Tag Archives: fan practices

Happy Birthday 2019, John!

I never said that I’d marry John.

This is a true statement, and I think it’s kind of funny! I know I fantasized for years about marrying Roger, and I even thought about Nick for a time or two, but never John. (We’re not even going to talk about my fellow scorpio – Simon.)

It is John Taylor’s birthday. For many, it may as well be an international holiday, judging from the looks of my social media this morning. I had no idea that so many have been less than arms length away from the man!!

In full disclosure, I am not one of those people. I would almost say I have no business writing a happy birthday post for John. Aside from loudly announcing “The album is beautiful, John!” across a very crowded table at a signing for Astronaut, I don’t think I’ve even spoken to him…or even yelled words his way. (unless you count “Play the Fucking Bass, John” at a concert. I’m not really sure I do.)

That isn’t to say I don’t greatly admire him. Of course I do. I just never thought I was going to marry him. (and it turns out, I was 100%
correct!) Even Amanda has met and exchanged words (along with a Daily Duranie wristband!) with him before…and there was that picture as he was leaving the Ace hotel in Los Angeles. I was there for that!

Funny story – that night at the Ace hotel, I was right beside Amanda and a few others as John left the hotel with Gela (and I honestly can’t remember who else). I was standing there eating some of the worst crackers I’ve ever had, all because I’d missed dinner. I was starving though, so as lousy as those crackers might have been, I was eating them, Just as I’d shoved some in my mouth – of course – out pops John Taylor from the hotel. My mouth was completely dry at the time, and I was trying to eat these stupid crackers that seemed to make my mouth even drier with every chew. I couldn’t get them down fast enough.

So my friends were yelling for Amanda and I to run up and stand with John for a picture. He was clearly in a hurry, and his wife was not amused by our fan antics one single bit. In all fairness, I am pretty much the same way when Walt and I are leaving one of his work parties. I don’t care that so-and-so wants to get one last word in about a product they’re working on. It’s actually NOT lovely that his boss wants us to meet gorgeous wife #6, or talk to my husband about the upcoming trade show. Do it at work! Do not get in my way, people – I’m going HOME now.

Say what you will about wives buying into the dream when they marry a rock star. When it all comes down to it, at the end of the day, all wives want to do is go home, get into comfy clothes, and have their guy take out the damn trash…and maybe grab them a bowl of ice cream while they’re in the kitchen. Gela doesn’t strike me as an ice cream person, but you get the idea. Maybe she wants a nice kale salad before bed, or something, who knows?!? All I really know for sure is that a husband, is a husband, is a husband, John Taylor or not! They’re all men, and we’re all women, when it comes to life at home, people!

Anyway, as I took a quick once-over at the entire situation there in front of the hotel. John stopped long enough to allow a picture, and I saw Gela standing in front of their car, ready to go…and I was still chewing. I realized there was no way I’m was doing it. Nope. Instead, I casually took about three giant steps backward, cheered Amanda on, and congratulated myself on once again, avoiding a super awkward situation with one of my idols.

I’m so good.

<you should in fact read sarcasm, and imagine an eye roll right here>

As I stood there, I was able to really see the insanity in all of it’s glory. I was thrilled for Amanda, no doubt about it – I mean, that was her favorite, right there beside her! No part of me was jealous because that’s dumb, and I’m the one who refused to take part. As I was finally getting the last of the mouthful of crackers down my gullet, narrowly avoiding choking on them, I heard my friend Katie loudly say, “Smile, John!” He snapped into full rock star mode, breaking into a toothy grin. I would have sworn the words were like Pavlov’s Bell.

I chuckled as I leaned against a pole. All I could think about was how well-trained John was to the whole picture-taking, fan-paparazzi thing. I decided in that one millisecond that it would drive me crazy if I were famous. I glanced over at the Escalades lined up in the street. Gela was crossing her arms at this point, and my friends had the nerve to ask John to smile on top of just having him stand there. God, I love Duranies. There were people milling all over the place, and I was starting to see (and hear) other Duranies crooning for his attention as he dashed off to the car. I can only imagine what Gela must have said to John as he got to her side and into their vehicle that night. I stood there and said nothing. It all happened so fast that I could have blinked…or chewed some crackers…and missed it. Instead, those few seconds seemed to drag on, probably so that I’d be able to commit them to memory forever.

Several years later—like just this past February—I had the opportunity to ask a mutual friend if it drove John crazy to be stopped every few feet, or if they think it’s crazy to have people want 50,000 photos, or to see people practically living in their hotel lobby. She said that it doesn’t bother him most of the time, and that he gets it.

(I’m still not entirely sure I’m buying that he’s on board with the lobby situation, but whatever floats your boat.)

Of course he gets being a fan, though. I’m equal parts not surprised, and genuinely shocked at the same time. I suppose a part of me always figured that human nature would dictate annoyance. I mean, who really freaking wants to be stopped every few feet? I don’t care if you are a living rock GOD, or if you’re John Taylor and owe your success to fans like me (which I find to be a pretty repugnant statement that entitled fans like to throw out whenever they please) – you also sometimes just want to go up to your room in peace. By the same token, John has spoken about his own idols and his own fandom enough to where I realize that out of everyone in this band – if anyone does get it – it’s him.

I think that’s probably what I admire most about John…at least from afar. He is pretty normal. I mean, for somebody who has been a rock star for most of his life, anyway. Upon first glance, you look at him and think he’s got to be just about perfect. Right?!? But then, you realize he’s worn glasses that were probably thicker than yours, and you see him dance on stage, and you’re like – Oh yeah. You ARE still human! Thank goodness!!

It’s true, I’ve never met the guy. I am friends with some of his closest friends (true story!!), but I’ve never met him. Yet. (who knows??) I just know the same things that the rest of you do about him. I like that he gives back. He continues daily work on a serious, life threatening illness – addiction – and used what he has learned from it to help other people. I just don’t believe people give back in that way unless they mean it. That matters to me. He also wears what I would call high-water track pants on stage, and has a sense of fashion that quite frankly, makes me laugh. I’m thinking of that sequined jacket of Gela’s he stole for a photo in Vegas, and of course – the neon pants he (and Simon – in different colors) wore to an interview in Toronto a few years back. Awesome. I love it. Then again, I live in denim jeans. So, there you go.

Once upon a time, John was pretty active on social media. One of the things I remember most was that he had followed a couple fans (not me, but others). I remember wrangling the idea in my head because on one hand – he should be able to follow, befriend, and converse, with whomever he wants. On the other hand – it meant certain disaster. Fans compete for that sort of thing, and I felt it might get ugly. Even so, I encouraged it because I really believed (and still do believe) that fan engagement matters. One day – not long before he quit social media altogether – he tweeted something about how people can get their feelings hurt once he followed and then unfollowed them. I’d not thought about that. I’ve been followed and unfollowed thousands of times now. I don’t even pay attention anymore because it doesn’t matter to me personally. It’s just Twitter. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d notice if someone important to me followed me, and then unfollowed me. I felt awful, because he was right. I think John understood being a fan better than I even did.

John is one of the most knowledgable music people I (don’t) know. I still thoroughly enjoy hearing about his music recommendations when he is a guest in the Katy Kafe. I appreciate that he wants to learn how to paint someday, maybe. I can’t even draw much, beyond doing a pretty good freehand copy of Pikachu. (It’s a Pokemon. I did learn a few things from being a mom, I guess.) Weirdly, I like that he’ll even mention what he might want to do when he retires from Duran Duran. I guess that does sound funny, and I’m sure many fans recoil in horror at the idea. I just like the idea that in some super small way, we can get past Duran Duran and just be people. Is that strange? Probably.

I may not be normal, and I may not have ever said I was going to marry John…but I DO wish him a very happy birthday! As I said on social media: Thank you for continuing to inspire (and teach) me. See you in September!!

-R


Pre-gaming the Pre-show and Other Delights!

I can hear the cracking sound

It is a SHOW DAY today, people!! Are you ready?!? By “you”, of course – I mean Duran Duran. I hope you’re ready! We – the fans of course – we’re born ready for this type of thing, right??

My apologies for the late blog. The smallest Rivera is settling into our new community by beginning a new school tomorrow morning. Today was an orientation day, and then tomorrow she gets thrown to the lions. Well, not really…but she will be one of just seven girls in her blended 4th and 5th grade class!

I was animatedly chatting with friends about the show this morning. We spent time debating set list possibilities, possible costuming, wondering what they might open and close with, and so on. The conversations were great. It all reminded me of just how much I enjoy talking about the music with other fans. It also vaguely seemed like something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on right away. Then it hit me.

Some fans enjoy chatting about the shows, the costumes, visuals and even the lighting and sound. I don’t know of a lot of people outside of my small circle of Twitter pals that can spend a full-day going around and around about what song Duran Duran might use as an opener. They will excitedly debate, citing historical choices and reason. Apparently, we can ponder and question possible choices like nobody’s business. It is all very similar to watching a pregame show before a big game, like the Super Bowl. While the conversations can be very serious, there’s also an air of humor surrounding much of it. We keep it light, friendly, and fun.

Something else

For fans, the concerts ARE our Super Bowls, aren’t they? The lucky part is that the winners happen to be the fans. Moreover, we win every single time! Not a bad thing, in my mind. This being Reason #257 why I choose concerts over sports, every single time.

The key is never allowing those expectations to ruin a good time. Sure, you bought VIP tickets, but while you expected to have an unobstructed view, instead your seats are way off to the side, or are facing speakers…or two very large men end up in front of you, ruining any chance of actually being able to see more than a tiny sliver of the stage at any one time. Any one of those mishaps are enough to put a damper on joy of the evening, and might even have the potential to ruin the night…if you allow.

You could cut the atmosphere

I draw from personal experience here. There have been times when I have dissected a show within inches of it’s life before it has even taken place. I’ve announced what songs I hope to hear, and what songs I hope they leave off the set list. My friends and I have analyzed every single part of their live show, I’ve noticed when the onstage choreography seems more rehearsed than organic. I’ve had the greatest of expectations, only to arrive at the show and be thwarted, whether due to crowds, tall people, or even bad seats, right alongside my own bad attitude.. At some shows I’ve let those things bother me to the point of being angry. At others, I learned from my past mistakes, shrugged it off, and danced like nobody was watching.

When it all comes down to it, I believe there has to be a balance. Talking about everything from set list to shows, to upcoming albums is exciting to me, but I also like the element of surprise.

I don’t need to know every subtle nuance, or recognize every time Roger should twirl his stick, or when Dom should cross the stage. Knowing the set list in advance of my shows doesn’t help to entice me (although admittedly, it is very hard to stay away from such things online!), and I don’t need to hear who has already taken photos with whom or how so-and-so isn’t going to be staying at the hotel or so forth because they flew on to the next stop and so on. Knowing future collaborators or producers isn’t a worry I’m willing to take on. I might comment on it, but worry? Nah. Not worth it. Let the music speak for itself. Balance is a good thing. Surprises can be nice.

Things are hoting up in here

So, over the next week or two as I talk Duran Duran, whether as a pre-show commentator, or “Monday Morning Quarterback” (so to speak!) I also will keep managing those expectations. As John Taylor says (and if I were a tattoo gal – which I am not – I would have this in tiny script around one my ankles just to remind me) “expectations are simply future resentments”.

-R



There’s no place like home in Duranland!

There are no hard and fast rules about what makes someone a fan (other than liking whatever is the object in question), and there really aren’t rules about what one should or shouldn’t do as a fan. Yes, there might be societal rules, or fairly arbitrary boundaries that are enforced by the larger group, but the  guidelines aren’t really written. We certainly can’t pull the book of fandom rules off of a shelf and recite from it. None of this is illustrated more clearly than when Duran Duran posts any sort of an update.

Ah….Durantime

The other day, the band posted a photo of them in the studio, indicating that they were back in the creative mode.  Reaction from fans, including myself, ran the gamut from giddiness to dubiety. Mentions of #durantime on both the original DDHQ post as well as personal Facebook accounts led to sharp exchanges between fans. Declarations of “How dare someone question the length of time before an album comes out?” along with equal measures of “Why can’t anyone take a joke?” led the charge. I found myself with the smallest of grins, because Duranland wouldn’t feel like home if people weren’t bickering, even over what seemed liked good news.

We’ve been doing this for forty years!

Then there are those who celebrate their fandom by giving the band advice. We’ve been fans for forty years, we know what works, right?  “Please go back to the AYNIN formula”, “Make another album like Red Carpet Massacre!”, “Work with Ronson – he gets us!” Everyone seems to know exactly what direction the band should be headed in, with all of the confidence and wisdom that comes with having written and recorded fourteen chart topping albums. Aren’t we all so damn smart?!? Listen, I’ve been there. I’ve done this. I will likely forget myself while in the company of other fans and occasionally slip. To read the advice online in a series of comments though? Yeah, we sound like assholes. We really do. I’d say we’ve gotta stop, but I’m almost sure someone will write in telling me that it’s their RIGHT to say whatever they want. And it is. So I won’t.

You got a right!

What you choose to do with your fandom, and how you choose to BE a fan, is your choice. I will never completely buy into the idea that a “good” fan is never critical, or never pokes fun.  I can’t really argue though, with people who only see the sunny side. We all do this “fan” thing so differently. The longer I participate, the more I realize that fandom is as much about learning how to accept differences as it is celebrating common adorations.

-R

Basking in the glory of top fan

Ever heard of that “Top Fan” badge that is available on Facebook? I noticed the tiny little moniker that somehow made its way onto the top of the posts from people I recognized. It only shows up when one is posting on a page like Duran Duran, and not everyone has one, apparently. From the little I know, it is something that the math geniuses at Facebook derived an algorithm to apply for those people who post a lot on a particular page.

From the onset, it seemed like the whole “top fan” thing was a bad idea. I can’t speak for other fan communities, but the competitive nature of our own certainly makes it seem like picking fans and elevating them to top fan status would generally be a nightmare. Oddly though, not many have talked about it – at least not publicly. I don’t know if it is because the badge is so tiny that it’s unnoticeable, or if it is because people like me explained that it wasn’t the band choosing to crown people as top fans, but merely Facebook.

Can you imagine the bloodshed if it were John, Roger, Simon and Nick picking out the top fans?  Even if it were found to be DDHQ behind the act, I am convinced all hell would break loose. I mean, my goodness – even when the band used to participate on social media, fans would clamor for attention and regularly try to shut one another down, and/or shame one another in the process. The whole thing seemed sketchy at best, and if the band were involved – it was only a matter of time before the entire fandom erupted, nuclear-bomb fashion.

I really don’t know how long it has been that top fan status has been a thing on Facebook. For the most part, I didn’t notice it unless someone responded directly to me that had one. I found myself wondering how many times one would need to post or react to something before the algorithm would play out in favor. I didn’t know the answer or what might trigger it.

A few weeks back, there was a notification for me saying that I’d been “awarded” a top fan badge for Richard Blade’s page. Out of all the things….but hey, I was curious, so I claimed my badge. Not much happened. No heralding trumpets. Not even any confetti or congratulatory balloons, and to be perfectly blunt,  I don’t even know if I still have one on his page. Hey, it was something!

Then last night, I went to check out Facebook before I put my phone down for the night. Lo and behold, I have somehow been awarded top fan for the Duran Duran page.  I didn’t even realize I’d reacted much to their postings lately – but I guess I did!

Immediately, I began making retirement plans. After all, this must be the success Oprah warmly and kindly taught her viewers we’d find. (I just KNEW I’d learn and be able to apply something to my life  from watching her talk show for all those years!!) “Do what you love, and you will find success.”

I am living the dream, Oprah!!

I looked at my bank account this morning. It still needs some work…. along with several more zeroes attached onto the end of another real number, but you know – it’s coming. I feel it. I’m a top fan now. I’m at the height of my achievements! This is it!!

I explained to my husband that I could sleep in this morning because I’m a top fan now.  He looked at me a little quizzically as he walked out of our bedroom at 5am this morning to commute up to Santa Barbara.  Shame. Apparently he hasn’t figured out to do what he loves just yet. Poor guy. I’m sure my success will rub off on him though, and he’ll learn from me. Isn’t that how that works?

I’m going to get back to planning that retirement, though, so I have to wrap this up. I just need to set this blog to post, work on school with the youngest, do the laundry, wash dishes, take somebody to piano lessons, clean the litter boxes, vacuum, dust, make dinner, and wash the dog. Then it is back to basking in my glory.  I am a top fan now, baby!

I made it, Mom!!

-R

Why is it necessary? Because studying fans is our passion.

No one really needs to read this blog. In fact, no one ever did. To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never coerced anybody into paying any kind of attention whatsoever. We just decided to write and the rest took its course.  We appreciate that our subject matter resonates with people, and we certainly enjoy writing, otherwise we’d stop.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself of that, particularly when things don’t go well or as I’d planned. Amanda and I decided to write. We also decided to study.  Whether or not people read, or like what we say, is honestly and truly immaterial at this point – although I do get a good chuckle when someone chooses to not only respond, but in doing so also illustrates whatever point we were writing about, with exacting precision. I can’t even bother being outraged. The irony.

This blog and website represent a small part of our lives. The blog is our hobby. Conversely, studying, researching and the real writing – not the musing you find here, but the real writing – is the passion.  Most wouldn’t know that, because it is far easier to assume that Amanda and I have nothing else to do with our lives other than wax poetic about Duran Duran. Stereotypes live long and prosper. I get it, but nothing could be further from the truth. We make the time for this hobby. For Amanda and I, it isn’t even about Duran Duran, although the band was certainly what brought us together and we obviously love the music and them as people even if we don’t always agree.  No, for us it is about fandom. Fan Studies. Fannish practices.

Duran Duran is where we find enjoyment. We go to concerts. We definitely put on meet ups and things of that nature. Those events are for fun. They give us joy. We write about Duran Duran here. We celebrate being fans.

Studying fandom though – that is our gig. We want to know and learn why we fans do the things we do. The fascinating thing is that in our particularly fandom – we don’t operate or behave in the same ways that other fandoms might. After years of studying and researching, we think we’ve finally hit on why that might be, so we decided to write a paper, and a proposal to present it at the Pop Culture Association International Conference.  We wanted feedback from the academic community, which we received. Suffice to say, we weren’t wrong.

That conference wasn’t a convention of people thrown together for a weekend of drinking and hi jinx. Professors, grad students, independent scholars and authors came together to test out new theories, receive feedback and make connections. It was a time to watch other people present their hard work and hopefully allow that creative juice to flow. This was not a Duran Duran fan convention, y’all.

Yep, to many of you, that might seem incredibly dull or even a waste of time. To Amanda and I? It is what each of us studied in college. My bachelors degree is in American Studies. I spent my time taking full semester courses on subjects like “A Sense of Place”, “The Culture of Los Angeles”,  “1960’s America”, “1960s Youth Counterculture”, “Spaghetti Westerns”, “Disneyland” (Yes, a full course on Disneyland and how it represented our culture in 1955 and beyond), “Beatlemania”….not to mention several survey courses I had to take along the way. Amanda’s class topics were likely similar, but while I studied American culture, she studied the culture of women in society.  We like studying groups of people and learning why they act, react, and interact the way they do—and how all of that is influenced, or influences, society in general.

For us, the conference was right up our alley. Everyone there was just as obsessed with their field of study as we are with ours – there was someone who studied Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was presenting on that subject. She saw other presentations on topics such as the Use of Memes in the 2016 election, Pop Culture in the Classroom, Handmaid’s Tale in Fan Fiction, Beauty Bloggers on YouTube, and Social Media and activism. I can’t remember all of the subjects I saw on the schedule, but the point is that our study of the uniqueness of female fandoms was not at all out-of-place. I would have loved going, that is for sure.

Amanda and I don’t look at our research and study as a waste of time, but we also realize that it is way beyond what most Duran Duran fans are interested in. We share what we’re working on with you because after nearly eight years of blogging, some of you are personal friends and have asked us to keep you posted. She and I also find it kind of funny that a band brought us together, and here we are. So yes, we share that journey with anyone who wants to read—and apparently even some who say they don’t.

As I’ve said before, no one is making anybody read this blog. We don’t have a traffic “requirement” and we’re definitely not making money here, so if you’re offended by what we write – don’t bother. It’s really that simple.  We know we’re not for everyone, and I don’t think either of us really cares anymore.  We have fun with what we want to do. Amanda and I write what we want. We don’t compose blogs with the intention of getting high traffic to the site, and Daily Duranie is never going to be for the fans who ONLY want to fawn all day long over the sights of Simon, John, Roger, Nick and/or Dom. We’ve done a fair share of that over the years, but we also write about why and how it all happens.  Sometimes, those are hard truths to read.

In reference to yesterday’s video posted by Amanda, someone kindly asked why we felt the need to “point those things out”.  First of all, we posted the video because our readers asked us. We have friends here that have followed us from nearly day one and they were interested in hearing the final presentation.  Amanda spoke as she might to the academic audience, for the most part. She wasn’t directing it at the general public, or our regular reading audience. We didn’t expect everyone to like it, but we posted it for those who were interested. Rest assured, sometimes – we just want to go to a show and have fun, too (and we do).

Secondly, is it really such a crime to know that (most, not necessarily all) women seek validation from men? Why does that truth bother anybody? Do you wear makeup and dress nicely? Do you comb your hair in the morning? I do. I do it because it makes me feel human, but I also do it because I like hearing my husband say that I look nice. The same goes true for when I go to shows. I don’t mind looking nice, and hey – if the band looks at me and smiles or Dom holds up a sign saying hi to me (at the urging of a friend), I get as giggly about that as anyone else. It’s harmless. That said, I also realize that society has taught me, both directly and indirectly – to look and need those things. Is that a character flaw? Maybe, if I allow that validation to become more important than other relationships and people in my life.

Lastly, and most importantly – I say this at risk of offending some – we write what WE want to write. We have fun here the way we want. Just as the band writes the music they want, we’re going to do this our own way. Come along if you want, we’ll make room!

-R