Earlier this week, my writing partner dared to say, “Durantime sucks”. She explained that she is impatient and gave reasons why she might be more impatient this time around than previous times. Fair enough. The blog post, which if you didn’t read, you can find here focused on how her fan experience and Durantime. Yet, this post is going to focus not on how Durantime hurts me (and it does) but how it hurts Duran Duran. It seems to me that fans just aren’t talking or thinking about Duran Duran much despite many efforts, including ours to keep the conversation going on a daily basis. It feels to me that apathy is growing. I’ll give you an example from my personal life. Recently, Duran Duran posted a couple pictures of John in front of a computer screen with captions to increase our interest. Now, I don’t think it is any secret that my Duran fandom is a big part of my life. I’m half of a blog that writes EVERY SINGLE DAY. We have written a book on fandom with Duran Duran as the case study. We have planned a convention and meet ups and working on a future convention. Yet, when those pictures were posted, I found myself (ME!!!!) saying, “Yeah, whatever.” Honestly, it didn’t catch my attention or make me excited. Then, what was the result? That John did a video about his perfect album? That’s fine–no criticism there, but it just didn’t excite me or interest me, when in the past, it would have. This led me to start looking around at Duranland. If I’m finding myself apathetic, what is the rest of the fan community like?
In general, it seems to me that people just aren’t that interested right now. Conversations about Duran have dwindled. Just look at our stats. They have gone down and every time we bring up the question of why–we get the same response. “There is no news right now.” Twitter seems much, much quieter on the Duran front than it did a year ago. Of course, two years ago during the height of All You Need Is Now, twitter was filled with constant activity. I felt like I couldn’t keep up at all. Now, I don’t even feel like I need to check in much to know what is happening. What about Facebook? Well, there are always groups posting pictures and things and some people participate but it seems like a small dedicated group rather than a vast population of fans. Now, of course, you might be saying something like, “As soon as the album comes out, fans will be back.” Will they? Have they always?
Ask anyone who has been around Duranland for a long time about momentum. Long time fans will point out that Duran often doesn’t capitalize on momentum. The examples are many…from doing side projects in 1985 rather than continuing as a five piece, not touring after Liberty was released, doing an album of covers right after a comeback album, etc. The time in between albums has always been a problem since the mid 1980s. I am willing to bet that each and every time Duran has taken a long time between albums or chosen a path that doesn’t capitalize on success, they have lost fans or lost potential fans.
When I look around at the Duran fan community now, in 2014, I’m struck by the fact that the majority of us are adults with some significant responsibilities. Many of us have families that we need to worry about. Careers are screaming for our attention. We have a lot of real life worries to focus on. This makes it even easier for any or all of us to walk away. We have other things that need our time and energy.
Now, of course, people are going to point out to me that they are still on Twitter and still talking about Duran. Yes, I know that there are some. I would point out that many of us who are still around have made CONNECTIONS with other fans. Many of those connections have been made on tour or online, sure, but many of them have been made through attending meet ups and conventions. Having time to meet face-to-face solidifies any connection made online. I know that there are people I feel closer to after having met them in person. For example, there are many people I now call friends after having met during the summer of 2012 during one of our meet ups and having the chance to get to know better at the convention last year. These connections are keeping people in the community during this downtime. I would go so far as to say that they might be keeping many of us…fans. Certainly, we know that excitement is infectious. Thus, if you are around other people who are thrilled about something, it is likely that you will become that way, too. This means that those with significant connections will feed off each other once there is news and something to really be excited about. Those without connections might not even care when news happens. The band have completely slipped from those people’s minds.
Connections matter. They, especially matter, in a fandom in which the idols take a long time between projects and don’t always capitalize immediately on success.