Tag Archives: fandom

The Fan Purity Myth

Over the course of the past several days, I’ve read a good many viewpoints. Not unlike any other time when Duran Duran has announced something new, or released a new product – Duranies from all corners of the world have announced their conclusions. Sometimes, these attitudes are consistent with one another; other times, they are as wildly different as the people and places they derive.

In my experience, Duranies have never been afraid to share their assessments. Some do it rather loudly, by tweeting about it, or posting replies on Facebook updates that the band has published. Others take to message boards or discuss it more privately amongst smaller groups. Some are not afraid to pointedly poke fun, others are far more diplomatic. Some people choose to be blunt or even rude.  A few allow their anger to shape their comments, while others feel the need to defend the honor of the band at all costs.

How many times have you read the statement, “If you were a real fan, you’d like or support the band’s decision?”  Fan purity tests such as this do very little to positively affect the community.

It should not come as a surprise that Daily Duranie fell into the middle of the mosh pit melee more than once.  It was uncomfortable, and not a situation we enjoyed. Over the eight years we’ve blogged, Amanda and I have learned that our “job”, so to speak, is to provide the topic. Any necessary judgment or conclusions fall on the side of our reader to employ.

It is very easy to sit in my chair here at home, and judge comments found on any of the social media accounts that DDHQ manages. Some people love the fragrances and are willing to fly to London to buy every last one of them. Other people don’t. Still others absolutely hate the idea and think everything from price to where it i being sold is ridiculous. That range of response is honestly and truly no different from the response to any other thing the band has ever done, or will ever do. Some people want the band to do things, but they want them done exactly as they see fit. There is no room for deviation. When that doesn’t happen, they wield their keyboards like swords, and enter the fight.

At one time, I would have questioned whether or not these people, so eager to take the band down with their words, were indeed real fans. That also got me into trouble, and I don’t mind admitting that here. Fandom cannot be put to a purity test, a lesson I’ve learned well. Tables turn very quickly and easily in this fandom. One day, you’re as pure as the driven snow; the next, you’re writing a fan blog that pissed somebody off.  Things happen!

There are always going to be people who don’t like something. There are always going to be people who take to the internet, hell-bent to make the rest of the Duranie-world see and agree with their point of view. Sometimes, they resort to humor in order to do it, and sometimes, it reads as disrespectful. Yet at the end of the day, chances are, they still love Duran Duran as much as anybody else.

It isn’t up to me to put any of that up to a ridiculous fan-purity test, that is for sure.

-R

Running like a fox to keep up

I apologize for my tardiness this morning. There are days when I feel like thing are going well, and I’ve “got this”, and then there are days when I feel like a small person pushing a huge boulder up a steep hill.

Today is the latter, and sadly – it is for no good reason other than I just feel stressed.

It has been nice to see the pictures and bits of news from yesterday’s  fragrance launch. (a shout-out to a friend because yes, I’m mentioning THAT again…) After what has felt like months without anything significant, it was lovely to see the band out and about again. I’m sure it has probably only been a few weeks (maybe even only couple) since the band was out, but it has felt like much longer. That is likely a commentary on the doldrums of my own daily existence than the workings of the band, though.

I knew of a few people that made their way to Liberty London in support of the band, despite not knowing about the launch party until nearly the last-minute. As I perused the comments online, I noticed a common, familiar sentiment amongst the posts. Nearly everyone mentioned their dismay at not knowing about the party sooner.

I know that DDHQ said the announcement of the fragrances didn’t go as planned. I’m sure that was frustrating for them. I don’t have any idea if the launch party itself was meant to be a public thing where fans could buy tickets to attend. The very fact that they were available online screams “please come!” On the other hand, I have to wonder if part of the lateness in mentioning the launch also served as a way to make certain that there were be very few fans in attendance.

While I can understand the concern with having a crowd of fans present at a function that was meant for mingling between the band and press, I also see the point of fans. They want to be able to support the band. This presents itself as a bit of tug-o-war that is almost always at work. On one hand, management really is not concerned with fans. They are a business entity. On the other, fans are what have kept this band afloat. Ignoring, if not outright discouraging fans, has been an ongoing problem.

This past tour – the Paper Gods tour – seemed to be a giant step backward, at least when it came down to accessibility of the band to fans. Members were ushered from place to place, with stern glances from handlers to the few fans that might have been present as they walked from cars into buildings. A few long-standing hotels where the band had stayed on previous tours were left empty. They weren’t just running from Amanda and I, either! More than one fan in nearly every country they visited complained that they couldn’t get anywhere near the band on this tour, and when they did – they were given angry looks and told to “back off”.

Granted, I know what happens on tour. Anyone who has ever been to a Duran show and spent any kind of time waiting to see them outside of a venue, or after a show, knows the potential exists for extreme chaos, at minimum. Some fans step out of line. Some people do not understand boundaries of any kind. Perhaps it all finally got to be a bit much, and maybe the band finally asked to have their privacy guarded. I wouldn’t be surprised by that, and I wouldn’t argue otherwise. Sometimes, they really DO need security to step in…and sometimes, fans need to back the hell off. I don’t know why people can’t see that when they’re in front of Roger, John, Simon or Nick, but some simply cannot.

As someone also said to me today, “It must be said that new staff doesn’t realize they [the band] know us well and that they have known us for ages.”  Also true.

Of course, the issue here is that we’d all love to count ourselves in that group, and how on earth would management/handlers/touring staff ever really know who was safe and who was not?

Once again, I’m left with more potential questions and problems than answers when it comes to accessibility. It is a good thing I’m not in charge.

-R

Were you at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley in 2015?

On this date in 2015, Duran Duran played the Greek Theatre on the campus of UC Berkeley. I drove to this show with Amanda and our friend Heather. We left right after the concert ended at the Hollywood Bowl the night before, and stopped at a hotel (I use that term rather loosely here) along the way.

I don’t remember much about the trip that night.  I remember a few  texts and emails that Amanda read to me, while I focused on driving safely. My eyes got so tired that they hurt, which I hadn’t expected. I figured I’d ride the adrenaline high from the show, but it didn’t last long. I vaguely remember something about a giant bug in the bathtub of the aforementioned “hotel” that night. I let Heather and Amanda fight that one as I let myself fall into a deep sleep!

The next day, we got ourselves up and out the door so that we could get to our next hotel, and then finish the drive to Berkeley. We got there super early, and walked down to have dinner with friends before the concert. Months earlier during the pre-sale, we’d pulled front row seats. Our joy lasted for about five minutes, until someone mentioned that they would absolutely hate having front row seats at this venue. The person explained that the stage is very tall, and it would be difficult to see.

At the time, Amanda and I were quickly coming down off the high from winning the pre-sale “jackpot”. In one breath we were yelling, “Front row!  Finally!!” and in the next, “Wait, what??” Both of us tried to ignore the possibility that perhaps even when we “won”, we’d lost. I mean, who complains about front row?!? We decided that we were not going to be those people!  Even so, the little niggling worry in my head would not subside. As I climbed the steps to the venue, I just hoped it would work out.

Yes, the stage was very tall. I’d also say that the sides of the venue were fairly steep. The height of the stage was probably necessary for the shape of the venue. Front row wasn’t terrible though. There was plenty of room between our seats and the stage, and I had no trouble seeing the band that night, nor did they have trouble seeing us! I definitely didn’t hate having front row in Berkeley!

The most puzzling part of the evening came after the band had taken their final bows and had left the stage. We were making our way out of the venue and had stopped to say hello to a friend. A small skirmish involving two fans and one of the set lists that had been taped to the stage floor caught our attention. Two women were about to come to blows over an unsigned, untouched-by-any-band-member setlist. I watched, completely incredulous that someone was likely to get a black-eye purely because they didn’t want to give up a piece of paper.

Since then, I’ve noticed that one of the techs usually walks around with a stack of set lists after the show.  They throw them out to whomever wants one. I’ve also experienced the joy of someone choosing to crawl right over the top of Amanda and I while we were up against the stage. They climbed right up as though we were a step-ladder, taking no care to not hurt us in the process. All for a piece of paper. Those memories are pretty indicative of the fandom, in many ways.

After the show, we met friends for a quick drink (I had water!) before getting back on the road to our hotel for the night. The following day we had a massive drive ahead of us as we headed from Berkeley to the final stop for that road trip: Agua Caliente.

-R

Fandom to Friendship

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time.  Instead of my usual grading and campaigning in between household chores weekend, I’ll be heading to Chicago after work to spend time with a group of women.  These women have been friends of mine for almost 20 years.  During this weekend, like most of our time together, I suspect that we will spend a lot of time just lounging in front a TV, watching something completely ridiculous while snacking and chatting.  Maybe we will go out to eat but we might not want to move from the living room.  Sure, I might bring some grading with me but it still will be relaxing as heck.  I’m hoping that it renews me a bit as I finish the first month of work and start moving into the last month of election season.

Where did I meet these people?  Funny enough, we met on a message board (fan forum) over a little TV show, Roswell.  When we first started getting together, we watched a lot of episodes or other Roswell related material.  We talked about all things Roswell fan community related.  Needless to say, we had such amazingly fun times that the show Roswell will always have a special place in my heart.  Yet, time has passed and we have moved on from the show since it was canceled in 2002.  (Although, the show is being rebooted in the spring of 2019!).

I remembered being worried in 2002 about how this little friendship group would be after the show ended.  How long could we continue to be focused on Roswell?  How many times could we rewatch the episodes?  I feared that once the show and everything connected with it got old and tiresome, we would stop getting together.  Maybe,  our friendship would slowly fade.  I worried about this because I have seen it and felt it from other friends both before and since.  When I was a kid, my best friend was just as into Duran as I was.  Then, she moved away and soon said goodbye to being a Duranie, too.  This marked the beginning of the end of our friendship.  We never had a falling out and never got angry with each other, but we lost this very important connection.  As an adult, I have experienced something similar with people who were once part of the Duran fan community and who are not now.  Our friendships hang by a thread.

For those friendships, I guess there was not much of a foundation outside of fandom.  On the other hand, the friendship between this group of women goes beyond fandom.  It may have brought us together, initially, but our love for each other has kept us friends long after our fan connection has died.  When I think about fandom, that is really what I hope is true for all the friendships I have made.  I wouldn’t want Duran to be the only thing that keeps me friends with people.  I hope our connections run deeper.

-A

So Easy to Disturb with a Thought, with a Whisper

Each year as we grow closer to October, there are a few events I can’t help but think back on.  I don’t know what it is about Autumn.  The days remind me of Duran Duran, touring, friends, and even conventions.

Take New Orleans and the Friends of Mine convention in 2004, for example. My life felt wild and free. I  grabbed on to the tiger’s tail, and was trying to hold on for dear life! I loved the new experiences and how I felt at the time. The memories make me smile.

Beignets and coffee in what felt like the middle of the night, learning to literally reach up for the sunrise, after spending hours in all sorts of late bars with friends of mine. I was getting a crash course in the regular activities of being a Duranie, and I loved every minute. The trip included a lot of self-discovery for me. When I think back, I recognize how much I’d missed out on prior. Going to that convention was about more than just making friends or Duran Duran. I was making up for lost time, and finding myself.  I’m thankful I took the risk and went.

I also think about a certain road trip with Amanda.  Our friend Heather had flown in from Canada, and  I’m pretty sure we nearly killed her along the way. Amanda and I were raring to go and spent most of our “free” time driving and discussing the band.  Poor Heather, on other hand, caught a cold straightaway.  She spent most of our driving time up and down the center of California bundled up in my backseat trying to sleep over our cackling. We went to see the band at the Hollywood Bowl, drove up to their show in Berkeley and then back down to Rancho Mirage in a matter of three days. It was a lot of driving in a very short period of time, which gave this writer a lot of time to obsess and over think.

It is a bit difficult not to wonder what will come next, and when. I have no business even thinking about Duran Duran shows or new albums right now.  Cleaning, packing or doing whatever it is that we housewives should be doing should probably be at the top of my to-do list, not yearning for concerts and tours.  I just can’t help but long for the times when we got together for the sake of celebrating the music.

Part of the allure of touring for me, so to speak, is its simplicity. Instead of my schedule being centered around what child need me to be where and when, it is about what city I need to be in, and how many hours it will take to get there. My time on tour is spent laughing and talking with friends, not worrying about dance classes, homework, or piano lessons. Even now that my son has moved out and his room stands mostly empty, the daily struggles get me down. I don’t like feeling chained to the calendar without having my own plans or things to look forward to. Sometimes I just need a break.

I said as much to my husband at some point over the weekend. He is out-of-town right now, and will be doing quite a bit more traveling for work over the next several weeks. I’m tied to the house, keeping it clean for showings (no it still hasn’t sold), taking our youngest to and from her classes, managing our zoo (the dog and cats of course), and of course homeschooling. Home is beginning to feel more and more like prison. Sure, that circumstance is temporary, but it feels like forever.  My husband gave no response to my comments this weekend, but I feel as though I’ve slipped right back into the role I occupied before I went to that first convention.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I’m feeling like this now. Today is the first day in about three years that I’ve genuinely been at home alone. Normally there is always somebody here, or I’d be at work too. Today I dropped the child off at school and came home to a very quiet house, just as I used to do before I started working again. Life has come full circle again, I guess.

I know that it is only a matter of time before my family moves north, and hopefully the touring/appearance/album schedule will pick back up for Duran Duran. They keep saying they’re going back into the studio….right?

-R

The cold harsh reality of ticket scalping

 

Recently, I ran across an article by Consequence of Sound that didn’t surprise me one bit, yet reading the words infuriated me anyway. Surely you must know what I mean: when something tells you what you already know, even so, it makes you angry to read the words in print. That was my reaction when I read the headline alone.

“Ticketmaster has been reportedly been enlisting scalpers to purchase tickets in bulk, and then resell them at higher prices on the Ticketmaster-owned platform, TradeDesk.”

https://consequenceofsound.net/2018/09/ticketmaster-scalper-program/

I have to ask, just how many people are surprised to read any of that? I doubt many, particularly if you’ve gone to many concerts over the years. If anything, you read the headline and while you weren’t shocked, you are definitely at least a little angry.  Even though as of Friday morning, Ticketmaster denies any such claim, it is hard to imagine that the reports weren’t just wild accusations.

Here’s the thing, we all know Ticketmaster condones at least some form of secondary marketplace because they run one. It is on their website, and the reseller tickets are offered right alongside the regular ones. These tickets are sold by private individuals, but Ticketmaster facilitates the sale. Yes, as Ticketmaster admits through a disclaimer right on the site as a customer is browsing, resale ticket prices may be inflated over and above the face value. But is that scalping?

By definition, yes. However, the scalping practice that Ticketmaster and others have spoken out against in the past usually involves a bot purchasing more than the posted ticket limit, typically in large volume, and then reselling those tickets for ridiculously bloated prices.

How many times have any of us participated in a Ticketmaster pre or general sale, only to come away empty-handed just moments later because the show had sold out in what felt like record time? We can thank the bots for that, right? How would you feel though if those bots actually worked with Ticketmaster, as the article claims?  What if they were actually being recruited to participate?

TradeDesk is Ticketmaster’s professional reseller product, which allows resellers to validate and distribute tickets to multiple marketplaces. The article claims that Ticketmaster turns a blind eye to those who use automated systems to amass tickets for resell using TradeDesk. It doesn’t mention whether these tickets are sold at inflated pricing, but you and I know that of course they are. Again, I have to ask, isn’t that scalping, at least by definition?

Even through TradeDesk, there is a CoC (Code of Conduct) that applies. There are limits to how many tickets can be purchased, and according to Ticketmaster, there is no program in place to enable resellers to amass tickets in volume, nor is it acceptable for resellers to create fictitious user accounts to circumvent the system.

The question of what constitutes scalping still hangs thick in the air. The answer depends on whom you’re asking. For Ticketmaster, that line is very clear. As long as they are profiting, both on the front and back-end, it’s not scalping.

To many of my friends, this subject comes down to fairness. We want to be able to get good seats, we want fair pricing. With volume resellers in the business right beside Ticketmaster, a scenario involving fairness happens less and less. I’ve gone online in search of tickets for a few gigs lately. More and more often, within moments of a show going on sale, there are fewer and fewer primary sale ticket available. Everything shows up as a resale, and that means paying augmented prices right off the bat.

When I was young, and quite frankly – stupid, I wanted to believe that The Powers That Be wanted this system to be fair. I looked at bots and scalpers as the root cause to the problem. I felt that Ticketmaster just couldn’t evolve quickly enough to circumvent the work-arounds that bots (and the like) could create. As I’ve grown older and far more cynical, I recognize the real problem. My friends, you and I don’t matter.  This has never been about fairness to the consumer. Fair ticketing doesn’t matter. It is about money, and by that I mean Ticketmaster’s money, not yours.

-R

 

Ashes to Understanding is the Nature of this Existence

I’ve been thinking about the last line I wrote in yesterday’s post.

“I got involved in the fan community because I wanted to make friends, not enemies.”

For the past seventeen years, I’ve participated in the Duran Duran fan community.  By that I mean, I’ve been involved online. Before that, I didn’t really know much about their fan club. I can remember reading something about it in the 1980s, but my parents weren’t about to let me answer some ad in Tiger Beat. Yes, they were pretty strict.

Like many, I discovered duranduran.com after going to a concert. I don’t know why I didn’t think about searching for them online before, but I hadn’t. Going to that one show in 2001 changed everything, and searching online tied me to the band going forward. I’m definitely not sorry.

What boggles my mind though, is how much the community itself has changed. Even after duranduran.com stopped hosting the fan forum and it became a benefit for paid members of duranduranmusic.com, people still flocked to the message board. It was a busy place with many different personalities. Nowadays, it is a ghost town. Even Twitter, which seemed to be a gathering spot in the aftermath of DDM’s forum, has settled way down. Band members don’t really post, and many of the fans who at one time were active in the Twitterverse have since drifted.

It is inevitable that people drift away, or in and out of fandom. Currently, the band is fairly quiet. Even in the most recent Katy Kafe,  Roger and Katy briefly mention that there is really no upcoming news from the band. In fact, I saw written somewhere that KAABOO Cayman is the only 2019 performance date. Now, whether that is the plan going forward or only the truth currently, I can’t say. Regardless, it makes sense that for right now, fandom is fairly quiet.

I think my surprise has far more to do with the changes I don’t notice until I really think about them. So many people I once knew and chatted with on a daily basis have simply moved on. I’ve lost touch with many over the years, and yet here I am…still loitering! Twitter is a very different animal these days, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook have all changed considerably.

I almost feel like the fan community has blurred into the woodwork. I don’t think about how the fan community has evolved very often, only when I realize that the band has been off tour (and by that I mean the Paper Gods tour ended) since about this time last year, which means they haven’t been in the studio for about 3.5 years, unless you count the various times they’ve mentioned going back into the studio over the course of the last year in Katy Kafes. Makes you curious what they’ve actually done in the studio during those times, right? Yet it’s only today that I’ve sat back and thought about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to cattle prod them back in there, although I know it reads that way. I am really just trying to illustrate that I don’t really notice everything that has changed until I’ve got spare time on my hands to do so!

I miss the tangible feeling of perpetual excitement in the air. During the Astronaut and Reunion era, I could feel the electricity! I suppose I could be romanticizing the nostalgia, in the same way I remember high school being fun all of the time. I haven’t had a lot of time over the past year to really think about Duran Duran, or even the Paper Gods tour that much. Yeah, I know I write the blog nearly every day, but I mean even beyond that time. These are the first moments where I’ve sat back and thought about the fan community I once knew. I didn’t appreciate it until I noticed how quiet it has become.

What was once a significant part of my day, has become far less of an influence. I think my husband probably cheers for that, now that I’ve taken on the “hobby” of keeping an immaculate home. I’ve become FAR too domesticated for my taste. Just the other day I told Amanda that I couldn’t wait to be worrying about truly important things again. You know, concert dates and pre-sales! Or telling my husband that I was going to be gone for weeks on end…in another country.

I even miss him coming home from work to see me laughing because I was in a chat room with friends. There were many times I wouldn’t have dinner ready and waiting because I had better things to do! Maybe I would be answering posts on a message board, or drooling over the band’s new video.  Sometimes I’d be cackling wildly over pictures of Simon with the best handlebar mustache I’d ever seen. Those things rarely happen now.

Since November of last year, nearly all of my time has been spent worrying. First it was our truck which needed a ridiculously costly repair, then a lay off which lasted for six months. A yet-to-be-completed huge family move, on top of trying to figure out how we were going to cover college tuition for both of our kids with only days to come up with it have rounded out my summertime and are currently leaking their way into autumn. No, summer didn’t feel like summer at all. No camping, no trips, and zero vacation. Aside from the couple of days I was in Santa Barbara house hunting, I haven’t really left the vicinity. Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to some Duran news to take the edge off, whenever it should come.

During the moments when I am truly taking a deep breath and trying to center myself,  I recognize the void that the fan community used to inhabit in my life. That isn’t to say I’m not still involved, but there is just a lot less to participate in.  I miss it.

-R

Why Wouldn’t I? The Question of Blogging

I can remember the day that my husband first brought up the idea of writing a blog.

The past eight years have kind of flown by. It was very easy for me to get caught up in the whirlwind cycle of it all. When we first began writing, it was during the tail end of recording All You Need is Now. We followed the promotion, then the touring. Life was a roller coaster, the band had a rough go of it at times. We were able to follow it all, and the words came rather easily most of the time. I absolutely adored writing the blog, and never had more fun than I did during most of that album cycle. It seemed like the fun should never end, but of course it did when Nick became ill a few shows before the end of their final leg of shows here in the US. Then they went home. I think that’s when I realized that blogging wasn’t quite as easy as I may have thought.

Sometimes I worry about running out of things to say. It used to be that I would push myself to put something, anything out on the blog every single day. We had puzzles, games, videos, anything we could think of to fill the space and time.  I realize now though that part of our story – that of Amanda and I – is getting through the slow periods of every day life. It isn’t so much the touring that makes any of us great long time fans (although I think everyone agrees those blogs are the best!), it is grappling with fitting fandom into every day life for forty years. It is going from album through to album, waiting in anticipation for what will come next without forgetting what came before.

Sure, there are times when I’m antsy and wish they’d hurry so that I can get busy planning for the next crazy weekend. Who doesn’t? I don’t even have time OR money right now, but I miss my friends. Reality speaks (very) loudly over my fantastical dreams of getting away for a girls weekend. Even so, those dreams are nice interludes between packing boxes. I am sure Amanda would say the same. She is extremely busy gearing up for the November election, and fitting that in with the all-consuming job of teaching.  Eventually though, when the time is right, we’ll be on the phone or Skype again and have plenty to catch one another up on, and before we know it – we’ll be talking about new music and touring.

As I look back over the past eight years, I think I’ve learned how to roll with the ebb and flow of album cycles. I’m also far more grateful for the band’s career than I might have been seven or eight years back. It was easy to just assume they would keep going forever, when in fact at this point – they’ve got nothing left to prove to anyone, least of all their fans. I don’t know what motivates them now. except the love of music and being Duran Duran. I think it must be incredibly difficult to get back into the studio and have a blank slate staring at them. One has to have pretty strong motivation and conviction to keep hammering at it for decades on end, don’t you think?

I’ve had people ask why we keep blogging. For me, I write because it has become a habit, and it is therapeutic. The idea of writing every day keeps me connected to the community.  Even when my posts make people really angry, or when I get hate mail as a result – I learn something about myself in the process.  Handling hate, accepting constructive criticism, realizing that I have the right to protect myself, and even learning to apologize, are all things that writing this blog continues to teach me. I think that I keep writing because I like the challenge.

I’m curious to see how the blog evolves from here, particularly as I move from a suburb to the country. Will my writing change as my life  moves forward? I’d still like to have something on fandom published, but I don’t know how or when that will happen. I’m not putting those kinds of heavy goals on myself, but I would like to get back at it sometime. Maybe I’ll write something about homeschooling, instead. I don’t know. I’ve thought about starting a brand-new blog about homeschooling, and even our move from the OC to the country.  I would like to go to the UK again for the 40th anniversary in 2020, whether or not the band actually plays. I feel like I have more to experience there.

Not terribly long ago, I used to believe I really wanted to meet and talk with every band member. Deep down, I was sure that my life wouldn’t be complete until I did.  I am a part of Daily Duranie, I’ve blogged about being a fan for years. How could I not meet them? I don’t know that I feel that way any more. I used to think the pinnacle of fandom, was being one of the lucky few invited backstage, or seeing the show from the wings. What I’ve come to accept and embrace, is that I’ve had an incredible time being a fan. I’ve gotten to be up front, I’ve heard them play my favorite songs live, several times. I don’t know that I need to meet all of them or even have pictures with them to make any of the rest of it more real.  I actually like being in the audience, being a part of the crowd, and taking it all in.  There is nothing like being in that electric atmosphere. The sound and energy reverberating off of the hundreds, if not thousands of other humans in the room. All gathered for one purpose.

Pure joy.

Why wouldn’t I want to keep blogging about that?

-R

What does Fandom Really Mean to Me, Eight Years Later

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.

-R

Whatever I’ve Done to Receive

Over the course of the almost eight years or so that Rhonda and I have been writing this blog, we have written many times about the positives of fandom.  I think back to all of the blog posts I have written that focused on the pure joy I have received at various Duran shows or at other fandom events.  It is common for me to point out that my favorite memories and best days of my life include those days when my entire being is surrounded by fandom.  I might describe an amazing moment like hearing the first few notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, England, and realizing that this is really happening.  Perhaps, I would describe the ridiculously fun times when I have found myself on a stage at a Howl at the Moon singing Rio with my fellow fans.  It is even the little moments like exchanging messages with your blogging partner while watching a brand Duran Duran special online.  Yet, this week, I am reminded of why this all matters when you boil it down.

My parents have been visiting my sister in North Carolina for the last couple of weeks.  My dad did not seem himself on the morning of their flight there but he has some significant health issues.  No one thought that much about how he was acting.  Unfortunately, throughout their visit, he had not shown any improvement.  Finally, after consulting his doctor, they took him to the hospital where he is has been receiving treatment for pneumonia.  Thankfully, he has been improving with the goal of him being discharged later today and returning home early next week.  I cannot say that this week was the easiest for me as I worried about him greatly while needing to get myself ready for the upcoming school year.

After all, my parents are my rock.  They are my go to people.  When something goes wrong or I’m experiencing frustration, I look to them.  When I was a kid, I might have sought them out for their advice or words of wisdom.  Now, it is more of a situation of having them be my sounding board.  There is no judgement with them and they understand where I am coming from.  Truly, I have always felt incredibly fortunate to have this type of relationship with them.  So many friends of mine have very complex relationships with their parents that includes both love but also utter frustration.  I have none of that.  Now, though, as they age and struggle more with their health, I am facing a new problem.  What do you do when your go to people are the people you now need to process about?  Who do you seek out especially when you are terribly in asking but often needing the support?  I don’t have a good answer to that other than I’m working on it.

In order to seek some emotional support, I decided to post about it on my social media.  I figured a lot of people especially on my Facebook would respond.  After all, like everyone else, I have cousins and other family who are my “friends” on that platform.  A lot of my high school friends got to know my parents quite well so I knew that they would reach out.  Current colleagues might also feel some sort of obligation to offer their kind thoughts and any assistance with work that I might need.  The one group that I didn’t really consider was the group that I would define as “Duranies”.  A number of people whom I have met and gotten to know because of being a fan of Duran Duran reached out.  Many of them just offered positive thoughts but a few went farther than that.  Six years ago, around this time, I, too, was in North Carolina.  Rhonda and I toured the southeast part of the country, which included a show in Durham.  This tour gave us the chance to meet fellow fans from that area.  Well, a number of those North Carolina or nearby fans offered to provide more than just emotional support.  They volunteered to go to my family there, if they needed something.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

Fandom has definitely brought me fun.  It has given me hours, days and even weeks of escape.  I love that about fandom.  Yet, I’m most grateful for are the people who have come into my life through my fandom.  Some fans remain casual acquaintances but some speak directly to my heart by being willing to help those people that mean the most to me.  At the end of the day, so to speak, this is what I will be most grateful for.  I cannot begin to appreciate the friends I have made enough through the Duran Duran fandom.

-A