The one sort of “umbrella” topic, so to speak – is that of opinion. I think it’s the one thing that is never short in supply within the Duran Duran fan “community”. (Not just the paid one, but rather the one that all of us as fans belong.) We all have big, passionate opinions about this band, and I think that to some degree – myself certainly included – we all have trouble accepting the fact that others probably have a completely different opinion from our own! I’ll admit it, sometimes I wander around online, completely mystified as to how others can see things so incredibly differently. I desperately try to see the other side, to remain open-minded, but a lot of times, it’s really tough. Sometimes the best I can do is absolutely nothing (and sometimes I even fail at that!!). I fight the urge to speak out, to type in a radical response or to cry out on Twitter…and the best part is that it’s all for the love of a band.
We’re all insane, aren’t we?
Just last week a new group popped up on Facebook, commemorating that DDM has now been around for ten years. At first, I really had to sit down and count the years. I thought for sure they were mistaken. I joined DDM as quickly as it was announced, but I never really got involved on the boards. They were too busy, too populated, and I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t feel comfortable and I had a difficult time “meeting” people. So I steered clear. Others though, they loved the place and I certainly don’t blame them. We all find our “home” online in one fashion or another. It wasn’t very long before I started hearing of drama (or Durama as it might be affectionately named), and once in a while my own board would hear full stories of the in-fighting on DDM. We would sit back and be amused and sometimes we would even come to our own conclusions over whatever topic was being argued. (Yes, we were probably Monday Morning Quarterbacking. I can’t apologize. So be it.) In any case, the boards at DDM soon came to be known for drama…or for people having passionate opinions about this band and whatever else came along. When the Facebook group came up in my News Feed, I won’t lie – the very first thing I did was message Amanda with the link and ask “I wonder how long it’ll be until there’s fighting?”
I didn’t have to wait long. In fact, I think I gave it a week and it happened within the first five days. Nice.
It doesn’t really matter what the arguing was about – some might disagree – but the larger point here is that it’s all just opinion and experiences. We each come to this table, the “Duran Duran” table, with a host of our own thoughts, opinions, expectations and experiences. I’m right there with the rest of you. I have my own opinions about the band, what I expect from them, what I’m willing to put up with, and what I think should be deal breakers. Some people expect them to treat everyone kindly all the time. Some expect them to simply play the shows for which they’ve contracted themselves to play (novel concept really), others believe that there should never be any expectations at all, and still others believe that yes, the band is perfect as is and might be appalled at any suggestion otherwise. Regardless, each of us feels passionately about our opinion. We are fans, and for the most part we’re probably not just casual fans. We are fans that have plenty invested here – not just monetarily, but certainly emotionally as well. We feel passionately about this band. So, when we come together to discuss something that one or more of us feel passionately about, fireworks can and usually do, happen.
What is important to remember, and I am just as much guilty of this as anyone else, is that none of us are necessarily wrong. For example, I have no doubt that there are people out there that have had wonderful interactions with the band every single time they’ve seen them. I wholeheartedly believe anyone who says that to me, and I also believe it has nothing to do with size, shape or whatever else is being mentioned. On the other hand, I have zero doubts that there are people out there who have had less-than-wonderful moments with them as well. I’ve seen some of this with my own eyes – so yes, I know it to also be true. I also believe that those moments, positive or negative, shape how we feel about the band on a personal level. It is absolutely possible to love the music and not necessarily feel great about the people who perform it. Those feelings do not necessarily determine your fandom, although some may disagree. I just know plenty of fans, good fans, who go to the shows, love the music, and leave the rest to others…and that’s OK.
I remember back to the Unstaged show at the Mayan Theater here in Los Angeles. I thought it was an outstanding show. I had a great time, I had some interaction with my favorite up there on stage…and I came out of that show happy to be a fan. I felt it was among their better shows. I came home, mentioned how I felt online, only to be told by several people that the show was crap. I was completely appalled and furious that people could possibly feel that way about the show I’d raved about. Perception is everything. I had a great time that night and while I’d like to believe I’m really unbiased (hardly!), I am not. Other people might have been in the back or they were at home, hearing something much different than I heard in front of the band. Maybe those folks had gone to better shows in the past. Maybe I was commenting more on my interaction with the band than I was the quality of the show. Who knows? I just know that none of us were really wrong to feel the way we did even though at the time I felt they were fighting words. Perception is everything, and like I said – I’m just as much at fault as anyone else in this area.
So I keep trying. I keep reminding myself that my experiences are only my own, and that my perception is just that – MY perception. It might not be 100% correct. It takes all of us to make up this fandom, and that alone is something to truly awe. It’s “just” a band, and yet there is so much passion. That passion connects us all. Keep that in mind while you’re wielding those words, ready to strike.
One thing I do know for certain is that fans want to be able to have a safe arena to discuss these things. They want to feel as though their opinion counts, and that even if they come to the table with completely different experiences, from different areas of the world – that their words, their thoughts, and their feelings will not only be tolerated, but will be respected. That’s really important. I don’t always agree with everything people comment back here on the blog, but I strive to remain respectful (and sometimes I fail miserably). It isn’t always easy, but the payoff is worth the effort – especially when people come to Amanda and I and urge us to keep going and to possibly consider starting a message board and/or a central hub for fans.
That last part is a tall order, but one I’m kicking around in my head.