Category Archives: stigma

Starstruck: Are Fans Really Like That?

One of the things I really love about the summer is that I have time to read more than I do during the school year.  Typically, my summer reading includes a little bit of everything from fun fiction, to historical or political topics to fandom.  This year is no different.  Recently, I found a book at a used book store called, Starstruck, by Michael Joseph Gross.  As I picked it up, I snorted and decided that it might make a silly read.

The book began with a focus on autograph hunters, usually in Hollywood hoping to get any and all stars to sign photos of headshots.  Right away, I could tell that the book was a bit dated when it mentioned stars who are not necessarily super popular these days.  Since none of this is terribly interesting to me, I almost put the book away when a new chapter began about Michael Jackson and his fans.  (See, what did I say…dated.)  Anyways, I continued to skim for a bit when it turned to describing the fans, Michael’s fans in a chapter entitled, Little Soldiers.

How were those fans described?  It starts innocently enough, “These girls, they follow him everywhere.  They’re smart and pretty and cool, and wherever he goes, they just sit outside for weeks, waiting.”  I suppose some Duranies could fit into this picture.  The author goes on to explain about how their loyalty extends to other fans and that they spend a lot of time communicating via the internet.  The fans refer to the community as “family.”  Again, many might find the same thing within Duranland.  When these fans are asked about their love for Michael, they struggle to articulate why they love him so much, just that they do.  All of that could continue to fit Duranies.

Then, the book takes a turn.  The author zeroes in on one fan who does a lot of public interviews and represents the fans to the media.  We learn about this fan who is determined to get inside a courtroom where Michael is facing charges surrounding child endangerment and more.  As this fan tries to sneak inside the courthouse, she ends up sharing her view on her fellow fans.  The overall gist is that the fans, according to her, are all following Michael to fill some void in their own lives and that they don’t want their childhoods to end.  The author takes this information and adds some of his own conclusions. He determines that these hardcore fans take every possible opportunity to see Michael in person.  Usually, these fans travel together from various countries in groups of 4-6, spending all of their money on this.  Interestingly enough, he notes that most of them are single and when they are not following Michael in person, they write him letters.

As I read this, many thoughts popped up in my mind.  First of all, it seems to me that the author and even the fan herself is lumping all Michael fans together in this neat little box of single women, traveling in small groups, looking to have Michael fulfill something lacking in their personal lives.  No matter what that makes me uncomfortable.  I’m sure that there were plenty of fans who did not fit this image.  Second, the type of description feeds into the stigma that something is wrong with being a fan.  This idea that fans are lacking something bugs me to no end.  Each person has something in their life that bothers them.  If fandom gives joy, what is the big deal. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them.  Ugh.  Then, of course, there is the idea that these fans are probably single, which also casts female fans in a bad light.  This must mean that there is something wrong with them that they cannot have a relationship, right?  Or not.  Then, there is the subtle idea that if women don’t have a relationship, there is something lacking in their lives.  Again, this is a stereotype and one based on generalizations about women and women’s nature that bugs me to no end.  On top of that, this image does not fit the fans I know.

Now, I admit that I don’t know any Michael Jackson fans.  This description might be accurate.  I can also admit that the author does not state that all fans are like this–just hardcore Michael Jackson ones.  While all that said, there is still too much here that reinforces stigma and stereotypes, particularly about female fans, that makes me terribly uncomfortable.

-A

“Terrifying and Fascinating”

I made a promise to myself to take a couple of concentrated hours every weekend to work on my fandom projects.  Last weekend, I went to a coffee shop, made myself comfortable and got to work.  I thought that being away from home helped me to stayed focused.  Unfortunately, this weekend, the weather is not cooperating.  It is April 14th.  Spring should have sprung.  Yet, here I am with a winter weather advisory that features freezing rain, ice, wind, and snow (reports vary from 2-5 inches to 6-9 depending on the temperature).  Great.  So, I’m not leaving my house.  Despite that, I’m keeping to my plan.

I decided to focus on fandom research before blogging for two reasons.  One, it is easy enough to put the blog first which often means the rest gets pushed aside.  Two, and more importantly, I had no idea what to write about.  I hoped that working on related projects might spark a topic.  Indeed, it has!

I had been searching YouTube for just the right video to showcase both Duran Duran and their fans.  Sounds easy, right?  Not really.  I still really haven’t found something perfect but I did run across this video here:

I am sure that most of you will recognize these video clips as they are clips from Sing Blue Silver.  Most notably, they are generally clips in which fans, female fans, are screaming.  While that might be interesting enough, the description of the video read, “Fascinating and terrifying. This is a video I edited of various girls going absolutely NUTS for Duran Duran. This footage was filmed between Nov 1983 and April 1984, during their massive world-wide tour. For context, this was all filmed before The Reflex single was even released in April 1984. The video for that song was filmed near the end of the tour in March 1984 at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. I was barely a toddler at the time but I have clear-as-day memories of girls in my neighborhood having a similar, almost venomous passion for this band.”

Fascinating and terrifying?  What exactly is terrifying about this?  I’m not sure I’m following.  Then, the creator describes the passion for the band as “venomous” passion.  Venomous as in poisonous?  Hm…None of the comments on the video seemed bothered by the description but I have to admit that it doesn’t sit well with me.

Are screaming female fans terrifying?  Is there something scary about that group?  If so, what?  Do they have the capability of biting or stinging as the term venomous assumes?  Now, I admit that I definitely could have been one of those screaming fans in 1984 as my best friend and I at the time did plenty of that so maybe I’m taking it personally.  Yet, is there really something wrong with screaming for a band you like?  What about when you are a kid?  A teenager?  An adult woman?

The fact that the screamers on the clips were mostly (almost all?  All?) women and girls really makes me suspicious about the description.  Is this somehow putting down women and girls or it is really just about putting down the level of excitement?  Based on my research about fans and fandom, I’m well-aware that fans get a bad reputation of being hysterical and crazy but describing a group of fans who are mostly women as “hysterical”, “terrifying” and “venomous” seems like a step beyond that.

What do you all think?

-A

Positive Reactions to Fannish Behavior?!

I am pretty open about my Duran Duran fandom.  Sometimes, I question whether or not this is a good thing or not but most of the time, it just feels right to declare my Duranie-ness.  People I work with know that I’m a Duran Duran fan.  Friends certainly know.  Heck, even my students know.  As a student of fandom and this fandom, in particular, I’m always surprised by the reaction I get when people find this out.  I almost always prepare myself for some negative comment or an assumption that I must be a groupie (not that the person saying that really knows anything about that term).  At times, that preparation comes in handy as I know exactly how to defend against a negative stereotype.  Lately, though, I have had the opposite experience.

Right before I went on winter break, I was struggling to get through. My kids were working on intense projects, adding stress to the usual gig.  One of my assistant principals checked in on me and to ask about a particular student.  At some point during this conversation she turns to me and says, “You know when I first met you, I was pretty intimidated by you.”  This statement surprised me since she is my administrator.  She can evaluate me, not the other way around.  I know that I can be pretty serious and often spend a lot of time observing before I interact, which some may perceive as “intimidating.”  Obviously, I had no idea how to respond to that.  As I tried to figure that out, she follows it up with, “But then you appeared human to me.”  She explained after seeing my puzzled expression, “Yeah, when I found out that you follow your favorite band around, I realized that you weren’t so scary!”  Fascinating.  The only interpretation I had was that she saw that I was passionate about something and someone.  I wasn’t just about work but had other interests.  Weird.

Then, the other day at work, my trip to Vegas came up in conversation.  Did I talk about it with my colleagues?  Friends?  Not really.  No, it came up during the Gender Equity (a student organization that I advise) meeting.  In the beginning of the meeting, we always do a check in.  This time, we focused on what we did over break.  Before I could even share, the other advisor to the club and friend of mine mentioned that I went to Vegas to see Duran Duran.  One student immediately popped up with, “Can they still walk?”  Clearly, she thinks that they are older than dirt.  Smart ass kid.  What was funny is that I did not have to defend them.  Other kids jumped in to say that they weren’t that old and how they had relatives a lot older than them capable of doing a lot.  This quickly led to an apology.  Of course, I was not mad at the comment as I figured that the student just wanted to tease me, to give me a hard time.  I appreciate that as I seek any and all means to give the kids a hard time myself so I figure that I’m fair game in return!  It also makes me feel good that students feel comfortable enough with me to be able to give me a little grief.

The last situation happened last night.  As I stopped by my parents place, they talked about what they did on New Year’s Day when they went over to a neighbor to play cards.  During that time, my mom mentioned that they had been cat-sitting and why.  The neighbor’s reaction?  According to my mom, it went something like this, “Duran Duran?!  I love them.  They are great!”  Mind you.  This neighbor is probably 65 to 70 years old.  So, clearly, all generations know of Duran Duran and how great they are.  Did this person ask my parents why I would travel to see a band?  Nope.  Did they think it was weird?  Not at all.  Apparently, they were all cool about me expressing my fandom in this way.

These experiences have given me some hope that there is less stigma over being a hardcore fan.  It is either that or the end of the world is near.  In all seriousness, I love that multiple generations seem to have an appreciation for them.  It makes me think that I’m all right in being so open with my Duranie-ness.

-A

Breaking Stigma with a Commercial

I have written about a lot of different topics over the years.  I have written about Duran Duran’s music, their career, band members, rumors, fans, fandom, and so much more.  Yet, I never thought I would write about a commercial.  That’s right.  I’m writing about a commercial, an advertisement, something to sell a product.  In this case, the product is a bank’s credit card.  If you know me at all, you know that commercials, companies, businesses, profit are not normally terms I embrace or even talk about.  Generally, I focus on people, not money.  Stay with me, though.  I promise that it will make sense.

What commercial am I talking about?  The one you can see here:  https://ispot.tv/a/wdOI.  Seriously, go watch it but know that I’m not championing the product as I have no opinion on it.  No, the focus here is the commercial itself and its message.

The focus of the advertisement is two guys who work together.  One pops into the other’s office to confirm a rumor.  This rumor, of course, is that a favorite band is playing a gig that weekend.  Without too much thought, the pair buy plane tickets, hotel rooms and concert tickets.  At the end of the commercial, you see the two enter the club, all smiles.  Of course, the premise is that this particular credit card allows them to do this.  Again, that’s fine and dandy but that’s not why this commercial makes me smile.

I relate to the entire commercial.  After all, I’m a fan of a band.  Rhonda and I have had many conversations that sound exactly like that.  We often share rumors about what the band is doing show wise with each other and then give an “official Duranie alert” when there is confirmation.  The line about “we gotta go” that is stated by one guy and repeated by the other is one that Rhonda and myself have said to each other countless times.  Seriously.

Then, the plane, the hotel, the venue all remind me of what life is like on tour.  After all, many/most of our tours feature those.  The excitement that they show from rumor confirmation to entering the venue resembles us, too.  We are that happy on tour as well.

Beyond how similar this advertisement is to my fandom, there is something bigger at work here.  Normally, when fans are shown in advertisements, they are sports fans.  In fact, when I googled to try to find this ad, I came across a lot of ads with sports fans.  Here’s an example:

I have nothing against sports fans.  Heck, I like many sports.  I get tired of the assumption that it is totally normal, or even cool to spend money on sports but not on other fandoms.  This Bank of America commercial shows that music fandom is just as cool.  We need more of that before we are able to really destroy some of the stigma around being a fan of a band.

I applaud Bank of America for this commercial.  It is nice to see an ad I can relate to and one that makes fandom a little more acceptable.  I say that the ad worked well.

-A

Media Representations of Fandom: Be Somebody

It has been a long time since I saw fans represented in a movie, TV show or book so I haven’t done a post about the media representations of fandom for a very long time.  Yet, last weekend, I saw a movie called “Be Somebody” that definitely featured fans and motivated me to do a little writing about the movie.  What is the movie about?  How are fans featured?  How are they shown/depicted?

IMDb describes the plot of this movie in this way, “Pop superstar Jordan Jaye has a big dream – he just wants to live like a regular teenager. When he’s chased down by some excited female fans, he finds a perfect hideout and a reluctant new friend from a small town, high-school art student, Emily Lowe. Despite being from different worlds, they soon discover they have way more in common than they ever imagined. Over the course of several days, the two embark on an unexpected journey of friendship, first love and self-discovery — proving that maybe opposites really do attract.”

If you notice the story begins when fans chase down Jordan, the teen idol.  The chasing happens when Jordan leaves his tour bus to have a break from the non-stop life of a pop star.  He assumed that he wouldn’t run into anyone who would recognize him.  When fans did notice him, they went all crazy by screaming and literally running after him.  Within the first few minutes of the movie, I found myself shaking my head.  Do all teenage female fans scream and chase the star of their desire?  Did all of you, if you had the chance to be anywhere near Duran?  While I didn’t have the opportunity to see Duran in person until I was way beyond my teenage years, I doubt that I would have chased them!  My point here is simple.  This feels like a stereotype about teenage female fans.  All teenage music fans would chase after their idols, is that what they are saying?  All of them?  Every last one of them?  How does this make the female fans seem?   Illogical.  Crazy.  Hysterical.  Emotional.  Out of control.

Then, when the pop star finds another teen female, the assumption is that she must also be a fan.  When he thinks she is a fan, he asks her not to scream because all female fans scream.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Many female fans of all ages scream.  I do.  I’m not judging it.  What I am questioning, though, is that movies, the media, perpetuate images of fans, especially female fans as being hysterical, crazy, over-the-top.  They aren’t showing them as just excited but going WAY beyond excited.  You can see what I mean in the trailer:

After the pop star finds out that the teenage girl is not a fan, he opts to stay with her.  Obviously here, the message is that non-fans are safe for stars but fans definitely would not be.  While I understand that this is the usual storyline for movies like this, I wish that they would have shown the female main character as a fan but a reasonable one.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  The idea could be that he gets in the car of a fan and is about to jump out when he realizes that she’s cool, that he’s safe with her.  Being a fan doesn’t mean that she has lost her mind.  Then, the movie could be about how an idol becomes a real person and about how the idol starts to see the fan as a individual rather than one of the collective.

While I thought the movie was cute with a good message about sticking up for oneself, fighting for one’s dream, I also found it following a usual formula.  The movie is safe, in that regard and relied on too many stereotypes, including not only stereotypes about female fans but also about the music industry, fame, etc.  Has anyone else seen this movie?  What did you think?

-A

It’s Loaded with Fame

Sometimes, comments we receive on this blog get me thinking.  Last weekend, I posted a blog about how much hatred there still is surrounding Duran Duran.  Rhonda and I have blogged a lot about why there was/is so much stigma against Duran Duran.  In a nutshell,  the fact that they had a lot of teenage female fans hurt them in terms of getting creditability with the music press.  The assumption was/is that if a band is liked by a lot of little girls they cannot be quality.  Little girls only like bands because they find the members cute, right?  Of course not, but too many people believe this to be true, even today.

The comment we received last weekend, if I understood it correctly, blamed the band on the stigma they have.  The belief was that they had done something wrong to get this poor reputation.  As I moved through the week, I continued to think about this.  Did Duran Duran do something wrong through their career, in terms of female fans?  Should they do something different now as a result?

Duran Duran decided to allow the teen media to cover them.  John Taylor discussed this very fact in his autobiography.  He mentioned that he even brought up the subject of going to the teen press in order to get coverage.  “And so began a love affair with the British teen press, a courtship that would last years and trigger a level and type of fame that none of us had intended or could ever have expected.”  (Taylor page 153)  Clearly, John believes that this decision to appeal to the teen press led to fame.  I’m willing to bet that most of us agree with him.  Teenagers significantly helped create Duran’s incredible fame and popularity.

What if they decided to avoid that press?  Is it possible that Duran would have received more critical acclaim?  Sure.  I guess that is possible.  Could it be that the band would not have ever reached the fame they did, if they avoided that area?  That could be.  After all, the only reason that I’m here now, three plus decades later, is because Duran Duran was covered by the teen press.  I was a female kid who got into them during that time.  How can I reject that?

Is critical acclaim more important than being popular?  That’s a tough question for any artist.  Is the goal of artists to be deemed fabulous by critics?  Is that the goal?  Why do artists produce their art?  If I had to come up with a reason, I would argue that artists need to make art.  They need to create.  Yes, I’m sure that most would like to make money to do that.  Don’t we all want to make money for doing what we love?  Artists, though, in my experience, have a motivation to create that goes beyond making a career.  The act of creation is almost a need, a physical need.  I remember when my mom was undergoing treatment for cancer.  One aspect that bothered her the most was that her energy level would not let her work on her art.

If this is the case that artists need to create, I don’t know that critical acclaim matters the most to them.  I think the goal is to get that acclaim or press or whatever just to get the art out there.  Yes, ideally, they want to make money to do art for a living.  John knew that the press was essential to being a successful band.  While, yes, this decision resulted in criticism and ridicule, it also worked to spread their music all over the world so that people like me could hear them and become fans.

What is the solution then?  Is it to reject this decision or reject those teenage female fans?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think the right move is to blame the band for this decision.  Likewise, I don’t think the right move is to REALLY embrace male fans while ignoring the female fans (although we  all acknowledge that there were and are many dedicated male fans).  No, I believe the best course of action is to push back on the myth.  “What’s wrong with having a lot of female fans?  You don’t think that female fans can determine quality music?  Are you saying that only male fans should count?”  Make the sexism clear.  After all, isn’t that what this debate is really all about?

-A

Lay Your Seedy Judgements: Duran Hatred

Sometimes, I do not understand people and their thinking.  Actually, right now in early 2017, it is a lot more than sometimes.  Despite the increasing frequency, I’m still shocked by things that people think and believe.

Looking back to my childhood fandom, I definitely recognize that a LOT of people hated Duran Duran.  I saw friends and family hate Duran.  Friends at school constantly put them down as not being cool, at least not in comparison to artists like Michael Jackson.  I remember classmates talking about how Duran needed to learn how to dance as breakdancing became the “in thing”.  Lunch times were spend arguing the merits of Duran Duran vs. the rest of popular music.  I never convinced any of my classmates about Duran’s coolness, but I always tried to.  I was a dedicated fan even back then in 1984.

Of course, I also remember Top 40 radio DJs that played Duran Duran making fun of them.  That really perplexed me.  Why play the band if you hated them so much, I wondered.  One memory that still stands out for me is hearing a couple of male DJs discussing Nick’s wedding.  They were appalled by the pink attire as well as how much make-up Nick wore.  I didn’t get it then as I had no clue that people judge men who wear make-up or like the color pink.  Now, of course, I recognize that this judgement was based on this rigid notion of gender roles where men are not supposed to like a color that represents the feminine and they definitely should not wear make-up.  That was for women only.  rolls eyes

The stigma against Duran was strong that it carried over to critics and much of the general public, stopping the respect that a band who writes and records quality music should receive.  Yet, decades passed and notions of metrosexuality became more accepted as did the restrictions on strict gender roles.  The world seemed more inclusive and accepting.  Duran, specifically, received more and more critical acclaim as time went on.  I began to read more and more praise about the band and their latest albums.  I believed that Duran finally was gaining acceptance, real acceptance.

This past week, though, proved that this belief of mine was false, that many still hated Duran Duran.  Rhonda and I corresponded with someone about a potential project this week who openly dismissed our idea simply because it was about Duran Duran.  What?!?  Are you kidding?!  Both of us expressed shock by this.  People really still hated Duran?  Seriously?!  After the initial shock, anger took over.  How can people still not see that Duran Duran is a band of quality?  It did not even matter when we pointed out that Duran still sells out arenas and has countless number of fans.  We proved that there are a lot of Duranies out there.  None of that mattered because this person is not interested in Duran.

Days have passed and I’m still furious.  Here’s the thing.  Rhonda and I will continue to shop our project around.  Why?  Simple.  We know that Duran is quality and deserves the respect that we hope to show with this idea we came up with.  I also have to admit that I like the idea of proving this person wrong, too, because I (and the rest of you) KNOW that she is wrong when it comes to Duran.

-A

Being Hard Isn’t Being Strong

Yesterday was my first day back at work.  As with every other teacher inservice day, the agenda was filled with meeting after meeting.  One meeting involved us getting into small groups and sharing the path each of us took to become a teacher.  One of the specific questions involved childhood and our experiences as kids.  Interestingly enough, before yesterday, I had been thinking about my childhood and how that fits who I am now specifically in regards to my Duran fandom.

As I told my colleagues yesterday, I spent my formative years in two very different places.  I was born on the south side of Chicago and spent the first half of my childhood in the south suburbs.  Most of my classmates were African-Americans who like my family were part of the lower middle class.  Like many of you reading, during this time, I witnessed the explosion of MTV and found myself falling for five British guys with catchy pop tunes and fascinating, beautiful storyline-filled videos.  Despite it being the early 80s, Duran Duran was not popular in my neighborhood or in my school.  Michael Jackson was the be all and end all to most of my peers.  (For the record, I liked Michael but not like I loved Duran!)

I remember sitting at the cafeteria next to my friend, who was the only other Duranie I knew, across from very serious Michael Jackson fans.  We debated everything (or so it seemed from an elementary school position).  I can recall talking about the differences in videos from Michael’s Billie Jean to Duran’s Hungry like the Wolf.  Billie Jean was better, according to my classmates, because Michael “danced”.  While I couldn’t disagree with that fact, I focused on the more intense storyline and the exotic location of HLTW.  These (mostly male) classmates could care less about the storyline.  To them, Michael’s commercial success combined with awards received proved he was better.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to show that Duran was more compassionate by being on Band-Aid, months before Michael joined with others to do We Are the World.

Part of me loved these debates as it was thrilling to demonstrate my passion.  I also felt confident that I had enough information to really argue my point.  In reality, I desperately wanted to prove why Duran was better.  Looking back, I know that part of this desperation was that I believed I was judged by my likes.  If my friends didn’t like Duran and didn’t think they were cool, then would they still like me, I wondered insecurely.  I also really liked the idea that I could be SO convincing to increase Duran’s fan base all by my little self.  I wanted to feel powerful and to be looked up to.  I’m sure some of that feeling comes from being the youngest of three children and having brilliant older siblings that I never felt I could live up to.  Overall, though, the goal was to keep or make friends, something that never has come easy for me.

The lunchtime debate didn’t not last much past the release of the videos for Thriller and Wild Boys as I moved about 70 miles away to a small town.  Before I even stepped foot into my new bedroom, I already despised the town.  MTV was not available and there was no Top 40 radio.  My family moved into our new house on a hot August day with the idea being that my room would be all set before I would enter one of the town’s elementary schools.  As the movers pulled away from the curb, a girl about my age stopped her bike in my driveway, introducing herself.  Having hope for the first time that the town might not be as bad as I feared, I greeted her and began to ask about what liked.  My hope was dashed quickly as I found out that not only wasn’t she a Duran fan, she had never even heard of the band!  I was outraged!

Needless to say, I spent a few years feeling pretty alone.  Initially, I tried to engage in debates similar to the ones I had in the suburbs.  For whatever reason, these heated discussions turned negative and personal very quickly.  Soon enough, Duran was used to make fun of me.  The year was 1985 and I was all about John Taylor’s Power Station look.  I wore a lot of black and red as well as those black jelly bracelets that he sported at the time.  Unfortunately, kids in that town did not appreciate my fashion style and frankly dismissed Duran as a “bunch of homos”.

Now, I find myself still responding as I did as a kid.  On one hand, part of me wants to openly share my fandom and my love for Duran.  I want to prove them and my love of them worthy to everyone I can.  Part of the reason is because of the passion I feel for the band.  The other part has to do with me protecting myself and feeling good about myself.  If I can convince others that what I like is great, then they will be with me.  They will be an ally.  This would also make me feel really good and cool and who doesn’t like that?  They will want to be friends, perhaps.  The protective side knows that even if they don’t want to be friends, they at least won’t make fun of me.  It is hard to make fun of someone who shares your interests, right?  Strangely, adult Amanda still worries about this kind of thing, which is a big part of the reason that I seem so private.  The less people know, the less people can make fun of me for, the less I can be rejected for.

Sometimes, the fear is so strong that I just hide my interests including this fandom or elements of my fandom.  I’ll give an example that once again circles back to work.  Today, we are going on a community scavenger hunt.  The directions include a statement about wearing something comfortable.  My initial thought about what is comfortable is a Duran t-shirt.  The kids are not there yet.  I don’t need to look “professional”.  Lots of people, including my boss, know that I am a big fan.  Other colleagues wear t-shirts advertising their interests.  Yet, I struggled to put the t-shirt advertising my interest on today but I did it.  I wore the shirt.

It is funny how a simple discussion at work brought up a lot of realizations on my part.   Moving forward, I would like to be able to embrace my fandom–not to increase my coolness factor or to protect myself from attack but because it is a part of who I am.  I want to be authentic and confident enough about what I like and who I am.

-A

You Are Going to How Many Shows???

During the past week, Duran Duran’s official Twitter tweeted the following:  “ N.American Tour 2nd leg kicks off NEXT week – what show are YOU going to???”  Many people responded to the question as they did on Facebook for the same question.  As I looked through the responses, most people seemed genuinely excited to share what show(s) they are going to.  Sometimes, fans responded to each other either to share their excitement over the same show or to ask questions of each other.  I always like seeing fan excitement and I definitely like fans interacting with each other positively.

I, too, answered the question from the Daily Duranie’s Twitter and I mentioned something about my upcoming shows on my personal Facebook.  I was honest on the Daily Duranie Twitter that we are going to quite a few (Both Chicago shows, Detroit, Toronto, Paso Robles, Vegas, Irvine and Chula Vista).  I got a few reactions that made me pause.  Some of the responses included things like “8 shows!” or “I am so jealous!  I wish I could go to that many” or even, “my wallet is more realistic”.

While none of the reactions were overtly negative or mean, it did make me wonder if I should have posted anything at all.  First of all, I don’t know how to respond to someone who says that they wish they could go to as many shows.  I truly don’t.  Do I say, “I wish you could too?” or “I’m lucky that I can.”??  I wondered that people thought I was bragging, but I didn’t post my response to compare myself to anyone else.  I simply answered the question.  I wasn’t trying to make anyone feel badly.  That is the last thing I would want.  Of course, I understand the feeling that people would have about being able to do as much as we do.  Many times I have felt the same way.  There are many fans that I see do more than I do.  For example, last weekend I posted an interview with a couple of my European friends who have been able to do more than I have.  I also know plenty of UK people who are able to go to each and every show on the UK Tours.  Heck, I see plenty of people who have had official meet and greets when I never have.  Am I jealous?  I think the word that trips me up is the word ‘jealous’.  It means feeling or showing envy, which is a discontented feeling of longing.  Am I discontented or unhappy for them?  No.  I wouldn’t say that I’m unhappy for them.  Do I, at times, wish that I could do more?  That goes without saying.  I didn’t go to any shows during the spring tour here in the States.  I couldn’t.  Simple enough, but I was happy for those who did.

What is my point with this?  I think there is a wide spectrum of what fans can do when it comes to things like going to shows.  Some fans can’t or don’t want to go to as many shows as I might, for example, but there are fans who do a lot more than I do.  Does that make them bigger or better fans than me?  Absolutely not.  Am I a bigger or better fan than someone who goes to less shows?  No way.  We are all just different in terms of how we can and have expressed our fandom.  That said, I don’t want to worry about what to say when it comes to my fandom and I don’t want anyone else to worry about what to express about theirs.  Instead I chose to be excited for other people and what they can do and I will walk away from anyone who puts me or anyone else down for their expression of fandom.

As for the money aspect of touring, I have a few things to say to stop any judgement there.  Yes, we have paid for all of our tickets ourselves,  Yes, the tickets are very expensive.  Does that mean that I’m being ridiculous or irresponsible?  Absolutely not.  I work hard for my money and I have chosen to spend it on touring.  This means that I sacrifice other things.  For example, my house desperately needs new carpet and my kitchen appliances need a major overhaul. I would really like a new iPad since mine is over five years old.  Yet, all of those purchases have to wait.  Beyond how I prioritize, which everyone does, I also have not and never will use money I don’t have to go to a concert.  I pay my bills, including my monthly credit card bill completely.  Thank you very much.  Now, at some point, will I chose those household needs over touring?  That is very possible.  Others might choose to focus their money on their house or have more family obligations, which is fine.  Everyone must decide for themselves.

This all comes down to the same thing.  I don’t want to keep my fandom “secret”.  I want to be able to share how many shows I’m going to both publicly and with my friends without judgement.  I suspect that others feel the same way.  I recognize that it isn’t easy to hold back judgment.  I’m not good at it myself but I’m really trying to work on it.  It would be nice if we all work on it when it comes to something like fandom, something that is supposed to be fun.

-A

I Toast to my Home Truth

I spend a lot of time thinking about and paying attention to any and all things about and related to “fans” and “fandom”.  I know.  Shocking.  You would have never guessed.  I mean…it isn’t like I have spent a lot of time studying fandom or talking about fandom, right?  Ha.  This intense watching and observing, sometimes, leads me to see or hear something that captures something fundamental about being a fan, about being part of a fan community,  and about the nature of fandom.  This week, I happened to see two separate little posts going around on Facebook that did just that.  These posts made me smile each and every time I saw them.

The first one I saw was this one:

stigma

 

 

Now, obviously, this picture wasn’t about being a fan of a band or about being a Duranie, but the idea still fits.  They could have easily added a band to the list.  We have talked, at times, here about how fandom is, generally, not super accepted or embraced by society unless it is about sports fandom.  To me, this picture captures that sentiment well.  If want to read what we have said about that issue, I refer you to this post here.   My point isn’t to start a debate.  It is more about how music fans, all fans should feel proud to be fans, no matter what they are fans of!

The second picture fits this idea well.

geek

I am a fan.  I am a Duran Duran fan.  I am a Duranie.  I don’t care who knows it.  Frankly, most people who know me know this.  Some people may think I’m silly for liking a band so much.  Some people may think of me as immature for writing this blog, or wearing Duran Duran t-shirts or having Duran posters up in my house.  I don’t care.  I have been a fan for 30 years.  3 decades.  I have lived through ups and downs of being a Duranie and of being a fan.  If after all that, I haven’t walked away, I doubt that I ever will.  It is just a part, a big part of who I am.    This reminds me a speech I heard Wil Wheaton give, which I included below.  It is well worth the viewing.

Today, I feel like embracing myself as a fan and embracing fandom.  In other words, I’m toasting to  “my home truth”.  Here’s to fans everywhere, no matter what they are fans of.  Cheers!

-A