Category Archives: Fandom

Reminders!

This weekend, my blog posts have had a theme of sorts involving taboo subjects in an attempt to make Duranland a happier, more peaceful place.  I had every intention to continue that theme to ask some tough questions about us, about the fans and about our behavior.  I have decided to put that off for another day.  I was reminded about what is good, what is great about being a fan last night and thought it might suit me better today to focus on that. 

Today is my birthday and last night I had a few Duranie friends over.  We had a great time!  Food and beverages were consumed.  Duran footage was watched and much discussion took place surrounding our experiences as fans as well as plans for the upcoming show in Chicago in August.  This is really just what I needed for a variety of reasons.  First, my life has been ridiculously busy as of late.  I’m sure that if you have been reading the blog regularly, you probably would have seen that written by me a number of times.  While I was telling the truth in those previous blogs, this time has some added stress to the busy life I’m leading.  I won’t go into details as that is not the focus of this post.  The point being that I was happy to have a reason to stop focusing on everything else and just have some fun.  Last night was a complete escape from the reality I’m living in.  I needed that, emotionally and mentally.  Of course, some of you might point out that I spend time on Duran everyday.  While that’s true, last night wasn’t about my commitment or responsibility to this blog, to our book or to the fan community as a whole.  Last night was just about fun with friends.  Duran happened to be the connection.  Our discussions about Duran made everything else flowing through my head stop.  When we watched various clips from different eras, we could laugh at Simon’s dancing or at the silly fashion choices.  Even when slightly serious discussions surrounding Duran came up, we quickly moved on as something else would catch our attention.  Perfect.  Duran became the escape once again.

Second, I was reminded about how much I like Duran.  I know that sounds silly, especially from someone who blogs, posts daily questions about the band, and posts today in Duran history.  Yet, even through those activities, I forget.  I focus on the details, on what I need to do and not necessarily on the reason for these activities.  Anyway, over the course of the night, watching clips with other fans, listening and exchanging stories increased my excitement for the band.  While not all of the clips we watched were fabulous or showed Duran at their best, many did.  The clips reminded me why I think their music is great, why I became a fan in the first place and why I stay a fan.  I was reminded that while they don’t always hit the mark, a lot of the times they do and when they do, they are simply the best around.  I think I needed to take a step back to see that again, to be reminded of that again.

Lastly, I was reminded that one of the best parts about being a Duranie is other Duranies.  As great as the band is, it wouldn’t really be any fun without other fans!  My love for the band increases every time I’m around other fans as I get to see their love for the band.  We encourage each other to be fans and to stay being fans.  This is how fan communities come into existence and stay.  We are united in that love.  We share that love.  In many cases, this love starts the beginning of great friendships.  It obviously did years ago with Rhonda and myself.  It did with some of the other fans I have met throughout the years and I hope it will with the fans I have yet to meet. 

Thus, last night, I was reminded about what fandom really is, about what Duranland really is.  It is about a fantastic band who have provided us fans with fabulous music, with an escape from reality, and with a connection with other people that can and often leads to real friendship.  Today, I’m thankful for the band and thankful that I’m a Duranie.  Glad that I was reminded of this last night!

-A

What Should Fans Expect from the Band

Yesterday, I brought up one of, what I consider to be, the taboo subjects in Duranland:  What should Duranie be expected to know.  Another taboo subject that seems to come up again and again in Duranland is what fans expect from Duran Duran.  Let’s face it.  We all expect many things from the band but they are definitely not the same and I may not understand why you want thing x from them and I might not understand what you want thing y from them.  So, let’s talk about what we, the fans, expect from Duran Duran.

First, this goes without saying, but, we all want good music from them.  Will we all agree as to what that is?  Nope.  Yet, how much of their material should be deemed good?  Should we expect every album or every song to be at a certain level of quality?  For example, not everything is going to be as good as Leopard but everything should be as good as All She Wants Is.  I don’t know.  Is it fair to expect, at least, every other album to be good?  Perhaps, we want every album to have a certain vibe to it?  I don’t know.  This seemed to be a particular issue during the Red Carpet Massacre days.  There seemed to be quite a bit of tension in the fan community.  Yes, some of it was between the fans who liked the album and those who didn’t but there was another kind of tension as well.  Some of that tension was between the fans who thought/felt we should always support Duran, no matter what, and others that thought we should be able to criticize the band and their music. 

Second, should we expect the band members to be on social networking sites?  If so, should they be on both facebook and twitter?  Should they participate regularly; and how do you define regularly?  What if they are only on social networking sites when they are going on tour or trying to sell an album?  Is that okay with us?  While this question might, again, seem like one with obvious answers, it isn’t.  Some fans feel like band members should be on social networking sites as this might be considered part of the job in 2012.  Others feel like it is a great thing that they are and that it enhances the connection between band and fans, but that it is not necessary.  Their only job should be to make music and try to sell it by going on tour, promoting songs/albums, etc.  So, I’m asking.  What should we expect of them?  Let’s have that debate about what is fair and reasonable.

Third, should we expect the band to want to meet fans?  In what capacity should this be done?  Should the band have meet and greets at every show?  Some shows?  Why or why not?  What about in public?  Should the band welcome fans when they are out at a bar or a club?  What about at their hotel?  Should they be approachable then too?  Then, when meeting fans, should they be willing to sign autographs and/or take pictures?  Should there be limits?  Again, on the surface, this question about the band meeting the fans doesn’t appear to be one that would create friction, but it does.  Some people feel strongly that the band should be left alone in public.  Others are passionate about the idea that part of their job is meeting fans and being willing to sign autographs and take pictures.  Then, likewise, those two sides may get annoyed or bothered by the fans on the opposite side.  So, let’s really talk about what we expect from the band.  It would certainly stop some potential bad feelings if we knew what people thought about the issue. 

Lastly, what should fans expect when it comes to the team surrounding Duran?  Should they be held accountable, even if they are far removed from organizations like Artist Arena, or should we understand that they don’t oversee every little aspect of Duran Duran?  Some fans obviously expect that Duran knows and does something about the people that are working for them.  Others think that they have a lot on their plate so they can’t pay attention to everything that is happening.  Perhaps, both sides get annoyed with each other then.  One side thinks that the fans who complain to Duran about their team are being negative and the other side thinks the positive fans are naive and being taken advantage of. 

So, readers, I ask you.  Where do you sit with the question of the day?  What should we expect from Duran?  What about those fans who don’t agree with you?  How can we get consensus about issues regarding the band?

-A

What Should Every Duran Fan Know?

About a couple weeks ago, I posted a blog about taboo subjects in our fandom.  In this blog, which you can read here, I argue that our fandom does not talk about some difficult subjects and this leads to problems, to misunderstandings, to drama.  If we truly wanted our fan community to be united and as drama-free as possible, we would welcome these discussions.  Of course, I did get quite a bit of feedback from this idea.  The question that came up is that what would the point of the discussion be.  My answer was simple:  To come to some sort of understanding and to make that understanding explicit and clear for everyone.  While not everyone would follow it, there would be some sort of established and known expectation.  Thus, if someone chose not to follow it, that person would expect that there would be some sort of reaction.  This, after all, is what happens in real life and in real communities.  Let me give you an example.  In the United States, it is expected that if people are outside of their homes, they should wear clothes.  The vast majority of the people agree with this, at least, as far as I can tell.  Does everyone?  Nope.  There are people who wish to be free of clothing, especially since nudity really isn’t hurting anyone.  Some of these people who disagree will do nothing but disagree, privately.  Others may try to find places where nudity is allowed like nude beaches.  Still others might just openly rebel and wear no clothing out in public.  Those people are aware of the expectation and what would happen if they choose to wear no clothing.  Yet, cultures also have subtle rules and expectations over behavior.  Many of these subtle rules are explicitly taught and some are learned by observation.  The same is true for Duranland.  There are explicit rules with the biggest and most obvious one being Duranies should think that Duran music is good.  Yet, there are areas within the fandom, within the fan community that a consensus hasn’t been reached.  People just decide on some position and get annoyed, bothered or angry at fans that do not follow the same position, philosophy or rule.  This is where misunderstanding comes in.  One area that is unclear is knowledge.  What should all Duranies know about the band, the band members, etc?

I already hearing many of you responding to this.  We shouldn’t dictate how much fans should know!  Everyone is different!  People can’t be expected to know everything!  I’m not saying that anyone, especially ME, should decide anything.  I’m saying that we should talk about how much Duranies should know and what they should know.  Maybe we will never come to an agreement but, at least, we can find out how people feel about knowledge.  We can, at least, come to an understanding.  I am starting the conversation here.  I don’t have answers to these questions.  I just want to stop some of the disagreements and disappointments that seem to happen.  Let me give some examples to explain.  Fan number 1 asks John Taylor on Twitter about what his favorite wine is.  This fan is not aware that John no longer drinks.  Fan number 2 says either out loud to that person or other fans behind fan number one’s back something along the line of, “How does this person not know this!?”  Fan 1 simply didn’t know.  Fan 2 is bothered by this because s/he does not want John to be put into an uncomfortable position.  Is either fan wrong?  Is neither fan wrong?  How should fans handle a situation like that?  Here is another example:  Fan number 3 has never heard the Astronaut demos.  Fan number 4 is horrified by that since in his/her experience and knowledge they are available in countless locations online!  Again, did either fan do or say anything wrong?  I don’t know.  Here is what I do know.  Knowledge is deemed somewhat important in this community.  After all, we wouldn’t get upset with interviewers who ask questions like, “Are Roger and John brothers?”  Also, the situations I described above happen all the time.  In too many cases, the responses cause hurt feelings whether that was intentional or not.  Wouldn’t it be better to decide what is important to know and how we should handle it if people don’t know things? 

So, readers, I ask you.  What do you think Duranies should know about the music?  Should they have heard every official album?  What about side projects and solo work?  What should they know about the band members themselves?  Should they know, for example, that Nick doesn’t like sports or that Simon has three daughters?  What about new fans?  Should we have some sort of understanding towards them?  Maybe, it isn’t how much fans should know but what they know?  Then, based on our community agreement, could we also come up with a way to respond that is respectful and kind as this is part of the problem as well.  For those fans who do know more, they don’t always respond in ways that are constructive to the fans who know less.  Too often, the comments are destructive and hurtful.  Let’s face it.  The reactions are so intense because fandom brings out intense emotions.  Duran Duran, in our case, matters to us.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing anything with the band or their fans.  Yet, there has to be a way for us to focus our intense feelings on being excited about the band and not being bothered by other fans!

-A

Taboo Subjects and Other Observations

A large part of fandom is talking about one’s idols, one’s interest.  In Duranland, the conversations should surround Duran Duran’s music, their videos, their DVDs, their live performances, their interviews, their merchandise, and other things directly related to the band and what projects they are involved in.  Of course, in a fandom as long-lasting as ours, sometimes, our discussions have moved beyond things directly connected to the band is doing.  Some of the discussions that I put into that not-so-directly related category include those surrounding the fan club, presales, band members’ politics, promotion, commercial success, band members’ personal lives, awards and other forms of recognition, and more.  Of course, we also talk about our fan community as well.  Over the years, I have come to discover that there are certain trends to these discussions.  I wanted to acknowledge what I have observed and also wanted to ask why some trends exist because it seems to me that there are subjects that we, as a fandom, don’t really tackle or don’t tackle head on.

The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think.  For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album.  On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge.  I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background.  Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic.  Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music?  Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter.  Is this just the nature of the format?  Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit?  Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa? 

As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic.  Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in.  Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook.  When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows.  It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites.  Why?  I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left.  When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama.  What was that drama like?  What was it focused on?  Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success?  Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in.  Let me give you an example.  It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales.  That is very important to them.  If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying.  Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club. 

Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself.  In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us.  Why?  Again, I provide an example.  The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife.  In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band.  The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s.  Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working.  I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs.  Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog?  Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs?  I’m asking without judgement, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans.  The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous.  Then, they suggest that the fans grow up.  The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom?  Does it happen in all fandoms?”  Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior.  Why is that?  It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people.  I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do.  I’m not innocent here either.  In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog.  The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not.  We all have opinions about meeting the band.  We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to.  We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own.  Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do.  So, why don’t we have that discussion?  Why is so hard to talk about this?  I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged.  Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy.  I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.

-A

What is Fandom???

What exactly is fandom?  Is it the same as being a fan?  Is DuranDuranMusic the fandom?  Is it the fan community?  I bring this up because Rhonda and I are often talking about fandom.  Yet, I don’t think that everyone defines it the same way we do after researching it for over a year.  Thus, I thought it would be helpful to talk about the terms fan, fan community, and fandom.  Of course, we have gone into a great more detail in the book but thought that for discussion purposes, it would be good if we shared what definitions we were using.

A fan is someone who is an admirer or enthusiast of something or someone.  For example, I am a fan of the Chicago White Sox.  I am enthusiastic about that particular sports team.  Does that mean that I participate in the White Sox fandom?  Not necessarily.  Fandom begins with being a fan, or having interest for something.  For this example, it is about having an interest in the White Sox.  Fandom, however, goes beyond interest.  It is more passionate than simple interest.  It is about intensity of feeling.  This intense feeling, then, causes the person to participate in the fandom.  Usually, the first step in participating in fandom is about the fan community.  It is about reaching out to other people to discuss the common interest.  In Duranland, this fan community is located both online and in person.  The online community is obviously places like message boards, social networking sites, blogs like this one and more where discussions about Duran take place.  The in-person community is found when Duranies get together in person, which can be everything from local get togethers to shows to conventions.  Of course, a commonly asked question might be:  “I don’t communicate with other Duranies on boards, facebook or here.  How can I be part of a community?”  The answer there is simple.  If you are reading this blog or checking out what other Duranies are saying even if you don’t personally respond, you are still part of the community.  Basically, if you pay attention, you are part of it.  Just like in real life, there are different levels of participation within any community.  Fandom, however, does not stop at the fan community.  The fan community is just one part.

Fandom is also about fan activities.  In Duranland, these activities are generally when the fan community comes together in person.  The big ones are shows, meetups and conventions.  Thus, fandom is no longer just about talking about one’s interest but is also taking time out of one’s life to do something related, something focused on that interest.  Of course, there are other activities that people do outside of community participation.  Those activities could include making fan art or writing fan fic.  In Duranland, it might be making new mixes of their songs.  Of course, frequently, these activities are often shared and discussed in the community.  Non-creative activities could include collecting objects relating to the interest.  For example, in our case, it could be collecting the music (cds, vinyls, singles, etc.), collecting DVDs, collecting merchandise like t-shirts or other products.  For some, that collection could also be knowledge about the interest. 

Thus, in summary, you start out being a fan.  Then, you move into fandom when you communicate about the interest and when you participate in some or all of the related activities.  Based on this information, is DDM the fandom?  Absolutely not.  It can’t be.  It may be the place that some people go to in order to participate in the fan community.  It may also be the place where people go in order to buy tickets for activities in the fandom, but the fandom and the fan community is much larger than this one site, even if the site is the “official” fan site.  Of course, another question that could be asked is whether or not, it could be more representative of the fandom as a whole, but that’s not the focus of this blog entry.  To bring this entry back to the beginning, I am a fan of the White Sox.  Do I participate in the fandom?  Let’s examine using the definition I presented here.  Do I participate in the fan community by discussing the team?  I don’t go to any online locations to talk about the team but I do talk about the team with my family.  Thus, I could stretch and say that I do participate in the fan community.  What about the fan activities?  Well, I try to get to a game at least once a year.  Again, I could stretch it to say that I do.  Obviously, if I were to apply the definition to Duran Duran, it would be a much easier answer. 

The other day when I asked people if they would ever leave the fandom, I wasn’t really asking if they would stop being a fan but would they stop participating in the fan community and stop doing Duran related activities.  I hope that I did a better job explaining what I meant now than I did then to ease any or all confusion!

-A

One’s Love Affair as a Duranie

Yesterday’s daily question asked people about their best moment as a Duran Duran fan.  Today’s question asked if people would ever leave the fandom and, if so, why.  I wanted to hear about the best and worst our fandom had to offer.  Then, the more I started reading people’s responses to both of those questions the more fitting the metaphor of a love affair was when describing fandom.  I read this metaphor while researching for the book and it is the one that has stayed with me.  A love affair begins with an attraction and quickly leads to spending a lot of time together.  It seems like the people are almost obsessed with each other.  This is often described as the honeymoon period.  Then, of course, time passes and people find out more about each other.  At times, the more people know, the more they like each other.  At other times, characteristics and traits become annoying.  Then, of course, for the successful relationships, a balance and an understanding comes into the picture as they settle into the relationship and make a commitment.  For the not-so-successful ones, the annoying traits become too much or some horrible, unforgiven act takes place, which causes the end of the relationship.  At that time, no matter what great experiences or memories that occurred could outweigh the negatives, the problems.  I think this same thing happens in fandom.  We were all attracted to Duran’s music.  Then, many of us dived in and bought every album we could.  We spent a lot of time getting to know Duran Duran and, most of us sought out others to share this new found attraction with.  As time has gone on, however, we have all experienced frustrations or negatives.  For some, those negatives outweigh what was good about being a Duranie.  The commitment is broken.  This leads me to today’s question.  What would those negatives be that would end someone’s love affair with Duran or end their tenure as Duranies?

The answers to that question were what I had expected.  There were many, many people who said that they could never imagine an end to their fandom.  Some said how long they have been a fan and, thus, had supported the band through good and bad times.  In many ways, I feel the same way.  I can’t ever imagine not being a fan.  Of course, I am pretty invested, at this point, with the blog and the book.  Yet, that answer makes me think of the love affair metaphor again.  Can anyone say that one’s love affair is forever?  Really?  Obviously, there are TONS of people in committed relationships and ones that would need a TON of negatives to end it but to say that nothing would seems…unreal to me.  I look at my parents who have been married for 45 years as of this year.  I can’t imagine them not being together but something could happen to change it.  Maybe, I’m more bothered by this very definite answer of “I would never consider not being a fan.”  I thought to myself, “Does that mean that nothing about being a Duranie bothers them?  They are cool with all other fans?  They are cool with how the DD Machine deals with things like presales?  What if Duran’s music changed dramatically or they did something horrible?”  It just seemed too cut-and-dry, too simple and love affairs and fandoms are never simple.  They are complex.  Maybe this says more about me and about how I lack this strong conviction.  

On the other side of the coin are the people who have reasons that there love affair wasn’t a steady relationship.  There were many common responses on this side of the issue.  Most notably, people often stated that other fans turn them off of being Duranies.  While I’m not surprised by this, I do find this upsetting.  What does it say about our fandom to have this be true?  It is particularly sad when the attraction to this fandom wasn’t about other fans but about the music.  If we keep with the metaphor, people should end the affair when the attraction is gone.  Well, the attraction was the music, not people in a similar situation as you.  Yet, rarely, did people mention the music as a reason to leave, even temporarily.  That’s sad.  Of course, the other most mentioned reason for taking a break was real life.  This makes sense to me and would make sense with the metaphor as well.  For those people, they still considered themselves fans but couldn’t devote as much time to the fandom as they did before.  This fits with the metaphor as people can get into relationships and have times when those relationships will be the most important thing or will be on the back burner. 

Of course, then, I think about those moments that people mentioned on the previous day’s question about the best moment or time being a Duranie.  It is funny how there have been more comments about the worst thing rather than the best thing.  Nonetheless, I hope people go back and read people’s comments on facebook and twitter about good times that people have had as fans.  Those moments, those memories, in my opinion, should outweigh the negative and obviously for a lot of people they do.  We need to remember those good times and great experiences in order to keep that flame burning, in order to keep the love affair going.  Truly, I think that is the only way to make sure that there really is a lifelong commitment to being a Duranie!

-A

Should we or shouldn’t we?

A very wise man once said that we should never meet our idols because they will never live up to our expectations.

Now, I don’t doubt what this man said, for he too was (and is!) an idol for many. We’ve all heard comments about the band being put on a pedestal by fans, a mighty narrow one at that. It’s pretty incredible to consider just how high of standards some fans have them living up to, and one has to wonder if it’s at possible for a human being to really be that perfect.

Of course not.

It’s only natural for fans, especially those who became fans at a very young age, to put a band or celebrity up on a pedestal. I suspect that it has much to do with that Prince Charming syndrome – where we want our prince to come and save us. It’s a beautiful idea at the age of ten, eleven or twelve. The trouble is, most of us are a few decades beyond now. Reality should have set in at some point. We know the band isn’t perfect, don’t we? We know that each of them cannot possibly be happy to see us each and every time we catch sight of them in public. Sometimes, people really do just want to be left alone.

Like everything else in life, nothing is quite that simple. I know many fans that say “The band are celebrities and everything that goes along with that, the being kind at all times, the ‘perfection’ (or at least carrying on the idea that it is so), all of that goes along with the fame and fortune they found.” I’m pretty happy and well-adjusted enough to know that’s crazy talk.  People are people. Sure, when they’re on the town, working the “Duran Duran” machine, that’s WORK. I would say that yes, they probably do need to try and remember to at least give a smile and be friendly, just like I’m supposed to do so when I’m at “work”. At least…that’s what I hear. That does NOT mean though that every day when they’re on tour, whether there is a show, a press function, etc. that day or not, that they are required to put up with eager fans. You take your chance on those occasions, and I have to say that I’m amazed at how decidedly unaware fans are as to when it’s a “good time” or a “bad time”.  For those folks, I wish them luck. They’re the ones who are unfortunately going to find members of the band at the worst possible moment, have one bad experience, and then blab away about it on a public board, expecting all to agree and lament their bad experience. It’s unfair to assume that since they are indeed celebrities, they are somehow public property at all times, is it not?

For me personally, I think I left my idolization for the band, and truly for all celebrities alike – back in childhood. What replaced that idolization is respect, for the most part. I respect the band. Sure I still love them to pieces, but I don’t think you can call what I feel for them idolization. It’s different. I see them as the faulty humans they truly are. That doesn’t mean they’re somehow horrible because of that; it’s just that while yes they might have larger homes, drive nicer cars and take more luxurious vacations than I do, they’re still just human.  I respect the fact that they have put out over a dozen albums, toured the world many times over, are a good ten years older than I am and yet they still get out there on that stage and rock it better than I think they ever have before. I respect that they’re not quite finished yet, and that they continue to try new things, even when sometimes those new things have completely thrown me. I respect the fact that they’re people, and that sometimes people have really crappy days and the very last thing they want is somebody like me in their face.

Here is the double edged sword though – I want that same respect in return.  No, the band doesn’t know me. I don’t expect for them to look at me in a crowd and recognize me, know my name, or lastly – even have read the blog and be able to put two and two together. Hardly.  By respect I mean treat me as a human rather than a dollar sign with legs. Don’t wince as I’m walking down the hall because let me be clear – chances are – I will walk right past without even daring to do much more than smile unless they stop me first.  (Again, hardly think that’ll happen in my lifetime.) Naturally, I recognize that for the most part, fans would never just walk right by, and I know the negative connotations that go along with being a fan.  It sucks to be on this side at times. That said, we kind of ask for it, don’t we? Generally speaking, it’s a two way street, isn’t it? Treat others as you wish to be treated?? Anyone recognize that saying??

Let me be clear, I’ve never met the band outside of a signing, a chance “meeting” with one member of the band at a club in Vegas – and no, I did not speak to him (I smiled and left him alone to enjoy his night as I was enjoying my own), and another chance encounter with a fellow plane passenger/guitarist on a flight to New Orleans. I am not the type of person that will go running up to any of the band members expecting hugs, photos or who-knows-what-else. That sort of thing completely freaks me out, as I’m pretty sure it must them at times.  I try to remember that as often as I can when I’m “on tour” or at a function where they are in attendance. I’d much prefer to have a casual discussion over coffee or drinks and leave the whole “Oh my god I’ve been a fan for my entire life, can I hug you, can I get a picture, can I can I can I?!?” at the door. Again, that whole scene freaks me out just a little when I think about it.  

Granted, this is probably why I’ll never have photos with the band, and I get that. On the same token, and I mean this seriously – I write a blog about being a fan. Many people read this blog every day, as well as some others that I write on occasion for other places. My fandom, as it is, has taken on a completely different role in my life at this point. I have deep respect for the people within my fandom, whether those are friends, fellow fans, readers, or the band themselves.

Recently I commented to the wise man I mentioned earlier that when idolization gives way to true respect that goes beyond the music and the person on the cover of a magazine, you realize we’re all just human, and respect comes freely – flaws and all. I really believe this.  What about you?

-R

A Diamond in the Mind (or what I call a potentially really good idea!)

Day 3 in the diary of a headache.

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 dailyduranie@gmail.com or leave a comment.  You know we’ll answer you!

Watch this space…

-R

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!

The lesson to be learned is the point of no return

I don’t think I’ll ever get too old to learn a lesson, and yesterday was no exception.

To begin with, there was the little matter of a presale. I snuck onto Twitter to see how the presales were going, only to see that tickets appeared to have sold out rather quickly. I hadn’t heard from Amanda, so I figured she checked presale availability to find that the tickets did not meet our parameters. . After figuring out that I’d somehow logged myself out of my email and missed Amanda’s first four emails of the day, I saw that while many of our friends on Twitter had gotten their seats for the Durham show, Amanda had come up empty.  Sure, she might have had third row seats in her cart for a moment and thrown them back in a fit of greed for more – but the presale had somehow sold out. Or had it?

I really wasn’t angry or even disappointed by the lack of tickets. I knew we had several options available to us, including coming to our senses, realizing that this show was clear across the country, and deciding to wait for better (and closer) shows. I decided to go ahead and blog for the day. I no sooner finished the final sentence of the blog when my phone rang. It was Amanda, and she was calling to tell me she’d gotten tickets after all.

After I picked myself up off of the floor, I realized that she was telling me that she’d gotten tickets and that I’d be flying across the country. I also discerned that I would need to get my husband very, very drunk at some point during the summer and only then would I tell him about this upcoming adventure!

She decided to keep checking Artist Arena, and realized that if she waited, tickets that might have been placed in someone’s cart weren’t always bought, and those would get thrown back into the mix of available seats. She just waited until she found tickets that interested her enough to buy. The trouble was, where were our seats?  Due to a difference in the seating charts that Artist Arena had verses what the venue had – it has been very difficult to understand where our seats are located. I’ll save you all the agony here and just say that after careful thought, our seats are in the second row of orchestra. Or maybe the fourth row.  Either way, we’re sitting on Dom’s side. Yes, again. We didn’t intend for that to be the case, but you know – Things Happen! With all of our talk about being calm, not buying any seats as a typical “knee jerk reaction”, and trying to be methodical about planning what shows we’d attend and how we’d get from place to place – when it came time to go through the sale, all of our sanity went right out the window. Amanda did a great job with the tickets.  She didn’t give up (I SO would have), she waited (I’m horrible about waiting), and she even inspected the seating chart before buying (my typical M.O. would have been “There was a seating chart?!?”). She really thought she knew where we were buying, but because she was in a classroom and couldn’t exactly block out her students – and because she couldn’t really call and converse directly with me, it made buying the tickets much more difficult, and perhaps we bought tickets that we might not have purchased under normal circumstances.  Not sure that anything we might have done would have changed what we ended up with, but we did learn that being greedy isn’t good!  So now we’re destined to be Dom’s super special stalkers once again…

Which brings me to lesson #2 for the day.

In my excitement over our ticket purchase, I posted a note on Dom’s wall.  I really don’t know what I was thinking – only that I thought it’d give him a chuckle. I’m just a fan like anybody else. Naturally though, other people, whether they are also fans or personal friends of his, don’t know me. They don’t care that I’m a fan. They just see that I’ve posted on his wall before, and that I’m posting again. They don’t realize that I’m happily married, extremely well-educated, that I know my husband is lucky to have me (no really, he is!), and that quite honestly (and not at all humble of me) – I’m a catch. (Of course after I tell my husband about this North Carolina show this may all very well change and I may find myself very much available and not nearly so much of a catch!!) People don’t know that I sat across from Dom on a plane many years back and that I am likely to be one of the first “fans” he made from his tenure with Duran Duran. Amanda and I held up his very first sign at a show. (you can see this in our slide show at the right side of the page)  Most importantly or unfortunately for this particular person – he had no idea that I’m a blogger. He had no idea that I’ve written articles for other websites besides my own, that I’m in the process of finishing a book, or that he was going to end up being the “star” of my next blog on Daily Duranie. (Hey, “name- whom-I’m-choosing-not-to-make-public-out-of-complete-KINDNESS-because-other Duranies-would-tear-you-limb-from-limb-for-being-a-jerk” Congratulations and enjoy your 30 seconds of infamy!!)

**Note to readers: I really don’t intend on continuing to wield the blog as a weapon – this particular instance just happened to provide a teachable moment, I promise!!**

None of that matters on Facebook to people who don’t know you. They see you post regularly or try to interact and come to the obvious conclusion that you *must* be a stalker.  That said, I don’t deny my obsession with Duran Duran.

I am in my forties and write a DAILY blog about being a Duran Duran fan.  That “stalker” thing? That ship sailed a long, long time ago. It’s funny, and I know it. I embrace the funny! However, I do deny the term “Frumpy”..and don’t even get me started on the whole “Old” comment. In fact, had the less-than-wonderful person who wrote that comment been standing in person right in front of me, I can’t honestly guarantee that he would have remained standing for long. Not only am I not frumpy, I’m not afraid to stand up for myself however needed. Regardless, I was completely and utterly mortified. Sure, maybe I should laugh the episode off and pretend it meant nothing, but the fact is – I am completely embarrassed, even this morning. This didn’t take place on MY Facebook page, or MY blog or MY message board, but on Dom’s. His Facebook page isn’t the place for those kinds of comments, and the idea that a post I’d written caused such a thing completely floors me. I can’t even begin to apologize enough for that. I’m a big fan of Dom and the last thing I want to do is cause him trouble. Don’t like me? Jealous of me? Want to make fun of me? Post on my page. Send me an email. Message me on Twitter or Facebook, but don’t be rude on someone else’s wall.

So I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. While I can laugh ruefully at the idea of being called a frumpy old stalker, the truth is – that’s not how I wish to be viewed. It’s funny how you can befriend people that you’ve met maybe one time (if at all!) from all over the world, post on their page and it’s seen as just being friendly. Do the same on a celebrity’s page and it’s taken completely differently – even though they are all just people like you and I. I post on Dom’s page the way I would any other friend, for the most part. I just never thought it was that big of a deal and I certainly wasn’t posting anything that could be construed as my making myself “available” to him. It wasn’t ever like that. The lesson here is that if you post on a celebrity’s page, regardless of whether they recognize you and are friendly with you or not, it’s seen as a desperate attempt for attention. You’re seen as a deranged fan. A stalker.  

After thinking the entire situation over, I really think there are more lessons to be learned here. I might have mentioned that those comments didn’t come from a fellow female fan.  I think I might have expected that, actually. Women can be horrible to one another, and in our particular fandom, there’s a certain competitive nature that takes right over at times.  It’s not classy or pretty, but it exists. This person who called me out was actually male. I have no idea if he’s a fan or not, but he made it very clear that he was sick of seeing women post on Dom’s wall. Never mind that the guy also posted on Dom’s page. Never mind that he also must have been reading his page somewhat regularly to even know I’d posted, because that’s somehow different. Why – because he automatically assumed that because I’m female I’m “after” Dom as opposed to just being a fan of his music? In and of itself that’s pretty fascinating because it doesn’t seem as though he quite understands the whole “celebrity thing”. I’ve ran into my share of male fans though (of Duran Duran and otherwise), and while they are typically kind people for the most part, I’m always a little surprised to see how differently they view things. Men tend to believe that the only reason to be a fan is for the music, and to a large degree – they don’t seem to think that women can grasp the concept.  While it might very well be “cool” for a guy to like bands and things – women can’t possibly like bands for the same reasons. We’re much too “silly” for that. We can’t possibly understand the technical nature behind the music because we’re too busy having fantasies of John Taylor to even begin to understand the intricacies of music. There’s a definite stigma to being a female fan, and in the situation I encountered yesterday – that particular fan made his point very clear.

How will I do things differently? Well, I’ll think twice before posting again, sadly – and maybe I needed to learn that lesson. I suppose I was very naive. As I explained to some friends yesterday, and this is a feeling I’ve read over and over again from other female writers, bloggers and journalists in the music industry: I want to be taken seriously. Sure, I’m a fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to hop into bed with any musician or roadie I can find. (Sorry boys) I have a great time at shows. I have fun when I’m out with my friends, but never does that mean making a play for a member of any band.  When I’m home, the blog (for me) is as much a part of my fandom as it is a part of my burgeoning career as a writer. The last thing I want is to be summed up as a groupie, a stalker or be taken less than completely seriously about my writing. Respect is key. Most of the female fans I know feel very similar. Having fun at a show, or going out with friends before and afterward does not equate to being a groupie, nor does it mean we would even invite the opportunity.

Especially from jealous male “fans”.  

-R

Is this a mid-life crisis?

There is a phrase in the English language that I despise.

 “Mid-life Crisis”

I don’t really even know what that means.  When I think of that phrase, the image that fills my head is one of a balding man speeding down the road in a convertible Corvette. I remember going to dance clubs when I was in my early 20’s. My friends and I would be out dancing on the floor, and occasionally one of us would be approached by what we would consider to be an older man, hoping that we’d agree to dance.  I often wonder if those men were really that old, or if it was just that I was that young. My friends and I would scoff at the idea of some old guy hanging out at a club, hoping to get the attention of a young girl. Naturally we’d laugh and swear we’d never be continuing to hang out at clubs when we’re that age! (whatever age that was…and the lesson there is “FAMOUS LAST WORDS”!!)

When I was really young, I am sure I must have been around ten or so, my grandmother used to come and stay with us for the summer.  My parents both worked and felt my younger sister and I were far too young to be at home alone for an entire day.  This meant sharing my room with my grandmother for the entire summer.  Oddly, she was not a big Duran Duran fan, and I can remember her constantly telling me that she wished I’d take down my posters because she always felt like they were watching her! (Oh, my poor grandmother!)  I’d watch her in the mornings when she’d get up, and it always seemed to take her three times as long to put on her clothes as it did me.  When she would finish,  she’d always turn to me and say a single sentence that has been burned into my head for all eternity.

“Don’t ever get old, Rhonda Lynn.  It’s hell.”

 Who could ever blame me for wishing to avoid the whole aging thing??  I had it on decent authority that it wasn’t something I’d enjoy!!  When I think back on those days now, it seems so funny that my grandmother always seemed old to me, yet she only died about ten years ago at the age of 86.  I really hope that I’m more active than my mom or my grandmother in my later years – I want to be able to say I really LIVED every ounce out of my life that’s possible.  I’m sure both of them feel as though they got plenty out of life – and my mom is still alive and kicking.  She’s had a brand new beginning to her life, brought on by my father’s death nearly four years ago.  I’m proud to see her going and experiencing new things, even if it’s with a new “friend”.

I think things must be different for my generation than they were for my mothers generation.  She never went out with friends while I was growing up.  There were no concerts or girls nights out for her.  I never heard her talk much about music, and I know she never really went anywhere without my dad.   She really thinks it’s strange that I have this incessant need to have my own interests, friends and experiences because she never felt that way when my dad was alive.  In comparison, I live for those moments! I cringe when I hear the word “cougar”, or when TV shows make fun of people my age going out, as though once you turn the age of 30, you’re supposed to settle down, never to have fun again.  It’s even worse when the words “mid-life crisis” are thrown around, as if to explain our behavior.  Trust me, this is no “mid-life crisis”.

Yes it really is true, I still enjoy going to concerts. I love getting together with friends for the weekend over music, friendship and the occasional martini.  (make mine extra dirty!)  When I was younger, Friday nights were spent not sleeping, but staying up to watch late night videos, listening to records and fantasizing about what eyeliner Nick Rhodes used.  My friends and I would get excited over whatever band was coming on tour, and while most of the time I had to stand back and watch as my friends would get tickets to the shows – that never did stop my excitement at the prospect!  We’d call one another over the newest songs we’d hear on the radio, we’d try to one-up ourselves over who had the best Duran Duran pictures, the latest news, the “closest encounters”  (I’d typically lose that one…funny how that still holds true!), and the best information.  These things really haven’t changed, although admittedly most of my normal Friday night activities don’t typically include having a girl-talk session with my husband about makeup.  In my opinion, a mid-life crisis is all about capturing whatever youth you’ve got left.  I’ve never let my youth go to begin with, so there’s nothing to capture – it’s still here!

Is this – my Duran Duran fandom and everything that has gone along with it – really a mid-life crisis?  I doubt it, otherwise I started suffering from it when I was ten years old.  My life, and the enjoyment I get out of living, is what keeps me young.  My feeling is that when life stops being fun, I’ll be ready to exit this great planet of ours for whatever Duranie retirement home “in the sky” is next.

Pity those who dare call it a mid-life crisis, for they’ve already stopped living. -R