About a month ago, I assigned some homework. This assignment asked Duran Duran fans to give us a list of what they think are the 40 best Duran songs. Thankfully, we got a number of responses. Many felt that this assignment was a challenge, which I agree with! It took me awhile to get it done, too! I offered the opportunity to put the songs in order from best to least best and some took me up on that. Many did not, claiming that it was too tough. Therefore, I just simply recorded which songs were chosen rather than where in the list the songs were. If people want to redo their lists in order, that’s cool. I would be happy to compile the results once again.
Before I share the results, there are a few other comments I need to make. Some fans chose to include which versions they liked best. I totally admire that but since only a few did that, I opted to just put those under the album version of the song. By the time I was done listing all of the songs mentioned, I had 147 different songs listed. What this tells me is that Duran Duran’s catalog and quality of songs is huge! It isn’t just that they have 5 or 10 songs that people think are awesome but literally hundreds. That is impressive, in and of itself! Now, on to the results:
Top 40 Duran Duran Songs:
I Don’t Want Your Love / The Universe Alone / What Happens Tomorrow / All She Wants Is / Tiger Tiger / Tel Aviv / Finest Hour / Someone Else Not Me / Vertigo
Night Boat / Union of the Snake / Winter Marches On / Last Chance on the Stairway / My Own Way / Anyone Out There / My Antarctica / Hungry Like the Wolf
Pressure Off / Late Bar / Girls on Film
Notorious / Sunrise / Lonely in Your Nightmare / Serious / Before the Rain / The Edge of America / The Man Who Stole a Leopard
Is There Something I Should Know / The Reflex / Wild Boys / All You Need Is Now / Hold Back the Rain / Ordinary World
A View to a Kill / Do You Believe in Shame / Out of my Mind / Friends of Mine / Save a Prayer / Sound of Thunder
Secret Oktober / The Seventh Stranger / Come Undone
Careless Memories / New Moon on Monday
Planet Earth / Rio / New Religion
Obviously, there were a number of ties in terms of how many times the songs were included in people’s lists. I also noticed that a lot of the songs were singles and ones that are often played live. Interestingly enough, the only album not represented in this list is Red Carpet Massacre. Many people listed songs from that album but just not enough to be included in the top 40.
What do you all think of the list? Anything surprise you? Are there songs that you thought for sure would be there that weren’t or vice versa? I enjoyed “grading” this homework even though it took me longer than I expected. I have an idea for another Duranie homework assignment, if people are interested. Just let me know!
This blog post is late, not in terms of time but date. I could use the excuse that I don’t blog on Wednesday, when it was Rhonda’s actual birthday, but that isn’t the complete story. I have been a little busy. (I would call working 70-80 hours a week more than busy but alas…) I could have probably done some sort of quick blog but I didn’t want to do that for Rhonda’s birthday. Nope. I wanted to make it something more meaningful or more fun or both. Therefore, I needed time and energy. Now that I’m starting to recover and feel more human, I can do a blog post worthy of a birthday blog for Rhonda!
In thinking about how I wanted to blog, I wanted it to be monumental because this week has felt pretty monumental. So, I figured a good way to wish her a happy birthday is to acknowledge, to remember, to celebrate the top 12 monumental moments (in no particular order) that we have shared together. Why 12?! Well, if you add up Rhonda’s age…you might get 12, which is a lot more than if you added up my age. Just pointing that out because I can. 😉
12. Surviving Voodoo
Rhonda just recently wrote about the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans in October 2006. The thing about that day is that I truly feel like we survived torture. After all, we stood for hours in the same space without any food or water. So, when Rhonda screamed at Simon that we had time for 50 more songs, the only thing I could do is laugh…at least until I had a few drinks (or ten). Of course, that night represented the first time that signs we brought were successful such as the one below:
11. Secret Oktober in Brighton
Sometimes, once in a blue moon, we are lucky. In this case, we were beyond fortunate to have seen the band perform Secret Oktober live. We saw the song in Brighton, England in November of 2011. This show was always questionable. We were not supposed to see the band there when we first bought tickets. Unfortunately, Simon lost his voice and the first set of tickets we had were no longer used. Thus, we decided to add the Brighton show after the Simon had recovered. Then, we worried that the public union strike in London would affect our ability to get to this show. Somehow, someway, it worked out. We got our cherry on top, though, once this song was played. I’ll never forget the moment when we realized what we were hearing and turned to each other to hug only to see Nick laughing at us behind his keyboards.
10. Walking through Birmingham
Speaking of the UK, we were lucky enough to go in 2011. The first trip did not turn out as we expected since the four shows we had gone for had to be canceled. At that news, we had some options. Do we sit around and complain? Do we ignore anything and everything Duran related or do we still experience our Duranie-ness. Rhonda and I opted for that last option as we walked around Birmingham, gaining a brand new insight into the band we thought we knew. It was not only eye-opening for us but certainly made Rhonda and I closer. Later in the year, we finally got to see Duran play in their hometown, which was a dream come true!
9. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon in New Orleans
Do you ever look back at life and are able to pinpoint a pivotal moment? This moment might be such that it points you in a significantly different path than you might have been on otherwise. I strongly recall sitting at the Howl at the Moon in New Orleans with drinks in hand right by Rhonda at the 2004 Friends of Mine convention. I didn’t know her super well at that point but I remember singing along to HLTW with her and thinking we could be friends. I wasn’t wrong.
8. Laughing during Tempo Cafe in Chicago
If Howl at the Moon made me think that Rhonda and I could be friends, laughing hysterically with her at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4 in the morning told me that I had found my touring buddy for life. This was for our first tour together, the spring Astronaut Tour in 2005. We realized that weekend that we could easily travel or go to shows together. The rest of the world, however, probably wish that we didn’t. I think the people with us probably wished that we didn’t get along so well when we couldn’t stop laughing, annoying them to death, I’m sure. I know that for me, this matters. I like being with people who make me laugh!
7. Running away during Durandemonium
In 2013, Rhonda and I decided to do something pretty crazy. We chose to organize a convention, Durandemonium. It took place in Chicago and by anyone’s standards it was successful. That said, it was a lot of work, a lot of stress so when we had an opportunity to relax a little, we did. After the Saturday night fun, dancing away at Late Bar, our favorite 80s club there, we sought quiet at a very late dinner or very early breakfast. I will never forget the pivot we took away from the doors of the hotel to walk at a brisk pace down the street.
6. Finishing two manuscripts
Some of our monumental moments are ones that no one was around for besides us. A good example of this is when we finished a manuscript or two. No matter what has happened with those drafts, I’m super proud to have written them. I still believe that we have something to say that would interest people. Someday, I hope we get back to writing like that. While it isn’t easy, I think it would be worth it. I feel very fortunate that we have a friendship that we can not only hang out and laugh together but can also work together, whether doing this blog, writing books or planning fan events.
5. Making fun of Simon in a bunch of ways (but always with love)
Oh, how we love to give Simon a hard time! It started as soon as the reunion took place as we enjoyed talking among our friends about some of Simon’s more interesting dance moves or his idea to crowd surf. Then, we saw new and better moves in 2009, which you can see below. By the time, Paper Gods rolled around, there was so many ways to tease, including trying to find bright colored but way too short pants or trying to paint shoes to match his lime green ones. I cannot wait to see what we can do next!!
Over the years, Rhonda and I have spent a lot of time traveling, both together and apart. Yet, my favorite way to travel with her is road tripping. On top of being able to just sit and talk, it also allows us to come up with new ideas or to create some of the best setlists the band has never played!
Like transportation, we have stayed in a number of different hotels over the years. Sometimes, those hotels become more than just a place to stay. We have found ourselves kicked out of hotel bars as “there are sleeping rooms” nearby. If that wasn’t enough, we have also answered the phone to hotel security. Most significantly, hotels have also been the scene of moments with the members of Duran. Maybe, it was taking pictures with John, Simon and Dom in Los Angeles in 2015, getting someone to wear one of our wristbands or toasting with Simon in Toronto. Good times, indeed!
2. Press conferences
Then, there are our videos that we lovingly refer to as press conferences in which we attempt (often badly) to capture a show or a tour. They speak for themselves!
1. The best is yet to come!
Over the years, we have learned a lot from Duran Duran. One big concept is to look forwards and not backwards. What does this mean? It means that the best is yet to come! I suspect that we will have some monumental moments in February! So on this birthday, I celebrate our friendship and some of our best moments! On that note, I wish my partner-in-crime an absolutely fabulous birthday!!!
I don’t know about the rest of you but it has been a WEEK. A long, tough week. (Yep, that’s a sentence fragment. Nope, I don’t care.) Believe it or not, it wasn’t really my job causing the stress and strain. Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any work to do this weekend. I cannot be that lucky. I have a set of papers and tests to grade on top of some family responsibilities and campaign events, but work is not upsetting me. While I would love to create an amazing new blog, my energy level won’t let that happen. Thus, I checked to see what I had written before on this date when I ran across the following post. I remember writing it and how it amused the heck out of me. Guess what? It still makes me laugh. Hope it might bring a smile to your face, too!
I woke up this morning sick to my stomach. The symptoms clearly said it was some sort of flu with nausea, stomach craps, alternating between chills and sweating and exhaustion. Of course, I posted my illness on my personal facebook while I called the campaign I’m working for to tell them that I needed someone to cover me at today’s canvass. The consensus on facebook was that I had been pushing myself too much and that a day off would do me good. While it could be a virus or a virus that was able to hit due to working so much, I suspect that there might be something else going on. I was able to put it together after receiving an email from Rhonda and seeing her facebook status. She, too, has been battling illness this week and experienced insomnia last night. My sleep has been awful lately as well. Now, we don’t live near each other. I’m in Wisconsin and she’s in California. There is no way that we have the same virus or do we?!?Today is September 22nd. Where were we one month ago? We were in Portsmouth, Virginia, going to our final show of the All You Need is Now tour. This was the last show for probably years and we both were well aware of that on that day. Strangely enough, I also had a weird dream last night in my very restless sleep. The location of this weird dream: Portsmouth, Virginia. When I woke up this morning, I thought it was a strange location to dream about since we weren’t there very long and it wasn’t the most memorable location or show of the tour. Yet, my subconscious was thinking about it. Clearly. In this dream, I had to get to a show. I was in a rush to get there but I kept running into roadblocks, both literally and figuratively. Traffic was a nightmare in my dream as was road construction. I only had a few hours to get there, to the show. Rhonda, too, was struggling to get there. I assumed that she wasn’t going to make it. I found myself slowly accepting the fact that we weren’t going to make it on time for the show. In fact, I decided I wasn’t even going to see Rhonda. I tried to accept it. At the last minute, Rhonda showed up in what I assumed was a hotel room. The last thing I remember saying to her was, “We might make it but it isn’t going to be easy.” When I woke up, I thought I was talking about making that show and maybe I was. Now, though, I think it is bigger than that.
This dream connected with my symptoms, Rhonda’s symptoms and today’s date only means one thing. We are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Yes, this means that we are addicted. We are Duranaholics. I am standing up as I type this and admitting it. My name is Amanda and I’m a Duranaholic. Clearly, now I know that this addiction isn’t just mental but physical as well. Now that I have taken the first step and am not longer trying to deny this addiction, what do I do? Do I try and break the addiction? If so, this means I have to continue through this detox and, frankly, I have no choice as there is no time with the band in my future. Although, I keep hoping, despite all evidence that it won’t happen, for at least, a tiny fix with a John Taylor signing in…say…Chicago. Okay. *deep breath* So, I must continue through detox. Then what? Meetings? Do they have to be in person meetings or can twitter and facebook be enough? I know that there are many Duranies in the Madison area or within driving distance. Should I organize DA (Duranaholics Anonymous) meetings? What if I’m the only addict? Yes, many people may be able to enjoy Duran in small quantities and might be able to really control their usage. Do you think that they would be able to encourage my change in lifestyle or will they be enablers by showing Duran clips or playing Duran music? Then, there is the issue of Rhonda. Will she walk this path with me or will she continue to use?
Of course, I could just decide to keep using. Maybe I can do enough Duran like to keep the mental and physical suffering away for the most part. What should I do? Which path should I choose? How do I survive until the next fix? How are the rest of you surviving without Duranlive?!
P.S. I do truly understand that real addiction is a disease that should be taken seriously. I was only comparing fandom to real addictions for fun. No offense was meant. I promise.
Yesterday, this blog turned eight! While some might not think that is a big deal but it is huge to Rhonda and myself. When I think back to when we started this, I figured that we might write for a year, maybe two, if we were really committed. Honestly, I believed that it would help us in our writing projects. It might shed light on Duranies or even Duran Duran, I assumed. While it has done that at times, to me, the lessons I have learned have been so much more and different than that. So on this anniversary or birthday or whatever you want to call it, I want to share a few of those lessons. They are in no particular order.
The Power of Commitment:
Sometimes, when Rhonda and I go on tour, we have uttered the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” When we say that, it to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t necessarily party so hard in a few hour causing us to crash before the night has really even gotten started. We don’t need to do everything in one night, if we have multiple shows. I feel like I have learned that lesson in the rest of my life, too.
I have always known that there is power in commitment. Experience matters. When I first became a teacher, I watched veteran teachers to see how they dealt with every issue that teachers confront. Looking back, I cannot believe how much I learned from that. Now, I’m that veteran teacher. My practice has improved over time, not just from watching those experienced staff members but also from doing it myself. You know what else matters? It is important to know that I’m in it for the long haul. Teaching isn’t just a temporary gig. I knew that I had to get better because it was going to be who and what I was for decades.
I could repeat a similar story for political organizing. Initially, it was one campaign. Soon enough, it became two then three. Now, I get it. It is part of my life and who I am. I got better at it, too. I had no choice. I feel like the same is true for this blog. In the beginning I didn’t think too much about how my blogs were. Even once I realized that some people read them, I didn’t consciously think about how to improve my blogs. Yet, I think it has happened through both doing it but also through commitment. Because I know that this is part of my life, I want to be able to be proud of it. Guess what? I am proud. Not only am I proud of the blogs themselves, I’m extremely proud of our commitment. Both of us could have thrown in the towel a ton of times but we didn’t. We stuck to it. We stayed for the long haul.
Keeps Me Connected:
As I have said before, this hasn’t been the easiest year for me. I won’t lie that there have been times that I thought maybe it was time for me to walk away from this. It was never because I didn’t like it or my love for Duran has faded. I just wondered if my attention shouldn’t be elsewhere. Yet, I know how it would go. At first, it might be fine. I would focus on other things. Over time, though, I would miss it. Whenever I have suppressed one big aspect of my life, it always comes back to bite me. I don’t like it. I don’t want to have to choose between the different hats I wear. I can be a fan and an activist. I can be a blogger and educator.
What would I miss? Not only would I miss the writing. I would miss the connection. This blog has connected us with other fans. I have met so many people as a result of writing this blog, hosting meet-ups and organizing the convention in 2013. I’m grateful for everyone I have met. Not only have I learned from each and every person but many of you have brought fun and joy into my life. You all have reminded me that fandom is about connection. It starts out with a love of whatever. In our case, it is the love of Duran Duran. The fandom part comes when we reach out to each other. This blog has made that a lot easier for me. I cannot say that I’m great in meeting people. Often, I think I give off the wrong vibes or something. Yet, this blog and everything that has come as a result pushes me to be better, to be more approachable with other people.
Now, this blog keeps me connected not just to the fans I might meet, the ones that I have met, but also with Rhonda and Duran Duran. This blog is not mine, not Rhonda’s but ours. It is still that way. It doesn’t matter how often we talk, this blog is our shared space. It is a “place” that we both call home. It is where we are open about our love for Duran and touring. Beyond that, it is also where we have shared stories about fandom but also about our real lives. I often joke that it has become our journals. This blog lets us process through our ideas about fandom as well as general life stuff. Not only does it let you all know what is going on with us, but often it lets me know what is going with her and vice versa. It forces us to stay connected and I am grateful for that. (I wonder if any band member has thought something similar about Duran Duran, that the band has kept the individual members connected.)
This little blog also keeps me thinking about Duran Duran. When we first started, Duran Duran was at the top of my thoughts when writing this blog. I couldn’t really imagine writing about my personal life or even subtle aspects of fandom. No, I wanted to write about just Duran Duran, the band, the history, the music. Now, it isn’t that they aren’t important as they are truly essential. They are the reason we started and the reason we keep going. However, they are much like the other commitments in my life. Being a Duranie is who I am. I have been that for so long and in this public way for 8 years now. That part of my identity and the love that it stems from is so interwoven in my life that I don’t need to shout about it in the same way to prove that. I know how much Duran matters to me. It is like breathing. I don’t need to think about it to love them. I just do it.
Overall, this blog has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on September 13th, 2010, when we entered into this adventure. I am thankful that we started this and thrilled that we keep going. More importantly, I appreciate that Rhonda is still here on this journey with me and am forever grateful to people who have read the blog once as well as to those who read each and every day. You all keep me going. Thank you.
On this date in 2012, Rhonda and I saw Duran Duran play in Biloxi, Mississippi. This was the first of our little mini-tour around the southeast to finish up the All You Need Is Now album cycle, at least for us. That little tour meant that the next time we would see the band play at all would be almost three years later in April 2015. It began a weird sort of desperation. The cause was obvious. The AYNIN album and tour marked the best time we had (I think) as fans up until that point. We attended a bunch of shows, managed to see the band play in the UK and began holding meet ups before shows. Truly, we didn’t want the party to end.
Despite all that, if you look back at my posts from that time, they were not all happiness and light. I questioned if I needed some sort of break from fandom. As much as I loved it all, I wondered if it was creating some weird sort of pressure. I’m sure that part of it was also because not everyone loved what we were doing and saying. Yet, instead of walking away, we dove in more by planning a convention. Interestingly enough, six years later, I’m finding myself in a similar emotional space. Looking back, I knew that I felt a lot of angst but I didn’t really know why. I assumed it was fandom, but I don’t think it was. The summer of 2012 included an upsetting political loss while preparing for another campaign. It also meant changing teaching positions. I think I felt like the ground below me was unsettled. I reacted to that by first trying to finding something to blame, which I stupidly thought might have been fandom. Then, instead of running away, I increased my commitment.
Now, I also feel like my foundation has been shaken. Last school year was tough and there are changes there that make me less than excited for the upcoming year. Politically, I have faced some big losses while trying to gear up to the next one. On top of that, there is more stress surrounding my aging parents and feel like I have less support to assist with it all. Again, my desire is to seek security like I did in 2012. The only aspect of my life that I questioned then was fandom. Even when I wondered if fandom was making me happy, I remember just wanting people to reassure me that fandom could and would continue to bring joy. I wanted people to want me to continue writing this blog, planning events, etc.
Did I handle my feelings in the right way then? No clue. Should I have questioned other areas of my life? Maybe. Probably. I often wonder if I stay too long, that I stay when I should not. I think about the fact that six years ago I changed positions at work. I should have done it years before that. I’m not good at timing. This leads me to wonder if changes need to be made now. Should I continue to double down on my path in life with teaching, campaigning and doing fandom? I don’t know that I have any answers, just more questions.
All that said, now that I have poured all of this out on this blog post (most of you are probably thinking that I have over shared or wished that I hadn’t opened my big, fat mouth at all), I do realize one thing. Duran tours and other happenings have been mile markers in my journey of life. That tour in 2012 was more than just 4 shows. It made me recognize that things in my life weren’t as awesome as I wanted. It made me question things. I appreciate that even if my recognition did not lead to some amazing changes in my life. It reminds me that Duran’s history has helped to form my history, even if I couldn’t see it when it was happening. It makes me wonder what will Duran do next that will form the backdrop to my own life.
I love when people send me links or information about something Duran Duran related. This week a friend of mine sent me information about a podcast called, The Mortified Podcast: Share the Shame. Apparently, this is a weekly podcast that features storytelling in which adults share embarrassing pieces from their childhoods. This particular episode (75) focused on being a Duran fan. I can relate to that title. My friend said that it was “hilarious”. I could not wait to listen and assured her that I would be covering it here. Before I dive into what I thought, has anyone listened to this podcast? What did you think?
Right away, it was off to a good start with a little “remember the 1980s? The music that is playing in your head is Duran Duran.” Indeed. Then, they go on to say that it wasn’t just the sound of the band that created the 1980s but also the look and the attitude. Sigh. So true. Then, there is a mention about how fans weren’t just in love with the lead singer but also that bass player. Now, I am finding myself really relating as I, too, fell in love with John Taylor then! Apparently, this podcast episode focused on two female fans.
She introduced her story by talking about her school experiences and how Duran Duran and John Taylor helped her get through. She goes on to read from her diary in 1984 where she stated that she was devoted to loving Rob Lowe and Duran Duran. After buying Seven and the Ragged Tiger, she wrote about how much she loved John Taylor even though she had never met him. (As I listened, I could see my diary being very, very similar….) She commented that she had liked him for almost a year (which must be a record)! Ah…to be that young.
She goes on to talk about getting tickets to their concert and hoping that her dad could get her into rehearsal (ha!). From there, maybe, John would talk to her and she could invite him over. Likewise, she considered using a boy at school who liked her as practice for John Taylor. I think you probably get that this is absolutely hilarious! I particularly enjoyed the story of the concert where she was given a stuffed animal that had landed on stage…not by John but by a roadie but still, he could have touched it!
Like Dana before, Julie Ann turned to MTV and music to escape. In her case, it wasn’t school but her parents’ divorce. This of course became an obsession with Duran Duran, which included writing fantasy stories with her best friend. She read one of these.
The basic gist of this story was that the main character’s parents died and she ran into John Taylor (whose father had a mild heart attack). He was clearly interested so asked her out. They formed such a connection that the band insisted that she move in with them (after one day!) but…there was a complication. Simon liked her, too! Then, something horrible happened to John! Oh, the drama!! Never fear, Duranies, it ends on a happy note!
This podcast was simply enjoyable as heck. Both women were great storytellers. Part of me always worries that when stories of teenage fans are released that people will use those to diminish or dismiss female teenage fans or former teenage fans. After all, neither one of these women shared anything about the music. Instead, they chose to focus on John and the other band members and their looks. This could lead people to assume that they only liked them for their appearance. But people are dumb. Female teenage fans could have loved John for how he looked and how he played. If they had focused on the music, it just wouldn’t have been as funny. Simple as that. Sometimes, it is also good to laugh at ourselves and the silliest part of ourselves. So, I highly recommend this little podcast if you would like to laugh at yourself former teenage self and fellow fans!
This past week, month, and year I have been thinking a lot about safety. As a teacher, I’m very familiar with the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you don’t know about this psychological theory, it is pretty simple. People have a hierarchy of needs that include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence. Basically, people need to have their physiological needs met first. This makes sense, right? People require air, food, water, etc. If they don’t have those things, the rest of needs cannot happen. If people have food, water, etc, then they can worry about safety, which includes both physical and emotional safety.
This week featured a test to Duranies sense of emotional safety. Everything fans believed about Duran was called into question with this accusation of sexual assault. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll refer you to this blog post here.) I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that Duran has provided me with an emotional safety net of sorts. It is the “place” I go when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or whatever. The examples that immediately pop into my head are numerous. I remember listening to Ordinary World over and over again to deal with my overwhelming loneliness when I first moved to my city over 20 years ago. Before the Rain played in the background as I hugged my mother as we waited for my grandma to take her last breath at Christmas in 2010. For years, Duran has provided the catalyst to countless friendships, parties and trips. I felt confident in my fandom as I knew that the band members, while human and imperfect, are also good guys. They do the right thing when it counts. So, when something comes out that questions that assumption, it hurts. It causes pain and confusion. It makes my emotional safety net feel a little less strong, a little less secure.
Since the allegation came out and statements were made both by Simon and Katy, that emotional safety net has been slowly repairing itself. It is easy to begin to assume that this woman, for whatever reason, got it wrong. I want to believe that. In many ways, I need to believe that. Yet, something has been eating at me that calls into question my emotional safety.
When the articles first appeared, many fans responded as Rhonda and I did with a complex mix of emotions. While we wanted to simply side with Simon, we understood that issues like this are inherently more complex than this even when the allegation is false or appears false. Emotions tend to ride way higher than an accusation of verbal abuse, for example. Sexual assault is one that is wrapped around centuries of mistreatment of women as well as individuals’ sense of self-worth on such a fundamental level that there are no words to adequately describe it. To say that it is a dicey topic is an understatement.
Some fans, though, immediately began to lash out from what I saw. They didn’t strike out against the situation, the circumstance, the fact that our happy place was violated. No, some seemed to focus their anger on the woman, the accuser. Now, I understand why. These fans love Simon and want to stick up for him, no matter what. They wanted her to know that they believe him to be a stand-up, honorable guy. I get that. I really do. We have often talked about Duranland feels like a family in that we don’t always get along but we always have each other’s backs and definitely have the band’s back. It is the idea that Duranies can criticize the band because of our extra special Duranie card but others without that card cannot. They are simply not allowed.
While I understand the psychological need to stand up for one’s family member, one’s hero, in this case, I struggle with some of what I saw. It wasn’t always just, “I’m sorry, woman, but I think you misinterpreted what happened or I don’t think your story is true because Simon is a great guy,” I saw insults. Name calling. Harassment. It was just defending as it sure felt like attacking. Yes, I’m sure many of you say that she deserved it. But does she? Assuming that she made up this story for whatever reason, what purpose does it serve to say these things? Let’s say that she did it for money. Would people harassing her, calling her names, or trying to prove that she is a terrible person really stop that? If she did it for attention, wouldn’t/couldn’t these types of reactions reinforce that? What’s the goal? Hoping that she would take it back? Even if she did, would that be the same thing has having a time machine to go back to before it even came out. I don’t think so. Okay. Maybe you still think that this particular woman still deserved each and every negative statement to or about her. I wonder, though, what it does for others.
What message does it send to (real) victims? To me, it sends tells them that it is best not to come forward. Why? It reminds them that this could and probably would happen to them. Why would anyone want that?
Then, I think about the message it sends to me about my emotional safety net. There have been times when individual fans or people have done or said something against Rhonda and/or myself that have made this fan community feel a little less safe to me. Yet, I could always dismiss those moments to a few individual people. I could remind myself that the majority of fans in the community don’t act like this or feel like that. Now, I’m not so sure. This situation has left me feel shaken. It isn’t just because someone I admire was accused of doing something really awful. No, I can dismiss that as one woman making a ridiculous allegation. What is harder to dismiss is the venom I saw from fellow fans. It made me fear for my emotional safety in this community as well as others. Could fans turn that rage on me? On other people? Yes, I know that people could argue that this woman’s crime was so bad and that I would never do something like that. While that is true, where is the line of what is deserving of that treatment? Who decides it?
Maybe my internal make up is different than others. Yes, maybe I am “soft” or that I feel too much. I can acknowledge that. To me, though, two wrongs don’t make a right. It didn’t take back the accusation or make the situation better. Not really. Maybe typing an insult or calling her name made some feel better at the moment but it only made me feel worse. Support Simon. Love him up. I’m down with that. Send him tweets or messages. Thank Katy for her defense. It just seems to be the more productive and healing way to go.
Watch anything good lately? Do anything fun? I did! Yesterday, I was able to catch the two new specials on Duran Duran that aired on BBC Four. Thanks to friends who pointed me to tvcatchup.com I was able to watch! I had to watch while the shows aired, which was fine. Luckily, I had time to do so. As I watched, Rhonda did as well, which allowed us to exchange our reactions via Twitter and text messages. If you haven’t had to chance to watch, I recommend heading over to Duran Duran Argentina’s Facebook page here as both videos can be found there!
When thinking about this blog, I pondered which direction should I go. Should I review the shows themselves? I could even though I didn’t watch for that purpose. No, I wanted to just enjoy. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t take notice to various things like neither Warren nor Dom weren’t mentioned or that whole albums were left out. Yet, I didn’t want to let those things bother me. Therefore, I don’t think I want to review the shows in that way. I could at a later time but…not right now. I would want to rewatch them first before, anyways.
Clearly, the focus of the blog has to be something else. After I got done watching yesterday, I tried to get back to my to do list but I found myself thinking about how much has changed and what hasn’t. When we started this blog, we had this idea that we would celebrate fandom, work to understand it as well as do the same with Duran Duran and our fan community. This meant that we were critical at times, held up mirrors to ourselves and fellow fans, etc. Looking back, fandom felt super important to me. It was at the top of my list. Now, I cannot say the same. It has nothing to do with Duran Duran or even fandom. No, it has more to do with my life and circumstances out of my control. My priorities have changed, which has caused my relationship with fandom to shift.
When fandom was essential, I felt like I had the freedom, the time, the ability to be a critical thinker, to be someone who loves to analyze what I saw, heard and read. Now, fandom needs to do something different for me. It must be the source of joy, fun, and love. As Rhonda and I watched the shows yesterday, both of us were reminded of why we love this band so much. When I watch shows that capture the band’s history, not only do I get to hear so much great music but I’m also reminded of their history, which in many ways feels like mine. As the band talked about Ordinary World, for example, I instantly thought back to when that song captured my attention and meant the world to me as I adjusted to a significant change. When the reunion came up, Rhonda right away pointed that this is when our story started. All of this fills my heart with a joy that I struggle to describe.
Then, of course, the history of the band was followed with the band members sharing their influences. Before that show started, I didn’t know if I was going to like it. I worried it would be them introducing something and then watching that something for awhile. I figured that the band would be talking only for a couple of minutes. Instead, it was like watching a conversation between them, reminding me of the clear friendship between them. Likewise, it showed their personal sides rather than the famous, rock star sides. I loved it.
What did all of this tell me? Some things have not changed. I love Duran Duran as much as I ever have. The best time is sharing that love with friends even if it is just through social media or text messaging. That said, because of where I am at, fandom, Duran Duran needs to stay in that “joy only” box. I cannot see myself getting upset about any little detail that might have annoyed me or made me question this, that or the next before. No, Duran is just going to be my fun, happy place.
The other day I received a text message from someone whom I once considered a very close friend. In recent years, we contact each other only a few times a year despite living in the same city. This got me thinking about friendship.
This local friend was someone I used to be in daily or almost daily contact with. When talked frequently, we got along well. We got together a lot for either something major like traveling to a show or simply running errands together. Now, though, I have a hard time imagining all of that. When we talk now, we struggle to converse. It feels like it is hard to understand where the other is coming from while we force ourselves to communicate. It makes me miss the old times when we talked all the time. Likewise, I miss the friendship. I wish that I didn’t feel so distant from her now. At some point, we stopped speaking so often and now we suffer for it. Our friendship needed to be fed in order to be maintained. I think we needed it to understand each other.
Then, of course, there are other friendships like one I have with a friend from high school. We don’t see each other often and don’t talk much, especially since she lives in Sweden now. That said, whenever we get together, it takes no time at all before we are right back to where we always were. If I had to guess, I think part of the deal is that we never really communicated. We hung out more. Basically, we got together to have fun, not to share deep thoughts. Does not mean that there isn’t an emotional connection there, but it is different when that relationship matters a lot to you, which is more of the situation for the first friend.
In thinking about all of this, I began to wonder if the same thing is true for fandom. Is Duran like the first friend in that the band means a ton to me and needs to be fed frequently? Or is it more like the second when I don’t have to speak to that often but when I seek it out, I have a ton of fun?
In many ways, I feel like I have assumed that fandom is like the first friend. After all, this is part of the reason I do this blog and the question of the day. I want my fandom to be part of my day-to-day existence. Am I worried that if I don’t spend time on it every day that my affection will decrease? Looking back to the last time the band was in between albums, I wrote a lot of blogs about how I worried that if the band didn’t speed up the process, they would lose fans because I worried that the fandom did need to be fed frequently in order to be maintained.
Yet, could it really be more like the second friend in which it doesn’t need constant attention, but when I can get to it, it is a ton of fun? This could very well be the case. After all, all it takes is for me to think about a show to get all excited and to put fandom first. That said, even if it is more like the second type of friend, I really would like both. I need the fun and excitement from the second friend but the companionship from the first. I like having the constant presence of those who matter in my daily lives even if the affection could remain without it.
What about the rest of you? How do you view fandom? Is it something that you need to feed to keep it alive or does it just take a little fun to restore the love?
On Monday, Rhonda wrote a blog highlighting her biggest personal moment with Duran Duran. (If you didn’t read it, go here.) Since then, I, too, took time to think about mine. Is mine like Rhonda’s in that my moment is a return to the fandom? Is it the time that I met Rhonda and other fans? Maybe it was something like one of the trips to the UK. Like Rhonda, I think that I could choose any of those and would be right on in doing so. Yet, I tend to think of my fandom journey to be in parts and each part has a big moment. Thus, I have to decide which part matters most to me.
Part one of my fandom definitely has to be fandom as a kid. This is when I fell in love with the band in the first place. In thinking about that time, the big moment has to be when I fell in love with the Reflex. It pushed me from casual fan to Duranie. If that hadn’t happened, I doubt I would have still been a fan today. Therefore, that is definitely a worthy moment. Biggest personal one, though? I’m not sure.
The next part of my fandom surrounds the reunion and returning to being a loud and proud Duranie. I know that I have talked about this a lot on here but it is worth sharing a little again. Around the time of the reunion, I found myself overwhelmed with the beginning of my teaching career with grad school on top of that. To say that I didn’t have a lot of extra time would be an understatement of epic proportions. I heard rumblings of a reunion but put blinders on as I kept telling myself that I didn’t care. Interestingly enough, as I finished grad school, I found myself watching the silly TV show, Roswell, religiously. I appreciated the escape with it and the outsider as hero theme. My lonely self sought out others who were as into the show as I was. This lead me to message boards and eventually to meeting other Midwestern fans.
One of these fellow fans mentioned Duran Duran in passing one day. That is all it took. I had free time by then as I had finally gotten that Master’s Degree and needed something to obsess over. My Roswell internet searches turned to Duran Duran ones and to Duranies, which eventually led me here. That moment, that one mention certainly was a big moment in terms of my Duran fandom. The biggest? I am sure that I could make the case for that, for sure. While that one comment got me back to Duran, I’m not sure I would vote for it as the biggest. Stick with me here because my biggest moment, I think, will explain why this one didn’t matter as much.
After that reminder, I found Duran message boards and made the decision to attend that Duran fans convention in 2004 in New Orleans. This, of course, is the event in which I met Rhonda and so many other fans whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends. From there, this led to going on tour, seeing a bunch of concerts and so much more as part three of my fandom. I might even say that this led to so much fun that I’m still getting over it. Yet, despite all that, I’m still not sure that I would pick the convention as the biggest.
In 2008, my fandom took a turn for the fourth segment of my fandom journey. It ceased being nothing but fun. I noticed fans behaving in ways that made me curious. Heck, I found myself doing things and thinking things that normally I wouldn’t. At first, I tried to ignore observation of myself and others and just have fun, which wasn’t always easy for a variety of reasons (Red Carpet Massacre division, anyone?). At the end of 2008, Rhonda and I decided to go to a few shows in the Northeast. During that tour, I lost a friendship as this person made some decisions that felt like she placed fandom over friendship. I was hurt. Friendships mean the world to me. As someone who struggled (and struggles) to make friends, I appreciate each friend. When I have strong, loyal friendships, I feel stronger and more confident in everything I do. When it feels like I don’t matter or don’t matter much to a friend, it feels like being stabbed in the gut.
I had a choice then. One option could have been to walk away from fandom. After all, a lot of the fun had left with the Astronaut era. If I had chosen that, then, I think the biggest moment with Duran would have been attending that convention. Yet, I chose something different. I sought out understanding. I wanted to “get” or comprehend this former friend of mine. I needed to understand myself, too. The idea was simple. If I could understand fans better, then I could figure out how to make it fun again. This decision, of course, has led Rhonda and myself to research fandom for years. We have written about our experiences and our research with the goal of one day getting something out there. The moment that Rhonda and I came up with the idea of researching and writing about fandom took my fandom to a new level. It led to this blog, much research and more. Frankly, it increased whatever commitment I had to Duran. I cannot see just walking away now or ever.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!