This blog, generally, focuses on fans and fandom. While we certainly talk about Duran Duran, it is from the fans’ point of view. We rarely take the time to really think about what it must be like to be Duran Duran or anyone else famous. Yet, I started to think a bit more lately about what fame and having fans must really be like.
I spent about a week, over the holidays, at my sister’s. My sister is a mom to two teenage girls and one night they wanted to watch a movie with just the “girls” (my mom, my sister, my nieces and myself). What movie was chosen? It is one my niece got for Christmas called Beyond the Lights. I had never heard of it before but I was open to it as it dealt with a fictional famous singer. You can watch the trailer here to get an idea of what it is about:
As you can tell from the trailer, this famous singer is not a happy person. She clearly isn’t thrilled with her lifestyle or her fame and is looking for someone to “really see her”. As I watched the movie, I found myself thinking about the members of Duran Duran. This character is frustrated by not being able to make her own choices but always doing, wearing, speaking whatever that will maintain or grow her fame. She feels that she is not understood at all and that thousands feel like they “know” her, but no one really does. They only know the image, not the real person.
I have to wonder if this is how the members of Duran have felt or do feel. Do they feel controlled by others? Do they feel trapped by their fame? Do they feel like no one really understands or really knows them? This reminded me of an article from Classic Pop Magazine that I recently read about Duran Duran. In this article, the band’s success and fame was addressed. Nick mentioned that, “It felt out of control on a nightly basis…It’s quite bizarre when you’re a prisoner of your own world.” Wow. It is interesting that he chose that word of “prisoner”. Then, he related a story in which he was at a charity dinner with Justin Bieber and how Justin was never left alone even when he was eating!
This, of course, brought me right back to fans. While I definitely understand the desire for pictures and autographs (and have certainly asked for some myself!), I do wonder if fans add to this feeling of being trapped that Nick talked about or how the movie showed. Simon addresses this issue a bit further in that same article by talking about selfies by stating, “Selfies are the new autograph. I don’t mind an autograph…they’re much quicker to do and feel less intrusive. But people freak out when you say ‘no’ to a selfie.” Does Simon or any other famous people have the right to say no without having people freak out on them? I think most of us would say yes. Yet, I know the argument that many fans have. Simon and company CHOSE to become and stay famous. On top of that, the fans are what brought their success; fans made the people famous. Therefore, shouldn’t fans have the right to expect an autograph or a selfie?
I suspect that the best answer lies somewhere in between the never giving autographs/selfies and the always giving autographs/selfies. I am not surprised if many/most famous people have some sort of limit about when and where they are willing to give autographs/selfies. Simon even mentioned in that article that he would never do a selfie when he is eating. Then, I think that fans should respect those limits. We often ask the famous people to think about what it must be like for the fans and how the fans should be treated but it is probably good for fans to think about what life must be like for famous people. It must not always be fun or easy to be famous or to have fans. It seems to me that everyone (both famous people and fans) should try to be a bit more empathetic towards the other.