Lately, I have been thinking about how fandom dies. In my experience, I have seen fans leave for a variety of reasons. The most common ones that I have seen include their lives changing, fulfilling their fan dreams and not liking the direction of the subject of their fandom.
What do I mean by those? As far life changing, sometimes, people get super busy. They need to focus their time elsewhere. It is simply hard for them to think about the subjects of their fandom much until eventually the love slowly fades. I have also seen fans who have done what they wanted to do in their fandom and did not feel it necessary to continue. That happened quite a bit after the reunion. Fans came back to see the Fab Five live or to meet the band or relive their teenage years. Once they checked those boxes, they were ready to move on. Lastly, I have also seen fans turn in their fan cards when the subject of the fandom change. In the case of Duran, maybe, people didn’t like Red Carpet Massacre or were so distraught over Andy leaving that they couldn’t stay. I have seen it a lot with fans of TV shows when the storyline totally changes.
These thoughts have risen to the surface because I am wondering if I am on my way out of the Duran Duran fandom. It isn’t that I feel like I have done everything that I could do as a Duran fan. If that were the case, I might have decided that after seeing the band in the UK or hitting a certain number of shows. Yet, I don’t feel that. I think there is still more that I could do and would want to do.
My thinking definitely isn’t because my love of the band has ended or that I’m concerned with the direction they have taken. I may not always love everything that they have done but even in projects that aren’t my cup of tea, there is something worthy there. No, I cannot ever imagine myself not being a fan. I always will be that.
I am wondering if I am stepping out of the fan community aspect of being a fan. In thinking of academic terms, people in fan communities talk about the subject of their fandom and they pay attention to what is going on, news wise. They are probably commenting on the social media presence of the subject. For me, lately, I haven’t been very much of any of that. Of course, a big part could be how busy I am. (I took on another job on a campaign for the spring election. It was a huge opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.) Working two jobs is tough. It is especially tough when one requires more than a 40 hour week like teaching. On top of that, my jobs are stressful. There is a lot of pressure to perform. That definitely sucks the energy out of other aspects of life. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about them. I’m just explaining.
The last couple of years have been tough. There has been a lot that I have been worried about in terms of my community, both large and small. It is hard to think about fandom when there are bigger, more pressing, more serious issues to deal with. I have a hard time turning away from my responsibility as a member of the human race to look towards being a fan. I try to because I know it renews me and makes it easier for me to face the tough stuff of life but it is hard. On top of those concerns about the world around me, there have been more worries when it comes to the health and well-being of my parents. That’s huge for me and definitely pulls me away, often times with less emotional support than I need. This means it is harder for me at the moment and takes longer for me to bounce back.
Then, of course, there is the band. It has been quiet. I don’t blame them at all. They need and deserve a break, but it does make it harder for me. Instead, my mind goes elsewhere. It also means that there is a lot less conversation between me and my Duranie friends. In fairness, some of that is on me because I just don’t talk about the band as much as I could. Nonetheless, it is a bad combination of blah.
Let me be clear. I don’t want to lose my Duranie card. I’m trying hard to hold on. I wore a Duran shirt to staff development day last week and brought them up at meetings, hoping to breath a little life into my fandom. I’m determined to keep writing because that ties me to the fandom even if I don’t tweet or post responses on the band’s social media. I’m planning on being excited for the shows in February. But I’m worried that I need more. What suggestions do you all have? What should I be doing that I’m not? I need ideas that don’t take up a lot of time but keep my Duranie fires burning. What do you do to renew your fandom?