Sometimes, I get tired of talking. I know. It is incredibly hard to imagine, but I do. It seems like that is all that I do. Certainly, there is no argument that I do a ton of talking at my official, day job of being a teacher. Heck, I think middle school teachers like me talk more than most. It is no wonder that I will frequently lose my voice as it is often over used. Then, of course, during campaign season, I am constantly talking there, too. I am talking to other volunteers, to campaign staff and, of course, to voters. It is never ending. Again, it wasn’t surprising that I lost my voice days before the fall of 2012 election only to have it return a few days after. Then, of course, there is this “job” of mine. I feel like I talk here, too. While I may not be using my vocal cords and positioning my mouth and tongue in certain positions to make sounds, I am using my fingers and technology to create the words. I will often “hear” the words in my head as I type, for example. I’m constantly thinking about words—speaking or writing. Communicating. Last weekend, Rhonda and I spent a lot of time talking, too. Again, this is not surprising to anyone familiar with us or this blog. We have a lot to say. In fact, it seems like we can or will never shut up. This is why we have managed to maintain a DAILY blog while writing a book and/or teaching children or whatnot. Of course, not only do we have a lot to say in general, we have a lot to say about Duran. When this subject came up the other weekend, Rhonda and I laughed at ourselves, thinking that we must be the only two nuts out there who could talk about Duran as much as we do. Yet, it is clear to me that this simply isn’t just us. There are tons of people who want to talk about Duran. Why? Why have the conversations?
It seems to me through my research on fandom that the very first step, the very first element of fandom is communication and discussion. Once people become fans, they want to talk about whatever they are a fan of. Those conversations might start out with, “Oh my God, this album is SO good. Simon is the best singer ever.” The initial conversations might be filled with declarations of love. For some fans, this overwhelming feeling of love and need to express it remains throughout their fandom. For others, the discussions turn toward other topics. These other topics might still be wrapped up in warmth and good will but will tend to focus on more in-depth topics like, “Which album is best and why?” or “What rocks in the band’s live performance and what should be changed?” Obviously, these more in-depth, more challenging topics are never ending (thank goodness for us!) . Beyond the bazillion topics that are out there, the topics are frequently revisited as well. Why? Why have these more in-depth conversations and why have them more than once? Clearly, Rhonda and I feel strongly about this since many of our topics have been visited over and over again, which is obvious by how many times certain labels appear on various blog posts. So, why do we keep revisiting the topics? Is this the same reason that other fans keep talking about the same things?
On a big, sociological scale, fans involved in a fan community/fandom have conversations to reach common meanings. All fans start from the same place. In our case, that place is that Duran Duran is one of the greatest bands, if not the greatest band. We are fans of Duran’s music. The starting place of any fandom is always a pretty general statement. From there, though, there are a variety of opinions about any given subject within the fandom. For example, most Duranies might agree that Simon is a great singer or that his ability to write significant lyrics. Will we all agree on that? Of course not. We all agree that Duran is great. Do we all agree that Simon is great? I know it is hard to imagine but probably not. Most of us might agree. The general consensus is that he is a good singer and lyricist. Likewise, many Duranies might say that the first couple of albums are some of Duran’s best. Will all? Probably not. Will most agree to that? Sure. Is there general consensus? I would say so while acknowledging that there is always going to be some disagreement, no matter how small of a disagreement. How did we, as a fandom, come to some of these general conclusions about Simon or about how good the first couple of albums were or any of the other 85,000 things we have consensus on? Simple. We decided them through discussion.
As a group, discussions take place to share our mutual interest and to try and seek some sort of general agreement. As individuals, we might participate in the discussions in order to gain new and different understanding. I, for one, love to have the discussion, even if, maybe especially if, it is on a topic that I have discussed before. I love having the conversations with Rhonda and I adore having it with other fans. Why? Again, this is a simple answer. I learn from others even if they are people I have discussed the topic with previously. They help people gain new insights, put some ideas together in their heads, relook at things and more. Then, they share with me and I do the same. This way everyone learns and grows from each other. Perhaps, this is why I love the idea of the blog. I love putting my ideas down and then seeking out others’ ideas. Other people may completely agree with me, which is fine. This might indicate that I’m on the general consensus path. On the other hand, people may disagree or question my thinking. That is cool, too. I may not change my position BUT my position might be clearer or my argument stronger by having it.
As a Duranie of 29 years now, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of talking about Duran. I know I won’t get tired of talking about fandom. I’m thankful that there are so many others out there like me who feel the same. Besides, being able to learn from each other, I also think it is fun. Does that make me weird? Whatever. No comments are necessary. Speaking of fun, though, Rhonda and I had a cool new idea to get our creative juices flowing.
I’m sure you are all are aware that we often title our blogs based on Duran lyrics. This one, for example, is from the song, New Religion. Typically, we write the topic and then find lyrics to match. Yet, it seems to me that it can be done the other way around. We could come up with topics based on lyrics! While we could probably randomly select lyrics ourselves, we figured you all might want to pick out lyrics to spur our blog posts. For example, you could say, “Write a blog post with the following lyrics in mind: ‘I must have flowers in my brain.’” Thus, we would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for you to send us lyrics that we should use to write a blog about. These lyrics could be ones that you think describe fandom or some aspect of fandom. They could describe the band. They could describe us. They could be lyrics that fascinate you. Perhaps, the lyrics are ones you love, hate or doesn’t understand. Whatever the case, please, send lyrics our way via our email (firstname.lastname@example.org), our twitter or our facebook. Maybe, these lyrics will initiate some great, mind-expanding discussions!!!