Not sure if you heard, but Simon appeared with Timbaland – and judging purely on what I saw myself on YouTube – they performed one song together. (The Reflex) The rest of the band was not present, and I will admit that when I heard of this unholy collaboration, I cringed. Why now? Why must they work with that guy again? Things were going really well, and I think most of the bitter taste left in the mouths of many fans from Red Carpet Massacre has long since subsided. I think it’s fair to say that while it was only a one-off thing, the mere statement that they were going to perform together probably started some discussion (that Amanda and I may actually be responsible)….and maybe some of that (well, a lot of that) happened on our Facebook page on Saturday.
The fact is, it really doesn’t matter why Simon appeared with Timbaland, I suppose. Even after watching the performance, I can’t quite figure out why Simon would have even bothered because he obviously would have been just fine on his own, but perhaps they wanted Timbaland’s appearance to get them some TV time. I’m just guessing here. From what I gathered, all Timbaland did was stand there…..far on the other side of the stage from Simon….and he might have yelled “Get your hands up” once or twice. Other than that, it looked like Simon’s gig, and he did extremely well given that he was up there alone. Well, he seemed like he was alone. Let’s face it, I didn’t really take much notice of Timbaland. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
What did matter to me on Saturday was that many of our readers didn’t seem to really get the whole point of Amanda’s blog, and to be honest I’m not really sure what more she could have done to make her point clear. The blog was not meant as a rehash of Red Carpet Massacre. The blog was merely marking her concern for what the appearance might do to the fans, as well as what could possibly happen if it were announced the band would work with him again. I don’t even know that Amanda went as far to say how SHE might feel if he returned to produce again, (I’m more than happy to comment on that at any given time – just say the word and I’ll put out that blog pronto!) only that judging from what she saw during the days leading up to the release Red Carpet Massacre as well as beyond (I still say that is a perfectly named album…and some day Amanda and I are going to sit here and tear that album apart and explain some of the things we’ve come to accept the album to mean as a whole.), the fan community came apart at it’s seams. I expected to see discussion about Timbaland, and I expected that she and I would be working hard to make sure her points were understood. (while I did not write the blog, I was 100% behind her on this one!) What I did not expect was for the discussion to turn into a discussion about being a good fan. I should have seen that coming, but alas – I missed it.
I think it’s fair to say that Amanda and I have spent quite a bit of time studying fandom – I don’t just mean OUR fandom, I’m talking about Fandom Studies as a sociological topic. That doesn’t make us experts by any means, and we’re still learning nearly every day. There is truly a hierarchy within each fandom – a sort of “social status ladder” if you will. There is real importance assigned to whatever each community decides are the tipping points along the way. (what things make you a good fan or a bad fan…and how good and bad fans are defined) Our fan community is no better, worse or different in that regard. What blows my mind is how easy it is for any of us (myself included!) to determine what makes someone better than someone else. Is it right for someone to say that if Timbaland produced another album for the band that they’d just quit being a fan? What about if it was only a couple songs? Is it right for someone who claims to be a huge fan to say that since Dom Brown isn’t a “real” band member they won’t bother supporting his solo projects? What about TV Mania? Nick Rhodes is in the band, in fact he’s probably the Father of the entire deal…but “real” fans out there won’t listen to that either because Warren is involved, or because Simon isn’t involved…etc, etc. etc. Who decides what is right or wrong here? Definitely not me…and probably not you either. But yet we debate. We argue. We judge. We try our best to sell one another on the merits of our opinions.
Amanda pointed out, rather aptly in my opinion, that there are hot button issues in our fandom – topics that seem to divide us like the Red Sea, in other words. One of those topics is the discussion of Andy Taylor, et. al. For a long time, you didn’t dare go onto a message board and openly throw out names such as Warren or Andy without a very heated discussion happening. There is sincere passion in our community, I’ll say that much. The point Amanda was making on Saturday was that this topic – the one of Timbaland specifically, is in fact a very polarizing topic within the community. Unfortunately, even that assertion was not well-received. Many feel that the community as a whole is just polarized – it’s not any one topic that does more damage, and it just is what it is.
I can’t say I completely agree. I think that a lot of what Amanda and I have tried to do in the years we’ve written Daily Duranie is bring people together, and to read that some don’t even think that what we do is worth the effort is certainly sobering. (and really kind of callous, in my opinion.) Although, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Sure, there have been things over the years that has created deep cracks in the foundation of this fandom, (Lo and behold what are some of those things? The Andy/Warren debate? The entire commentary on competition and greed? Oh…and Red Carpet Massacre/Timbaland??? See what I’m doing here at all?) but I think there have been plenty of things keeping fans together. We do have our differences, but we also have one very large, gleaming similarity: Our love for the band. There is plenty of room to meet in the middle without being forced to compromise our individual ideals. That alone makes it worth trying to bridge the divide, and gives credence to someone like Amanda writing what was a heartfelt, relevant post on Saturday.