Tag Archives: fandom

We Let the Music Jangle and We’ll Remember

The last few weeks haven’t been the best for me.  I have had some issues with my teeth (that’s an understatement), which has resulted in a serious financial bloodletting.  If that wasn’t enough, I have renewed frustration with my job and general feeling of being lost as I attempt to regroup and get back on track.  As part of all of that, I have been so focused on my day-to-day existence, my “job” here and the overall game plan that I lovingly refer to my future and career that I started missing something.  (By the way, if you notice, readers who pay attention and I know you are out there, I included another vague statement about the future.  I assure you that there will be more information forthcoming soon.)  So, what did I start to miss?  Simple.  I began to miss the reason for being here or, at least, the reason that brought me here.  I started to miss the music.  The truth is that I listen to music daily.  That music is not always Duran Duran.  I go for days without mentioning Duran other than on here or through the daily “tasks”.  In some ways, I do feel like I live and breathe Duran, but, in others, I don’t feel that at all.  I’m sure that there are plenty of fans who spend a lot more time each day on Duran than I do by listening to their music or looking at their pictures or watching footage.  In that sense, I don’t feel like my life is very focused on Duran.  Then, when I stop and look around at my life, I realize that a huge chunk of my existence is all about Duran.  My goodness, I worry about this blog each and every day.  Even on days that Rhonda blogs, I check in.  I post the daily questions and the day in Duran history.  Add on the time, energy and effort on a book in which Duran is the case study and multiple discussions surrounding fan conventions.  When I think about all that, I realize how much my life is surrounded by and with Duran Duran and the fan community.  I am so surrounded and engaged in my work that I forget, sometimes, what I’m a fan of.

The other day, I was driving and paying little attention to what music was on.  It was snowing so the music was the last thing on my mind.  Then, I noticed that All You Need Is Now, the album, began playing.  It has held a position in my car stereo since it was released.  Yet, if I have new music, that is usually played instead or my mp3 player just shuffles songs.  I had almost forgotten that it was in there.  As the first few notes played, I wondered how long it had been since I had listened to this album.  Soon enough, memories began to flash in my mind from this most recent Duran era.  This era has been such an important one to me and to Rhonda.  We started this blog right before that album was released and documented so much of what happened, in our own way.  Lucky us, we were able to attend many shows, including ones in very different places, from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Glasgow, Scotland.  We were there when Simon lost his voice and witnessed the return.  For us, here, we came out of our little hole in the fan community to allow ourselves to be heard by anyone and everyone.  Meet ups were organized and a convention was organized and held.  When I look back, I’m so amazed at everything we have done and everything that the band has done.  Yet, why is it that I wanted to pay this close attention to everything the band did?  Why did I want to stick my neck out in all the ways that we did?  Why am I continuing down this road and even working to expand it?  Simple.  The music.  I’m a Duran Duran fan.  I’m a fan who absolutely loved All You Need Is Now.  After this fresh listen of the album this week, I know that I still love it.  I love all of the experiences I have had but I really love the music.  I really do.

Then, yesterday, Rhonda reviewed Shadows On Your Side.  This led us to talk briefly about the lyrics to this song and to a couple of others.  I love those discussions.  After 30 years, this band and their music is still providing me and my friends with things to talk about, things to discuss.  This discussion began as Rhonda emailed me to tell me that she got something new from these lyrics by really looking at them for the review.  She gained something despite having this song as part of her collection for decades.  Truly, this is why we decided to reach out and join the community.  We wanted to talk about the music.  This, in turn, led us to think about the fan community and what we can do.  The music started everything that we have done and will done.  We fell in love with their music and still love it today.  I’m so glad that I was reminded of this.  I needed it.  It is important and will continue to be important to remember as Rhonda and I continue with whatever this is and with whatever it will be.

-A

Media Representations of Fandom: Love Wrecked

During my winter break, I had some extra time on my hands.  One night while flipping through channels I came across a movie, obviously aimed at teens, called Love Wrecked.  Now, normally, this wouldn’t have caught my attention except for the fact that the description included how a teen got stranded on an island with her teen idol.  Oh boy.  Then, I had to watch it.  After all, even movies like this can represent fandom.  How will it show this teen fan?  How will it show the rock star?  How would it show the interaction between the teen and the star?  Will they be accurate representations or would they be stereotypes?

The movie started as you would expect by showing this teen and how she is a fan.  How did they show this?  Simple.  They showed notebooks with “I love you” written on them along with some kisses.  Other pieces of merchandise shown included a fan club card, cd covers, concert tickets, posters, pillow cases, etc.  I think anyone who is a fan could relate to this.  Soon enough, those concert tickets are put to use and we see the teen at the show.  She, of course, is screaming, jumping up and down, screaming about how hot the star is, yelling “I love you” and singing along.  While that might not be exactly how I am at a a show, I know that it is how plenty of other people are, especially when they were teens.  What is amusing is that she is at the show with her friend, who happens to be a guy.  His reaction to the whole thing is to ask if she is okay and begging for her to calm down before she injuries herself.  How many people who had parents who asked those same questions as a teen at a show or has a significant other who says similar things now?  Another interesting scene at the show is when someone the teen knows approaches her to point out that she has better seats.  In fact, she states that her seats are SO good that the star, Jason, could sweat on her.  How does the teen, Jenny, respond to this?  She crowd surfs to get closer.  The other teen, Alexis, also joins her crowd surfing solely so that she can push Jenny back.  She doesn’t want to give up her better spot.

Jenny and her guy friend go to the Caribbean to do some summer work program.  Alexis is also there because she had heard that Jason, the rock star, loves this resort.  In fact, he soon shows up in all his stereotypical glory with his large entourage and staff, demanding the best suite in the place.  Jenny tries to approach Jason, the star, but falls in front of him.  Jason makes sure that she is okay and even flirts a little, as rock stars do.  This causes Jenny to conclude that he could fall for her if they could really meet.

Thus, she works where he is, including on a small boat ride.  The ride does not go as planned as there is a storm and the two of them fall overboard with the ship’s raft that takes them to what appears to be an empty island.  Jenny isn’t too concerned.  Instead, she keeps trying to ask him questions.  Meanwhile, the media is freaking out because the star is missing.  Soon enough, though, she figures out that the resort is just on the other side of the island.  She doesn’t tell Jason, though.  She wants them to believe that they are stranded so that he can get to know her and fall in love with her.

Jenny walks back to the resort to get the supplies as Jason had hurt his ankle so he couldn’t walk far and she runs into her guy friend.  She tells him her plan and her friend responds by asking why she couldn’t have just broken into his hotel room like a normal person.  Unfortunately, during this exchange, Alexis saw and followed her back.  She acts as if she, too, is stranded.  Now, Jason, the star, has two fans after him.  The two fans do what we expect them to do.  They compete over his attention and also do things to harm the other.  Eventually, the truth that they were on the island with the resort comes out.  Jason has to decide who he likes out of the two fans while Jenny gets lost during a hurricane and gets rescued by her guy friend.  She then decides this real life guy is better than the star.

Now, ignoring the quality of the film, which was as you would expect, how was it in terms of stereotypes about fans?  I, obviously, expected it to show over the top behavior, which it did.  I don’t think that most fans would pretend to be stranded on an island for days in order to get the star.  I don’t think that most fans would crowd surf just to get better seats or to stop someone from getting better seats.  That said, the competition between fans is something that does happen between fans.  I have seen people brag about their better seats, consciously or unconsciously.  I have also seen and heard of fans who will try anything to get attention of the celebrity of choice.  Jenny’s guy friend’s reaction about not understanding her reaction and fandom is also something that happens on a regular basis.  Likewise, the lesson appears to be that real life is better than the fantasy of fandom, which always makes me uncomfortable because there is nothing wrong with being a fan.  Thus, while the movie was filled with stereotypes and some uncomfortable conclusions, some of these stereotypes and elements are based on true elements of fandom.  Ugh.

-A

The Lasting First Impression

In the last few weeks, I have been analyzing why fans want to go to conventions.  I have talked about everything from the escape from reality that they provide to providing the chance to meet and connect with other fans.  Last week, I focused on how having celebrities attending can also increase people’s interest and attendance at conventions.  After all, we all know why fans would want to meet their idols or celebrities that they like and admire.  It is no secret that most fans covet pictures with their idols and autographs of them.  Also, I think we all know what having positive experiences mean for fans and for their fandom.  In my experience, meeting someone you look up to and having a positive interaction is super special.  Since fandom is about something and/or someone you are passionate about, that passion can be reinforced and increased if meeting an idol or idols is positive.  It is a high like no other resulting often in *squeeing* internally and/or externally, smiling for days and non-stop talking about it!  Thus, we all know why fans want to meet to celebrities and how it makes them (us) feel!  Yet, how does it benefit celebrities to meet fans?  After all, many of us don’t get to meet Duran Duran and we still remain fans.  I know that I won’t get a chance to meet all of the celebrities I admire and that won’t cause me to stop admiring them.  So, really, why should celebrities show up at conventions or do meet and greets?  They won’t lose fans if they don’t, so why should they bother?

I have been thinking about this question a lot lately.  What benefits do meeting fans give bands and other celebrities?  I already know a number of you are thinking things like, “They should want to meet their fans.  Fans are who put them where they are today.  They should do it to show their appreciation.”  While that may be true, that is still answering the question from a FAN’S point of view.  I am asking the question from a BAND’S point of view.  How does it really benefit THEM to meet fans?  How?  I guess one reason is because it could feel good to show that appreciation.  Sure.  I could see that.  Yes, I’m sure it is also a huge ego stroke after meeting people who think you are wonderful.  Obviously, events like conventions, pay celebrities to be there.  Yet, I can’t imagine that the money is THAT good that it would be worth having to sign autographs all day or smile in pictures with people who are strangers without there being more to it.

I ask again.  How does meeting fans benefit celebrities?  Here is what I came up with but still feel like I’m missing some big, important ideas that I’m hoping others can help fill in.

*Feels good to give back to fans

*Ego stroke

*Payment if it an appearance at an event

*Possibility for good press with the media

*Solidified fanbase who are more dedicated as evidenced by them buying more products, spreading good word to other fans and to non-fans which can even increase fan base.

*Increased loyalty with fans.  Fans who have had a good experience with someone are more likely, I believe, to be forgiving if the celebrity does something “wrong” or something that fans don’t like.  They are not as quick to leave the fandom.

What else am I missing?  It seems to me that the real focus is solidifying the fan base that is already there for a celebrity.  While I believe it has the potential to increase fans, it doesn’t do that in a super big way.  Does it really just benefit those stars who have seen better days and are just hoping to stay where they are?  Does it benefit the up and coming stars who need those positive stories out in the media?  Does it benefit celebrities much at all?  If so, how??  What do you think????

-A

Only Change Will Bring You Out of the Darkness

It seems to be a pretty quiet day. That might have something to do with the snowstorm hitting a significant percentage of the US, or the impending cold (frozen tundra??), but for me it’s just the last Friday morning of winter break, before we head into the January doldrums of school, first semester finals for my two oldest, my daughter’s 17th birthday (HOW did that happen?!?), and so on.

I was on Twitter this morning, and thanks to @askkatybook – I have something to share with my fellow music fans. You see, she found an article about this 12-year old boy who does music reviews on YouTube. He’s not a fan of any specific band, or any specific genre of music – he is simply a fan of music. Here’s the article link.

I love Joshua’s exuberance and the sheer joy he shares for music. I wish I could capture just a little bit of that and put it into the reviews that I do for Daily Duranie, to be honest. There is something incredibly special to be gleaned from watching Joshua’s videos – and it’s refreshing to see the love for music being shared. It’s not about sales, it’s not about showing a certain level of musical articulation, and it’s not even really so much about being critical, either. The reviews come down to the basics of just sharing the joy of music. In a world where negativity seems to drive content (as well as response to content), it is truly a breath of fresh air to see positivity winning. I suppose that for Joshua, there just isn’t any point in reviewing something if he doesn’t like it – because to him, this is about what he likes, and what he recommends.

As a blogger, I’ve learned the power of writing a post that drives response as well as page views. I’ve very much seen what makes people react wildly. In our case, it sure isn’t the posts about how much we love Duran Duran. Think about that.

-R

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling

I need to thank the London Evening Standard for publishing an interview with the band. Just as I was about to scrape the bottom of idea barrel in search of a decent blog topic – there comes an interview. Coincidence? Maybe….or else those ceremonial offerings to the Duranie Gods are beginning to actually work!

If you haven’t caught the interview yet, please allow me to direct you here to read it.  I’m not going to comment on everything, but I do want to touch on a subject that has been mentioned more than a few times as of late. The interview, at least in part, seemed to center around the band’s younger years (due to Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories pop-up gallery and photography book) and how they would find girls hiding in their wardrobes, hotel rooms, etc.  In the interview, Simon admits Duran Duran were “sexist”. “But not misogynist. We like girls in bikinis but the women always win in our videos. We wouldn’t have made the Robin Thicke video. It’s just a bit too …” He gropes for the word, his hand a claw of agony, “… you know.”

Oh, I do know. Sometimes, I swear the band knows what I’m thinking, and if I were really deluding myself, I’d swear they were reading my discussions on Twitter.

Just a few weeks back, similar comments from Simon were also in the press. I couldn’t help but agree with him and said as much openly on Twitter. I’d commented many weeks prior that at least in theory – that Robin Thicke’s video was probably a mistake. Maybe I’m just getting old and less tolerant overall, but his video is just a little bit (a lot really) over the line for me. I think there is just a certain tone to his video – the fact that the man wins (using Simon’s words!) and that the woman really seems to not be in control, that registers pretty highly on my “this is complete sexist and cruel BS” meter. It makes me very uncomfortable to watch, in a very similar way to how I’ve felt about Chris Brown. I realize that for Robin Thicke, that video is likely just an act, but that’s not the point. Why do women really need to be used like that?? What year is this again?? I’d said as much on Twitter, and gotten into quite a discussion with a few others on the subject. We never came to full agreement, but I enjoyed the subject – just not the frustration of having to explain my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Damn Twitter.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, because I’m forgetting to mention that when those comments of Simon’s became public, the response and outcry was rather swift. “What about Girls on Film, Simon?? Did we forget all about that Duran Duran video then?”  

Yes, what about that video?

This was exactly the point of discussion when I took to Twitter at a later date about Simon’s comments. Yes, Girls on Film (to begin with) does seem to be a bit of a problem when looking back on Duran’s career as one reflects on Simon’s feelings about Robin Thicke’s video. The women in the video are put in various situations including a lovely little pillow fight while on a cream-slathered candy striped pole (oh, the subtle innuendo), a cowgirl riding and then giving a horse a bath…a sumo-wrestler being massaged after losing a fight…and my personal favorite, the lifeguard “saving” a young woman drowning in a kiddy pool.  And that’s just the R rated version. If you want to really see something, the “Night” version has even more going on backstage…but I’ll leave that to you to find if you haven’t already seen it. In the interview linked above, Simon mentions that in their videos – the women “win”. To be fair, I suppose it is possible to see that the women do end up in control of whatever situation they seem to be put in here. After all, it IS the lifeguard who ends up being left in the pool, and who is riding the horse but the woman?? Again…I cringe at the innuendo, but yes, the woman do seem to be on top. (Go ahead, cringe at my play on words!)

However, not all fans see it that way, and to be equally fair – I think they too have a point.  Why make a video like Girls on Film at all? Was the music not enough to stand on it’s own? Probably not, I’d say. I love the band and adore their music..but back in the 80s?? Getting attention meant taking the risk to shock the public. If you’ve ever seen the full length video, you know that at the end of it the entire band holds up a banner that says “Some people will do anything to sell records.” That alone speaks volumes to me as a viewer, and by the way…it worked! Continually throughout the bands career, the “sex” label has been stamped on their heads or branded across their bodies. When you consider the sheer amount of videos, albums, artwork, etc. that they have had in their career that contain images of women…it’s pretty impossible to say that the band is not sexist, which to his credit, Simon openly admits.

However, and I think this is a huge point most fans (among many others) that have criticized Simon’s comments miss, or at the very least misdefine: Misogyny is a pretty strong word. The definition of a misogynist, according to dictionary.com, is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.” To me, it’s tantamount to calling someone a homophobe or a racist. It runs in that same vein of hatred, and I have to ask: does the band really hate women?  Think about that for a minute.

Even if you think the Girls on Film video completely objectifies women – which it very well might – the women do seem to end up with the upper hand. If we look at other female images that the band has given us over the years, it would seem that the women almost always look stronger than the band. How about Rio? That woman in Rio makes each band member look ridiculous! She yanks Simon off the boat, Nick can’t even bring himself to pour champagne properly, poor Roger ends in some sort of a fish net, and then there’s John – who daydreams about being a soldier, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by yes, a woman. Such weaklings. This band does not hate women. They are not misogynists, even though by Simon’s own admission they have been sexist, a point to which I would wholeheartedly agree.

We can have the discussion about whether or not we’re all sick of seeing models in the band’s videos. We should acknowledge the band has been branded with the word “Sex”, and whether or not we think that’s propelled their fame. We should talk about the band’s sexism. We can even discuss the music and that should really be the point they stand on, historically speaking. What we we must stop doing, is applying the term “misogynist” to describe the band. It is not fair, and it is not a accurate. Oddly enough…if one really felt that way, especially as a woman, how could one be a fan?

-R