Category Archives: favorite band member

But Here and Now It’s a Different Storyline Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a blog about favorite band members, male fans and the competition that too often is experienced by female Duranies.  As part of that blog, I went ahead and asked the question: “If you are a male Duran fan, do you have a favorite band member?  If so, what does favorite mean to you?”  I got many, many responses both on Facebook and on Twitter and hope to get more as the more responses I get, the more accurate my conclusions are (from a social scientist point-of-view!).

One thing I immediately realized right after asking the question is what do female fans mean by favorite band members.  I assumed that many/most/almost all female (straight or bisexual) fans, at least, initially chose their favorite band member because they found them attractive.  Perhaps, of course, that personality, sense of style, interactions with fans and on interviews, musicianship and more has reinforced that initial attraction over time such that most female fans now have a favorite for a variety of reasons.  Goodness knows, that is how I would describe why and how John Taylor became my favorite.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  He turned his head to look at the camera in the Reflex video and I was done.  I was from then on a John fan, a John girl.  It was about his looks first and foremost, at least back in 1984.  Is it now about his looks?  Obviously, if you read my blog on his birthday, you would realize that it isn’t.

Based on this assumption, I wanted to know.  Do male fans have favorites?  If so, did they pick a favorite like I did or like so many female fans I know.  Was it about the band member’s looks?  If not, what was it?  While I got a range of responses, it became very clear to me, very quickly is that most male Duranies fall into one of two camps when it comes to favorites.  The first camp is the no favorites camp.  These fans love the band as a whole.  They might definitely appreciate one band member for this and another band member for that but one band member does not really rise about the rest.  For these fans, it is all about the collective.  I can imagine that for these fans, they prefer group pictures over individual ones, follow everyone on stage and seek out picture taking opportunities equally between band members.

The other camp is the “I do definitely have a favorite” camp. For these male fans, they do have favorite band members and these favorites might have been favorites since they became fans.  Unlike my story or so many female fans I know, they didn’t necessarily choose the favorite because they were attracted to the band member’s looks in the same way that female fans were/are attracted.  For most female fans with favorites, it was about being attracted to that band member, romantically and sexually.  For the majority of male fans who responded to me, the attraction is more about appreciation of style or personality.  They aren’t attracted to that band member out of some romantic fantasy but because they want to be LIKE that band member.  They admire something about that band member.  They don’t want to be WITH the band member like many female fans do.  Thus, for those male fans, I got a lot of responses having to do how much they admired someone’s personal style or personality characteristics.  There was a LOT of mentions about the band member’s musical skills as well.  Would we get the same from female fans?  If not, why not?  And, if a female fan talked about musical skills would that get respect or would the female fan’s opinion be mocked.  Something to think about, I guess, and probably another whole blog topic, in and of itself.

Of course, there are male fans that don’t fit into either of these camps.  For example, men who responded who do not consider themselves straight did respond more about the favorite band member’s looks than other male fans.  This could lead me to conclude that the band member’s looks matter in picking favorites when fans are attracted to men.  It is more about sexual orientation than gender, perhaps.

The follow up question to all of this has to do with the second part of my theory.  Since male fans, generally, don’t pick out favorite band members in the same way that most females do, do they experience the same level of competition that female fans often experience?  I guess that would require another survey on my part.  From the few conversations that I had yesterday, I suspect that they do not.  This makes me think of other fandoms which do not have favorites much at all or which are made up of mostly men.  Then, I wonder how our fandom could combat this, to rise above, to create a more harmonious and generous fan community rather than a community filled with competition.

-A

 

But Here and Now It’s a Different Storyline

I truly love my summers.  One of the biggest reasons that I love this time of year is my ability to communicate with friends more.  During the school year, I don’t have a lot of times that I can check in with friends, focus on social media or surf the internet.  I can’t check my email or my twitter during the 5 hours in front of students and in between those times, I’m super busy getting ready.  Trust me, I’m often envious of those with desk jobs!  Anyway, yesterday, I found myself chatting with a couple of friends and soon enough the discussion pivoted towards Duranies.  This isn’t surprising, right?  You have to know that I talk about Duran and fandom a LOT, especially when chatting with Rhonda.  What was the focus of this conversation?  Simple.  Male Duranies.  Of course, this isn’t the first time I have thought about male Duranies.  Heck, I have even blogged about it a couple of times.  (Here is a classic one, if you are interested.)

As a student of fandom, I have always been interested in how fans are treated both by both people within the fandom and outside of the fandom.  As someone who also has a women’s studies minor, I am intrigued by differences between male and female fans and how they are treated, which leads me back to today’s discussion with Rhonda and a mutual friend of ours.  At some point in the conversation, the topic of favorite band members came up.  (I suspect that this is a frequent topic of discussion for many Duranies.)  As we have discussed on this blog before, many of us had favorite band members as kids when we first became fans.  Heck, I don’t hide the fact that John Taylor has been my favorite since 1984 when I was 8.  I’m not even kidding.  It seemed that back in the 1980s, friendship groups would often have a Simon fan, a Nick fan, a Roger fan, etc. so that there were no repeats.  Only one person could like Nick, for example.  Why is that?  As kids, there was the fantasy element to fandom, right?  We all thought that we would somehow meet our favorite and romance would ensue!  Therefore, you couldn’t have multiple friends having the same favorite!  That is like having the same boyfriend!  That just doesn’t work!!!

When we fast forward to present day, I wonder what has stayed the same and what has changed in terms of how people feel and express about their fandom.  Many female fans still have favorite band members.  I do.  Rhonda does.  We don’t hide that.  Most (all?!  almost all?!?) of us understand that the childhood fantasy of meeting and falling in love with your favorite is simply that:  a fantasy.  It is not going to happen and I’m pretty certain that many/most/almost all/all of us know that, logically.  Yet, why do we still have favorites?  Does that enhance our fandom?  It probably doesn’t.  Despite that, they remain.  It might not be a situation in which we put up more posters of our favorite now but does it still come to play when seeing a live show?  Do I, for example, have more live shots of John over the rest of the band members?  Do I pay more attention to him on stage? I think that is probably true and I can definitely think of fans who are so obvious with their favorites when taking pictures or videos.  Still, I would say that having favorites is harmless, right?  I mean, after all, who can really control who they are attracted to or drawn to?  I certainly now have plenty of friends who also claim John as their favorite and we are all okay with that because…again…we grew up and use logic.  It isn’t the same as having the same boyfriend.

Then, I start to dig a little deeper.  I start thinking about the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle competition that goes on in our little fandom.  My favorite example is always after a show.  Let’s say, there is one group of fans who know where the band is going to be after the show.  Do they tell the other group(s) of fans?  In some cases, they might, but in many cases, they don’t.  Why?  (Before people start freaking out on me and talking about how this doesn’t happen, let me just be perfectly clear.  It does.  I have seen it happen and I have seen it more than once.)  What are people concerned about?  Are they worried for the band’s safety?  My guess is probably not.  Are they worried that the band might be overwhelmed and leave?  Sure.  That is possible.  I suspect, however, that it might have more to do with the remnants of days long ago.  Who wants competition for the favorite, right?  Do I think that fans are thinking this consciously?  Probably not but is it possible that thoughts like that are still stuck in our brains, buried deep?  I think so.  Let’s face it.  We all want time with the band and our favorite, in particular.  More people means less time per person, right?  More people might mean less chance for an autograph or a photo.  Because of this, female fans might start to react very territorially to their favorites even if they don’t realize that they are doing it, causing negativity and bad blood between fans.

This, of course, leads me back to male fans.  First of all, do male fans have favorite band members?  Did they choose favorites when they first became fans like so many female fans did?  If so, were those favorites subjects of personal fantasies for the male fans?  Do those favorites continue today?  Does this play a role in how male fans treat other male fans or even female fans?

I suspect that there aren’t many male fans who have favorite band members.  I will be asking today to find out!  I also am willing to bet that there aren’t many male fans who experience that competition like I described above.  Are they shut out of where the band is, ever?  If not, could it be that the other fans, females or otherwise, do not view them as competition or threats?

What do you think?  Do male fans experience our fandom differently because they don’t have favorite band members?

-A

One day at a little street cafe…

We talk a lot about fandom experiences here on the blog. Let’s face it, there really isn’t anything more exciting in fandom than finally being able to say you met your idol…and I don’t think Duran fans are exactly immune. I’ve written many words on the subject of the measures we go through to meet our idols, and as most readers know by now, Amanda and I suck at meeting the band.

I’m here to tell you that the struggle is real, and I have a personal story to prove my point.  Prepare to laugh.

Amanda and I got together over her spring break from teaching here at my house.  The plan was simple: we were going to the David Lynch show in LA together.  Amanda was to fly in on Monday night, and then, due to some last-minute arrangements, we were to drive up to LA on Tuesday and come home the day after the show, which was Thursday.

Monday arrived, Amanda landed in “The OC” safely. Tuesday, we got up, I got my youngest off to school, packed and we were on our way. We made the drive to the hotel safely, got settled in, and did what Daily Duranie does best: we went to the lounge.

So our hotel, the lovely Luxe Center City (across from Staples Center and LA Live – thumbs up from me!) has a lounge with an outdoor patio. They were running what I feel to be an obscene special for pitchers of yummy white sangria, so we did what any Duranie should do.  We ordered the pitcher and figured we’d stay awhile.  Pink sunburnt faces and about three hours later, we were ready to check out the lay of the land.

The Theatre at the Ace was really about .71 miles from our hotel, and it was about a 15 minute walk if you were lucky enough to time the lights correctly. I know this because we made this walk about 45 times over the next two days. (a slight exaggeration, but not by much…) I amused myself each trip by joyfully pointing out the Mayan Theater to Amanda. Every. Single. Time…well, at least up until the time I nearly face planted on the sidewalk for not watching where in the hell I was going and tripped over a crack….in the sidewalk.

By the time we get to the theatre and see that yes, it really is right next to the hotel and that no one seems to be around, we both realize we’re thirsty.  We decide we’re going to sit outside at a really nice cafe next door (but attached to The Ace) because it’s a nice day and so we settle in.

Here is where the story goes from mildly amusing to just well…I’ll let you all decide for yourselves.

I check my phone for messages, mainly from home, because my children and husband honestly cannot seem to manage without me for any length of time. Thankfully, at least at this moment, I am free to resume my short holiday and so I look up. (In some ways I almost wish I were doing this blog by video so that you can see my facial expressions.) I see someone I think I recognize walking up to say hi to some crew members two tables down from us at the cafe. It takes my brain entirely too long to realize that yes, it’s Dom…and even once my eyes register who it is, my brain refuses to believe.  What do you think I did then?  Yell out his name?  Smile his way? Grab my phone to take covert pictures and tweet them randomly?  No. Let me reenact the scene for you.

Me: (whispering emphatically) “Oh my GOD. Amanda. It’s Dom. It is Dom and he is like…right there. It. is. Dom.”

I literally turn my head away from Dom’s direction so that he can’t really see my face, but not before I get a really good look right at him. I was worried he’d see me because well, gee…I don’t know, but it turns out that on this particular day, Dom isn’t incredibly observant…because I’m pretty damn sure he’d recognize me and know exactly who I am right off the bat.  Instead he pays zero attention and just talks to the crew.  For some reason, I’m thankful.

Also, I kind of think I must have been trying to talk without moving my mouth too…which is even more hilarious when I think back. LOL

Amanda: (also whispering) “Yes, I can see that, Rhonda.”

Me: (pauses) “Wait, how?”

Amanda: “I can see him in the window of the damn cafe, Rhonda. Say something to him. Here’s your chance. Say something!!”

Me: “No!!! I can’t. I think I’m hyperventilating right this second. Oh my gosh I gotta breathe. I’m going to faint. If I go down it’s going to be really obvious and I will look like an ass!!!….” I grip the table and try to take a deep breath without looking like a complete imbecile, but of course it’s too late for that as far as my partner-in-crime is concerned. I am sure that had I looked at Amanda, she’d have been rolling her eyes at my drama.

This is no joke though. At this point, my heart rate was nearing warp speed and I could feel it beating through my chest as though it were about to take flight without the rest of my body in tow. My head started getting really dizzy. You know that moment right before you faint where you realize you’re going down and that there’s nothing that can be done? Yeah?? THAT.

Amanda (interrupting): “He is leaving. Yell at him. I’m going to call him…”

Me: “No, no. It’s…it’s not right. We can’t!”

I look up just in time to see Dom walk right the fuck past me and into the hotel. 

I look over at Amanda to see her sitting there, lips pursed. I knew I was in big trouble. I took deep breaths…not because I was still in danger of fainting (Oh hell no. That ended as soon as Dom walked away,) but because I knew what was coming.

Me: “Oh wow. Yeah…I know…”

Amanda: “I should have just called after him. Why didn’t you do anything?”

I tried to explain that I just couldn’t move. Honestly, had I been able I think I would have scrambled out away from the table and ran from him when he walked up. My shyness was in overdrive that afternoon. The thing is, I wanted to say hi. I really did. I just couldn’t. So I tweeted (by DM) a friend who was insistent that this time I was going to meet that band and get pictures no matter what. I had to tell her I’d failed. Here are some edited pieces from that conversation…

 Me: So we are at the cafe connected to the Ace. A couple of crew are sitting one table over to my left and Dom JUST walked by.

Friend: FOLLOW HIM!!!!!

Me: He stopped, talked to the crew and then went inside. I looked at him, immediately started to hyperventilating and couldn’t open my mouth. As I sit here I can’t seem to feel my fingers.

Friend: OMG Rhonda!!!!!!  That was the opportunity!!!

After reading that, I look over at Amanda. She is still not happy. I’m thinking she is going to ask me for my Duranie card and tell me to grow a pair at some point in the next thirty seconds, but somehow that moment does not come. She stays mostly silent, probably waiting for me to return to my senses and acknowledge my own dumb-assery. I look back down at my phone and type a reply.

Me: No, he will have to come back down here at some point.

(incidentally I don’t know what I was thinking here…did I think I was going to sit my ass there at the Cafe until Thursday waiting???) 

Me: Amanda was shocked he didn’t see me. LOL

Friend: Girl, GET ON THAT. And quit drinking!!!! :p

Me: I haven’t had anything to drink in about 2.5 hours! And I am completely sober. That sangria was that strong. At all.

Friend: Coffee. Now. You aren’t thinking clearly. LOL

Me: I am drinking iced tea thankyouverymuch.

Friend: :p You had better have a fucking photo by the end of the night!!!!

This was the point when I started realizing what I’d just done. I’d thrown away the one chance I thought I’d get. I mean, I don’t live in the UK. I can’t just head on down to his studio or show up at one of his shows, and even if I could, I don’t think I would purely because I am not a stalker. Sure, I will go to show after show. Yes, I will try to get as close as possible at shows, and always sit on his side. I might even hold up signs for him. Definitely, I tweet to him on occasion and I also tease him mercilessly, never really knowing if he even reads my tweets. But I’m not a stalker.

I also make no sense. I start feeling a mixture of frustration and sadness, knowing that I am probably not going to get that second chance, and that once again I over thought before I acted. I try to cover though because I’m not going to ruin our trip just because of my own idiocy.

Me: I know I blew it but he seemed like he was in a really big hurry and it all happened so fast… and I am an idiot.

Friend: :'( I get that. It’s intimidating.

Me: literally he was not five feet from me.

Friend: Maybe I was wrong. Maybe you should drink MORE.

In the meantime, I apparently did in fact “grow a pair” because I tweeted Dom. Yep, right @ him.  Because… if you’re gonna feel like an ass, you may as well do it all the way… I told him that I’d just seen him and that he walked right by.  I did sort of leave out the fact that I nearly ducked under the table as he walked up and that I almost fainted because well, who really needs details like that??  He explained that he was really spaced-out from jet lag and that I should have said something.

No kidding? Ya think??

Now, I will tell everyone that yes, I did finally get that photo with him, and that yes, he was very kind. I know everyone is waiting to hear that story – but the truth is that there isn’t much to tell, and what there might be are just memories for me to keep. I will say one thing though: I had a tough time hearing and understanding him, and he had a really tough time hearing me because we were in a pretty loud bar. So that went well. I felt like I was screaming at him and then trying to decipher what he said in return.  I am still thinking of things I could and should have asked him or talked about that had nothing to do with music and especially not Duran Duran. (I really wanted to know if he was watching Better Call Saul, for instance!!)  It is just that when you get in front of your idol, whether that is Simon LeBon or Dom Brown or someone else entirely – your brain freezes, or at least mine did. I just wish I could have gotten past that fan-girl brain freeze quickly enough to show that I’m a real person. I’m not really just a fan girl after a photo and autograph. I really didn’t need to only talk about Duran Duran or what I thought about the show. But, before that could happen that night, we were interrupted by someone else, and that’s the way it goes.

I still don’t think he knows that I was seeing the world spin or that I was honestly and truly going to faint had I even attempted to say his name out loud that day in the cafe. I have laughed about The Incident over and over with Amanda – who I think has mostly forgiven me at this point – but I can’t promise it wouldn’t happen again. What’s bizarre is that I’d already met Dom before and had a full conversation with him many years prior (on a plane), and for that matter I’ve “met” all the band members when they signed my Astronaut CD many years ago. Never reacted anything remotely like  I did that day.

Truthfully, I am incredibly shy in person. Horribly so, in fact. I have a really hard time meeting new people. I hate mingling at parties. I used to be so bad that I wouldn’t even order my own food at restaurants. I try to hide it very well, and of course I’m super brave online, but for some really weird reason that day – ALL of my insecurities came out to frolic in the warm sun at the same time! Embarrassingly enough, it reminded me of what it was like in middle school as I would sit with the rest of my really awkward friends and see the boy I secretly thought was really cute (and way the hell out of my awkward, nerdy league) walk by.  How dumb is that?!?

I am 44 years old. I’ve been married a week shy of twenty years. Mom of three. My oldest is 18. You’d think I’d have grown up by now.

Somehow though, I’m still glad I didn’t.

-R

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog: Favourite Band Member and Being a Young Duranie

By Sian:

Duran Duran and John Taylor’s bass playing have always been a big inspiration to me.  I’ve loved 80s music for about as long as I can remember.  Most of the time, I did not know that it was music from that specific period that I loved so much.  In 2010, I finally became interested in music, thus, the beginning of my Duranie life!

John is my favourite.  I love him and his bass playing.  I understand how he got his inspiration from Chic!  I love the bass-lines from 70s disco music and I can see the influence it had on him.  John is a really big idol for me.  I hope I can meet him one day.  I did nearly get the chance to go to the Manchester signing for his book but the tickets were sold out.  My dad did try to get tickets from eBay but they sold for over £200.  I don’t think my dad was that eager to spend that much on me!  Haha!  I would have told him how his bass playing made me want to play bass.  Also, I would say that I literally adore the outfit he wears on the Sing Blue Silver tour.  I plan to make a dress based off it.  It’s so cool!

Andy is a close second behind John as my favourite.  I don’t understand why he gets hated on sometimes.  I even made a video on youtube.  (Ok.  I thought only my friends would see it, but turns out I got through to more people than that!)  You can find it here.

That video is from when I had my John Taylor fringe.  I doubt I’m the first Duranie to do that!  But, yes, I do love Andy.  He’s brilliant.

It’s quite interesting to be surrounded by fans that saw Duran in the 80s.  They were there to see them from the beginning to their highest point in fame, all the way up to now.  I feel like I’ve missed out on quite a lot, but, then again, I am quite lucky to have the extensive length of their discography at my fingertips.  I’d also feel quite bad, if I knew that my idol was addicted to cocaine, at the time I was idolising him, too.  I’m so glad that John and Andy are over their drug and alcohol problems.

It’s kind of fun to talk to older fans, too!  They have some funny stories!  My friend Katie, her mum said that she nearly wrote into ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ to ask to ‘ride on a horse on a beach with Simon Le Bon like he had in the Rio video’.  She never sent the letter off.  I think she’s glad she didn’t now that she knows about ol’ Jimmy Sav.  (Daily Duranie asks for more of explanation of this for us non-UKers!) 
I like to kind of ‘connect’ with 80s Duran Duran, if you will, by collecting merch from certain parts in their career, such as old magazines.  It’s great to read those as I can see what the band was doing at that certain time!

I’m a big fan of art and drawing, so naturally, I draw lot of doodles of the band.  Here is my personal favourite painting I have done of John (please ignore the ‘arty’ angle, it was a phase.  Haha!  ):

Duran Duran has helped me through a lot.  Funny story.  I ordered the full set of the Topps 1985 stickers from eBay and I randomly took them to one of my check up sessions with my doctor at CAMHS.  I gave him one of Nick to stick on my case file.  Now my doctor wants the rest of the band!  Now, I give him one every time I go for a check up.  He has Nick and Simon so far!

Bio:  Sian is a 17-year-old Duranie from the Manchester area.  She spends most of her days staring into the face of John Taylor to the point where his face is imprinted on her mind.  She is studying art and design and hopes to become an illustrator. 

I’m a Hostage to that Face of Yours

When Rhonda and I discussed the idea of doing a little theme week about our favorite band member, it seemed simple.  After all, who can’t talk about one’s favorite, right?!  Well, we also wanted to make sure it wasn’t just about how attractive that band member is or how cool he is.  We wanted to dig a little deeper to get beyond the surface.  Now, of course, it becomes a little less simple.  Nonetheless, I’m up for the challenge.

I became a John Taylor fan in 1984.  I didn’t realize that most Duranies picked a favorite as I had no idea what other fans did or thought.  I only knew what my friends and I were doing.  It just felt natural to pick a favorite.  I was more interested in his interviews and pictures of him.  I *squeed* more when I saw him on the screen.  It didn’t take much for me to declare John my favorite.  Interestingly enough, my best friend at the time also picked John.  I have heard and read many times about how friend groups split so that there would only be one John fan in a group and one Simon fan in the group, etc.  That didn’t happen with me.  Perhaps, this is because we were so young.  We hadn’t learned that important lesson of competition over men yet.  In fact, I think it reassured me that my choice in John was right on.  I wasn’t weird for liking him the most.  It was normal.  It was good.  So, what was it then that drew me to him and what has kept him my favorite almost 30 years later?

Probably like many of you, I was drawn to John Taylor by his looks.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t like the other guys weren’t good looking.  There just was something special with John.  Looking back to my 9-year-old self, I think part of his looks that really grabbed me was that “pretty boy” face.  He didn’t seem old to me.  He didn’t seem intimidating to me.  While clearly he was an adult, he wasn’t an adult like my parents, their friends, my teachers or any other adult in my known world.  No, he seemed in between–not a kid but not an adult.  Beyond that, I liked that he seemed to have a little rebel in him without going too far.  As many of you might know or remember, this was the era of the blonde bangs.  I loved that he had different hair but it wasn’t as far as what Nick would do with his looks, for example.  I like that he was pushing the envelope a little but didn’t completely destroy it.  Yeah, his looks definitely got my attention first, but then I heard him talking.

Again, like many of you, I was glued to my television in 1984, hoping to see a video or three on MTV. I also hoped to see any and all interviews on MTV, on other talk shows, on Friday Night Videos.  For some reason, the interviews mattered to me a lot.  Why?  This is simple.  As you all know, I like to know as much as I can about the people and topics that interest me.  Interviews told me a lot.  Not only did the answers tell me about the band, their plans, etc.  They also told me about their opinions, their level of intelligence, their sense of humor and more.  Interviews gave me an insight that I couldn’t get from watching their videos or even reading interviews in books and magazines.  What did I discover watching Duran interviews?  I got very quickly that they were smart and articulate, but it became obvious that some were more comfortable in that setting than others.  Obviously, Roger wasn’t very comfortable.  Nick seemed to be on a different level of existence that my young self couldn’t be a part of.  Andy didn’t show up a lot in interviews, from what I remember.  This left Simon and John.  Simon seemed smart but, sometimes, I had a hard time following him.  (Part of me wants to blame this on my young age, which could be, but, as an adult, I still struggle to understand him, at times!).  No, John seemed confident, smart and very articulate.  He gave clear answers that seemed to be genuine and heartfelt.

Of course, as I have gotten older and have learned more and more about John, my favorite hasn’t changed but has solidified.  John is still my favorite.  I have discovered that his heartfelt and sincere self can also translate to the written word, whether in short blogs on the official website to his autobiography.  I have seen those same qualities shine through in his solo work as he didn’t bother to hide what he thought or felt.  No, instead, he embraced his emotions and shared them with the world.  I completely admire this.  His passion extends outward as well as he has made his feelings known about some significant topics like drug and alcohol rehab availability to advocating for Obama for President.  I admire anyone that is willing to take a stand about something that s/he believes in.  Yet, he doesn’t let those opinions overwhelm him, which would or could lead to alienation of others.

Interestingly enough, I still find myself drawn to individuals with many of the same qualities, everything from looks to the ability to be articulate to the desire to stand up for what they believe to intelligence to a sense of humor and more.  Almost thirty years after seeing John Taylor for the first time, I’m still a fan.  I still admire him and I admire others with similar qualities.  Perhaps, this is because John had such an impact on me when I was young.  Perhaps, I would have been drawn to these characteristics, no matter what.  Nonetheless, I suspect that if I were to do a blog about my favorite Duran member in 10 years or 20 years, I would still say the same thing.  John Taylor is my favorite.

-A

Pop Trash

Fandom in the days of the internet never fails to fascinate.  There were just certain things taken for granted, even if they weren’t necessarily discussed in detail amongst my friends back in the early 80’s.  It was easy to sit amongst a group of friends and know with reasonable certainty what was “agreed upon”.  It never occurred to me to question basic things…like which songs were the favorites of my group of friends and therefore obviously “the best” (Who really needs music critics when you are amongst a group of twelve and thirteen year old girls?), or which band members were the most fashionable (again, don’t preteens really know fashion?!?), or which band member was indeed the most popular.

My world was very small back when I was eleven, twelve and even thirteen. I read magazines like Tiger Beat, Bop or Teen Beat.  I watched Video One, MV3, Friday Night Videos and later, MTV.  I had a group of no less than four and no more than about eight friends with me at school…and although the cast of characters changed depending upon whom was angry with whom at any given time…these were the people I counted on outside of my family.  It was these girls I trusted to know just as much about the band as I, and it was with these girls that I first learned to share and coexist.

You see, as John Taylor touched upon in his book, it was not enough to say you liked the band – at least not in my experience at Sunflower Junior High in Glendora, California.  Oh no, because the very next question after “Who is your favorite band?” and one answered “Duran Duran” was “Who is your favorite?” The funny thing is that even today – this is EASILY one of the first questions I hear being asked when people meet for the first time.  It’s even become a way of introducing oneself on a message board.  “Hi, my name is Rhonda, I live in Southern California, I’ve been a fan for over 30 years now (who is counting???) and my favorite band member is Roger.”  (Or Dom, as the case might be.)  Back when I was in my formative years, this question of naming a favorite band member signified plenty.  As John mentioned, it was simply not done to have more one person in a group of friends like the same band member.  It had the potential to get very messy when we’d be sitting in a circle at lunchtime out on the quad, discussing the merits of the latest Tiger Beat article.  (Yes, even then we would complain about the interview questions!)  I mean, if someone just openly announced that they were expecting John Taylor to swoop in on his white horse and proclaim his love for them…what would be done if yet another John Taylor girl was sitting in the group?  No no, this just would not do.  So oddly, we found ways to work it out.  We simply chose another band member as our favorite.

In my case, it always seemed that the trouble was with John.  As in, there was only one of him, and at any given time in my circle of friends – there were at least two girls, and very likely three or even four, who were insistent that he was indeed, taken.  As in, “He’s mine. You’ll need to choose another favorite to follow.”  Never did I see this happen with other band members.  There always seemed to be just one Simon girl, one Nick girl, and one Roger girl (that’d be me).  I never had to fight off other girls for Roger – they would say “Oh, he’s just far too quiet, Rhonda.”  I’d smile shyly and say “That’s fine.  I am too.”  And I was. Back then.  Never really had a lot of friends that were Andy girls, but I do remember my friend Terri from junior high being exceptionally fond of Andy – saying he was the only “real man” in the group.  She was twelve.

I came to believe that John Taylor was the prime real estate of the group. It was easy to figure why – those cheekbones should have been illegal and don’t even get me started on his bleached bangs (in the US we call them bangs – I think elsewhere they refer to them as “fringe”, which sounds so much better…).  Alas, I was not a fighter – I was very much a peacekeeper at the time, so I simply found the guy that no one really knew much about because he was so quiet.  Other friends found their favorite, and for the most part we coexisted as our own band of five.  Or eight…which was sticky at times, but we made it work. From what I could tell, even the teen mags sided with John here on the US soil. Naturally much of this might have been my teenage perception at work, but the way I saw it was that John was the “face”, Simon (while certainly no slouch in the looks department) was the outgoing one, Nick was well – king of eyeliner and fashion – the artsy one, Roger was the dark and quiet one, and Andy was the rocker.  Made perfect sense to me and I never once questioned whether or not it was the case everywhere else in the world.  “Everywhere” for me consisted of my relatively small junior high school (I think there might have been 300 kids at the school in total over 3 grades (sixth through eighth grade) and maybe it branched out to my city of Glendora/Covina.  Then again, maybe not.  Like I said, my world was very, very small in the years of 1981-1984.

Oddly, it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I ever started questioning whether or not what I believed to be case law when it came to Duran Duran was really and truly the case worldwide…and it was because of a simple comment that was made on our blog.  The commenter simply mentioned that she had always thought Simon was the most popular.  When I first read the comment, I sat back bewildered and pondered the situation. No, I was certain that it was always John. Although, what she mentioned about Simon’s twitter is in fact true – he does have more followers.  Then in a flash I realized that wait, I’m 42 years old now!!  Do we really care who is the most popular these days??  Should we??

I can’t answer that question.  For me personally as someone who is claiming that their “favorite” band member these days is someone who wasn’t even in the original group – I think I have to let a lot of that just go.  I mean, here I am at 42 and I’m still even claiming I have a favorite!  Obviously some part of me never quite grew up, and I’m just going to own and embrace that.  But, I do wonder if things were the same for every other fan across the continents.  As I traded replies yesterday, the subject of where each of us lived came up.  She is from the UK, and I am from the US.  Maybe that really made the difference. Who was the band member that girls seemed to “fight over” the most where you lived?

The internet has both exponentially expanded my world, and made it infinitely smaller at the same time.  When I was twelve, I would have never dreamed of making friends with people on the other side of the world. I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have the ability to debate serious issues such as the popularity of band members, much less blog about such things to a worldwide audience and getting responses that make me think and even challenge my preconceived notions.  I love that and I hope it makes all of you reconsider some things you once thought to be “law” as well!

-R

My gift to all of you!

OK, so today is my birthday. The rumors are true, and in fact I must add yet another year onto my age.  I’m 22 today.

Yeah I wish!  The bags under my eyes don’t lie.  🙂  On this date in 1970 the world was changed forever when I was born.  At least, this is what I try to tell my children. My oldest just rolls her eyes, my son doesn’t even blink, and my youngest sits and listens intently to what Mommy is saying.  I am positive she is committing all of it to memory, which may or may not be used against me later.

So, with that in mind, I have decided to put together a little collection of my favorites for your enjoyment.

Is There Something I Should Know – my all time favorite DD song.  I still love this, and while the video makes my head hurt because I have no idea what any of it means, I still laugh at parts of it.

New Moon on Monday.  I love this video even if the band does not.

White Lines.  Just because.

On this day, Live from London was released (everywhere but in the US) – so I give you Hungry Like the Wolf.  Why that song?  Well, just because you all know how much I adore that song *coughs*.  It’s appropriate!  😀

Love Careless Memories live, and I loved this show in Glasgow last year!!!

Dom Brown, live at the Bedford playing Day Turned Black.  Amazing.  My favorite, and a great way to end this blog.  
Cheers, everyone!
-R

Which Member is Most Popular?

Recently, I have begun to think about people’s favorite member of the band.  I’m sure that part of the reason I have been thinking about it is because I’m missing tweets from my favorite.  No, it isn’t Simon!  Perhaps, I have been thinking about this because I have seen a tentative release date for John’s book.  (According to Amazon UK, it is supposed to be out on September 20th and has the title, “A Million Little Seductions.”  What do you all think about that?!)  Maybe, it is because Rhonda’s favorite really has changed or because the topic of favorite band member came up the other day with our question regarding best friend or stylist.  Anyways, it seems to me that people still have favorites but that the favorites in Duranland has changed.  That’s my theory, anyway!

 Back in the 1980s, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor was the big favorite.  He was featured on quite a few magazine covers.  I’m not saying that others weren’t but he seemed to get the most.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I do remember hearing somewhere that the Smash Hits with John on the cover in a swimming pool from 1982 was the biggest selling issue.  I also remember him winning a lot of best looking contests or polls.  After that, I would have definitely said that Simon was the close second.  A lot of the fandom seemed to be split between these two.  Just to be clear here.  These are my observations.  I don’t have facts to back up my statements, just my memories!  From there, fans either liked Nick or Roger.  Nick girls seemed to be more artistic, possibly more Goth.  Roger girls seemed to be more traditional who liked the quiet guy.  Andy came last, at least with the people I talked to about this back in the 1980s. 

Now, I’m not sure if this observed hierarchy has remained the same.  It seems to me that Roger’s popularity has increased dramatically since the reunion.  I wonder why.  Some of the guesses I have for this are that people appreciate Roger a lot more since he was gone, people think he aged super well, people’s tastes have changed since they have grown up, or people appreciate the fact that Roger seems to be a lot more approachable than he was.  For example, I know that I have seen Roger out and about after a show.  I have also heard a lot of others say the same thing.  On the same token, I would say that John has lost fans or isn’t as many people’s favorite anymore.  Again, I could make guesses as to why.  Maybe people don’t think he has aged well.  He doesn’t seem that approachable with fans in person.  He tweets but isn’t going to show up at a bar after the show.  Maybe fans want their favorites to be reachable.  As kids, we never expected this but now we might.  Since we are now able to show up at their hotels or at bars or clubs that they hang out, we expect or request their presence. 

That said, there still does seem to be a definite John side and a definite Dom side on stage.  People still openly request to be on John’s side, for example.  I know that when we were selling our tickets for the UK, the tickets on John’s side seemed to go faster.  Does that mean that he is still the most popular?  I don’t know.  How can we tell?  We can check follow numbers on twitter.  As of now, here are the twitter stats:  Simon has 56, 412 followers.  John has 32, 517.  Roger and Nick aren’t on twitter.  Roger does have 20, 830 fans on facebook.  Okay.  What about on DuranDuranMusic?  There, John leads with the most posts in his area of the message board followed by Simon, Roger and Nick.  How should these statistics be interpreted?  Maybe Simon has more followers because he is the most well-known and non-fans follow him?  I don’t know.  Maybe John fans are more obsessive on DDM or maybe more of them are members there.  Again, I don’t know.  Then again, there are a lot of groups on facebook dedicated to Nick.  Maybe this is where all the Nick fans go.  Maybe that is done because he isn’t on social networking sites. 

Maybe the hierarchy of favorites hasn’t changed over the years.  Maybe John still is the favorite.  Maybe he did lose some fans or maybe Roger has increased his fanbase.  I just don’t know.  So, I’ll leave it to you to answer.  Who do you think it the favorite band member for most of the fans?  How can you tell?

-A