These Beautiful Colours…

One of the most challenging concepts of studying fandom for me is this idea of a fan culture and the diversity within it.  Heck, just writing that sentence made my head hurt.  Let me break this down.  I have talked about this idea of culture before, which you can find here.  In that blog post, I define culture as shared beliefs and customs of a group of people.  I think we can understand the group of people part—for us, that group is made up of Duranies.  In my observation, Duranies are truly a diverse group in that we represent every race, every nationality, a wide variety of ages, both genders, a wide variety of careers or occupations, political ideologies, sexual orientations and more.  The shared beliefs and customs part is more difficult.  If I try to keep this simple, I could mention how we all like Duran.  Yet, it seems to me that we don’t like them the same.  The examples I could give to explain or describe this are numerous.  For instance, many of us love AYNIN, but I know that there are fans out there that don’t.  A lot of us like the balance of Duran’s music between keyboards and guitars.  Yet, some of us don’t like the guitar heavy tracks and some dislike the use of too many keyboards.  Now, just because we have a spectrum of beliefs regarding Duran’s music, does that mean that we don’t have similar beliefs or does it all just come down to the fact that we are all fans?  Is that the only belief that we have in common?  Or can we say that there are general beliefs, even though there are a small minority of  people who don’t follow those beliefs?  Do all members of a culture have to believe the exact same things?  I don’t think so.  I reject that notion.  I think that there are beliefs that the majority believe that became the backbone of a fan culture, even there are people who don’t believe all of them.

So, what are the Duranie beliefs, in general?  This list is from my observations of what Duranies say (obviously the only way to observe beliefs is to observe what is stated regarding what people think).  Also this list is FAR from complete as these were the ones that popped into my head. 

*Simon has a great, unique voice
*Simon is a better lyricist when he includes less obvious lyrics
*Nick is an artistic genius
*Nick is the controller, which often results in Durantime
*The community is completely divided in 3 ways on preference for guitar
*Their early work is, generally, the best with some notable contributions later (Ordinary World/Come Undone and AYNIN)
*John is a talented bass player
*Duran’s videos are among the best ever and helped make MTV so successful
*Duran deserves recognition and commercial success
*Duran is not good at capturing momentum
*Duran is a great live band
*Duran brings together music, video, art and fashion

Do we, as a fan culture, have beliefs beyond Duran or their career?  This is even tougher to make any sort of conclusions because not all beliefs are discussed in a fan community.  Despite the challenge, I still wonder, especially about societal topics that seem to connect to Duran.  For instance, Duran seems to express acceptance towards the gay community from the friends they have/have had to statements they have made.  I remember Simon introducing Come Undone live by saying it was for boyfriends and girlfriends, boyfriends and boyfriends and girlfriends and girlfriends.  Yet, do the majority of Duranies support equality for the gay community?  What about questions of a less serious nature?  The member of Duran Duran seem to swear, sometimes, especially that bass player and that singer.  Does the Duranie culture accept swearing?  Do the majority of Duranies swear?  It seems to me that the majority of Duranies do accept equality for the gay community and most do accept swearing.  (Clearly, I am not saying that most Duranies are members of the gay community.)  Would the same acceptance be the same for other beliefs?  What do you think?

What about customs?  Obviously, I’m defining customs as actions.  Are there Duranie customs?  Again, from my observations, there are some customs that the majority of Duranies participate in, which I have listed only SOME of them here:

*Talk on message boards or social networking sites or blogs (I hope!!!) about Duran (some topics are frequently discussed–commercial success, presales and DDM, albums, guitar players, etc.)
*Buy merchandise–albums, DVDs, other products
*Post and/or look at pictures of the band members
*Attend Duran concerts
*Try to make connections with other fans
*Follow Duran and individual band members on twitter and/or facebook

The same question I had for beliefs could follow customs.  Does the fan culture include customs beyond the ones directly related to being a Duran fan?  Like Simon’s introduction of Come Undone, I think about how he introduces the band, “Duran Duran is the band designed to make you party!”  Does it?  Do they make partying part of the Duranie culture?  What about making or viewing art?  Is that something that is a part of Duranie culture?  Is fashion a part of Duranie culture?  What do you think?  If they are not, why not?  What other customs or actions am I missing?

As a social scientist, I find the idea of culture both compelling and challenging.  As I study fandom, I find it an even more complex issue, especially since the fan community is SO diverse in every facet I can imagine.  Yet, I find myself trying to make it as simple and as easily understood as possible.  What do you guys think?  Does Duranie culture have similar beliefs and customs?  If so, what are they?


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