Amanda asked that I share ten fandom moments. So far, I’ve written down nine. Number ten is harder for me to put a finger on, but I’m going with what I’ve got for now!
These are moments of complete inner-joy. Oddly, they aren’t necessarily times directly in front of a single band member or anything like that. Flittering seconds of sheer happiness, in a very uncertain world.
I don’t have many vivid memories I can share as a preteen Duranie, but there is one that sticks out. It was the very first time I saw a Duran Duran video, and it was at my friend’s house. I am pretty sure it was during Friday Night Videos, on the ABC network. I don’t know if “Hungry Like the Wolf” had been out a while, or if this was really the premier (I doubt it?), but I can remember sitting on my knees on the floor, in front of her TV set that night. It seemed like forever before they announced that video was coming up next, but I can remember squealing and wiggling, as if to settle in. I could barely sit still, and then it started. I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open as soon as it began. It was so hard to catch every last detail. I wanted to watch it over and over again, but of course I couldn’t—she didn’t have a VCR then (only one of those huge laser disc players). We screamed, in excitement and in frustration when it was over. Although I’d already seen the band in pictures, there was something so unique and special about seeing a video. For a long time, I wanted to believe that the people in the video were just as they were in person. I suppose that’s where the whole idea of putting the band on a pedestal developed. Even so, those videos helped to fuel my fandom for many years—I didn’t see the band live until 1989—so videos were easily even MORE important to me than the live shows, back then.
Anaheim House of Blues, March 2001
I can remember the exact moment my fandom took a complete 180 degree turn back towards the band, and it was at this very show. Up until then, I falsely believed fandom was a thing for pre-teens. The band took the stage, and I recognized I was sharing actual breathing space with Simon Le Bon. Once that happens, there’s really no hope, is there? 😀
Sharing my fandom story at the Friends of Mine Convention
I have never been quite as proud as I was the evening I stood up, took the microphone, and shared my own fandom “truth”. It was a little bit speech, a whole lot of heart and soul shared that night. Never before had I felt like part of a group. That feeling fueled me for months, if not years after.
A little walk around Cheapside, Brighton, UK.
Some people go to England for vacation. Others, to follow a rock band on tour. Me? I go so that a rock band cancels their entire tour and I’m left to figure it all out. Amanda and I suddenly found ourselves with nine days to fill in a country we had never been to before, in a city that we’d already been warned was “the pit” of England by the lovely man at Heathrow who inspected our passports. What do you think we did? We walked as much of Birmingham as we could! Our walk included the Cheapside area, which most fans know as the austere, initial “home”, of Duran Duran. Seeing where the band began provided me with an entirely different view of where they sit now. “Joyful” doesn’t quite cover my feeling that day. I will never be sorry I boarded that plane, no matter how many shows were canceled.
Valley Center, CA
This was the first show I attended when the band resumed touring that year. It was hard not to burst into tears the moment the band took the stage that night, but I didn’t. Instead I stared at the floor while “Before the Rain” played. I didn’t dare even sneak a peek at Simon. I had gone to the show with my husband, who thinks he gets my fandom, but he doesn’t. He would have half-dragged me out of there had I broken down in tears, and yet I could feel them all in my throat as I heard him sing each note. Eventually, I dared myself to look up, because really—what was I going to do, stare at the floor the whole night? I looked up and met the gaze of not only Dom, but Simon too. It was simultaneously awful and kind of beautiful because I think they knew what I was feeling. Maybe.
Later that same year…
Not quite seven months later, Amanda and I went to Brighton. In and of itself that’s a story, but the moment of pure joy came for me when Nick played the opening chords to my favorite B-side, “Secret Oktober”. If I hadn’t been so firm on my rule of no crying, the flood gates would have opened that night for sure. The culmination of thirty some-odd years of fandom, flooding to the surface.
Later, in Birmingham
In my opinion, this wasn’t the best show of the four I attended in England 2011, but to be standing in DD’s hometown watching them was simply amazing. I’ll never forget. Pure, unadulterated joy.
And still later in Glasgow!
Yes, a lot of my pure joy was found in England. In Glasgow, I ended up in second row at the front of the stage. The show blew my mind, but turning around at the beginning of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” and watching the entire arena clap their hands overhead made me see how significantly SMALL of a part I play in this fandom. We all do. My heart still swells at the thought.
I really enjoy seeing our community come together. I especially enjoy seeing the community come together and thoroughly enjoy themselves, knowing that I played a tiny part in making it happen. Durandemonium was that for me. I still think about the committee of people who helped make it happen, mistakes I made, and things I would do better if possible. I also think about the successes of that weekend, and I’m proud of just having the audacity to even try. Seeing everyone that weekend – well, that WAS pure joy.
And then there’s the bit where, after the last shuttle bus picked up the final revelers at the Late Bar and dropped everyone at the Amalfi Hotel, Amanda and I locked arms, and ran in the other direction away from the hotel! We went and got a very late-night breakfast. Sometimes, even fandom needs a break.
Agua Caliente, March 2017
I’m not going to exaggerate – my “journey” with this band has been weird. I didn’t even think I would go to shows this year, much less see four. I think because of that reason, I had no expectations beyond getting some sun and having fun with my friends. As a rule, I’m uptight and I know it. Stress is always just below the surface, and I let dumb things get to me and STAY with me. So, my plan was just to have fun. I did. Standing in front of the band that night made me see just how much fun I really have with them. They make me happy, and no one should ever be able to take your bliss away.
So those are my ten. I threw the last one in there just under the wire because when it comes down to it, Duran Duran is my bliss. Every time I see them, there is joy. I’m learning not to let the small things take that away.