Category Archives: Fandom

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

It was an interesting weekend…

Amanda and I have often commented and then laughed somewhat ruefully over what will or will not garner attention from our readers.  Often times we’ll post what we think to be a fairly meaty subject – ready to have great discussions, only for our mailbox to be met with the sound of crickets when we check it each day.  Then other times all we need to do is post the words “Take” and “That” (whether in reference to a band of the same name or not!) and suddenly we’ll be inundated with mail.  To be perfectly honest – we LOVE those days.  I would much rather answer mail or reply to comments than say, clean my house or do laundry!

On the other hand, there are moments when I am truly perplexed by what gets commented on – or rather how something gets commented on.  Sometimes I can work something out very clearly in my head, only to have it come across far differently in print – and that of course has everything to do with point of view.  This blog is only one persons perspective at one given point in time. (contrary to popular belief Amanda and I are two completely different people with two completely different perspectives.  We live in two completely separate areas of the country, we are not conjoined twins, and we do not always agree.)  Sometimes I will post a blog thinking the comments (should there be any) will go one way, when in fact they go completely the opposite.  We just never really know for sure how a blog topic will go over until we post it and look at it in hindsight.

This weekend, our blog certainly did not disappoint.  We had comments, we had reaction, and there was definitely some emotion created over what I still believe to be a fairly inane subject. During our trip to the UK, we were asked countless times if we’d met the band.  We learned fairly quickly on to ask what the person meant by whether we’d met the band or not.  Some expectations were far higher than others, and in order to answer the question properly we wanted to understand what was expected.  In turn, Amanda posed the question to our readers.  Unfortunately, some of our readers were completely offended by the question, which really puzzled me.  At the time, I didn’t see what was causing such a fuss.  It seemed a simple question and I didn’t take too much time to think about the ramifications beyond the literal sense of the question.  Once again, I completely underestimated the fan community.

Ultimately, the problem is judgement, and our fan community is filled to the gills with plenty to go ’round.  What readers failed to notice was that neither Amanda nor myself were passing judgement on their ideas, their experiences or even their tales of meeting the band.  Who are we to say what “meeting” really means…but even more importantly, why in the hell does it really matter??  Is our competitive nature so alive and well that even in the most friendly and non-competitive of environments (our blog!), we need to second guess ourselves and our intentions?  Amanda and I have tried our best to provide a safe haven for thoughts and ideas, even when they don’t coincide with our own (Anyone want to talk Warren vs. Andy and or Dom, anyone?). We are told time and time again by readers that they appreciate the environment we provide for commenting – and we want that to continue.

I don’t mean to make light of the subject.  Meeting the band is a big deal, regardless of how that moment happens.  I remember running into 3 members of the band on an elevator in a parking garage before a signing.  It was the oddest, most random situation ever, and it was over in a blink of my eye.  I didn’t ask for a picture, an autograph or even said much beyond “hi” and “I’ve gotta go!”  I counted that as meeting them for at least a good hour or so – until I “met” them again during the actual signing. (tongue firmly planted in cheek!)  Even then, I don’t think I said much to any of them, except perhaps Roger – and they still have no idea who I am to this day.   Of course I still count that in my list of “fantastic fan experiences”, regardless of whether that counts as meeting them or not.  Never did Amanda or I want to take that away from anyone, but more importantly, why would anyone think we would want that?

What strikes me most is how quickly fans assumed we were looking to discount someone else’s experiences with this band, and what that really says about the fan community in general.  Sometimes I forget how competitive fans can really be with regard to the band, simply because I choose not to play these days.  I genuinely like hearing the stories of how other fans met them, interacted with them or otherwise had good fortune. I’m happy for the friends who have had great experiences, gotten winks from them onstage, or have pictures of them.  Yes, I’d love to have a photo or two with them – and maybe someday that will happen, and maybe not.  I love blogging about being a fan, writing books, and going to shows.  The rest that may or may not go along with that is just a bonus and not the type of thing that is going to make me feel any more or less of a fan, and maybe that’s why the competition aspect of all of this gets lost on me at times.  I just know I’m happy, and really, that’s all that matters.

-R

Have You Met the Band?

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked the question, “Have you met the band?” I would be a rich woman or at least able to pay for future tours!  I think this is one of the most common questions within the fandom.  It is more common than, “Have you seen them live?” or “Do you have blank album?”  I think those tend to be more assumed questions, especially if you are at a meetup or a show.  As for the question at hand, I am not sure what to say.  When people ask this question, I’m never sure what they mean.  No one ever defines it.  People seem to think that “met” is clear enough.  I beg to differ. 

When I think about my personal life, met means that I have been formally introduced to the other person.  I have given my name and received the other person’s name in return.  In many cases, we have exchanged a handshake.  I would then be able to address the other person by name and the other person could address me by name.  Yes, obviously, there are situations where a mutual friend does the introductions, which is the same idea.  In real life, it means a lot more than seeing the other person.  For example, I know by name most of the people who work in my school.  I can address them by name and vice versa.  We often greet each other in the hall with a simple, “Hi.  How are you?”  Yet, there are people I work with that I see on a frequent basis whom I have never “met”.  These are people that I might learn their names but still would feel weird just going up to talk to them.  If, for example, we had to collaborate on some project, when I approached them, I would introduce myself before getting started.  Yet, it seems that my definition of meeting is very different when it comes to Duran Duran.

Some fans seem to define meeting the band as seeing them some place other than the stage.  This sighting could be right outside the venue as they enter or exit.  It could be that they were spotted at an airport or some other public location.  It might be that they passed you when entering or exiting a bar or hotel lobby.  Then, other fans, describe meeting the band as when words are exchanged.  In that definition, it does not matter if you stated your name or not.  It is just that words were exchanged.  Like the previous definition, this exchange of words could take place in or out of the venue, in a public location or at some place the band might hang out at, like a hotel or bar.  The exchange of words could be quick like, “Great show, blank band member!”  I would assume, for this definition, that the chosen band member would need, at least, to respond with something even if it is just a thank you. 

Are these definitions good enough?  Do they adequately describe a meeting or is there more to a meeting?  Should a proper meeting include an exchange of names?  The chance for an autograph and/or picture?  I think that the fandom should work to come up with an universal definition so that people aren’t confused like I am when answering this question.  Should the definition be as broad as possible so the largest number of Duranies can claim having met them or should it be a narrow definition so that fans will continue to work for a higher quality exchange with the band?  What do you think the definition of meeting the band should be?  Then, based on your definition, have you met the band?  At what moment did you know that it was a legitimate meeting? 

To answer my own question:  Yes, I have seen the band off the stage.  Yes, I have exchanged words with all of them, except for Dom or Andy.  Yet, I, personally, don’t know that I feel like I have met them.  I never exchanged names, except for when John asked me my name at a cd signing.  I never had the chance to get a picture, which, sometimes, feels like I’m the only one who hasn’t had her picture taken with one or all of the guys.  (Although, I did get a picture with Nick with a friend.  I would like one with just me.)  Maybe I don’t want my experiences to count so that I still have something I’m working towards, some goal to meet.  Maybe no experience will be good enough unless I feel like there was a real exchange.  I don’t know. 

So, readers, I ask you.  What is your definition of “met the band”?  Do you think that everyone agrees with that definition?

-A 

UK vs. US and the Ideal Show

Since attending my first UK show in Brighton a little over a week ago, people have asked me if I prefer to see shows in the UK or the US.  I think they would like a simple, quick answer.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have one.  I have learned about what kind of experience I prefer to have over the course of this tour and previous tours.  In most cases, my preferences have little to do with the location.  That said, I’m willing to admit that there were some differences between the two.

Rhonda and I have been saying that we need to write a book with the title, “Things We Have Learned on Tour”.  In this book, we would have a whole chapter, at least, dedicated to what makes an ideal show experience FOR US.  Those last two words are key.  Elements that we desire might not be what everyone desires.  Nonetheless, we have been able to determine what makes an ideal show after seeing Duran perform in various locations over the course of years.  Our ideal show starts out pretty simple.  We need to have good seats.  (Disclaimer:  We have been very lucky to have had many “good” seats and realize that not everyone has had this experience or can have this experience.)  So, what do I mean about good seats?  When I first started touring, I would have said that good seats include any seat within 20 rows of the stage, on either side, as long as they are too far off to the side.  I have been fortunate in that I have been able to get seats that fit that description through DDM, the fan club.  Now, though, my opinion has changed.  We had good seats for this tour.  In most cases, this is partly due to our willingness to spend a lot for them and the fact that we got tickets after they had gone on sale so we could be really picky before purchasing.  On this tour, we had 2nd, 3rd and 4th rows.  The 2nd row seats were the best and not just because they were the closest but because they were in the middle.  We could see everyone and everything happening on the stage.  When you are off to a side, this becomes a lot more difficult.  For Rhonda and I, this is the ideal setting.  She can watch Dom and I can watch John.  We are both happy, especially since so much of the show happens more in the middle.  Thus, we have now been spoiled and will have a hard time not going after seats like this again.  They were worth the money.

The second element we need for an ideal setting is a good crowd, in both a large sense and in a smaller sense.  We need the whole venue to be into it or at least willing to be into it!  At the Brighton show, for example, people did not stand much during the first song but then jumped to their feet for the second song and stayed there.  They got into it even if it took a minute.  On the other hand, Bournemouth’s crowd sat down A LOT.  This is unacceptable to me.  Yes, Duran suffered from technical difficulties during this show.  That said, they might have been better able to regroup if the crowd was good.  Yet, for Rhonda and I, we also need a good crowd around us.  We need our area of the venue to be especially into it.  For both Brighton and Glasgow, especially, we were surrounded by friends.  The show then became like a large party.  We could share the intense, funny, or cool moments together.  We could then feed off of each other’s energy to intensify our fun! 

For a long time, I focused on show elements that a lot of people focus on:  the venue and the setlist.  People want small venues and they want new and exciting setlists.  While I, too, would appreciate a more intimate setting (as long as there are assigned seats!) and a varied setlist, I have discovered that those don’t matter as much as the other elements of good seats and good crowds.  The most boring setlist can become a lot of fun with the right people and with a band that is full of energy!  Goodness, even Rhonda learned to appreciate Hungry Like the Wolf!  I found new excitement over songs like the Reflex this time.  The setlists, I think, become more important if those other elements of good seats and good crowds are missing.  The same is true for the venue.  I figure that the venue doesn’t matter much if I have good seats.  The largest arena in the world can feel small when you are 2nd row!  Then, in fact, if the crowd is good, it becomes a real party of 10,000 people!  For example, when everyone at the SECC in Glasgow was clapping to Leopard in unison, the echo of the claps was overwhelming. 

This, of course, brings me back to the original question.  Which is better:  the UK or the US?  In many ways, for me, it isn’t about the country as my ideal show can take place in either location.  Right now, the best concert I have ever seen in the one in Glasgow because of those parts I mentioned earlier.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t have the same experience in the US because I think it is possible.  Of course, I can acknowledge that there are differences beyond those aspects I have already discussed.  One thing I thought was weird in the UK is how far back from the stage, the seats started.  There was a walkway for photographers, then there was a barricade.  I would have thought that first row would have started at that barricade.  Nope.  There was still more space before the seats began.  I think that makes less seats “good” at least with my definition.  That said, I found the non-US fans to be refreshing.  Many of them have been friends for not just years but decades.  Duran brought many of them together and they haven’t lost their friendships in the quest to one up each other that I observe in the US.  For me, that felt nice to not have to worry about what other fans are saying, thinking or doing like I feel like I have to do here.  One thing I did miss, though, is the after parties that typically take place after shows in the US.  I didn’t see as many people doing that after shows in the UK.  🙁

Yet, obviously, traveling to the UK is very expensive and requires a lot of money and a serious amount of time to do it right.  Thus, while I hope to go back to the UK for a convention or for shows, it won’t be the standard touring location.  It just can’t be.  This makes me appreciate our experience more as it was special.  I had such a fabulous time and learned a lot about what is an ideal show for me.  All I can do now is save money to do shows the right way, no matter which country they take place in.

-A

State of the Fandom and Keeping Fandom Alive

It seems rather quiet in Duranland, lately.  Our daily readers have decreased and we are receiving a lot less comments here, on twitter and in facebook.  What I can’t figure out is whether my statement about the quietness is true or not.  I know that is how I feel, but it may not be factually true.  It might be that things are quiet on the Daily Duranie front  or on a personal level.  So, readers, I ask you.  Do you think it is quiet in the fandom?  If you think so, too, why do you think that is?  If not, what am I missing?  If it is quiet, what can or should be done about it?

I admit that I’m insanely busy and that is putting it nicely.  I have been basically working two full time jobs and trying to get ready for not only this huge trip but another trip.  Therefore, I haven’t had a ton of time to check into the various message boards or browse through twitter and facebook.  I only have time to check into my specific world.  Who has left what comment here?  Who has mentioned us on twitter?  What facebook notification needs to be dealt with?  Yes, I do check to see if the band has posted anything important and what John and Simon have said lately on twitter.  I openly admit that I have been lost in my own personal fog and haven’t had the time to interact much with other fans that I am missing but I just haven’t had the time to indulge that way. 

Perhaps, then, the problem is just with me or is it?  If it is a community wide lull in the action, is the lull in the US fanbase?  It might feel as if it is the whole fanbase to be becuse the biggest fanbase that I interact with and know best is the US community.  Could it just be that people aren’t really interested if the band isn’t touring near them?  Maybe.  I know that I have seen excitement from people going to the UK tour but haven’t seen much from others.  I don’t fault anyone for not being all that interested if the upcoming tour doesn’t affect them.  I think everyone’s interest in their fandom of choice comes in waves.  At times, we are super into it and other times not so much.  It could be that people are tired from the US tour.  It could be the holidays.  It could be that everyone is as busy as I am. 

So, if the fandom is, generally, disinterested now, should something be done about it?  Maybe nothing should be done about it because it is natural for people to have down times with their fandom.  On the other hand, maybe, we all need something to spark our interest again.  For me, I will be very Duran focused for the next week or so, assuming that I will be going to shows in the UK.  Yet, how should fans stay interested who aren’t going?  What would you recommend?  Should people get together with other fans?  Should people make a plan to hang out on twitter or facebook and talk to other fans?  Should there be more time on message boards?  What about putting their videos on or listening to their albums?  How do you, personally, keep your fandom alive?  Do you give yourself breaks?  Do you try to check into Duranland on a consistent basis?  

-A