Back in 2003 (I’m hoping I have the date correct!), RobinRobin did the Duranie world a huge favor and started a little website – the aforementioned (love that word) DuranDuranFans.com, affectionately shortened to DDF. Those of us who were barely treading water on dd.com along with many, many others in the Duranie Kingdom, found our way onto that message board. I can remember the very day I wandered yet again onto dd.com only to see a thread from Robin requesting that a few come on over to DDF and check out the message board client she’d set up. I figured it couldn’t be any worse than dd.com and went over, only to find a much calmer and easier to read set up. I quickly made friends with a few Duranies, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about planning a convention. Suffice to say, I didn’t go back to dd.com much after that.
In 2004, that convention happened – it was held in New Orleans at Hotel Monaco (the hotel was closed after Katrina due to damage and never reopened). It was there that Amanda and I first met in person, and truly – it’s where I met most of the Duranies I continue to keep in touch with to this day. I continued to call DDF my second home for many years following the convention, and I will always be extremely thankful to Robin for the time, energy, support, friendship and emotion she poured into the site.
As time wore on and sites like Facebook grew in popularity, I found myself drifting farther and farther away from DDF, and during the last year I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve visited. The friends I made there are STILL my friends now – in fact most all of them are my friends on my personal Facebook page and they are the people I am most tickled to read about in my news feed each day. Embarrassingly enough, I found today that I can’t even remember my proper password for DDF – a sure sign that it’s been far too long since my last log in. For many years that board was the very first place I’d check in the morning. Forget going to dd.com for the news – DDF would have the best news first! I can remember spending many an hour trading posts and laughing so hard… my house would be devoid of other family members, and yet I never felt alone. We had a chat room on the board that for a while became a gathering place on Monday evenings – we called it The Late Bar (aptly named!) and we even had a made up bartender there named Woody. It’s where I first fell off my virtual barstool, and where I am positive I left my sanity behind. We had many a game on DDF, one of which being that each Monday, we’d pass the torch from New Moon on Monday. Actually, it was more like we’d “grab” it from one another and claim to take a band member along with us. Guess which band member I chose??? 😀 Well Roger…. let’s just say you’ve been around the block more than once. 😉 There are stories and threads that when I think back on them, I will still laugh about fondly. All of those picture threads we had going…the time we found the nekkie pictures of Simon…(yes, we’re grown women. We sometimes have a difficult time remembering that and yes, my husband would be appalled. Not surprised, but appalled all the same.) Reading all of Jessica’s updates from the 2005 tour (AIR HORN)…good times were indeed had by all. When something happened to one of us, it happened to all of us, whether we wanted it to or not. In October of 2007, I was shocked out of my gourd with the discovery that I was about to be a mommy to baby #3. I was about to turn 37 and trust me – having a baby was not something I was anticipating. My relationship with my husband wasn’t on the best terms at the time and the people I turned to first, even before I told my family, were my friends on that board. If it hadn’t been for those women, I am not at all sure I would have made it through that time. They made each day worth living and my sadness, frustrations and anxieties were shouldered by all of us, and I’ll never ever forget that.
DDF was truly a home for anyone who wanted somewhere safe to talk about the band. We tried our best not to judge, we expected everyone to play nicely in the sandbox, but we respected opinions as best as we could – understanding that we wouldn’t always agree…and there were many times when all we could do was agree to disagree. Our friendship mattered more than the band, and really, isn’t that the point?
Message boards have waned in popularity since Facebook and other social networks like it began, while groups on Facebook (and perhaps other sites) have sort of taken over where they have left off. It’s a subject Amanda and I cover at length in our book…in fact I’m in the midst of writing that chapter right now and to a degree there’s poignancy and sadness in seeing that DDF has also fallen victim to progress. DDF and message boards like it have served their purpose well, however. I’ve made very good friends with people from all over the country that I might not have ever met otherwise, and I have all the hope in the world that these friendships will continue throughout my life.
I raise my glass (or cup of tea because it’s not even noon my time yet!) to DuranDuranFans.com. Robin, you did an amazing job with that message board, and I will truly miss it. There just aren’t enough words to explain just how much that website and that message board changed my life.