Category Archives: fans

Learning to Laugh

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but invariably for me – as things are moving along at a good clip, and good things are happening, inevitably a small fly will end up in the ointment.  It doesn’t completely screw everything up, but it’s an annoyance, and if I let it, it’ll ruin the whole thing.  Admittedly, I’m not very good at ignoring the small things.  I wish I were, because then my life would be a lot less stressful at times, but I suppose I am who I am, faults and all.   The same holds true for this blog.  While things are starting to move at a steady pace, and our readership is growing, inevitably there are folks out there that don’t have appreciation for what we’re doing, and you know – in and of itself that’s OK.  At one point a while back another author told me to make sure to write each day, and know that at least one person out there would agree with whatever I was saying.  I’ve tried to hold true to that as I’ve gone along here.  The fact is, I’m no more a writer than I am an engineer, and I’m just learning my way.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be held accountable for my writing, it just means that in no way do I consider myself an expert.  I write what I feel is important in that moment, and I’m finding that just as in most arts – the most successful pieces of work I’ve written so far are those in which I allow myself to be the most open and vulnerable.  Putting yourself out there is difficult even under the best of circumstances, and the fact is – not many people appreciate that vulnerability.  
Now, you might be thinking – “Who cares?  That’s all part of writing a blog and you should have expected that!”  You would be right.  The fact is, I expected criticism and ridicule when we started this blog.  I knew there would be those that would immediately scoff and laugh, and the fact is – that’s OK.  Let me be honest for a minute:  I am 40 years old, and I write a blog that at least on the surface, is about Duran Duran.   There are words to describe people like that, whether you call them fans, fanatics, Duran”tards”…etc.  I might have used similar words to describe other fans I’ve met, and I’m not necessarily ashamed to admit that.  The funny thing is that once you get past the annoyance of having been called some or all of those names, you start to realize that it really IS funny.  
Yes, I stand up proudly and say that I travel great distances to go see Duran Duran in concert. I have their posters up in my room (well, it’s actually my closet), and I own a good portion of all of the vinyl they’ve ever released….officially and “unofficially”.  I read a ridiculous amount of articles about them, I monitor message boards dedicated to the band, and I even get a little excited when I see new interviews, TV shows, etc that they are on.  I’m I embarrassed by any or all of that?  No, not really.   I would say that in the past year or so, I’ve realized that at this point in my life, I really don’t care what other people think.  Yes, I would love to have the acceptance of my peers, but the fact is, my peers probably already do those things right along with me.  That’s one reason why the fan community is such a fantastic group.  We may not all get along, we may all participate in our fandom in completely different ways, but it takes each of us to make up the community.  
I enjoy writing this blog, and for those who have actually read and absorbed each post for the day, you should be able to see that while the blog is called The Daily Duranie, and the posts generally have something to do with the band….they are as much about being people in general.  The focus goes well beyond the band and has far more to do with the social science of it all than it does worshipping the ground the band walks on (although we’re not above that).    I suppose some people can’t get beyond the surface, and that’s OK.  That’s why we chose Duran Duran as the sort of “case study” to examine, because we knew that doing a blog solely on examining fandom would never attract the types of readers we would like.  Many of the more “I love the band” posts are sprinkled throughout the blog as a whole, and we’ll continue to do that because let’s face it – it’s fun.  There are many in the community who feel the need to question the intentions of the rest of us, and it’s far more fun to point fingers and ridicule than it is to examine ourselves and what our own intentions are for being here.  Good for them. I hope that they read the blog and find plenty of substance to fill their heads.  The fact is, I laugh at myself as often as I can these days.  I’m 40, I’m just a stay at home mom with two college degrees, and yet I’m writing a blog about my teenage heartthrobs.  It is hilarious when you think about it.  Embrace it and move on, right?   The best part is that I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, I’m learning a lot about people in general and I come away from writing each blog feeling better about the day.  I wonder if there are many other people out there that can say the same?

-R

They Are Back

No, I’m not referring to the band, for once.  I’m referring to fans.  It seems to me that since the album and single release dates are getting closer, more and more fans are coming back to the fandom.  Of course, one can argue that they never really left the fandom.  While, for some, this is technically true, there were many fans who weren’t checking the message boards and weren’t posting, even if they were.  These fans weren’t talking about Duran in emails or on social networking sites.  Yet, lately, I have begun to see a flurry of activity across the online community. 

Last night, my own particular facebook page and the Daily Duranie’s twitter were alive with Duran comments!  Many of these people were either watching and commenting about the Behind the Music airing or were talking about their excitement over the album!  I see enthusiasm returning to many of my Duranie friends, something that I haven’t seen since Astronaut days.  I also see the message boards getting more and more popular as it is taking longer and longer to read them as so many more people are posting per day.  Obviously, not all of these posts or posters are positive about the album or the snippets of songs they have heard.  For some of these people, a new album still provides a large discussion topic and they go to the boards to read and discuss.  I get that.  I, too, like to discuss the band and their current status.  Heck, I am a co-author of this blog in order to do just that.  Yet, some of the people talking and thinking about Duran now aren’t necessarily those who want to discuss everything but those who are positive about the album.

I definitely was concerned after RCM about the state of the fandom.  Obviously, some fans came back only for the reunion and to relive some aspect of their childhood.  Once they had seen the Fab Five in person, they had no more need to think about Duran.  Yet, many people actually left because they did not like what they heard and saw.  That worried me.  I was concerned that these people would never return, no matter what the band did, musically or otherwise.  Now, some of those fans are returning.  Yes, some are coming back because they are too curious to stay away and they may not stay but some are back because they LIKE what they hear.  They like the feel of the current Duran as it feels like true Duran Duran to them.  This makes me happy.

Why should it matter to me if the fans come back or not?  Well, personally, I believe that participating in a fandom is WAY more fun with more people!  Yes, I could assume to have a greater chance to meet the band or to have really good seats if there are less fans.  That is true.  I don’t think I would have as much fun, though.  There is nothing better than sharing one’s excitement over a new snippet or interview with one’s fellow fans.  Their level of enthusiasm only works to enhance mine!  I have been to shows with non-Duranies and can appreciate the performances of the band but those shows won’t stick out to me as the best shows (even if they were really great, musically).  To me, the best shows are ones with a great performance with the band, attending it with a Duranie similar to yourself (in my case, that always means my partner-in-crime), and hanging out with other Duranies both before and after a show.  I feel like the future tour (dates can be released any time now…) will be really fun again!  I have high hopes for really good times with my fellow Duranies currently that I didn’t have even a month or two ago. 

I love that this new album is bringing the Duranies back.  Now, I hope that the album is good enough that they all stay!

-A

Success?

I’ve tried very hard not to comment on the snippets of music I’ve heard so far, mainly because it’s really hard to tell how something is going to sound from 30 seconds of music.  I will say that some of the songs have really intrigued me, others have kind of just sounded good (as if that’s a bad thing, right?), and still others have me very excited.

So then why do I feel an impending sense of dread?  Isn’t every other album out there the same?  I mean – not every song on an album is going to bowl me over, and there are some I might add, that I don’t even end up liking.  That’s normal, and I know that.

The word on the boards with regard to the album seems to be fairly mixed at this point.  Some are excited, some are thrilled, some think it’s not good…etc. etc.  Each of us have our own opinions, and none of them are wrong.  I get that.  It’s hard not to feel the urge to knock fellow fans alongside the head when they openly pronounce the album as dead before it even drops though.  First question I ask is if they’ve actually HEARD the whole album, and the second question I ask is – if so, where can I grab a copy?  🙂

What really pains me though, more than any other comment, is when some gentle soul will hope that the album goes really big, and then some other genius will announce that there’s not a chance of that happening at all.  The album will never get played on radio, and therefore it’ll never chart, and it’ll fall flat like a pancake.

Really?  Is that what constitutes an album being big?  Is that what “success” really is all about?

My thoughts on that are simply that maybe it’s time that we fans get a better understanding of what success really is.  Personally, I think success has far more to do with how we ourselves feel about something in the end, rather than what recognition we receive.  My goodness, I’m a fantastic mom – I know this because, well, I have three children whom I’m raising to be amazing little people.  I don’t win awards for that, and I sure as heck don’t get a paycheck.  That doesn’t mean I’m not successful, that’s for sure.  Success for me is giving and getting love from them, and seeing them grow into the most fabulous humans.  That’s real success.   I kind of think the band is way over the idea of hitting the top of the charts. (here’s a tip for all of you fans out there – try listening to the lyrics of the few snippets we’ve had.  Really listen, because it’s not hard to hear, but you have to WANT to hear what they’re trying to say.)   I truly think they are in this for the love and joy of making music.  They want to play, they want to tour, and I would even say that they want to see all of our faces screaming for more.  Perhaps that’s success for them, these days.

After all – they said right in their press release that they’ve got nothing left to prove and everything to play for.  If that doesn’t give us an idea of what they’re after as far as success is concerned – maybe it’s really time we look at why we’re still fans after all these years.  Are we really thinking that we’re hear to see 1985 happen again?   It’s time to redefine success, and stop setting ourselves and the band up for failure before the album even drops.

Oh, and if you’ve heard that whole album and have deemed it failure…you know where to find me.  I’ll take that copy off your hands.  Ha!  😉

-R

Once upon a time, there was a suburban OC mom who happened to stumble upon a Duran Duran message board.  It was a very small message board at the time, which allowed for her to get to know several of the “regulars” on the board.  One of those regulars was interested in starting plans to have a convention, and the mom jumped on the bandwagon.  She got to know the committee, and within a year, found herself standing in the ballroom at Hotel Monaco in New Orleans, welcoming fellow Duranies for a weekend of fun and friendship.  Her roommates for that fateful weekend included the first friend she’d made on the message board, along with two other close “online” friends.   The weekend proved to be a great success, and out of that weekend, this mom met many others, including someone from the midwest (and the co-writer of this blog!), as well as a gal from New Jersey.

The interesting part of this story is that under any other circumstance, the mom isn’t at all sure that the three of these women would have connected.  At the time, the mom was the only married woman in the group, and is still the only one with children. (well, children that she doesn’t leave at the end of a work day….mine follow me!)  She lives in California, two within the group live in the midwest, and one is from the east coast.  The mom doesn’t work for a living, the other three work very hard – one is a special education teacher, one works in human resources, and the other is a nurse. The one connection that binds them is/was their love for Duran Duran.

As time has worn on, two out of the group have expanded their horizons.  While Duran Duran is probably still a favorite to some degree,  there are other bands that have piqued their interest, and they’ve been known to travel to see them.  The other two, on the other hand –    write a daily blog about the band, are in the process of writing a book, and have ideas for others.  Their friendship has really transcended their interest for the band, so to speak.    Of course, if a tour comes up, we try to travel together.  It doesn’t always work out, schedule-wise, but we try.  While the four of us together are friends, we’ve also sort of “paired” off.  Two go off and see INXS, the other two have actually gone on tour to see Clear Static.  The beauty of it all is that what started as a friendship due to a common interest has become a friendship based on far deeper trust.

As you might have guessed, the suburban mom in the story is me, and the other three women are my closest friends.  We started making plans to meet up whenever there was a tour, but as usually happens – Durantime takes far too long – and we’ve ended up meeting for long weekends instead!  Tomorrow, the girls descend on Orange County CA, and they’ll be staying at my house this time.  There really won’t be much Duran on the agenda (although I am sure we’ll do our fair share of video watching and laughing), but for a change – it’ll be about our friendship.

Lately there has been much talk on the boards about fairness, and about the duranie-eat-duranie world of the fan community.  I’ve written about it here in our blog as well.  I’ve had it brought up to me that not all of us are going to be friends, and still more of us won’t like one another.  That’s obviously true.  We can’t all get along – although I *do* think a lot more of us can and should try to remember that our connections to one another will far outlast the band.  My own friendships with the girls I’ve met through the community will prove that.  I’m going to remember the times I’ve had traveling with Amanda, or the way that Jessica and I “handled” check in at the fan convention…or the way I’ve full-out laughed until I’ve cried when I sit and listen to the stories Machelle has told me over the years, FAR longer than I’ll remember that I was snubbed by so-and-so at the last show or meet up.  Hopefully while reading the blog, some of you will remember the fun you’ve had rather than the way you thought you were wronged by another fan….because really, isn’t that the point?

-R

Tell Us What You Know!

Just when I think the day is going to be quiet – a little subtle change appears on the horizon that brings on a small rain shower.

If anyone has been watching, the space under Label has remained fairly blank for while on the band’s myspace and facebook pages, then very quietly it was filled – I’m not sure if it happened this morning or last night, but it now has a name listed.  “Tapemodern”.  I’m going to be up front and honest, this blog isn’t really going to be about the label “announcement” – I’ll leave that to other perfectly capable folks to mull over.  What I am more curious about is the reaction AFTER noticing that space being filled with a name.

One of The Daily Duranie’s fellow bloggers took to her blog this morning, announcing the small change.  You can read it here .  Even more fascinating than the label itself (which really isn’t huge news if you’ve been paying any kind of attention for the last year or so) are the comments AFTER the blog.  Immediately folks jumped on Nathan Stack, who is the handler of the bands myspace and facebook pages.  They wanted to know where he got his information, and Nathan – ever so carefully, I might add, sidestepped the real question. (clearly he’s been learning – good on him!) That’s when another person commented, as anonymous as the first, that Nathan was being coy and evasive and that he should just tell us where he got his information – or if he was just following the bosses orders and wasn’t told why.

Upon reading the comments – I had this clear vision:  Nathan tied to a chair in a small dark room with a single light bulb hanging down from the ceiling.  Someone from the Gestapo standing in front of him, whip in hand, demanding answers.  “Tell us vat you know!”

Really people?  This is our fandom???  One tiny bit of news that isn’t really THAT huge and we’re going to be like the Gestapo to get answers?  One person even commented that if Nathan really changed the label name – that he should know the answers and at least be able to verify whether it’s true or not.  It almost infers that  #1 – Nathan might not have been the one to change the label name, and #2 – that if he did change it and doesn’t know why, than maybe it’s just rumor.   I suppose it’s possible that someone else went onto the accounts – whether that was because they had authority to do so or because the account was hacked as a joke and changed the label – but I kind of doubt that.  Why bother??  So I’ll go out on a limb and say that if it’s on their myspace and facebook, it’s highly likely that it’s their label.   That said, I don’t believe Nathan or anyone else on Duran’s staff is responsible or required to explain themselves to the fan community.  I just can’t quite get over that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re going to question EVERYTHING – even their own facebook and myspace pages – simply because we all know that a fellow fan runs those pages, as if that makes them fair game for bullying.  It doesn’t.

Even more fascinating is the “why”.  Why do we as fans feel it’s our “right” to know everything, and I do mean everything, as soon as it happens?  I’m just like the rest of you, I sit in very anxious anticipation for the next album.  I can’t wait to see them on tour.  I have posters hanging in my closet.  (wait….I probably didn’t need to mention that…. ;D)  Yet I don’t know when it became my right to know exactly what they are doing and why.  I think that at the end of the day, I have to trust that the band has a pretty good idea of what they’re doing and how the business works, even if I don’t always agree with their choices.  They probably wouldn’t agree with many of mine…so we’re good on that one.  In all due time, we’ll find out what made them decide to go with Tapemodern (*coughs* Nick *coughs*), and why there are still listings of UMG distributing a single for them on December 14th.

This whole morning/afternoon has reminded me of the UCLA Internet Symposium that John spoke at this same time last year.  During his speech, he spoke of how Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums have brought the fans so much closer – there’s not nearly the same sort of separation as there was when he was young.  This is true.  He talked about the anticipation he would have over getting specific albums after seeing his favorite bands live, because that was the only way at the time that you could continue to feel that connection after leaving a show.  Nowadays, the line between privacy and public life is so blurred that a lot of that anticipation is lost – which is one reason (out of many I am certain) that John chooses not to participate in those social mediums.  I would venture to guess that “back in the day”, the band could have (and did) switch labels without noticing so much as a ripple of commotion in the fandom.  In present time, we often find out about such things well before the band even intends to announce them, and yet ALL of us (this blogger included) continue to question why the band openly chooses – so it seems – to put up such a brick wall between themselves and their fans, whether that brick wall is perceived, misunderstood, or otherwise.

I think that much of the answer to that question can be found in this blog, on the bands facebook and myspace pages, and on our message boards.

-R

The Line

Fandom is a funny thing.  It can suck you in very quickly, and one can go from just enjoying a new album to wanting to know every last thing about the lead singer…or keyboardist, bass player and/or drummer in a matter of moments.  I know this because it happened to me, a very long time ago!

I asked a question on Twitter yesterday. It was really a question meant to spur discussion, and it really did!  I simply asked if anyone thought that Duran Duran is tired of their fans.  
Granted, the question was posed almost as a challenge, although at the time I wrote it I really didn’t MEAN for it to be – it was only later that I realized it would be a lightening rod for someone to tar and feather me.   Briefly I considered changing my name and running for the hills, but I digress.
I had several people point out to me that we support the band, and without us they’d be nothing. (I hope they’re enjoying their mansions then…)  A few more thought I was joking (nope.  not me!), and a couple more seemed rather shocked I’d suggest such a thing.  I would just like to send out a public “thank you” to our twitter followers for not sending out a twitter “contract” to have my head placed on a platter.  Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for being willing to participate!!  
The reality is, the word “fan” is simply short of “fanatical”.  I believe that Duranies tend to cross that line pretty regularly.  Not ALL Duranies, but enough of them over the years to where I think we’ve garnered quite a reputation, generally speaking.  I’ve seen the way fans will quite literally throw themselves AT the band both during the show and after.  I’ve watched in horror as other female fans will go to just about any length (and any wardrobe faux pas) to make sure Simon, John, Roger, Nick, etc. knows they want his attention.  I’ve also seen him/them roll his/their eyes and have to be almost rude to those fans in return so that they understand he just is not interested.  Then I’ve watched those same fans rip him/them apart on the message boards, calling them every name in the book.  I’ve been nearby when fans have gone up to the band members while they have been with their wives, and make suggestions for things that I wouldn’t have vocalized even if the band member was alone – and I’ve seen those same fans call the wives all kinds of things.  Gee, I wonder why the wife wasn’t very happy, and the band member even less?
What makes someone go from being a fan – even a fan like me who blogs and writes about them – to someone who feels like they have the right to intrude upon their personal life?  I have no problem admitting I might be obsessed, (…addicted, what-have-you!)  but I do recognize the fact that the band members are not mine.  I would never think to invite Simon to find something between my breasts (don’t even think of asking how I came up with that one…), nor would I ever think to go up and be anything but kind and gracious to their girlfriends, wives, etc – and that goes regardless of how I might really feel about any of them.  It’s just not me.  That said, I have no problem being excited when one of them throws me a grin from the stage or even across the bar.  I’m a fan!  
This blog isn’t about being higher and mightier than thou, it’s just about examining what makes a fan fanatical, and where the dividing line is drawn.  For me, it’s pretty boldly drawn.  I go to the shows, and enjoy them.  I will gladly smile at them on stage, and I love it when one of them smiles back.  Duh.  After the show, if I am lucky enough to somehow end up at the same place, I let them have their space.  If they talk to me, great – if not, that’s OK because it’s their personal time. That’s just me.  The subject has come up in conversation amongst my friends many, many times over the years – all of us wish that the band would be more interactive, more willing to come out after shows, more open with the fans, etc….but do any of us really stop to recognize what might happen if they did?  There seems to be quite a problem with recognizing where the line really is.  Some believe that as long as you’re not stalking, you’re good.  A few people feel that it’s just part the territory that goes along with being a celebrity.  Others think there’s a difference between obsessive and possessive.  So, I invite all of you to post where the line is for yourself, recognizing that you can only be responsible for your own behavior, not anyone else’s.
To answer my own posed question earlier – I do believe the band gets tired of us.  I can’t honestly blame them either.  I’m not talking about just going up and asking for a photograph or an autograph, I’m talking about cornering them in a bar, or following them where ever they happen to be going after a show.  I think that from their point of view – unless they’ve met you personally, they have no way of knowing if you’re going to just let it go with a wink and a smile – or if you’re going to pursue them and back them in a corner to talk for hours.  They have no idea if you’re “normal”…or if you’re a normal obsessed fan that has loved them for 30 years now…or if you’re a fanatic.  I don’t think it’s part of their “job” to allow us complete access to them, nor do I think it’s OK for us to expect that out of them.  I think sometimes they all probably wish that after a show, we’d just do our own thing, or we’d allow them to hang out at a bar and not be bothered.  If they wanted to talk to us, then they would do so, rather than a group of 50-100 Duranies descending upon them like vultures.  I’m not saying it’s ever OK for the band to be rude, but on the same token – aren’t we doing the same to them by intruding on their personal time?  I know if it were me, I’d take it to a point, and then suddenly I’d be unleashing it on some poor unsuspecting fan who just wanted a picture or an autograph.  
Hmm.

-R

The Case of the Cynical Duranie

Over the course of the last few weeks, several tidbits of information regarding the next album has come out – including the title.  Mark Ronson has done some interviews, having acted as producer on the album, and naturally – the band has done some as well.  One would think that the information would cause near-hysteria on the boards, since many of us have been hungry for ANY information at this point.  Oddly though, most of the boards that I have visited have had very little to say on the subject.  A thread here or there, but there’s not nearly as much discussion as I would have imagined a few years back.

If that weren’t enough of an anomaly, the threads themselves have quite a difference in them.  At one point not that long ago, the majority of Duranies would have responded with enthusiastic glee.  A few might have expressed concern over one thing or another, but the enthusiasm would have been infectious.  That really isn’t the case today.  There are far more people questioning the choices of the band than I’ve ever noticed before.  If Mark Ronson does an interview and gushes about the band – the fans can’t stand it and say he’s not being genuine (don’t even get them started on the interview where he says he kind of “forgot” he wasn’t in Duran Duran…). If John says the album is better than the last one, people are virtually rolling their eyes and saying they’ll believe it when they see it. (on a personal note – I don’t see how it could NOT be better, but that’s just me!)  If Roger says the album will be out in January, at least one fan will comment somewhere  that they won’t hold their breath.  It’s as though the majority of fans have completely lost their faith in the band – but they haven’t left the community yet, as though they just can’t help themselves.

I’ve always felt that for the majority, Duranies can be a cynical bunch.  Let someone post a rumor somewhere – if only for discussion purposes – there will be responses from several others calling the poster everything from a liar, to other names I won’t even bother to post.  You all know what I’m talking about.  If someone posts direct information that they themselves have been told by someone “in the know”, someone else will say the infamous words “I won’t believe it until someone in the band or their management comes forward and posts it on the official website.”  This temperament is oddly juxtaposed from the band themselves, or at least the way in which they write their songs – in that the band has always been kind of stood for optimism and joy.  Optimistic is not a word that I would use to describe the majority of their fan base right now.

Then there are the folks who are not only completely cynical, but they also insist for the band to explain their every decision and move – or else they don’t believe what they’ve read, and they get very annoyed with those of us who can recall what we’ve read/heard in interviews etc.  They will say we’re just regurgitating what has been assumed in other posts…or better yet, that we’re making assumptions.  For example, we all know their album Reportage was shelved.  The band hasn’t ever really come out and given a full, complete statement as to why that album never saw the light of day.  They’ve alluded to reasons in several interviews, and Andy has given his version of the events in his book Wild Boy, but that’s as close as I believe we’ll ever come to knowing what happened.  I’m not “assuming” I know what happened when I recall what Andy wrote in his book, or what Simon, John, Nick & Roger have said in their interviews on the subject, but yet that’s not enough.  I run into fans all the time that will post and insist that the band come forward and tell us exactly what happened.  My response to that is always one of amazement.  At what point did we stop being fans, and start feeling as though we own the band, or that we are the bosses?  The band is not our possession, regardless of how long we have been fans.

The fact is, they write the music. They perform the songs.  Each of us then makes a choice to buy what they have made, and attend the concerts and appearances.  That’s pretty much all we are entitled to as fans.  It makes no difference to the band HOW long we’ve been fans – we still do not own them, and really – that’s the way it should be.

So I throw it back to you, dear readers.  Why so cynical these days?  I have my own guesses – but I would love to read what you’re thinking.  Is it because of band history?  Is it because we’ve grown older ourselves and with that comes cynicism?  Is it because of other fans??  Post away and let us know!

-R

Fan Antics

I have been following and posting on a thread over on DDM entitled “Antics”.  Basically, the original post asked fans to describe some of their craziest behavior in regards to the band.  This topic always can be a dangerous one when brought up either publicly or privately.  If this type of question is asked in public with non-Duranies, there is a good chance that people will be judging you and determining that you might actually  be crazy, that you take this fan thing too far, that you don’t have a life, or something else that is equally negative.  Yet, I do not understand how these people can’t relate.  After all, it is a Sunday afternoon in the fall and I’m willing to bet that countless Americans have their TV tuned to the football game of their choice.  I might think it is weird that they feel these games are so important that they schedule them into their Sunday activities (I don’t actually but I could).  So how are Duranies so different from football fans?  How are they different than people who religiously watch every episode of a specific television show?  Someone explain to me how we are so different than people who go to the first showing of their favorite movie sequel when it comes out?  I don’t think we are all that different.

Yes, fans do things that may seem a bit overboard to outsiders but it is generally all in fun.  Of course, it seems to me that most Duranies’ antics are usually done with other people.  For example, Rhonda and I do most of our fan activities together and yes, some of those things might be deemed a bit extreme to the outside world.  For example, in the fall of 2008, we did drive over 800 miles in a weekend to see three shows and we would do it again.  I suspect other Duranies would, too.  We did not drive all that way or go to those shows as a way of proving how big of fans we were/are but because it was fun!  First, we were able to be together.  In that way, “touring” is a celebration of our friendship.  Second, we were able to experience and enjoy this thing we have in common, which is Duran and their music.  Lastly, we spent time in cities and states that we don’t get the chance to and meet people whom we wouldn’t have met otherwise.  While some people may say it is extreme, I say it is all in good fun.  Of course, I don’t think it is any “crazier” than the Green Bay Packers fans that I see going to games in extreme cold or any “crazier” than those Twilight fans who stand outside in line to get tickets to the latest movie. 

Therefore, a thread like this on a private, fan-only message board should be one where the fans can come and embrace the silly but entertaining moments of the past all in the name of being a fan.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case as fans will often judge other fans and their behaviors.  Some behaviors can be seen as crossing a line even with other fans.  I think most people would agree that committing a crime to get to the band would be over the line.  Another example might be that it is not okay to physically stalk a band member or his family.  Yet, where do you draw the line when it comes to finding out where a member lives?  What about going up to them in public places?  Is this acceptable?  Unacceptable?  What about giving and sending gifts to them?  Crazy or cool?  I don’t actually know.  I know what I might think is going too far but others may disagree with me.  Nonetheless, posters on this thread have enjoyed a positive atmosphere and pleasant response for now and I hope it continues that way so that we can embrace our fandom together.  I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if someone doesn’t come in and call someone a “Durantard” at some point for some action.  It seems to me that negative statements and reactions like that is a way for a fan to distance herself/himself from other fans.  It is an attempt to say, “I’m a fan but I’m not a CRAZY fan.”  In that way, fans can become just like the general public with judgemental thoughts and statements.

-A

What the Fans Really Think

While my blogging partner had a chance a couple of days ago to comment on John Taylor’s South African interview, I didn’t.  Obviously, she picked out a great deal of what I had focused on when listening to the interview.  One line, in particular, has stayed with me, days after hearing it. 

When talking about Red Carpet Massacre, John said the following:  “The fans were like we can’t hear you, John.  We can’t really hear Roger.”  Okay, confession time.  I said that and I know Rhonda said that.  I also read something similar on many posts in a variety of message boards.  Did I say it to him, personally, or to any other band member?  Nope.  Did Rhonda?  Unfortunately, no.  Did the countless other fans say it to him?  I somehow doubt it.  John isn’t typically out in social gatherings where fans would have access to him.  Could fans have made comments to Roger or Simon who are?  I doubt that, too as most fans don’t try to talk shop with the band in a relaxing setting.  Even in non-relaxed settings, fans don’t often have a chance to provide in-depth thoughts during events like concert meets-n-greets or record store signings.  Lastly, even when they do have a chance, would they utter something negative, even if it was constructive criticism that probably needed to be said?  My guess would be probably not.  I suspect that most fans use their few minutes with the band to tell them about how they have inspired them or touched them in some way.  They might ask for autographs or pictures.  Maybe they would make comments about the show but to talk seriously about the instrumentation of the album?  I doubt it.  Of course, I could be wrong.  Besides, even if some fans do use that opportunity to make some serious statements, how many fans would that be?  Should the band trust that those feelings represent most of us?  I don’t think so. 

How did John Taylor find out that many fans were thinking that about the lack of instruments on RCM?  How would any band member?  How does the band learn about what we REALLY think?  It can’t be from face-to-face interactions, at least not in high numbers.  Of course, fans can submit questions to Katy but those are usually questions and not comments.  She controls what is shared there.  Fans can also post ideas, praise, complaints, etc. on message boards.  Would any of them go on message boards to see what the fans like?  Would they do it on a regular basis?  Which board would they choose?  How would they sift through all of the other discussions to actually discover what we think?  Do they hire someone to do it?  How do they determine if the posts are representatives of the fans as a group, since some people just lurk.  I have heard them answer the question about checking the message boards and I distinctly remember Nick saying something about how terrified he would be in an interview from 2005 or 2006.  This leads me back to the original question.

How does the band learn what fans really think?  If fans knew that they were watching and reading, would that alter their behavior or stifle their thoughts?  Would this be a good thing for the fandom or a problem?  I’m sure that most fans would love for them to know what they are thinking but I’m also sure that fans wouldn’t want them to think less of them.  It would be an interesting sociological experiment to introduce the guys into a message board and see how it changes.  Maybe it would only matter if they post themselves.  I don’t know but it sure would be interesting to find out!

-A

Is This Time the Last Time?

Before I get started here – I have to apologize.  I had promised an FAQ list for message boards today…that blog has been pre-empted and will be posted at a later date.

Just prior to writing today, I went to our Daily Duranie twitter account and noticed that Nile Rodgers had posted a video of the last show with Bernard Edwards.  This video is short 2 minute clip of the song Wild Boys – Simon LeBon is singing and it is at the Budokan in April of 1996.  Here is a link to that video on Nile’s site. Bernard had pneumonia and refused to cancel the gig.  He did play the show, but had to be helped with oxygen at times. (Nile describes the situation best on the site)  That was his last show.   There is also video of Notorious from that same night, during that song Bernard was behind the drum riser getting oxygen – and apparently continuing to play.

I keep stumbling on the fact that it was Bernard’s last show.  No one in the audience knew that would be the case.  I can’t possibly know what Nile was thinking, and I can’t imagine that Simon recognized that Bernard would never play again either.  The fact is, I don’t think you ever really know when this time is going to be the last time.  I just believe that you have to enjoy every moment as though it could be.

Switch ahead to what I believe is still the working title to Duran Duran’s new album – All We Need is Now, and it hits me like a brick.

While I’m sure that I won’t ever forget walking up to all 5 of the original band members at Virgin Megastore in Hollywood back in October of 2004 (goodness knows I’ll never forget speaking to Roger Taylor – sure, I’m a blogger – but I’m also a HUGE fan!!), what I know to be true is that my biggest memories in this whole fan experience will be attending the shows with my friends.  Squeezing Amanda’s arm (or wait – maybe it’s been MY arm that’s been squeezed) every single time there is a JoSi moment,  rocking out with Dom Brown (no, really – we had our moment!) when he was just the stand-in guitarist and no one else gave him the time of day, clapping along with John during Red Carpet Massacre, and laughing til we cried while we watched Simon dance.   Those are the show moments I’ll remember best.   I probably won’t remember trying to figure out where everyone was going after the show because no one wants to say (what if the band shows up, then they’d have to share them! *gasp*);  I doubt I’ll remember having to assume the GA “stance” so that other fans couldn’t suddenly decide that they needed to be directly in front of me – even though I’d been there for hours already.  I really don’t think I’ll remember that another fan (who was much taller than I) decided to jump up and grab the drumstick that Roger had tried to throw me in New Orleans.  (well….no, I’ll probably remember that – but only because of the smile Roger flashed me and my sign before throwing it my way.)  I definitely won’t think twice of how vicious fellow fans can be on the message boards simply because someone complains over the cost of VIP tickets, or because someone asks if anyone has any ideas of where the band is staying.   In the end, none of that is going to really matter!

As much as I might curse the band at times, I feel so incredibly lucky.  Duran Duran has been the soundtrack to my life. (and probably yours…)   Yes, people in my life tend to give me a rough time over how much time I’ll spend on Duran Duran, and while part of me can laugh in spite of myself – there’s a growing part of me that almost feels sorry for them.  They have NO idea the gift I’ve been given.

We are lucky fans, indeed.  Enjoy the moment!

-R