I’ve been pondering a question someone asked on Twitter yesterday. Many of us have actively participated in this fandom for decades now, and he wanted to know our favorite moment.
My own response was easy: the convention I attended in New Orleans back in 2004. I loved every minute of that weekend. It was the first time I’d ever felt completely included in a group. The fact that I’d gone to very few shows, or that I’d never shared breathing space with John or Roger didn’t matter. Even though it was my first convention, or that I wasn’t a huge Warren-fan, no one cared. We celebrated the fact that we were all fans, and that the original lineup was together. So many of us relished that for the first time in our adult lives, we felt like we had “people”.
Cognitively, I recognize that I’m supposed to feel like my husband, “completes” me. I feel just the tiniest bit guilty because that’s just not how it went for me. It was this fan community that completed me. Not my husband, not the band, but the community. The people I met. Friends. Those who shared in my journey. I felt right, for the very first time. If I could bottle that weekend, or my feelings about that weekend, I would.
Many other people responded with their own favorites, more often than not, they included the band in one way or another. Some cited a specific show, others mentioned a time they met one or more of them. Any fan gets those same gushy-feelings when they think about meeting a band member. I just don’t consider those moments as favorites. I’m trying to understand what make me so different.
What does “fandom” really mean?
It is a question I think about a lot, probably more than I need, but I’m weird that way. I mean, if I tweeted that question right now, I’m sure I’d get plenty of answers ranging from it meaning the same thing as being a fan, or the “thing” we are a fan of. None of that would be wrong. But what does “fandom” really mean to me?
I’ve met the band in passing, sure. I care about each of those guys very much, just like any other fan. I was thrilled when I met them, too. But for me, the idea of “fandom” is so much deeper than Simon, John, Roger, Nick…Andy, Warren or even Dom. (Sorry guys) I mean, the music brought me here, sure. But when I think about the word fandom, it goes beyond the music. Fandom, for me, is about the people, or the community. I spent a lot of time thinking about that yesterday, and even this morning. What does “fandom” really mean to me?
That doesn’t mean everyone else who gleefully responded with tales of their meeting Simon or Nick were wrong, either. There’s no right or wrong. Fandom means different things to different people, nothing about that is wrong.
I’ll go one further: I sometimes wish my feelings about fandom stopped with just the band. My “relationship”, so to speak, with the band is simple. They write and perform the songs. I buy the records and concert tickets. We smile and say “Hi, how are you doing?” every few years. It is remarkably easy, transactional on many levels, and simple.
The relationship I have with the fan community is incredibly complicated. This blog hasn’t made the situation less entangled or messy. Even prior to blogging and upsetting people with my written words. I have never been one of those people that everybody loves. I’ve come to realize and accept that about myself, and while I wish it were different – I’ve also learned just to keep to myself for the most part. Popularity isn’t necessarily something I’ve needed in order to survive. All that in mind, I have a small circle of friends who know exactly who I am, and like me anyway. Those people came into my life because I was a Duran Duran fan, and stay because they are obviously as nuts as I am.
It would be far easier if I only worried about finding the band after the shows, getting photos and not bothering with making friends or being an active participant in the community. I just don’t think I’d be happy that way. I think I’d have already gotten bored with the process, to be honest. There’s something to be said for writing a blog for eight years, even if I have managed to make nearly everyone mad at me for something I’ve said at least once. (Then again, in and of itself, even that is an accomplishment!)
I think I’m using this question as a way to put my thoughts of the past eight years on a slow-simmer as I go about my business. As of September 13, Amanda and I will be entering our ninth year of this gig. This time of year always makes me a little introspective. Even our friendship has changed during the time we’ve written. We used to speak at least weekly if not daily, via text and email. Nowadays, it goes weeks, if not months. We’re both busy and I’m 99% to blame. She called me last, and I have yet to call her back. Not because I haven’t wanted, but because I haven’t had time or been alone long enough to really talk. I long for days when life returns to normal, but what if “normal” has changed? Everything is different and I haven’t even moved yet!
I avoid people when I feel out of sorts. For someone who loves to talk, I’ve kind of stopped. I’ve held on to some things tightly, like music, memories, and things like that. Duran Duran’s music is a constant, and the fandom has kept me feeling rooted, even when I’ve felt unsettled.