Tag Archives: fans

Just a number on the metal fence

2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s humble beginnings in Birmingham, UK.  When I stop and think about that, I’m convinced of two things: 1. There’s obviously been a miscount. 2. Time really does fly.

There is a group out there that is working to collect data from fans-at-large in order to put together some suggestions that the band may or may not consider if they should decide to put together a tour or collectors editions from their catalog, etc.  I think it’s great to try to gather some sort of collective voice from the fans—after all, it is something Amanda and I have been doing for the better part of nearly seven years now.

When we first began the blog, I really don’t know that we gave thought or credence to the idea that the band would actually HEAR us. We just knew that there was a lack of a central…place…for lack of better words, for fans to gather and really talk about Duran Duran fandom.  Message boards were pretty scattered, fanzines didn’t really allow for discussion. Facebook was Facebook, and even that has changed quite a bit over the period of time the blog has been around, and rest assured it has evolved, too. Over the past four years or so (give or take), Amanda has asked daily questions and polls.  While she’s tried to do a variety of topics, a lot of them have had to do with songs, set lists, etc.  What is your favorite album? What song do you wish they’d play live, and so on. She’s great at being able to take that information and see trends, and I love the way she breaks it down in her wrap-up blogs on the weekends.

So, when I stumbled upon word that a group that is working to compile similar information for the possibility of shows and other special releases in 2018, I was curious. Amanda has done survey after survey in seven years, and while we could always use more participation – we have a reasonably sized sampling of those who are active on social media, and I remember how clear some of the winning songs have been over the years.  I wondered if they would get different answers than we might have gotten over the years for similar questions. Would their sampling be all that much different?  How would that change the results? I was looking forward to reading more about it all.

Amanda and I never did our daily questions with the intention that the information found would make its way back to the band. Unless management reads the blog, it isn’t like we’re sending a dossier to the band each year.  Yeah, we joke a lot, much of it being tongue-in-cheek, but we don’t expect much. For a time we were overly hopeful with grandiose dreams of meeting the band and somehow getting dream careers out of this – but believe me when I say that our feet are firmly planted back on the ground. (I almost said Planet Earth….) The blog is our hobby and about the only thing we take seriously about it is our dedication to writing it each day.

Yesterday I stumbled across what is apparently the top 10 list from the survey that @DD40_2018 compiled from the request survey they devised.

  1. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  1. Serious/Friends of Mine/Hold Back the Rain

  2. Election Day/New Religion

  3. The Chauffeur

  4. Secret Oktober

  5. Do You Believe in Shame

10 The Seventh Stranger

I was surprised that such a relatively new song like The Man Who Stole a Leopard would take away the entire survey, being the number one most requested song. When I looked back at some of the surveys we’d done in the past – specifically those that discussed set lists, The Man Who Stole a Leopard was always requested, but in the overall scheme of things, the song didn’t even make the cutoff for the 17-song setlist that Amanda compiled based on our survey results in October of 2016. (I’ve copied and pasted that list below).

Planet Earth
All You Need Is Now
New Religion
Wild Boys
The Chauffeur
New Moon on Monday
Save a Prayer
Pressure Off
Hold Back the Rain
Nice
Union of the Snake
Before the Rain
Come Undone
Rio
What Are the Chances
A View to a Kill
Paper Gods

Some of the rest of their top 10 list are the usual suspects, including Secret Oktober, Friends of Mine, Hold Back the Rain… and only one of those is included on the fan-requested set list we compiled. I see that What Are the Chances and Paper Gods are both included in our results and I have to wonder if those results would come out the same way if asked again tomorrow. I would bet not. Even so, the lists are very different.

Why is that? Well, to begin with it could be the survey itself.  As I recall, we had participants create their own set list back in October. So people sent in their own set lists, made from whatever songs they wanted – and I believe Amanda kept the framework to 17 songs. In contrast, the DD40_2018 survey had people choose the songs they wanted to hear most off of each album, but the songs were not ranked in terms of importance. So for example, if you wanted to hear five songs off of the first album – you clicked on those five songs and then moved on to the next album. There was no way to indicate which song(s) you might want to hear most. We’ve done similar in the past – and in every case, no matter how we’ve worked the survey, the song that wins by a landslide, is New Religion.  In their results, it landed at number five, behind a few songs that didn’t even make the final setlist in our case. Fascinating, right?

I also wonder if knowing that these suggestions will be presented to management for touring consideration made a difference to respondents.  In our case, the surveys have always been done for fun with no promise of the band paying any sort of attention. Does that make a difference in the way people answer? I don’t know, but it’s a possibility.

The sampling of participants for surveys counts as well.  As I’ve noted in the past, different people are drawn to different places on the web. Those that read here might not be on a message board, and those on Twitter might not be as active on Facebook, etc.  I also think the sample size matters as well – the more respondents a survey has, and the closer that sampling is to the actual demographic ratio of the fans, better the chance that the results will accurately represent our community. It isn’t always easy to get people to respond to a survey.

I’m not here to suggest that one method or one set of results outweighs another, that’s silly.  My interest is only to note the differences in the results. I might even make a broader claim, as it turns out, that perhaps no one survey is going to really provide an accurate assessment of what the fan community at large wants. What that may or may not mean with management actually taking such suggestions seriously, I don’t know.  Admittedly, Daily Duranie is not in such discussions with management or anyone else – we just write our blogs and do our surveys with the same basic goals in mind we always have: to provide a place for discussion and to make fandom just a little more fun.

-R

Happy Sixth Birthday Daily Duranie!

Happy Birthday!  Happy Anniversary!

I never really know which is the right phrase to use, so I’ll use both today.

Six years and counting.  Daily Duranie – this very website you’re viewing – has been around six years as of today. I can remember the morning I first sat down and typed out the first blog. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was pretty sure no one would read it. (I was probably right).  If you want to see our first blog, here ya go.

A lot happens in six years. The table I first sat at to blog is long gone. One of my kids has graduated, I homeschool now.  I’m WORKING now (well, not quite yet but I’m waiting for my start date as I type!).  We’ve gone through one entire album cycle – writing to release to tour – and we’re about halfway (give or take) through another.  We’ve written, learned, won, lost and are still writing.  We’ve come close, come so far, but yet still haven’t quite gotten there yet.

Originally as I sat down to write this, I wanted to do some shout-outs to thank some people responsible for helping to get Amanda and I to this very point. I started to list names and reasons, and then realized that if I forgot someone, there might be hard feelings. It is the kind of thing that will honestly keep me up at night with worry, even though I would never intentionally forget someone.  I just can’t take the chance.  So thank you. To all of you reading, and even to some who are likely not. No, you don’t know exactly to whom I am referring – but if you’re reading this, you can safely assume you’re on the list.

My husband came up with this insane idea of a blog about six and a half years ago. I tossed around the idea for months before I ever did a single thing about it, although I had thought about starting a blog a few times over the years. I don’t know exactly what it was – the final “straw”, so to speak – that made me finally decide to ask Amanda about writing a blog.  I think that what it came down to was that our message board was slowly but surely dying.

I found myself missing the ability to really talk with people about…THE STUFF.  What do I mean?  You know… all of those things we talk about when it comes to Duran Duran: their music, videos, media, other press, their keen fashion sense… the list goes on.  So this blog, in its earliest days, was to serve that purpose.

Much has changed in six years. But one thing has really stayed the same – I still love writing this blog. Not long ago I had a discussion with Amanda about the possibility of future shows (for me). Even if I were never able to attend another show, I’d still blog. When times have been difficult, and I’ve lost sight of where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, writing has helped.

The blog makes me feel connected, and I suppose it has given my fandom some purpose. I’ve met some wonderful people as a direct result of being Daily Duranie. Hosting parties, get togethers and even conventions tends to make one a little recognizable – and sometimes there’s just no hiding even when my first instinct is to crouch in a corner.  So, I’m thankful that blogging has forced me to come out of my shell a little bit.  (you can read that with sarcasm or without!)

With each passing year, Amanda and I would get excited as our daily calendar flipped toward September 13. Another year. We celebrated and did a fair amount of patting ourselves on the back because we felt like we’d conquered another height. It wasn’t so much about feeling like we’d done so much as it was that we were proud for sticking with it, even when life got tough. This year, we really didn’t say much to one another other than what we shared in our video on Sunday, and we knew we wouldn’t have time to really celebrate together during the week.  Sounds like we’ve hit middle age, really!

Six years. Not too bad. Still a lot more I’d like to see happen.  Amanda and I have some projects ahead to continue and a convention we’d like to try getting off the ground.  If I had to characterize where we are right now – comedian Steve Harvey says it best: I think we’re in the same place we’ve been for a while. We’re on the edge of a cliff, parachutes ready, and we have to decide that yes, we’re gonna jump.

Jumping means putting our faith into something and just going for it. No safety net…and our parachute isn’t going to open right away.  Jumping requires a bit of a free fall at first.  Are we willing to go for it?  Neither of us are very good with risks.  We like safety, complete with back-up plans. Jumping has no guarantees. I suppose that’s the thrill.  We have to make the decision to jump.

I suppose this whole blogging thing wasn’t such a bad idea after all.  🙂    Happy Birthday Daily Duranie.

-R

 

 

 

I’m standing here on this precipice: Fandom changes

I’m in a reflective mood. I’ve thought a lot about my own fandom changes in the past week.  Amanda said something to me that I continue thinking about.  We had just finished the book and sent it off to the publisher, when she mentioned that going back over our fandom was a gift.

What I can say is that our first draft prior to this was impersonal.  We wrote about the fan community but not ourselves. The second draft, however, was about ourselves. It forced us to really look back at where we started, where we are now, and how we got here.  Doing so, at least for me, was cleansing.

I am in a different place now than I was (nearly) six years ago when I wrote the first post for Daily Duranie. The trouble is, I’m not sure where that place is. On one hand, I still love the music. I have all this history that includes this band’s music as the soundtrack. On the other hand, I’m at a point now where I’m not sure where to go. How long can someone really blog about a band?  How long can someone be a fan?  Do you eventually just get tired of it? Is there ever a point where one feels like they’ve done enough? I don’t know those answers.

So I’ve thought a lot about Amanda’s statement over the past six days. I have a lot of fantastic memories and I’ve done a lot of things. Looking back in the way I needed in order to write was a very good thing for me—sort of like taking a walk through the forest to see each tree, and then hiking to the top of a mountain to see the entire forest.  I don’t think I would have allowed myself to take the kind of time necessary to look at my fandom had it not been for that project.   So yes, in that sense, it really was a gift.

In other ways though, I’m at a crossroads. I’ve blogged for six years. I’ve been a fan for a very long time (Notice I’m not counting the years). I’ve organized fan events from small meet-ups for five people to a convention weekends for a hundred people.  I’ve been in the back row, I’ve been in the front row. I’ve never been backstage. I don’t know the band as anything other than the musicians on the stage and celebrities in the spotlight.  I have nothing in common with them other than the soundtrack they’ve created for my life – which is plenty, BTW. I am a fan like anyone else reading, but also like no one else reading.

I walk a very fine line in between fandom and—something else that I can’t really put a finger on.  I don’t just do fan stuff, I also like to organize the fan stuff, and even produce things of my own—like this blog.  I just don’t know where I’m going from here.  In some ways I feel like I’ve done everything I wanted and needed to do with regard to fandom, and in other ways, I’m wondering if there’s not something else I could do….and why I’m wondering that continues to be a question I’ve yet to answer.

There are a lot of changes happening in my life. My oldest is moving out of the house altogether this summer, into her own apartment. My middle kid—my son—is going to start applying to colleges in the fall.  My youngest is involved with soccer, piano and singing.  She’s finding her own interests. My mom really needs more of my help as she ages. And me? I’m trying to cope with it all. I am trying to figure out where I stand, and where I should go from here.  The joys of middle age, I guess.  As always, it’s not just about Duran Duran, or the things I want, or figuring out the things I want to do.

Part of fandom, I think—is fitting it into your life.  It’s adjusting as we change and grow, and I think that’s why a lot of times people fall away, or why they come back for that matter. Lives and circumstances change. Back when I was a kid, it was about watching their videos, collecting their pin-ups and posters and reading all about them.  After I became an adult, the internet really changed fandom. Instead of just enjoying the music on my own in isolation, I discovered an entire world of people out there who loved the band as much, if not more, than me. Then social media took it all to an entirely different level.

I’ve learned more during this last ten years than I did in the twenty or so prior—both about the band, and about people in general.  Every time something new came up, the internet, social media, and yes, even blogging, I had to find the way Duran Duran would fit into my life. It was a rocky road at times, and much of it, I navigated in front of an audience of readers who wouldn’t let me forget a single misstep. Now I’ve written this monster of a manuscript. I’ve purged a great deal of my own history in the process.  How does fandom fit now? An even deeper question, how do I fit into the fandom?

I feel as though I’m at a point where I will begin again, but I don’t know how it will go.  When it feels right, I suppose I’ll know.

-R

Hard-Core Fans: Give it all that we got left

Something has been catching my attention since Paper Gods was released but I kept putting those words, and the feelings that went with them, on the back burner for later.

One thing I’ve noticed in my “adulthood”, particularly when it comes to Duran Duran and their press—specifically during interviews—is that they have talking points. I’m sure most everyone reading knows what I mean: they’re these discussion points that they want to get across.

One of those talking points I’ve heard quite frequently since Paper Gods was released is specifically about their audience at shows.  At first, I noticed John mention that they’re starting to see guys in their audience, but I didn’t think much of it. Then I started hearing some of the other members mention it as well, along with the vast age range that comes to see them.  Now, I hear both of those things in every single interview they do.  Clearly, this is something they want to drive home.

Let me share the interview posted yesterday. It was done with a San Antonio, Texas news station. If you listen, you’ll hear John working the audience into one of his comments.  Gotta give the band credit, they are pros at interviewing after having done it for nearly 40 years.  They’re old hat at this by now, but of course, they should be, shouldn’t they? Here’s the link:

http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/duran-duran-joins-us-for-a-live-interview

Duran Duran made a point of tweeting this interview out yesterday, which is why I watched it. Truth be told, in the past several weeks,  Amanda and I have caught precious little of the news.  It’s been hit or miss for us catching the media (mostly miss), and so had they not tweeted this, I probably wouldn’t have ever seen the interview.  Once I watched though, I tweeted back to Duran Duran. I’m not one to censor my feelings,  but I’ve gotten pretty good at thinly veiled sarcasm.  My tweet to them was no exception:

“They really do put a lot of value on their broadened audience of younger people and males in these interviews. Wow.”

To my surprise, @DuranDuran liked my tweet, because of course, that’s the point they’re trying to drive like a nail into wood.  The thing is, I know I’m not the only hard-core fan out there to notice the  value they place on this newly found younger and far more male audience of theirs. Rest assured, I’m not finding fault that they want a broad audience.  That’s the name of the game.

To Duran Duran, that audience of males and of younger people, is an untapped market.  Let’s start with the men though.  They obviously want men to feel like they can come see Duran Duran and that they won’t be alone.  That’s pretty obvious in their interviews by the way they keep commenting on how many men they see coming to see them. Funny thing, my husband came with me to see Duran Duran at the Belasco last month, and he took note that he was one of very few males in line for most of the day.  When we got in the theater, while he noticed there were plenty of men (with wives in most cases, a point that I think is pretty key going forward here) standing behind him, there were relatively none in front of him in the first and second rows.

Then there’s younger people. This point is a little stickier for me.  First of all, I WAS one of those young people once.  So were many of you reading this post.  I can remember sticking up for this band to my classmates. While they were all over U2, Prince and The Police, or all over The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Smiths, there I was, telling them how they were completely missing the point with Duran Duran. I can remember taking real heat about Nick’s makeup or their frilly shirts, or how they were “way too pretty” to be taken seriously.  As I grew up, those arguments morphed into, “Aren’t you too old to still have their posters up?” and “Duran Duran? Are they even still together?”  Or even better, “You go to so many shows. Are you a groupie?” or,  “You couldn’t possibly know anything about music. You’re a GIRL.  You’re just hoping you’ve got a chance with one of them after the show.”  Ouch.

Through it all, I stuck by them.  I still stick by them.  To this very day, I put up with an enormous amount of backlash from people who don’t even KNOW me because they think that the only reason I go to see Duran Duran is because I’m hoping that one of them will somehow notice me from the stage and invite me backstage and beyond for the night.  That judgment comes from others outside the fandom, and sadly, men within the fandom.  This post isn’t about blatant sexism though—that’s another blog for another day.  My point is simply that many of those “old soccer moms” in the audience, you know, the ones who have been married to Herman the accountant for twenty years, have stuck by the band since nearly day one, and that deserves some recognition, respect, and/or value.

That doesn’t mean a grand gesture. Nobody, least of all me, is saying the band should get down on their hands and knees and thank the fans for supporting them for all these years.  That’s not the point, so anyone who is planning to send me a love note can just stop.  But, it wouldn’t kill the band to follow-up those beautiful talking points about their broadening fan base with a simple sentence about how they really value their hard-core fan base and that it’s great to see that audience continuing to grow beyond these fans who have stuck by them all these years. That’s called “providing balance”, because right now—that original fan base is not really ever mentioned.    All it takes is a little bit, a well-placed comment or two here and there to keep people happy and believing that we’re still of some value.  As much as I’ve been holed up in my writing cave for the past couple of months, I’ve been out and about enough to know that the natives are growing unhappy.

I’m sure people will happily point out to me that the band isn’t trying to cast us aside, and that this is part of the business.  100% correct. Growing your audience is part of the business. This though, is something different.  This is about seeking balance so that one doesn’t lose the audience they already have.  The idea is to build upon the foundation, not demolish the entire community and start over.  While many might say that they don’t notice or that they don’t care, I gotta say—I see it, read it and hear it enough online, in person and otherwise to know it’s an issue.

Newsflash: some people are actually afraid to post their feelings online for fear that they’re publicly flogged for saying something negative.  They just hope WE do it for them.  Because you know, Amanda and I rather enjoy being ripped to shreds.  It’s been a while….

Remember Sing Blue Silver?  I remember the days when the audiences were made up nearly entirely of girls like me.  Yes, we were loud. We were enthusiastic, and we loved the band. Somehow, that spark stuck with US for the span of the band’s career thus far, and here we all are together.  Sometimes, I forget that one of those young girls watching Sing Blue Silver at home, nearly in tears because I felt the same thing these girls felt, was me.

(quick, before it’s removed! check out 15:40 or so and just remember what we were like once.)

http://http://my.mail.ru/inbox/boiko.valentin/video/2640/4404.html

-R

We’re In This Together

We just wanted to take a moment to extend our thoughts and love to the people in Brussels and those affected by the terrible attacks that took place.

It is during times like these that we are continuously reminded that when it comes down to it, we are all humans. We’re all on the same team. We are reminded of how thankful that we have one another, no matter where we live in the world…and that we’re all part of the same very large, somewhat dysfunctional, but still very much loved family.

That is why it really took us both back, and quite frankly completely appalled the both of us to see so many jump to condemn DDHQ and/or anyone they assume to be the one posting for making a mistake this morning by posting songs and images that some felt were inappropriate in light of today’s events. Sure, the choices were unfortunate – but still just an error like any other, and we ALL make those kinds of mistakes every single day.

We caution those of you who seemed bound and determined to not only make DDHQ say they were sorry, but to also admit that they had failed, as if that was going to somehow make the situation better.  On a day such as this, when the world was waking to another time of horror, couldn’t we cut everyone some slack? Be the bigger person? Be gracious instead of point fingers??

Don’t forget, they’re also trying to plan a European tour, get the band and their equipment off for this one starting on Friday, coordinate their press, and thousands of other large and small details. Yet they took the time today to acknowledge a vicious attack, and then came out and apologized for making an error.  And you never know whom you’re really calling out for these errors, we might add. Would you talk that way to a band member???

Probably not.

Daily Duranie has been at the receiving end of negativity such as this before, and we’re going to be blunt: IT IS COMPLETE BS. There’s no reason for it. No one looks cool for doing it, and it still isn’t going to make anybody look like the better fan – in fact,  we’d say it does the opposite.

DDHQ makes mistakes sometimes. So do we. In fact, we make them a lot. We’re all on the same team when it comes down to it, though. We’re all supporting Duran Duran in one fashion or another, and I’d hate to see that stop purely because people are constantly getting called out for making a mistake. It takes something that should provide joy, love and even some comfort, and instead makes it feel very brutal. No one wants that.

We’re all in this together. Let’s remember that and stand together. DDHQ does a great service for all of us, because they certainly don’t HAVE to engage with fans…plenty of bands just don’t, and judging from outbursts like what we saw this morning, we can see why.

We’re pretty glad we’re supporting them, that’s for sure.

Peace & Love,

-A & R

Almost Impossible for Fans to Become Friends

Late last week we were treated to the return of airwaves by a Mr. John Taylor. He was interviewed for a Toronto radio station – Boom97.3 – and you can hear that interview here.

I’d encourage fans to give it a listen because it’s quite a lively, entertaining 15 minutes or so! John sounded great, and I daresay he even sounded excited about getting back out on the road.

I won’t ruin the entire interview for everyone – but I will touch on one subject that had several talking on Twitter and Facebook last week. The topic of Bowie had been brought up, and John responded by talking about his influence on the band and how they had known him for quite some time. He then made the statement that when you’re a fan, there’s never really any getting past that.

“It’s almost impossible, in my experience, that once you’ve been a fan, to become a friend.”

Context, of course, is important. They were talking about Bowie and how the band had toured with him and were able to see him over that length of time. John’s argument is that of course, once you have someone on that pedestal and you look up to them in that “fan” sort of way, you always will.  I think his intention here was that although they’d hung out with Bowie many times over the years, they still looked up to him and saw him as their hero. Very reasonable feelings to have. But does that mean John feels the same about fans in general – such as his own?

Here’s the thing: I don’t know the answer here. I’m a fan. Not a friend. I don’t know any of them beyond the people I see on stage. Hell, I’m even behind many of you in that department because I’ve only just gotten pictures with a couple of them, by no means am I going to say I know them personally. All I can really do is say how I feel.  Maybe some of you will feel similarly, and perhaps not.

First of all, that pedestal is real. In plenty of ways, it has to be there. Particularly for those of us who became fans when we were very young. Hell, Amanda became a fan before she was even TEN. Of course she’s going to look up to the band at that point. I know I sure did. Back then, it was even “worse” (so to speak) because there was no internet. No social media. No news other than through magazines. At that point, they were 100% completely and totally untouchable. The idea of being in the same air space with any of them seemed completely out of reach, much less hanging out over coffee or tea. But now I’m in my 40s now. Do I still feel that way?

As I was saying to someone last week on Twitter – they are still my heroes, to a certain, limited, extent. I haven’t exactly forgotten how I felt about them when I was ten – for example. I’m sure many fans out there are nodding their heads in agreement. I think the difference now is that the hero-worship I once had for them has now turned to respect. However, I still remember what it was like to be a teenager and hear them on the radio. I remember that giddiness – it was part of the fun. Don’t we all??

More on that respect thing: If I wanted or needed to go up to John Taylor or Roger Taylor to ask for something, whether that’s a picture or even just to say hello for instance, I would still be nervous because I respect them. For me though, that isn’t because I think they are Gods and would fawn over them. I have seen people do it, and I always feel for those people because in the end it’s uncomfortable and no one wants that. I’d have to think the band would be sick of it by now. However, I’d be nervous in the same way I’d be nervous going to my boss (well, back when I actually had a boss, that is) and asking for a raise, or even those butterflies I have when I meet new people for the first time. For me it’s the same feeling. The hero thing, while sure I can acknowledge that the band matters – isn’t really the same now as it was when I was ten and needed them to occupy my hopes and dreams. Their role in my life has changed. Yes, they’re actually real people, as it turns out. I get it, and to be blunt: hell would freeze over before I would ever be willing to make myself look like a fool in front of people I respect.

Even so, can I actually expect to be friends?

I really don’t know. For me, it’s an impossible question to even fathom, to a very large extent. I mean, I’ve met a lot of Duranies online over the years. We started talking whether by message board or through the blog, or even on Facebook or Twitter. Some of you I even called my friends before I met you personally because I felt like I knew you well enough to know. That said, there are people out there that I’ve met online or in person, and well, we didn’t jive so much. It happens, right?? I don’t know who I can or cannot be friends with until I really have the chance to know them. I think that’s why the idea of being friends with any member of Duran Duran sounds so, well, fake to me. I would much rather talk about being friends with John or Simon, or Nick or Roger. The whole “Duran Duran” thing really shouldn’t enter into it until I have no choice but to recognize the guy I’m friends with happens to be in that band.

But then there’s that whole “famous person” thing. The “Pedestal”.  That’s the real wrench that’s thrown in. Does it really make a difference? I am sure it must.

All I know for sure is this: I have friends who call themselves friends with various members of the band. I would imagine that for Nick, John, Simon or Roger, it is difficult to know at first whether someone is genuinely friends with you because they like you or because they want to be friends with the band. I can see that being a problem, and I can see how their onstage persona could really screw with that possibility. It has got to be as difficult for John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes to get past being members of Duran Duran as it is for me to get past being a fan of the band. All I know with relative certainty is that we’re humans.

I don’t believe John meant his statement to be hurtful or even to marginalize fans. Unfortunately based on some of the comments I saw the other day, many may have taken it that way. Some fans reminded me that Nick’s current partner was once a fan just like us.  But out of thousands and thousands, how many really do count themselves good friends and vice-versa? I would venture to guess not many.  When I really think about it, I know a lot of people, but truly very few are what I would call good friends. That’s really not so very different from anyone else, celebrity or not.

The real trouble, as I see it, is that many of us fight that “fan” label each day because it’s become such a bad word in many ways. We are sensitive to that word, and yet for me – it is a huge part of my identity both personally and professionally at this point. Many outside the world of fandom equate it with being crazy. Obsessive. Out-of-control. It’s not an easy road for anyone, and as always, these boundaries are difficult to navigate. I think all we can really do is try to have understanding and respect for one another.

-R

I Can’t Escape the Ghost of…Fandom

I can’t escape fandom.  I don’t really know that anyone can in modern American culture as fans are everywhere, but I really feel like I cannot escape it if I tried.  Just this week, I had a number of times that fandom rears its head (good, bad and ugly) that showed me that my study of fandom and my reaction to it will never really be done, even if the book on it has been written.  Each time that it popped up, I paused, took in the situation, thought about it and silently filed my reaction to it.

Just yesterday, for example, fandom entered my classroom in the form of a super excited high school student.  A couple of the University of Wisconsin-Madison basketball players were in the school to be guest speakers for a class.  One of my students (a female student, I might add) found this out and had been talking about her desire to meet one of them ALL week.  Clearly, she came to me to discuss her interest because she knows that I know what it is like to be a fan of something.  The first time she mentioned it was on Monday and the excitement and conversation about it increased as the event got closer until, finally, this basketball star came to visit.  My student arrived to class shouting with excitement.  She was all flushed and couldn’t sit still!  Instead, she wanted to tell everyone and anyone about her interaction with this player and to show the picture she got.  I smiled a lot at hearing her story and seeing her enthusiasm.  I understood exactly how she was feeling!  When other students began commenting on how this basketball player isn’t that good, I stopped them and explained that fandom is just about feelings and passions, which is hard to understand if you don’t have it.  The class got quiet after that.  Fandom really is about passion for something or someone and this student of mine had it in abundance!

The passion of fandom doesn’t always translate to excitement.  Sometimes, it translate to frustration or anger or some other less than positive response.  Interestingly enough, I found myself having that reaction on Monday night with the last of the new X-Files episodes airing!  The show ended with a cliffhanger, which feels like torture when the fans, like me, don’t really know if or when the show will be back.  I immediately expressed my feelings online and chatted briefly with some other X-Files fans.  This is very different from how I am with my Duran fandom.  Typically, when something is announced in Duranland, I might have a gut response, a fly off the handle response BUT…like I am at work, I have learned that it is better to think, to let the information sit there for a second or two or 200 before I really react.  In doing this blog, I have developed this pattern as I know that if put some emotion out there without really thinking it through that I’m usually inarticulate and unclear, which can result in really negative reactions back from our readers.  That said, I have to admit that I enjoyed just reacting to the X-Files episode.  I like that I don’t really have any connection to the X-Files fan community other than being an observer from a far and even that might be taking it too far as I don’t really even watch their fan community much.  This, of course, is also very different than how I am with Duran.

My Duran Duran fandom is really just pretty unique.  Sometimes, I long for those days when I was totally anonymous and no one in the community knew me and when I didn’t know anyone back.  Yet, I know that I couldn’t go back to that, no matter if I tried.  I am someone who blogs on a daily basis.  I’m someone who organizes fan events and plans full-blown Duranie conventions.  I am not the same kind of fan that I am with X-Files, which reminds me of a conversation I had with a colleague at work.  He asked me how long I have been a Duran Duran fan.  I explained to him that I became a fan at 8, over 30 years ago.  After he got over that shock, he asked me if my fandom is the same as it was.  I immediately laughed.  A LOT.  Ah…no.  My fandom is now VERY different than it was when I was a kid.  When I was a kid, I was pretty happy listening to the music on the local Top 40 channel or on my record player.  Their music videos and documentaries like Sing Blue Silver were watched over and over and over again.  I looked forward to buying the latest issue of Bop or Tiger Beat and placing those little posters on my wall.  I dreamed of seeing the band in concert.  Now, I don’t spend a lot of time listening to the radio or even watching those videos.  On top of being too busy, my fandom is now focused on things like touring.  If someone told my 8 year old self that I would travel to see the band play concerts, I wouldn’t have believed them.  Once I experienced touring, I couldn’t go back to being content with what my fandom was.  I think the same would be true, really, when it comes to writing or doing fan events.  It would feel weird not to.  Those activities, related to my fandom, have become truly part of my day-to-day existence in a way that X-Files is not.

These events reminded me that fandom comes in so many forms from the squeeing teenage girl to the casual fan tweeting a reaction to the latest release to someone like me who dived so deep into her fandom that it can no longer be separated from the rest of life.  It seems to me that all types of fans, from the casual fan (like my X-Files example) to the more serious (like my student) to the most intense like me and Duran, are worthy.  I’m happy that I get to be or got to be a little like all those types of fans.  It brings an understanding of fandom that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

-A

We Danced, We Laughed, We Chatted!

I’m not going to be around much tomorrow, so I’m writing this on Sunday night.  With any luck, I am going to be at a day spa, relaxing and “balancing my qi”…as my youngest likes to say.  There will be no dancing on the valentine for me tomorrow…hopefully just some lavender-scented bliss.

Every once in a while, I tend to get so caught up in the motor that runs Daily Duranie (and my house) that I actually forget to BE a fan. I forget to take time to stop and smell the roses much beyond the occasional “listen to Paper Gods” in the car. That bugs me, too, because here I am, trying to write a blog about what it is really like to be a fan, and yet sometimes I am hard pressed to even know what to say!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that being a DD fan is drudgery. Far, far from it. It’s the peripheral stuff. You know….life: taking the kids to school, trying to put together a lesson here at home. Catching up on Twitter only to find that a couple of friends had a fantastic (and yet way way way over my head) conversation about a group I know next-to-nothing about, but very much want to learn. I catch DDHQ posting a question about favorite lyrics from Paper Gods…and my mind goes completely blank. (I truly sat back and had to think for a few minutes. “What in the hell is ON that album anyway???”) In the interim I realize I’ve shot away 30 minutes that I should have been reading my world history textbook in order to teach a lesson to my son. There’s not much time for watching videos. For laughing. For enjoying being a fan.

This (school) year seems a bit worse than previous ones as far as time goes, likely because I’ve taken on some added responsibilities by deciding to homeschool my very youngest. Sometimes I question my sanity with that decision. (like right now in this moment) Even so, I miss feeling like I can sit around and chat with my friends on Twitter or Facebook…or even on our message boards without facing some pinnacle of crisis later in the week for not spending that 30 minutes doing one of the other 10,000 things I was supposed to do during that time. I am sure I’m not alone.

That’s why last night was so precious. I was able to spend four beautiful hours just watching videos and chatting with friends, both old and new, on the Daily Duranie boards. We have a “shout box” built into the boards, which acts as a chatroom – and it’s open all the time. (I noticed a few people saying they couldn’t find the shout box – when you get to the message boards, scroll all the way down to the bottom and it’s there.) We made it into a party, called it “Dancing on the Valentine” and even gave it a theme drink. (because why not?) We made up a video playlist and hung out watching videos and chatting. I can’t even tell you how much I needed a night like that. That’s the  thing about Daily Duranie, we do this as much for ourselves as we do everyone else.

It isn’t ever very hard to remember why I became a fan. I’ve been told that this blog shows just how much love Amanda and I have for the band, even underneath all the blogs where we’re kicking their asses about one thing or another. It’s just that sometimes, I forget to actually be one.

Then there are the friendships. Oh, the friendships. It is easily the best part for me…I love seeing fans find other fans, connect and build a friendship. Hosting chats and online (and in-person) parties brings people together. Giving fans a place to meet and cultivate friendships begins to grow a loyal community, so anything that I can think of to make that happen is exactly what we’re going to do next.

Hosting chats isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. I’m really more of the type to sit back with my beverage and watch the scene unfold in person. You’re far more likely to find me in a dark corner talking to one person at a time than in the middle of a crowd. But, when it comes to Daily Duranie, somehow…I find a way to make it happen. And really, I need those moments.

Even more? I loved watching a lot of videos from Live in London, or smiling at the video for What Happens Tomorrow. I even saw clips I hadn’t seen before (there are a lot out there!!), like the band covering Starman, or the interview they did with Howard Stern back in 2006 (or something like that). In fact, I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more videos before bed tonight. (don’t tell anyone!)

Those moments, however far and few in between, renew my spirit and rejuvenate my fandom.  I hope they do the same for you, and that if you missed our little party last night, that when we announce the next one, you’ll find your way to hang out with us.

-R

Let’s Dance! (On the Valentine!)

Today is my paperwork day, which means my blogging time is extremely limited…but I will leave you with this thought:

Are YOU planning to hang out and do a little Dancing on the Valentine??  Don’t forget, next Saturday, February 13th, we are hosting an online party, complete with videos — and we desperately need your input!

Is there are a particular interview, performance, appearance and/or video that you haven’t seen in years but would love to watch? Is there a special YouTube treasure that you’ve been trying to find? Do you just want to sit back and watch the JoSi unfold???  How about Simon in those sparkly pants, or Roger’s stick twirling??  WE NEED YOU!  Run (don’t walk) right over to the Facebook event page for Dancing on the Valentine and share your ideas. Amanda and I will put together a YouTube playlist for the event and post all of the details in the coming week so everyone is set for some fun.

If you can’t make it for the entire party (9pm EST, 8pm CST, 6pm PST to whenever we are ready to drop!)  – feel free just to drop by. I am in the middle of setting up either a chat room or something similar (again, details to soon follow) – and for the price of attendance (which by the way is FREE), in-and-out privileges are guaranteed.

We hope to see you next Saturday, February 13!

-R

Fame and Fans

This blog, generally, focuses on fans and fandom.  While we certainly talk about Duran Duran, it is from the fans’ point of view.  We rarely take the time to really think about what it must be like to be Duran Duran or anyone else famous.  Yet, I started to think a bit more lately about what fame and having fans must really be like.

I spent about a week, over the holidays, at my sister’s.  My sister is a mom to two teenage girls and one night they wanted to watch a movie with just the “girls” (my mom, my sister, my nieces and myself).  What movie was chosen?  It is one my niece got for Christmas called Beyond the Lights.  I had never heard of it before but I was open to it as it dealt with a fictional famous singer.  You can watch the trailer here to get an idea of what it is about:

As you can tell from the trailer, this famous singer is not a happy person.  She clearly isn’t thrilled with her lifestyle or her fame and is looking for someone to “really see her”.  As I watched the movie, I found myself thinking about the members of Duran Duran.  This character is frustrated by not being able to make her own choices but always doing, wearing, speaking whatever that will maintain or grow her fame.  She feels that she is not understood at all and that thousands feel like they “know” her, but no one really does.  They only know the image, not the real person.

I have to wonder if this is how the members of Duran have felt or do feel.  Do they feel controlled by others?  Do they feel trapped by their fame?  Do they feel like no one really understands or really knows them?  This reminded me of an article from Classic Pop Magazine that I recently read about Duran Duran.  In this article, the band’s success and fame was addressed.  Nick mentioned that, “It felt out of control on a nightly basis…It’s quite bizarre when you’re a prisoner of your own world.”  Wow.  It is interesting that he chose that word of “prisoner”.  Then, he related a story in which he was at a charity dinner with Justin Bieber and how Justin was never left alone even when he was eating!

This, of course, brought me right back to fans.  While I definitely understand the desire for pictures and autographs (and have certainly asked for some myself!), I do wonder if fans add to this feeling of being trapped that Nick talked about or how the movie showed.  Simon addresses this issue a bit further in that same article by talking about selfies by stating, “Selfies are the new autograph.  I don’t mind an autograph…they’re much quicker to do and feel less intrusive.  But people freak out when you say ‘no’ to a selfie.”  Does Simon or any other famous people have the right to say no without having people freak out on them?  I think most of us would say yes.  Yet, I know the argument that many fans have.  Simon and company CHOSE to become and stay famous.  On top of that, the fans are what brought their success; fans made the people famous.  Therefore, shouldn’t fans have the right to expect an autograph or a selfie?

I suspect that the best answer lies somewhere in between the never giving autographs/selfies and the always giving autographs/selfies.  I am not surprised if many/most famous people have some sort of limit about when and where they are willing to give autographs/selfies.  Simon even mentioned in that article that he would never do a selfie when he is eating.  Then, I think that fans should respect those limits.  We often ask the famous people to think about what it must be like for the fans and how the fans should be treated but it is probably good for fans to think about what life must be like for famous people.  It must not always be fun or easy to be famous or to have fans.  It seems to me that everyone (both famous people and fans) should try to be a bit more empathetic towards the other.

-A