Media Representations of Fandom: Trekkies

I am continuing the series on media representations of fandom with the movie, Trekkies.  I suppose this movie could be described as a documentary since it is non-fiction and focuses on the Star Trek fandom.  It is made in the same style as “Something You Should Know” about our fandom.  I have seen this movie before but thought that a new viewing might be good, especially as I try to watch with a more critical eye.  In this particular series of blogs I’m doing, I’m trying to analyze what the movie says about fans, stereotypes and stigma.  What I discovered in my viewing of this film is that this movie really tackles the question, “What is the Star Trek fandom like”.  Therefore, while I still want to examine the questions of how fans are shown and what stereotypes are emphasized, I first want to acknowledge how they describe their fandom and think about how similar it is to ours.

The Star Trek fandom, obviously, came into existence after the original series aired on TV in the late 1960s.  As many of you might be aware, this fandom lasted so long and was so active that it actually worked to broaden the franchise with feature films (first one in 1980) and more TV shows on the same concept.  There is no end in sight as they are working on the next movie as I type this.  So how did this movie show the Star Trek fandom?  Here are the features I saw:

*Desire to meet the actors, writers, etc.
*Fans want to meet each other to talk about Star Trek
*Fans have had some strange requests or done some interesting things to be close to the stars (asked for blood, for example)
*Fans often send letters and gifts
*Fans are creative with singing, websites, radio shows, screenplays, fanfic, drawings, etc.  (No mention of blogging, though!  Ha!)
*Fans collect and trade memorabilia
*Fans adopt dress, language, philosophy shown in the shows and movies
*Fans discuss how the fandom has helped them through tough times
*Show has become part of mainstream American culture (everyone knows things like, “Beam me up, Scotty”, Vulcan symbol of greeting, Captain Kirk, etc.)
*Fans discuss favorite characters, episodes, etc.
*Fans become friends with each other
*Diverse fan base
*Fans get tattoos
*Fans spend energy, time and money on their passion
*Controversy among the fan community about the term, Trekkies
*Exposed fans to big concepts of racial and religious diversity, equality of woman, an end to social classes
*Fans dress in ways to identify themselves as Trekkies

So, let me ask you, fellow fans, does any of this list sound or look familiar?  I think that most of it looks and sounds like what it is like to be a Duranie.  I would argue and we definitely do in our book that ALL fandoms have similar activities.  For example, we have conventions.  We also have shows, which are like conventions in that fans come together, see their idols, etc.  Duranland is definitely filled with discussion, creativity, collecting and trading.  The more I look, the more I realize that there isn’t much that we don’t have in common.  While Duran might not advocate deep political statements, they have shown the fan base the value in things like art and fashion.  They have a philosophy of sorts as well, which we learn about in songs like “All You Need Is Now.”  Therefore, I think this movie included most of the elements of fandom I’m aware of and I could definitely relate to all of them.

While the movie included all of the basic elements of fandom, how did they represent those elements?  Were the fans shown as “normal” or were they shown to be strange, out of the ordinary?  After all, this was my biggest criticism of “Something You Should Know”.  How did this movie show the fans?  This movie, much like our fandom’s version, focused on a few fans, basically.  Some of these fans included a 14 year old but very mature kid, a woman who dressed in a Star Trek uniform at all times, a family who owned a Star Trek themed dentist office (which I would think would be fun, for the record!) and another couple.  Beyond these main fans, other fans were interviewed as well as were the stars themselves.  In fact, the actors and writers often told the more extreme stories.  So, how were the main fans?  I think the movie attempted to show that they were intelligent, social, well-adjusted people, but they still were more extreme in their expression of fandom.  For example, the woman who always wore a uniform, even wore one to a well-known court case in which she was a member of the jury.  Likewise, the boy had uniforms made for him as well as rode in a car colored to represent a space craft from the show.  The man in the couple talked about how he would like to get his ears altered to be Vulcan like.  Again, I give the movie credit for talking to neighbors, colleagues, other family members of these people to show that they are still well-liked and respected BUT why don’t these movies talk to fans who aren’t as obvious or aren’t as extreme?  After all, fans are on a spectrum on how forth-coming they are with their fandom, right?  I’m open about writing a blog, for example.  I have a room with Duran memorabilia and wear Duran t-shirts at times, but I don’t at work.  I had hopes, too, that they would show the spectrum, too, when in the beginning fans were being asked about how many conventions they had been to and the fans ranged from 3 to 300.  Again, they could have easily done that with how much people have collected.  It doesn’t always have to be the people with the most, does it?  I realize that these stories need someone to tell the story of sorts but there must be a way without showing the most extreme cases.

The movie did address whether or not there was stigma.  I was particularly interested in that.  In most cases, colleagues, family and friends seemed to accept the main characters’ fandom.  In fact, some even talked about how they watched Star Trek more because of these fans.  The main fans said that they didn’t get any negativity but then followed that up with saying that they are asked when they would get a life.  Maybe they don’t see that as negative, but I do.  Perhaps, these people are defining negative reactions differently than I do.  Negativity does not necessarily have to be harassment.  In my opinion, it is anything less than complete acceptance.  Tolerance isn’t enough, for me.  So, would this movie help people see all Trekkies in a good light?  I don’t think so.  Again, there is too much emphasis on the most extreme fans.  I don’t think those fans need to be ignored but they also don’t have to be the only representations shown.  It just isn’t a completely accurate representation of the fandom despite including an accurate representation of what fans DO. 

On that note, I leave you with the trailer.  You can then tell me if I analyzed the movie incorrectly or not.


But I’ll Hold On to the Memory…

I have been enjoying my brief holiday without work, class or other responsibilities (except this one!).  This time spent sitting and relaxing has allowed me a chance to think.  The other day I was reminded by a friend about how insane my life was just a year ago.  The reference this friend was making was a political one, but this led me to think about my life in a broader way.  What else was I doing a year ago besides being political activity?  Well, I’m sure that many of you remember that Rhonda and I were getting ready to go back to the UK in our second attempt to see Duran play in their home country.  A year ago, we were sweating over this idea of a labor strike blocking our travel arrangements.  Thanksgiving break wasn’t relaxing or enjoyable.  Instead, it was insane and stressful.  I could be looking back and thanking my lucky stars that I don’t have to deal with anything like that this year, but I’m not.  Why not?  It is simple.  That trip was too fabulous not to look back with anything but fondness.  On top of the memories surrounding that trip, I was reminded of a different kind of memory with our day in Duran history fact.  Today’s day featured a fact about the live album, Arena.  As soon as I typed that fact, I thought back to when I got that album.  It seems that some days, some times just lend themselves to memories.  Today is one of those days.

The memories that today brings up for me bring nothing but joy.  Both memories of the UK trip and the Arena album are positive ones for me.  While today’s day in Duran history fact surrounded the album peaking in the US in 1984, I did not contribute to that peaking because I didn’t get it until that Christmas.  I know that there are pictures out there of me listening to the album on the family record player on that Christmas day.  In fact, I also got a walkman that year so I decided to plug the headphones in so that I could listen more closely.  While these memories are fun on their own, I can look back to that particular Christmas and remember the overall holiday with fondness.  It was a Christmas sandwiched in between two not-so-fun years.  The previous year was a tough one for my household as my dad was in between jobs.  My parents did an amazing job still, ensuring that we still received gifts and didn’t feel the pressure that they were dealing with as much but we all knew it was there still.  By the time Christmas rolled around in 1985, my father had found a job and the family had moved 90 miles away.  Of course, these 90 miles away felt galaxies away as I missed my home and the best friend I had left behind.  Duran’s story, in some ways, mirrored by own as 1985 saw a serious transition for the band as they moved to their side projects.  Thus, Christmas 1984 represented the end of an era.  When I think back to myself on that Christmas day in 1984, listening to Arena on headphones, I see only innocence and joy.  Amanda then had no way of knowing exactly what was going to happen in 1985 and beyond.  Part of me definitely misses that innocence and the safety I felt then.

Last year, at this time, I definitely was longing for innocence and safety.  While I was longing for that, politically, I found myself wishing for that with my world of touring as well.  2011 saw all of us lose a little bit of our innocence when Simon lost his voice and the band had to cancel many shows.  Then, I think Rhonda and I were hoping to repair some of the damage done by going back to the UK a second time for shows.  We needed our Duran world to get right, much like my family needed to get right after my dad lost his job.  Then, we ran into another roadblock with the concerns over the labor strike and how that was going to impact our ability to even get to the shows.  As we now know, the labor strike did not cause us any problems.  In fact, in some way, it might have helped us at the airport.  We then went on to experience one of the best tours of our lives.  This tour was so amazing with the shows, with the other fans that it not only assured us that we had made the right decision to go back but it renewed our Duranie spirits.  Our Duran world was definitely made right on that tour. 

How do these memories connect other than they both relate to Duran?  I think the connection here is they both represent times when I, personally, needed things to be okay.  I needed my world to be right again.  As a kid, I couldn’t control much and Duran was used to bring me joy.  The Arena album did that in 1984.  It also marked the end to a much larger era, both for the band and for myself, personally.  Arena was the bookend for the first part of Duran’s career.  This part saw the band as the Fab Five reach massive commercial success and become the biggest band in the world.  The era that ended for me was living in the Chicago suburbs and having a connection to pop culture that my new town 90 miles away would not have.  As a grown up, I, too, discovered that I could not control everything and certainly couldn’t control political decisions in my state.  I also couldn’t control the vocal cord health of Simon LeBon.  The November 2011 tour was to assure me that, at least, one big thing in my life was going to be okay.  My Duran fandom would continue.  Luckily for me, that tour did allow my fandom to continue as all things Duran were right again. 

It seems to me that, sometimes, memories can remind us about good times, bad times and life lessons learned.  I think I feel extremely fortunate that Duran has been there for so many of my memories and all that comes with them.  In these examples, Duran has provided joy even when the rest of my world isn’t so joyful.  Perhaps, this is why I will choose to hold on to all of these memories.


You Know Just What It Takes and Where to Go

On Tuesday, Rhonda mentioned that we were busy here at the Daily Duranie.  A couple of things she pointed out included that we are trying to completely revamp our website and prepare it for more than just our blog and a special surprise coming up in December.  I wanted to blog a bit more about what we are planning, to ask for a favor from you guys and to tell you about a special giveaway!

Obviously, there is a lot going on in our lives!  Now that the campaign season of 2012 is done, I’m diving into our plans related to the Daily Duranie!  In fact, as the election ended, I sought out Rhonda to see if she was as ready to commit to our projects as she was in the summer.  She definitely was!  I felt certain that now is the time for us to re-dedicate ourselves to our plans.  I won’t be distracted and definitely want to see what we can accomplish with full on commitment.  Truly, I do think that we could do fabulous, fabulous, fabulous things when we put our minds and energy to it.  After all, we already have.  All one needs to do is look at this blog.  We have over 800 posts and have pretty much posted daily, unless there has been some trouble with internet access on the road.  Likewise, we update the Day in Duran history and post a question each and every day since we started.  I’m already proud of what we have accomplished but do think that we can be better and do more.  I’m so relieved that Rhonda and I are on the same page about our goals and objectives.  Anyway, as Rhonda mentioned on Tuesday, we have a big event coming up in December.  We cannot wait for it!!!  On top of that, we are looking to revamp our site, enhance our logo and more.  Beyond that, we have some other plans in mind.  One of those big plans is to get our book done.  I’m sure by now you are all wondering when/if it is getting done.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it is.  Of course, as we finish the draft, then we have the real work of revising, editing, writing book proposals and getting it published.  Now is the time, though!  Another part of our plans include fan get togethers.  Some of these might be smaller in scope by being local or nearby meetups or they could be larger affairs.  Nonetheless, we both agree that meeting and getting to know other fans is one of the best aspects of fandom.  Thus, during Duran downtime, it is a perfect time to plan events for us to get together!

We have a ton on our plates!!!  Yet, both of us are excited to get down to work.  In fact, we are forcing ourselves to have “conference” calls of sorts at least once a week.  These phone calls must be focused and on task.  As you can imagine, we both have a tendency to start chatting about fifty other things besides just the projects we are working on.  Therefore, these weekly calls require that we have self-discipline in order to keep to our agenda.  In order to have things to report on a weekly basis, we are taking on different assignments and must ensure that they get done or get a significant amount done.  While Rhonda and I have strong work ethics and personal determination, I am asking for your help.  How can you help?  You can help by keeping us on task.  If we don’t mention any of the projects I just talked about, ask us about them.  Check in with us.  Of course, we won’t necessarily be sharing every detail until they are ready to be shared but we can and should share our progress.  I need this, for sure.  Rhonda is much better than I am on this front.  I, on the other hand, am so used to having real deadlines either from work or from campaigning that I’m not good without them.  I need to give myself deadlines in order to keep on track and focused.  I hope you can help me with this!

In exchange for your help and support, we have a special giveaway planned as well!  Rhonda and I have been talking about how we could thank the supporters of this blog.  After all, we are so pleased to have so many followers on this blog.  You can see the followers on the right side of this post, right below our various topics and above our list of favorite online places.  Thus, the names of our followers will be written on papers and placed into a jar on December 10th.  Then, we will pull one of those names in order to send that person a special gift.  This special gift is a signed cd of All You Need is Now.  Just to be clear, this is a cd that the band signed and included in VIP packages in the fall/winter of 2011 that we bought for the UK tour.  If you are already a follower, great!  If you are not, join so that you, too, can have a chance to win the raffle!!  

On this exciting note, I’m off to go work on the chapter I have been working on in the book!  Don’t forget to keep on us about our projects!  We (at least I) need the push!


A Duranie Thanksgiving

Since November 1st, I have noticed a tread on my personal facebook.  This tread is a daily post about what that person is thankful for.  Since it is Thanksgiving here in the US, I thought it might be good to follow this tread, but I would tweak it a little bit.  The first change is that I didn’t post each day.  Instead, I’ll post my whole list of 30 reasons to be thankful all in one day, today.  The second change is an obvious one.  This is a blog by Duran Duran fans.  Thus, it will be what I’m thankful for as a Duranie.  🙂

Here is my (incomplete) list of what I’m thankful for, as a Duranie:

1.  Duran Duran songs that move me to feel, that hit me at the core of my being and seem to connect directly with my life.  Some of the songs like this that pop into my head include Before the Rain, Finest Hour, and so many more.

2.  Duran Duran songs that rock my world.  Of course, here I’m thinking of songs like Planet Earth, Careless Memories, Hold Back the Rain and a ton of others.

3.  Simon Le Bon.  As much as we here give Simon a hard time, I completely appreciate his ability to write powerful, thought provoking lyrics and I appreciate his unique voice and showmanship.

4.  Nick Rhodes.  Again, we like to give Nick a hard time for being “the controller”, for being super picky, for making Durantime a reality.  Yet, I know that his vision and determination for perfection has helped make Duran Duran the best they can be.

5.  John Taylor.  This year, I truly appreciate that he decided to share his story with all of us.  It seems to me that we can all learn from John’s journey as well as his ability to be so open.  On top of that, I am grateful that he, personally, has reached out to fans on twitter and has a tremendously cleaver way of sharing what thinks. 😉

6.  Roger Taylor.  I’m so grateful that Roger came back to the band and has stayed.  He truly does form the backbone of Duran’s music and live performances.  The rhythm section was not and would not be the same without him. 

7.  Dom Brown.  The band could have ceased existing when Andy left.  Instead, they sought a guitarist who could not only help the band continue but could add to the mix.  I’m grateful for his stage presence and the fact that he has been contributing in the writing process.

8.  Duran’s ability to appreciate and reach out to their fans. At times, we have all criticized Duran for being so removed from us.  The past couple of years, however, saw the band acknowledge us in songs like All You Need is Now and reach to us on social networking sites.  I think we can all appreciate that.

9.  Duran Duran concerts.  I’m so grateful that the band continues to not only play live but that they are at their best on stage.  They can be counted on to give fabulous performances and leave the audience wanting more.

10.   Duran Duran concerts that I have been lucky enough to attend.  I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to attend as many shows as I have and there are so many of them that have truly stayed with me.  These shows include Brighton and Glasgow in ’11, Durham this past summer, Chicago in ’06, and Chicago ’05.

11.  JoSi.  While those fantastic John and Simon together moments in concert as not as frequent or an intense as they once were, I still appreciate the heck out of them and know that I’m not the only one.  😉

12.  DoJo.  Ah, both Rhonda and I both appreciate the DoJo, or those moments when John and Dom meet on stage and truly rock out together.  *sigh*

13.  Duran Duran has forced me to travel.  In order to go to shows, I have often had to travel.  In some cases, this travel has been short road trips and, in others, I have had to fly.  Sometimes, I have combined them.  No matter where I have gone, I appreciate the fact that this travel has opened my eyes more to the rest of the world. 

14.  Duran Duran videos that captured so much attention, including mine, and truly set the standard for them.  Some of my personal favorites include New Moon on Monday, All You Need is Now, Planet Earth, and Sunrise.

15.  Duran  Duran’s intelligence and ability to be articulate their vision.  One does not need to look far to see the band members’ intelligence.  It comes through in every interview that they do.  It also comes through in each project that they have done.

16.  Duran Duran’s sense of humor.  This connects to the the previous one but I adore the fact that they are funny in interviews and in their videos.  I think of videos like Rio in which they were able to make fun of themselves or not take themselves too serious.

17.  Duran Duran’s connection to other art forms.  As the daughter of an artist, I have been surrounded by art my entire life.  While I lack my mother’s creative talents, I have a true appreciation of art.  One of the things I have always admired about Duran is how they bring in art, photography, and fashion into their projects.

18.  Duran Duran’s good looks.  Now, obviously, there is a ton of other things I appreciate about Duran but I won’t deny the fact that I appreciate that they look good.  After all, there is something pretty cool to be in a room when a collective *squee* happens.  Typically, this is done because a hot picture is posted or because one or more members does something to get the collective heart rate going!

19.  Duran’s longevity.  We should all be grateful that Duran has had the staying power!  There have been countless bands who have not been able to last one year, five years, ten years, twenty years, etc.  Duran has been going for decades, which says lot about the members’ personal determination and the quality of their music.

20.  Duran’s plans to go back into the studio and to continue on.  Like the last one, I’m so thankful that Duran plans on returning to the studio to make a new album.  Of course, I’m thrilled that Mark Ronson is joining them again.  This not only says to all of us that they plan on continuing to make music, but the goal is the same level of quality we had for AYNIN.

21.  Duran’s ability to motivate Rhonda and I to tackle projects like writing a book on fandom and writing a daily blog.  I, sometimes, question our sanity but, in general, am happy that they have inspired us in this way.  That said, I’m so thankful for each and every reader.  We couldn’t do it without all of YOU!

22.  Duran’s ability to motivate and inspire others to create.  I see the inspiration when I see fans create artwork of Duran, mixes of their music or even fanfic about their lives.  Fans feel so much and want to express their own creativity, which is so cool.  Beyond the fanbase, they have obviously inspired other artists to make music as well.

23.  Duran opening my ears to other music.  I have learned about so much music through my fandom.  I have given so many songs and artists a chance because they connect directly or indirectly to Duran.  In some/many cases, I have discovered new artists or songs that I have come to adore.

24.  MTV, Top 40 radio, the Reflex and my best friend as a kid for turning me on to this band in the first place.  I have a hard time imagining my life without Duran Duran.  In the early 80s, many forces came together at the right time to make me a Duranie.  I’m forever grateful to these forces I mentioned here.

25. Membership in a fandom and fan community.  Duran Duran gave me an interest.  The fact that I want to share that interest brought me to Duranland.  While there are times I get frustrated with our fandom or our fan community, I am generally pleased that they exist and that I’m part of them.  It is so nice to know that I’m not alone in my love for this band.  I feel included and a part of something big.

26.  The chance to meet other fans.  Over the course of years as part of Duranland, I have had the opportunity to meet so many other fans.  I have met some only online through message boards or social networking sites.  When I’m lucky, I have had the chance to meet them in person. 

27.  Some of the best times in my life.  When I look back to my life (so far), I have to admit that I have had some truly amazing times!  Many of them have been with other fans, especially on tour.  Truly, some of those tours have been the most fun I have ever had.  Perhaps, that’s why I keep touring, to try and experience more of that fun.  Touring wouldn’t happen for me without Duran Duran.

28. The ability to develop real, long lasting, essential friendships.  Since joining Duranland, I have met so many great people.  I’m so lucky that many of those same people are now true friends of mine.  My world would definitely be a smaller, lonelier place without them.

29.  My friendship with Rhonda.  Out of all of the friendships I have made because of Duran or through Duranland, there is none more precious to me than my friendship with Rhonda.  We truly enjoy each other’s company, seek each other out for support, push each other to think and be better, and have kick ass times together.  Frequently, those kick ass times have included situations where we laugh so hard and so much it hurts like when we made each other laugh during Leopard in Bournemouth or during a very late or very early morning in a cheap dive of a restaurant in the heart of Chicago.  Did I mention that we are also working together?  It is truly a once in a lifetime friendship.

30.  Overall, I’m incredibly grateful for the band and everything that has come with.

On that note, Rhonda and I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Thankful for fandom of a different kind

Originally, this blog was going to center around the topic of Thanksgiving and what things I am thankful for – with a Duran Duran theme, of course.  Interestingly enough, last night I was able to experience something with my daughter that I want to share, and hopefully it will be even more interesting than a Thanksgiving blog.

Fandom is really everywhere. I’ve often said that I feel sorry for people who really aren’t fans of anything, because there is a lot of joy there that they’re missing. I never realized though, that I might find a perfect example of fandom within a novel. My oldest – Heather – is almost 16, and I’m finding the time that she will be here with me at home on a fairly regular basis growing shorter and shorter.  I try to enjoy the moments I have with her, because I have done my best (and will continue) to make sure that she is ready to leave the nest when the time comes. I raised her knowing that eventually, she would go out into the world and take it all by storm. That is why, when something came along that interested both of us in a unique way – I was most surprised, and still very thankful.  Back when she was about ten, her cousin told her about a book that she really needed to read. At that time, the rule in our house was simply that I needed to know what she was reading. They had reading programs at school then, and I had to sign for any book she read anyway, so this rule was fairly simple to enforce.  When she came to me about reading Twilight, I hedged a little, simply because it wasn’t a book I was familiar with, and the topic seemed a little mature for a ten year old.  So I told her that we’d buy it, but I had to read it first.  This was the ONE time I went to the effort to actually read an entire book before I would allow her to do so, but the idea of a vampire based novel made me a little nervous.  Call me conservative, but I wanted to know what my daughter would be getting into.  So we bought the book and I read it over the course of a day.  (I’m a fast reader.)  I knew Heather would love the book, and to be honest, I kind of liked it too.  I found myself buying the rest of the series, reading each book before I handed it off to Heather, including the unpublished, leaked final novel for Midnight Sun. (which any fan would know to be Twilight from Edward’s point-of-view)  Of course it wasn’t the most critically acclaimed piece of literature I’ve read.  Naturally it was juvenile in spots, fairy-tale like in others.  Yes, I was indeed concerned about the controlling nature of the male lead character.  All of that said, I thought I could use the book as a tool.  I could see the teen years on the horizon at the time, and the book gave us something to talk about and ponder, all the while I used some of the topics as teaching moments. What I found was that while both of us enjoyed the books, we were both firmly set in reality.  She knew that no real boyfriends acted the way Edward might, and I knew that my Heather was certainly no Bella Swan.  (thankfully)

We had long since finished the series when it was announced that Twilight would become a movie, but the news caught our interest.  We agreed that when it came out, we would go together as a mother/daughter date night, and we looked forward to the tidbits of news, the trailers, even hearing the soundtrack for the first time. We talked about whether the actors chosen for the roles fit the pictures we had in our imaginations while reading, and we wondered if the movie would do the book justice.  The night that we finally went to see the movie, we stood in line amongst a lot of what would be come to known as “Twi-hards”.  There were t-shirts, there was makeup, and there was screaming. Yes, screaming.  Two poor security guards came up to the front of the theater before the movie began, pleading with the girls to stay in their seats and not scream when the movie started.  I would have sworn I was at a concert, except I was not – and there were no actors coming on stage.  No, these girls were going to be reacting to what was on a large screen.  I sat back, completely fascinated at the scene unfolding in front of me.  Thankfully Heather was not one of the screamers. As I’ve mentioned before, she has gone with me to Duran shows before and has watched, completely mesmerized, as she saw women more than twice her age become completely unhinged at the site of the band on stage (she had better not say that her mom was one of them.  I. am. NOT.)  This was definitely a similar scene. She sat back and watched the insanity around us, and when the movie began, she and I laughed at some of the sillier moments, commented on some really bad visual effects, and then tore the movie apart bit by bit on the way home.  Then we bought the DVD when it came out, and couldn’t wait for the other movies to be made.

We went to each movie in turn, and admittedly as time wore on and she grew up a bit, we might not have gone to each movie right as it opened.  The production of the movies seemed to improve with each release, however – and given that a new director did each movie (as opposed to the director doing the entire saga), there was always a sense of surprise with how certain elements from the book were interpreted for screen.  We tended to do more eye-rolling as we saw the change from the actors being completely unknown to full-fledged Hollywood Stars, and naturally any time we would see an article about the movies or about the stars, we would take the time to comment to one another about whatever we had seen or read.

Truthfully, both Heather and I had been wary of what Breaking Dawn would bring.  Neither of us felt confident that the movie would be able to capture the book well, and as a result – we waited for months before going to see the movie in a theater.  We were pleasantly surprised, and it made the anticipation for the final movie.  We had planned to go and see it on opening night at the first midnight showing, and in fact had seen that several theaters in our area were going to do a marathon – beginning with Twilight, they would go through the entire series, ending with Breaking Dawn Part 2.  Both of us wanted to go to the marathon – we thought it would be a fun way to end the series.  Unfortunately, our plans changed when we realized we had a funeral to be at last week, and while both of us were disappointed, we agreed to go while Heather was on Thanksgiving break, so last night was the night.

Heather has a boyfriend, and I had given her the option of inviting the poor kid to go with us to see the movie. I figured she’d jump at the possibility, as I might have when I was a teen.  Oddly enough, she told me that she really wanted to finish the series as we’d started – it was “our” thing, and she wanted to share the final movie with me, her mom.  (Clearly I have done something right so far.  If I could bottle that and sell it, I would.)  So off to the movie we went.

I realized something as we sat there waiting for the film to start – this was our last time.  After this movie, the “thing” that got us through Heather’s teen years (at least the early ones) would end. I tried not to feel too melancholy, and instead tried to enjoy the moments I had left. The movie began not too surprisingly (but with a much improved production than the first movie), until about two-thirds of the way through the movie when there was a clear deviation from the novel.  I won’t give it away except to say that for about five minutes, I was furious.  I looked over at Heather and she too was furious.  “How could they do that to the book?!?  Are they really going to end it like this?? Why even effing watch – I am SO DONE”  (Ok, so that last sentence was mine…)  But just as suddenly, the joke was on the audience, and the ending we knew to be from the book unfolded, and there it was, wrapped up with a bow.  The saga ended.

We came away from the movie feeling both elated at having seen the entire series through, and sad that this “thing” that was ours to share had ended.  We walked to the car, marveling over the moments that threatened to have US screaming at the scene (although we were not the only ones loudly protesting some of the more upsetting changes), and laughing over our silliness.  It was not completely lost on me that some of what I’d felt (if not ALL of what I’d felt) that night, as well as over the course of the entire Twilight saga, was as close to anything I’d felt as a fan of Duran Duran. Bizarre.

I am lucky to have Heather as a daughter, and I am thankful that I was able to share a tiny bit of fandom with her.  No, it wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing Dom Brown, John Taylor, Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor on stage for me…but it bonded Heather and I, if only for brief fleeting moments during some of the more “trying” years of her childhood.  I’m lucky.


One of those Days

It is all happening right here.  Right now.

Thanksgiving. For most people it’s a great holiday. For me? It’s my yearly penance, because I don’t really love to cook. I do it every day (well, most days), but I don’t get a great sense of joy out of it. Regardless, almost every year we have a big dinner here at my house and I invite my mom and her friend Dennis over. We watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed by the Westminster Dog Show, and ignore all of the football games now that my dad has passed. We scour the newspaper ads, we talk about going out for early Black Friday sales, eventually decide that nothing is worth getting out of the house before 5am to buy, and then, much later after dinner, I begin the long clean-up process and congratulate myself on making it through yet another Thanksgiving. Our holiday isn’t very formal, and it might not be very exciting, but it’s nice to have a full day to talk with my family. I’ve got a turkey thawing in my refrigerator right now – it’s an enormous 21 pounds that will easily feed four families, which seems crazy when you consider there will only be seven of us here for dinner at my house on Thursday. Before anyone assumes otherwise, I cook a huge turkey so that I can send a lot of it home with my mom so that she can freeze it to use later. She lives in a pretty tiny senior apartment complex not far from my house, and she doesn’t cook that often anymore. I remember when she used to send my grandma home with tons of leftovers, and while I really don’t enjoy cooking, I do like being able to help her out just a little.

In addition to Thanksgiving, changes are afoot here at Daily Duranie. These changes are probably going to take several months to put into things that you all will see and hopefully benefit from, but trust me, we’re working. We wish to revamp the entire site completely, and once we do that, we’re going to be working on some new things for 2013 to keep you busy!  I know we’ve been talking about moving from Blogger to a WordPress site since nearly the day we started this blog, but this time – I am SERIOUS. No really, I am this time. Stay tuned…  I also want to give you an update regarding a special surprise that we’ve been working on for a few months now. Don’t miss our blogs in December! If you haven’t signed up to be subscribed to the blog, sign up and don’t blink!

If that weren’t enough, in just three little days – there are new holiday goodies to purchase from! Not only is there an Advent Calendar that caught my eye, along with a set of holiday cards, but also the 2013 calendar. What is so special about THIS calendar? Well, I swore that I wouldn’t buy one until Dom was finally included. While he might not have a huge photo in the calendar – he is certainly in there and I couldn’t be prouder! I guess my “Black Friday” shopping from home will include a visit to the Duran Duran website – and so should yours!!

Good things are coming up ahead, and we look forward to sharing the journey with all of you!

I’m off to clean a house, teach a child some American History (the easiest part of my day, believe it or not), and “redirect” my youngest away from the kazoo she is currently blowing in my face (never a dull moment here).


Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 22-27)

Today’s book club discussion focuses on Chapters 22-27.  This section of John Taylor’s autobiography ends the first part, Analogue Youth.  During this part, the band’s career really gets going with recording the first album, getting their look together, filming the video for Planet Earth and doing their first headlining tour.  Like previous book clubs, I will give discussion questions for each chapter.  I then welcome each of you to answer the questions like I will.  Also, if you have other questions you would like us all to discuss, feel free to post those as well!

Chapter 22:  Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Rhodes, LeBon:
Were you surprised by how John described their decision to split the earnings equally?  For those of you who read Andy’s book, does this fit with what he described?
A – I had heard and read that the band decided to split the earnings equally and this was shown by giving equal credit to everything that they did.  John did not indicate that this belief and action changed during the reunion.  In fact, he said that this decision to split earning equally is the “reason” they were still together today.  Having read Andy’s book, this made me think.  Andy indicated that when they got back together, he and Roger were no longer getting an equal amount and that this bothered him.  According to what Andy wrote, this is because the rest of the guys were around so much more than Roger and Andy was.  This leads me to wonder what the truth is.  Do they split the earnings equally over things that they all worked on?  For example, would the earnings for Astronaut be split equally among the five?  What about RCM?  Would that be split 4 ways equally?  Of course, this really isn’t any of my business.  I’m just curious because the two books don’t seem to be saying the same thing. 
R – This could easily be because John simply decided not to discuss the financial terms of the reunion. I don’t know that the books really aren’t saying the same thing as much as it is that John didn’t discuss it (which I have to admire because it’s none of our business) and Andy did.  Now…I think much can be said and pondered over why Andy chose to talk about it and John did not, but I’ll leave that for another time.  

John mentioned that the band, at this point, made a decision regarding the cut the Berrows would receive.  He mentioned that this became a problem later, but he thought it was cool because this allowed them to focus on what they needed to focus on.  Reactions?
A – I wondered about this during the last book club when their managers asked them to get rid of Jeff Thomas as the singer.  As someone who knows about Duran history, I know that Duran eventually breaks with this management team.  As a fan looking from the outside, it seems to me that the Berrows did a ton of good for the band.  After all, they did get a ton of commercial success when they were the managers.  Thus, I guess part of me wonders if they could have done something to make sure that this working relationship lasted.
R – I think this is an area where we really only know the tip of the iceberg. From what I’ve read over the years, I think the band split from them for a multitude of reasons – and while sure, they did achieve their greatest commercial success while the Berrows brothers were their managers, I think I’ve come to believe that had more to do with the timing, meaning I am not at all sure that if they’d gone on with them that the same success (or similar) would still be achieved.  The industry changed, videos became less important, Andy & Roger left (later John as well…), and we (their fans) grew up.  I think some credit should certainly be allotted to the Berrows brothers, but overall…the band changed just as much as their relationship with their management did, you know?

Chapter 23:  Bidding Wars:
Do you think the band would have made it without the Berrows?
A – I know.  What a question!?!  I couldn’t help but to think it as soon John talked about how they bought the band’s way as a support act for Hazel O’Connor.  What if they didn’t go on that tour?  Will the labels have seen them?  Maybe.  Maybe it would have taken a lot longer.  Here’s what I couldn’t help but to think.  How fortunate they were to find the Berrows and how lucky that the Berrows had money and were as committed as the band was.  While I absolutely believe that Duran is the best band out there and I definitely believe that the band was extremely motivated, determined, focused and talented.  That said, I’m grateful that they had the support, financially, to ensure that their musical talents and their fine qualities were able to get through. I’m sure that not every talented, focused band is as lucky.
R – I’m glad we never have to know. 😀  My feeling is that this band was incredibly lucky.  Some might say that luck has nothing to do with it – and to those people I say that they know absolutely nothing about the music industry.  Let’s put it this way: there are plenty of unemployed “expert” musicians…and still plenty more that are waiters and waitresses, that have the greatest managers and are just waiting for that big break to come their way.  That isn’t to say that the Berrows didn’t know what they were doing, and that the band wasn’t talented, I’m just saying that the magic combination of all of those things put together is what really made it all work for a time.  Thank goodness!!

Chapter 24:  Divine Diplomacy:
Thoughts about how John described the song, Planet Earth?
A – First, I have to say that I love the fact that he described this song in such detail since it is my favorite song.  That said, I don’t know if I ever thought about Planet Earth as a “celebration of youth, the possibility of youth, about feeling good to be alive”.  I admit that I do feel good to be alive when I hear the song and I could see that it connects with being alive since obviously it refers to “life”.  Even though, they wrote it when they were young and played it to young people, it seems to me that it is a song that we all can relate to, no matter our (old) age!
R – I never really thought about what Planet Earth meant to the band.  (So odd to be writing that here, but it’s true!)  I don’t know that I think of it being a celebration of youth before…but definitely one of being “alive”.  I think that’s one reason why I love hearing the song live, and that’s why for me it’s one of those songs that when it’s left off of a set list – I miss it.  

Were you surprised that John struggled after he finished recording his parts to the first album?
A – Part of me wasn’t surprised that John was struggling, but I would have figured that it would have been in the studio when Colin (where would the band have been without him!) asked him to do more, play better, etc.  John himself said that he could no longer hide out of sight.  Yet, when he explained that he didn’t know how to be on his own, that he had been a “pampered poodle” at home, I understood why he might have had a hard time then.  I think most of us can relate to these growing pains even if we can’t relate to making an album, partying all night, etc.
R – John seemed to be one of those kids that always did better when he had plenty to do.  Idle time should have been avoided.  I remember back to when I first moved to college (I lived in the dorms at Cal State Fullerton – not a year I think back on very fondly, I might add!), I struggled SO MUCH with being on my own.  I would come back to the dorm after school and not have a single thing to do.  No one to really chat with (my roommates and I were on opposing schedules much of the time), and aside from studying – I really had nothing to do, and because I was alone – I didn’t feel very motivated to study, either. Depression set in very quickly and I would go home as often as possible on the weekends. I did my best studying at home. I was the oldest in my family, first to leave the nest, and to be completely honest I think I was forced out of the nest before I was really ready. Something for me to keep in mind for *my* oldest, now that I think about it.  So yes, I could definitely relate to what John was saying here, even though my life was significantly different!  

Chapter 25:  Divine Decadence:
John mentioned that his family would be going with him on his journey.  Is this a fair statement?
A – Clearly, John became the famous person.  Yet, his parents had to deal with the press, the fans, etc.  I suspect that none of them really understood what their lives were going to be like as 1980 ended and 1981 started.
R – As a parent of someone who has been “the star” on stage before – let me just say he couldn’t have been more right if he tried. My daughter hasn’t even gotten to a point where she’s recognized beyond our local area (thank God. I have resisted getting her an agent and so forth simply because I want her to have a regular childhood and enjoy being a KID before she has to be a grownup in a very grownup industry filled with immaturity.) and yet as her mom – it’s constant.  Just taking her where ever she needs to be has been enough.  I can’t even IMAGINE what it must have been like for John’s family.  It’s probably one of those moments where you’re standing there watching people scream for your kid and thinking “You know he can’t clean his room on his own, right?  You do recognize that up until the time he was 16 I had to remind him to shower or brush his own teeth, yes?”  You know, I have to say that I have a great respect for ALL of their family members.  What a life. As much as it might have seemed fun on the outside, I’ll bet it was crazy beyond measure, too.

Chapter 26:  Manic Panic:
Did you know about the “Duranie rock on” message in that night version of Planet Earth?
A – I did and it has always made me smile.  This is part of the reason why I can never hate the term.  🙂
R – I have heard SO many different stories behind that message over the years.  I think this might have been the first time I read a confirmation that it really did come from the band.  

Chapter 27:  Perfect Pop:
Why do you think John put the story of him losing his contant lense in concert in the book?
A – At first, when I read this, I really wondered why John included this.  It seemed like not a big deal.  Yet, he did mention that he worried about this every show.  Every show.  He played a lot of shows.  I think the key here is that it caused him some anxiety.  Interestingly enough, having time on his hands seemed to be problematic for him as well.  Did that extra time cause anxiety, too?  Obviously, he filled up that extra time with drinking and doing drugs and going out at night.
R – I think this is definitely a sign of the type of anxiety he had going on, and I also believe John equated this sort of thing with a feeling of failure, and he was definitely afraid to fail.  

Final Thoughts:
A – Do you know what struck me about these chapters?  The majority of the content of these chapters is really the band’s story versus John’s.  Yes, the band was the biggest thing in John’s life, especially at that time, but I’m struck by how little he talked about how he was feeling at that time.  At times, he would mention something specific to himself or how he was feeling but I wanted to know more.  Was he on cloud nine?  Did he worry?  He often responded to events through the collective.  This is different to the earlier chapters, which were really more about John.  Is this an example of how hard it must have been to separate one’s identity from the band’s?
R – I think that in much of this, one has to truly read between the lines in order to get any kind of grasp onto what John might have been going through on a personal level, and I agree – I think it’s because during this period of his life, it is difficult to distinguish himself from “John Taylor of Duran Duran”, and it might also be due to the fact he has little memory of how he was really feeling.  I hate saying that because I feel like I’m slamming John – and that’s not my point.  He himself has said that in writing the book there were things he just didn’t remember, and if he was self-medicating during this time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t have a clear memory of how he felt, because that’s exactly what he was trying to avoid, you know?

Next week, we will discuss chapters 28-32, which basically covers the year, 1981.  Read then come and discuss!  🙂

-A & R

Media Representations of Fandom: Almost Famous

I’m continuing the series about media representations of fandom with the movie, Almost Famous.  This movie came out in 2000 and the story is about a young boy who has a chance to write an article for Rolling Stone magazine about a rock band on tour.  Of course, on tour, he not only gets a chance to get to know the band but he gets to know some of the “groupies” or “band-aids” on tour.  Here’s the trailer, for your viewing pleasure:

This movie provides a great deal to write and think about.  On one hand, there is the boy who wants to be cool and wants to write about music.  It seems to me that there are parallels between his story and the story about becoming a fan.  What does Will’s story tell us about what people think of fans?  Then, there is the story of the girls, especially the main female character, Penny Lane.  Obviously, the question with Penny is the question of that pesky groupie label.

When we first meet the main character, Will, he is a young boy who is definitely NOT cool.  Yet, he spent his childhood reading rock magazines and listening to rock albums.  (Does this sound like anyone familiar?)  He is so into this that he sends articles to editors until he gets assigned an article to write.  His mother is less than thrilled about him going to concerts or going on tour to write this article.  Yet, she allows it simply because it is a “hobby”.  During his quest at getting in with the band, he meets the “band-aids”.  From them, he learns to just enjoy the show rather than spending the time at a concert taking notes.  Eventually, of course, he gets to know the band where he learns that there are all sorts of rules regarding what he can and cannot write about.  He also gets to witness fans reacting both to the band he is covering and other artists like David Bowie who they see on the road.  That Bowie scene shows fans who are chasing Bowie to the elevator and are dressed just like him.  At the end of the story, when he returns home, he discovers that it is really hard to write about his experience.

What does Will’s story tell us about how fans are viewed?  Obviously, those David Bowie fans were shown to be pretty extreme.  After all, not every fan would chase his/her idol to the elevator or would dress like the object of his/her fandom.  Then, of course, there is Will’s mother.  She dismisses what he is doing with writing the article.  On one hand, this seems logical since he is so young!  On the other hand, does she dismiss it because writing about a rock band shouldn’t be taken seriously?  I mean…come on…who would want to write about a silly, little band?  Oh wait…does a blog count????  Then, of course, Will learns to just enjoy the band and the music from the “band-aids”.  After all that he saw, heard, and felt, he struggled to put it all into words.  I understand that feeling completely.  I try to write about each show and each tour and yet, I often feel like what I say barely scratches the surface as to what happened during a show or a tour.  I know that there was a lot more I wanted to say about that Biloxi show last August, for instance.  Yet, I lacked the words.  On a larger scale, I think it is hard to explain what it is like to be a fan and hard to explain about fan experiences, no matter if those experiences are listening to a particular song alone in one’s room or rocking out in the front row.  Those experiences, when you are a fan, take on a larger than life significance.  Thus, I thought Will’s story as a fan was fairly accurate.  Was the scenario of a 15 year old writing for Rolling Stone magazine logical or likely?  No, but, many of his experiences were ones that fans of all ages could relate to.

Is Penny’s story equally as accurate?  Right away, I admit that I’m nervous by her presence.  When we meet Penny, she is with a group of friends who are all “band-aids”.  She explains the difference, groupies have sex with rock stars to be famous.  Band-aids are there for the music.  Does this mean that they don’t have sex with the rock stars?  Nope.  They do.  Yet, are they there for the music as they claim?  On one hand, they do teach Will to just enjoy the show as he watches it.  On the other hand, the rock stars, themselves, use them and throw them away.  During one scene, various rock stars are playing poker.  The girls became part of the ante to play.  Oh boy.  An interesting scene takes place at the end of the movie when new groupies arrive on the scene.  A groupie who has been around dislikes these new girls simply because they don’t care about the music.  They aren’t fans.

How was Penny portrayed?  First and, obviously, she was a groupie.  Maybe, they tried to give her and her friends more complexity by making them actual fans who care about the music.  Heck, maybe, people who do define themselves as groupies, do love the music.  I know that Pamela Des Barres, famous groupie, stated that in her books.  Should they have included groupies?  I think that they should have since there is lots of documentation that there were groupies in the rock scene in the 1970s when this movie took place.  Did they feed stereotypes about them?  Not really.  Yes, they showed them as young.  Yes, they showed their focus was on getting close to the male rock stars.  There wasn’t much judgement with those images, which I appreciated it.  That said, do the characters of Will and/or Penny show what it really means to be a fan?  I think it must be very difficult to show all types of fans.  In this story, they had to choose fans who lived, ate and breathed fandom.  Fans like myself who dedicate a ton of hours but not every hour wouldn’t have been as interesting.  Thus, they had to include the extremes.  I appreciate that the characters, the fans, generally, seemed intelligent and complex.  I think that is all we can ever hope for.

Next Sunday, I will continue the series with the indy movie, Trekkies.  I believe that this movie was made in the same vein as the Duran fan documentary, Something I Should Know.


These Beautiful Colours…

One of the most challenging concepts of studying fandom for me is this idea of a fan culture and the diversity within it.  Heck, just writing that sentence made my head hurt.  Let me break this down.  I have talked about this idea of culture before, which you can find here.  In that blog post, I define culture as shared beliefs and customs of a group of people.  I think we can understand the group of people part—for us, that group is made up of Duranies.  In my observation, Duranies are truly a diverse group in that we represent every race, every nationality, a wide variety of ages, both genders, a wide variety of careers or occupations, political ideologies, sexual orientations and more.  The shared beliefs and customs part is more difficult.  If I try to keep this simple, I could mention how we all like Duran.  Yet, it seems to me that we don’t like them the same.  The examples I could give to explain or describe this are numerous.  For instance, many of us love AYNIN, but I know that there are fans out there that don’t.  A lot of us like the balance of Duran’s music between keyboards and guitars.  Yet, some of us don’t like the guitar heavy tracks and some dislike the use of too many keyboards.  Now, just because we have a spectrum of beliefs regarding Duran’s music, does that mean that we don’t have similar beliefs or does it all just come down to the fact that we are all fans?  Is that the only belief that we have in common?  Or can we say that there are general beliefs, even though there are a small minority of  people who don’t follow those beliefs?  Do all members of a culture have to believe the exact same things?  I don’t think so.  I reject that notion.  I think that there are beliefs that the majority believe that became the backbone of a fan culture, even there are people who don’t believe all of them.

So, what are the Duranie beliefs, in general?  This list is from my observations of what Duranies say (obviously the only way to observe beliefs is to observe what is stated regarding what people think).  Also this list is FAR from complete as these were the ones that popped into my head. 

*Simon has a great, unique voice
*Simon is a better lyricist when he includes less obvious lyrics
*Nick is an artistic genius
*Nick is the controller, which often results in Durantime
*The community is completely divided in 3 ways on preference for guitar
*Their early work is, generally, the best with some notable contributions later (Ordinary World/Come Undone and AYNIN)
*John is a talented bass player
*Duran’s videos are among the best ever and helped make MTV so successful
*Duran deserves recognition and commercial success
*Duran is not good at capturing momentum
*Duran is a great live band
*Duran brings together music, video, art and fashion

Do we, as a fan culture, have beliefs beyond Duran or their career?  This is even tougher to make any sort of conclusions because not all beliefs are discussed in a fan community.  Despite the challenge, I still wonder, especially about societal topics that seem to connect to Duran.  For instance, Duran seems to express acceptance towards the gay community from the friends they have/have had to statements they have made.  I remember Simon introducing Come Undone live by saying it was for boyfriends and girlfriends, boyfriends and boyfriends and girlfriends and girlfriends.  Yet, do the majority of Duranies support equality for the gay community?  What about questions of a less serious nature?  The member of Duran Duran seem to swear, sometimes, especially that bass player and that singer.  Does the Duranie culture accept swearing?  Do the majority of Duranies swear?  It seems to me that the majority of Duranies do accept equality for the gay community and most do accept swearing.  (Clearly, I am not saying that most Duranies are members of the gay community.)  Would the same acceptance be the same for other beliefs?  What do you think?

What about customs?  Obviously, I’m defining customs as actions.  Are there Duranie customs?  Again, from my observations, there are some customs that the majority of Duranies participate in, which I have listed only SOME of them here:

*Talk on message boards or social networking sites or blogs (I hope!!!) about Duran (some topics are frequently discussed–commercial success, presales and DDM, albums, guitar players, etc.)
*Buy merchandise–albums, DVDs, other products
*Post and/or look at pictures of the band members
*Attend Duran concerts
*Try to make connections with other fans
*Follow Duran and individual band members on twitter and/or facebook

The same question I had for beliefs could follow customs.  Does the fan culture include customs beyond the ones directly related to being a Duran fan?  Like Simon’s introduction of Come Undone, I think about how he introduces the band, “Duran Duran is the band designed to make you party!”  Does it?  Do they make partying part of the Duranie culture?  What about making or viewing art?  Is that something that is a part of Duranie culture?  Is fashion a part of Duranie culture?  What do you think?  If they are not, why not?  What other customs or actions am I missing?

As a social scientist, I find the idea of culture both compelling and challenging.  As I study fandom, I find it an even more complex issue, especially since the fan community is SO diverse in every facet I can imagine.  Yet, I find myself trying to make it as simple and as easily understood as possible.  What do you guys think?  Does Duranie culture have similar beliefs and customs?  If so, what are they?


It’s You I Got to Know

As Rhonda mentioned yesterday, if things went as planned, instead of sitting on my couch, I would be in Birmingham with my partner-in-crime for the convention.  Unfortunately, real life got in the way for both of us.  For Rhonda, because she isn’t there, she could attend a family member’s funeral.  For me, it means that I’m enjoying my first real day off since the tour.  Yes, that tour.  The summer tour.  The one that ended in August.  While technically, I didn’t go to work last Saturday and Sunday, I was busy doing grades.  I now know, for sure, that I made the right decision to not go.  Why?  Well, it felt SO nice to sleep in.  I have enjoyed my day so far, which has included lunch with a friend, going to the movies (gasp!) and dinner with my parents.  It feels so good to know that I don’t have to rush to get to the next activity or to get another task done.  I needed it.  Desperately.  Of course, there is a part of me, a big part of me, that wishes I could be at the convention as well.  Who doesn’t?!  The biggest reason I wish I could be there isn’t to bask in all things Duran.  Nope.  It is all about the people.

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. 


An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!