Should we or shouldn’t we?

A very wise man once said that we should never meet our idols because they will never live up to our expectations.

Now, I don’t doubt what this man said, for he too was (and is!) an idol for many. We’ve all heard comments about the band being put on a pedestal by fans, a mighty narrow one at that. It’s pretty incredible to consider just how high of standards some fans have them living up to, and one has to wonder if it’s at possible for a human being to really be that perfect.

Of course not.

It’s only natural for fans, especially those who became fans at a very young age, to put a band or celebrity up on a pedestal. I suspect that it has much to do with that Prince Charming syndrome – where we want our prince to come and save us. It’s a beautiful idea at the age of ten, eleven or twelve. The trouble is, most of us are a few decades beyond now. Reality should have set in at some point. We know the band isn’t perfect, don’t we? We know that each of them cannot possibly be happy to see us each and every time we catch sight of them in public. Sometimes, people really do just want to be left alone.

Like everything else in life, nothing is quite that simple. I know many fans that say “The band are celebrities and everything that goes along with that, the being kind at all times, the ‘perfection’ (or at least carrying on the idea that it is so), all of that goes along with the fame and fortune they found.” I’m pretty happy and well-adjusted enough to know that’s crazy talk.  People are people. Sure, when they’re on the town, working the “Duran Duran” machine, that’s WORK. I would say that yes, they probably do need to try and remember to at least give a smile and be friendly, just like I’m supposed to do so when I’m at “work”. At least…that’s what I hear. That does NOT mean though that every day when they’re on tour, whether there is a show, a press function, etc. that day or not, that they are required to put up with eager fans. You take your chance on those occasions, and I have to say that I’m amazed at how decidedly unaware fans are as to when it’s a “good time” or a “bad time”.  For those folks, I wish them luck. They’re the ones who are unfortunately going to find members of the band at the worst possible moment, have one bad experience, and then blab away about it on a public board, expecting all to agree and lament their bad experience. It’s unfair to assume that since they are indeed celebrities, they are somehow public property at all times, is it not?

For me personally, I think I left my idolization for the band, and truly for all celebrities alike – back in childhood. What replaced that idolization is respect, for the most part. I respect the band. Sure I still love them to pieces, but I don’t think you can call what I feel for them idolization. It’s different. I see them as the faulty humans they truly are. That doesn’t mean they’re somehow horrible because of that; it’s just that while yes they might have larger homes, drive nicer cars and take more luxurious vacations than I do, they’re still just human.  I respect the fact that they have put out over a dozen albums, toured the world many times over, are a good ten years older than I am and yet they still get out there on that stage and rock it better than I think they ever have before. I respect that they’re not quite finished yet, and that they continue to try new things, even when sometimes those new things have completely thrown me. I respect the fact that they’re people, and that sometimes people have really crappy days and the very last thing they want is somebody like me in their face.

Here is the double edged sword though – I want that same respect in return.  No, the band doesn’t know me. I don’t expect for them to look at me in a crowd and recognize me, know my name, or lastly – even have read the blog and be able to put two and two together. Hardly.  By respect I mean treat me as a human rather than a dollar sign with legs. Don’t wince as I’m walking down the hall because let me be clear – chances are – I will walk right past without even daring to do much more than smile unless they stop me first.  (Again, hardly think that’ll happen in my lifetime.) Naturally, I recognize that for the most part, fans would never just walk right by, and I know the negative connotations that go along with being a fan.  It sucks to be on this side at times. That said, we kind of ask for it, don’t we? Generally speaking, it’s a two way street, isn’t it? Treat others as you wish to be treated?? Anyone recognize that saying??

Let me be clear, I’ve never met the band outside of a signing, a chance “meeting” with one member of the band at a club in Vegas – and no, I did not speak to him (I smiled and left him alone to enjoy his night as I was enjoying my own), and another chance encounter with a fellow plane passenger/guitarist on a flight to New Orleans. I am not the type of person that will go running up to any of the band members expecting hugs, photos or who-knows-what-else. That sort of thing completely freaks me out, as I’m pretty sure it must them at times.  I try to remember that as often as I can when I’m “on tour” or at a function where they are in attendance. I’d much prefer to have a casual discussion over coffee or drinks and leave the whole “Oh my god I’ve been a fan for my entire life, can I hug you, can I get a picture, can I can I can I?!?” at the door. Again, that whole scene freaks me out just a little when I think about it.  

Granted, this is probably why I’ll never have photos with the band, and I get that. On the same token, and I mean this seriously – I write a blog about being a fan. Many people read this blog every day, as well as some others that I write on occasion for other places. My fandom, as it is, has taken on a completely different role in my life at this point. I have deep respect for the people within my fandom, whether those are friends, fellow fans, readers, or the band themselves.

Recently I commented to the wise man I mentioned earlier that when idolization gives way to true respect that goes beyond the music and the person on the cover of a magazine, you realize we’re all just human, and respect comes freely – flaws and all. I really believe this.  What about you?

-R

6 thoughts on “Should we or shouldn’t we?”

  1. For the love of trying to type and hold a baby! This is my THIRD attempt… twice now the baby's foot has touched the Mac track pad and caused my brilliant prose to disappear, just like that. And of course it was at the end when I was about to sign off…. Last try.

    In Duranatopia every band member would always be delightful every time they were in public. They would pose for photos, kiss babies and baby mommas, they would sign autographs and answer every personal question… and be genuinely happy to do so.

    Too bad Duranatopia is a fictional universe.

    Life is a wench. Simon may have gas, Dom's hard-drive may have just crashed, John may have pulled a muscle (oh wait, don't you have to have muscles to pull one?… sorry. I couldn't resist), Roger may have been up with the baby all night, Nick may be having a bad eyeliner day… Yep, they're human and there is no cure for being human. We all know that in our minds, but it's our hearts that get us in trouble. I can only hope that should I ever bump into them in outside of their true work environment that I would be calm, cool and collected and hopefully not dressed as if I were going to Wal-mart.

    Let's be honest here – the reason we wanted to meet them when we were teens was because we all thought we'd be that one special fan that SANJR (pick one!) would fall madly in love with, or they would at least add us to their personal Christmas card lists. And it was normal to feel that way. We were young with stars in our eyes, unaware of the real world at the time.

    I like the line in the GP video, “No one teaches you how to be famous.” I would loathe being famous. I barely know how to act having two people who adore me – my husband and my son (who in all reality probably only adores me at this point because he knows where his meal comes from). If I were to wake up one day and find myself famous I know for a fact I would not be good at it. So I give Duran Duran lots of credit for surviving fame for over 30 years now.

    Displaying restraint is a valued characteristic of adulthood (or should be). Like the one Duranie who saw Roger after the grueling flight from Australia and didn't take his picture as he was “knackered.” (Oh, I love that word! I think I need to weave it into my vocabulary. I'm feeling rather knackered right now, in fact.) That showed tremendous restraint and respect.

    I am not above using my adorable son to get smile or a wave, but I would rather have that as a memory than an autograph or a photo that may have annoyed the band member, even if he didn't show it. I'm not saying that anyone who goes for the photo is rude or anything like that. I just wouldn't have the guts to attempt even if it seemed like an appropriate time.

    Flaws are what make us all special and individuals. I wouldn't want them to be perfect.

  2. Great blog yet again! 🙂 I feel very lucky in the fact that I did get to meet the band and it was a meet and greet session in which they were “prepared” to meet fans. They were very gracious, smiley and dreamy (sorry the 13 yr. old fan in me just jumped out…I'll now snap myself back to my 40 yr. old self). I was very composed and quite frankly in shock as I didn't believe I was “really” going to finally get to meet them after 30 yrs of likeing them. I am sooo glad that I met them the way that I did as I don't think I could ever approach them out in public and “bother” them or invade their personal time. I too have too much respect for them as people who are entitled to their own personal space. When I did meet them, I had much respect for them on my exterior (on the inside the 13 yr. old Duranie was screaming & fainting) and honestly couldn't really come up with much to say that I'm sure they haven't heard a million times before soooo I stuck with the basics and shook all their hands and told them my name and how nice it was to meet them. Must say….kinda lost my breath for a minute when Simon shook my hand and said hello and my name in that british accent (dang that that 13yr. old just keeps popping back out!) I was in such a haze that I didn't even realize that Roger (who was behind me in the photo) had his hand on my shoulder, until I looked at the picture afterwards. I am also very glad that I met them now as a 40 year old woman and not the 13 yr. old that was madly in love with them back in the day. Can't say I stayed as composed after we were out of their sight and ear shot but…..I did while in the room with them something the 13 yr. old would have NEVER done. The experience of meeting them has a 2 fold meaning to me as well since my original Duranie sister and I had been seperated/lost touch with eachother until about 9 months before we met them. She was my bff back in the day and the person who turned me on to DD in the first place. I had been searching for her and thanks to FB finally found her and we are now partners in crime once again. She was at the concert with me and she had a connection that got us in to meet the band. It was a celebration of our friendship and love for DD all in one. DD's music has been there for me during some of my toughest struggles. It's the one thing I can count on to put me in a better mood. Now I have my old friend back and a picture of me & her w/ our beloved band…what more could I ask for. I am truely grateful!

  3. I think that's a very special story, and I can't blame you for the fangirl excitement. We all have it at times and that's what keeps us going. There are moments even on the blog where I get giggly at times, and that's the fun part. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact – if we weren't that way I think the band really WOULD think we'd all lost our minds! -R

  4. Part I: As I am reading this,later than usual today,it made me think about my 20 yo daughter,a senior in college,who happens to have a diagnosis of Asperger's.It is higher level of functioning on the Autism spectrum;high IQ,remembers everything,gets immersed in something she is interested in and absorbs all the information she can about it.She has impaired social relationships and communication skills (one way, not reciprocal),so she does not have friends although she participates in lots of activities since living on campus.She is content to play her Nintendo 3DS for hours on end.Her awareness of self and others is very delayed developmentally speaking.So whether it is Monty Python,teaching herself to solve the rubiks cube in less than a minute,whatever the newest interest,I hear all about it and although she gets excited about this,to be honest,I get tired of hearing the same things over and over again, even though I know it is just out of her excitement.Now how does this relate to what today's blog topic is about and comments posted thus far? Perhaps some of you may have figured it out already, but I will lay it out for you.Well, when it comes to DD,I feel like I am my daughter.1.In regards to DD,since September when I bought tickets to the October concert for she and I to attend as her birthday present,I have immersed myself in reading every book,seeing every movie and concert [even Sugarland, which JT was great in],catching up on the albums I missed between Wedding album and RCM. Twitter, Fan forum, etc. in my reader.2.I spout off information about DD in every conversation whether that person wants to hear it or not.3.I perseverate on the band, being obsessive about consuming what there is about DD.4.I find ways to insert DD into every conversation and introduce friends and acquaintances,random people I meet in a musical/artistic environment (I live in a college town),to music and videos whether they are interested or not.I have become the PR person for DD.5.I desperately want to learn how to play the bass,like JT.6.I want to get the double D tattoo JT has on his left arm,signifying his re-commitment to the band.I fear pain though and so it would have to be really small.7.I listen to DD everyday.I think in lyrics to their songs to describe my day or how I am feeling.Bored yet? Deb

  5. Part II: When it comes to the band,I am rainman these days ;)It is my therapy, my release.It is my cognitive rehab.Just a year ago,I could not speak coherently nor communicate my thoughts in writing after my traumatic brain injury.And here I am,writing.So maybe DD has been a part of my healing.If anything,I want to thank them.In my fandom,I do have the inner 14 year old who's like “OMG, OMG, OMG”–I'm sharing the same space as the band.But I agree,they have lives,I respect that,and although I would like to be fortunate enough to have a VIP experience that involved a meet and greet,if I saw any of the band members anywhere,I would be too shy to do anything about it.I'd freeze like a statue.Now if my daughter was with me,her boundary issues are a bit different.Here is where I do not share common traits.She would walk right up to the member,and although well intentioned,it would not occur to her that the Band I adore,has a life.But I admire that about her.She is not afraid to approach people.And you know what?She would do it because she knows how much it would mean to me,even if I never asked her to do it.She really can be so thoughtful and sweet,and it floors me when I see it,because she is in her own world most of the time.I love her so very much 😀 So I do get a thrill with twitter and reading tweets, responding,even if I don't get a response.I am content to even have that closeness even if I never get a reply.And, as I may have said to you,I worry about the guys and their tour schedule this year.I want them to be around for awhile.I hope that they are not burning themselves out.I do care about them.But it's likely selfishly motivated as I want them to be around for me and my fellow fans for many years to come.So,no stalking,no limo rocking,I respect them too much.Would I love to meet them,sure.Would I like to be a fly on the wall during a recording session?the green room?tagging along on the plane ride around the world on tour?Sure thing–even if I hate flies,the idea is that it is a quiet curiosity,not invasive.Would it be awesome to be like the teenager hired by Rolling Stone to travel with a band and write about them as in “Almost Famous” except it's me with DD,and they ARE FAMOUS.Would I love to get a bass lesson from JT?you bet!So therein lies the fantasy.It makes being a fan fun!It's a guilty pleasure that is not understood by non duranies.I am so very grateful to have found this place where I can connect with other fans,and continue to learn new things about my first love–DD.It feels good to know I am not alone in my fandom.Even though others may raise an eyebrow or roll their eyes when I turn all encyclopedic about the band,I don't care,I don't notice their reaction, and I am happy as I am.

    Oh,last thing,Is there “anyone out there” who would be willing to hold my hand when I get my tiny DD tattoo? Deb

  6. loved the 2nd reply.I had the chance to meet the band(all together or separatly)in different situations(signings,tv shows,radio interviews,hotels…).When Nick signed my vinyl,I was going crazy inside,but didn't show a sign of it.Generally it was much easier to approach them when wasn't a lot of people around.Nick & Warren were always very generous & spent time to take pictures & signs things.If we treat them like humans,they'll treat us the same,I always said!
    Joel

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