Category Archives: Duran Duran

We’ll Keep the Laughter Flowing and We’ll Remember

Amanda has given me an assignment…to write about my proudest moment as a Duran fan. It’s due next week, because I leave for vacation next Saturday. I can’t wait, and I need the break!

I’ve known about this “assignment” for a couple months now, and yet – in true “Rhonda-fashion”, I’ve waited as long as I could to finish it. Yes, I really was that girl in college who started her semester essay the night before it was due… I’ve thought about what moment I would choose though, and I’m still not sure if there’s really just one that stands out. I mean yes, yes I’m proud that I was able to interview Dom (he’ll never know how much I appreciate that he did that for us) I’m really proud that I was able to go to the UK. I’m super proud that I finally was able to meet all five original members and have an album signed. I am extremely proud of finishing our manuscript (that I am still not publicly naming). But are those things really that big of a deal or bigger than others? I’m not sure. Well, the book is – but that’s another story.

The truth is, the one thing that consistently comes to mind when I think about this topic is the convention in 2004. It’s not the planning, and it’s not even the fact that I was able to see the project through to fruition. I think that for me, it’s being able to see where I finally belonged. On that one weekend, there was no ridicule. No whispering about plans to see the band somewhere without telling others. No feeling of competition, and no feeling of being alone. The one moment that comes most to mind is when I stood up to introduce myself as one of the team of people who planned the convention.

I walked to the front of the room and took the microphone, and rather than feeling fear, I felt peace, or even the teensiest bit empowered. No one was looking at me trying to find a way to cut me down, and I didn’t feel the least bit awkward (for probably the first time in my entire life).  I stood there and just said how I felt. I felt included. I felt like I was part of something larger than myself, and I knew that if I squealed at a video or laughed over a picture or made a joke – that everyone else would get it, because they were fans just like me. That’s the one thing that unites all of us, and it’s the one thing that I think we forget most often. There wasn’t much else for me to say that night beyond that, just that I really appreciated everyone being there, that I hoped they would have a good time, and that there would be many more to follow.

Good times have been had, many many times over, since that night. I’ve met people from around the world, I’ve enjoyed going to shows and seeing friends that I only see when the band tours, and I am forever thankful that the friends I made during that first year in the community are still my friends. They have my back, even when they know that I might feel differently about things than they do. That’s real, unbridled loyalty and friendship. I’m extremely proud to call these people my friends. I don’t need to name them because they know who they are, and hopefully they know how much I love and adore each and every one of them.

Funny…I love and adore the band. They are truly the catalysts for Daily Duranie and most everything I’ve done as of late here. However, even if I quit being a fan tomorrow, my friends would still be there. That’s why those friends that I made before and during that convention in 2004 are what continue to fill me with love and pride.

-R

Get Higher Baby

This week, we have a theme to the blog posts.  It is a pretty simple theme and one that we have previewed some by asking for guest blogs.  The theme is about accomplishments, achievements, what to be proud of in terms of your fandom, in terms of being a Duran Duran fan.  We all have things we have done or not done in the name of fandom that we are proud of.  We all have achieved things related to fandom that should be acknowledged.  These achievements or events of pride can vary from fan to fan.  They could be about finally getting that autograph.  Maybe, they are about holding it together in front of the band at a meet and greet.  Perhaps, it is about completing one’s collection on vinyl.  Yet, it could be something as important as going outside of one’s comfort zone to travel to a show or event or meet other local Duranies in person.  Thus, as part of this theme, Rhonda will address hers.  I will address mine and we will have two guest blogs addressing theirs.  Before we dive into what fans might be proud of, let’s stop and think about what the band might be proud of.

I suspect that the first things that come to mind about what the band might be proud would include things involving commercial success, creativity, and larger-than-life projects.  I think we have all heard the story about how John and Nick had these goals of playing Hammersmith in 1982, Wembly in 1983 and Madison Square Garden in 1984.  It would make sense to imagine that they were thrilled when they actually met those goals.  What other elements of commercial success would or could they focus on?  I can imagine that hearing one of their songs on the radio for the first time was a big deal.  The same might be true about the first time they saw one of their videos on TV.  Of course, I’m ahead of the game since they would have first been proud to get a record deal and proud to record their first album.  I would imagine that the first of anything they did in their careers would have been a big deal.  Here, I’m thinking of first tour, first time out of the country, first photo shoot, first interview and more.  Of course, I would imagine that when Planet Earth charted, that was a huge deal.  Likewise, the first time one of their albums went gold and platinum was pretty monumental, I’m sure.  Now that their careers are decades old, perhaps, they could be proud of how many albums they have sold, how many singles and albums have been on the charts, how many concerts they have played, how many albums they have made, etc.  Truly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they chose any of those commercial success indicators to be proud of.  I would be, if I were them.

What about some of the larger-than-life events that they have been a part of?  Obviously, the first event that pops into my head could be Live Aid and, later, Live 8 (with obvious participation in Band-Aid).  Then, of course, they played in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and for her tribute show.  A recent event like that could also be the Olympics.  Not only did they play as part of the London games but they also appeared at the Olympic Games in Torino in 2006.  Of course, they have also played many shows for other causes from the Live Earth to Amnesty International to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Perhaps, then, they are proud that they have been able to use their talents and fame to help out causes and organizations that they believe in.  In playing in some of those, they were also able to be a part of history, which is a huge deal.

Yet, perhaps, what they are most proud of is what they have been able to do, creatively.  They have made quite a few albums and it is very obvious that their musical talents have not only attracted thousands of fans all around the world but they have also influenced plenty of other musical artists.  Their sound is distinct and well-known.  People can generally identify Duran’s music when they hear it.  On top of their music, they certainly made their mark with their videos.  Can you imagine what videos might have been like if there were no videos filmed on location, if they were all filmed in some lifeless studio?  What if videos had no storyline of any sort?  Certainly, Duran showed the world that videos could not only be creative but did affect album sales.  Of course, Duran’s creativity didn’t end there as they took their time to create fabulous album covers, used and created fashion to fit their purposes, and developed strong live performances that almost always had something a little bit extra to them.  Oh no, I think no one would debate the idea that Duran has made their mark on the creative world.

In my opinion, they could and should be proud of any and all of those accomplishments.  All of them are pretty substantial in and of themselves and combined, their achievements are almost overwhelming. I don’t know what the band members, themselves, would say is their proud achievement.  My guess is that they would point out whatever project they are currently working on as they always seemed to be focused on the present.  All of this said, I’m not sure I would mention any of those accomplishments first.  I would think of two other accomplishments before I even got to that not-nearly complete list.  No, I might mention their sheer longevity.  There really aren’t many bands to have survived decades.  More to the point, they experienced fame in such an intense way that many, many, most would not have survived and, if they did survive, they wouldn’t be able to still be at the top of their game.  Duran appeared on the scene and never left.  In fact, I think some might argue that they got stronger along the way.  On top of this, they managed to create a very large, very passionate fanbase that has also lasted decades longer than anyone thought it would.  That’s huge.

What do the rest of you think?  What do you think Duran should be most proud of?  Something I mentioned here or something completely different?

-A

Public Figure, What a Pain!

One of the reasons that I love to write is that I love how it organizes my thinking.  I feel like I have a ton of ideas, thoughts just rolling around in my head until I sit down to organize them in such a way as to be understood by others.  This blog is going to be one of those.  Lately, I have been thinking about celebrities, public figures, idols, stars or whatever you want to call them.  This isn’t surprising since I have been studying and thinking about fandom for long time.  Yet, my focus has always been fans rather than the famous person/people.  Our book, for example, doesn’t examine the band.  Yes, we obviously mention them but we don’t spend a lot of time talking specifically about them.  Yet, lately, my thinking has shifted.  I’m thinking less from the fan perspective and more about what the celebrity(s) might feel.

All of us know what it is like to be the fan.  We know what it is like to admire someone’s creative work–whether that work is a song, an album, a video, a live performance, an acting performance, a piece of art, a piece of fashion, etc.  I also definitely get how it feels to be around someone you admire.  Let’s face it.  There is something odd, when you think about it, about how someone’s JOB is such that lots of people know it and like him/her because of it.  We all have jobs, careers but it isn’t like the media pays any attention to people who deliver packages or people who fix plumbing.  It just doesn’t happen. Careers in the creative arts, on the other hand, can get people’s attention beyond those immediately around them.  We could discuss why that is but that isn’t the focus of the blog.  I have to acknowledge that it is weird, in a logical sense, that people would become well-known or famous for their CAREERS.  Obviously, in some way, we (collectively, as a society) place people in the world of fame because we must think that who they are or what they do is extraordinary, special, better than the rest of us.  This is why we follow them or why we want to meet them, right?  I do get that, but I also wonder what it is like to be them.  I know what it is like to be a fan, to be someone who wants to meet someone famous, but what is it like to be someone who people want to meet or more?

On one hand, I can imagine that it must be completely amazing to be someone who people want to meet, be around, and more.  It must be a non-stop ego stroke, right?  All of these people want to meet you, take your picture, get your autograph, etc. because they feel you are special, someone extraordinary.  This must make you feel very special and I could see where you could and would believe that you are exactly that, something, perhaps, better than others, better than everyday people.  I could see where you would just think you are so cool and that you can do no wrong.  It might even lead to you believing that you deserve all of the attention and maybe you do.  It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Clearly, a lot of people try really hard to get to this spot of fame and many once they get there want to stay.  It must be very addicting.  I get this.  We all like praise and to be told that we do something well.  We all do.  I know, for example, I always do when it comes to this blog, my political work or even my job.  Then, I imagine that fame is like this times like a million.  Yet, is there a dark side to all of this attention?  We all realize that there can be a dark side to media attention, lack of privacy, etc.  What about with the fans, though?

The fan interactions I’m thinking of can be everything from official events like a CD signing or meet and greet to unofficial events like seeing someone in the streets or at an airport.  There is also the online interactions through the use of twitter and Facebook.  Whenever we have asked questions about fan interactions with the band, whether in person or on line, we frequently get a comment about how they are grown men and can handle themselves, which I have no doubt of.  That really isn’t my question.  Then, we hear, If they don’t like what a fan is doing, they could say something.  That’s true, but I also realize that there is a danger to doing that.  They wouldn’t want to alienate any fans, would they?  After all, that is how they sell albums and concert tickets.  They must also realize that fans talk among themselves so making one or two fans angry could lead to a lot more being angry.  Another frequent comment we hear when it comes to fan interactions with celebrities is that dealing with fans is part of their job or that fans put them where they are so they owe the fans to interact with them.  I struggle more with this one.  Is fan interaction part of the job?  Is it?  In the case of Duran, I’m sure that they would describe themselves as musicians.  This means that write and perform songs.  Fan interaction, I suppose, comes in with success.  To be a successful musician, one must sell a lot of albums and concert tickets.  Then, fan interaction becomes a part, right?  I guess.  Do some people become rock stars or actors or whatever for the fame?  I’m sure.  Do all?  What if they are uncomfortable interacting with strangers?  (I would be.)  Does that hurt their career?  Should it?  As for stars owing fans, I’m even more uncomfortable with this.  Isn’t their jobs to make music, to act, to write, to whatever and the audience’s job is to buy those products?  We buy the music.  We buy the movie ticket or watch the TV show.  We buy the book.  We aren’t buying the actual person(s), person’s time or attention, right?  I will also frequently hear a comment that goes something like this, “I treat them how I treat everyone.” Do we really?  If I treated the members of Duran Duran the way I do everyone else, I wouldn’t save pictures of them, for example, unless I was in them.  I wouldn’t try to find out everything about what they are working on or worked on.  Sure, yes, I find out quite a bit about what my close friends and family are up to but not to the same degree.  Let me give you an example.  My sister-in-law is a historian.  She worked on some project about kitchens in the 1950s.  Did I buy the book connected to this project?  I didn’t.  Kitchens and food preparation isn’t something I’m interested in.  I offered her support and congrats but that’s it.  I didn’t buy it immediately as I did with John’s autobiography.  My point here isn’t to criticize anyone, including myself.  I just think the nature of celebrities and fame doesn’t allow us to truly treat them as we would anyone else.  I think we can always strive for that, but we are humans and, for whatever reason, these particular people, these particular stars caught our attention.  They cause us to get excited.  These people cause us to react more emotionally.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be fans.  To be a fan means to have a passion for someone or something.  Emotion must be a part of it.

The real question then becomes how do we respond, knowing all this?  We know that people we are a fan of will cause us to feel a lot.  We will get excited over the idea of meeting them or interacting with them.  Yet, we also know, logically, that they are just people.  They are just people who made a career in the creative arts or something else that could get a vast amount of media and public attention.  What is right and fair for them and what is right and fair for us?  Do we try to overrule our emotion and desire to meet and interact with them?  Do we acknowledge the truly strange aspect to the fan/famous person interaction?  Do we change how we approach them?  These are questions I am no where ready to answer.

-A

What I Learned at the Last Duran Fan Convention

Can you believe that Durandemonium, the 2013 Duran Fan Convention, is just 3 months away?!  While that 3 month mark excites me and stresses me out about everything that needs to get done, today, I will look back to what I learned, what I got out of attending the last Duran convention in 2004.  I have written many, many blogs about that convention.  This one is going to be more focused on the elements I might not have talked about before.  It is these little pieces of a convention that people might not think about that adds up to make it all the more worthwhile.

What I Learned from Friends of Mine (The 2004 Duran Fan Convention):

*Duranies love sharing about their Duran stories
There were tons of stories that weekend from every single person at the convention.  The stories varied from the first time they heard the band to meeting them in person.  I couldn’t get enough.  I soaked up each and every story.  Many of these stories still make me laugh to this day.

*There is nothing better than a room full of *squeeing* Duranies
During the dinner dance of the convention, Duran videos were shown to correspond to the music.  There was a VERY loud *squee* when John Taylor’s cameo appeared on screen during Arcadia’s The Flame video.  Another moment was when John raised his eyebrows during New Moon on Monday.  Some Duranies couldn’t take it!!  I heard and saw many literally *THUD*

*Girls on Film!
While many of the females were screaming for John Taylor, many of the men in the audience actually pulled their chairs right in front of the video screen during the Girls on Film video.  Oh boy…

*Knowledge varies and that’s okay!
During the dinner dance, we had trivia questions to fill out.  It was clear by the results that some Duranies knew EVERYTHING and others…not so much.  It was all good, though.  We all understood that everyone was there due to love of the band.

*Analogies to explain Duranieness are awesome!
My friend, Jessica, one of the convention committee members, started her speech at the dinner dance in this fashion, “Hi.  My name is Jessica and I’m a Duran-o-holic.”  That earned many, many laughs and stuck with me!  It is a great way to describe fandom.  Later, I heard John describe concerts as “self-help” sessions.  Exactly!

*Duranies Just Wanna Have Fun!
I know that everyone knows this but fun is such a big part of Duranie culture, especially the culture I saw at the convention, that it needed to be said again.  That Saturday night was a very late night for me and many, many others.  We walked around, found ourselves in many drinking establishments, sang to some Duran songs…Needless to say, Sunday morning was tough for many of us but SO worth it!

*Collectors are serious.
Many people came with pieces of their Duran collections.  For some people, the collections involved t-shirts, buttons, scarves, etc.  Some people wanted to trade with others and some were looking to buy.

*Duranies love to live a little like rock stars themselves!
The hotel where the convention was held was fun!  We had leopard print bathrobes, for example.  They would also give you a goldfish for your room, if you wanted a pet!  I named mine, Sunrise.  The point is that the hotel was fabulous, which was great for someone who hadn’t spent a lot of time in hotels, at this point.  I realized that I could definitely learn to appreciate nice, fun hotels.  Likewise, a number of us took limos to and from the airport.  Yeah, living like that could agree with me…

*There is nothing like being around Duranies for multiple days in a row!
Like many people in Duranland, I spent/spend a lot of time online talking, reading and looking at all things Duran.  In 2004, I spent most of my time on message boards.  Now, it is facebook and twitter.  While I enjoy my time talking, reading, and looking about Duran, it is no where near the same as doing it in person!  Of course, show days provide a lot of time to talk about Duran, too.  Still, those times are only a few hours, maybe a half day.  A convention like this is 3 whole days.

*It was worth it!
Here’s a secret.  This was the very first time that I took off of work in order to attend a Duran related function.  I was nervous about it and part of me felt guilty.  Then, of course, I wasn’t sure it was worth the money.  I hadn’t been making a ton (not now either) but had just stopped paying for those graduate school classes and had restarted paying my undergraduate loans.  There were a ton of reasons I could give to myself NOT to go.  Yet, I truly believe that it was worth it.  I will say that until the day I die.

This list is not a complete one at all, but it is the first 10 things that came to my mind.  I’m anxious to see what I will learn at this year’s convention.  I can’t wait to hear about what the rest of the attendees learn about, too!  Of course, I know that I have learned a lot planning a convention.  If you haven’t purchased your ticket to the convention, you still can.  You can buy the tickets here:  http://durandemonium2013.eventbrite.com.  For all information on the convention, you can go here:  http://durandemonium2013.webs.com.  Can’t wait to share all the learning with all with you then!!!

-A

You’ve Built Your Refuge Turns You Captive All the Same

I have been a Duran Duran fan for a loooooooooooooong time.  A lot of us have.  I have been involved in a few other fandoms over the course of my life but none have stuck with me like Duran has.  There is probably a ton of reasons why that is but that isn’t the point of this particular blog post.  While I might have been with Duran over these other fandoms, there are Duranies who have ONLY been in the Duran fandom.  Then, there seems to be people who bounce from fandom to fandom to fandom.  Why do they do that?  Why have I been interested in other fandoms, at times, too?  While the simple, surface answer is that people can like many things and I can like other things besides Duran.  That’s true but…I think there is something about fandom itself that leads people to enjoy joining fandoms or leads people to leave fandoms once they become familiar, common place.

Do you remember what it was like when you first joined the Duran fandom?  Or any other fandom?  My memories from every fandom feel the same.  It feels good, happy, thrilling, exciting.  Everything and everyone feels positive.  I, for one, typically can’t get enough and can’t stop talking about whatever the object of that particular fandom is.  Everyone in the fandom literally feels like a family and I can’t ever imagine that there is ever bad blood or that people don’t get along.  I have such fond memories of when I joined the Duran fandom in 2004 (remember I was a fan before that but not part of the community).  I posted frequently on message boards and spent time reading them even more.  I spent a lot of money trying to fill in any gaps in the Duran catalog and organizing the pieces of memorabilia that I had while acquiring even more.  I wanted to know and have everything and everyone in the fandom seemed to support this. It was wonderful.  Just wonderful.  When I decided to go to the convention, part of the reason was that I wanted more.  I wanted to be around others who understood the overwhelming love I had for this band.  At the convention, it seemed like every single fan was awesome and each and every one of them could become my best friend because we all shared this very important thing.  I didn’t need to hide.  In fact, my fandom was cherished, was celebrated.  Everything and everyone seemed perfect from my fellow fans to the band.

After that, the album came out and the tour happened.  I went on tour for the first time in my life.  It continued to be perfect.  Part of the reason was that it provided a perfectly positive escape.  Who doesn’t need an escape once in awhile?  I know that I did.  I had just finished my master’s degree and was tired of taking classes, writing papers, etc.  Work was still pretty significant and was literally working many hours more beyond that forty hour a week contract.  While I wasn’t unhappy, I still needed those mental and emotional breaks that fandom was providing, that the Duran fandom was providing.  Once I went on tour, my interest became like a real obsession.  The escape from reality was intense there.  I wasn’t thinking about students, curriculum, behavior plans, etc.  I wasn’t worried about presenting myself professionally with parents or administrators.  Instead, it was all about fun–going from one show to the next, partying, staying up late, laughing like there was no tomorrow.  I found my refuge, for sure.  I loved it and couldn’t imagine ever stopping.  Heck, still today, I can’t imagine ever really stopping.  I can’t imagine not going on tour ever again.  Thus, in the early days of my Duran fandom, it was perfectly fun.  Beyond fun.  Beyond anything I could have ever wanted or imagined.  In my observation, while the details and experiences I had in Duranland might be different from other activities in other fandoms, the feelings I had were the same, at least to some degree, in other fandoms and what I have seen with other friends and family and their fandoms.  This feeling of everything and everyone being wonderful and the feelings of escape seem to happen with all fandoms when people join them.

Yet, as time has gone on, I have learned that not everything in Duranland is rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  It isn’t perfect.  The band isn’t perfect and neither are the fans.  I don’t always agree with everything the band and their management has done.  I have met many, many fans.  Some of them have become close friends of mine (ha!), some have become people I like and would like to get to know more, and some I’m not too crazy about and they aren’t too crazy about me, either.  The perfection did not last.  The hearts and flowers did not live forever.  I still have many, many great days as part of this fandom.  I can’t really imagine leaving.  Yet, I have to acknowledge that it doesn’t always have that same level of escape and fun that it was once did.  In fact, there are days that I wonder if I shouldn’t consider walking away.  Why?  Simple.  I have those thoughts on days when it feels like the Duran fandom is the exact opposite of an escape.  There are days that it can feel almost like a trap.  The negatives fly fast and furious.  Luckily, those days, those times don’t last forever.  I then can focus on the good times I have had, the good friends I have made.  This allows me to wipe away the negatives, the hostility from others.  My experience has taught me what it takes to remain in a fandom and why some people might go from fandom to fandom.  I suspect those people are trying to avoid the negatives.  They only want the fun and escape.  I can’t blame them.  Who can?  Part of me is jealous because I can’t ever go back to those innocent, carefree days of early fandom, at least not with Duran.  I know too much.  I have seen too much.  People have seen and heard too much of me.

Initial fandom might feel like a perfect escape and definitely can be for awhile.  Yet, as time goes on and people settle in, imperfections that occur with every human being, with every human community becomes clear.  To remain in a fandom means accepting those imperfections, accepting that it can’t always be an escape.  At times, it can and will feel just like the rest of reality with positives and negatives, with people of all opinions and more.  In that sense, fandom and fan communities become just like any other community, filled with reality.

-A

No going back now, even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing.

It’s been a tough week, and it’s only Wednesday.

Lately, Amanda and I have not been feeling the Duranie love, and I think it’s safe to say that both she and I have had our resolve tested in ways we couldn’t have imagined. As I write, I am constantly reminded in one way or another of a tweet I read many months back – it was something about when you put yourself out there, you should expect to be scrutinized. I’m sure I’ve messed up the wording there, but the point is very clear.

We don’t write this blog so that everyone on the planet agrees with us. Over the years we’ve written, we’ve encouraged healthy discussion, and there have been moments where I think both of us have had our eyes opened to other sides of issues. While we might not have changed our overall opinion, we have certainly gained understanding, and I thank our readers and commenters for that opportunity. There is no way we could ever expect everyone to see our points, or to agree with us – and make no mistake, when we write the blog, we write with the expectation that at least one person out there will agree, and at least one person (and likely five) will disagree.

The only thing we’ve ever asked of our commenters is that they actually read the blog before commenting, and that when they comment, that they do it respectfully. There’s no point otherwise, because open hostility does nothing productive whatsoever. We are not the personal whipping girls of the fan community, however our readers may see us. I recognize that many believe that if we blog, we’re opening ourselves up for this sort of thing. Opening ourselves up for discussion is a lot different than allowing people to simply be rude, condescending and hostile. This is a fan community for a BAND, and on that end, this is supposed to be fun to some extent. Right now, it is not.

Recently, someone asked, rather unkindly and condescendingly about our credentials. So, let me explain once again. Amanda and I both have degrees in the social science field. We are writing a book…actually, we have pretty much finished our first manuscript and are now working on a book proposal. The book we are working on is all about fan communities. It is written from a primarily academic point of view, working behind the “lens” (so to speak) of social science. That means examining how groups of people interact, create cultures of their own and even how they affect the greater population. We don’t just talk about what a fan community is, but why fan communities exist and more importantly – why they thrive. We utilize this blog for a fair amount of our research, and I think Amanda would agree that part of the thesis behind our manuscript truly came from writing this blog. I think it’s also important to note that while the blog is written pretty casually (some of us are WAY casual – I write the blog the way I would probably talk to my friends), the book is not written like this at all. It’s formally written, but we try and interject personal stories and thoughts throughout the book so that it has a personal edge and not just academic jargon. How is it that we can assert some of the theories and ideas we have in the past few years here? Are we qualified to do that? Yes, with research, and LOTS of it, but I think that will become very clear when the book is released. Let me make this clear: we’re not trying to fix anyone (least of all ourselves), but we ARE trying to understand how or why we as a group act and react the way we do. When we ask questions hoping for discussion – this is why we do it.  If that offends you, there is a simple answer: don’t read.

One of the next projects that I am already doing research for is on the ideals of celebrity and stalking. Don’t be surprised when there are blogs on that subject, and if you see yourself in what I’m writing – take heed that I am no psychotherapist. I don’t know what goes on in the heads of any of you, nor do I honestly care to figure it out. My only concern is finding out how the group feels about the subjects as a whole. What do we consider odd behavior, behavior that is over the line and so forth. Just so we are crystal clear: my blogs are not about any one person unless it’s about myself. There are qualities in all of us that are found in some of the  scenarios I’ve read. We’re FANS. The line between crazy behavior and “normal” behavior is fuzzy at best – even in some of the most respected research that’s out there. To many writers out there, fandom itself is not normal – they explain it as a pathology! (the science or study of the origin or source of a disease)

I am never accusing anyone of inappropriate behavior because it is not my job to do so. However, I’m not going to stop talking about behaviors purely because somebody or several people is/are offended that I’d dare mention a specific thing that they do. I have no advice for those people other than to say that if you see yourself, maybe that’s an issue, and maybe not.  Again, if you’re somehow offended, don’t read. It’s a very simple answer, and believe me – I won’t be offended.

What I do find curious, and at times downright amusing, is how quickly some are to assume I’m speaking of them. There are thousands of people in this fan community. Thousands.  Amanda and I have literally met hundreds, and likely thousands of fans at this point ourselves. We have friends throughout the world, and thousands of readers on this blog as well. In the case of the research I’m currently doing, it’s not even for a book that is Duran Duran based. Why on earth would a few people just automatically assume I must mean them – out of the thousands of people we know and interact with on a daily basis?

Amanda and I have been writing for nearly three years now. When we first began the blog, we literally had no readers. We kept writing. Sometimes, someone would see something that would spark their interest, comment, and keep reading. So, when some tell me (and their friends) that Daily Duranie is unkind to fans and that they won’t read any longer – I think it’s fair to say that Amanda and I are not at all worried about that. We never started the blog hoping that it would become the most read blog in all of fandom. We started it to work on our writing. Period. Being Duran Duran fans is an easy and interesting topic for us to write about, and up until recently – we enjoyed our work.

I’m about to go on vacation, and I have to tell you all – it’s incredibly timely. I need time and space for myself. I’m not burned out on the writing. Not at all. I still love blogging each day. I’m excited to be working on a book proposal, explaining our research, giving examples of other books that might be similar to ours and showing how they are different. I love reading and researching new topics. I thrive in that place. What I do not enjoy or love at all though is defending myself as a fan, writer and person. The toughest part of writing about fandom is actually BEING a fan and having to defend that on a daily basis. To a certain extent, that is part of the job, and I’m well-aware of that. Please understand that we don’t expect people to agree with us all the time or for any of you to be our personal cheerleaders. We simply ask for some mutual respect. I know that Amanda and I are not the first this has happened to, and we won’t be the last. This fan community has the craziest way of burning people out and feeding on their own, but conversely it’s a place where I have met some wonderful people and have found my very best friends. That said, I won’t “leave” and I won’t quit blogging, because I refuse to let other people decide my destiny.  As I read recently: I won’t let anyone take my bliss away.

I’m sorry this blog post is a downer. It’s not my goal here to have people comment back saying how wonderful we are, or to tell us to go to Hell. (you can certainly feel either way though!) For me, this blog is almost as much of a personal diary as it is a way for me to research fandom and celebrity. As I mentioned above, when I write here – I write as though I’m talking to my closest friends. There are days when the blog is about teaching. There are times when the blog is about celebrating.  Other days, it’s about trying to find a general consensus. Today, I need you to sit down and understand where I’m coming from.  It’s very easy for me to be angry about some of the more recent events that have taken place “blog-wise”, but it’s unproductive. So, as I write this blog – I’m cleansing myself a bit.  I’m letting it go, and moving forward.

-R

Pride will tear us both apart

Where were you on July 16th of 1980? I was only nine years old. (does that age anybody out there??) Quite a few of you were much younger than that, and maybe some of you out there weren’t even born yet. (again I ask, anybody feeling old yet??) At that time, it was the summer between fifth and sixth grade for me – which was a big moment because I was going from elementary school to intermediate school. Summers were always really hot in Glendora – the town I grew up. We didn’t have air conditioning in our house, instead my dad installed what most people call a “Swamp Cooler” in what was once a window in our living room. Swamp coolers use water to cool down air that is blown into the room.  I didn’t know the difference when I was younger, all I really knew was that on the hottest summer nights all I wanted to do was sleep in our living room (because it was closest to the cooler), and sometimes my mom let us. I also remember, with a lot less joy, that I had to stay with a sitter during the day while my parents both worked. My sister (who is five years younger) and I both went to the sitter, and without going into a ton of detail, it was a horrific experience. The best memory I have from this summer is finally standing up to this woman – the sitter, and my mom getting a phone call that she would no longer be our sitter. I think I cheered, even though my mother was furious with me at the time. I don’t remember much else from that ordinary summer, but overseas from where I lived, a spark had been lit.

On July 16 of 1980, Duran Duran performed at the Rum Runner with the classic band of five line up that we all know. Hard to believe that it’s really been 33 years since that first performance. I don’t know where the time has gone, only that it’s went and we’re now in the year 2013, anxiously awaiting tidbits, news, pictures, etc. from the studio on #DD14. Fourteen albums. Hundreds of performances (thousands?? Is that possible??), several different lineups…tens of thousands of fans, websites, blogs, books, posters… all beginning with five guys, some pink leopard print pants, a notebook of lyrics, and the Rum Runner.

Naturally, this all took place in Birmingham, England. Not in Hollywood, California and not in New York City. I make that distinction because I’ve noticed just how quick UK fans are to make sure the rest of us understand and remember that they are in fact a British band. Some take extreme issue with John working to achieve his US citizenship, saying that they hope he remembers where he’s really from. This band is certainly not American, and we have no right to claim them as “ours”. I would agree. They are not from here, and yet they worked very hard to make sure they broke the charts here in the states, and they spend an awful lot of time touring here. I think that at times, the overexuberance of welcoming, excited fans here in the US  puts the rest of the world, including our British friends, at odds. We really don’t claim the band as our own product, but we love them as though they belong. How can that be bad?

Over the years, especially in my adulthood, I’ve seen the ire raised in more than one UK fan over announcements that have been made for things here in the US while events in the UK have gone mostly unnoticed. I’ve also felt the extreme disappointment of fans in the UK as the band has announced relatively short tours there, while the US hosts them for much longer. Try as we US fans might to explain that we have a much larger surface area to cover, with far more large cities as well as people IN those cities….many UK fans continue to feel slighted, and yes – they do take it out on US fans, as though we actually have some sort of say in the matter, and that we should feel horrible that they come here at all. I know I’m not the only American fan to have noticed.

My only point in bringing this up is that for whatever reason, there seems to be a tug-of-war in  the sense of “ownership” of this band, and who “deserves” what. Now, I realize that there are many more countries and continents out there – but it is these particular two where I see the most friction. This isn’t really a discussion of where they should tour, but more of a matter that I see the comment “They are a British band, why on earth are they being represented by Americans?!?” quite often, but mainly when anything of interest is announced.

Yes, I am well-aware I just kicked over a dead stump to expose what was hiding beneath.

Aside from being aware that Wendy Laister is a relative of Nick’s – I don’t have any knowledge of why they have chosen to work with one manager over another, nor do I honestly care. Whatever works for the band is what is going to work for me because you see, I’m just a fan. I don’t understand the industry, and aside from some very limited PR I did at one time – I’m no expert. In fact, I’d assert just the opposite, that I know just enough to make myself extremely dangerous, which really means – I know nothing.

I can certainly see and even understand some of the points people make. It’s hard not to notice that the band does a lot here in the US – even if I can justify the reasons for doing so. I think it’s incredibly difficult to reason why the band and their management does anything they do, because none of us are in Wendy’s head, and it’s not as though she or anyone else in that management office actually answer to fans. (A point that I really believe is lost on most fans at one time or another.) I don’t know why it is that some events that happen in the UK go almost without mention and others that happen here in the US get weeks of comment and notice. I don’t really know why the band doesn’t have a management company located in the UK- I can’t even begin to guess, but it really shouldn’t matter. Yet for many, it really does.

I have to admit, and maybe this is just my perception – but I get the feeling having UK management really matters to their UK fans. I suppose, and yes – I am making a basic assumption here, but I suppose that they must feel that since the band is from the UK, that management would be better served being in their own country. I just don’t think it matters, and perhaps it just doesn’t matter to me. What’s the big deal?? Maybe this argument wouldn’t occur if fans weren’t able to point out how management caters to the US fans in every way from the press they receive to the public appearances they make, and even the way fans are addressed and holidays are acknowledged. Maybe that would have made a difference, but it’s my own opinion that fans would have just found something else to complain about. I suppose my feeling is that I couldn’t care less who manages the band as long as they’re happy and feel as though it’s a workable relationship, because that’s when it is all productive. The trouble is, I don’t really think that is what this debate comes from.  Is it really about whether or not the band is productive, or is it about the fact that the UK has a very strong sense of nationalism that we just don’t have here in America?

The makeup of my country is very, very different from anywhere else in the world I’ve traveled. Even our patriotism is different – it comes from a completely different place in our sense of “self”. I think a lot of this is because very, very few of us can trace our roots back to an origination here in the US. My own family moved here between two and four generations back. My paternal grandfather came here from Italy when he was just 10. My paternal great-grandparents were from England and moved here to own a hotel in New York. My maternal great-grandparents were from Germany and Ireland. Very few people I know really identify their nationality as American when you casually ask them. If you ask my husband his nationality, he’ll tell you that he is Hispanic and English. His mother is from England, his father is from Santa Fe, New Mexico – and they can trace that part of the family back to Montezuma and Cortez, but yet he doesn’t typically say “American” or “US”. The only time it comes up is when he’s being asked his citizenship at the customs area at the airport, really. I don’t think he is all that unusual. Sure, we’re proud of our country – but I just don’t think there is this need to claim things as our own in the same way there is in other parts of the world. My point is NOT to say that this way is better, but to explain why we really don’t get it. But, we should do better to understand one another, which is why I hope to learn from this blog.

I don’t think there are easy answers here, except in one area: we are not intended to be the experts for the band. Our job is to be fans. To enjoy what they do, to consume the art that they create. I’m pretty good at that last part – so I’ll let them handle the tough stuff.

-R

Rio, the DD Tribute Band – gig at Sainte Rocke 7/12/13 – Review

Tribute bands have never been my thing, to be honest. I’ve typically found them to be a bit more on the side of cheesy than I like at times, utterly cringeworthy at others. The tribute band has a difficult decision to make: do they choose to recreate the past and risk alienating the diehard fans? Should they recreate the music, using the bands original framework as merely a guide (and once again alienate diehard fans who know every single note?), or do they go over-the-top with bravado, knowing that they won’t be taken at all seriously, intending for the act to be seen as more of a joke than anything else (and again, risking the scorn and alienation of diehard fans)? The slope seems to be a rather slippery one at best, and I’m curious what drives a musician to go the route of tribute band member.

As a fan, let’s face it – I want the real thing. Who doesn’t? In my head I’m thinking that whatever tribute band I see is a distant, yet semi-effective (at least in some cases) “second” of whatever band we’re talking about. What I’m about to say will sound like the words of a desperate addict, but it’s true: sometimes, you just need a fix!!

Rio, the Duran Duran Tribute Band, has had a few shows this past year or so, and invariably, I haven’t been able to attend. So when I saw that a show for this past Friday was announced at a club in Hermosa Beach California called Sainte Rocke (Very cool club – if you live here and can make your way over there for a show, you absolutely should!), I jumped at the opportunity. Was the jump due to lack of show desperation? Curiosity? YES. My plan was simple: go to the show, sit near the back or at the bar, and watch the scene unfold. I had no intentions of getting near the front or dancing like a Duranie with her head cut off, I just wanted to give the band a fair listen and really see how they were in person.

The first part of my plan went just fine. My husband and I got to the club early and found a great spot at near the back that was at the bar (my favorite place to be, don’t you know?) – we were at the very corner, and it gave me a great vantage point to watch the crowd and get the greatest effect from the band. Funny, I can’t remember the last time I willingly sat in the back to listen to Duran songs… The band came on precisely at 10pm (already they were impressing me), making their way to the stage as the background song of Tiger Tiger played.  That song is like the Pavlov bell of Duranies. We come when called, and this night was no exception. The front of the room near the stage was already filled, and I found myself wondering: were they Duranies or fans of Rio? “Simon” (Jake Jacobs) made his way to the stage, announced – in full character – that we’d be taking a trip back in time to 1985, and it quickly became clear that this was no ordinary tribute band as they began their opening song, Planet Earth.

I’m really not one to gush…much…but I was shocked at how good they were. This is a band who has taken their time and watched Duran’s performances over the years. It is obvious that Jake in particular has studied LeBon’s movements because every hand gesture, hip sway and yes…dance move…has been replicated. I found myself giggling in delight and my eyes floating from band member to band member to see if all play their part. “John” (Gil Barron) has the brooding shyness and bleached bangs of a young JT, “Andy”(Chadwick Steinmetz) plays his guitar with all of the towering overconfidence of Andy Taylor (minus the cigarette, because let’s face it – this really is 2013), “Nick” (Curt Clendenin) takes photos during the show and STILL doesn’t sweat much, and “Roger” (Danny Alfaro) very much reminds me of a young Roger Taylor back on his set – although he seems to be a bit more comfortable with the crowd.

Almost have to take a second glance…this is pure JT! 

As the band began Hungry Like the Wolf (oh yes…even that one) and “Simon” asked if anyone was hungry and I groaned in response, I really paid attention to the music. Let’s face it – fans are tough. We know every single note, and I don’t think I’m the only fan out there to say that if a band is going to play Duran Duran – especially as a tribute, they’d better do an outstanding job. While there may have been differences in some of the arrangements (they definitely do not have the same set up as our Nick for synths and I’m sure that has to make a difference somewhere) – the differences are not glaring, and in some cases, I think they’re even better than what the band plays. I had to wonder if there was a backing track somewhere to make up the back end that they might be missing – it was truly that close to the original. This continued throughout their set, which included songs such as Friends of Mine, Save a Prayer, Careless Memories and even The Chauffeur (“Andy” did a fantastic solo on this one). I meant to watch the end of Notorious very carefully to see if “Simon” could replicate the cool karate moves of our fearless leader – but somehow I got distracted and forgot to look, which only means I’ll need to see them again at some point to watch.

The audience did not disappoint either – although I will admit there wasn’t quite as much exuberance with clapping or hands in the air as there is when Simon and John are in command. However, the crowd was good and very welcoming. I did make my way down to the front for a couple of songs thanks to a few friends, and the effect was no less powerful in front than in the back. At one point “Simon” sang to a girl in the audience, literally grabbing her hand and singing to her – and I honestly thought oxygen might be needed. Yes, even this “Simon” has an effect on women. Clearly the rock star training works, and let’s face it – Jake Jacobs has all of the good looks necessary to pull it off. If Simon looked like Jake, I might have just been a Simon-girl after all.

Well, probably not…Roger always did have my heart back then…but you get my point.

At the end of their 50 minute set, they played the classic Girls on Film, where they had women from the audience get up on stage (a very tiny stage at that) with them and dance. I did not partake…choosing instead to sit at the bar and continue to nurse my vodka tonic and watch. I suppose there are some benefits to a tribute band, one of which being that the band isn’t afraid to have fans on the stage with them, and they do seem to have their fans! The best moments of the show were yet to come as they played Rio. Out of their entire set that night, it was this song that had me doing a double take at several points. “Simon” remained in full-command of his audience and the stage, and if I would have shut my eyes, I would have believed it really was Duran Duran playing. Yes, they really are that good, and I hope to be a more frequent visitor to 1985 from here on out, and I would encourage fellow fans to make a point to catch them at a future show.

Here’s a small taste for the curious and doubters alike out there…it’s Girls on Film from a previous show at the Waterfront Center (I especially love the passing of the shot in this one, but that’s just me.) It’s very easy to see this is a party – and all are welcome!

Yes, my evening at Sainte Rocke didn’t disappoint, and more importantly I found a new band to follow during my Duran downtime. I look forward to seeing great things in years to come out of this one, and so should you. Their next scheduled show is October 11th at the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. I hear that this may be a free show, so I think we should make this a Duranie get together. More on that in the coming months before the show!

For more information on Rio, the Duran Duran Tribute Band, check out the following:

Rio on Facebook

Rio Website

Monthly Email Newsletter sign-up

Rio on Twitter

Rio on YouTube

Rio on Instagram


-R

Pictures courtesy of Rio, the Duran Duran Tribute Band. 

Media Representations of Fandom—Careless Memories of Strange Behavior: My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan

I read this short little book, Careless Memories of Strange Behavior, last year while waiting in the airport in Atlanta on tour.  I knew that I should blog about it because I had a lot of reactions while reading it.  Yet, I wanted to give it time and revisit it before I did.  I am putting into my category of blog posts about media representations of fandom because that is what this is.  It is about being a Duran fan.  Seems obvious, then.  This is a short book written by Lyndsey Parker who is a music journalist.  The basic gist of the book is exactly what you would expect.  She describes what life was like as a Duranie back in the 1980s and what life is like as a Duranie now, to some extent.  Sounds like something I would have loved, right?  Not so much.  Perhaps, this is because I’m in the midst of writing my own book and one that is filled with significant research.  Maybe, it is because I feel like a topic like this deserves more than 41 pages and more than 7,000 words.  (In case, people didn’t realize that Rhonda and I have A LOT to say, my blog posts are around 1,000 words and our first chapter of our book is around 10,000.  Our first chapter is longer than this whole book.)  Anyway, there were some things I liked.

The author was able to articulate both the feelings many of us had when we became fans in the 1980s and how we expressed those feelings, how those feelings manifested in how we acted.  She talked about how being a Duranie in the 1980s made her cool and that she attempted to learn everything about them.  Thus, she would pour over facts written in music and teen magazines.  Then, she was able to list everything from the band’s influences to what kinds of foods they liked.  Videos, of course, factored in her interest, specifically Hungry like the Wolf as she and other fans saw the band as glamorous men who cared about their hair and their clothes.  This realization about the band members connected with growing up and puberty.  This, of course, led her to choose a favorite as many of us did.  She liked John.  I could relate.  For her, the fact that she was a Duranie gave her an identity and instant friends with other fans.  This group of friends like many others have experienced had only one John fan, only one Simon fan, etc.  They would spend their time looking over magazines and discussing every detail.  Again, I believe that many of us who became fans during the early 1980s could relate to her story, her experiences.  Truly, in my opinion, this is what the book does well.

One area of the book that I often cringed at, though, is the discussion surrounding male fans.  On page 4 of the book, Parker writes, “Until very recently, few men admitted to liking Duran Duran at all, and most who do now are still just fairweather fans, not full-blown ‘Duranies.'”  She quotes a male friend of hers who states that a Duranie writes things like Me + John on notebooks, meaning that Duranies fantasize about oneself and the band member of choice.  First of all, there is a whole bunch of assumptions going on here.  Has she tried to find male Duranies?  Does she have a pulse on the fan community because I knew quite a few male fans who I would describe as Duranies.  Do they fantasize themselves with the band member of choice?  Not necessarily but do all female Duranies?  No.  Generalizations like this don’t work for me.  At the end of the book, she does acknowledge that men now like Duran but she still follows that up with how back in the day, men only liked Duran to get girls.  Really?  All male fans?  Some might have.  Sure.  That seems possible.  All male fans, though?  Here is where some actual research or real analysis of the fan community would have helped.  Ask male fans.  Talk to them.  Observe them.  Otherwise, it isn’t super respectful of male fans or even female fans.

Another area of the book that I struggled with is how she described feelings surrounding the music itself.  Now, we all know that Duranies have been accused of being fans simply because the band members are good looking and not because of the music.  She acknowledges that and admits that what attracted her, at first, was their looks.  Fair enough.  Honesty is good and worthy of respect.  She discusses how the videos played a huge role, especially the Rio video.  Then, she really started to listen to the music, paying particular attention to the lyrics and to the instrumentation until she developed a connection with it.  I cheer all of this.  I suspect that this is the story for many fans out there.  Yet, she doesn’t stay with this idea long enough.  She moves quickly to how she would record every appearance she could and would even kiss the TV screen.  Now, again, I’m sure that this is what life was like for many Duranies back in the day but don’t emphasize those fangirl elements over the music.  Now, she does bring the music back up in describing her fandom today.  She said that now she listens more critically and that the music has started to get respect, both by critics and by other bands admitting that Duran was an influence.  She, even briefly, mentions that part of the problem is sexism and how it was/is assumed that females can’t possibly know quality music.  Again, though, one or two sentences aren’t enough for me.  Maybe, I feel this way because we dive pretty deep into this topic in our book but still. If she provided more, it would have made it a stronger argument and that argument is worthy of time and energy, in my opinion.

Perhaps, this book was exactly what it was supposed to be.  Maybe, all the author wanted to do was to share how she sees her fandom and the Duran fandom, in general.  It wasn’t in depth and, maybe, this is  okay.  It just isn’t what I like.  I dislike when statements are said as facts like the statements about male Duranies as “fairweather” or when she said that the fans cringe when White Lines is played live.  (Really?  I know MANY fans who love that one live.) I am a fan of research.  I am a researcher myself.  Maybe, I would have been okay with this surface level of fandom if she had told readers that this is what it is in the beginning of the book.  Then, maybe, I could have tolerated the generalizations and remaining on the surface.

-A

Careless Memories of Strange Behavior:  My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan, by Lyndsey Parker.  Rhino Entertainment Company, Burbank, California, 2012.

I’m Asking You the Question

Lately, Rhonda and I have been talking and blogging about fan stereotypes like stalking.  On Monday, July 1st, Rhonda wrote a really good blog about stalking.  As usual when it comes to this topic, there weren’t many comments on the blog.  There wasn’t much discussion on twitter either.  Facebook had a bit more of a discussion.  Yet, I was left unsatisfied.  Why?  Simple.  In the comments, in the responses, in the reactions no one was really able to say what the line is between normal fan behavior and behavior that crosses the line.  We might all have a definition of extreme fan behavior in our heads but no one is willing to discuss that definition openly.  This could be because we are afraid of accusing others of outrageous behavior like stalking.  We all get how serious those names are.  No one wants the wrath of other fans, if it perceived that you are accused of labeling someone something like that.  It doesn’t feel good and can affect how others perceive you.  I doubt that many people want that drama.  Plus, the wrath usually comes back in such a way that your behavior is scrutinized.  Insults begin flying your way or behind your back.  I get why no one wants to really define stalking or any other behavior that might be deemed inappropriate, extreme, scary or dangerous on this personal, individual level.  Yet, does it help anyone to have this element of fandom hidden in a dark corner somewhere, lurking over all of us?  One of my missions is to prove that, generally, fans are normal and understand the line between normal fan behavior and abnormal or extreme fan behavior.  How can I or anyone prove that if the line isn’t defined?  How can you show that you are normal if no one really knows what normal is?  Let’s start the conversation now, then.  I don’t have the answers but I’m hoping that, collectively, we might be start coming up with some answers.

Let’s start with locations.  Are there places that are off limits?  Is it okay to go to the band member’s or celebrity’s house?  Do you have to be invited to make it okay?  Is it fine to go past the house?  Is it a problem if you go everyday?  Once a week?  Once a month?  What if you go there and never go up to the door?  Where exactly is the line regarding one’s idol’s home?  Likewise, what about the family?

Next location.  What about where they are working?  Is it okay to go to the studio?  Is it okay to go if you are invited?  Is it okay to drive past it?  Is it normal fan behavior to go once or twice?  Is it fine if you go once a year?  Once a month?  Everyday?  Is it okay depending on where you are?  You can be on the sidewalk but you can’t go up to the studio door?  Is it okay with friends but not on your own?  What about other job locations?  What if they are appearing at a radio station or a TV station?  What if your favorite celebrity is an actor or actress?  Is it okay to go to that studio or filming location?  Are public filming locations okay but ones on studio lots not?  What about concert venues?  Is it okay to wait during sound check or after a show?  What about other public locations like hotels and restaurants?

Are there other behaviors that are extreme?  John Taylor talked in his autobiography about how a fan went through his trash and read his journal in the 1980s.  Is that going too far?  What about getting or taking items at a concert?  Is it okay to want to get guitar picks or drumsticks?  Is it possible that getting 3 or 5 or 10 of them is okay but 20 might be too much?  What about sweaty towels or water bottles?  Is it an extreme behavior to take those?  Is it okay to take them but not okay to drink from the water bottles or put the towels under your pillow?  Where is the line there?  What about non-concert items?  Is it okay to get any many autographs as possible?  Is it okay to get as many pictures with the band or celebrity of choice?  Or is it that 10 are cool but 50 isn’t?  Is it or that 10 are okay during any given year but 50 in a year is too much?  Does extreme behavior depend on how much?  Does it depend on a time frame?  Some behaviors are okay if spread out?

What about social networking?  Is it okay to tweet the celebrity of choice?  Is it okay to tweet everyday?  Is it okay to tweet 5 times a day?  Is it okay to tweet the same thing twice or more?  What about facebook?  Is it extreme to post on celebrity’s wall?  Is it okay to post 5 things a day?  5 things in a month?

What about touching?  If you are lucky enough to be in the same room with your idol, it is okay to touch him/her?  Hug him/her?  Give him/her a kiss?  Is it okay if the idol indicates the contact first?  Is it not extreme if the celebrity is familiar with you?  Then, if so, what equals familiarity?  Similarly, is it normal fan behavior to give gifts?  Are some gifts acceptable but others are not?  If some aren’t, what isn’t “normal”?  Does it depend on where and how the gifts are given?  Does it matter how many gifts are given?  A few gifts are normal?  Ten isn’t?  What about cost?  Does that matter?  Does the type of gift matter?

Then, of course, I wonder about those fantasies that fans can have.  You know them.  If only so and so would meet me or have a conversation with me, then so and so would fall in love with me or would hire me or would whatever the fantasy entails.  Are those okay?  Is there a line there, too?  What about fan fiction?  Is it okay to write fan fiction?  Is it okay to write fan fiction in which the main character is yourself in the midst of one of those types of fantasies mentioned?   Obviously, I could go on and on.

I already know the response that I will get.  A lot of people won’t say anything.  Some others will say:  I know extreme behavior when I see it.  Okay, then, I ask you to describe the extreme behavior.  Maybe, a better way to ask you to think about this is:  What are you personally comfortable with or what would make you uncomfortable?  What makes you uncomfortable to witness?  What would you do or not do?  In saying this, I also understand that everyone has different comfort levels but it might be a start.  Now, obviously, I don’t think the majority of fans go to extremes.  I believe that the majority generally stay in the normal fan realm.  Yet, maybe, we have all gone extreme once or twice and, yes, maybe there are fans who live in the extreme.  I don’t have the answers.  I just can pose the questions and ask myself to answer them just like the rest of you.  Having this tough conversation, though, will help us all to think about our behavior, what we would like our behavior to be, as individuals and an as fan community.

-A