Inspiration, look see.

Inspiration is what makes this blog really run. I was not in New York City last night, but I did catch the opening lines before the second screening, thanks to a friend of mine who kindly took video so that we could share the moment. Something that John said kind of hit home – he mentioned that the band is in the inspiration business.

Granted, he went on to explain that New York City is special to them, and that anyone who comes there can find inspiration at any time, day or night – and while I’m sure that for the band, this is true – the important part of that statement for me is that they are in fact in the inspiration business.

The band has inspired a lot of people in one way or another…whether they’ve inspired people to write, create visual artwork of many different mediums, go into the music industry in some capacity, become concert photographers, become collectors of memorabilia…the list goes on and on. In that sense, the band has been a remarkable driving force to a countless number of people, many of whom have never once seen the band play live, met any of them, gotten a photo or even a signature. That’s astounding when you think about it, and for that reason, I have to agree with John 100%. Much of their work really IS inspiration, because that inspiration is what keeps us coming back for more. Whether we hear a particular important line for ourselves in “Salt in the Rainbow”, a line of melody that becomes an earworm, or see some artwork from an album that becomes the color scheme for something else we do…it is that inspiration we seek. It speaks to us, to our hearts and minds, in some way. Inspiration.

It’s true, for us the band has been our source of inspiration. We were inspired to try writing a book about what it is really like to be a fan.  We wanted to really answer the question, “What do you really get out of being a fan?” For us, it’s not just pretty photos with band members or VIP events and cocktail parties.  It’s the friends and connections we’ve made along the way. We kind of made an unspoken bet between the two of us that the same held true for many other fans out there.  The band inspired this blog (obviously), but the blog isn’t just about Duran Duran. Again, it’s about being FANS of that band. What inspires us as fans to continue sticking around, buying music and going to concerts – in some cases for over thirty years now? Whatever that is – we try to write about it and describe on our own terms.

Interestingly enough to include here as a sidebar, and probably very selfishly and naively at the same time: at one point we had some sort of tiny glimmer of hope that eventually, the band might take notice of this silly blog. Painfully raw for me to admit here, but I have never NOT been honest on this blog. So here it is in all of it’s glory. I don’t know what we were hoping for – some sort of spoken/acknowledged/respected synergy maybe? Perhaps a thank you? Do we deserve that? Do we dare ask for that? Who knows… I guess that for me, I had hoped that the band would see this as a link to their fans and embrace it. They’d really have a window into what we’re thinking, and somehow…some way…it would actually be useful. Another funny thing about me, something that is as much my downfall as it is a nice quality, is that I seek approval. I very much want to be accepted, respected, approved, included…etc. etc. I wish for that validation, and yes, I need it. Sometimes, it never comes.

However, Amanda and I are fairly aware that we’re good at what we do here. We understand fandom in a way that the “suits”…or the “Powers That Be” absolutely, positively, never will. They don’t get it, and we KNOW they don’t get it because they see fans as dollar signs with legs and faces, and we see fans as people who can choose to stay or go – especially because at our age (we’re an aging community whether we want to believe it or not), there are only a few things keeping them here and the big one is the connection to other fans. It’s time to recognize and treat it as importantly as we do the music, because make no mistake – it IS important. We know what brings fans together, and we know how to drive that engine to keep it going. The band inspired us.

Amanda is pretty much ready to branch out past the narrow scope of this band. She wants to reach more people on a different level. She has a lot more faith in herself and her abilities than I do in my own, that is for sure, as I am currently questioning my role in all of this. Together, we put on a pretty amazing convention on a shoestring budget. If you weren’t there, didn’t want to shell out the cash or just couldn’t go – yeah – you missed out. It was worth the time and every penny. Amanda is through waiting for the future to happen, she’s ready to make it happen, and I’m proud of her for that. It takes a certain amount of bravery that I really don’t have, and a lot of inspiration.

We’ve been called “Sad People” by our own fellow fans. People who have apparently read the blog, called us whiners, and laughed. There are people that believe the blog is worthless, and that we just look pathetic. Maybe so. I think we look pathetic because we’re working our asses off each day and the band doesn’t even seem to care…and maybe they really don’t need to do so. That’s pretty painful to admit, because clearly we’ve failed – I’ve failed – but there’s a ton of fans out there that do care. They send us thank-you notes, notes of encouragement, and are our biggest cheerleaders. YOU, our readers, are our inspiration, and if we’re saddos, then I guess we’re all saddos together.

I don’t really know what the future holds. I am not certain that Amanda’s sense of direction is one I really share, interest-wise. Amanda is the organizer, I’m more of the business-head I guess. I really would rather write a novel than deal with people. I like words. I like working behind the scenes. I don’t enjoy the very things that she does.  We’re so opposite, it’s really kind of funny. I think that the next step for me, one we’ve been discussing for a long time now –  is going to depend on how I can see myself fitting in to her vision. No matter, it is true that Duran Duran is in the inspiration business. They inspired me to simply begin. I’ve been waiting a long time for a little approval and validation (again, I already said this was silly and naive of me) – because that is what *I* do. Clearly, it’s time for me to learn that one doesn’t always receive what they think they need most, and it’s not always obvious what direction someone should head next. Sometimes the inspiration comes when and where you’re not necessarily looking.

-R

8 thoughts on “Inspiration, look see.”

  1. I am going to take an educated guess that those who refer to you guys as “whiners” or “sad people” or “pathetic”(and I am cringing just writing those words because IMO that is so off the mark) are those fans who believe the band can do no wrong, put them up on a pedestal, and who won't say or hear a word against them no matter what. I hate to tell them that despite all the hero worship that may be going on, the band is human just like the rest of us. They make good decisions, some not so good ones (Red Carpet Massacre anyone?), they are not perfect. That's the reality of it.

    I prefer to call you guys “realists”. The majority of the time, you guys are writing about the good things, the things we like, the things that work. But occasionally, when something isn't quite right or could be better, you guys don't hesitate to question that and talk about it. Just because you question something, people shouldn't view that as a personal attack on the band or themselves, or should attack you for it. Dialogue can be a healthy thing. Again, JMO.

    I also wanted to say that I think your blog has plenty of worth,and I find out a lot of things through you guys that I wouldn't find out elsewhere because I am not tapped into that Duranie Grapevine. I look forward to getting it in my e-mail box every day. Thanks for keeping it real!

    -Susan-

  2. I really couldn't characterize the people who respond to the blog negatively – it's not just one type of fan, and really, some people are just not going to like what we do here, and that's OK. I think there are some out there that just feel that the sheer amount of time (ASSUMED amount of time) that Amanda and I might spend writing about Duran Duran (as opposed to writing about fandom and researching – which is what we really spend more time on) makes us “sad people”. I don't know. I'm honestly not really sure if I care much, either.

    I said pretty much everything I needed and wanted to say in my post today…so I'm just going to leave it here. 🙂 -R

  3. Rhonda, again, you have bared your soul to the masses and boy, does that take guts. I respect what you and Amanda do and give kudos to you both. I like what Susan said in her comment above, “Thank you for keeping it real” and I would add to that “and focusing on the people and their connections with each other”….because really, isnt that what its all about? Jill (Chickrat)

  4. Yeah, yesterday's blog was pretty tough for me to write. It's hard to admit that like anyone, I seek some sort of crazy approval from these people I've held as idols for so long – and like nearly everyone else, I've gotten nothing. I wish I could say I was above all of that, but I'm not. It hurts to know that not only have we not really been embraced, etc, that when they hold awesome VIP events – I can't even freaking take advantage. LOL (that's more of a rueful feeling than anything else. I really am genuinely happy for people who were able to go. Envious because I couldn't. I'm human.) There's this really messed up negative part of me that is saying “You know Rhonda, had you actually flown across the country for this thing, your VIP event would have involved standing outside for several hours, no food, no beverages, and the closest you would have gotten to the band would have been seeing them through a window.” I laugh, because well, the irony tends to ring true. 😀

    Oh well. I guess I do bare myself here because I figure – why not? I'm not nearly this open (or loud) in person. Well…maybe I *am* a bit loud. I'm Sicilian and it comes with the territory.

    -R

  5. Naaah, your blog is just amazing.
    I guess that a special fandom like ours is daily a source of inspiration, but of course at the heart of it all there is their music.
    My own project is the Music Awards: I daily have sources of inspiration looking at the most interesting facts in music, in DD music and the facts in the fandom. I have had ups and downs as you are having on your blog and I'm aware it takes patience and much self control on all of the factors, emotions, feelings, reaction on all what happens.
    So,here to end is my big share of support on both of our (amazing) daily “tasks”!!

  6. We received this in our Daily Duranie email and I wanted to copy/paste it here in a couple parts:

    I've just gotten around to reading this post, I am sorry to say. Better late than never???

    I need to write some blogs myself for my own website. I have just had a hard time putting many of my thoughts into words for the past 10 days or so. Well, longer than that, I guess, since I still haven't blogged anything about Durandemonium and fully intend/want to.

    The crux of what I want to say to you, though, Rhonda, is that I think most fans of anyone/anything seek validation or approval to some extent. Otherwise, why do we “follow” our favorite groups/personalities on social media? Or, to take it “old school,” why did we buy all of those Teen Beat and Bop magazines??? It wasn't completely for the pin-ups! We wanted to know — so we could wow our friends and imagine what we would do when we met these people in person. So we could receive that approval/validation from them when that magical moment finally happened for us.

    Those magical moments are not always what we dream of for 29 years. I learned this last Monday in New York. It wasn't that any of the band members were rude, really, but one just kinda left me thinking, “I REALLY waited 29 years for that moment right there???” And it really bothered me. For a couple if days. I even turned off my radio when I got back to DC and heard a Duran Duran song on the radio for the first time after meeting all of them.

    TBC…

  7. Second portion…

    I felt like I didn't want to adore them anymore; I didn't want to scream like a school girl when I heard them on the radio. Not all of them. Because of one particular little rather insignificant thing, when all was said and done. I let that one thing completely overshadow something utterly splendiferous that another band member did that night, something that I am eternally grateful for, and that, by all means SHOULD HAVE BEEN what I focused on instead of this other little thing. PLUS, I met all four of them, got some kick-butt pictures as I stood in a line with New York paparazzi, and got them to sign things for me, all without being at the sold-out VIP event at “Il Leopard.” And I also had tickets to both the 7:30 and the 8:00 screenings, without selling my self-respect in any way, so I was able to get that 8:00 introduction video footage and go back in to the 7:30 screening with plenty of time for the Q&A session. (How freaking awesome and against the odds was all of THAT?!?!?)

    I guess what I'm saying is that we all want validation. I completely understand that. And I don't work my @$$ off like you and Amanda do for “the cause” that is Duran Duran. But validation comes in different graces and guises. And sometimes not at all in the way we might expect. I think that the band members, or certain ones of them, anyway, do read and “follow” certain things that certain fans do to some extent. And while they may not comment directly, therefore not handing over that desired validation or approval that we sometimes think we need to keep doing what we do “for them,” I think that they know and appreciate more than we frequently think that they do.

    I have huge respect for you guys and the blog and so much other stuff that you do! I won't say that I agree with 100% of it — how boring would Duranie Land be if we all loved everything you did?!? 😉 But yes, I admire and respect you guys. Like I admire and respect the music of a band called Duran Duran, the music that has saved my life on more than one occasion (as has the music of Don Henley and a certain song by Corey Hart). And because of the MUSIC of that band, I can overlook and not dwell on one band member's shortfall of my lifetime of expectations when I met him. Because of the graciousness of another band member, I turned the radio back on, knowing I would find my way in an Ordinary World, because, at the end of the day, my teenage rock star idols aren't much more than ordinary people that I've placed on one hell of a pedestal. They are people. Which is exciting and disappointing, sometimes all in the same moment of time.

    And you know what else? Duran Duran ARE in the INSPIRATION business, like John said, but you and Amanda are, too! I'm so glad that I went to Durandemonium before the event in New York. I think I was much better equipped for that encountered shortfall after having interacted with some of the Duranies that I met in Chicago. I know that having had the opportunity to hang out with you and Amanda helped me cope with lots of things in New York and immediately after in a much more positive light. I can't wait to hang out with you guys again. And with my new Duranie friends, too — the ones from Chicago and from New York. Because you're absolutely right; I'm not in this for the girls bragging about hitting on band members or making fun of other fans as they come into the restaurant where the VIP event was taking place: I'm in it for the camaraderie and for “the music between us.” That is what has always sustained me with this band and what I imagine always will.

    Chrissie

  8. Thanks so much for taking the time to send that, Chrissie. I know it helps me to read that I'm not the only one out there feeling less-than-great about fandom sometimes. It's not an easy road…and you're right, I have no way of knowing what the band reads/follows/appreciates in most cases. I wish I did.

    I cannot tell you how humbled I really am to read what you said about Amanda and I being in the inspiration business. I really can't articulate it, and I probably shouldn't try…but thank you.

    Mostly, I am so glad, so thrilled, excited, and PROUD…that you enjoyed Durandemonium and made new friends. That is exactly why we planned the event, and against all odds, it worked. And we're not in debt!!

    -R

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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