This week, I had the pleasure of seeing pictures from friends who had traveled to Birmingham. What I enjoyed most was seeing places captured that reminded me of the trip I made to Duran Duran’s “birthplace” back in 2011.
Going to Birmingham was a bucket list item for me in the same way some people want to jump out of an airplane (Are you nuts?) or sail around the world (Same. Sorry Simon). It was something I always wanted to do, even more so as I continued writing Daily Duranie over the years. I never thought I’d actually get there, though. The first time, we stayed at the Malmaison at the Mailbox (Royal Mail building) scoured the city, in search of each and every Duran-related landmark imaginable. The next time, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency (because the Rum Runner, of course!), went to a pub before the gig for a Duranie meet-up, and made our way to the venue with a large group of Duranies we’d met along the way.
That second time, Amanda and I sat in a large audience, watching #duranlive tweets hit a large video screen. While I know it was a logistical nightmare trying to get those tweets and the screens to work properly, one of the greatest memories I have from that trip (and there are many, to be certain) was seeing something that Amanda had tweeted hit that screen. I am pretty sure I kept it hidden at the time, but seeing that tweet made my eyes water…and they don’t do that. I don’t allow it! Must have been the jet lag.
I have been amazingly lucky since 2005. I’ve seen the band in a variety of places, many more times than I ever imagined would be possible. My husband has (mostly) been kind enough to let me follow my dream, knowing that I would return. (Okay, a lot of the time I suspect he just crossed his fingers and hoped – but since he had my kids, it was pretty much guaranteed I’d come back!!) That show in Birmingham, though, was off the charts for me.
It wasn’t as though the show was any better than the others on that particular leg of the tour (in fact, I’d argue that Glasgow far exceeded the others, with the exception of Secret Oktober in Brighton earlier that week), it was that I was there in their hometown. Their family and friends were in the audience. Plenty of Duranies had traveled there from all over the world, and I was with them. The ONE thing I’ve always wanted to do, and I was doing it. Looking back, I still can’t quite believe it all happened.
I didn’t meet the band on that tour. I didn’t take pictures with any of them, get autographs, or even wave (except when they were on stage) that I can remember. It was just being there, amongst my extended “family” of Duran fans, in a country that wasn’t my own, all for the love of a band. I don’t think I will ever have a better experience, and I’m grateful for having done it all with Amanda. To think that we first made our way to Brighton, and on from there ten years ago this (very late) November boggles my mind.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat.