Category Archives: Julie Anne Rhodes

Taboo Subjects and Other Observations

A large part of fandom is talking about one’s idols, one’s interest.  In Duranland, the conversations should surround Duran Duran’s music, their videos, their DVDs, their live performances, their interviews, their merchandise, and other things directly related to the band and what projects they are involved in.  Of course, in a fandom as long-lasting as ours, sometimes, our discussions have moved beyond things directly connected to the band is doing.  Some of the discussions that I put into that not-so-directly related category include those surrounding the fan club, presales, band members’ politics, promotion, commercial success, band members’ personal lives, awards and other forms of recognition, and more.  Of course, we also talk about our fan community as well.  Over the years, I have come to discover that there are certain trends to these discussions.  I wanted to acknowledge what I have observed and also wanted to ask why some trends exist because it seems to me that there are subjects that we, as a fandom, don’t really tackle or don’t tackle head on.

The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think.  For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album.  On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge.  I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background.  Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic.  Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music?  Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter.  Is this just the nature of the format?  Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit?  Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa? 

As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic.  Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in.  Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook.  When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows.  It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites.  Why?  I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left.  When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama.  What was that drama like?  What was it focused on?  Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success?  Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in.  Let me give you an example.  It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales.  That is very important to them.  If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying.  Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club. 

Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself.  In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us.  Why?  Again, I provide an example.  The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife.  In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band.  The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s.  Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working.  I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs.  Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog?  Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs?  I’m asking without judgement, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans.  The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous.  Then, they suggest that the fans grow up.  The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom?  Does it happen in all fandoms?”  Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior.  Why is that?  It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people.  I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do.  I’m not innocent here either.  In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog.  The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not.  We all have opinions about meeting the band.  We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to.  We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own.  Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do.  So, why don’t we have that discussion?  Why is so hard to talk about this?  I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged.  Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy.  I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.

-A

Being Followed

It is pretty rare when I drive attention to a blog written by an ex-wife of a band member.  That’s not because I don’t want to support anyone, but rather because I would imagine that just maybe that person or people would prefer to leave the Duran Duran days well behind, and with good reason I am sure.

All that aside on a day like today, because Julie Anne Rhodes posted a blog today that I think is well-worth reading.  It is focused directly on people like you and I. The fans.  It’s a reminder that these people we love so much – the band – really do have lives that go well beyond the stage.  Before I go much further, the link for the blog is here.  Please read it before you read the rest of the Daily Duranie blog today.

Naturally, Julie Anne’s point is really not about fans, but rather it’s about the time taken away from her daughter when she was young. I truly admire her for focusing on that specific aspect because as I know myself, above all else – I am a Mom. It’s funny because as I’ve mentioned – my husband is pretty well married to his Blackberry. It’s something I’ve grown used to out of pure spite, but I have to say – a dear, dear price has been paid by my children. My two oldest have had their father cut outings and even vacations short in order to get back home in time for a phone call, a meeting or a last minute business trip. My youngest is quite honestly surprised when her dad arrives home in time for dinner at night, and I’m not exaggerating. Granted, Walt isn’t a rock star by any means, but he also doesn’t save lives and there isn’t anything that annoys me more than having our family time interrupted (or my sleep!) by the persistent ring of his cell phone.  I guess I’m saying that I completely get where she’s coming from, and perhaps that’s why the boundaries are extremely clear to me.

There is something very, very wrong when we believe that we’re owed or entitled to more than a performance on stage. Yes, I know I’ve written many times about how the band should be on Twitter and interact with fans. That is really as much a part of their job as it is for Walt to answer his cell phone on our anniversary, Christmas or even while we’re on vacation.  I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory. (Although for the band, I’m hoping they know when it’s time to shut the damn thing off. My husband? Not so much!)  Sure, it’s normal and natural to hope for a smile or a wink when they’re out in public after a gig and catch our eye. It’s quite another to expect them to take time out of their day when they are at home, or even worse – to resort to saying nasty things about them, their families, their children, wives, girlfriends, etc.  These people really are human, and the band is simply their career.  Let me just say it here: if my husband’s co-workers or customers start showing up at our house looking for him to sign things, that’s the day when the electric fence goes up outside!  It’s funny, because that’s exactly what we’re asking of these guys when we show up unannounced whenever or where ever they’re going to be. Happenstance is one thing, but continually planning to be where ever they are is another. I just wanted to applaud Julie Anne’s blog and hopefully drive more people to read what she has so eloquently written.

It is so rare when someone writes about what it’s like “on the other side”.  I really hate that the wives, girlfriends, children, etc have to be so wary of fans, yet as I just said – they have to be. I can’t blame them. It’s just a shame that so few put the rest of us in such a horrible light.  In just the past two days I have heard of no less than three people on Twitter whom interacted with Daily Duranie that ended up being someone completely different from whom they indicated they were online. Sure, that’s a common thing, but it’s still disgusting, and let it be known – I won’t support that sort of nonsense. I’ve read about a couple fans who have stalked specific members of the band, and to be honest it all sounds rather sinister at this point.  I’ve had to block two people from not only my own Facebook page, but also Daily Duranie. I’m not even a celebrity for crying out loud, and I’m starting to believe that April is the month for Crazy Fans. I’ve watched a swarm of fans continue to tweet Simon without pause until he acknowledged them, and I’ve just gotta ask “Why?”

As much as I study fandom – both the social and psychological aspects, I just don’t understand and will probably never completely understand why people do not feel validated unless a band member acknowledges them. I try to remember that fans come from all different walks of life, all different circumstances and perhaps the ones that need the most hand holding really do NEED it, but to pester as though you’re still twelve years old and deep in the throws of puberty? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s really that I just don’t want to understand that kind of thought process.

And now, I must mentally prepare myself to sit through Glee tonight.  I hear they’re going to perform a couple Duran Duran songs.  I can’t even begin to imagine….

-R