Tag Archives: fandom practices

Since when did being a fan become a bad thing: Crazy Some’d Say

I could probably just post this picture and be done with the blog for today, because it probably says everything (and much, much, more) than I’m about to say anyway.  I am consciously reminding myself that sometimes, the toughest blogs to write turn out to be the ones most needing to be read.

Yes, I went to some shows this weekend, and yes, I had a fantastic time. I am so grateful that I had the chance to go and be with friends.

So, while I was basking in the sheer glory of being up front, screaming for one of my favorite people on the planet, a friend took the photo.  I (OBVIOUSLY) had no idea it was being taken at the time. I’m not so sure I love my face, but I see the sheer joy. It’s kind of hard to miss, really.

I pride myself on being pretty low-key. (HA!) I have a great time at the shows, but I also recognize that the band are indeed real people. Being on stage is part of their job, in the same way that wrangling young children during recess and lunch is mine.  I don’t have children screaming for me at work (but I do have a few that are insistent about coming to visit me nearly every day for tummy aches or to apply band-aids to non-visible “injuries”).  In the same respect, once the show is over, I typically don’t bother the band. Yeah, I’ve ended up at the same bar once or twice, but other than that – I expect them to resume their normal lives. My students don’t come to my house and wait out front for me, and I try to be the same way with the band. I get it. It’s a job.

Since Dom is the lucky guy in this photo (which btw was taken by my friend Suzie at the “breast show ever”….just go with it and don’t ask…), he’s part of the example here.  As much as I love this photo, I also struggle with it. I tweeted it out, but stopped short of tweeting it directly to Dom. I wanted to share it with him because it’s both hilarious and really kind of sweet at the same time, but I just couldn’t.  Why?

On one hand, if you really need an explanation of fandom, it is all right there in that shot. I suppose that yeah, you could look at that photo and see all the craziness you want.  Context is important here, because at the time Dom was playing the guitar solo for White Lines, and he knows that I love that song live.  I smiled at him when he started it, and he came right over to me, and this picture was taken just before he bent down to play.  He does an excellent job, and I was screaming for him. I’m proud of his work, and I’m not shy about that.  I was also in the front, and I was thrilled to be there.  I had so much love and joy flowing through me in that moment, and this picture captured all of that.

On the other hand, and this is the part I have a rough time with – I almost hate using the word “fan” because it immediately puts me on the crazy train.  Since when did the word “fan” make me so damn self-conscious?  Here I am, writing a fan blog, and I’m worried about someone thinking I’m a fan?

There are so many different directions I can take this post from here. The path that seems most relevant is simply to say that we fans, collectively speaking, have been equated with the word “crazy” for so long now, that at times it is painful to admit that I am, indeed, a fan. I’ve been a Duran Duran fan since I was ten. I don’t remember life much before being a fan. Yet everywhere I go, particularly when at shows, all I hear is the word, “crazy”.

“You’re still one of those crazy Duran Duran fans? How old are you again?

“You’re a woman out on the town going to a show without your husband?  You’re just crazy to get into Simon’s pants, right?” 

“You crazy Duran fans…we know all about you guys!” 

If that’s not enough, we even admonish one another while we’re at the shows!

“Don’t rush the stage, the guards will think you’re crazy!” 

“I don’t want to go up and try to say hi, because if I do, he’s going to just think I’m some crazy fan.”  (In this case, this fan was ME, and I was specifically talking about going up to say hi to Dom in the hallway. Even though he saw me clear across the hallway and smiled – I was still concerned about how it would look if I got up from my chair at the bar and walked over there. I knew he was trying to just get up to his room and I didn’t want to bug him. For the record, I did finally get up the nerve to walk up and say hi, and I don’t think he believes I’m crazy. Imagine that!)

“Look at those fans fighting over the set lists. They’re crazy!” 

The word surrounds us and it is never-ending.  Even I’m starting to buy into the hype. Since when did being a fan become a bad thing?? Pictures don’t lie – when I look at that picture of Dom, the girl at the bottom is a FAN. That girl is me, yet it’s the last thing I want to be known for. It’s silly because of course I’m more than a fan. I’m Rhonda. I write. I am smart. I play a couple of instruments. I have three amazing kids. My life is pretty damn full, and I have feelings. I refuse to be just another face in the crowd.  When I get up the nerve to walk up and say hi to a band member (or anybody for that matter) in a hallway and even get a hug, the last thing I want for that person to think is that I’m just another crazy fan who won’t let them go up to their room. Yet, in the back of my mind – that is always my worry.

This blog aside, of course. Because yeah, it IS pretty crazy that I’ve written a fan blog for 78 months now. (That’s six and a half years for those of us who don’t love math.)  Someday I’m going to switch the name of this to Daily Duranie Rehab and we can call it group therapy!

The relationship we have with our idols and other people we care about is complicated at best. (I have a tough time calling Dom my idol, I have to be honest. I didn’t grow up with him on my posters, or worshipping the ground he walked on in the same way I did the rest of the band. It isn’t the same.) Impossible at worst. Not everyone gets to have their moment, even fewer become true friends, but somehow – those of us who have been around awhile get called “crazy”, and it’s unfortunately a term that has wrapped itself around my core.  Sure, we can say we don’t care what other people think, but what about what WE think about ourselves?

Food for thought.

-R

 

I can find my own way

I am reading plenty of excited posts from people headed to see Duran Duran at the Apollo Theater tonight. I love when the band tours, because social media exudes positive energy towards the band! Last week, I was completely caught up in my Duran Duran fandom journey, spinning within the fandom vortex. This week—I’m about to steam clean carpets. Yay! I wish I could have just kept traveling with the band. Don’t we all? Alas, most of us have limits, determined by schedule, budget, or both.

Yesterday I wrote that I don’t necessarily feel like a teenager again when I see the band. In describing what that meant, I used the examples that I don’t usually hold up signs at shows anymore, and that I don’t wear the well-loved pair of light-up horns I once did either. While writing, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that perhaps other people still did those things. It wasn’t that I find either of those things immature—I was simply explaining that they were both things I once did. Those things aren’t silly, even though I don’t participate that way any longer.

Funny enough, in the manuscript Amanda and I finished in June, we talk a lot about the fandom journey. We use the word “journey” to describe everything we’ve done—from childhood to present—as fans of this band. One of the take-aways we’ve gathered from studying this particular fan community is that each of us has our own journey. While we might all be on the same basic highway, we’re all traveling at different speeds, we stop at different places, and the paths we take are incredibly unique. I told my own story in the post yesterday, no judgment on others intended.

Another key we’ve noticed in our community is how quick we all are to judge one another.  Whether we’re judging because experiences are different, or because we’re completely jealous that so-and-so was recognized by Simon or John, or because Amanda and I are doing eight shows and someone else is only doing two (and it seems ridiculous to spend so much money on eight shows) it happens with regularity.  Everyone does fandom differently. My way isn’t the right way, or the only or even the best way.  (in fact my husband might argue that it’s the only the best path to bankruptcy…but that’s another blog for another day…moving on….) It’s just the way I’ve done it. Your own path is probably incredibly different, yet remarkably similar.

It used to be that Amanda and I would work to find understanding in fan practices, particularly if they seemed over-the-boundary or different from our own.  Let’s face it, those of us in this community  are very special snowflakes. Many of us have been fans since we were kids. That same passion we had at ten, eleven or twelve still holds firm for many of us even today. We’re the rare unicorns of fandom!

I think at this point, Amanda and I have settled on the fact that no one does this fandom the same way. Some people are happy to collect photographs. Others do as many shows on a tour as possible.  Still more do their one or two conveniently located shows each tour, and many do none at all. We’re still all fans and while we all do it differently, none of us are bigger or better than the other.  We won’t win trophies at the “end” of this, but we will walk away with wonderful memories.

So, when I wrote yesterday that I no longer feel quite like a teen when I see them, in no way did I mean that no one else should. You want to hold up signs or wear all of your Duranie paraphernalia to a show? By all means you should! None of us know when we’ll be attending our last show. Live in YOUR moment, navigate your own fandom journey, and enjoy the ride.

-R