Today marks the 1000th posting for this blog. That’s ridiculous, isn’t it? No pressure for a great post…none at all.
Now, before we all get excited…or at least before Amanda and I get excited…this doesn’t really mean we’ve blogged for 1000 days yet. There have been a few times where we’ve blogged twice in a day (because we’re clearly overachievers in that regard)…but even so, we’ve posted blogs 1000 times. Well, 999 until I’m finished with this one.
I feel as though there should be confetti and champagne (and certainly a show!!) instead of my coffee and a very quiet house. I haven’t even spoken to Amanda about this momentous occasion, but I can almost guarantee she is well-aware, because that is just Amanda. I didn’t realize it myself until I checked the blog stats this morning. We’ve come a long way in nearly three years. I think back to the beginnings of the blog and the research for the book. While there are plenty of things I still feel certain about with regard to fandom, there are things specifically about this fandom, the fans specifically or the band, that I think have evolved in my mind. In no particular order…
Fandom is positive. Actually, I think that fandom goes through cycles like anything else. Sometimes it can be very positive – whether it is uplifting the spirit, or bringing people together. However, sometimes, fandom can really be downright negative, whether due to the fan community disliking something that has been done by the group, sports team, celebrity, etc…or because for whatever reason, it’s cool to be the “anti-fan”. Fandom isn’t positive when it takes over every facet of your life or becomes your sole outlet. Sometimes, it’s good to keep proper perspective. It isn’t very easy to do that when one blogs each day, and sometimes I find myself needing to dig myself out of a deep, dark abyss. Duran downtime doesn’t help, but the reality is, sometimes I just need to get out of the house and see some sunshine. Taking a day off or a step back really does change the perspective!
The band is untouchable. Ok, so before you all send hate mail, read this through. When we first began writing – the only band member on Twitter was Simon, and at the time he hadn’t even accessed his account in months. Sure, the “band” was on Myspace and Facebook, purely as a figurative thing, but my point was the band or members thereof certainly didn’t hold themselves out there to chat with the general public. I really felt that this might have been part of the band’s idea of their image – they were on a completely different playing field than the rest of us. They’re elitists and we’re commoners, so to speak. This would have been fine had it still been 1985, but after Red Carpet Massacre, I think many fans (in fact I know many fans – were tired of the act, or at least what they felt was the “act”). They simply walked away. While I know a few of them are still fans, it’s not like it once was – and plenty others walked away and didn’t ever glance back. So many other bands were reaching out to their fan bases, the boundaries between fan and artist were becoming a lot less solid with social networking…and then the band seemed to sense this and step up. No, it’s not perfect (in the eyes of many), but I think the band has tried to seem more reachable, more in touch with their fan base. I still thank Simon for coming onto Twitter whenever he feels like it and just posting a little something every now and again, even though he’s recording and writing and isn’t really “selling” anything. His tweets aren’t even about anything in particular much of the time, it’s just LIFE. I love that because it feels natural. We can reply or not reply, and I highly doubt Simon minds either way. It’s normal, and you know after thirty years for some of us – it’s nice that it finally feels that way. Do we still tweet members of the band even if they’re not around? Sure. Who cares? I don’t necessarily tweet Dom thinking that he’s actually going to answer (if he did, I’d fall off of my chair, and no one needs that image!), and I don’t force myself to think of something to tweet to him because that’s just as weird. It’s meant to be natural, and if you can get yourself to that point of talking/tweeting/replying as though they are normal human beings…the system works. However, this would work so much better if we fans would give them a little more breathing room and stop begging for RTs and replies every time one of them gets online, but you know …baby steps of progress, right? My point here – they’re PEOPLE. They might be celebrities and they might be on your bedroom wall, but they’re still people, and they’re not nearly as unreachable, elite or untouchable (figuratively speaking!) as I might have once thought.
Fans are all here for the same reason. Out of everything I’ve learned – this comes to mind first. The fact is, not everyone is here (meaning they count themselves as fans or within the “community of fans”) because they love this band and they want to share that mutual love with other fans, make friends, and go on the journey together. Some people are here because they are collectors: they want the photos, the mementos, etc. Other people are here just because of the music: they go to the shows, they buy the music, but they really see no need for the connection with other fans. Still others count themselves as fans but only want to get in front of the band, regardless of the method they feel they must use to achieve that goal. Still others want to experience fandom with others – they like the idea of a community. And some want a little bit of it all. For a long time, I felt that everyone wanted pretty much the same thing, but that’s just not the case. Yet, it takes all of us, each kind fan and every variety within – to make up this community as a whole. It isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, and I won’t pretend to understand why some act as they do – but I accept that our individual journeys are different.
Red Carpet Massacre. I think I’ve finished my grieving cycle for this album. (About time, huh?!?) I can actually sit down and listen to most of the songs without hitting “skip”…which is a miracle!! The fact is, at one time, I considered this album to be the biggest “F YOU” the band has ever sent to the fans. It felt like a giant slap in the face, to be honest, and I just never quite got it. I know there are people out there that love this album and think it’s their best work, and that’s fine. I won’t say I’ve spent a ton of time listening to the album, but I will say that I hear the album much differently now than I did before. In some ways, I kind of think the album has more of a message to the fans on it than they’ll ever admit publicly…either that, or it’s just me overthinking the obvious again. We’ll just go with that for now and leave the rest for another day.
The fab five is the only way this band is successful. It is true, I believed that for many, many years. I don’t think I’m the only fan to believe that Andy was the way back to success. I was convinced we’d have a revival of the mid-80s when the reunion took place. I suppose to a small degree we might have had that – and for many it was their moment of closure for this band. I get that. (Obviously that was not the case with me!) When Andy left again, I didn’t feel that empty feeling. I recognize that for many, they do, and they wish Andy would come back. I can only say that to me, the band feels natural and normal now. Not forced. When I look back or listen back to Astronaut – I hear the album much differently, nearly nine years after it’s release. I still love the overall effort, but I also get a sense of how unnatural the album flows. It doesn’t feel easy, and of course now after reading John’s book and even Andy’s book I can understand that it was anything but. I won’t say that I was happy Andy left – because at the time I was not, but I can say that I respect the choices of the band as well as those made by Andy. They are a combination that simply did not work in the long term. Differences. That said, I believe All You Need is Now was extremely successful for the band in many ways that have nothing to do with sales or profits. While it might be true that I am “slightly biased” with regard to Dom Brown, I appreciate what he brings to the sound and stage as a member of this band. I don’t know what he and the band have worked out – I only know that it works and I hope it continues. (And it would be really nice if he’d be included in some merchandise – some of us really DO scream for Dom…just saying.)
The band has control over every decision that is made. That my friends, is a very naive statement made by someone who obviously does not have a sense of just how many moving parts are involved in a company. Many of us used to joke about throwing a beach ball with a globe print on it, and then circling the places we felt the band needed to tour next in red. First of all – how obnoxious of us (we never did it, at least not that *I* know of!), and secondly – it’s a little silly to really believe they take the time to sit down and map out their tours. They have a team of people that do those things for them, and while I think that sure, they do make decisions from time to time on some things….the business stuff is left to the business. Simon and Nick probably don’t sit down and make a list of potential merchandise items, for example….but maybe they are at least aware of different graphic designs and things that are being created for them. When you realize that not only are there musical decisions (writing, recording, lyrics, engineering, producing, mixing…etc.) but then business decisions about PR, contracts, releasing to radio, distribution rights, touring (where to tour, what venues, contracts for roadies, stage design, show design, etc), then all of the various insurance they need, the contracts for the other musicians they work with, merchandising, the fan community, Facebook, Twitter, the website…in addition to thousands of other things I haven’t even begun to mention here, it’s pretty clear that there are some things the band just can’t get that involved with. They would never get anything finished! So while sure, it is EASY for Amanda and I to sit here and say “We think that idea is lame” or “Why on earth are they touring THERE?” or “Why aren’t they going THERE?”….the truth is that both of us realize we could never do any better. Well, at least not in every area. I still hold fast to the fact that we could run that fan community and make it worth the membership, if not make it completely free so that everyone could take part.
Writing a blog doesn’t take much time. What in the hell was I thinking?!? It takes a lot of time. Amanda and I have talked about logging in the hours we’ve spent writing, researching and maintaining the blog. I’m afraid to even start! Truthfully? I wouldn’t change a single thing. I love writing the blog, even on the days when I can’t think of anything to say. It is a labor of love – but not the love you might think. Sure, I love the band, but I really write the blog for everyone else but the band. I love being a fan, and I love reading the notes we get from all of you, even when someone calls me out on something I’ve written. I love the idea that people enjoy reading our daily rantings, and that in some very tiny sense, we’re helping to keep the fans going. Truthfully, I’m still surprised that we’re writing, that you’re still reading, and that Duran Duran hasn’t sent us a “Cease and Desist” notice yet…although we’d really like to believe that they wouldn’t want to get rid of us!
There are many other things that I’ve changed or evolved my opinion on since the birth of Daily Duranie, but these are just a few points that come to mind over the last one-thousand posts. I’m looking forward to celebrating the next thousand with all of you. Lastly, I want to say thank you. When we first got started on the blog, we felt like we were having a banner day when we’d get 20 readers. Thankfully, there are a few more of you reading and responding now – whether it is here on the blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, or you stop to talk to us when you spot us at a show or meet-up. Amanda and I love that (even though I’m still pretty shy and white knuckling the bar at some of our preshow meet-ups!) My point is that our readers and fellow fans of Duran Duran are what make up much of the personality of this blog, and we appreciate every last one of you. THANK YOU.