Ok not really. Well, this isn’t the diary, anyway. I am sitting here at my table, trusty mug of coffee (second mug of the day, which *never* happens here) within reach…and not a single writing inspiration has come to mind. I hate when this happens. So, I reached out to the only people I know for topic ideas. Some of which were downright amusing! (and you can bet I’ll be writing that critique of a certain bandleaders dancing very, very soon!) I already have the title in my head…
But for today my friends, we’re going to talk about fandom. I hear the cheers and I thank you. (A little sarcasm to start my day. Ah yes.)
Seriously (a word I use far too often but don’t care enough to change today) though, Amanda and I have been kicking around an idea for a few months now and it’s really high time to share our thoughts. Not that many years back when DDM was first started, the idea – well the idea that fans had anyway, was to create a real community. Does anyone remember back when VIP tickets gained you entry to a pre-show party? A little known truth about me: I liked them. I liked feeling a little special, to be honest. That said, I’m one of those people who loves valet parking. I love having my bags taken to my room rather than schlepping them myself…and if there’s a side entrance somewhere that I have access to use that others don’t, it makes me smile. I suppose I am exactly whom DDM wants to market those VIP tickets….too bad I’m not a DDM member these days, isn’t it?!? ANYWAY, my point is simply that while the party itself might have been a smidgeon on the lame side, the idea was good. The party allowed concert goers to chat, visit, take photos with long-lost friends, and at least the idea was supposed to make us feel special. The key for me though (besides feeling a bit exclusive and pampered) was the feeling of community. At that point, DDM went to the trouble to set up Duranie “dorms” – basically calling a hotel and getting a group rate so that interested parties could take advantage. This served several purposes: it directed many DDM members to the same hotel so that plans could be made, parties could be set up, and as a bonus – many of us could get kicked out of hotel bars. Good times. It also tended to deter people from staying at other hotels that may or may not have housed members of the band. *gasp!* I can’t honestly remember how many times my friends and I took advantage of the “dorms” (maybe only once or twice?), but I really liked the idea. So many times after a show we’re looking to get together with friends for drinks – none of us are ready to call it a night after such great shows – and having a central place to hang out and continue the evening seemed perfect. Sure, I know as well as you do that many want to go and find the band, and that option is always available, but for those like me who rarely know when or where – hanging with friends seems like the more viable alternative. I’m sure the band appreciates that.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line – the whole sense of community has been lost. Naturally, this isn’t ONLY due to the mechanics of DDM, but it’s something that Amanda and I both feel could be improved, which is where she and I come in. Part of the reason we started the blog was because we felt that there needed to be a place that topics could be discussed without judgement. Sure, there are times when we all disagree. That happens. It shouldn’t mean that we can’t find common ground, and in our case – it’s the band. No matter what each of feels about the guitar players over the years, the management, the choices in singles, promotion, etc – we all still love the band. That’s enough to build on, and is the other part of the reason the blog was started. We want to bring fans together. We’re not all going to be best friends. That isn’t the point or the goal. If the paid “official” fan community can’t see past the dollar signs enough to build a community, we can do it ourselves….and better because we know what it’s like to be a fan.
I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s become clear to me that unless someone stands up and decides to bridge the gap between the DDM mechanics of getting to a show (i.e. buying tickets) and what it really means to be a fan and enjoy fandom, our community is lost. While the show themselves may never completely lose their luster, the other half of what makes it fun to be a fan will be gone. The shows where I have gone by myself with my husband are fun, but there’s something very special about attending a show where there are other friends in attendance. I have as much fun in planning the before and after get togethers as I do in plotting how I’m going to get my escape from my house! I am a fan. Amanda is a fan. We know what we like, and we’re betting that our thoughts aren’t going to be all that dissimilar to yours.
To begin with, we’re waiting for US concert dates. (We’ve got to start in the US purely because it’s where we live and what we know) It’d be great if the band would work with us on this and send them – but seeing as we’re just fans trying to do the work that their own fan community has completely dropped the ball on – we’re not counting on a single thing except our own determination. (However, if somebody wants to send us some hints, we’ll gladly take ’em and get our planning started so that we can seem organized….*wink, wink*) Once we know the dates of the shows, we really want to work to get “dorms” set up if there are people interested. In addition, we’re going to set up more meet-ups for fans, whether they are before or after the shows, and we’re going to have fun even if it kills us. We want you, our friends, fellow fans, readers, etc….to tell us what, where and when.
(I’m pretty certain Amanda is going to love that last sentence.)
No, we’re not getting paid by anyone. No, we’re not getting free tickets to the shows. No, we haven’t lost our grip on reality, quit our jobs or sold our possessions (and as such no, we’re not going to be able to be at every single show. We need your help!) We just want to make this community fun again. That’s it. If you have ideas, want to help out or just plain want to bitch at us – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. You know we’ll answer you!
Watch this space…
PS – we’re going to do something different on the blog, and by different I mean that YOU can ask US questions. Have something you’re dying to ask? Send us an email, talk to us on Facebook, send us a Direct Message on Twitter (otherwise we’ll miss it). Amanda and I will answer your questions on an upcoming blog. By “upcoming” I mean in a week or so – no DuranTime here – so get your thinking caps on and send us some creative questions!