Category Archives: stigma

The Line

Fandom is a funny thing.  It can suck you in very quickly, and one can go from just enjoying a new album to wanting to know every last thing about the lead singer…or keyboardist, bass player and/or drummer in a matter of moments.  I know this because it happened to me, a very long time ago!

I asked a question on Twitter yesterday. It was really a question meant to spur discussion, and it really did!  I simply asked if anyone thought that Duran Duran is tired of their fans.  
Granted, the question was posed almost as a challenge, although at the time I wrote it I really didn’t MEAN for it to be – it was only later that I realized it would be a lightening rod for someone to tar and feather me.   Briefly I considered changing my name and running for the hills, but I digress.
I had several people point out to me that we support the band, and without us they’d be nothing. (I hope they’re enjoying their mansions then…)  A few more thought I was joking (nope.  not me!), and a couple more seemed rather shocked I’d suggest such a thing.  I would just like to send out a public “thank you” to our twitter followers for not sending out a twitter “contract” to have my head placed on a platter.  Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for being willing to participate!!  
The reality is, the word “fan” is simply short of “fanatical”.  I believe that Duranies tend to cross that line pretty regularly.  Not ALL Duranies, but enough of them over the years to where I think we’ve garnered quite a reputation, generally speaking.  I’ve seen the way fans will quite literally throw themselves AT the band both during the show and after.  I’ve watched in horror as other female fans will go to just about any length (and any wardrobe faux pas) to make sure Simon, John, Roger, Nick, etc. knows they want his attention.  I’ve also seen him/them roll his/their eyes and have to be almost rude to those fans in return so that they understand he just is not interested.  Then I’ve watched those same fans rip him/them apart on the message boards, calling them every name in the book.  I’ve been nearby when fans have gone up to the band members while they have been with their wives, and make suggestions for things that I wouldn’t have vocalized even if the band member was alone – and I’ve seen those same fans call the wives all kinds of things.  Gee, I wonder why the wife wasn’t very happy, and the band member even less?
What makes someone go from being a fan – even a fan like me who blogs and writes about them – to someone who feels like they have the right to intrude upon their personal life?  I have no problem admitting I might be obsessed, (…addicted, what-have-you!)  but I do recognize the fact that the band members are not mine.  I would never think to invite Simon to find something between my breasts (don’t even think of asking how I came up with that one…), nor would I ever think to go up and be anything but kind and gracious to their girlfriends, wives, etc – and that goes regardless of how I might really feel about any of them.  It’s just not me.  That said, I have no problem being excited when one of them throws me a grin from the stage or even across the bar.  I’m a fan!  
This blog isn’t about being higher and mightier than thou, it’s just about examining what makes a fan fanatical, and where the dividing line is drawn.  For me, it’s pretty boldly drawn.  I go to the shows, and enjoy them.  I will gladly smile at them on stage, and I love it when one of them smiles back.  Duh.  After the show, if I am lucky enough to somehow end up at the same place, I let them have their space.  If they talk to me, great – if not, that’s OK because it’s their personal time. That’s just me.  The subject has come up in conversation amongst my friends many, many times over the years – all of us wish that the band would be more interactive, more willing to come out after shows, more open with the fans, etc….but do any of us really stop to recognize what might happen if they did?  There seems to be quite a problem with recognizing where the line really is.  Some believe that as long as you’re not stalking, you’re good.  A few people feel that it’s just part the territory that goes along with being a celebrity.  Others think there’s a difference between obsessive and possessive.  So, I invite all of you to post where the line is for yourself, recognizing that you can only be responsible for your own behavior, not anyone else’s.
To answer my own posed question earlier – I do believe the band gets tired of us.  I can’t honestly blame them either.  I’m not talking about just going up and asking for a photograph or an autograph, I’m talking about cornering them in a bar, or following them where ever they happen to be going after a show.  I think that from their point of view – unless they’ve met you personally, they have no way of knowing if you’re going to just let it go with a wink and a smile – or if you’re going to pursue them and back them in a corner to talk for hours.  They have no idea if you’re “normal”…or if you’re a normal obsessed fan that has loved them for 30 years now…or if you’re a fanatic.  I don’t think it’s part of their “job” to allow us complete access to them, nor do I think it’s OK for us to expect that out of them.  I think sometimes they all probably wish that after a show, we’d just do our own thing, or we’d allow them to hang out at a bar and not be bothered.  If they wanted to talk to us, then they would do so, rather than a group of 50-100 Duranies descending upon them like vultures.  I’m not saying it’s ever OK for the band to be rude, but on the same token – aren’t we doing the same to them by intruding on their personal time?  I know if it were me, I’d take it to a point, and then suddenly I’d be unleashing it on some poor unsuspecting fan who just wanted a picture or an autograph.  
Hmm.

-R

Fan Antics

I have been following and posting on a thread over on DDM entitled “Antics”.  Basically, the original post asked fans to describe some of their craziest behavior in regards to the band.  This topic always can be a dangerous one when brought up either publicly or privately.  If this type of question is asked in public with non-Duranies, there is a good chance that people will be judging you and determining that you might actually  be crazy, that you take this fan thing too far, that you don’t have a life, or something else that is equally negative.  Yet, I do not understand how these people can’t relate.  After all, it is a Sunday afternoon in the fall and I’m willing to bet that countless Americans have their TV tuned to the football game of their choice.  I might think it is weird that they feel these games are so important that they schedule them into their Sunday activities (I don’t actually but I could).  So how are Duranies so different from football fans?  How are they different than people who religiously watch every episode of a specific television show?  Someone explain to me how we are so different than people who go to the first showing of their favorite movie sequel when it comes out?  I don’t think we are all that different.

Yes, fans do things that may seem a bit overboard to outsiders but it is generally all in fun.  Of course, it seems to me that most Duranies’ antics are usually done with other people.  For example, Rhonda and I do most of our fan activities together and yes, some of those things might be deemed a bit extreme to the outside world.  For example, in the fall of 2008, we did drive over 800 miles in a weekend to see three shows and we would do it again.  I suspect other Duranies would, too.  We did not drive all that way or go to those shows as a way of proving how big of fans we were/are but because it was fun!  First, we were able to be together.  In that way, “touring” is a celebration of our friendship.  Second, we were able to experience and enjoy this thing we have in common, which is Duran and their music.  Lastly, we spent time in cities and states that we don’t get the chance to and meet people whom we wouldn’t have met otherwise.  While some people may say it is extreme, I say it is all in good fun.  Of course, I don’t think it is any “crazier” than the Green Bay Packers fans that I see going to games in extreme cold or any “crazier” than those Twilight fans who stand outside in line to get tickets to the latest movie. 

Therefore, a thread like this on a private, fan-only message board should be one where the fans can come and embrace the silly but entertaining moments of the past all in the name of being a fan.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case as fans will often judge other fans and their behaviors.  Some behaviors can be seen as crossing a line even with other fans.  I think most people would agree that committing a crime to get to the band would be over the line.  Another example might be that it is not okay to physically stalk a band member or his family.  Yet, where do you draw the line when it comes to finding out where a member lives?  What about going up to them in public places?  Is this acceptable?  Unacceptable?  What about giving and sending gifts to them?  Crazy or cool?  I don’t actually know.  I know what I might think is going too far but others may disagree with me.  Nonetheless, posters on this thread have enjoyed a positive atmosphere and pleasant response for now and I hope it continues that way so that we can embrace our fandom together.  I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if someone doesn’t come in and call someone a “Durantard” at some point for some action.  It seems to me that negative statements and reactions like that is a way for a fan to distance herself/himself from other fans.  It is an attempt to say, “I’m a fan but I’m not a CRAZY fan.”  In that way, fans can become just like the general public with judgemental thoughts and statements.

-A