There are some days when it is just tough to be a fan. Yesterday, I was in the middle of blogging when a news story broke. I didn’t pay much attention and went right on writing. I was in a hurry, and didn’t have time for distractions. Then the news story was sent to me two or three times. I glanced at the headline and thought it was either a scam, clickbait, or a virus waiting to happen. So I just went on about my day until an hour or so later when a friend sent me the article and asked what I thought. This time, I read it.
I wished I hadn’t, to be honest. I need for this – my fandom – to be my happy place. I don’t ask for much. Some smiles, maybe a laugh or two, some good friends, decent vodka, maybe even a lime and some tonic. Not much. I just need it to be happy. But now, the Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it is really difficult to know what to say.
My comment to someone who messaged Daily Duranie directly about the news story was fairly straightforward and simple: We have chosen not to comment on something that may have happened 23 years ago. Amanda and I continue to agree on that point.
The Daily Duranie is almost an oral history of what it is like to be a fan on any given day. In the past we’ve called it a State of the Union (of Duranies), and that still kind of holds true. Today, our union is a bit tumbled and fractured. It’s been a rough 24 hours.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to turn the clock back about 30 hours. I hate this.
I love Simon. I really do. He has been nothing but nice (well, nice in that sort of “I’m going to spit on the two of you and then pretend I don’t know who you are later on when we hang out at a bar together” sort of way.) to us. I care about him and his family. I think about him, and how he’s handling the loss of his mom, and what it must be like for him to be a grandfather now. Um, I mean glamfather, of course. I think about how it’s gotten to the point at shows where he recognizes Amanda and I, and how he will wave to us if he sees us out and about. It’s nice, and to be fair – Amanda and I aren’t looking for any more than that. We’re not really “looking” for anything at all, it’s just that I appreciate being like normal people around one another. I think he knows we’re not going to launch ourselves in his direction because that’s super weird, and he should also know that if he ever wants to sit and have a drink with us, we’ll save a spot for him at the bar.
I don’t want any of that to end.
He is the crazy uncle of our huge dysfunctional family, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for him, as I don my neon green shoes or wear unsightly pajamas so that Amanda and I can continue making fun of him. It is what we do. I don’t want those things to stop, which is why this kind of news is so hard to take, regardless of whether it’s true or false – it is hard to handle.
I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, and my bet is that I’m not alone.
I feel like crap, to be honest. Duran Duran is my happy place. Even when my regular, normal life has been horrible (and there have been many of those times), the band and this fan community have been my constant. While right now my marriage is really good, in the past it hasn’t always been. Duran Duran was kind of my refuge from all of that. I sort of feel like this was the place where the bad things weren’t supposed to follow, you know? The outside lunacy wasn’t supposed to get in the front door, and now here it is – running around our living room, tossing over the furniture and creating havoc.
I chose not to talk about any of this on open social media yesterday. I did chat with a couple of trusted friends. I wish I could say I felt better. I still don’t know what to say.
The Daily Duranie also looks at fan behavior. Oh, I’ve seen some of that in the past 24 hours. To copy my friend Jennifer – I’m at a loss for words.
First of all, I’d like to just point out that we’re all fans. That means we like Simon. As such, we’re biased. The fan thing taints our perception. Goodness knows that I’m having a very hard time writing this blog today as a result. Emotions are running high, and fans are reacting in the only way they know how – by calling out one another.
If you don’t use a hashtag #IStandWithSimon, or #TeamSimon, you’re obviously convinced he’s guilty and you should be banished from the kingdom. If you post the news story on your page, you’re a bad fan because you’re being negative and besides – everyone has already seen the story so you’re beating a dead horse. Posting anything that could possibly be taken to be questioning Simon’s complete innocence means you’re a hater. Should you decide to remain quiet, you clearly don’t love Duran Duran enough to stick your neck out for them.
Then there are the folks who, in direct response to the accuser’s story, say they’d like for Simon to grope or assault them. Hell, I saw one person say that all fans want Simon to grab their ass and that if you don’t, you’re lying.
I don’t even know where to begin with that, except to say that I really don’t want him to grab my ass. Ever. Hugs are fine. Waving to me across a room, fabulous. Grabbing my hand to give it a friendly squeeze, wonderful. Grabbing my butt though? Not unless you want to lose that hand, and I’m not lying, thanks.
And then there is giving permission for someone to grope you. That’s different. I see it as trying to add a little humor into something that isn’t funny at all. I also think it is one of the more tone-deaf things anyone could say in response to something like this, regardless of whether or not you believe the victim’s story. Sexual assault isn’t about the sex. It’s not about making someone feel good. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about taking something that isn’t yours to take, simply because you think you can. Why anyone would want that to happen to them is beyond me and I’m completely disgusted that fans would say such a thing. It is one thing to say that you want Simon to touch you – and while I don’t share that feeling, I get it….but to use the words “grope” or “please assault me any time” …. have you lost what is left of your damn mind???
Let me let you all in on a little secret: I am a victim of sexual assault. I couldn’t move when it happened. I froze. I felt paralyzed, and I just let it happen because I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I got up, and didn’t talk about it again for many years. I don’t remember the exact details of where he was and where I was. I can’t remember if I was laying down or sitting up. (it happened on a date, and no, it wasn’t quite date rape) I can’t remember what side he was on, or how it started or ended. Those kinds of things aren’t burned into my memory. What IS in my memory though is the way my clothes felt on my body at the time, the way the fabric of his shirt felt, and the smell of the air around me. I can remember how stuffy the room seemed at the time, and that I stared at the digital clock on his desk. I remember exactly how frozen I felt, or how I clenched my fists to the point where my short nails left imprints into the palms of my hand. I remember how when it was over, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have run? Should I have gone and told someone? I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I did eventually talk to with the person who did it though. Yes, we had a face to face conversation. I didn’t sue him. I didn’t even report him. I just wanted to talk with him. Turns out, his perception of the events in question was very, very different from mine.
I don’t know what happened with Simon and this woman, if anything. I don’t want to talk about it. That’s really the bottom line. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I barely know how to put my feelings about being a fan into words.
So how do I feel today? Not good. The one thing I know for sure today is that I’m a fan of Duran Duran. I’m here because of the music. That music is what unites all of us, first and foremost.