It Was Thirty-Nine Years Ago…

So, 39 years ago yesterday, this little gem was released.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I still can’t quite believe it. Thirty-nine years? Did we do the math wrong?? It just seems hard to imagine that I’ve been a fan of this band for that long. (heh – just imagine what it must be like to have been one of them, having LIVED it all!)

When I think back, I can remember buying their debut album. First off, my original album doesn’t look like that one. It’s more like this one below:

Back then, I really didn’t know much about the band, only that I loved “Is There Something I Should Know”, which yes – I realize wasn’t on the original debut album released in the UK. I can also tell you that I didn’t buy the debut album first. For me, Duran Duran’s first album here in America was Rio.

Oh, I can hear the screams of protest from around the globe now…

As my story goes, I bought Rio first (which yes, was also a reissue with the Kershenbaum remixes. No, I didn’t know anything about that at the time). In fact, Rio was the only album available in my record store by Duran Duran on that fateful day sometime in April of 1983. That is because Rio was released in America on April 2nd of 1983…and the US reissue of Duran Duran’s debut album didn’t show up in record stores until April 25 of 1983. The original version of their debut was nowhere to be found. So yes, for me, Rio was in my record collection first. At that point, I was just 12 years old – the same age as my youngest right now (that’s mind boggling when I stop and think about it) – and I didn’t know much about Duran Duran. Heck, at that point, I didn’t know that much about music, unless it was Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms! (or Mozart. Can’t forget him.)

I guess by this logic, it really hasn’t been 39 years since I first bought their album….but I’m just going to go with it…

The very first poster I bought of Duran Duran was an enlarged version of the picture found on their US debut album. It hung on the wall behind my bed, just about my bedroom window. I couldn’t get over how tan Simon was, or Nick’s cheekbones (and hair, of course). If I remember right, I bought that poster the day I went in with my friend Marsha to buy Rio. That album purchase was a big deal, because as I recall, it was the very first record album I ever went into a store to buy for myself.

I can remember Marsha – she was the true rock music scholar of the two of us back then – explaining to me that we’d made an egregious error in buying Rio before getting their debut album. She was always so OCD and exacting about that kind of thing – I just wanted to buy their music, not caring so much about what came first or what “edition” I had. Marsha though, she was very particular about her music collection. Before Duran Duran, she’d been an avid Beatles collector (in fact I wonder a lot about her Beatles album collection nowadays, because I know she had the “right” versions of their entire catalog. She’d spent hundreds of hours – and many dollars – searching and finding just the right pressings to add to her collection even back then!), and she was well-versed in reissues, pressings, label changes, and that sort of thing.

Me? I just wanted to listen to “Is There Something I Should Know” every minute of the day….yay. I was more than slightly disappointed it wasn’t on Rio, since it seemed like since it had only just come out on the radio – it should be on that album! (See what I mean? I didn’t have a single clue)

Anyway, Marsha calmly and patiently explained that we’d have to go back to Music+ and buy the US reissue of their debut. She was insistent that we try and find the original pressing though, because for some reason, that mattered to her. I was 12. I just wanted my damn song. On one of the following Saturdays, we convinced her mom to take us back to the record store, where we each bought our now well-loved copies of their US reissued debut, along with this t-shirt:

Now, this isn’t exactly my shirt – which I still have. Mine was a muscle-tee, which meant no sleeves (if you’re going to do the 80s, do ‘em all the way, I guess…). I don’t wear that shirt anymore because, well, I’ve grown since I was 12.

Those that know me in real life could probably read this blog and say, “Yep, that sounds a lot like Rhonda.” While it’s true that I’ve had to get better about knowing the differences between say, Japanese and American album pressings, or what in fact the Kershenbaum mixes really are and how they’re different, because I write The Daily Duranie – for the most part – I have never been that great about paying attention! Certainly not when I was 12. I wasn’t that sort of collector or fan. I’m still really not! I love what I love, I don’t care what version I have, and I don’t try to get every single edition of whatever is out.

As I listen to Duran Duran’s debut album, and just so everyone knows – it has always been, and will likely continue to remain my favorite, so I play it the most often, I can truly say that I never once thought about how long I might listen to it when I bought it that day at Music+. Never did it occur to me that I’d grab it off the shelf thirty-nine years later, still proclaiming it to still be my favorite. Never once did I think that I’d see the band live, travel to shows, or make lifelong friends as a result. Sometimes I contemplate what the 12-year old in me would think if she had known on that day she was making what has come to be one of the biggest directional choices in her life by picking up that album that day at Music+. Knowing her like I do, she would have rolled her eyes at just the thought of growing old, never mind the rest of it.

I’ve said before that the one true constant I’ve had in this fandom has been the band itself. Duran Duran has been a part of my life in one way or another since just after I’d turned ten years old. Whether I’d only heard one song by them on a new radio station I was trying out, or I’d listened to their lead singer introduce new music I’d never heard of before on a podcast – the band has been a constant. They’ve smiled at me from on stage, signed albums for me, waved to Amanda and I while passing by in a lobby, clinked glasses at a bar (okay, so most of that is from Simon, now that I think about it…), allowed us to write about them every day for nearly a decade now – telling our own story of being fans, and most importantly, their music has genuinely saved me from some pretty low times during my nearly fifty years on this planet.

No, I didn’t think much about listening to the band nearly forty years after buying that first record, but I’m sure glad I am.

-R

Playing Catch-Up

Good morning (or afternoon) Duranie-world!

As a quick aside: I think I’ve made up more words for the Duran fan “world” over the years than what might be necessary...

Yesterday, I did something I would have never thought possible a few years ago. I forgot Dom’s birthday.

I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life lately, I suppose, and Duran hasn’t always been at forefront of my mind. Even so, he’s my favorite guitarist, and I felt pretty terrible when I opened my email yesterday to see that Amanda had written his happy birthday message. I didn’t even realize it was the 14th! Granted, the man hasn’t been on social media since what – January – so that might be part of it too, but I get it.

In the note posted on DD.com, Dom mentioned the challenges of homeschooling – something most parents and teachers are familiar with these days. I know his pain. My 12-year old daughter did her absolute best to do the bare minimum to survive, and that’s even with me looking over her shoulder each day to see that work had been finished. Assignments went unfinished, threats were made (by me), and then I heard from her teachers, who took great joy in telling me she was one of their only students that was *laughs* thriving. So much for my concern, I guess??? So yay for homeschooling!

I don’t mind saying that I’m really hoping…and pretty much willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to satisfy the Gods…for regular school next year. In any case, I couldn’t let the day go by without saying a very belated Happy Birthday to Dom. I’ve been cheering for you since the beginning, and it’s nice to hear you’re doing well! Stay healthy and happy!

In other news, I want to continue to encourage anyone who hasn’t taken the time to listen to the Whoosh! podcasts with Simon and Katy to do it. Put your earbuds in, grab your headphones, or even listen to it over a Sonos (yeah, that’s a shoutout for my husband’s company and I’m not even sorry) speaker. In return, you’ll be well-entertained for an hour or so and the music choices are stellar, too.

During the last episode from Friday, someone had asked him about lyrics, and Simon repeated a sort of mantra that someone had told me once and sticks with me every single day just before I hit “publish”. The words are yours until you release them. So whatever you meant when you wrote the line of lyric, the book, the blog, whatever…was yours until you allowed other people to read, listen and interpret them, then those words become theirs. I can’t quite remember who first gave me that advice, but it was by far one of the best tips I’ve gotten. Once I recognized that it wasn’t up to me to defend the words once they’d gone live and out to the universe, my life became far easier. He feels the same about his lyrics. Good advice for any writer!

Additionally, I just want to thank he and Katy for the extra work I know it takes to produce the podcast each week. Simon says he really enjoys doing it. Well, I really enjoy listening. So much so that I’ve taken time to listen to more songs by a few of the artists he has picked for the podcasts over the weeks. From last week’s show, I’m throwing out L.A. Priest and Denai Moore as artists to check out on Spotify. Both are super talented, and pleasing to the ears for sure. Give either of them a listen and let me know what you think! More of that to come later…

It is my time to sign off now, as I prepare to spend an afternoon at the beach with my youngest. Cheers for now!

-R

Happy Birthday Dom 2020!

June is a busy month, isn’t it? After all, it is one filled with graduations, parties and everything else that is connected with the end of a school year and beginning of summer. Mother’s Day just happened and Father’s Day is around the corner. For my family, my sister’s birthday is in between those. Obviously, my Duranie family celebrates quite a few special days with first Nick’s birthday, now Dom’s and later John’s. Has everyone had a chance to read Dom’s lengthy birthday message on the band’s official website? Let me copy and paste it here:

Hello all, 

I’ve been very quiet on social media as of late but glad to say we’re all well here and I hope that you and your loved ones are too, staying safe wherever in the World you are! What crazy and unprecedented times we’re going through!

Yep, it’s that time of year again for us Geminis to celebrate another birthday. It’s mine today! 

It’s been an interesting year, but obviously the last few months can’t be compared with anything any of us have ever experienced before. I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy during lockdown: homeschooling, working in my studio, gardening, reading and watching much more news than usual.

I’ve been hunkered down in my studio working on some solo music that is very long overdue. I’m pretty happy with a lot of it, so there may even be something released later in the year. I feel quite lucky having my own studio where I’ve been able to safely hideaway whilst experimenting with some new equipment, ideas, songs and sounds. 

I’ve also been very busy with the new challenge we face of homeschooling, and I’m sure all the parents out there can relate to my description of using the word ‘challenge’! It’s been going well but my recently-turned-fourteen year old boy is constantly trying to get away with the bare minimum and shaving off time where ever possible. It’s been a good time for bonding with the children though, and I’m getting quite used to the new normal… but am hoping things will soon return to some semblance of how they were before. 

I’m particularly missing performing and going to see concerts and shows. It was pretty disappointing having to postpone some of the DD shows we had lined up for this summer, especially Hyde Park, Rock In Rio and the Isle of Wight headline slots. I also had a few of my own shows lined up that have been postponed, so I’ve attached a video (taken by my 10 year old daughter) of me playing the last section of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” with theDB3 last November. It was a fun show, hope you like it. (Head to duranduran.com to see the video!)

Anyway, off to have some socially distanced social time with some of my family. Look after each other and hopefully we all have a safe year ahead!

Dom xx

I, for one, was pleased to see a long message as it is nice to know that he is doing as well as we can hope for and working on some new solo material. I had to laugh when he talked about homeschooling and how his son wanted to do minimal work. As someone who teaches 14 year olds on a regular basis, I get it. In fact, imagine about 30 of them in the room at one time!

Anyways, as we celebrate Dom’s birthday, I want to thank him for being a part of the Duran Duran team. I remember back in 2005 when I held tickets to shows for the Astronaut tour during my spring break and finding out that Andy had to go home for his dad. Instantly, I felt for Andy and his father but also relief that Dom could step in at a moment’s notice so the shows could go on. As we know from there, Dom made his presence known more and more through having a greater stage presence at shows, to playing on albums, and to helping write some of the best songs Duran has done. On that note, let’s celebrate some of my favorite Dom moments/contributions!

On that note, I wish the happiest birthday to Dom!

-A

Question of the Week: Song That Represents the Big Live Thing Tour

Last week’s poll continued our quest to determine a song that best represents each Duran Duran tour. So far, we have picked a song for the following tours:

  • Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour – Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour – Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour – Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour – Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour – White Lines
  • No Ordinary Tour – Too Much Information

This brought us to the Big Thing era and the Big Live Thing Tour. Like previous tours, first, we listed every song that was played in 1989. Based on last week’s vote, we will ask just about the songs that were chosen to determine the song that best represents the Big Live Thing Tour. Happy voting!

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Big Live Thing Tour?

Show Me For Yourself

Yesterday marked the official end to my school year. It goes without saying that this was an extremely odd one and certainly one of the most challenging. I’m willing to bet, though, that if I checked out the archives to this blog, I would find similar posts last year, the year before that, five years before that, etc. You get the idea. The end of the school year always bring some introspection on my part and this time is no different. In fact, it might bring more as next year is filled with question marks and concerns on a big picture scale. Then, I have some worries about my position, specifically.

I’m at a weird point in my career. I am probably about 10-12 years away from retirement. Trust me when I say that typing those words are as weird as thinking them. I’m not that old after all, right? In many ways, I wish that I was ten years younger or older. If I was younger, I would have more flexibility when it comes to thinking about my career and if I want to stay in the classroom. I would not lose as much, if I walked away. That said, if I was ten years older, retirement would be just around the corner, which would definitely keep me in place with little thought to switching jobs now. Unfortunately, I am in neither position.

Six years ago, I moved into my current place and took a new position at a high school teaching history. It truly felt like a chance to start over and, for a long time, the positives overshadowed the negatives. I love teaching history and women’s studies, which was added in my second year. My students keep me going with their questions, their thoughts, their passions and even their actions. I have witnessed many students turn their young lives around to being happy with themselves and their situations. Some of my students have followed in my footsteps as far as getting involved in the political sphere. Many have demonstrated their activism in the last few years. I am proud of the work that I have done.

At the same time, forces working against this outside of the four walls of my classroom have increased in both amount and intensity, making it difficult to focus on the benefits of my job. I have witnessed non-stop attacks on my profession from politicians and the public. Now, others have added to those voices, including ones with more direct impact. This, as you can imagine, has added stress to what is already deemed a very problematic period of history. That said, what does this mean for my fandom and this blog? How are those connected?

Fandom, like everything else, does not exist in a vacuum. I am not *just* a Duranie. I’m that and so much more. Life affects fandom and fandom affects life. At times, in my life, fandom has become almost all-consuming in that my focus was only on that. At other times, fandom has been placed on the back burner. It feels like this is a time in which fandom is in the background of my life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not leaving fandom. No. It is part of who I am and always will be. It just means that right now, my brain is thinking about other things like my career. I’m certain that once it is safe for the band to play shows again, it will grab a lot more of my attention. Likewise, when #DD15 drops, the music will definitely get most of me! I think this is all very common and normal.

So what about this blog? If fandom is more of a supporting player rather than a starring role in life, should the same thing be said for the blog? I don’t agree. When I think about the fact that we have been doing this for almost a decade, I feel a sense of pride, just like when I think about the successes of so many of my students. On top of that, it reminds me of an assignment my students did this spring. Since we are living in a pandemic, I asked my students to document their lives in some way. Some students chose to just journal. Others created slideshows with pictures. A few chose to vlog or to create a podcast. While the goal was for the kids to document life in a safer-at-home order during a pandemic, I found that my kids veered from that goal, at times. This, in itself, shows that life is not one-dimensional, even during a global health crisis. No matter how often or how little they referenced COVID, they still created a primary source document that could live on beyond them.

The same thing is true for this blog. It has captured not only our experiences, our research and our feelings toward fandom and Duran Duran, it has also captured so much of our lives. I think about writing when my grandma passed away in 2010 or through all the elections I have worked on. Rhonda, too, has written about the trials and tribulations surrounding her life and family. In many ways, the blog is more than the sum of its parts. It has grown beyond its original purpose. I, for one, am glad that we have it still as it has documented our lives and our fandom in a way that I could not have imagined when we started.

-A

The Fandom Utopia

Last night, after exhausting the options available on regular TV (as in, there were none of interest), I decided to watch a couple of episodes of a show on Prime called Upload. About a month ago I watched a few episodes when all of the kids were here. (note to any parents out there – it’s not kid friendly and I think my youngest is still scarred from my clapping my hand over her eyes a few times that first evening!) The show is set in the not-so-distant future year of 2033, a time where cars operate autonomously and people can choose to “upload” themselves digitally after death.

Essentially, your personality and spirit are downloaded from your dying body and then uploaded to the mainframe of an enormous corporation that manages your “life” after your death. From there, based on the afterlife you or your loved ones have chosen to subscribe (oh yes, capitalism is still alive and well in 2033), you can continue a virtual “life”….one in which you can call and interact with your still-living loved ones. Can you imagine?

Upload intrigued me because I liked the premise. Personal faith aside, what happens after death? I don’t know. As I watched the first episode or two, it seemed like uploading oneself to a virtual afterlife would be the perfect answer. We live this sometimes very difficult life on this planet (and naturally, for some the life is always hard and punishing), and then after, we’re rewarded by living out our days in paradise. Is there any such thing as total paradise – or as we Duranies should probably call it – Arcadia? (Check the thesaurus for paradise, people.)

In the midst of this seemingly “utopian” world on Upload, there are a number of other social commentaries going on. The “haves” and “have nots” found on earth still exist in the virtual afterlife. Some people can afford a virtual life on a grand scale. They are uploaded to a gorgeous high end resort called Lakeview. The basics are included in the Lakeview package, however, even in the virtual after life, there are in-app purchases and upgrades! Others who need more of the budget-conscious afterlife settle for what is called “2 gig”, a place where the inhabitants have two gigs of data each month before freezing in place, and perhaps can’t afford clothing, or other things we’d consider necessities.

The reason I bring up the show, is that it got me thinking. When I first got involved in the fan community, I couldn’t believe how happy I was. I finally knew other people who were as obsessed with Duran Duran as I was! So many people knew more than I did – they knew of songs I’d never heard and videos I hadn’t seen. I spent months gleaning as much as I could from anyone and everyone I met! Then I went to my very first “fan” event – a convention! I hit the jackpot in a major way.

For me, that convention was three or four days of total immersion into what felt like a fantasy world. Three words: Real Life Arcadia. It was all-Duran Duran, all the time. There were no faces to clean, arguments to referee, or meals to prepare. I had the time to just. be. me. This utopia was one that while I couldn’t enjoy all of the time, it was worth the effort to revisit a few times a year.

So I did just that. Every so often, as the band toured and I was able, I’d plan trips with Amanda. We’d leave our real lives and enter Duran-mode, or my own personal utopia. I’d spend three or four days (or more), forgetting about the mom and wife part of me I’d left behind, and attempt to somehow blanket myself in the joy of fandom, hoping to absorb enough of it all to last until the next time.

The thing is, just like Upload – there’s really no such thing as utopia. The idea of a place where all is perfect with no trouble can be super alluring, particularly when real life doesn’t quite live up. This is why fantasies sell.

As time wore on and I went to more and more shows, the cracks in the facade began to show themselves. You all know and have experienced the basic elements: jealousy, obsession, competition, toxicity, fan entitlement…I could go on. Duran Duran fans aren’t any different than anyone else. When you get a group of people together, and as they start to get to know one another and forget about being on their best behavior, it all peels like an onion. None of us are perfect, least of all me. Even so, I wanted that perfect “place” to continue surviving. I needed it.

For me, fandom has taken me on a crazy ride. I went from being it’s biggest cheerleader, to thinking I could explain and control it, to being overly critical of the reason I am here (the band), to kind of hating fandom itself, and now I’ve landed…here. I’m not exactly sure how I’d describe where I’m standing now. It’s odd. Overall, I’m most thankful for the music. I crave that special spark that comes with live music, and I dearly miss the band who creates it. These days, I’m a lot less willing to put myself out there and have discussions with other fans, outside of maybe Amanda, about Duran Duran. We all feel whatever we feel about things, and there’s no changing someone because they don’t like Dom, or they love a song I just don’t. You be you, and let me be me. Sometimes though, I take the time to write on Instagram or Twitter about something the band has done – whether that’s about Whoosh! (DD “radio” program that Simon does with Katy), or John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey or something else. Whether they read them or not, I’ll never know for sure, and that’s okay. I don’t want to be sorry or regret not saying something I should have said or written, if that makes sense.

My most recent epiphany, is respecting the one constant I have had in fandom, the band themselves. Another post for another day.

What a weird trip it has been so far. Amanda and I had wanted to take our fandom and do something special with it. We created this blog, and when that didn’t feel like it was enough, we tried writing a manuscript, and when that wasn’t enough, we wanted to hold a fan convention. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of common thread running through all of it for me that I’m not admitting, or letting myself see, at the moment. The smart people out there – those that study fandom – always say that fandom has a lot to do with the things you’re NOT getting in your real life. Maybe so. Perhaps it is that I wanted to be liked, respected and/or even admired by other fans? I’m not above admitting that, I guess. At this point you all know a lot of things about me anyway. Surprise!!! I’m a flawed human!

Amanda and I upped the fandom ante for ourselves as often as possible, until it just didn’t seem like there was anything else that could be done. It was as far as we could go on our own steam. We didn’t publish a book (wrote a few though), we did host a convention, we didn’t get backstage or interview the band. Fandom – that means any of you reading and even those who refuse to read – has/have a love/hate relationship with us. They liked us until they hated us, are the words I like to use. At that point, or juncture, Amanda and I had to find our own path. We’re still friends, we’re still Duran Duran fans, and we still write the blog, but it’s different. I think she’d agree with me on that. Even our friendship is different now. In some ways, it is even better. In others, I miss the way we’d put everything aside and encapsulate ourselves whenever we’d talk. Back then, we’d talk often, and sometimes, throughout each day!

For me – I think that when I got to that point – I didn’t know how to feel. I still don’t, really. I look at people who have actually done something tangible with their fandom and made it into careers, who are so incredibly loved and revered by other fans, and wonder why that didn’t work out for me – at least not in an obvious sort of way. Just where on earth do I belong or fit in??

I still don’t think I know. Maybe I won’t. Hence, this is not utopia. Or paradise. Or even Arcadia.

I try not to get down on myself about not knowing, or maybe accepting my path, in the same way I once did. I just sort of respect that for whatever reason, my path lies elsewhere. I’m clearly standing on it, even if I don’t quite get what the hell I’m doing here or why. I’m still here blogging – or attempting to – at any rate. I’m also doing other things for other people who count on me that have nothing to do with Duran Duran. I hear that’s called “life balance”. <insert chuckle here>

Utopia doesn’t exist, at least, not for long. Even if I could upload myself to some virtual life that included a career outside of the home, with more friends and maybe even more obvious signs of personal success – what would it look like? Could I be any happier?

If you notice, I used the word “could” rather than “would” in that sentence. Maybe that says more about than anything else I’ve written today.

-R

American Science – Ranking The Albums (Part 1)

Welcome to American Science – a scientific study of the Duran Duran discography. How scientific? Well, I came up with a formula based on five categories: Songs, Artwork, Videos, Fashion, and Nostalgia and analyzed each album. Songs were rated 1 (ewww) to 5 (yes!) and then averaged for the album. The score is 60% of the overall album score as Duran Duran is always more than just music. Each of the remaining categories was scored 1 to 5 and given 10% weight. The results surprised even me. This week, we start at the bottom of the list…..

Video Day!

In lieu of an uplifting topic today…I’m posting videos of songs and moments that make me happy. Enjoy!

Hold Back the Rain from Oakland 2017. My heart nearly burst when they played this.
There aren’t many mashups that make me as happy as Sunrise with New Moon on Monday.

The very first song I heard on tour in the UK 2011. I had to keep pinching myself to make sure it was real.
This was the last show I saw in the UK for that tour. Amanda and I were right where John and Dom met and played together on stage…and yes, I nearly died. Several times. 😀


The last time I saw Duran Duran. Feels appropriate to end with this one. Hoping that someday, there will be more.

I miss this band.

-R

An Unexpected Peace

Generally, I would say that I don’t mind a bit of intensity in my life. Teaching is such that I could eat, breathe, and sleep the profession and my students. Campaigning also leads to a lot of work in a short amount of time with lots, lots, lots of pressure. Even my fun tends to a have certain level of passion. I wasn’t content just to be a Duran Duran fan. No, I have to be part of a daily blog that has also planned meet-ups and a full-blown convention, etc. and so forth. Yet, these days are filled with a heck of a lot of intensity that I could do without. Obviously, in terms of world events, there is a LOT going on, much of which has caused me sleepless nights and terror about the future. If that was not enough, my place of employment has made some moves to undermine its workers, including myself. I feel downright shaken by it all. So, I spend a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how to escape the insanity for a few minutes or a couple of hours.

Thankfully, Duran Duran has provided a number of ways to help me “get away”. When the pandemic hit home and we were ordered to stay inside, Duran opted to do some chats on Twitter, which Rhonda and I covered here. I “watched” each of the chats as band members showed up and fans rushed to ask questions, hoping to get said members to respond to them. As I observed these chats, I found myself inwardly cringing. Social media events like that set up fans to be competitive, to try to get attention over other fans. In some cases, people try to ask a clever question to rise above while others increase the frequency of tweets to do so. I hate it. Let me be clear here. I appreciate that the band wanted to interact with fans. I’m never going to complain about that, especially in the middle of a pandemic. That said, I am not criticizing any fan who participated. I totally get their desire to get attention from a band member. Who wouldn’t want that?!

But I hate the competition–if you get attention, someone else does not. It makes me feel icky. Now, I will be the first to admit that I shrink from competition like this. I don’t even try. It is less painful to not participate rather than try and fail. I mean…come on. I’m not going to ask a super clever question and I am not one to have a super quick and witty response. There is no way that a band member would see my tweet(s) over others. I’m just not that cool. So, yes, I admit that part of the reason that I’m not a fan of competition is because it makes me feel badly about myself.

Lately, though, the band has switched to other methods to remind fans that they are around and to give us something to distract us in this-less-than-fun times we are living in. No matter if it is John’s tutorials or Simon’s radio show, there is no competition present. Interestingly enough, both do allow for some fan participation. For John’s chats, fans can comment or ask questions on Instagram. Likewise, fans can send questions to Katy for Whooosh radio. Yet, I give both John and Simon credit in that they might take time to respond to a few people, they choose not to have that be the focus of their “shows”. They do not allow the competition to creep in. From this fan’s perspective, I never feel any pressure of “should I try to get a response”. No, I can just sit back and relax. I can just enjoy.

Over the course of my time in Duranland, there has been far too much competition for my liking. (Now I know that there are some fans who don’t see it, is not part of their experience or don’t mind it. That’s cool. I’m happy for them. I am only sharing my perspective and experiences.) That competition has, at times, threatened my enjoyment within this fan community. I, for one, am glad that I don’t have to worry about that right now. It has helped make fandom a place of just fun, escape, enjoyment again. That is much appreciated and needed.

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!