Category Archives: Fandom

The Real Fan

Have you ever taken one of those fan purity tests?  You can find one on John Taylor here.  The basic idea behind these type of tests is to prove how big of a fan you are.  This determination is made based on the answers to the questions.  Some of the questions on John’s include ones on owning all of his solo albums, knowing family information and following in his fashion footsteps.  Obviously, tests like this are made for fun.  I doubt if fans would really take something like this and use it to prove who is the biggest fan, the second biggest fan, etc.  Yet, I suppose that it could be since you get a score at the end and defines the amount of “Johnner” in you. 

Part of me wishes that fandom really is this easy. If a fandom test did existence, a person could take a test to determine whether or not s/he was a fan and how big of a fan.  Yet, I think that most of us agree that this is truly silly.  Who is to say if someone is a fan?  Who is to say if someone is a big fan?  The obvious, clear cut answer here is no one, except for the individual person.  I’m a fan because I say I am.  I’m a really big fan, I could admit.  Yet, it seems to me that people who identify themselves as fans, including me, constantly try to determine this for other people.   I saw this in a couple of ways this past week as part of our “Would you rather” game.  This week, we asked people which album they prefer between two choices.  Most people just gave their preference and moved on.  Some people engaged in healthy discussion with other people about their opinions and reasons.  It was cool.  Then, I noticed that some people made the comment that basically said that fans should like all of Duran’s albums.  I also spotted a number of responders who had not heard the albums listed, which also bothered people. 

Now, I understand these shocked like reactions as I, too, have had them.  I have this type of reaction or something similar when I hear or read about a fan who expresses his/her fandom in a very different way than I do or sees being a fan in a way opposite of what I see being a fan is.  Yet, if I think about these reactions, logically, they seem a bit…harsh.  Do Duranies have to like EVERYTHING that the band has done?  I don’t really think so.  I doubt that the band likes everything they have done.  Maybe they liked it at the time and change their minds.  Perhaps, they never really liked something but their record label or manager(s) did.  I don’t know.  It is possible that one member likes something and another member doesn’t.  To me, being a fan means that you love the band.  I don’t love every song or album they have ever made.  Yes, I have given everything a chance but while I love Planet Earth, I hate Zoom In.  That’s me.  Perhaps, some people wonder how I can be a Duranie or a big Duranie if I don’t love everything.  It is simple.  I love Duran as a whole, as a package.  I love them unconditionally like I do a family member.  That said, like a family member, I don’t love every little detail or aspect.  Now, this doesn’t mean that someone who does love everything the band does is wrong.  S/he is just different than I am.  That’s okay.  Both should be allowed to express their opinions.

It is also okay if a fan hasn’t heard every song.  This does not make him/her any less of a fan.  Nor does it make me a bigger fan because I think I have heard every released song.  It means that we express our fandom differently.  While I get obsessive and want to consume every single thing connected to the band, others are either content with what music they have or need to be more compelled to check some things out.  Neither fan is right or wrong, just different. 

To me, I guess, a fan is someone who says that s/he is a fan.  If someone declares him/herself as a Duranie, isn’t that good enough?  Then, does it matter who is the bigger fan?  Does it even matter if someone is a big fan?  I don’t mind too much, if someone says that I am a big fan.  In fact, I will even admit that I feel proud about that, especially if it is connected to our blog and comes from someone outside of the fandom.  Yet, I don’t really say it about other fans and don’t feel comfortable if that comes from other fans.  Why?  I don’t think I’m qualified to make that judgement and don’t really want people to feel pressured to make that statement about me.  Plus, I know that those words carry weight within a fan community and can lead to hurt feelings.  I don’t want that.  Can’t we all just agree that we are all fans, perhaps, even big fans?  Isn’t that enough?

-A

A Duran Duran Cruise!?

Today was day two of our month long game of, “Would You Rather?”  In this game, we give two options related to the band and ask people to make a choice and explain it.  Today’s question was, “Would you rather be on a cruise with the band or in a band’s video?”  Over the course of the day, many people shared their varied opinions and reasons.  From what I could see, the options were fairly evenly split, which isn’t terribly interesting.  What is interesting is that a number of people brought up the fact that the band wouldn’t do a cruise.  Some pointed out that Nick doesn’t like boats, which is something he has stated a number of times in interviews.  Anyway, while the game is supposed to be just for fun, a means of living in a fantasy for a moment, it did get me thinking.  (Always dangerous, I know…)

Other bands have done cruises where the band members go on an exclusive cruise with their fans.  One band that I know of, for sure, is New Kids on the Block.  How come that band is willing and able to do a cruise like that and Duran isn’t?  Is it because of management?  A matter of scheduling?  The kinds of fans?  Personal preference for the members?  Let’s tackle the possibilities one at a time.

Could Duran’s management be the one stopping Duran from doing a cruise with the fans?  Obviously, I do not know their manager or anyone working with their manager.  Thus, I wouldn’t really have any idea.  The only thing I could do would be to analyze the role and purpose of the manager.  From what I know, which isn’t very much, a manager should be looking after the band’s current and future success.  For a band, I would assume that the focus is on money and popularity, which is a result or cause of money.  Would a Duran cruise help with their money and/or popularity?  As for the money, I honestly don’t know.  I wouldn’t have a clue about how much something like that would be to arrange.  Would they be able to sell enough tickets that they would earn a profit?  As for the next question, would it help their popularity, I honestly don’t know that it would.  While there are a lot of diehard fans, many of us have been around for a loooooooooooooooong time.  We still will stick around without something like that.  Would it bring new fans into the fold?  I doubt it.  Now, would it be a nice way to say thank you to the loyal fans?  I think it would. 

The second possible reason that Duran doesn’t do fan cruises is due to scheduling.  This seems possible to me.  They obviously couldn’t squeeze it in during a tour or in the middle of writing and recording an album.  This would leave those downtimes, much like we are in at the moment.  It seems to me that Duran likes to take their time off to vacation, to spend time with family, and to work on other projects.  They wouldn’t have as much time if they throw in a fan cruise once every few years or so.  This leads right into personal preferences of the band members.  Perhaps, some of the band members would be interested or okay with doing a fan cruise.  Maybe, some members don’t want as much time with family as others.  Maybe, some are more focused on pleasing loyal, diehard fans.  Maybe some hate boats like it appears Nick Rhodes does.  Maybe there is an alternative that Nick would do instead.  Maybe more band members hates cruises over the ones who like them?!

Of course, most people assume that the reason Duran doesn’t or won’t do fan cruises is because of the fans.  I assume that the concern here is that the fans would either act inappropriate around the band or each other.  I have to ask, though.  Are fans of New Kids really that different than Duranies?  I, seriously, don’t know.  On paper, they don’t seem that much different.  Both bands were really popular and really popular with young people, especially young girls.  The young girls often fancied one or more band members.  Both band seemed to have a dedicated fanbase that could and did create quite the scenes back in the day.  So, how are they now?  Are New Kids fans able to handle being in the same place as the band and Duranies aren’t?  Yes, obviously, I’m generalizing.  Is it that New Kids think that their fans could handle it and Duran doesn’t?!  Perhaps, the concern has more to do with how fans interact with each other.  Maybe there isn’t as much drama in that other fandom.  Duran’s presence might make more drama or more intense drama.  They do on tour.  That said, if the fans can’t handle it, does staying away from them help or does it make the problem worse?  I have always thought that part of the problem with Duranies is that we are all fighting for a very small amount of attention.  The supply of Duran Duran, so to speak, is very low.  Thus, they are always in demand.  Sometimes, the demand is so great and the supply so small that people behave in ways that they wouldn’t normally.  Maybe the desire to have a moment of recognition, of validation for fans becomes so great that they have to release it somehow and, too often, it is released in a way that is not productive or healthy for themselves, for other fans, and for the fanbase as a whole.  Therefore, if the band made themselves more approachable, some of these other issues would lessen by amount or degree.  They could try to do this slowly, as it feels like they have begun to do with social networking, and increase it over time until one day, they will be ready for their own cruise. 

What do you think the reason is that there are no Duran cruises with fans and no plans for one?  Is it an issue with the fans?  Their management?  Their preference?  Something else entirely?

-A

Would You Rather and Other Observations!

Some of you may have noticed that we are starting to change/add a few things here on the blog as Rhonda mentioned yesterday. One of those things is Game Day Thursday! Obviously, it might take awhile for us to work out all of the little details. That said, we want to hear from you about what you enjoyed and what you didn’t like as much! We are giving props today to our buddy, mercblues, on twitter, as she was the first one to complete yesterday’s word search! Way to go!!!

Another new piece to the Daily Duranie is a little game that we are starting that will go from today until February at this time! It seemed to us that many people liked the Daily Duranie Challenge we did a while ago. To that end, we tried to come up with some fun question to ask everyday. We are calling this little daily game, “Would You Rather…?” The game is pretty simple. We will give you two options about something related to the band. You pick your choice and tell us why. Simple and fun. 🙂 We will post it here, on our twitter and on our facebook. The first question is:

Would you rather be a band member’s best friend or a band member’s personal stylist?

My answer: I would rather be a best friend. I would be able to share everything with that band member (John. LOL.) as opposed to just clothes, hair, accessories, etc.  A best friend is able to hang out, talk, get to know to the other person, get to be there for him/her.  If I was his personal stylist, I would only interact in order to deal with his style. While it is appealing to be able to throw out clothes that I think are silly or unflattering, that isn’t enough of a draw from me.    Now, your turn.  What would you rather be?

Now, on a different note, another element we have added to our blog is the Today in Duran History piece. I am constantly amazed and in awe over the band’s history and the fact that I have been around to see most of it! Okay, I’m a little scared of that, too! 🙂 Today’s day in Duran’s history relates to the Neurotic Outsiders, a side project that John was involved with in the mid-1990s. When we did the Daily Challenge a few months ago, I discovered that many fans had not been aware of this project. I hope that some of them checked them out and enjoyed what they found. That said, this made me think about my own personal fandom.

Now, I know that this is going to shock many of you when I say that I like to know as much as I can about my fandom. In Duranland, this includes their side projects and solo work. Of course, I have various opinions about these other projects. Some of them appeal to me more than others but I still want to know about them. In fact, as a kid, when I discovered Duran, I read as much as I could about them. Obviously, some of the information about them included their influences. How many 9-year- olds do you know that go out of their way to hear records by Chic and by the Sex Pistols? Yep. That was me. I am happy to say that this “research” actually helped me to find other music that I enjoy and enjoyed. Other people seem to just be content with whatever part of their fandom they find. I can understand that, too. It is supposed to be fun and many people don’t enjoy research. The fact that I do enjoy research probably explains why I have a history degree, am writing a book on fandom and write this blog, huh?

So, where are you on the spectrum of fandom related research? Are you like me and have to learn as much as you can as fast as you can? Are you the opposite in that you want to just sit back and enjoy the Duran you know and love? Maybe, you are somewhere in between. If you have a chance to find out more, you do but stop if you find you aren’t enjoying what you find. I loved to know where other fans are with this so let me know!!!

-A

OK…enough quiet!!!

Last night, I finally had the opportunity to listen to some CD’s that Amanda has graciously made the two of us…that may or may not have included live performances of the concert(s) we went and saw in the UK, including Brighton.  I have to say, hearing these songs again brought back some good memories from that week spent traveling all over England and Scotland.  Yes, I’d still do it again.

When I first got home, as much as I tried to keep up with the Duran goings on, I had family schedules to contend with, and I swear the month of December went by as a blur.  I blinked and it is now over.  I guess it didn’t bother me so much when the band “signed off” for the holidays because I kind of needed a break too!  It’s tough to be a blogger sometimes!  (whine, whine, moan…wine! Yes, that kind of wine!)  So all went quiet.  Even our blog stats went way, way down. Scarily so, to be honest….but we forged on!

It’s now January 4th.  I have not heard hide, nor hair of that band for a couple weeks now – aside from a few facebook postings from the batcave, or “headquarters” as the rest of you might call it.  Oh, and one curious posting from Mr. LeBon on New Years Eve… We’re not fooled, the band is still on holiday, and I say – it’s time to get back to work!  Do you hear that whip cracking?  Of course I’m joking.  Mostly.

Fans are fickle.  We love the band to pieces because it’s what we do, but then the band goes quiet for a while, and we become uneasy.  Some move on to whatever other obsessions they have.  I actually do a lot of reading in my *laughs* spare time.  HA.  I have now read every e-book I had ready to go for my trip. (clearly didn’t do much reading in the UK…)  I’m finding myself googling each and every band members name simply to see if news pops up that I’m somehow missing elsewhere.  I have now read every single biographical essay that seems to exist for each band member, including Dom Brown.  (be afraid)  We’re bored now, and as such, we’re now in danger of chewing one another up just for the sheer sport.  Sometimes I wonder if the band sits and reads their Facebook and/or Twitter feeds for the fun of it….then I realize that only other fans could possibly find our drivel amusing.  It’s sad, but it’s reality.  I suppose I could be cleaning my house….but really what fun is there in doing that all day?? It’s a good thing that as of tomorrow all of my kids will be back in school, because I need to get out of this house, even if it is just to drive them all over the county!

Amanda and I were once called “impatient” by one of our most favorite readers.  That person was right.  I’m not really looking for new US dates (although hey if someone wants to clue me in to when those will be, I won’t turn you away!)…I’m just looking for activity.  The thrill of seeing some tweets from John Taylor, perhaps.  Some joyous postings from Roger Taylor.  How about some posts from Simon that need deciphering??  I am up for that challenge!  Yesterday while on Twitter, I came across a couple of comments that saddened me just a little and smacked me right back into reality mode.  I won’t quote, but it was intimated that perhaps the band only posts when they want to sell concert tickets.  I can’t argue that – because let’s be fair – does anyone aside from my husband go to work even when they aren’t being paid??  The band is their “job”, in the same way that my husband’s job is to sit at his desk and be on conference calls all day, go to trade shows, or fly to the Far East for meetings with clients.  The difference of course is that we’re the bands customers, and we’re far more demanding than any client my husband might have (Granted, I do not call John, Nick, Simon or Roger at 1:30am and expect them to answer their phone…then again, I don’t EVER call them….and yes, that really does happen in my house on a regular basis…).  Still, the reality can be sad (for lack of a better word) at times.  The band doesn’t necessarily chat us all up because they really want to know us.  They chat occasionally because we’re a big part of the machine that is their career.  Where you and I might very well wish to be on Twitter chatting with people, they might not.  While Facebook is how I keep in touch with my friends – Duran fans and otherwise – perhaps maybe the band doesn’t bother, and certainly not with us.  Once again I’m reminded, and fairly so, that the line between fan and friend is very defined, and I am squarely on the appropriate side of that line.

The one concern with the internet that I continuously see fans struggle over is that line.  We know the band.  We know the John Taylor that is up on the stage that he cares to share with us.  We know Simon, Nick and Roger in the same regard.  There has got to be a difference between those personas and their private lives – I just can’t see any of them surviving celebrity any other way.  I would imagine it’s a very compartmentalizing life at times.  That said, it is very, very easy to forget that fact as a fan – especially having been fans of the band for 30 years.  It is easy to assume we must know one another.  Well, we know them.  They, however, do not know us at all.  Sure, I’d love to think the band has checked out my personal Facebook, they read the blog, they read my Twitter – but none of that is true.  It’s just not reality.  I am one of a million faces they see (maybe) on tour from the stage.  With the interaction we’ve had from the band, however little it may seem at times, it’s difficult to remember that while we might be following them, they are not (for the overwhelming majority) following us.

Maybe they damn well should!   I am fascinating, aren’t you???  (that should be read with dripping sarcasm)

Time for another walk down memory lane for me…I have a few more CD’s to play!

-R

What does jealousy really do for you?

Good morning…I’m a third of the way back to sanity.  Well, maybe I should call it insanity, but it’s my normal all the same.  One out of the three kids went back to school this morning!  It’s a very quiet morning in my house, as my youngest still isn’t up yet!!  (I suspect that when she does arise, there will be evidence of illness…*sigh*)  I’ve been watching CNN (I’m a news junkie and since the Iowa Caucus is tonight, I’m paying more attention than usual), and even enjoyed an interruption free shower…with hot water!  It’s the small things that make my life super special.

One can certainly tell that things are quiet out in Duranland.  How so??  Within two minutes of checking my Twitter timeline – it was clear that drama had once again taken its rightful place in the community.  I have to say, we’re nothing if not predictable…and 90% female.  (Apologies to the guys out there, who are always very quick to steer me into a good conversation about Duran’s music or other news.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that sort of diversion!!)  Come now, you all knew I’d have to write a little about the drama.  It’s part of what makes our community tick, and to be really blunt, it’s one of the things that fascinates me most.  It’s not the drama itself that entertains me, although there are moments.  It’s the mechanics of it all that make me stop and stare.  I understand the competitive nature of women.  I understand what it means to be territorial, even if that feeling is completely misguided.  I know it is downright exciting to receive a retweet, be followed, or even get a post from a band member.  What I don’t understand is why it’s worth ruining both your own reputation as well as others by saying horrible things about the recipient of said attention…regardless of whether said things are truthful, slight exaggerations, or downright lies.  What you say online is out there permanently. Yes, this is the internet, and I would love to be able to say much of it is done based on the safety of being behind a somewhat anonymous screen – but I’ve seen a lot of you live and in person.  It happens no matter where we are, what we’re doing, or whom we’re with.  We can certainly be a vicious people.  I know it is hard to be excited for someone else when they’ve gotten attention that you’ve been desiring for so long – but is it really that other persons fault? Does it really help to lessen the reputation of that other person??  I am as guilty as anybody else of wondering why “so and so” has been able to find the band so many times, or why that girl always gets a reply back from someone, etc. etc.  What I’ve come to realize though is that sometimes, it’s my own doing!  I’m not the type of person who is just going to barge on up to the front of a line, beg for a pick, insist on a hug, or even run up to the front of a stage….thinking back to Glasgow where for one frightening second too long Amanda and I actually considered staying in our SEATS because we didn’t think it was fair to run to the front of the stage. We missed our chance for a front row spot as a result.  Stupid, I know.  I’m not much of a risk taker I suppose.  I didn’t even ask for a drumstick or a pick when I had the chance.  Why?  Good question, and aside from not wanting to be turned down, I don’t have an answer.  My point though is that sometimes, even when given the chance to have that all-important interaction or attention, I’ll literally run in the other direction!  While there are times when I do catch myself feeling just a little jealous, especially when I feel like some of what I think is the worst behavior possible is rewarded, I remind myself of all the moments I could have had but didn’t take.  Then there are the times that I feel are golden: when someone I know who has had very few opportunities to see the band, have interactions with the band or otherwise has their moment.  They might get a retweet from John, be followed by Simon, get a post from Dom or Roger…or get a picture with any and all them.  How on earth can I be mad about that?  I can’t!  I get as excited for them as I would for myself, and oddly enough, it is in those moments when I am happiest about being a fan.

Let me tell a brief story here.  When I first really got involved in the community, well before I ever became a blogger, I had my own fits of jealousy when someone else would have their moment(s).  I think it got to the point where I would take the time to even consider if that person was deserving, and yes – I’d judge them!  It was disgusting of me, and embarrassing to admit here.  It wasn’t as though I felt like I owned the band and didn’t want to share as much as it was just that I was jealous.  The more it would happen to people I knew and maybe didn’t like so much, the worse it got; and honestly – the worse I would feel at the end of a weekend, a show or even after being online sometimes. I know it got to the point where I worried more about finding the band after a show, or who (fans) would be at the show or who would post the next picture with a band member, than I thought about having fun, and that’s when I realized it was time to change things; specifically – change my own outlook.  I will say it loudly, clearly and brutally honest right here: at first, it was REALLY, REALLY hard to just be happy for other people.  I was so jealous of reading how someone got another photo, or another picture.  I kept forcing myself to simply be happy for someone else, regardless of how well I knew them.  Then in time, it got easier and easier.  Amazingly enough, I am so much happier now than I ever was before.  I don’t spend a lot of time scowling at shows, or after shows, when I hear about someone finding the band.  I don’t get as upset if I don’t see them myself.  I genuinely and honestly am happy to hear good news from other people.  I know a lot of people who say that they just don’t care when someone gets a retweet or whatever.  Well, I *do* care.  I’m thrilled for them.  I like reading that sort of thing, and on top of that – I love being that kind of person, that kind of fan, and that kind of friend these days.  It’s much easier to just be happy than it is to be mad or wonder why it didn’t happen to me…because sometimes….it *does* happen to me, and I can see when friends spend time wondering why it didn’t happen to them.  I don’t have that answer, but I can honestly say that its a lot more attractive and fun to be happy than it is to be angry.

-R

What Would Duranies Do?

In a vain attempt for some peace this morning (peace from my family, that is), I attempted to escape online to Facebook for some “me” time.  Upon doing so, I checked the Daily Duranie Facebook page, and saw that our buddy Kitty from Gimme A Wristband should now also be known as Kitty from Andy Taylor’s blog.  While I pondered that progression of events with pride and joy for her, I noticed that there was in fact a new blog up on Andy’s site for today.  You can see Andy’s brand new website, along with the blog and tons of other goodies here.  The blog itself is very short, referring to yet another blog written by the folks at Gawker about the Beliebers – those lovely, lovely Justin Bieber fans.  You can find that blog here…and I strongly suggest you take the time to read because todays blog is in reference to both blogs.

To summarize and probably oversimplify a bit, the Gawker blog focuses on an event in Times Square where about 50 Justin Bieber fans (the aforementioned Beliebers) gather to do a “buy out” of a music store.  According to the blog, these buyouts are actually attributed to helping Justin’s album sales figures over the years, and his management actually goes the distance to organize these events.  Kitty in turn asks what Duranies would have done back in the day with this sort of technology (social media such as Facebook and Twitter) to allow fans to mobilize and even form troops.

Its funny because the first thought is that it would have created complete chaos, as though there wasn’t quite enough of that back in the 80’s, right?  Most Duranies (that commented regarding the blog) immediately jumped to the thought that they would have only used the technology for themselves – learning of the bands whereabouts, waiting online for interaction from them, etc. etc.  I think its fair to say that yes, much of that would have happened – but along with chaos, there could very well have been a stronger level of commitment to the cause.  We long time fans readily admit that we tried to buy everything and anything that was available for the band.  Why wouldn’t we have done the same with a little more direction and focus?  Had the band been able to actually mobilize us using social media – imagine the buying that could have been done!   I’m sure the band wonders about that at night as they’re drifting off to sleep.  If that scenario doesn’t thrill you or at least make you think a bit, let me throw another thought your way:  Why don’t they use us now?   Or DO they?


In fairness, I think the band was very late to the social networking party, and I don’t honestly understand why that was.  I think their learning curve has taken quite a while, and while I have no doubt that at least John Taylor and probably Roger Taylor, Simon LeBon and even Dom Brown are beginning to recognize the strength of the masses (that would be you and I) and the loyalty that comes out of simply acknowledging the fans as people, I don’t necessarily think any of them really know how to effectively harness the power of fandom.

What could really be done?  Granted, none of us (or at least very few!) are teenagers these days.  We all have lives that are incredibly busy beyond the world of Duran Duran.  How many of us could conceivably drop everything and run to wherever the band needed or wanted us to be within a matter of hours?  I’m positive the answer would be not many.  This is proven by the amount of times something, like perhaps a TV appearance on Jay Leno or otherwise, has been announced literally within three or four hours before “showtime”.  Less than a handful of fans are able to show within that kind of notice, and understandably so.  Social networking requires planning and it requires nearly constant attention in order for it to really work effectively – planning being the operative word. Of course that’s not always possible, but should be the exception, not the rule. With proper planning and a little “out of the box” thinking, fans could be mobilized to do similar buyouts, get togethers (to promote fans working together), showing up en masse to various events and things…and really, aren’t those things part of the fun of being a fan?  I would suggest that perhaps giving the fan base focused tasks and direction might even create or foster more loyalty in the long run.

I hate to say that Duran Duran could learn something from Justin Bieber.  In fact, I feel nauseous as I type…but the truth prevails.  There is something to be said for the strength and spirit of the Belieber Army.  While many could argue that there isn’t much stronger than the spirit of the teenage fan, I have to believe that with the right motivation and management – Duran fans could change things.  5 million views of Girl Panic could be just the beginning.

-R




  

Smile like you mean it!

Happy Day After…  or as I like to call it “The Hangover”.

One of my gifts yesterday, aside from the extra pound or so I’m sure I gained from food intake, was a DVD of The Killers Live at Albert Hall.  I’d been wanting this DVD for awhile now, so I was surprised to find it under the tree yesterday.  I watched it last night, and one of the most interesting parts of the DVD (which is fantastic, by the way – it’s the way a concert DVD *should* be done) was a section after the show where they did some behind the scenes type of footage the day before the show.  Some of the footage included some interviews with fans who had been waiting – some as long as the night before – for the show.  These fans came from all over England, Europe,South America, and even the USA.  I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the fans.

Amanda and I have always felt that Duran Duran’s fan base,our community – is very unique.  I still feel as though we truly are, if for no other reason than simply because not many bands even last 30 years, much less have a fan base that has continued with vigor right along with the band.  While I don’t necessarily know if that makes the drama that continues to fester like a bad infection within the community all that special, I do believe we’re all “super special” (read: Crazy.  Insane.  Suckers for punishment.) for continuing to stick around!  (Yes, I’ve still got my humor!)  The fans in The Killers video, while at least several *cough, cough* years younger than I, had much of the same sentiment as I do.  I found myself nodding and even yelling out “I feel your pain!!”, which thoroughly amused not only my husband (My Duranie account is STILL overdrawn!), but also my mother, my sister and my children.  Well, at least the older two.  The youngest just keeps telling me that she missed me when I was on the airplane.  My household is never boring, and I continue to entertain….

The fans continued to echo the same sentiments throughout the interview, that there was nothing quite like The Killers, and that they were worth every single penny and heartache it took to get there.  There were a couple of fans that literally quit their jobs in order to make the trip.  Their feeling was that jobs come and go, but the concert was a once in a lifetime type of thing.  I really am not sure if I’d go to such lengths – but then again, my “job” isn’t really all that easy to quit.  I’m a mom!  Of course each fan mentioned how many shows they’d been to, and how long they’d been a fan.  This amused me because most of the fans had been to somewhere between say 10 and 15 shows.  I know of fans in the Duran community that have cleared 100 shows, so you might say we had a bit of a head start.  Regardless of the short time that The Killers have really been around (since 2001), their fan base is as loyal as they come.  They are bright eyed, vibrant, and have all the hope in the world in their hearts as they follow their band – and it is very reminiscent of what I’ve seen from Duran Duran fans when we’re at our best.

After watching, I came to the conclusion that while our individual circumstances might be different, fans really are very much the same, regardless of the fandom.  The enthusiasm their fans displayed was infectious, and while I probably won’t be traveling across the continent to see The Killers like I do Duran Duran – watching the video made me miss the good times I’ve had with the friends I’ve made along the way during my times of madness as a fan.

*wipes brow*  I’ve got to either save some money or find a job!!!

Have you followed Dom Brown yet?!?  (I’m not going to quit reminding you – so go do it!)

-R

Connections

Last night was a crazy, fun one for the Daily Duranie despite Rhonda being sick and thousands of miles away from me.  What was the cause of the crazy, fun?  In this case, it happened to be a tweet from one Mr. John Taylor.  He responded to something Rhonda had said about traveling to see the band and how it was our best fan experience yet.  So, what do two grown women do in response to such a thing?  Well, I did what many good Duranies would do and that is that I called up Rhonda!  She answered the phone immediately and we proceeded to giggle like teenage girls!!  Then, our twitter and facebook started going crazy as many people commented about how happy they were for us and whatnot!  We were then able to share in the silliness not only with each other but with friends all over the world. 

This fun was followed up by Rhonda’s response to my blog post last night.  She agreed that the UK tour definitely renewed her sense of being a fan.  Her main point, however, had to do with friendship, both the friendship we have and the friendships we have made.  She’s right, of course.  First of all, we were extremely lucky to have met each other in the fall of 2004 at the Duran Duran Fans Convention.  Obviously, we hit it off right away, but that isn’t so extraordinary as many people get along upon first meeting.  Since then, however, our friendship has gotten stronger through good times and bad in both Duranland and in our real lives.  We toured together in the spring of 2005 when many of our touring traditions began, including staying up extremely late, not eating much, giggling at nothing and everything at the same time and more, which continued through last tour of ours.  Our touring also survived through the not-so-fun, divisive RCM days of 2008 as well as through the setback with Simon in the spring.  In our personal lives, we have seen some great stuff and some tough stuff as well.  We have both suffered through grief at the loss of loved ones and have witnessed changes as well with the birth of her youngest and my involvement in political campaigns.  Yet, despite everything, of maybe because, of everything our friendship continues and has gotten stronger over the years. 

The reality is this:  Rhonda and I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the band.  We don’t live near each other and don’t have much in common (on paper, anyway).  The band is also responsible for many of our other friendships as well since we have met many people on tour, on message boards or on social networking sites.  These friendships both work to reinforce our fandom and to intensify it as we can share every moment in Duranland with other people.  Yes, we probably would be fans even without being friends with other fans, but it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t be as fun, frankly!  Thus, a big part of fandom for us is making connections with other people!  Heck, that is part of the reason that we blog in the first place!  Yes, we like to write about what is on our minds but we also want to connect with other people.  I suspect that most fans want this as well.  Yes, I realize that not all fans post on message boards, have a facebook or twitter account but, I suspect that they try for connections somewhere, even if it is just by reading this blog. 

Thus, my point is that last night really reminded me about what I think fandom is all about and that is connecting with other people.  Yes, the connections begin with the common interest, Duran in our case.  The connections increase one’s interest in the idol(s) and, in many cases, can and does go beyond the common interest to include real life stuff.  It certainly has for Rhonda and myself.  Have you experienced connecting with other fans?  Has it developed into strong friendships like it has for us?  Has it changed your fandom in any way?

-A 

Renewed Duranie Spirit!

Today marks the end of the UK tour for Duran Duran.  I’m sure that many of our friends will be feeling what Rhonda and I have been feeling–a bit of post-show emotions!  While the end of a tour typically brings a low, post-show depression of sorts, this tour has brought something else, something more positive to me.  It has worked to renew my Duranie spirit!!!

I have a Duranie scrapbook that I have been keeping since I started touring with vigor back in 2005.  I wanted some place to capture everything that touring is as I didn’t and don’t want to forget a moment!  This scrapbook contains setlists, receipts from purchasing tickets, seating charts, the tickets itself and more.  One of the best parts of the scrapbook is my tour write-up.  During this write-up of sorts, I go into detail about the tour from start to finish.  I describe traveling, what happened, how the shows were, etc.  It is like a journal or diary of sorts.  When I’m really good with it, I will add pictures to show what I am talking about.  Since I have returned from the UK, I have been working on this one.  As you can imagine this one is much longer than a tour with one or two shows since a lot more went into traveling overseas.  When I reread these, how I felt about the tour becomes very obvious.  For example, in the spring of 2005, I was begging and pleadingly for more.  I couldn’t get enough!  Everything was positive and exciting then for me.  Then, I reread the one I wrote in May after going to the UK and not getting any shows.  That one was filled with forced determination.  Looking back, I can tell that I was trying really hard to be and stay positive.  This one, in contrast, is very different.  I feel like everything is back to being positive again!

Obviously, I know a lot more in 2011 than I did in 2005.  I know WAY more about touring, traveling as well as how the fan community seems to work.  I know that not everything is perfect and there are a lot of people who don’t like and who won’t like us or what we have to say.  Heck, we have been dealing with that this past week on Twitter.  Yet, this isn’t bothering me because I have too much good stuff surrounding me!  This tour of the UK, for me, gave me so many positive things.  First, it was an accomplishment!  It was a dream fulfilled!  That in and of itself should be and would be good enough!  Truly, that is what Rhonda and I wanted to begin with!  Fortunately, though, we got WAY more than that.  We saw so many wonderful friends whom we met last May.  On top of that, we made more friends!  Now, I can’t imagine life without them.  This has reminded me that there are SO many wonderful people in Duranland.  Sometimes, it is so easy to forget that, when all you see are negative people.  It was so nice to be able to relax and have fun with other fans!  Lastly, and most importantly, I fell in love with the band again.

Like many of you, I have been a fan of this band for decades.  I cannot remember a time when I haven’t been a fan.  They are a part of me, at this point.  Thus, I can’t imagine having something happen that would result in me walking away or not caring.  Heck, I have a blog about being a fan of theirs!  I’m committed!  That said, like Rhonda, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to capture the spirit of excitement that I once had, as evidenced by my 2005 write-ups.  I enjoyed myself at the Chicago show, but it wasn’t the same.  Maybe I was worried about something going wrong or that something negative was right around the corner.  Maybe the band was in a different spot then, too.  Then, I saw those 4 shows in the UK.  Some of those shows were the best I have ever seen!!!  That show in Glasgow, for example, continues to invade my thoughts!  I was reminded in a very serious, very intense way about what is so great about this band, their music and their live performance.  I became a fan all over again!!!

Maybe the lesson here is that fandom goes in cycles like this.  You feel all excited and everything is good then too much negative happens and you forget about the wonder and the fun.  Then, if you are lucky, you are given the chance to start all over again in a way.  Maybe I’m the only one who has ever felt this way.  Maybe the band feels this way and that they have been able to keep going because the cycle continues or because they have been lucky enough to have their spirits renewed over and over again.  Whatever the cause, I’m grateful!  Now, I’m already dying for more shows!!!  My Duranieness is back and ready to go!!

-A

The Closet

Last night I was folding our annual family letter and stuffing it into envelopes along with pictures of my 3 kids, and while I was doing so – I was reading Twitter.  I have to admit that while I never mind writing the letter (go figure), I don’t enjoy doing the folding and stuffing.  This is probably one reason why I was never very good at secretarial work, on top of the many other things I don’t enjoy about working in an office.  As I was reading, someone asked if I mentioned my Duranie exploits in our holiday letter.  Although no one could hear me, I laughed.

To explain my laughter means going back and explaining me, which isn’t exactly an easy task OR light reading for a Wednesday morning, but I will try to entertain as best as I can.

As you all know, I’ve been a fan now for 30 years.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but that seems like an incredibly long time to be a fan of any one particular thing.  My parents and my friends all knew how much I loved Duran Duran as a kid – and aside from some pretty strict rules from my parents and some good natured kidding from my dad – my parents were fine with my little obsession.  As I grew up, I am pretty sure my conversations centered around Duran Duran less and less, which for most people is probably natural.  Of course we all know that it didn’t stay that way because here I am writing this blog.  When I met my husband, it was back in 1992 (am I dating myself much?) and I was a junior in college.  Duran Duran was sadly not the center of my universe at the time – in fact I didn’t think much about them at all. (although I did go to a concert that summer at what was then called Irvine Meadows Amphitheater!)  So while I am sure that I must have mentioned that Duran Duran were among my favorite groups, especially growing up, I don’t think much was said beyond that.  Walt and I both grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s – we’re only two years apart (he’s the older one thankyouverymuch), so our tastes are similar.  He loves disco.  I don’t.  I love heavy metal & hair bands.  Walt?  Not even remotely close.  We both love 80’s alternative though, which is where we tend to meet in the middle.  In any case, as much as I was a Duranie back when I was a kid, and as much as I’m a Duranie now – when we met, it wasn’t an issue.

The trouble of course is that Walt and I are very different people.  He is fairly conservative in nature – politics aside – and I’m really not.  I *can* be conservative when needed, as in child rearing, but compared to Walt, I think I’m pretty carefree and almost bohemian.  He would NEVER be OK  It can sometimes be very tough to find middle ground, and for a while, Duran Duran was one of those issues.  We’ve worked through tough times to arrive at a place where I can feel comfortable in letting him know that I am going to be flying back over to the UK for a Duran Duran convention next year.  Oh wait, did I just say that?!?

ANYWAY….Where was I?

I want you all to know I’ve written, deleted and rewritten this blog about 5 times now.  The truth is that when I think about it, as much as I’d like to lay the blame on someone else – it all comes down to me, doesn’t it?

I think that a part of me still feels as though being a fan isn’t accepted.  I do get made fun of by friends from high school although it’s mainly in good nature.  My mom is constantly telling me that its time to grow up (she doesn’t use those exact words), and my husband…well…he just wants to know how I’m going to turn this blog writing and touring thing into dollar signs since I spend so much time doing all of it.  I know how strange it must sound to people that I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook and Twitter talking to other fans, writing blogs, writing a book…and of course giggling like a school girl at times over our favorite band member(s).  I could say that any one of those things is enough for me to hide my inner Duranie, much less all of them, but the issue still comes down to me.

One would think that once I turned 40, I’d stop caring what other people think, and to some degree I suppose I do.  I don’t care that fans make fun of Amanda and I for this blog because there are FAR more people that read it and love it than otherwise. On the other hand, I’ve always been a people pleaser and have been afraid to fail…or to even put myself out there so that there’s risk involved.  I have always taken the “safe” route…and that includes getting married and having kids at a relatively young age for my generation. There are reasons that go back to very early childhood on that one…as I tell my kids “No one gets through childhood unscathed.”  It’s true and we all have our baggage, don’t we?  In my case, I have a difficult time showing people exactly who I am, which is why the fan community has been so incredibly helpful for me.  I don’t think I’ve ever breathed quite the sigh of relief that I did when I went to the Duran Duran Fan convention in New Orleans back in 2004.  I stood in a room with about 100 other people that were very much like me.  That feeling was incredible, and while yes – the fan community has more than its fair share of back stabbing, negativity and overall nasty behavior – I haven’t forgotten what it felt like to finally feel welcomed, included, and just RIGHT.  That’s what I want other people to feel, and that’s why I write the blog.

The funny thing is that when I talk about The Closet…I really mean THE CLOSET.  I have a small “walk in” closet at home (I’m talking small as in I can go in, shut the door and turn around in a circle while standing in one place and reach everything), and its where I keep all of my Duran Duran things.  I have posters up on the wall, all of their CD’s in one cupboard, the memorabilia in another…it’s all in there.  Walt calls it the Duran Duran Vault.  I think it’s very telling about how I am as a person because no one except all of you and the people that live with me know its there.

So to answer the question about my holiday letter, the answer is of course no, I never mention my Duranie exploits in there although I did briefly mention my UK trip with Amanda.  Writing this blog has made me think long and hard about my closet though, and perhaps its time I learn to let people in.  If they don’t like what they see, I suppose they can always leave – and if they do, chances are they were never worth my time anyway.  I’ll work on it and let you know how it goes!

-R