I am not going to lie. I have been to a few more than a few Duran shows. I have traveled to see them. I will also admit that I have seen various members in their hotels, in bars and in clubs over the years. Yet, if I were to answer the question about the best adventure, my answer would have very little to do with the band members themselves but about my life on tour. Yes, they are the reason I travel to places and see many of my Duranie friends. They aren’t the main characters in my adventures, though. I’ll give a couple of examples. The first time I went to Vegas for Duran, my friends and I partied all night in a club and reached up for the sunrise after enjoying a hearty breakfast at 6 am. Yes, we were there, in parts, to see Duran and, yes, we did see Roger. Did I talk to Roger that night? Nope. Yet, that night was super fun as I enjoyed a lovely buzz for about 12 hours straight, danced with my friends and had a real good time. It wasn’t about Roger and it wasn’t about taking his wine glass after he finished. For me, that idea would never even cross my mind. Why would I want anyone’s glass after he was finished with it?! I guess I don’t understand why someone would, really. I remember someone saying to me that she got Roger’s towel once at a show. My response was, “Eww. Is it used?” To me, that just isn’t the way that I express my fandom. While I realize that they are my “idols”, I also recognize that they are human and probably don’t want me to want stuff like that. They want me and others like me to buy albums and concert tickets. Another example of an adventure I had on tour might be when we went to New York City for the fan show in 2007. The best part of that “adventure” was going to the Duranie meetup at the Pyramid Club where I met lots of people and had a great time dancing to 80s music. The band might be the catalyst to the adventure but they aren’t the adventure.
To me, fandom is only partly about the celebrities of choice. Fandom is about the community that is created with other fans. I don’t know that I would care as much as I do about Duran if I didn’t have friends to share that interest, that passion with. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Rhonda and I keep each other going. When one person is busy or not focused on Duran, the other is. Then, when we see each other or talk, that interest is reignited. If I was just focusing on when I see the band or get some weird object connected to them, I think I would have lost interest a long time ago. After all, how would fans who live in places that the band doesn’t go to maintain their fandom? They don’t do it through taking cocktail glasses, that’s for sure.
More seriously than that, this idea that a typical “adventure” involves taking something that one of the guys had or used negatively impacts all fans and fandom, in general. I have talked about the stigma involving being a fan all the time. Non-fans don’t get it. They don’t understand why would be so interested in something. They don’t understand why would spend so much time and so much money on something like a band. Part of what Rhonda and I hope to do with our book is show that it is perfectly normal to be a fan because in the end it comes down to exactly what I mentioned earlier–friendships. The band might bring people together but it doesn’t keep people together. Friendship does that. Unfortunately, these images of stealing towels makes non-fans conclude that being a fan means that do kinda strange things. Now, I’m not criticizing those who want or have the cocktail glasses and the towels. Obviously, in some cases, those items might have even been given to you. It just isn’t my thing. Also, I don’t think that is super common. I think more fans are the ones focused on getting the music rather than items that some member touched. I just think it is hard enough for non-fans to understand why I want to go to as many shows as I can. If they can’t get that, how in the world would they understand someone who takes a kleenex that John used that he talked about in some interview in 2005? In fact, I think it could make non-fans think that fans, all fans, aren’t normal. It feeds stereotypes or reinforces them.
I’m not obviously saying that people don’t have the right to take a towel, if given it. I’m not even saying that people shouldn’t even if I wouldn’t. What I am saying, though, is that this behavior does reflect on fandom in general and Duranies in particular. I also think it overshadows the real story of fandom and that is friendship and the bonds that are formed between fans.