Last Sunday, Duran Duran celebrated a little anniversary. The Reflex was released 33 years ago that day. 33?! Rhonda often talks about how she cannot believe that this song or this album was released decades ago and I’m right there with her. In this case, this anniversary represents my personal anniversary. I mark it as the date that I became a fan, a Duranie. 33 years ago. I work with teachers who are younger than that.
Anyway, why does this particular song represent my embrace of Duranie-ness? Simple. While I remember liking many of their songs and videos before this one, the Reflex pushed me over the edge into obsession. I couldn’t get enough. I had to watch each time that the video played. In fact, whenever I saw the video I had to call my best friend at the time and vice versa. At our sleepovers, we were glued to Friday Night Videos and MTV in hopes that it would air. We saw it so often that we learned all the moves. In fact, I think I have a picture of my friend doing one of Simon’s classic dance moves.
When I think back to my childhood and doing things like memorizing moves or rewinding videotapes in order to pause when John Taylor turns to the camera, I can’t help but sit shaking my head a bit. It is not that I think we did anything wrong or that we demonstrated our fandom in an obnoxious way. It is more like I wish I could go back in time to see how I experienced my fandom then. I have memories of it and some of them are very vivid, including the ones I shared here. Part of me wishes that I could go back to that time when that love for Duran was so new and so amazing.
I always think of new fandom as being like that “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship when you can’t get enough and no wrong is done. It feels perfect. As an adult, I now see the imperfections of both the band, the fans and even myself. That flawless image cannot remain, just like it never does in a relationship either. No one is perfect and fandom is not either.
The other part of myself wants to give some insight to the young, almost 9 year old me. I want to warn, almost, the younger version of me about how media and others will criticize Duran Duran. They will attempt to be the thumbtacks to my fandom balloon. Perhaps, I would explain how as time goes on, changes happen. Bands evolve and experience change. Some of it will sting a bit but that the heart of Duran Duran will continue to beat on for decades. I would want to ensure my younger self that I’m not wrong for becoming a Duranie. Some points I might make include about their staying power and about the fabulous songs they wrote and performed after the current Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.
Beyond the band, I might point out where fandom took me personally. Maybe, I would talk about the states and countries I have visited just to see the band live or about all of the friends I have made as a result. Then, if my younger self handled all of that, I might share the fact that I have written a daily blog with my best friend about being a Duran fan for years. Many years.
What do I think my younger self would say to all of this? I imagine that I wouldn’t be shocked that the band has been around for decades. I might laugh and say something like, “Of course they will be around! Duh!” As far the concert going goes, my 9 year old self would have struggled with that more. After all, at that point, I hadn’t attended a single concert. I could imagine that I would have questions and a couple of exclamations! “Do you dance like the audience did in the Reflex? Do you sing along? What is it like to breath the same air as them? I probably would pass out if I was anywhere near them. Is John as cute as he looks?” Then, my older self could blow my younger self’s mind when I tell her/me about how I have pictures of the band, that I have spoken to them and seen them up close.
As far as the blog goes, my younger self definitely would have been confused by that idea. After all, I would not know anything about the internet for another decade. Overall, though, I think I would have been in awe. Jealous. I would have been excited to grow up and have the experiences I shared. After this conversation, the adult me, the real me might have remembered the feeling of pure joy and innocence that exists in brand new fandom. Then, I will think about the love that can and does grow over time. It isn’t despite the imperfections but because of them. Fandom isn’t perfect and either is the band. What it is, though, is mine. I don’t mean that in a possessive, I’m the only one sort of way. Just that Duran is a part of me, part of my history and always will be. Maybe, someday, I’ll be writing about my 43rd or 53rd anniversary of being a Duranie. That might be just as cool as talking to my younger self.