Category Archives: stigma

To Be a Duranie or Not To Be?

I have observed something interesting in the Duran Duran fandom in the last few months. Some Duran fans do not like the term “Duranie” and would never refer to themselves in this way. This is fascinating to me. I have always called myself a Duranie and never thought much about it. To me, the term equals any other term used to identify fans. For example, my brother and sister-in-law are Trekkies. (I realize that some Star Trek fans prefer the term, Trekker, but the idea is the same.) So why wouldn’t someone want to be called a Duranie?

I am not sure where the term came from or when it started. I did listen to Top 40 Chicago radio as a kid and remember hearing the term then (early to mid 1980s). Even as a young age, I remember understanding that the term was not always used in a complimentary fashion. I knew that some of the DJs were making fun of Duran Duran fans even as they played Hungry Like the Wolf. Could this be part of the reason that some fans don’t like the term? They don’t like it because it was/is used by people to make fun of the fans? I can understand not wanting to be made fun of. Then, there is another part of me that says that I don’t care what people think of me. If they want to make fun of me because I’m a Duranie, go ahead. It won’t change how I feel or that I’m a Duran Duran fan.

I heard rumors that the term started in America. (Is that true? Does anyone know that for sure?) Perhaps, if this is true, that could cause negative feelings toward the term. If the term is connected to American fans, I can understand the rest of the world being annoyed. After all, Duran Duran fans are everywhere and the band themselves are from England. They aren’t an American band so why should the fans there get a nickname to identify them, right?! If the term just reminds people of American fans then that isn’t good. Yet, I wonder and worry if the dislike towards the term has more to do with the stigma involved with being a Duranie or a fan, in general.

It seems to me that fans get a bad reputation. Fans are often seen as slightly crazy, slightly obsessed. People, sometimes, think of fans as people who haven’t grown up. They worry that people who identify themselves as fans might be stalkers who follow the band or celebrity. Maybe they would do something harmful to the famous person/people. Now, obviously, there are fans who cross the line. While it is rare that fans actually want or do harm the subject of their affection, there are people who seem to take it a bit too far. Thus, is it possible that normal fans don’t want to be associated with these fans who have gone too far? Yet, I believe that normal fans have nothing to be ashamed of because we know where the line is and would never think of crossing it. We shouldn’t let those who are unstable ruin something that we enjoy or make us ashamed. I, instead, embrace the fan in me.

Of course, another possibility here is that our fan community has forced this anti-Duranie feeling. Perhaps, people have seen or been in the line of fire with other Duranies. Our fan community is not always one of love and inclusiveness (as much as we like to think otherwise). Duranies can and have had arguments. They do not always get along and have talked about each other, both in public and in private. Thus, is it possible that some fans reject the term because they want to reject this negativity? I think that is possible and is understandable. Yet, again, I refuse to let that type of activity influence me. I realize that this type of behavior happens within the community. While I hate it, I’m still going to do what I want to do and be proud of who I am.

I am a Duranie. While I realize that there are negative connotations to the term, I don’t let that control me. To me, the term means that I’m a Duran Duran fan, nothing more and nothing less.

-A

Embarrassed to be a Fan?

Yesterday, I went door-to-door talking to voters about Wisconsin’s election on Tuesday.  Normally, the conversations would focus on candidates, political ads on TV, polling places and other political like topics.  This canvass was a little different as this political world of mine crossed into the fandom world and it offered me a mirror of sorts. 

At one house that we stopped at, the woman who lived there started telling us about an event coming up with various musical artists to support working rights in the state.  Normally, these local events bring artists only well-known within the community, the state or maybe the region.  No one really famous.  The guy I was canvassing with mentioned about how he would like to see Pete Seeger come to town.  (Pete Seeger is pretty famous when it comes to the worker rights movement, by the way.)  The voter we were talking to said that she would prefer Bruce Springsteen.  I found myself tuning out a bit.  I can’t say that I’m a Bruce fan despite him having political ideas that I generally agree with.  Musically, he doesn’t do much for me.  Did I think her idea of having him come to town was out of the range of possibility?  I don’t know.  I can’t see him coming for a small event held at one of the local theaters but I saw him when he was playing at Kerry/Edwards rallies during the 2004 political campaign season.  Anyway, that really isn’t the point of sharing this story.  Let me continue.  My canvass partner agreed that he would be great to get.  Then, the next thing I knew the two of them started comparing how many times they had seen him in concert, including when and where.  When she said that she had seen him in New York City, clearly, she wanted the fan prize of being bigger and better than the other guy.  This competition of sorts continued as he said that he saw some special acoustic show.  She responded with how her son works at a venue in Milwaukee and that she tried to get a note to Bruce through her son.  The note was going to be about how much she absolutely loved him and that she would still be willing to marry him.  I was not contributing to the conversation at all.  Instead, I stood silently, blinking furiously.  Should I laugh or cry?  Is this what I seem like when I am talking about Duran?

Obviously, there was so much to that conversation that I could relate to.  I, too, have found myself talking about how many concerts I have been to, which usually does include when and where.  Goodness knows that I want to tell everyone and anyone who will listen about how excited I am to be seeing them in their hometown, in their home country!!  I might have said once or twice in my lifetime, too, about how much I love John Taylor.  I might have even said that I would be willing to marry him.  I’m also sure that I would use a connection like she had with her son.  I can’t say that I would tell John how much I loved him in a note like that as I would probably be more likely to give him setlist recommendations.  (Have I mentioned how much Rhonda and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear Late Bar?!)  Despite all that I could relate to, I still found myself having mixed feelings.  I was slightly embarrassed for this woman.  I’m not sure why.  Obviously, I think going to shows is great.  I think it is wonderful to travel to see shows as I do it all the time.  Was it that she was expressing her inner fangirl to us, people who were random strangers?  Was it because she didn’t seem embarrassed about it that caught my attention as it isn’t typical for adults to talk about being an intense fan of something? 

After we left that woman’s house, my canvass partner continued to talk about how great Bruce is live.  Okay.  I had the chance to jump in and tell him either about seeing Bruce at the Kerry rally in 2004 or tell him that I could relate because I feel the exact same way about Duran.  I didn’t, though.  I still don’t know why really.  I have been in many situations where I have blabbed about my love for Duran.  In many of these situations, the people are new people to me.  I wonder if it had to do with the fact that when I am going on and on about that British band we love, it is usually with a crowd of women.  I have shared things about Duran with men that I know before, though, so that can’t be it.  I admit that I don’t know my canvass partner well.  I had only met him a couple of weeks earlier but he has volunteered a lot for my team and I suspect that he will stay involved.  Is it because these two worlds of politics and fandom are usually so separated that I didn’t know how to respond?  I wondered if it could be the stigma of fandom that I was worried about?  Let’s be honest here.  Most people think that fans are crazy.  Maybe they don’t think we are mental hospital type of crazy but they might think that there are so many more important things that we should be doing with our time.  Perhaps, they think that we haven’t grown up quite yet.  I think being a Duranie usually gives that stigma and more since Duran isn’t so respected, especially here in the States.  Was I too busy worrying about being respected by this new canvasser that I didn’t want to risk having myself labeled with the fandom stigma?  After all, I want this guy to join my team and when I mean my team, it literally is my team.  I’m the leader. I am the one who communicates with the actual campaigns and provides direction, organization and more to the team.  I do think that my members need to see me as a leader and that might not happen if all they can see is that I’m a Duranie.  I don’t know.  I don’t have any answers.

I doubt that I’m the only one out there who has held back the fact about being a Duranie, about being a fan.  While I don’t know for sure why I held back, I do know that I believe the stigma of being a fan, of being a Duranie is real.  I’m not sure what to do about it exactly, but I know that acknowledging it is the first step in ending it.  Then, I believe that I need to be prepared to actually say it no matter the people around, myself obviously included.  It shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed about.  Frankly, it should be something to be proud of.  After all, I believe that the band is good, really good.  I should be proud to be their fan.  I should be proud to write this blog and to write the book.  Maybe if all of us came out of the fandom closet, the stigma would lessen.

-A   

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