Coz we know what it means to be alive

I’m bringing my closest hometown friend Tammy with me to Durandemonium 2013 in October.

For most people, the convention signals a time when Duranies from all over come together to have fun, to celebrate…and even to collectively obsess over the next album, which by October…well…we’re all hoping to hear good news coming out of the studio by then, right?  The key word in the sentence above (albeit a run-un on sentence…) is the word Duranie. 

Did I mention that Tammy is not only NOT a Duranie, she has never even been to a Duran Duran concert?!?

It’s true. My friend Tammy might be able to recognize Hungry Like the Wolf, and perhaps Rio. However, I am positive she doesn’t know the words to either song, and I would even guess that she couldn’t pick Simon out of a lineup, never mind Roger, John or Nick (which kind of makes me laugh!). You would think that perhaps I begged, cajoled and convinced Tammy to buy her ticket to the convention, but you would be wrong.

My friendship with Tammy began because her husband was in fact my husband’s boss, but for whatever reason – our husband’s got along more like equal coworkers. It wasn’t long after Walt began working as one of Dave’s product line managers that we agreed to go on a joint family vacation over spring break. You learn a lot about people when you vacation together – and we were no exception. I learned very quickly that Tammy and Dave were good people, and we’ve stayed very good friends ever since. Tammy is one of the people on a very short list that I can talk with about nearly anything. With that in mind, I have confided in her about my blog (as you might imagine, I typically get quite a bit of eye rolling and eyebrow raising in response to the announcement that I write a fan blog), and she always asks what trips I have planned to see the band next. She asks with true-blue excitement, and I think she lives vicariously through some of my storytelling. As I mentioned, her husband and mine worked at the same company – and just as Walt travels often for work, Dave did as well. So, both of us understand how difficult it can be to get away from the house and kids, as well as how important it is that we take that time away!

So, when I first told Tammy that Amanda and I had completely lost our senses and decided to plan a convention – she was immediately supportive and excited. Rather than be the voice of reason and explain why this was the craziest idea she’s heard out of my mouth yet, Tammy encouraged the idea. I could see how excited she was, and how interested she was to hear of our planning. Even so, it came as a great shock to me when she announced that she was in fact, coming to the convention. My response began as, “Why in the hell would you want to come and hang out with 100 or so Duranies for the weekend, Tammy? You don’t even know a single Duran Duran song!”, I countered. “I mean, this isn’t just a few girlfriends getting together for a weekend in the city. This is a convention for people who are lifelong fans (or close to it). These are people obsessed, and by ‘people’ I mean me! Are you really sure you want to experience that? I mean, not even the band would be caught dead at something like this. It’s too intense!” Tammy didn’t even waiver. She wants to go. She wants to see fandom in action, and she wants to experience it all. She also desperately wants in on the fun, and I think that if I gave her half a chance – she’d even go touring with us! Who needs to actually KNOW the songs or the band members to have fun right??

A huge part of me is of course thrilled she wants to come along. It’s nice to know that I have a friend that is not only willing to accept my “little” idiosyncrasies, but she’s willing to join right in, not even questioning whether or not she’ll have fun – she just assumes she will! That’s just the way Tammy is – she will have fun listening to our stories and tales of being fans, she’ll laugh right along with all of us as we’re likely screaming in delight at the sight of the band on the big screen, and she’ll dance to all of the songs we know by heart – likely not knowing a single word herself, but she won’t care. She is fun-loving, and I think the rest of the Duranies at the convention will welcome Tammy with open arms. Another part of me is oddly fascinated by the thought that any outsider would even want to see what all the fuss is about. Let’s face it, a good many of the blogs I’ve written myself here on this blog have been about the less-than-kind things that go on in this community…the slightly more “bitter” side of fandom, so to speak. We have a lot of fun, but we have a lot of political strife that can go on in our fandom too. I don’t know a lot of non-fans that would be willing to sign on for a weekend of ultimate submersion into this fandom. There’s also the plain and simple fact that for me – this fandom is my escape from everyday reality. I don’t think I have to explain to any of you that life can be stressful, and that when I go away for the weekend for a Duran-related thing – I leave my real life behind. Tammy is very much a part of that real-life, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about the two lives intermingling, but I think that out of everyone I know (from real life), she is the one person I would want to have share the experience. She keeps telling me that what goes on at Durandemonium will stay at Durandemonium…and I think to myself… “Oh, if she only knew!”

Admittedly, I’m curious as to what the discussion will be between us after the weekend comes to a close and we are headed back to California. The social scientist that resides within is curious as to how she will respond to the convention. What will she think? It is one thing to experience the fandom as a fan…but entirely another to experience it as an outsider. I think that as far as going on a road trip, or touring to see the band goes, it is something that I have been wary to do with anyone who isn’t a diehard fan. The schedule we keep can be tough, and if you’re not a diehard fan, priorities may be very different, and naturally – expectations can be as well. I think that the convention will be a unique experience for everyone who cares to attend, and while Tammy may not know all of the “inside” details, she understands coming together for a common cause, and she understands what it means to be a fan, and I really look forward to showing her the instant connection that can be made between people – all for the love of a band. I think she is curious about the people who have been lucky enough to be fans of a band for over thirty years….and let’s be really honest….we certainly know how to have a good time, don’t we?  (The band has taught us well!)


3 thoughts on “Coz we know what it means to be alive”

  1. Heartfelt congrats Rhonda!

    As for me, it's harder to persuade a non-Andy fan to make peace with an Andy fan than bringing a total non Duranie to attend a whatever DD related meeting!

    Have fun, the both of you!

  2. I think she will surprise you. I've been to conventions or meetings regarding bands/movies/people/subjects I have little more than a passing interest in and I always get something out of the experience – it's a different feeling, you have less emotional attachment to it so you can stand back, worry less about missing something, there are no fraught relationships to deal with and you enjoy yourself in a more relaxed way. The “bitter” side is irrelevant, she will enjoy a coming together of people, an experience, a real unique event. I'm pretty sure she will love it. One thing's for sure, your scope of conversation with her will be forever expanded after the weekend. Now, as you say, is that good or bad?!

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