Over the weekend, I received a friend request from a Duranie who lives in Italy. She and I have never met, and unless she makes trips to the US for shows – I doubt we will, since I don’t normally travel to Europe, shows or not. As I accepted her friend request, I thought about how far technology has come since I was 11 – in late 1981. Back then, computers were something that took up entire rooms, and I definitely do not remember ever hearing much about them in my 6th grade classes at school, other than they were something the government used. Twitter, Myspace, Facebook: all things that I am sure I never would have anticipated being my every day reality. Mail was conducted with paper, a writing utensil, an envelope, stamp and some hope that the letter carrier would get it to it’s proper address. Fan clubs of any kind were all done through the mail by newsletters, special little cards, pictures, and that sort of thing. If I think back on it, it’s no wonder I grew bored of fan clubs pretty quickly back then – they were almost completely non-interactive unless you were lucky enough to have friends nearby that were in the fan club with you! Fast forward to 2010, where I am coming down the pipes to the big 4-0, fan clubs are almost entirely online, snail mail is almost so non-existent that stamps keep going up in price (to account for the thousands of pieces of mail that are sent electronically), I work on a computer that literally sits on my lap and is thinner than a pad of paper, and I can keep up with Duran Duran’s happenings on a daily basis, and quicker than it takes me to make my coffee in the morning.
My contemplation for the morning is “Is it better to be a fan in the year 2010 than it was to be a fan in the year 1981…or 1984/85 for that matter?” I think each fan has to answer that for his or her own self, but here are my own thoughts:
I believe that in order to truly appreciate being a fan today, and vice-versa actually, I’m glad I was a fan in the 1980’s. Yes, I got to live through the bands hey-day. I was there when the videos started playing on MTV, I was listening when Richard Blade announced their albums on KROQ (Los Angeles), and I suffered the heartbreaks when Roger, Andy and much later John left the band. That said, let’s list what I did NOT get to do: I was too young to go to shows (according to my parents), I did not ever go back to their hotel after the shows were over, I didn’t know any other fans outside of my circle of friends in school, I certainly never traveled to shows, obviously; and I never met the band. Once again we fast forward to the 2000’s, just after the reunion was announced. I’ve gone to shows, traveled to shows, communicated with people who live in other countries, gone to their hotel after the shows (to hang out in the bar – not to their rooms, of course), and experienced many of the things I missed out on in the 80’s. I feel as though for the most part, I’ve had the chance to complete the circle of what it means to me to be a fan.
With that in mind, I feel so lucky to have gotten to experience my fandom in virtually two eras of my life. The first era being my childhood/adolescence, and the second as an adult. As much as I felt that I may have missed out on some very cool things back when they were the biggest band in the world, I’m almost relieved that I wasn’t older (like my late teens/early 20’s), because if I had been, I’m not sure I would still have the stamina to go and see them now. I would not have met the fantastic friends that I treasure, I don’t know if I would have gone ahead and created a facebook, a myspace page, or become friends with people in completely different countries. What some consider obsessive, I consider to be pure luck.