On this date in 2004, a convention was underway in New Orleans. The 78-03 Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention was held at the Hotel Monaco in New Orleans. Unfortunately the hotel is no longer there, it experienced a large amount of damage during Hurricane Katrina and was not rebuilt. This convention was very special to me personally for a number of reasons – not the least of which being that it was where I met the other half of Daily Duranie! I met so many wonderful people there “in person” for the first time that weekend in 2004, people who I continue to stay in contact with to this day.
For me, the convention was nearly a rebirth, and most certainly cathartic. I’ve read so many articles, essays and books that claim that fandom is as much spiritual (in an obviously secular way) as it is anything else. I have to say that when I look back on that weekend, I remember how it all felt for me – and yes, it really was very much like a spiritual awakening. It was like getting reacquainted with myself, finding “my people”, and realizing that I did in fact belong somewhere. In college, I took an entire course called The Sense of Place. (I can feel your jealousy from here. I know, I know..you wish you had been me. It’s OK. Really.) In this course, we studied what the word “place” really meant in a very non-literal sense, and what lengths people will go to find where it is they belong. For some it means going back home, for others it means wandering the planet, and for others it means never leaving the house they were born. In hindsight I have to wonder why the professor never thought to include fandom in our course of study, but that weekend, I finally understood what the professor meant during our course. (Too bad I had taken the class nearly ten years prior…better late learning than never!) I had found my place.
Too many people wander aimlessly in this world, wondering where exactly they are supposed to fit in. I feel for those people, because for me – I spend a lot more time trying to adhere to the rules, towing the line, and doing what is expected than I do feeling like I actually belong somewhere. In this regard, writing the blog and being a fan has been quite the journey of exploration and discovery, and yes – it really has become a source of therapy. Amanda and I have had the opportunity to meet many other fans now, and without fail, nearly everywhere we’ve gone we’ve had a fellow fan come up to us, thank us for the blog (which blows me away every single time) and tell us that they feel like they finally belong somewhere. I can’t honestly believe that’s because of our writing, but if planning events and making people feel welcome helps someone else to feel included, I am thrilled. That is the whole point. The ONLY point. I love seeing fans come together and watching forever friendships being made.
So I need to thank a group of people, because without their persistence, strength and wisdom, that convention would have never occurred, and as the story goes – the rest of my journey probably wouldn’t have began. These women, and possibly a few men out there – and I’ll just collectively call them DDF’ers (before anyone gets wise-ideas, DDF was our message board – DuranDuranFans.com!) so that I don’t risk leaving any single person out, were responsible for pulling together a convention on a shoestring budget from nearly every corner of the United States. We had a great time, and when I’m feeling really low – I’ll go back and look at the pictures I’ve got just to remind myself of how much fun I really had, and how far we’ve all come.
I still haven’t forgotten about that video of Rio – karaoke style, girls. I trust it remains under lock and key. It’s for the greater good.