The goal of our book is two fold: Why does a fan community exist, and how does it thrive for so long. For a lot of us, we’ve been fans since we were in that wonderfully awkward adolescent period of our lives. Yes, there are fans that may have been older, a lot that are younger – but the one thing that I feel makes our own fan community or fandom unique is that most of us literally grew up with the band in our lives. Many of us are now entering that also delightfully awkward “middle” age period (you’re welcome for the reminder – I know of what I speak, every morning MY back and knees remind me too!), and yet we’re still huge fans of the band. At times, we even forget that we’re not still 12! The point of our book is to answer why. I’m not sure that Amanda and I will ever be able to say we have the definitive answer – I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are fans, but we really hope to encourage fans to embrace their fandom and celebrate what brought us all here, and why we stay.
Last week I blogged about a thread I’d read on a board about aging fans. Naturally, this hit home with me because I am one of those fans. I won’t lie, it hit a raw nerve – and perhaps I shouldn’t have let it bother me so much. I’m human as it turns out, so it did – and I blogged about it. Many agreed with me, but there were a few dissenting opinions as well. Over the weekend, my husband and I had a date night, and in the discussion over what we should do and where we should go, my husband wanted to go bar hopping in an area that we used to go when we were younger. Much younger, as in I think the last time we were over there – I had just one little one at home. That “little one” is now 14, and she’s got a younger brother that is two years younger, and a little sister that is 11 years younger. So yes, it’s been quite a while. I can remember the days when I would jump at such an offer – but this time, I stopped, looked at my dear husband and laughed. Admittedly, I was tired that night. He’s been traveling quite a bit which means my days are very long, and with three kids – it’s tough. The real truth is though, I had zero interest in going clubbing. I remember when clubbing was fun, but nowadays, I go into those places and feel extremely over dressed (I have on far more clothes than anyone else), very old (self-explanatory here), and I’m typically shocked at the crap (aka really bad music) they’re playing. If those aren’t signs of impending old age, I’d be surprised. We ended up deciding to go to dinner (sushi, one of my favorites) and a movie (Adjustment Bureau – very interesting but nothing like what I thought it would be). It was a fun night, and when I woke up the next morning, I didn’t feel like I was about to die, which is always a bonus!
When I first really got back involved with Duran Duran, and by that I mean joining the message boards and getting to know others in the fan community, going to shows and that sort of thing, I was about 33. When I went to the convention in New Orleans, I had no trouble staying out very late (as in seeing the sunrise), having many beverages on Bourbon Street, and pretending I was in my 20’s. In 2005 when the band toured for Astronaut, I was still feeling good. I didn’t look like I was about to turn 35, and I pretty much ignored the threat of middle age. Somewhere in 2006 though, life decided to toy with me. I had major surgery in October of that year, and I swear to you – it aged me a good 5 years. It was insulting, rude, and uncalled for, in my opinion. Every time I went out with friends, rather than taking a few hours to undo the damage – it was taking days. Then in 2008, I did the craziest thing ever – I had a baby at the age of 37. If that didn’t almost kill me (and it really did), going through the grief after my father died two weeks later didn’t help matters. It took me forever to really get back to myself after all of that, and it wasn’t until September of that year when I attempted to party it up like I was still in my 20’s again. As it turns out, I’m not! The hangover from that trip (it was to see what I thought I would never see – my good friend Jessica getting married!) lasted about two weeks, I swear. The stitches I received from getting smart with the ceramic soap dish in the shower took a little longer to heal. *sigh* Later that year, I went with Jessica, Amanda and our good friend Mac to see some DD shows on the east coast. Between the time difference, the driving every day (I believe we did 800 miles in what – 4 days or so -because we’re clearly insane), and the shows – there was a moment as we were watching the band at the House of Blues in Atlantic City where I thought I was really going to hell, hard and fast. I had to go and sit down – which has NEVER happened at a DD concert before, and I realized then that as much as I might try, I am not 18 or even 25 anymore. I went to bed fairly early that night (2am really IS early when I’m with the girls on a weekend trip!), and prayed to any god who would listen to give me some energy to finish the trip. I mentioned some of this to my friends, who naturally looked at me as though I’d grown three heads, and they seemed to laugh it off, telling me to grow a pair and get on with it. I would have laughed with them, except that my body hurt too much! I finished out the weekend, and have even been to a show or two since then, but I have to admit – I’m much more careful now. I recognize the differences in my body between the ages of 35 and 40 – and for those of you who haven’t had the joy of looking into the mirror and wondering why you STILL have bags under your eyes even though you’ve had a full night’s sleep for the past 3 months, enjoy. The bags come quickly and they don’t have the decency to leave! Never mind the grey hair or the aches and pains. Seriously, turning 35 sucked and 40 isn’t being much kinder!
All of this begs the question – when will I be done? I’d love to say never, and that they’ll have to pry my cold dead hands off of my Duran Duran albums at some point, but I’m not so sure anymore. Well, they’ll probably still have to pry my cold dead hands off of my DD albums, but as far as going to shows…I really am not sure. Is it cool to keep going to concerts into my 50’s? I’ve asked these questions on the boards before, and I’ve had fans remind me that the band is in their 50’s now and that I have to stop aging myself and the band. I guess the thought is that if they can still do it, so can we.
Could someone just tell my BODY that? 😀