Tag Archives: fandom

We’re All of the Same Blood

Four weeks from today, I will be traveling to Boston with my parents.  Part of the reason we are going is to see my brother who lives there but another part is to go see a White Sox game.  To be honest, we could have gone anytime over the summer but we chose this specific weekend because the White Sox are playing the Red Sox then.  This mattered to my dad.  In fact, we have seen the White Sox play in lots of different cities, including Minneapolis, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Detroit.  My parents have traveled even more than I have to Cleveland, Toronto, Baltimore and more.  It is a thing in our family.  In fact, my aunt and uncle are venturing to Pittsburgh to see them play there next week.  Despite the fact that the White Sox are having the world’s worst season, we still remain dedicated fans.

What is interesting about this is that no one rarely comments when I tell people about this plan to see the Sox play all over the States.  Generally, people tell me how cool it is that we do this as a family.  Strangely enough, though, when I say that I’m traveling all over the country to see Duran Duran concerts, I get a very different response.  It usually goes something like this, “Why?  Aren’t all the concerts the same?  Do they even play different songs?”  I always struggle to explain my reasoning after this set of questions.  Now, that I’m thinking about this family tradition of traveling to see the Sox play, I’m thinking that I have been approaching my response all wrong.

People can understand sports fans going to see multiple game because each game is different.  The results are unknown.  No one knows what is going to happen.  Heck, right now, if I were to bet, the Sox will lose the game that we are going to see but you never know.  It what keeps us going.  What if the Sox always won?  Would that stop my family from going?  No way.  In fact, that might get people like us to go to more games rather than less.  After all, winning teams generally get more and more people in stadiums because the chance to watch a win is higher.  Isn’t this really what going to concerts is like?

Hear me out.  Yes, sporting events include a competition with someone winning and someone losing.  I get that concerts are not the same.  There are not two team vying for a win.  That said, there still is a chance for a win or a loss (of sorts–not that Duran is ever a loser).  Not every concert is awesome.  At times, people can try hard to put on an awesome show and fail to live up to that expectation.  Those concerts might be considered a loss.  Yet, I would say that Duran shows are wins.  Big wins.  Even ones that fail to live up to the expectations are still victories.  Most Duran shows are like baseball games where your favorite team wins by 10-1. They are like a game in which your team wins easily and everyone has fun.  At times, Duran shows can be even better than that.  Sometimes, there are moments that are so amazing or so profound that you feel lucky to have been there. Those are just like games that end up in the record books where someone hits for the cycle or throws a no-hitters.

This is how I’m going to phrase it from now on when people ask why go to more concerts:  “Do you think that sports fans should stop going to games if they know that their favorite team is going to win?  Should fans avoid the cost of going then?”

More likely than not, the other person will say no.  S/he might say something like, “That would be dumb to stop going to games then.”

I might follow up with, “I agree.  Going to games in which you know your team has a great chance to win is awesome.  This is how it feels for me.  I feel like going to a Duran show is like going to a game where your team has a really awesome chance at winning.  In fact, there is always the possibility of going and seeing something so amazing that it will go down in Duran’s history just like going to a game might mean you get to see a grand slam in person!”

If that still doesn’t convince people then I could point out that attending a game in person means that community feeling of being surrounded by others who love what you do, cheering for the same team.  At games, you have the chance of catching a ball like concert goers can get drumsticks or guitar picks.  Both of them feature a chance to see someone you admire up close and in the flesh.

I could keep going with this metaphor but I think you all get the idea.  I really think that there isn’t that much of a difference between these fandoms anymore.  On that note, I’m off to go watch the Sox game!

-A

Broken glass for us to hold

Things are looking up.

Yesterday, I noticed that DDHQ had their #WatchItWednesday as “Is There Something I Should Know”.  That is my favorite Duran Duran song, and of course I love the video too. On #TuneInTuesday, they featured my other favorite – “Late Bar”.  This adds up to this week not being too shabby, in my opinion.

I had started to type out a tweet in response to DDHQ’s choice for Wednesday, when I realized how elementary it sounded. Of COURSE they’re good at choosing my favorites.  Duran Duran is my favorite band and has been for begins counting on fingers and toes and runs out….a very long time! Posting a song and having it be one of my favorites (or anybody’s favorite) is pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?

There is a lot of comfort in Duran Duran, and I’ve needed it quite a bit during the past six months, and I’ll need it going forward. I know that music like the back of my hand. I know what I’m going to hear when I put on any one of their albums. I remember what it was like to be a fan back in the 80s, and I know what it is like to still be a fan now. (far better now than then, in my humble opinion!)

I love that my memories are entangled with their music, and I especially enjoy that since the early 2000s, I can even retrace my steps based on their tours (OK, so that’s probably a little crazy sounding to some, but that’s fine). My closest friends, the people that I count on, and that I immediately share good news with, I’ve found as a 100% direct result of being a fan of this band.

During the past couple of months, I saw a few things from well-known people who are directly or indirectly connected to the band. Well-meaning questions and comments about why they aren’t already in the Hall of Fame and so forth. It is pretty easy to fall down that rabbit hole. As a fan, of course I know they should be included, and should win awards, and so forth. On the other side of that same coin, I know in my heart that they’ve already done so much – a silly plaque, award, or induction isn’t going to change what so many of us already know to be true.

I don’t want to be too melodramatic, but for so many of us, this band has changed our very lives. Maybe that doesn’t matter so much to a radio host or even a PR person, or even the band themselves (but I’m betting it does). As a fan – and someone who can honestly say this band has not only changed my life but in fact saved it – no Hall of Fame is going to make that simple truth any more or less real to me. I’m not saying that wanting them to be recognized is bad, I’m just saying that for me personally, I already know.

-R

Memories of The Belasco Theatre 2016, or “GA lines aren’t that bad”

A couple of years ago on this very day, my husband kindly drove my friends and I up to LA for a show at the Belasco Theatre. It was a very warm day for it only being May, but we found a shady spot to spread out, and wait the day away in the GA line.

By contrast, today it is raining, and cool – at least by “Los Angeles-in-May” standards. Oh, and Duran Duran is NOT playing today. Yes, there is that, too.

I remember the day outside The Belasco well. Despite my plans to sit down and relax, I found myself up and walking around, talking to everyone I knew. The hours seemed to fly by as I chatted away with fellow fans from all over. I am one of the first people to say that I don’t like GA shows (I really don’t), but I have to say that standing (sitting) in line with everyone all day is not all that terrible. In a lot of very bizarre ways, it’s like a giant pre-show party.  You see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you gab about the band (of course), music, other shows you’ve attended, and maybe someone goes on a food run.

While sure, the waiting can be monotonous, and sure, I suppose it can be a bit cutthroat when you have people around you who are more concerned with being at the rail and loudly asserting that no one dare get in front of them than they are with making (and keeping) friends. I find that many times, those people are the minority, and in the end, don’t need to make a difference in my evening unless I allow it. For the majority of people who are there to have a good time, even if they end up in second, third row or beyond, I can think of far worse ways to spend a day.

The weird thing is that I did know a lot of people in that line at the Belasco!  It was a stark contrast to even a few years prior, when I went to a show at the Mayan Theatre. That show was also GA and required many hours of waiting in a line, yet I really didn’t know that many people then. I kept mostly to myself, talking with my husband and a couple who stood behind us, although I did say hi to the few people I recognized.

Everyone I know who isn’t a huge fan of a specific band the way I am always asks me how I can keep going to shows. They don’t mean financially – although my husband has certainly asked me that very question over the years! Ha ha! They just can’t understand why someone would want to see the same band fifty or sixty times, or more than once during a tour. The thought of going to fifteen shows during a single tour blows their minds. Yet, as we all know, my experience is tame compared to some who have gone to twice or even three times as many shows.

My answer is always the same: it isn’t purely about the band. In some ways, my life might be a lot easier if it were ONLY about Duran Duran! For me, seeing my friends is everything. I don’t live near them. Sometimes, weeks go by without even a single text…and those are just my close friends. There are many people that I just don’t keep in that close of touch with, yet I do consider friends. I see them when I go to shows. I look forward to seeing and hugging those people as much as I do seeing the band. After all, Duran Duran is only on stage for about 90 minutes these days (give or take). What in the hell do I do with the rest of the time while I’m away from home?  I talk to my friends. We get together. We go to lunch or dinner.  We do video blogs. (this is true…and we’ll do them just about anywhere, right Amanda?)  We have vodka tonics or sodas in to-go cups with lids that don’t fit! We try to squeeze in as much time together as we possibly can during the time we’re gathered.

 

 

I don’t know how I missed out on all of that for so long. The Belasco show was in 2016. The Mayan show was in 2011. Before the reunion, I’d only gone to a few Duran Duran shows, and I definitely didn’t know anyone from the fan community. In a lot of ways, I think I’m making up for lost time, now. When I think to my friends in the UK or even a few on the east coast – I can’t help but be a little envious. They grew up together. They spent their teenage years going to shows, waiting in the GA line (and yes, even waiting for band members outside of studios). I spent mine doing anything but all of that. I didn’t meet my touring buddies and best friend until after I’d already grown up, gotten married and had children. So now, I don’t miss an opportunity to go and be with them. It is a truth that is sometimes difficult for my family, but it is something that I don’t want to give up.

Yesterday, I had a student and parent at my desk at school. I was looking something up for them on my computer and they noticed my mousepad. It is one of my prized possessions these days – Amanda had it made for me. It is filled with pictures she and I had taken at various Duran Duran shows. I always smile when I look at it, even during the toughest days at work, and lately – there have been quite a few. Anyway, they wanted to know who those people were (the student, who is in middle school and is now one of my very favorites thought that one of the men must be my husband. HA). I explained that they were Duran Duran which of course led to a full discussion of how many shows I’d been to, who was my favorite band member, and of course – this blog – which I honestly try NOT to publicize at work. The question asked by the parent was simple “how long do you think you can really keep going to these shows and not feel silly?”

My answer? “How long can Simon and the band keep going?  They’re older than I am…and I’m not going to give up before they do.”

Note to the band: YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!

-R

 

Happy Birthday, Amanda!! (2018)

So, yesterday was crazy. Not only was it my daughter’s tenth birthday – celebrated with a big family get together, including lots of cooking, cleaning and general merriment – but it was also Amanda’s birthday.

The day did not go by completely unnoticed. I certainly posted my good wishes on all sorts of social media, but it wasn’t quite the same. I didn’t have a chance to post a birthday blog for her, and goodness knows a birthday cannot go by without that happening. So, today is that day.

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

Friendships ebb and flow, particularly when they are conducted from a long distance, such as ours. There are some periods of time where we have spoken every single day, but admittedly for the past year or so, those conversations haven’t happened as regularly as I would have liked. Most of that is my fault, and I acknowledge that. It isn’t that I have forgotten about our friendship, found someone else, or have felt like our connection has faded – in this case, it is truly because life has gotten incredibly complicated and busy. Amanda knows that right now, I’m not quite sure if I’m coming or going.  Yet, her friendship remains steadfast, and it is one constant I can count on. So this post is for Amanda, and I’m writing to her.

Rather than rattle on about how tough things have been lately – I like thinking about the things we’ve done along the way. Weirdly enough, remembering all of those times we laughed ourselves silly has kind of helped me during these past few months when the darkness has gotten SO dark that I couldn’t even really see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

There are the times that come to memory first – like when we first met and somehow ended up on a small stage at Howl at the Moon singing Duran Duran songs. What about the day we were sitting at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and calculated that we’d gone 27 (pretty sure I’m exaggerating) hours without eating at one point that weekend? Or when we were at Voodoo Festival and you had to go on a search for sunscreen with Sara. Yeah, that was also the night when Simon just HAD to go and ask if we had time for one more.  I also chuckle when I think about Toronto. I have one word for you: “Really?”  “REALLY?”  That memory always makes me laugh.

What I really like thinking about most though are the moments we haven’t necessarily talked about a lot. Like when we drove to Milwaukee that very first time and I was making signs as quickly as we could think of things to say. I think about how you and I love going to the Art Institute in Chicago, and how oddly – we both love modern and contemporary art. The weirder, the better!  I remember how in England (I have so many great memories of England, many of which really don’t even include the band at all, which is probably a shock to some) we sat on that train listening to John Taylor, watching the English countryside go by. That’s one of my favorite memories from that trip…right along with the first night in Brighton when Duran Duran played Secret Oktober.

Remember when we saw the band in LA at that David Lynch thing and we got there a day or so early? We stayed at the Luxe, which has this fantastic patio bar area, so you and I decided to have a pitcher of sangrias in the sun? It was glorious sitting there, relaxing and talking away. That day didn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran at all. It was a simple afternoon, and I wouldn’t trade it, even for “Late Bar” live in a set!

I remember driving during that Southeastern US road trip. We spent SO many hours in the car that time. It was a weird tour for us (they all are, though. I don’t think any of them ever go how we think they will, and at this point I don’t know why when drama happens while touring, we’re still surprised. I believe that someone might call all of that careful planning, “expectations”, which I have on good authority are just future resentments. <insert grin here>. But you know, I look back on that tour and think about how differently I saw things then. I remember the heat and humidity, and going for pancakes at IHOP that last night because we were so sick of drinking we didn’t even want to bother!

Remember when we went to lunch with Kitty in England?  It was after we saw the band going into their rehearsal studio on the “tour that wasn’t”, and I asked the waiter about how big their pizzas were, and he made some comment about how as an American, I’d probably think they were small. Funny that he assumed I wanted a big pizza when in fact I was worried it would be too much – then he brought it out and it was bigger than my head (AND the plate it was on!).  I still remember having to take the bus and learning how to use the tube (for those reading – we don’t have them where I live in Orange County!) I don’t know why that still makes me chuckle, but it’s those moments that I think about when I’m feeling myself get down.

We have made good friends along the way. Some have stayed, others have drifted away, and still others have been a gift of late. I treasure those people. I will never ever forget ordering that big fishbowl cocktail in San Francisco (never ever again. Stay away from the group cocktails in the future) and laughing about it the entire weekend, or the Cat Club – which was a blast. We did not really see or speak to a band member the entire weekend, but I think we had more fun than we’ve had in a long time, just dancing to Duran Duran songs and videos. I’d do it again in a hot minute. I remember laughing at you one of those nights at the Cat Club for reasons I don’t need to disclose here, but it was joyous all the same.  Our friends have stood by us, bought us tickets when the two of us couldn’t get the Ticketmaster gods to work in our favor, and listened to us go on and on about blogging and fandom and who knows what else. (well, I do know, but there’s only so much I’ll say here!)

I have tried to sum this up in a few different ways, but the fact is – I want to celebrate you and our friendship. I don’t want to think about the bad stuff because as soon as I’m done writing, it’ll still be there. In this moment, I want to focus on the joy. I am so glad you were born and that I can still count you as my best friend! Despite our differences, we are incredibly similar, and I love how we’re two sides of the same coin.  As I think back on all the things we’ve done, it is impossible not think about all that we have left to still do. I think there must be corners of the US we haven’t visited yet – so the band had better get on with it!  We still have things to do!!

A very happy birthday to you, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful day. I thought of you lots yesterday, believe it or not. The good news is that for all intents and purposes, Walt IS back to work – and that means I need to plan a trip to see you. Soon.  I picture a week during the summer where we do nothing but watch videos, hang out, have some vodka tonics, and maybe do some writing if we are so inclined.

I am so lucky (no really, right now I am definitely the luckiest) to call Amanda my best friend. I am well aware that we are not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine, because we’ve got each other.

-R

She’s Not Afraid of Leaving

Recently, I had a long conversation with my mother about friendship.  I’m not even sure how we got talking about that but the conversation got me thinking.  As I considered the conversation, I started to think about how my students and how they have met their friends.  Here, the answer is obvious.  They met their friends in classes, through their parents, in clubs and sports.  In fact, they spend a lot of time with their friends, which could make their initial friendships deeper and stronger.  Looking back to my youth, I experienced the exact same thing.

What about as an adult?  I have definitely made friends from work.  In fact, some of my closest friends now are people I have worked with.  Beyond that, I have met people through various political activities and through other people.  Yet, when I think about friendships, I often turn to fandom.  How many people have I met through fandom?  Countless.  You might think that I’m exaggerating but I don’t think I am, especially if I consider online friendships.  While I have not met every Duranie I know in person, I have met a bunch of people through this fan community.  In fact, I would say that the people I have met keeps me here when I might not have otherwise.  It is great fun to go to events and know that you will run into people you know.

This makes me wonder about why friendship within fandom seems so unique.  When I compare my friendships from fandom to other friendships, there is something different there.  For one thing, real life friendships seems to take longer.  There is a lot more surface conversation or small talk with real life friends.  It feels to me that it takes a long time to develop real trust with colleagues, for example.  Yet, I don’t sense that as much from fans.  There does not seem to have as much small talk with fan friendships.  I might even go so far as to say that I think there is more chances for equal trust.  Take my friendship with Rhonda.  I didn’t know much about her when I met her for the first time and we hit it off right away.  In fact, we decided to go to a show together and share a hotel room right after having met in person only once.  How did I know that I could trust her?  I don’t know.  I just did.

Does this immediate connection and trust happen because you share the same passion?  The same love for a band?  Maybe.  It is almost like being members of this exclusive club means that we understand each other deep at the core.  We understand something that doesn’t need to be described but something that defines us in a way.

Then, I wonder what happens when that passion does not remain.  What happens when friends leave the fandom?  Does the friendship remain?  I wonder.  I have friends who have left the fandom.  Am I still friends with them?  Yes, I am, but it doesn’t feel the same.  Why the heck is that?  I don’t have a good answer for this.  Could it be that it feels like a rejection of that something that lies at the core of your being or is it a matter of lack of having something in common?  I don’t know.

What do the rest of you think?  Does fandom breed quicker, closer friendships?  Then, if it does, can those friendships last in the same way if one of the people leave the fandom and the other doesn’t?  If not, why not?  What’s the deal there?

-A

Respecting Fan Spaces

As Amanda wrote over the weekend, she is considering where to take this blog. I’d like to share where I’m at in all of this, for those who may be interested.

The band is on some sort of hiatus, at least when it comes to performing. I don’t know what, if anything, they’re working on. They certainly deserve time off, and I’m not questioning that. However, we write about them. We write about being fans. Without the band doing much, it makes blogging a creative challenge. In and of itself, that doesn’t bother me, but it is something I consider. I tend to split my posts evenly between dates in history and fan issues – but sometimes it can all get a bit thin. I mean, there’s only so much one can write about a performance somewhere or a radio interview. On the other hand, topics having to do with fandom are another ball of wax.

I have found, over the course of the past eight years or so, that people either love us or hate us – and many start out loving us until we write something they hate. Not surprising, but definitely has its annoying moments. Not enough to make me stop blogging, but more than enough to convince me to keep my circle of genuine friends incredibly tight. I’ve learned that writing about fandom can be a double-edged sword. In many ways, it is eye-opening, and feels cleansing (for me) to understand why things happen the way they do. On the other hand, I’m examining something that most everyone has a lot of time, money and emotion tied into. There are always a few fans that are instantly offended, likely because they see a bit of themselves in what we describe and they don’t like it.

I’m going to write the explanation again in case it wasn’t understood before. We are really not judgmental of fans, although yes, sometimes I ask and present tough questions. I’m not shy about it, and I’m not sorry. I have my own opinions on things, and yep, sometimes dear reader, you’re not going to agree with me. I can accept that. Once I write something, a reader is going to respond however they feel. I hit ‘publish’, and the words are no longer my own. I feel good about letting go.

That said, Amanda and I are still fans of Duran Duran. We still  function in the community. Much to the dismay of a select few, we haven’t been burnt at the stake yet, and no – the band hasn’t asked us to stop going to shows. We’re not going anywhere. We not only acknowledge our fandom, we celebrate it every single day when we write, and I think this is where it gets sticky because what Amanda and I see as positive exploration, others find offensive. I guess when it comes down to it, Amanda and I are a bit unusual, if not flat-out weird.

We’re even sometimes embarrassed by our own behavior as fans. I’ve written about those moments MANY, MANY times…but somehow, those blogs are easy to ignore. For those who have already dismissed the blog as being a bunch of lies, or that Amanda and I are evil bitches with an ax to grind, I’d imagine that reading something where we admit to being silly or human doesn’t really fit the agenda.

As I told Amanda last week, sometimes I feel as though the blog has run its course. After eight years, it is a good challenge to find something new to write about. I spend a lot of time writing, when I could be researching or writing one of our own projects. While being a fan is absolutely a joy, writing about fandom is my passion. The blog here is just for fun – which I desperately need at times. That is why I want to continue Daily Duranie.

Keeping with that “fun” theme, I must be careful in the future about how topics are presented here, because fans are so emotionally vested, and naturally biased. Like I said, I think Amanda and I are just kind of weird. We enjoy being fans and doing all the “things”, but we also like examining WHY we do all of the things. We’re not afraid to call ourselves (fans, collectively) out in the process. While I don’t have an answer as to why I am able to compartmentalize (and sometimes I can’t – which is another issue for another day), I need to respect YOUR fan space. Point taken.

-R

Convention update

Hi everyone, Rhonda here – not that it’s unusual for me to blog on a Monday, but it’s me. Anyway, I wanted to give a very brief update on convention plans. Many have asked us about it, and I want to be as clear as possible.

First of all, both Amanda and I would like to have a convention this year. Our friend Jason at the Hard Rock worked to get a very nice deal together for us, and we appreciate his efforts. At this point in time, however, we are struggling with two things: Money (for deposits) and time.

The money part is simple: it costs money for deposits, and while a few thousand dollars may not seem like a lot – I can assure you that it absolutely is when it is your money, you’re on a limited budget, and there’s some concern about whether or not you’d get it back.  We have had some discussion about doing a sort of Kickstarter where we offer various ticket packages and other opportunities so that we could earn the money for convention costs. We would offer everything from a way for people to support the convention, to VIP packages for the entire weekend. The hope would be to raise enough money where we could pay the deposits without Amanda and I having to be on the hook financially.

That leads me to the second issue: time. There is never really enough of that.  I’m finding that I have to devote my extra time to other personal family things right now. That may change in the next few weeks, or it may not. This is a time where I’d give my eye-teeth for additional help, but I know that most people just want to GO to the convention and not have to plan one. I just am not sure if I can devote all of the time necessary for it to be a success, and I can’t make that determination just yet.

This is not the update I would have wanted to give several weeks or months back. Life has a crazy way of changing and I sometimes struggle to keep up. I will be keeping Amanda updated with what’s going on, and from there we will make some decisions. That’s really the best I can do right now. No, it’s not where I wanted to be or how I wanted to do it – but it’s what I have to work with right now. I realize that some of you need time to plan for travel and so forth, and I apologize for not being able to give better answers right now.

-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

Presentation Video: Uniqueness of Competition in Female Dominated Fandoms

I am tired.  The last few days were pretty mentally and emotionally exhausting  that also included a very long drive home.  While I need time to process everything regarding the conference, I do know a few things already.  First, I feel confident that I gave the presentation well and that I was thoroughly prepared.  Second, I did receive some useful and not-as-useful feedback, though all coming from good intentions.  That said, I am left wondering if it was worth it in terms of the time, stress and money.  I hoped to feel super accomplished and motivated and that did not happen.  I know that I did learn from the experience, though.

On that note, I know a lot of people wanted to see the presentation.  I recorded me practicing it from my hotel room.  That means that this does not adequately show what it was like to see the real presentation but I do share the ideas and as much of the visuals as could fit on the screen.

-A

 

A Little OCD Much?

I arrived in Indianapolis around 5 yesterday afternoon for the National Popular Culture Association Conference after a long, wet drive.  After having spent days getting the presentation ready and practicing, now was the time to just get going.  I cannot say that I’m feeling exactly 100% about the presentation as I have varied the time it takes to give when practicing between 18-24 minutes but I’m here anyway.

After having checked into the hotel and getting organized, I went down to the 3rd floor where the conference registration was taking place.  There I was handed a program and a name tag along with a special ribbon showing my first time status.  One guy told me that the ribbon was so they all could laugh at me, which made me laugh.  Then I commented that this would feel familiar as my students laugh at me all the time.  From there, I waited for the evening entertainment, Paula Poundstone.  While I obviously knew of her, I don’t know that I watched a lot of her stuff before.  Now, though, I would.  She was hilarious and definitely made me feel more comfortable about being here.

She started her routine by asking about this little conference, wondering how people got here, what they talked about, etc.  She called on some random guy who claimed he was a “trailing spouse” and that his wife was presenting.  What was she presenting about?  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course!  From there, Paula wanted to know how long the husband knew about her “interest” in Buffy.  He stated that he found out pretty early in their relationship as her house was covered in Buffy memorabilia.  Paula then wondered if this sort of thing was something the “trailing spouse” found attractive.  As you can imagine, the rest of the crowd was hysterically laughing.

From there, Paula found out some other topics that people were presenting about.  At this point, it became clear to her that people at this conference were kind of obsessed about some tiny aspect of popular culture.  As I was laughing, I found myself nodding.  This is true.  It is one thing to have a little conversation or two about fandom.  It is another thing to read countless books about it, write a couple of manuscripts about it, and present about it to a bunch of other geeky academics.  In realizing this, I have to recognize that Rhonda and I have been rather obsessive about understanding fandom and our fandom specifically.  At that moment, I found myself smiling, knowing that I’m around people who are just like me in that they, too, are obsessed about something. They are so obsessed about whatever that they have studied and are excited to present about their learning.  That’s really pretty cool.

I look forward to going to some presentations today.  I’m hopeful that they will help me feel more confident about what I’m presenting.  On top of that, I hope to learn something from my fellow obsessive academic geeks.

-A