Friends of Mine … the story behind our book!

Last week we were asked a question regarding our book and how we settled on the topic of fandom.

The long story is that from the very weekend Amanda and I met, we joked about writing a book about being Duranies.  We just thought it would make a great story!  To catch everyone up, Amanda and I first came in contact with one another on a now defunct message board called duranduranfans.com.  I was involved in a group that planned a US convention in 2004, aptly named 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention. My contribution to the process was handling registration and customer service. I was in contact with each person who registered.  My job was simply to make registration easy, and to make people happy if they were having trouble. Anyway, at the time I never really talked much to Amanda.  She was busy, presumably working, and so I actually “spoke” more to the friend that she was traveling with to the convention.  It wasn’t until we actually got to the convention, and even more specifically not until the night of our buffet/dance party that I had much of a chance to meet and talk with Amanda.  I don’t know what it was – the fact that we tended to laugh about the same things or the fact that she didn’t make fun of me when I reacted to “Arcadia” era Simon, but we hit it off immediately.  (This is starting to sound more like meeting a future spouse than a best friend, but stay with me…)  That night, we did a bar crawl down and around Bourbon Street along with many of our friends, ending up in a little ‘ole club called Howl at the Moon. (which has since changed names)  It was at this club that the bunch of us were requested onstage to sing none other than Rio.  It was a sight (and sound) to behold.  I know that the video still exists, and once again I admonish those that hold the video – should it ever end up on Facebook or YouTube, I will come for you. Just as I will never, ever Ta Na Na Na with Simon during the opening of The Reflex (no matter how much Dom coaxes…), I feel strongly that the video of the Duranies singing Rio should never see the light of day.  Some things just never need to be heard or shared.  Thank you.

Where was I???  Ah yes…

After that evening, Amanda and I continued to be in contact, and we even made plans to room together in Chicago at the Duranie Dorm (O’Hare Doubletree, which has also since changed names).  It was at that show that we realized we worked well together, and continued to tease one another relentlessly about what should “go in the book”.  We would laugh and continue on our way, but I think both of us had the idea firmly planted in the back(s) of our mind(s). I suppose you could say that between the two of us, we have a lot of stories that could either be used to entertain…or as blackmail should the need ever arise!

It was at some point between the Astronaut tour and the release of Red Carpet Massacre that we really started thinking that we could write a book, but at the time we really didn’t have any firm idea of how the book should read.  I don’t think either of us wanted to do a tell-all, we certainly didn’t want to do a super-smooshy love note to the band, but we couldn’t decide where to start.  We agreed that we would have an entire road trip (From Pittsburgh to Connecticut, Atlantic City, Montclair New Jersey and back to Pittsburgh) to sort out what we were going to write, and it was during that trip that the book started taking form, although since then it has changed shape entirely.

During our numerous discussions, Amanda and l agreed that while our fan community was loyal and strong, it was not especially large, and our goal was to write a book that would have appeal beyond our fan base.  We wanted to write the kind of book that would translate well from casual reader to academia and pop culture enthusiast.  Our original idea was simply to write about what it is like to be fans of a rock band…what is it really like to function as a part of this fan community?  After many discussions, we determined that what we really wanted to do was examine the Duran Duran fan base or use it as a type of case study on fandom.  The most basic question our book attempts to examine and answer is simply why people become fans, why they continue to be fans for great lengths of time, and how it is all accomplished.  Not easy questions, and definitely not with one simple answer. We’ve continued to learn a lot about ourselves, other people and even the band along the way.

I won’t speak for Amanda, but I have to say that this one project has taught me more about myself than going through college and grad school combined, and I’m not quite finished yet.  We have the band to thank for providing us with the motivation to start, and the persistence to keep going.  We’re nearly finished and we have ideas for other books and projects ahead.

The blog of course came as a by-product of writing the book.  The more we wrote, the more we could see that our community was missing some of the very things that we all needed.  The blog came about simply as a way to communicate the thoughts that were floating in our heads, especially as our “home” message board became quieter and quieter.  The blog is not necessarily a carbon copy of our book – we might introduce topics here that we’re currently writing about, but the blog is really more of the fluffy fun stuff that makes fandom fun.  We still try very hard not to make this place too gushy though, because I think the band has heard “I JUST LOVE YOU_______(enter band member name here)______” enough.  I’d like to think that the band is curious about what makes their fans really tick and why on earth we find the time to follow them as (mostly now) middle-aged people. I’d also like to think that we fans have enough brain power to get past their looks and really talk about the fun and maybe even the not-so-fun things about being a fan.  The goal is to bring fans together as a community, one blog at a time.  We’ll just keep our heads down and continue writing, and we hope you keep reading.

-R

3 thoughts on “Friends of Mine … the story behind our book!”

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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