Rhonda and I have been very lucky to have met a bunch of Duranies in the last couple of years. Many of these people are now people I consider genuine friends. We connected because of Duran, yes, but that was just the starting point. This reminds me about the true value of fandom, in my opinion. Connections. Of course, many (all?) of us spend time worrying about connecting with the band, but in the long run, it won’t be about the band members. It will be about other fans and about lifelong friends. I have been incredibly lucky in that department. For example, my weekend of grading was spent in Chicago. Why was I there? I was there to visit friends. (Luckily, they understood that I had to do grades! Ugh.) One of the friends is from Minneapolis and she stopped in Madison to pick me up on the way down. The other two friends are from Chicago (one from south side and the other north side). Three of us are the same age and the last one is a lot younger. How did we meet? It wasn’t because we were neighbors, colleagues or school friends. We met through fandom. Once upon a time, I ventured into another fandom. In this case, it wasn’t about music, but about a TV show. They, too, wandered into that fandom. After speaking online for awhile, we planned to meet up. That was in November of 2002. 10 long years ago. During that first meetup, we talked about the show. Now, we never mention that show. Instead, we talk about our lives and what we are into now. That show brought us together but friendship is what has kept us together.
Obviously, the same kind of story could be told for Rhonda and myself. We met, first, online and later in real life at another convention, the one held in New Orleans in 2004. Like my weekend buddies, Duran brought Rhonda and I together but we stay because we are real friends. In fact, we have become best friends despite our differences or our distance from each other. The connection, the bond was formed and remains strong today. As I think about the convention taking place this weekend in the band’s hometown, I can’t help but to hope that attendees there will be as lucky as I was in 2002 when I met my TV show friends or as lucky as I was in September of 2004 when I met Rhonda. In both cases, we all hit it off and learned to appreciate each other more as time as gone on. Now, I cannot imagine my life without them. Thus, I hope that people are able to really connect at the convention and that lifelong friendships are formed.
On this note, I leave you with the demo, Salt in the Rainbow, from the album, Astronaut, as I believe it sums up friendship within fandom.