If all you people gather and believe

August 20th. The 23rd anniversary of the worldwide release Liberty. I find it remarkable how  quickly time seems to pass when I’m not really paying attention. Anyone else??

I’ve been working on the slideshow for Durandemonium. My original idea was to throw some photos onto a DVD with some music and put it up on a screen at the banquet we’re planning.  I thought it would be a nice way to start the evening and be a fun way to include fans – both those in attendance and those celebrating with us from afar. I asked for photos a few times, and then suddenly the floodgates opened and I found myself with about 15 minutes worth of material.  Not bad for a little fan blog nobody knows about, huh?

Interestingly enough, the project has been enlightening for me on many fronts, and it is times like these where I wish the band DID care enough to read our blog. Now, I realize how that sounds – so let me explain before darts are thrown in my general direction. This blog is really for the fans.  It was designed that way, not as a love note to the band, not as a way to express undying devotion, but as a way to just talk about being a fan – in whatever way the particular day lends itself. I just don’t think the band has the time, or the interest much of the time, to read what we might think. I can’t blame them for that – I think it’s part of the engine that makes fandom and celebrity run. It isn’t that I don’t think Duran Duran cares about its fans – I can’t say that because I am not in their heads – its that I don’t think there is a want or a need for the band to understand US as much as we need to understand THEM. Is that fair?  Probably not to some of you, and I expect to read as much in my mail sometime “super soon”. Fair enough.

In any case, to get back to my original point and topic – I have learned much about our fanbase by simply doing the slideshow. So many of you out there truly count the band as your friends. I don’t mean to be facetious when I write that – I really believe that for a lot of fans, they believe it to be so. People count the band as part of the extended family, and I suppose to a certain extent, this might be fair. I say our fan community as a whole (paid, unpaid, etc, etc.) is very much like a large, extended family. Slightly dysfunctional, with an awful lot going on “under the carpet” that no one really sees until they’ve lived in the “house” for quite some time. In other words, you have to look beneath the surface to see much of what is going on. However, just like a family – in times of trouble and in times of joy – we come together, and when that happens, the sheer energy and power that results is tremendous. There is a lot of love to be felt and shared in this fandom.

It is very, very easy to become jaded and stilted about being a fan sometimes. Let’s be honest about it. We all know how tough it is to hear the band is touring and you can’t get to a show – whether it’s due to time, money or distance. It isn’t as though the band tours all year every year with clockwork regularity. I think it is especially tough to love your fellow fan sometimes. The competitive nature that seems to exist, the selfishness that we’ve all witnessed from time to time, and just the downright mean behavior that flows are all things that can dull even the most vibrant fan. Writing the blog has been a bit of an exercise against becoming jaded for me, and it isn’t a challenge I always meet and conquer.

So, while my initial plan was to somehow robotically put the pictures to some music we all know and love, something quite different happened along the way. I started looking at all of these photos (and believe me – there are a LOT of them now), and I started remembering exactly why I’m here. Not that I ever truly forget, but in the day to day of writing the blog, working on the manuscript and planning the convention, the mechanics of getting everything up and running tend to get in the way of actually enjoying the ride if I don’t take a moment to stop and look around. Putting the slideshow together has reminded me of some of the finer points, and I don’t mean just the “going to the shows and seeing the band” part, albeit that is very fun. The most gratifying points for me have been seeing a group of friends in Finland that apparently have known one another since the mid 80s – many of them still get together today; seeing pictures of people meeting one another in person for the first time, yet “knowing” one another from online places such as Facebook and Twitter; seeing the pure joy on peoples faces as they just wait in line together; getting pictures from Australia, again from groups of people who have known one another since they were teenagers in the 80s; seeing people that are so proud of their fandom that even if they didn’t have a single photo of themselves with other fans that they took one of themselves in a DD shirt to send; and most poignantly – seeing memories that have truly lasted beyond the lifetimes of some of those fans included within them. Friendships that were created in this fandom and the memories that still bring smiles, and sometimes tears, to those who carry on.

I know that our fandom is not terribly unique when it comes to the friendships that have been created, although I think that something that has lasted for over thirty years in this “throw-away” world of ours is pretty incredible these days. I just think that sometimes it is worth reminding ourselves of why we are fans. Why have we stuck together for so long? The easy, unthinking response to this question is “the band”. That’s just not the only reason we’ve survived though, and I challenge you to see beyond the obvious here. Sometimes, it is easy to forget, especially when we get down on each other, and when albums take much longer than we want and our private lives get in the way. We can’t live in the fan moment every second of every day – even though (at times) it’s much easier and therefore much more attractive to live in the escapist world of the fan community. All points considered, I still believe that our connections to one another are what get us through. I don’t mean to lessen the impact that the band has made on each of our lives, but if the music is the binding ingredient – it’s the friendship and connections that gives our community its flavor.

Looking forward to sharing this special slideshow with all of you – first at Durandemonium in October, then it will be uploaded for all to experience. I hope it reminds each of you of the very best that fandom has had to offer.

-R

9 thoughts on “If all you people gather and believe”

  1. The hubby and I just saw “Get A Life” about Star Trek Fans that Shatner did; we watched on Netflix. I really thought about you and this blog/book the whole time I was watching. So interesting!
    XOXO
    Michelle Browner

  2. Years ago my childhood bff & I fell in love with the band (as did many of you) around the Rio era. We did a lot of DD crafts, collected posters, buttons, those teeny bop magazines, you know the drill, right? 😉 Unfortunately that bff ended up moving out of state shortly afterwards, but she & I kept in touch through long letters and the occasional phone call. This long distance relationship lasted from the 6th grade all the way through our freshman years of college… at that point our lives went into very different directions and we lost touch.

    Fast forward many, many years later to the reunion tour when I FINALLY saw the original 5 at the Chicago House of Blues! Was even lucky enough to be in the 2nd row. AHHHHH!!! Friends, family and coworkers all said, “Hey, that's great” They just didn't *get* it. You know? I *know* you guys know 😉 And it got me thinking about my old bff… and I thought if any one person could understand what that moment meant to me, she would. Even if she was no longer a fan. So, I took a chance and sent a X-mas card to the last address I had for bff's mother… and within a week she called me up 🙂 Not only was she still a huge fan, but the DD reunion tour also had her thinking of me, haha. Unfortunately we still live many states away from each other, but we kept up with the occasional email and phone call.

    Then finally, in 2008 when the band did their first go round for RCM we realized that although they wouldn't be in my state OR her state, they would be in Baltimore, MD which was roughly an 8hr drive for each of us. We met at a DD concert (our childhood dream!) and finally saw each other for the first time in 22 years!!! Everyone said I was crazy to travel all that way just for a reunion and a concert but you guys know how it is, lol!

    So of course we have kept in touch and reunited for many more concerts since then. I can easily say that while DD added an extra bond to our childhood friendship, it most certainly was the reason we have sought each other out and have stayed friends as adults. Anyhow, my friend is fairly private and would probably object to a photo being sent in, but I did want to share my personal story of The Music Between Us. Can't wait to see the slideshow you ladies are putting together 🙂

  3. Yeah, it's pretty good music, lol

    All of us DD fans are so lucky. We've all said it, right? How lucky we are that not only have they been around for so long, but they continue to evolve and try to stay relevant as well. That has for sure created a unique opportunity for us long term fans and allows us to grow and change along with them 🙂

  4. I liked the movie about the Star Trek fans. I really like that people find each other through shared interests. It is especially cool to see because these people may have thought of themselves as 'geeks' but look at all the sports fans out there. Why would one fandom or obsession be accepted and another not so much? It showed that there are a lot of Star Trek fans. I have been to a Star Wars convention and I know a lot of fans love it. Through the internet, I see lots of Duran fans from all over the world. It is just really good to see that whatever your interest, there is likely to be other fans out there that can share in, and possibly enrich your experience.
    🙂
    Michelle Browner

  5. You have definitely captured the big idea behind fnadom–people finding each other through shared interests!

    I have been searching for this movie and no luck, so far. Where did you find it?

    -A

  6. We saw 'Get A Life' and another Shatner documentary called 'The Captains' on Netflix. They were both fun to watch LOL Amanda, I think you would love them! As I said, especially 'Get A Life' made me think of both of you; this blog & your future book.
    Michelle Browner

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