Category Archives: Duran Duran fandom

You Speak to the Crowd

I spend a lot of time thinking, listening and reading about the current state of politics. Last week, among many other stories, I took note of the giant rally Senator Warren held in New York City. While the size of the crowd was worth noting, the part that caught my attention was that she stayed after (as she always does) to take selfies. This resulted in four hours of selfies until late in the night/early in the morning. As pundits discussed this, one point that was made over and over again was that this is a great strategy for social media as people post their pictures and get people interested in Senator Warren as a presidential candidate.

While I’m fascinated by that as a political organizer, I could not help but think about how this might relate to fandom. I think it is save to say that when people share pictures or videos with Duran Duran, it helps the band’s cause as well. When people who are already fans see this kind of thing, it might excite us more. I know hearing Bridey’s story this week gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. Of course, I definitely would want to be a fan of a band who treats their fans in the way they did with her in Tahoe by meeting her backstage before bringing her on stage during the show. It makes me proud to be a Duranie! Then, what does this do for people who like Duran Duran but might not consider themselves to be big fans? I would think that it might make them think about Duran, which could increase the amount of time listening to their music or watching their videos. As for people who aren’t fans, could it cause them to give Duran a try? I think so!

Okay, so if seeing pictures with a band could translate to more or more intense fans, what about people who just share thing or talk about the band? Could that make a difference in terms of the number of fans or the intensity of one’s fandom? I think about the people who share pictures or videos or start conversations about the band on various facebook groups. Why do they do that? Yes, I think a lot of it has to do the fact that people love the band and want to express it. I’m sure that they begin discussions from real curiosity about what other fans think. Fans want to talk to other fans about the subject of their fandom. We all know this. This is what causes facebook groups and/or message boards to form in the first place. Is it simply about meeting an urge to talk about any and all things Duran or can it be about more at the same time? Could people posting also help out Duran Duran, indirectly? Speaking from my own personal experience, when I see something posted about Duran in my social media timelines, it keeps Duran in my thoughts. Often, it reminds me of what I love about a song, video, tour, era, etc. Does this help keep my fandom alive? Absolutely.

Over the course of the nine years of this blog, people have stated or implied that what we do here doesn’t really matter but in thinking about this, I completely disagree. Just like those people who post on message boards or social media, I believe that what we do here helps keep Duran Duran in people’s thoughts. Maybe, at times, it has encouraged people to check out an album, song or video that they don’t know anything about. Lately, for example, our questions of the day have been about who owns what album and in what format. I wonder if asking about each album has caused people to go out an buy an album that they don’t have. I have seen that with people in my personal life, too. For example, I know that my fandom has led friends and family to check out Duran Duran more. I have a lot of friends who follow this blog simply because they want to support me but many of them have listened to the band more from seeing a blog post or two.

Then, I think about our meetups. There have been times when people have come to a meetup, met fellow fans and found friendships that way. Does that matter? While that might not directly put money in Duran’s bank account, could it help to sell more tickets to their shows? I think so. I know that if I didn’t have my Duranie friends, all of whom I met at various meetups, I wouldn’t go to many shows. I would drag someone to a show nearby and that’s it. Having lots of Duranie friends means that I want to go to as many shows as possible to see my friends, to get together with my friends. This results in more concert tickets for me and for the band.

We definitely didn’t start this blog to help the band but now that I have thought about it, I’m glad that it is a side affect. I think it is pretty cool that this blog along with other blogs, podcasts, message boards, facebook groups, etc. are part of a larger effort to campaign for Duran, in some small way, intentionally or not.

-A

The Way You Did When You Were Younger

The other day my friend messaged to me to say, “Guess what I’m listening to?” Now, this isn’t the first time I have gotten this exact question or something super similar. I always know that the answer has something to do with Duran Duran. Turns out that my friend was listening to Ordinary World. Once my friend identified the song, she went on to say, “I know. This is not your favorite song or album.” Obviously, we have had conversations about Duran Duran and this particular era before. Sadly, when we have talked, it is not quite the same as if, say, Rhonda and I were talking. My friend’s knowledge about Duran is limited. I struggle to explain everything I think without overwhelming her with information. Nonetheless, the conversation got me thinking.

This friend of mine (no pun intended), a fellow teacher, is about ten years younger than me. While we share much in common, the age difference comes up, especially with something like Duran. I remember playing the video for Planet Earth in my classroom when the most recent anniversary of the song came up. This friend came in and said, “I wasn’t even born then.” Oh boy. That’s great. Anyway, the first Duran songs she heard were, in fact, ones off of the Wedding Album, which makes sense based on her age. To her, this is Duran Duran. After all, this was her first exposure to the band. The brain put the sound of the Wedding Album as the default Duran Duran sound. That isn’t necessarily bad but explains why she doesn’t see the big deal out of the Rio era, for example. She doesn’t get it when I explain that most of the original Duranies turn to the first three albums as the default sound. After all, that was the first Duran Duran we heard. The Duran Duran we fell in love with.

Interestingly enough, the Wedding Era sound is her favorite despite me trying to expose her to other eras. She cannot connect in the same way that she did to Ordinary World and Come Undone. I, on the other hand, find myself seeking out a Rio like sound whether that is the Rio album itself or an album like All You Need Is Now. After all, that is the first Duran I heard. While I can appreciate the Wedding Album sound, it isn’t what typically comes to mind when I think Duran or when someone mentions the band. No, I think about that early 80s era.

So, in thinking about all of this, I have another question. If I wasn’t a kid in the 1980s and I didn’t hear that early Duran, would I have still become the Duranie that I am now? Would the Wedding Album instead be my go to sound if I was born ten years later or would I simply not be into the band? What about my friend? Would she have become a bigger fan if she was born ten years younger?

Then, I broaden this thinking. Was it just about the music? Did I become a fan just because I liked songs like Save a Prayer or New Moon on Monday? Or did it also have to do with everything else that was in place then? For example, I know that I heard Duran first before I ever saw them but what if MTV wasn’t a thing? What if they didn’t make videos? What about all of the media attention? I couldn’t escape seeing Duran Duran on the cover of multiple magazines when I went to the store. They couldn’t be avoided, really. If all that wasn’t enough, Duran Duran merchandise was everywhere. I had Duran Duran pajamas for crying out loud that I bought at my local box store. They were simply everywhere. So, did I become a fan because of the music, the other things or a combination of both?

One thing I always find interesting when talking with my friend is how little video played a role in her life. When talking about Ordinary World, she, in fact, stated, “Yeah, I think I saw the video once on VH1.” I had to take a deep breath after that. Well, then. This has led me to ask about other videos only to discover that she has never seen Hungry Like the Wolf with its exotic locale and missing Simon storyline. She must struggle to really understand why I am so into Duran and how that happened. After all, I do think the context matters, including all that media attention but also where I was, personally, coming from at the time that first heard and saw Duran.

As the conversation moved away from music, I couldn’t help but to think how lucky I was to grow up in the 1980s in order to experience all that I did with music and pop culture. It made me not only the fan I am now but also the person I am.

-A

Still Fangirling

I came by invitation

When I was in middle school, my experience as a fan pretty much consisted of buying teen mags, searching for pinups I didn’t already have, gabbing with friends about Nick’s seemingly new (to us) hair color, John’s fedoras, or maybe even Simon’s tiger baby pendant. I would listen endlessly to the Duran Duran albums I had, and whenever my friend Marsha’s mom agreed to take us to Tower Records, I’d search the record bins and inevitably I’d find new Duran Duran singles in there that I’d never heard of prior. As MTV arrived in my town and Friday Night Videos or Video One became a thing, I spent a fair amount of time waiting for the next video to arrive, or calling in to local radio stations, begging the DJ’s to play a request. Concerts weren’t really a thing for me, although I would sit and listen intently to friends who had either already seen the band at the Greek theatre (not many of us were that lucky), or were planning to go to the Forum in 1984.

I didn’t really have stories of my own to tell. No descriptions of late nights, running into a band member as he walked out of a club. There were no tales of sitting in lobbies, or trying to tail them from Milwaukee back to their hotels in Chicago. There were just the pinups, the music, the videos, my friends, and me.


Going on to somewhere

In many ways, those times were easy. The only way we could truly “compete” for Duran Duran real estate, so to speak, was through knowing everything there was to know about the band, and whatever we owned – pinups, music, t-shirts, and other merchandise. We’d each lay claim to our favorite band member, and hope no other friend decided to make a contest out of it…although I suspect that even then, we knew there was almost zero chance of any of us ever meeting the band, much less marrying one of them!

Decades later – and in a lot of ways it pains me to type those words (how can I really be nearing 50 anyway??) – fandom, or at least the practice thereof, has changed a bit for many of us. Hannah Ewens wrote in Fangirls, “Fandoms are a sphere where contribution increases with age, the more stories the better, the more access, the more information, the more gossip, the longer loving.” I’ve been thinking about quote that a lot this morning.

Back in 2003 as I attended my first Duran Duran fan convention, I can distinctly remember being fascinated by the stories. So many people I met had their own Duran Duran tales to tell. Stories of traveling, of meeting them in the 90’s, running into them in bars, hotels, restaurants. I wasn’t jealous, I was shocked. The world I never thought would collide with my own was right there, almost within reach.

A crush panic

I can’t really argue that as I’ve aged, I’ve done things that would have seemed completely out of this world in 1984. The very idea of ever being in front row, for example. In late 1983, as tickets for the Sing Blue Silver tour went on sale – my parents were dead set against the idea of even trying to get a ticket. My dad felt that I was far too young, and without having any older siblings (he absolutely wasn’t going to be taking me), I was pretty much sunk. My friend Marsha’s father stood in line the day they went on sale and came up completely empty. The tickets sold out very quickly, and she was sad when she came to school the following day. We stood around at break, listening to some of our other friends squeal in delight that they had not only gotten tickets, but their mothers – clearly wiser and far more hip than our own – had called a local ticket agency and gotten even better seats. Some of our friends were as close as third row, and their moms had no issue with forking over $100 or more to be up there.

This was 1984, I’ll remind you. One of my friends went to the Forum show, and I believe her seat was $11.00. Comparatively, $100 seemed like a fortune. It absolutely did to my dad when I told him later that night! After watching my dad’s face go from his regular ruddy complexion, to tomato red as he gasped in horror at the ticket price, declaring that he would never be “the kind of fool to pay those kinds of prices just so his kid could sit near the front of a damn rock concert!”, I figured front row wasn’t going to be an option. Hell, even just going to a concert was a long way off as it was. Little did I ever realize that someday, I would do exactly that…more than once!

My stories aren’t that amazing in the sense that no, I don’t have tawdry backstage tales, or memories of hanging with the band. I do, however, have some wonderful friends I’ve made. We’ve traveled to far off places that, back in 1984, wouldn’t have ever been in my biggest daydreams. My fandom is so much bigger at 48 than it was at 12 or even 13 – I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.

Midnight traffic in her eyes

My tears during Seventh Stranger in Las Vegas were as much about my youth and experiences along the way as they were the band’s. Seeing the images I remember of Duran Duran from the 80s, bigger-than-life onscreen, combined with the Duran Duran I know from today felt like a lightning strike on my heart. We’ve walked a lot of miles together. Duran Duran created a safe place for me during my most awkward years. They gave me a place to grow, to feel connected to others, and to be understood. They still do.

When I’m in the audience at a Duran show – I can see thousands of different versions of myself in the audience. The shy introvert, the confident mom, the girl who saved up extra change from lunch to buy her first Duran Duran t-shirt, the new mother who survived post partum depression, the middle-aged woman that isn’t completely satisfied with her life or marriage. The seventh grader who just wants to be accepted. We’re all out there, living the music, enjoying the moment, together.

“Being a fan means you don’t have to be the person you are in this moment, restricted by time, space and circumstance, rather you can be strengthened by and exist through all the others you’ve been.” (Ewens)

-R

So Complicated Part 2

Yesterday’s blog talked how simple fandom can be in as I wrote about the three interactions I had with random people who either were fans or knew fans of Duran. At the time, I found myself envying the simplicity. It was just a matter of liking the band’s music. In one case, that’s all there was. The woman in the second case went further in that she attended concerts near her and the last case, the person talked about how big of a fan he was. Yet, I suspect that while these fans like Duran, they do not participate in the fan community at all. They might not know other fans and might not talk about the band much. There is no traveling for shows, friending or following other fans, collecting merchandise or any other fandom practice. Their fandom can be described as casual.

I, of course, am on the other end of the spectrum in that my fandom consists of producing new material related to being a fan (like this blog!). Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that I am a bigger or better fan by acknowledging that. I’m just pointing out that I devote more time and money to fandom than these people do. (Again, maybe, I’m the crazy one!) We just express our fandom differently. One is not better or more important than the other. In meeting these people, a part of me was jealous of them. It must be nice and easy to just be a casual fan. I know that it is easy for me to be a Killers fan as I just buy the albums and go to concerts nearby. That is the extent of my fandom there. No one in the fan community knows me and I don’t know any of them. Part of me wishes that is how things can be for me in the Duran world.

So, the first question is why? Sometimes, being part of a fan community is tough. Initially, it might feel totally awesome as you are meeting tons of people who love the same band you do. You can gush about how fabulous the music is or how there is nothing better than their concerts. But, then, you realize that it is not that simple. Some fans might not like how you express your fandom or disagree with your fandom philosophy and you to them. For example, some fans enjoy reading this blog. Others might never click on it, thinking that Rhonda and I are terrible people. Sometimes, people love what we have to say or do and others totally disagree with us. By writing this blog, it put us in a position in which we can be judged. I am not saying that to earn sympathy. On the contrary, we knew that criticize was going to happen and still went ahead and wrote the blog anyway. We accepted how this was going to go, for the most part. While we get it, it doesn’t always make things easy.

The next question is can I go back? If I stopped writing the blog tomorrow, could I go back to be like those casual fans I met this week? When I think about my real life, the people I run into and interact with, I know that if I stopped listening to Duran today, they would still associate me with the band. A couple of weeks ago, a friend from high school was passing the area when Duran apparently came on the radio. She immediately thought of me and messaged me to get together. Duran Duran leads people in my life to think of me. That would not change if I stopped writing this blog or even stopped being a fan. What about in the fan community? Could I go back to being anonymous there? I don’t think I could get rid of every evidence of this blog existing or all of the meetups we have done. Could I be anonymous at concerts? I have met a lot of fans at concerts. Would I want those people to forget me? Could I forget them, especially those fans who go to a lot of concerts? I don’t think so.

Finally, would I really want to go back to how things were in 2003 or early 2004? As much as that might be easier, I have never been one for easy. I am teacher. That is not exactly the easiest profession. I’m also an activist. Both of those are such that I work really hard for sometimes minimal changes. Yet, I don’t give up. Even when things are tough in our fan community, I cannot see myself walking away. I am part of this fan community and always will be.

-A

So Complicated Part 1

Sometimes, I need a reminder that fandom can be simple.  I have had three in the last few days.  Then, of course, the follow up question is: “Could I go back to simple like this?  Is it even possible?  Would I want to?”

My brother and sister-in-law were visiting this week.  On Wednesday, we went to a zoo and a local museum of sorts.  I didn’t think too much about this plan when I got dressed so I put on a Duran Duran t-shirt.  Let’s face it.  It is the summer.  I wear t-shirts pretty much every day.  The fact that it was a Duran shirt added nothing of interest to my day or so I thought.  Yet, it provided me of a reminder that fandom really can be simple. 

One of the first stops we made on Wednesday after the zoo was a coffee shop.  I was in desperate need of some caffeine and a break from running around.  As we got into the coffee shop, the barista noticed my shirt and said, “I like your shirt.”  I didn’t even remember what the heck I was wearing.  I glanced down and mumbled a quick thank you, wondering if I should be embarrassed, proud or indifferent.  I went with the latter before I turned my attention back to the menu.  Before I could order, the guy beyond the counter says, “Duran Duran.  They are an old band.”  Rather than be insulted, I said, “Well, they are still around, you know?  They still make new music and tour.  They played like a week ago, in fact.”  The guy seemed shocked as he mumbled an “I didn’t know that.”  If this interaction happened years ago, I might have been annoyed that he was so ignorant but now, I had a burst of excitement in that I could educate this guy.  Will he go out and buy Paper Gods?  I don’t know but he might. 

Not an hour or so later, I found myself getting information from the front desk clerk at this museum of sorts when I was interrupted by another employee saying, “I love your shirt.  I love Duran Duran.  You know it took me 22 years to see them live.  22 years.  I always wanted to see them live but my mom wouldn’t let me.  They haven’t played in Madison since I a kid, you know. So I had to go see them in Milwaukee as part of the Astronaut Tour.”  Before I could overthink things, I commented about how great the band is live and how I, too, was at that Milwaukee show.  I thought about mentioning how I have seen them live since and I travel to do so but I didn’t. Would this woman really care?  Would that diminish her experience?  Figuring that it might, I let it go.  She doesn’t care what I have done.  She ended by saying that she hoped to see them again and I concurred, loving the idea of them playing in Wisconsin while not holding my breath for it at the same time.

Then, yesterday, I was at a meeting for work when I was asked about concerts by my boss.  Had I seen Duran Duran this summer he wanted to know.  I, of course, have not and responded as such.  He then wondered aloud if I had “maxed out” on them.  Ah…no.  Not exactly.  He tried to tell me about someone else he knows who loves the band.  Okay.  Cool. Part of me wanted to meet the person he referred to while the other part was nervous about that. Would this other fan be cool?  Would I have to prove myself to him?  Would he to me? Then, I realized that none of that would matter. It isn’t about that.

These three people reminded me that being a fan can be as simple as liking someone or something. Yes, for some people that might mean liking a song or two like I suspect was the deal with the coffee shop guy. For others, they might take it further by attending concerts nearby. Still, some might be known to be “big fans.” Is one better than the other? No. I could say that the “big fan” might take their fandom more seriously. They might spend more time or money on their fandom but they might not.

With each of these interactions, I had the same overall feeling. First, I was happy that others like the band. Then, I had moments of being envious of them. They clearly aren’t part of the fan community. No one in the community knows them. They are anonymous. They are free to love the band as much or as little as possible. Sometimes, I wish for that as it might feel freeing. Could I do that, though? Would I really want to give up the blog? Could I retreat back to that anonymous situation? What else would I have to give up? To be continued…

-A

It’s a Crush Panic: Lyrics Describing Duran Fandom

Duranies are so dang clever, I swear! The other day I posted a simple, little question on social media: “What Duran Duran lyric describes how you feel about the band?” We got a ton of responses on both Facebook and Twitter, which I loved to see. When I asked the question, I just wanted people to participate in the fan community. As a bonus, I also love reading Duran lyrics. All that said, it became super clear that this question shed a bit of light on our fandom, one that I was not expecting. It seems to me that I could put the responses into categories to help show what I learned!

Emotional connection:

“Your rhythm is the power to move me. It’s something you control, completely.”

“I think you’ll find it’s true. These words are like the sand, just get blown away. All the things we’d like to say. We need you.”

“You make me feel alive, alive, alive.”

“Some people call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise.”

“A smile that you can’t disguise. Every minute I keep finding clues that you leave behind.”

“You know you’re something special and you look like you’re the best.”

“All she wants is…MORE!”

“My immaculate dream, made breath and skin..”

“The price of my blue star eyed weakness…”

“Like a birthday or a pretty view…but then I’m sure that you know it’s just for you.”

“A hit to fit reality. It’s just a state of mind and you, and it, it’s more than just. And that’s what you’ve got to find. We’ll make you spin. We’ll make you sweat. All you have to do is choose me. And if you would try an alternative high, then tell me, what have we got to lose now?”

“Maybe it’s something they put in your perfume or the look in your eyes”

“Now you’re on the sandman everyday. Dancing with the bulls in any old way. Running like a fox…”

“Hold my hand. Please understand me. You’re never alone…”

“And your telephones been ringing while you’re dancing in the rain”

“So easy to disturb with a thought, with a whisper”

“Wild boys always shine”

“You’ve gone too far this time…”

“You shine where others fade…”

“…and we’re gonna go to space, kid, cause I’m leaving with an astronaut!”

“Save a prayer till the morning after”

“Waiting…”

“And she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again”

“I may be a deluded fool but still fascinated”

“But now I feel your presence in a way I could not know”

“It doesn’t have to be serious”

“Must be lucky whether when you find the kind of wind that you. Come on. Show me all the light and shade that made your name.”

“Chill, is it something real or the magic I’m feeding off your fingers?”

What you want the band to do or know:

“Is there something I can say to make you come my way?”

“And it hurts me to think you might never know that I’ve got this thing about you.”

“My obsessive fascination is in your imagination!”

“Because you’re lonely in your nightmare, let me in and there’s heat beneath your winter, let me in.”

“…in case you don’t understand, there’s something else I meant to tell you, there is nothing better than being with you.”

“I love you so much, I keep your cigarette butts.”

“I do what I do to have you”

“The music’s between us”

“Don’t say you’re easy on me, you’re about as easy as a nuclear war”

“I know this is real, believe it. We belong together. Whatever happens you’re gonna be with me forever”

Song Titles:

“Wild boys.”

“What are the chances.”

“All you need is now”

“Notorious”

“Faith in this colour”

“Big Bang Generation”

“So Misled”

“New Religion”

Childhood/Teenage Years/Good Times:

“And you sway in the moon the way you did when you were younger, when we told everybody all you need is now.”

“Everybody everywhere feel it in the air. It’s time to take the pressure off!”

Now, in fairness, my categories are not perfect. Obviously, for example, some of the song titles are also lyrics, for instance. That said, I thought it was interesting how people responded to the question. Some people clearly went for a positive, why I love the band, which is cool. Others seemed to pick lyrics that would speak to the band from the fans. What also interested me is that not all of the lyrics were completely positive. For example, “so misled” could be a dig that the band isn’t what they thought. Same thing could be said about the nuclear war lyric. I think, overall, the answers show that there is a diversity of thought about the band and fandom, which is cool. All in all, I enjoyed the heck out of the super smart responses and plan to ask more questions like this. It was fun! I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t decide to do something else with these lyrics, too.

What did you all think? Did you enjoy the question? Do you have suggestions for other questions?

-A

Built on Hope and Burnt by the Sun

I had hoped that the summer would bring me more time to be involved and to be thinking about any and everything in Duranland. The last couple of weeks have definitely fulfilled that goal. There has been a lot more thinking, writing, discussing Duran, for sure. Interestingly enough, it has made me question some things rather than just bring me back into the fandom fold. Questioning isn’t a bad thing but different from what I thought would happen.

When I think about my history in this fandom, I go back to 2004 and what I wanted then. When I jumped in online, the reasoning was a simple one. I wanted to make friends and I wanted people to go to shows with. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. Did I accomplish that? I have met a ton of people through this fandom. There is no doubt about that. I couldn’t have been more excited and happy. I remember this feeling of utter contentment. Some of those friends did attend shows with me and many of them remain as people I would still list as friends even if we don’t speak much anymore. Of course, Rhonda is the big exception.

Speaking of, we quickly discovered that we could tour together easily and have so much fun. I never laugh so much than when I am with her. So fandom in 2004 and 2005 was just joy. Of course, this perfectly coincided with the conclusion of graduate school, which meant more time and money. Life felt pretty good. I was filled with hope that this could continue indefinitely. Naive is probably the best word to describe how I was then. Soon enough, as 2005 turned to 2006, cracks in the pavement (pun intended) started to appear. I began to notice that not all fans got along with each other and definitely felt the wrath of those who believed that I did not express my fandom appropriately, at all times. On top of that, the reunion excitement fizzled as Andy left and the Red Carpet Massacre era brought division.

Hope remained high still for me. Those intensely positive memories from the Astronaut era offered protection against the negatives even when I began to worry that I was all alone or would be all alone soon enough. I remember making the decision to go see the band during their Broadway run in New York City in 2007 as the band promoted RCM. I went with a college friend who knew next to nothing about Duran but was excited to see me and wanted to support my interests. I had a good time (as I would at any Duran show) but it wasn’t the same.

By the fall of 2008, my hope began to return as Rhonda and I began studying fandom. If I understand this social phenomenon, I thought then I could do what needs to be done to keep it all positive. Then, the All You Need Is Now era began and, for the most part, my life in Duranland was great. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. I went to the most shows ever and had a chance to see the band in the UK. We began to do meet ups and even planned a convention, hoping these events might bring friendships and joy to other Duranies like we had and that the fan community might be a more positive place.

Paper Gods brought a lot more shows and new friends. However, as the fandom wheel continued to go around, I found myself relying on shows and touring as my main means of escape and joy. Fandom provided the balance to the ever increasing stressfulness of my job and the real world. But I began to realize that the balance that fandom brought was delicate. Real life began to feel like I was walking on a very thin railing and hoping that I wouldn’t fall off. If I could make it to the shows or to a tour, it would feel like I made it across the railing to get to firmer ground. Yet, that firmer ground was getting shorter and less fun. It felt like I needed fandom differently than I had in the beginning. In 2004, I needed it for fun. By 2017, I needed it to keep me from falling into a deep, dark hole of sadness and loneliness.

Realizing this, I began to look around. Was fandom still providing me the same things that it once did? Was it bringing me new friends? Yes, I know people but I’m not sure how many of them I feel particularly close to or feel like I can rely on. So, I did what I had to do and focused some of my attention and energy on friendships outside of Duranland. What about going to shows? I still have people to go to shows with but those shows are getting harder and harder. Lately, it has always meant a long day of travel and the stress of missing work and flying. I have to wonder how much is it worth it. Yet, I fear that once I stop traveling to shows, those goals from 2004 will go up in smoke. It was the mark the end. Now, I am still a fan and will always be one. I just have to wonder if the days, my days in this fandom are numbered. In 2007, a lot of the friends I had made in 2004 and 2005 were walking away and now I feel that same sense. I pushed through then and kept hope alive but I’m not sure that I can now. I’m tired. I’m tired of being the consistently there and consistently strong one. I have to do that in real life so I don’t know that I can do it in fandom, too.

Now, I have been around long enough to know that how I feel right now may not be how I will feel next month or next year. Maybe I will have the most amazing time in Vegas in September that I cannot imagine myself not traveling to see shows. If the timeline about new music coming out next year is at all accurate, that might keep me around for another cycle. After all, I still think it would be cool to see the band play in the UK for their 40th, if that were to happen. This I do know. I cannot force any of it. I cannot control what the band does, what my friends do or how I feel. So, for now, I will try to keep that initial hope alive.

-A

Been Under Quiet Attack

Sometimes, fandom feels like an endurance test. It like the world and everything and everyone in it is just to push you away from fandom. For some people, they might opt to leave, to avoid, to hide. I, on the other hand, am feeling feisty, determined. I’m digging in my heels.

It has never been easy to be a Duran Duran fan. I am sure that a lot of people would think I’m insane for saying that. After all, at one point, they were the most popular band in the world. They were everywhere and you could buy merchandise upon merchandise in the mid-1980s U.S. Yet, for me, it didn’t always feel awesome. Sure, it was great fun with my friend as we watched Sing Blue Silver for the millionth time in her TV room but sucked that other kids at school talked smack about them along with countless DJs, music critics, and random strangers. “Aww…that band sucks. Can they even play their own instruments? Must be rough to be put together by a management company. What’s with the eyeliner? What are they gay?” were just some of the rude and untruth comments I was exposed to both then and now. It didn’t make me turn away from Duran but made me more determined to love them.

Then, of course, the mid to late 1980s was not always kind to the band and their fans. I saw my best friend walk away from the fandom. All the fans had to watch Duran regroup after side projects but also with the departure of Roger and Andy. On top of that, life often got in the way to the point where I found myself moving on while holding on to the that sliver of being a fan. Could I? Would I return to the really join the fan community? I wasn’t certain especially as the 1990s grew older but I know that when I took the time to watch and listen to Duran my love endured even if I remained pretty isolated as a fan.

Of course, I jumped back in with two feet along with countless others as the band reunited. I believed that this would be the best ever. Not only was I thrilled that the beloved Fab Five was back, I looked forward to getting to know more and more fans to share my love with others. Sadly, I also assumed that Duran’s longevity would result in nothing but acceptance and kudos from the music critics and the public as a whole. As we know, that didn’t always happen. Yes, they received more public acclaim than they had previously but they are never quite totally respected. On top of that, I found myself battling on a new front. Now, it seemed that others criticized my fandom because I’m “too old”. I should have let that go as a kid, people would imply. It certainly should not interfere with real life or all those responsibilities.

Still, I figured that I could blow off all those music critics, journalists, and nosey people in my own life as long as the fan community provided nothing but acceptable and joy. Sometimes, it has. I have had tremendous moments in which everything just feels right. I remember looking around, for example, at various points of Durandemonium, the convention that Rhonda and I organized, and thought how amazing it all was. Another example is when it seemed like the entire venue was clapping along to the Man Who Stole a Leopard in Glasgow in December of 2011. Sometimes, I have had it when we have held our online parties. It can be the best time ever.

Yet, there have been other times that it feels like I have battle both the outside world and the inside one. Yes, Rhonda and I chose to express our fandom by writing this blog, by organizing fan events, etc. It’s cool that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe some people don’t want us to do this or that. Others might not always like who we are or what we have to say. That’s okay, too. That said, I’m not going to stop loving Duran, who I am or how I express my fandom. I’m more determined than ever to stick around, do what I do and love the band with all of my being. I’m looking forward to partying hard in a couple of months at some great shows with my friends. Then, all of the obstacles put in my way will get pushed to the side and all that will remain is what started all of this to begin with.

-A

To hear the drum

Over the weekend, I chatted back and forth with another Duranie about drumsticks. She’d gotten Roger’s sticks recently, and I’d congratulated her on social media, mentioning that I don’t even have a pair. Somehow over the years, I’ve never been that lucky. There was one time I came close, though. Another, much taller man right beside me grabbed them in midair, and you know – that’s the way it goes. After that, I realized it was silly to keep trying. Someone always wants them a little more, or is a little luckier in the process.

Anyway, this person was thrilled to have secured sticks from Roger. She encouraged me to keep trying for them, and asked where I’d be sitting at the upcoming shows I’m attending. I explained that in most cases, I’m really too far back. Although I’ve had front row a few times now, I haven’t tried for sticks.

I thought about that after our conversation ended. Roger was my favorite band member from the first moments I became a fan. He still IS my favorite, but it’s different in adulthood than in teen years—at least for me. For a few years, I held up signs for him at shows, but I don’t do that anymore. I don’t know when it stopped, or why. On second thought, I do know about when, and certainly why I left the signs at home. I became more aware of the fact that due to this site – more people knew me. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious, and that hasn’t changed with age.

Jungle drums they all clear the way for me

Fandom for me, is a tangled mess. That much, I know for sure. Part of it is, I’m well-aware that I write a fan blog. That alone is enough to make people smirk, and yes – it bothers me. I mean, it’s one thing to say you’re a huge fan. Even that might get grins when you’re amongst people who don’t really understand there is life after the age of 30 or even 40. Then when they ask how many shows you’ve gone to. I usually say “around 50”. The expressions change from amusement to almost concern, and then back to a smirky, snarky, sort of partial grin. But then, if I dare go one further (and I don’t always) by announcing that I run a fan blog/website dedicated to Duran Duran fans, that’s when the eyes roll and I can see a slight recoil, as though they’re trying to back away. This comes in especially handy at family gatherings, and workplace events for my husband.

In all seriousness though, I don’t like the characterization much. I’m pretty sure I’m not a crazy person, but the very second one backs up a statement such as “Not only have I gone to a lot of concerts, but I own and operate a fan blog dedicated to Duran Duran”, with a phrase like,“I’m not crazy, though”, it’s too late. My fate, and the corresponding label, already been granted. I must be one of those certifiably crazy obsessive fans.

Just a toy that you keep at home

I suppose that while there were a number of reasons why I stopped asking for sticks – one big one was because I thought that the more obsessive I acted, the more I asked for stuff, the less-serious people would take the blog. I didn’t want to be the punchline in someone’s joke.

Here’s a little nugget I’ve learned, but still wrestle with, over the nine years we’ve blogged. It doesn’t matter. At this point, people have already made their decisions about Daily Duranie, and particularly about me as a person. Holding up signs, asking for sticks, pictures, or even hugs from people I care about, isn’t going to make a bit of difference. People either like the blog, or they discount it completely. My internal struggle, or my anxiety, comes from knowing I can’t change any of it, but wishing that I could. For me, I think that constant inner tug-of-war is my Achilles heel. I seek approval and acceptance, from everyone, everywhere. It is an impossible task.

Several years ago, I asked Dom for a guitar pick before he left the stage after a concert. Not only did he flick the one he had been using my way (amazingly enough, I caught it), but he sent his guitar tech out to throw the rest of his picks from his mic stand at me. Other people eagerly grabbed those, but I didn’t care because I had the one he’d used just two minutes prior. I still have that pick in my jewelry box. I’ve never known what else to really do with it. I think the memories of getting it, or running into him after a show and having him come over to say hi, or giving me a quick hug in a hallway, are more precious to me than the pick itself.

With the strays and the damaged

I don’t know if I’ll ever hold up a sign for Roger again. I still feel weird about doing it, even though I know I probably shouldn’t. Also, I don’t know if having sticks would really make a difference. Would it make me feel like any more of a fan? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong – getting sticks is cool, but is it any more exciting than speaking to him at a signing? I’m really not sure much could top that moment for me, and it’s just a memory at this point. I don’t even have video or recording of our brief conversation. My point is, maybe someone else really wants them and needs them. I wouldn’t feel right about taking them when I know of someone else who has desperately wanted them.

I have so much work to do, personally. My anxiety, while better now that I’m living in a semi-rural and peaceful place, still plagues me more than I want to admit. I continue worrying about how other people see me, see the blog, or see my fandom, entirely too much. I’m a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

-R

I’ve Got My Own Way

I am a John Taylor fan.  He is my favorite.  I’m wiling to bet that you probably don’t even know that.  I’m not one to shout it from the rooftop or anywhere else.  Why is that?  I suspect it has to do with something Rhonda mentioned last week on the blog.  There are a lot of John fans out there.  I’m one of a million.  Rhonda implied that the competition over John is a fierce one and one that she is glad that she is not a part of.  I get that.  I think it is part of the reason that I’m rather shy when it comes to my admiration of the Bass God.  

Like many Duranies out there, I became a John girl in the 1980s.  In fact, I would point out that it was the video for the Reflex that did it.  At the time, I was super young.  Like nine.  Less than a decade old.  My best friend at the time also decided that John was the one for her.  I have later learned that we were weird, super unusual.  Why?  I guess that most friend groups in the 80s were such that no two friends could have the same favorite.  It was like there was an unwritten rule based on the idea that we would all grow up to marry this man of our dreams.  Since that was the case, there could only be one Mrs. Nick Rhodes.  You cannot have two Mrs. John Taylors.  So, people had to pick a unique choice.  Now, I’m uncertain how friend groups decided who gets what band member as their favorite.  Loudest friend got the first choice?  Most popular?  First person to pick?  No clue.  Anyway, my friend and I did not do that.  If I had to guess why, I think we were just too young.  While we learned that we should be thinking about the man we were going to marry, we didn’t learn that we should compete over that guy, if necessary.  So, it was cool to us to both like the same guy.  In fact, I might even say that it was reassuring to me to like the same guy as my friend. It meant that my taste was “right” or “good”.

Now, though, I’m no longer 9 years old.  I am well aware that women are subtly taught to compete for men.  I could argue that the reason that I don’t shout about my favorite is because I don’t want to compete against other women.  While part of that is true, for sure, there is more to it.  It has more to do with me.  I really don’t compete because I believe that I will lose so the best plan is not to play at all.  I think this belief of mine plays a pretty big role in how I express my fandom beyond not shouting about being a John. It definitely affects how I express my fandom on social media.

So what do I mean by “cannot win”?  What does winning look like on social media amongst Duranies?  Good question.  I don’t have a good answer but one could say that winning would be being well liked.  How do fans become well-liked?  I, at one point, thought it was that you knew a lot.  I don’t think that does it unless what you know proves you know a lot about the music (to the fans that really dig this aspect of Duranland) or it is that you have insider info or can give news alerts.  I do know a lot about Duran history but I cannot tell you details about who produced what track or what different remixes are out there.  I have no insider connections and don’t have time to give every little piece of news.  How else could people become well-liked on social media?  From my observation, another means is to be witty, funny or make cool Duran references.  Sometimes, I am okay at that but usually I have to be really comfortable with the crowd around me first.  Social media isn’t going to cut it.  I am assume that I don’t have anything super interesting to say so I don’t say much at all.  

Does this attitude include responding to “official” people’s posts including DDHQ? I sometimes think about responding and then literally the next thought is, “What would I post that would offer something of interest or substance?”  Then, I realize that I would just be repeating others and not in any cool way so I don’t.  This feeling was ten times worse when John Taylor was on twitter.  What the hell would he care what I have to say?  Though, it is funny that I don’t have the same concerns when I post about things that I feel very competent in (history, politics, education).  In those settings, I rarely shut up.  But for whatever reason I hold myself back when it comes to fandom and the subtle competition that exists.  (I know…some will deny that social hierarchy exists.  Those comments only reinforce what I know about fandom and social hierarchy.)

Two questions emerge.  First, does this make my fandom or love for Duran and John any less?  Second, do I wish to change this situation?  As for the first question, my fandom is not any less than any others even though I don’t show it in the way that many others do.  I do write this blog after all.  They must matter a lot to me.  My love for John Taylor hasn’t really varied since my 9 year old self fell for him more than 3 decades ago.  Do I wish to change this?  In some ways, yes, and in others…I’m okay.  Do I wish that there was less competition in fandom?  Absolutely. Would that make me feel more comfortable? 100%.  It is part of the reason that I blog, plan events, etc.  The more fans come together, the less competition exists.  I definitely wish that there was less judgement.  In saying all that, I acknowledge that I’m not perfect in those areas and must work on them myself.  Do I wish that I responded differently and be less worried about being accepted or liked?  Sure and I can work on changing some of that, too, while I push to make Duranland a happier place.

-A