changed the whole course of their life? Believe me, I see the irony there, and I would normally agree with the naysayers out there. Except of course, I was there, and through much soul-searching, I see how the event really did change me.
Maybe it wasn’t so much of a change as it woke up my “inner-Rhonda”. I’ve written about this so many times here on the blog now that I worry it’s lost it’s appeal. All I really know is that I really do believe that there are moments in our lives where we come upon forks in the road, and the direction we choose makes all the difference. This convention, and choosing to not only attend but to help organize it, really did change my direction. I will always hold that weekend, along with the months of planning prior, very dear to my heart. So much has changed since that weekend in 2004, and yet I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I met Jessica, Mac, Amanda, Mags, Lisa, Krissie, Carla…and so many others in person.
I spent time yesterday and last night thinking about the convention and specific little things that happened, hoping to come up with a list. Maybe those who were there that weekend will have others to share…but here are some of mine:
*Having Jessica meet me at our hotel room that night. From the very second I met her, I knew I’d done the right thing when I got involved planning the convention and flying to New Orleans to attend.
*Sharing a hotel room with Lisa, Mags, Jessica and Carla. We all fit and had a great time! This was also, I believe, the first, last and only time that I attended a Duranie event without sharing a room with Amanda (she cannot say the same!)
* Seeing Jessica’s red hair and watching it fade throughout the weekend. I don’t know why that sticks with me so much, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be the type of person that would die my hair vibrant red. (I eventually did not that long ago…and my red streaks faded to magenta right away too. LOL)
*Laughing at Lisa and a few others suck helium and say “Good evening and welcome to our show!” as we decorated for the dance party on Saturday night. Some might roll their eyes and say “because that’s never been done before”…but the thing is, for me, I’d never seen anyone do it before that night.
* Listening to Mac tell us how Bourbon Street roped her (and a friend) in and tied them up. I think Mac became my hero that weekend.
* Displaying all of my Duranie pins and t-shirts with pride that weekend. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I felt comfortable wearing a Duran t-shirt without people giving me strange looks, and if you know me – you know how self-conscious I can be.
*Listening to a copy of Astronaut before it was released *gasp* and declaring that the band “had ruined” What Happens Tomorrow (compared to what I’d already heard them do live). That’s right, even back then I was filled with nasty little opinions that I couldn’t keep to myself!
*Standing up and giving a speech in front of the crowd that night. Even though I had been president of my local MOMS club and involved in PTA for my kids school – I was nervous to be standing up there, but it was the very first time I can ever remember feeling like I really did fit in.
* Watching all of the men (both Duranies and Duranie husbands) grab chairs and sit down right directly in front of the screening area to watch The Chauffeur when the video played at the dance party.
*Buying drinks with Amanda at the dance party. I can’t remember if I was drinking gin and tonic or vodka and tonic that night (both are favorites)…but we very clearly started a tradition for ourselves.
*Commenting on Amanda wearing these boots with (what I felt were) high heels all over Bourbon Street. I don’t wear heels – ever – due to horrible neuromas on the bottom of my feet, so I marveled at how she could walk in those things. I was wearing flip flops, which are still my shoe of choice!
* Singing Rio on stage at what was then Howl at the Moon. (I’d say “Thank goodness there’s no video of that”….alas…it’s out there somewhere.)
*Saying good-bye to everyone on Sunday morning. I had such a great weekend, and I secretly worried about whether I would really see any of them again. How do you bond so quickly with people you’ve met in real life only once? That Duranie connection runs very, very deep.
Thinking about that weekend makes me want to do it all over again. I swore I was done with New Orleans after Voodoo…but I don’t know….
Happy memories, everyone. I continue to thank my lucky stars that I met you all. Despite, time, distance and changes – my love and friendship runs very, very deep.