Was I meant to be a Duranie, a Duran Duran fan or a fan of some sort? Yesterday, I opened my personal Facebook and was greeted with the news that Star Trek is 50. Yes, 50 years ago, the first season of Star Trek aired. What does this have to do with being a Duranie? Before I heard of Duran Duran, I heard of Star Trek. It often aired in my house growing up. I think there is a connection between that fact and my current fan status. I am beginning to think that being a fan is my destiny. It is who I am meant to be in that my environment, growing up made it a given.
Fandom lives and breathes in my family history. My grandpa on my mom’s side loved baseball. He tried to play baseball often and when he wasn’t playing, he walked through the Chicago sewers to sneak into old Comiskey Park to cheer on the White Sox. My mom grew up not far from that ball park and often attended games with both of her parents and her brother. She was destined to become a huge White Sox fan. My father who also grew up on the South Side of Chicago developed a love for that baseball team as well. He loved the team so much that he once decided not to continue dating a woman after she was not interested in the 1959 team’s quest at winning the World Series. Yes, clearly, my parents were meant to be. As you can imagine, their three children all grew up to be Sox fans. Their two grandchildren are also Sox fans (much to the disappointment of their father who is a Yankees fan).
Did my family’s status as Sox fans encourage me to find my own fandom? I think it helped. My siblings furthered the likelihood that I would become a fan of something. My sister, for some weird reason, became a Barry Manilow fan along with my cousin. The two of them spent a lot of time listening to his albums around the time I was five or six years old. As a kid, I looked up to my sister and saw how close she was with our cousin because they shared this common passion. They even went to visit my grandma just so they could attend a Barry Manilow concert near her.
If my parents and my sister weren’t enough, there was my brother. Like my sister, he was much older than me and someone I looked up to. As a young kid, I watched everything my siblings did and wanted to grow up to be just like them. My brother spent a great deal of his childhood wrapped up in comic books. He read them and organized them. Heck, he even kept them in special pouches and wouldn’t let me read them because I might leave fingerprints or crumbs or something. It is no wonder that he grew up to study and teach about comic books. He has written many books about them and has even been interviewed as a comics expert.
Then, there was Star Trek. By the time I was born, the show had long been canceled and was fully in the re-run schedule. Yet, it was a show that often was on in my house growing up. While my brother was the one to buy books about the show and other collectibles related to it, my entire family watched and enjoyed it. In fact, our family dog was named Mr. Spock. Yes, my brother named him but it was quite logical in that the dog had pointed ears. One of the first movies I remember seeing in the theater was the first Star Trek movie. To this day, the movies require as many family members in attendance as possible. For the latest movie this summer, I went with my parents and my nieces. Afterwards, there was a phone call with my brother to discuss it.
Thus, I was always around fandom. My family always participated in fan activities from going to concerts to baseball games to movies. My parents allowed everyone to find what made them happy. For me, then, I guess it was a matter of time before something would reach out and grab me like Barry Manilow did for my sister or what comics did for my brother or what the Sox and Star Trek did for the family.
When I discovered Duran Duran at an early age, my family just went with it. My parents accepted the posters on the walls and the squeeing that went on when I watched videos with my best friend. Like they did with my sister and brother, my parents checked out my new passion and found a way to appreciate it. Even to this day, when I play Duran in the car with my mom, she will often sing along. My dad even has some Duran music in his stereo.
I saw my family’s fandoms my entire life. I recognized that it brought them joy and I wanted that for myself. Luckily for me, I found it with Duran Duran. It is a fandom that hasn’t let go since I was a young kid. Maybe, part of the reason is because I belonging to a fandom is my destiny, my genes, my family.