The Bigger/Better Fan

In response to yesterday’s blog, I had some interesting conversations.  The conversations started from comments about how Duran doesn’t seem to really care about the hardcore fans.  For some people, this was determined by the fact that they play the same setlist over and over again and that setlist isn’t one to deviate much from the hits that “casual” fans would recognize.  For other fans, this comment stems from how Duran always tours the same places over and over again.  I can’t obviously disagree with either of those statements.  The setlists don’t vary much and they do seem to tour the same places over and over again.  Anyway, from there, the conversations became about how the fan community expects people who consider themselves to be big fans to be willing to travel and willing to pay the money to go VIP.  Obviously, then, this is problematic for those fans who cannot travel.  At the same token, I have also seen fans be made to feel bad because they can and have traveled and/or gone VIP.

First, is there this assumption that big fans would travel and would go VIP?  Obviously, I can’t be everywhere in the fandom at all times.  From what I have observed, though, I wouldn’t say that it is an assumption.  I think people who travel become more involved in the fandom, whether they want to or not.  They can’t help but to meet more people, have more experiences surrounding the band, and have more knowledge of certain elements of Duranland.  Would it make sense that people who have more first hand knowledge and have more friends in the community be considered bigger fans?  In some ways, it does, and I’m not saying that to put anyone down.  Hear me out.  I look at it this way.  In a real life community, a city council member might be considered a more significant member of the community.  Why?  Well, that person might know more people in the community from campaigning, from communicating with different people to make decisions about the city, etc.  At the same token, the rest of the community would probably know that person as well even if that city council member hasn’t met them personally.  It just happens.  Now, does that mean that the city council member is a more important member of the community?   Absolutely not but that person can’t help but to have more influence in terms of what happens in the city, both directly and indirectly.  Thus, I think that it is possible that fans who travel be look at differently than the fans that don’t.  In many cases, I’m sure that it isn’t that these fans want to be seen as bigger/better.  For many fans, I’m sure they don’t want other people to view them as conceited, arrogant or whatever insult they could be called.  Now, are there fans that do think that fans should be willing to travel and/or buy VIP?  I’m sure that there are.  I think it is hard for people to put themselves in other people’s shoes.  Thus, if they can do, others must be able to, or so it is thought.  I’m sure that there are many fans who do save and sacrifice in order to be able to travel and/or go VIP and some of them might not be able to understand how other people can’t do that.  Perhaps, the assumption is that if going to a show was that important to fans, then they would sacrifice many other things in order to go.  Personally, I save all the time for shows.  I have to, if I want to be able to go.  For me, this means that I sacrifice other things. 

In these conversations, I was told that this assumption that traveling equals bigger/better fan is both stated outright and is implied.  Lately, though, I have also seen the opposite.  I have seen people avoid talking about traveling to go to shows, about how many shows they can get to, about having good seats, about going VIP, etc.  These fans don’t want to talk about their experiences because they don’t want to be thought of as boasting or rubbing it in others’ faces.  Thus, they don’t get to enjoy their experiences like they could because of this.  While fans who can’t travel should be made to feel badly about this, fans who can shouldn’t feel badly either.  I know that Rhonda and I are constantly being told how lucky we are that Duran tours here so often.  In some ways, this is true.  We are lucky.  We admit it.  Yet, I sometimes want to point out to people that Duran hasn’t played in my city since 1984 and hasn’t played my state since 2005.  Of course, what is the point of saying this, really?  There are other fans who have it much, much worse than I do.  I know this.  That said, I bet that we can always find fans who have it worse than someone else.  That’s the nature of all things in life.

Do I think it sucks that Duran doesn’t tour everywhere?  Of course, I do!  I, seriously, want all fans to be able to experience shows.  Even better, I wish that all fans could have great seats at shows!  I do.  How would it help me if I didn’t want that?  Yet, I can’t control where they go.  No fan can.  I can’t control who can travel and who can’t and I can’t control how other fans react to this. I can only control what I CAN do.  I can only control how I react to other fans.  Yes, I offer and will continue to offer sympathy for those fans who haven’t had shows anywhere near them (by that the city, state, country, continent or hemisphere!).  I will continue to wish that Duran gets everywhere to make all fans happy and I will be thrilled for those fans who get a show who haven’t ever or haven’t in a very long time!  That said, I don’t want to see the fan community to be such that fans are made to feel bad if they haven’t be able to travel or go VIP but I also don’t want to see the community treat those who have traveled or can travel to be made to feel badly for being able to.  Yes, I’m sure that I’m responding to this is a very naive, let’s all get along way.  Yet, I think we can all do things in order to make sure that all fans feel like part of the community and an important part of the community.  What can you do or not do to help with this?

-A 

4 thoughts on “The Bigger/Better Fan”

  1. Choosing to travel doesn't make you a better or bigger fan. Being forced to travel in order to have SOME kind of fan experience and see the band live is the case for many, myself included. Given this, yes – it sucks for a lot of people that either can't or won't do it in order to have these experiences. But it really irks me that there is so much judgement being thrown around which is only seeded in some kind of post-adolescent jealous rant. I am not going to be made to feel guilty about fan experiences that I've planned, scrimped, saved, wrung my hands, and pissed off my spouse for in order to make them reality. But in my awareness of how inflammatory these things can be, I choose not to tweet about any Duran related stuff I'm doing. Sadly it can make you a target for ridicule amongst the post-adolescent jealous crowd.

  2. See, this is exactly what I mean. It is hard to travel. While it is amazing at the time, it takes a lot to get it done as you said. For me, it is all about money and work. Thus, I have to work with how much I can save and work with however much time I can take off. I don't want to feel badly about my experiences and I don't want you to, either. That isn't right. We should be able to talk about our shows without worry about ridicule.

    -A

  3. Actually I think your point about them not playing in your city or your state for a certain period of time is a good one. The US is the third largest country in the world in terms of geographical size, so if someone has to travel to see a show because they aren't playing in their area, they may in fact have to travel quite a far distance and so the fact that Duran Duran might play in the US frequently doesn't necessarily mean they play everywhere in the US frequently. Some people are often still going to have travel at the very least hundreds of miles to see them(and as I doubt they get to Alaska or Hawaii very often possibly thousands:)).

    Also I think people should just ignore the jealous ignoramuses. That just gives them more power than they deserve. I mean really what does it matter what they think or say? Ultimately most people ARE going to want to find out what the people who have seen them or have been to their shows have experienced, preferably in minute detail. The whiners would end up stuck in a corner someplace.

  4. I really think that part of the problem here is that we don't understand the other side. Those of us who travel sacrifice in many ways and struggle to understand those who can't. Those who can't sometimes see people who can as rubbing it in by complaining about things like setlists. We need to work at understanding where the other is coming from.

    -A

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