Obviously, this review has prompted a number of people to chime in on the website where it was posted. Many of the comments were extremely good and brought up various points that needed to be mentioned. That said, I, too, felt it necessary to comment on the review here and to put it in a larger context. I suggest you go read the review first before reading my comments but, if not, I’ll do my best to explain what I’m referring to.
The review doesn’t begin well for Duranies. I don’t even have to start reading to get annoyed since the title of the review is, “Reunited Duran Duran Swoon the DPAC Crowd.” First, the band reunited about 10 years ago. Once again, this is evidence to poor or no research on the part of the writer. In my opinion, it is amazing how often “journalists” are allowed to publish material that simply isn’t true and this is an example of that. Then, the author chooses to use the word, “swoon”. According to dictionary.com, the meaning is “to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy”. Oh boy. Obviously, this person felt it necessary to apply stereotypes about fans, about Duranies right before the get go. Yes, fans enjoy themselves at concerts. Yes, Duranies might experience a kind of high at a show but seriously…”hysterical rapture” implies that we are out of control with our emotions. It is also a word often used to describe someone fainting due to extreme emotion. Please. Duranies aren’t 12 and we are well aware that it isn’t 1984. We actually do want to hear the music.
The review doesn’t get better from there. The opening paragraph describes big hair, high heels, satin jackets, and the use of Aqua Net as the scene at the DPAC. Wow. I have to admit that I didn’t see ANY of that. Yes, some of us wore heels but I also wear heels to work. I didn’t see any big hair or satin jackets. I would love to see photographic evidence of that, but I suspect that this person couldn’t supply that. Maybe, the author should check out the audience pictures of the show on dd.com to see that this simply wasn’t true. As soon as I read that, I began to think that this author had this paragraph in place before he even went to the show. He ASSUMED that is what it was going to be like. Again, another example of poor reporting and the use of stereotypes about Duranies.
After discussing MNDR for a couple of paragraphs, the author chooses to dive into the band’s physical appearance. Huh? I thought this was a review of the MUSIC, the SHOW. The author begins by saying, “Having seen my fair share of sad reunion bands up close, I have to say that Duran Duran has physically kept it together pretty well since their heyday in the early 80s” Again, using the word “sad” in a sentence to describe Duran is not okay. Then, again, to describe them as a reunion band makes me crazy! He goes on to describe Simon, John and Nick, individually in which case he describes John as resembling a 1968 Keith Richards. Wow. There are no words I could use to describe my reaction to that statement. Nick’s description isn’t much better by saying that he appears to be “put-out by having to perform for a living, barely moving during the entire concert and wearing a perma-scowl.” Again, I’m so glad that he chose to include any of this because it tells me NOTHING about the show itself. Obviously, he is more guilty of being concerned about their looks then say we were in our review of the same show.
The remaining three paragraphs barely touch on the show at all. He mentions Before the Rain, The Reflex and Rio. There isn’t much of a description used other than to say that people swayed during Before the Rain, an audience member started the Reflex and that Rio reminded the audience of good times of the past. No, most of those paragraphs were filled with descriptions of the crowd or band in less than flattering terms by talking about how “the crowd was moving in ways that it appeared they haven’t in year”. How rude! He described Duran’s jackets as have been recycled Member’s Only jackets. Even the last line is left with a bad taste in my mouth about how the audience would have left behind antacid wrappers and bottles of headache medications.
Truly, I haven’t seen a review this bad, this filled with stereotypes about the bands and the fans in a while. If I was this person’s editor, I would definitely question both the lack of research and the lack of substance. The task was to review a show. There was very little of that in the article. That said, it isn’t like reviews like this one is new. They aren’t new to the band and they aren’t new to the fans. It is really just more evidence, current evidence that the stereotypes about the band and the fans are alive and well. It seems to me that the stereotypes about the band and their fans have always been there. They might have changed since the first ones appeared in the early 80s, but they still exist. Once the stereotypes were about how the band was just a bunch of pretty boys who couldn’t really play and now they are a bunch of has-beens who have “reunited” just to make a living. There is very little acknowledgment of the fact that they were supporting music that wasn’t released decades ago. The stereotypes of the fans have altered in some ways and, in other ways, they have remained. In the 80s, all we cared about were their good looks and we would scream, cry and faint in response. Now, we just embrace the fashion, the good times that Duran reminds of, or so says the stereotype. Ugh.
Stereotypes of the past and the present are annoying. I’m sure that I’ll get comments telling me to just ignore them or to not let them bother me. I would say this. First, I don’t want to, nor can I ignore them as they are a part of the story. They are a part of what it is like to be a Duranie in 2012. As someone writing about stigma in the book we are writing, I must be aware of them. As for letting them bother me, I was actually excited that I reacted like I did. After all, a couple of days ago, I asked how to return to my normal Duranie self. It seems to me that defending Duran and Duranies fits that description. So, in a weird way, I thank this poor reporting writer for bringing me back home with the band and fellow fans that I love.