Tag Archives: Fans Fandom

It’s a Different Storyline–Types of Fans

I have studied fandom and fans for a very long time now.  Yet, there are still some ideas that I run across that really hit me.  The other day I found a power point that was shared with me by someone who teaches an Introduction to Popular Culture class.  The idea behind the power point was that there are different types of fans.  For example, everyone is a fan to some extent as we all buy things or read things or watch things or listen to things.  We all consume and our choices of what to read, watch, listen or buy indicates that we are fans of those things.  Yet, for some, they go beyond that and become casual fans.  Still fewer become what is labeled as interested fans.  Even less become committed fans and a very small minority become hardcore fans.  How are these different types of fans defined?  They are defined through examples.  The basic fan goes to a movie and likes it.  The casual fan watches a show each week.  An interested fan looks for some information about it and buys some products.  A committed fan spends a lot of time on it, becomes part of a community of fans.  The hardcore fan’s fandom becomes part of his/her identity and s/he begins to produce new material connected to the fandom.  There is obviously a bit more to this but this is the general idea.

This, of course, gets me thinking.  I feel like I am part of or have been part of a few fandoms.  I’ll start with my oldest fandom, Chicago White Sox baseball.  I have been a fan since I was born.  It is inherited.  I would say that I go beyond basic fan in that fandom as I do watch many games.  Just casual fan then?  I do buy some products and go to games, if I can.  Then, I would go with interested fan.  About 10 years ago, I fell for the show, Roswell.  I began to hang out on message boards, read fanfic, and even attended fan gatherings.  Yet, while I felt like a hardcore fan, I definitely didn’t tie my identity to it or produce anything new.  I was pretty passive in the community.  I was one of many so I would probably say I was a committed fan.  Lately, I have been more into Star Trek and X-Files.  Like my White Sox fandom, I buy some products and watch new episodes/movies.  I don’t do much in terms of a fan community.  Thus, I would say I’m an interested fan with those, too.  So, what about my Duran Duran fandom?  Oh boy…I hesitate to even think about it.

Am I just an interested fan?  Well, I do buy products, but I buy a lot more than a few.  I also spend time looking for and at information.  I bet this description fits a lot of people reading this blog post.  Let me check the next type.  Am I a committed fan?!  Committed fans spend a lot of time on their fandom and are part of a fan community.  I think that description works for me.  I do talk to other fans on social media and in real life.  I also spend a lot of time on Duran Duran.  Again, I bet there are a lot of you who are reading this who are nodding as they can relate.  Okay, what about that hardcore fan thing?  Could I say that I fit that?!  Is my Duran Duran fandom part of my identity?  Am I productive with it?

Being a Duranie is definitely part of my identity and I might even say that it has been for a long time.  Yet, this identity part became more significant in September of 2010 when this blog started.  At that moment, I became more than just “Amanda”.  I became half of “The Daily Duranie”.  People recognized my writing by my standard “-A”.  We not only started this blog but also opened social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I blog EACH AND EVERYDAY.  Beyond the blog and social networking, I also helped to organize fan meet-ups and a full-blown fan convention with my partner-in-crime!  If those weren’t enough, my research and writing went beyond this blog as we focused our efforts to writing a book on fandom and planning a new book.  Therefore, I expanded beyond the Duranie label to writer, researcher, and event planner all surrounding my fandom.  Therefore, I would say I have been productive with it.  I am a VERY active member of the community in that I write about current events within the fandom AND I try to bring the community together by giving places in which discussion and face-to-face meetings can happen.  Yeah, I would say that I’m VERY productive with my fandom.

Of course, before I totally declare myself a “hardcore fan”, which sounds a little scary, I want to refer back to the original powerpoint.  I remind myself that there are not very many committed fans and there are EVEN LESS hardcore fans in any given fandom, according to the theory.  Am I really comfortable calling myself a hardcore fan?  That term doesn’t sound particularly…friendly.  It sounds like a nicer term for crazy.  Yet, it really is the only description that fits my Duran Duran fandom.  Now, in looking back through this powerpoint, I take note that there is no judgement or value placed on any of these levels.  Being a committed fan, for example, does not mean you are better than a casual fan.  It just means that you are a fan in a DIFFERENT way.  I’m okay with being just an interested fan when it comes to the White Sox or the X-Files so I guess I should be okay with being a hardcore fan for Duran Duran.  This leads to my next thought.  Assuming that I buy into the premise that there are different types of fans like this, do I also buy into the idea that there really are very few hardcore fans?  I think I do.  I think that what Rhonda and I do is rare, which is probably good for the world.  I can’t imagine the world could sustain many fans like us.

-A

Duran Duran’s Set List: A Commentary

Duran Duran’s set list is a topic of conversation that is not just argued about amongst band members. It is a subject that comes up any time there might be the announcement of shows. First comes the flurry of excitement that comes with ticket sales and so forth, and before long, Duran Duran’s set list becomes the hot topic.

Even here on Daily Duranie, the set list comes up often. We probably add to the discussion through our daily polls and my complaints of Hungry Like the Wolf over the years. There are those, like myself, that feel as though it’s time for set list makeover; and then there are those who always chime in at the right moment to say “I’ll take anything!!”

Since the War Child UK show will take place tomorrow, the band has been rehearsing in their studio space to prepare.  Luckily for fans, pictures have been shared and posted online. One of the photos includes one of the computers with tracks listed across the top (if you have a magnifying glass…my 44-year old eyes can’t see the print, even WITH the Lasik I had done!), and it was dully noted that Duran Duran’s set list appears to be much of the same as it has been for the past ten years. While this certainly wasn’t surprising (John himself commented in a recent Katy Kafe that they wouldn’t be playing new music), it was noted that it is a shame so many other albums and songs are ignored in favor of solely playing the most recognizable songs in their catalog.

A few of us were lamenting over Duran Duran’s set list,  and one fairly well-known figure from the band’s crew commented in defense of the band, saying that fans really don’t understand the amount of time it takes to put songs into Duran Duran’s set list. This person noted the amount of time the tech staff needs (at least one full day per song), and then rehearsal time for the band members that probably do not know the song. (I am assuming the band mentioned are not John, Roger, Simon or Nick…but instead people such as Anna, Dom, Simon Willescroft and whatever percussionists are involved.) For all of that additional time requires more hotel stay for whomever needs it, and all of that time adds up to money out-of-pocket.

My first thought upon reading all of this was that it’s a shame technology has gotten in the way of just playing the damn songs. My second thought, and the one I chose to reply with, was that it is sad.  And it is. It is sad to me that out of the hundreds of songs in their catalog, or any band’s catalog for that matter, it comes down to a mere twenty or twenty-five that get played with any kind of regularity. In many cases, those twenty are not even the best songs, but instead the ones that the public knows, because otherwise, as this crew member mentioned – you’ll have the audience staring at their watches waiting for the next hit.

For me it is truly a double-edged sword that this band is so well-loved by people who don’t know them at all beyond possibly Union of the Snake. (and I will bet my next cup of coffee that there will be people in the audience tomorrow evening that don’t even know THAT song.) In many ways, those folks ruin it for the rest of us, the dreaded diehards. However, those “You mean the band has other albums that came out after Notorious??” people are honestly the band’s bread and butter. It isn’t me – lover of “Secret Oktober”, and “Late Bar” – that the band counts on. I wish it were. Instead, it is the people who know what Rio sounds like, remember the band from their videos in the 80’s, and might even know that the band is responsible for “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” that pay their bills. There are far, far more of those people out there than there are people like me, who know this band inside and out and have every biography written about them, or not only know that John Taylor had a solo career, but own his solo catalog. There are far more people who still wonder to this day, “Which one is Andy?” than there are people like us who wonder when they’re going to make Dom a full-fledged member. The people who still think the song is named “Hungry Like A Wolf” far exceed those of us who’d like to smack those people in the face for screwing up the title. This is the reason why, in every single interview they will do to promote the next album and beyond, they will continue to have to comment on “getting back together”, “this isn’t the original five, is it?”, and “are the Taylors really not related at all?”

Cold, harsh realities. Imagine being the band???

So while we take time to occasionally complain that Duran Duran’s set list hasn’t really changed much in ten years, and we will because it is only natural, it might also be fortuitous to think about those cold facts I mentioned. You and I, along with the rest of the fan community that come out in support of the shows is but a very small percentage of that audience. Alarmingly small, in my opinion. So, when they pull out an “obscurity” like they did in say, Brighton of 2011, when they played Secret Oktober, we must remember how special that was, and treasure it for all it is worth.

I get it.

…But I’ll still be checking MY watch when Hungry Like the Wolf is played.

-R