See Me

Yesterday, I wrote a blog asking what is apparently a very strange question  – does the band know their fans? In the undercurrent floated the additional question, “Should they?”

First of all, I could tell it was a Monday because not many replied, even on FB, which is the typical place for such conversations. Some answered that sure they did – for marketing. Fair enough.  Still others seemed to indicate that I had finally lost it. Maybe so.

The point of the question wasn’t really in the answer. To be 100% clear: I am not asking or expecting for the band, or anyone within, to become my best friend. I also was not insinuating that anyone else reading should have those expectations, although I can understand why some may have read my words, taken the path most traveled and arrived at the door for the mental facility seen in Falling Down. It happens, but I don’t think Dr. Le Bon is there ready to do patient intake just yet.

Recently I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, which is a fantastic book if you’re like me and feel like you’ve got to handle everything yourself. The book was given to me by a dear friend who knows me only too well. In the book, Ms. Palmer explains that as a street performer (she performed as a live statue of a bride), she would make eye contact with her audience, and she would offer them a flower (in exchange for money that they would put in her bucket). It was her way of saying “I see you”.

 

“I was amazed by the intimate moments of prolonged eye contact happening on the busy city sidewalk as traffic whizzed by, as sirens blared, as street vendors hawked their wares and activities thrust flyers at every passerby, as bedraggled transients tried to sell the local homeless community newspaper to rushing commuters…where more than a second or two of a direct, silent gaze between strangers is usually verboten.

My eyes would say: 
Thank you. I see you.
And their eyes would say:
Nobody ever sees me.
Thank you.”

She goes on a page or two later, “I laughed thinking about every single artist I knew – every writer, ever actor, every filmmaker, every crazed motherfucker who had decided to forgo a life of predictable income, upward mobility and simple tax returns, and instead pursued a life in which they made their living trying to somehow turn their dot-connecting brains inside out and show the results to the world – and how, maybe, it all boiled down to one thing: 

BELIEVE ME.
Believe me.
I’m real.

Here’s the thing: all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. 
Every single one of us wants to be believed.
Artist are often just…louder about it.”

When I read that passage, I found myself nodding vigorously. I’m not saying I’m an artist, of course. But I write these feelings that are in my head and heart. I suppose that makes me a writer? I always pictured being a writer as something so much different from what it is, I guess….. But yes, as I said yesterday, I write with the hope that the words and feelings I plop down here reach someone, somewhere.

I suppose that’s what I was trying to communicate yesterday. I want to be seen and believed by someone. I am real, and no…most of the time I’m not really seen, and I’m certainly not known. For a long time, I was a fan like anyone else reading. I went to shows, I bought records, I would grin wildly when I’d see anything about them on TV or hear them on the radio, and I would talk about them on a message board. At shows I was just another face in the crowd. But somewhere along the line, something changed for me. I wanted something else. I think I wanted to tell my story, which is incredulous. I mean, what makes my story any different?

Nothing. That’s the crazy thing! I’m a mom of three beautiful kids from California – above anything else, they are the reason I keep going each day, and I’m prouder of them than anything I’ve ever done on my own. I don’t really work unless you count teaching, keeping this website running, and writing manuscripts that we hope to get published. I’m not even from the UK. I’ve only traveled there three times and I can only claim to have stood outside a rehearsal space for Duran Duran one time. (Twice if you count the day before when no one was there!) I’ve never once stood outside a radio station waiting for the band to suddenly emerge, although yes – I’ve actually hung out in a hotel lobby when I thought they were there. I’m not very good at band stalking, as it turns out. Up until this past September, I hadn’t ever been to a taping of a TV appearance. In the past I’d tried for tickets to various things, but I’d never won. I have no real band stories to share, or anything that I would necessarily need boast about. I can’t claim anything out of the ordinary, yet I write this blog and for some crazy reason I think it’s worthy of being read, whether we’re talking about members of Duran Duran or anyone else.

The shameless audacity!

I think I got tired of just being in the audience as a nameless floating head in a sea of thousands.I started writing. This blog challenges any of you to see exactly who I am. Not just the jeans I wear, my bottle-blond hair or my green eyes. Not just my opinions, but my heart. See the part of me I pour here on the blog each day. I keep writing. And sometimes, people read.

And maybe, just maybe, someone sees me.

 

-R

5 thoughts on “See Me”

  1. I have read this a few times to see if I can wrap my head around where you’re coming from. What I can say is only what I have witnessed myself. Whether each fan admits it to themselves or not, that desire for validation and recognition from the band is within every member of the fan community – to me that’s the core of what being a fan is about. But it’s a broad spectrum. From the fans who have said ‘I got a Tweet from Simon about my drawing’ or ‘I got 2 Tweets from John’ to the other end of the spectrum, for example someone like Andy Golub (Durandy) getting a book published which I guess is the ultimate expression of fandom, along with recognition from the band.

    Your quote about no longer wanting to be a ‘nameless floating head in a sea of thousands’ as a motivator to start the blog, I recognise. I think most, if not all fans want to stand out in some way and express their interest in the band in a way that is meaningful for them whether it’s a blog, art, fiction or whatever. To get recognised by the band for that expression is an added bonus.

  2. I admire the time, effort, and devotion that you put into your blog. I only wish that I could write as well as you do. I have written a lot of journal entries and dreams about Duran Duran. Some people might see this as obsessive, like my brother. He said that I was last year when I went to see them on the Today show and also went to their album signing in the city. I had never done anything like that before.

    Reading your blog is always enjoyable. I don’t socialize online much because of my anxiety issues but just felt the need to thank you for making me feel normal and less alone regarding my love of this band.

    1. Hi Lara,

      Thank you so much for taking time to write. Reading notes like this are honestly and truly what make my day…especially when that day began before it was light outside (like today, in fact!).

      Please read what I’m about to say to you VERY carefully and thoughtfully, and know that it comes from my heart. Don’t let ANYONE take your bliss away. If being a Duran Duran fan makes you happy – fantastic. If writing in journals and having dreams about them is what gets you from moment to moment, then you owe it to yourself to protect that time, those thoughts, and your feelings. Our world is filled with ugly, bad, stressful and flat out terrible things. If Duran Duran brings a little light to the dark, then your brother should be overjoyed you’ve found something wonderful for yourself, and not marginalize or minimize it by calling it obsessive.

      I have done what amounts to nearly nine years of research on Fandom. (talk about a lot of time and energy?!?) Fandom is not obsessive. If you feel good about what you are doing , and it brings some sunshine into your life, it’s not obsessive, and it’s not wrong…it is NORMAL.

      I’m glad our blog makes you feel good. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something amazing to read notes like this. Thank you for making me smile.

      -R

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!