Once upon a conversation, I had a light bulb moment.
I know with 100% certainty that I’ve tried to ask, and
answer…I mean guess (mostly incorrectly) why the band is not really on social media these days. That’s right, I’m writing about that. Again. (and this time, I’m not even angry.)
Yesterday in the midst of a conversation, something hit me that I thought I’d post here, and for the sake of this blog and the fact that I can’t find another good word…I’m going to liberally borrow a word used by someone else yesterday: the word mystique.
Since the inception of Daily Duranie, both Amanda and I have talked about the proverbial pedestal that the band firmly resides upon. You know, that perch fans look up to, aspire to reach, and hope to receive acknowledgment from. For some fans, the band simply cannot do any wrong, which is why for each (perceived) misstep mentioned on Daily Duranie, a certain percentage of fans recoil in horror, then lash out in anger, letting us know we’ve crossed that line for them. Right, wrong or indifferent, fans protect the band, their perceptions thereof, and the mystique that surrounds.
So what exactly is mystique? Not quite image, not quite brand…mystique tends to come along with both as a willing partner. To begin, I looked up the word in the good old-fashioned dictionary:
It goes on to also describe it as a mystery or aura. So how does that really apply to Duran Duran? Easy. Think back to Rio, Last Chance on the Stairway, Save a Prayer. You know that feeling you get when you watch, that you could never get close enough to them to actually meet them? Funny how that creates the demand in wanting to do just that! What about the very idea that they just seem so unattainable, so sacred and untouchable?? That’s mystique, and it is probably what keeps fans driven to reach the band.
For what I think is likely the vast majority of fans, that mystique is what has kept the fan base going for years and years. It never brings closure, it always keeps us reaching and dreaming, and for all but the very select few, it continues to be the carrot we chase.
That said, not everyone needs that mystique to remain a fan. Amanda and I tend to be in that group. We don’t have issues pointing out when they’ve disappointed us (obviously), and for the most part I don’t think we have any grand designs on how we think the band should act or should be offstage. I’ll go one further and say that the whole “sex god” mystique thing annoys the hell out of me anymore. I would love to just sit down with them over a vodka tonic, a glass of wine, a cup of tea or coffee…or even a damn bottle of water, and just have a freaking normal conversation about anything from a favorite painter to music. (and not their music, mind you) I don’t need them to BE “Duran Duran” or my childhood heroes in those moments. (At least not after I take a long, cleansing breath and admonish myself to act like a normal human being) Assuming of course, that I in fact have those moments. Which I do not. (Dreams are still free)
Personally, I’m OK knowing the good, bad and downright terrible. I don’t know why that is. I think maybe in my case it’s because I gave up on fairy tales a long time ago. Even so, that doesn’t make Amanda, nor I, better fans. Not by a long shot, actually. It makes us weird. Why wouldn’t we want to continue seeing Duran Duran the way we did when we were younger? The way we did even ten years ago?? Good question. I have no answer. In fact, it probably makes Amanda and I a bit dangerous because while both of us are the type to stomp in and throw back the curtain of Oz to see who is really working the machine…it also means we could ruin it for everyone else in the process, and I don’t want to do that. I know Amanda doesn’t want to do that either. Yet, if I’m being fair, it’s sort of what we’ve been expecting the band to do, by insisting they mingle with the public…isn’t it?
I’ve often said, including yesterday among friends, I don’t understand why the band doesn’t engage with fans. Are we really that horrible?? (rhetorical question, thankyouverymuch) Is the band really that old school that they don’t see the value? Is it just too hard to handle??
I still don’t know for sure. It was mentioned to me that maybe the band is afraid that if they stop being those pin-ups we know, love, and adore, and become just another “face” on Twitter, the whole mystique that has been built up around them for the past 30 years would vanish. Maybe that’s OK for me, or for Amanda…or for a few others…. but is it really OK for fans who have the band on a pedestal? I’ve said it myself: Duran Duran is my escape. Why would I want to take that away from people?? Would it help or hurt “Brand Duran” if you saw the band as attainable, reachable, touchable people? That sex-appeal and pin-up status might very well change if anyone could chat with Nick any time we wanted. Would you still see him as “The Controller”?? If John chatted any time we wanted, would Duranies see him differently? Even if the difference were welcomed and accepted – would fans miss being starry-eyed fans who cared about nothing but the music in the process?
I can’t speak for everyone else, and I wouldn’t dare try. At one point when we started writing, the very last thing I wanted was for the band to read our work. I told myself if was because I was writing the blog purely for fans and I didn’t care what the band thought. But really, I think it’s because I knew – if they broke the fourth wall and really acknowledged me as a person, it might change me, the way I saw them, and maybe even the way I write. I don’t really know if the band reads (I hope we amuse the hell out of them if they do because that makes it fun for me!), but I realize that my point of view changed regardless. My fandom has changed. I’m not a wide-eyed innocent, anymore…but I’ve come to the revelation it is not my job, my goal, or responsibility to completely ruin or damage anyone else’s view of them. I want to protect the pedestal, guard the image, value the mystique…but still call them out on the carpet when they’ve gone into the third fucking year of recording an album or complain about hearing “Hungry Like the Wolf” or playing the Greatest Hits Set List for the 50,000 time because otherwise, why blog??? Agreeing with everything all of the time is boring. If I stopped writing those “angry” blogs, people might think I’d gone soft or lost my edge. I simply cannot have it.
Oh hell no. I might be getting (a little) wiser, but I’m still Rhonda underneath it all. What you see is what you get.