They said they were friends of mine

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the finer quirks of fandom. Sure, we go to concerts, we follow the band on Twitter and Facebook. We vote for them, we chat about them, we wait for new music, we collect, and some pay homage whenever possible, as if that will somehow put us in good favor with the Duranie Gods.

The one thing that still bothers me about the fan community, generally speaking, is the competitive nature. I find myself asking when enough will ever be enough…and this holds true whether we’re talking about pictures with the band, drumsticks, guitar picks…etc. This competition for who has the most  ______  seems to be the #1 driving force within the fan community, and to this day, it makes me crazy. In my head I recognize that I can’t possibly be the only one who sees this…but there are weeks, such as a couple I’ve had recently, when I think I surely must.

I ask you, what happens when the band ceases to exist? That time IS coming, whether any of us want to talk about it or not. The time will come when the touring, albums and joyful occasions in the presence of the band will stop. I ask – what comes after that? Will the memories simply be of the moment(s) when Roger handed you his drumsticks? Will they be of when John finally flicked a pick (plectrum for my UK friends) your way? The thousands of pictures you’ve taken with the band, maybe? Once again I have to say: those items, while definitely a fun thing to have, are never going to support you when you really need the shoulder of a friend. They are never going to become the prince on the shining white horse, ready to save you from your every day life. No matter how many of those things you acquire, the band (or members within), are never going to marry you. Those items do not determine how much of a fan you are, they do not determine your destiny, and they certainly are not going to be able to exchange laughter and good memories with us as we grow old. They are just the things we put on bookshelves that grow dusty over time.

I am sure that I’m not the only person who has seen some of the crazier exploits of fans – I’ve seen fans leave someone else outside of a concert venue, sadly waiting there for tickets she had thought she’d purchased, just because the seller had an opportunity to meet the band.  Who cares about the person she left literally standing in the rain, it’s about the fact that for seconds – she was in the presence of her idols. What did she think was going to come out of that 3 or 4 minute experience? I really don’t know. I just know that the other person waiting didn’t deserve to be standing outside while the show she traveled to see was going on inside.

I’ve seen fans enjoy posting photos on Facebook and Twitter, downright taunting others with the fact that they’ve seen the band. I have no problem being happy for people who finally get to meet them, I get excited when I see people have their moments with them I have to wonder, what kind of sick joy do people really get for posting photos and being mean about it? Sure, some people have more opportunity than others…and I think that’s great for them.  There’s no jealousy about the photos, more like an ire regarding the comments that are being used as cattle prods, trying to make the point that some people have an “in”. Really, because out of everything, belittling others is what is important about being a fan? What kind of person are you when the only thing you have to make yourself feel better about whatever current condition you are in are photos that you shove in the faces of others? I know some will argue that for those people, those things are important. They might be all they have. At one point, I might have agreed.

This blog isn’t about pointing fingers and finding fault as much as it is to ask why. Why is it that for so many, the only thing that really matters is this band….and even better…fellow Duranies had better stay off to the side and out of the way or else they’ll be steamrolled in the process. It’s not the friendships, it’s not the relationships with others…and for most I’d argue it’s not even the music or this history behind the music. What really blows my mind is when I’ll get to talking with people similar to those I’ve described here and I’ll find out that they know very little beyond Duran’s most popular albums. Maybe they don’t even own albums like Liberty or Thank You.  Maybe they didn’t even know that John Taylor had a solo career, much less read his book – but they have 4 signed copies!  Or that if you look really hard, you might even find solo work by Simon out there somewhere. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Yes my friends, I’ve grown acutely aware of to the degree that some will go in order to prove themselves to be the ultimate of all fans. I just have to wonder what comes next. For me personally, the one thing…really the only thing…that I am sure of at the end of this journey is that I will have had some wonderful memories with some very dear friends. Sure, I’ve got a pick from Dom and yes, I’ve had some things signed by the band. Here’s my secret though: I would GLADLY give up those items to help out a fellow fan. I would GLADLY give up those things in order to spend more time with my friends, because at the end of this road – the one thing that has kept me here has been my friendships. Can you say the same?

-R

35 thoughts on “They said they were friends of mine”

  1. I read this blog with complete surprise. Firstly – The time will come when the band are no more? The Rolling Stones are turning 70 and still touring and working. Who is to say that Duran will not endure similar longevity? That still gives them almost another 20 years, and the majority of fans are of a similar age so by that time many of us will be on our last legs if they give up at that time!

    Secondly, I was extremely surprised to read that you feel people who post pictures of them and the band on facebook is taunting others. I am really surprised to see you view it that way, as I put a selection of my pictures for my personal friends to view when I have met the band, but mostly because my friends love seeing them, many I have live in the US or in Australia, and are not fortunate to live in the same country as the band so they say they enjoy their fandom through me. I personally watermark all my own personal pictures and get cross with people who copy and repost the pictures for the reason that I am not taunting it out there and just sharing with my friends my hobby.

    I have 2 children with disabilities, and severe learning problems. My escape from my stressful life is my love and pleasure of this band. I have met some of the most amazing friends I could have through the 30 years I have been around this band, and have never once, looked back. If I lived my life over again, I would do the same things. I really do not class sharing my experiences with others as taunting them. I don't disagree with you, in that it is competitive in some ways and there is a lot of back stabbing, e.g I have been to a 100 gigs how many have you been to? and the comments about you saying people leave people standing because of their few minutes with the band, that sadly does happen. As with all walks of life you get the good and the bad, and that will always happen, but the majority is good.

    The one thing I have learned is to choose your friends wisely, it eliminates a lot of the issues above.

  2. Wow… you touched a nerve…
    Just to let you know: only few other fans and the band know I'm a coma survivor. We all were aware some of the rest could have been jealous…, that is the guys were afraid that those fans feared I had ALL of their love for me, only.I think it is still absurd to hear, but that was reality.
    My life is a gift thanks to them and I think it would be an enough nice memory when the band decides to stop and retire.
    I'm living my fandom “normally”, I'm just enjoying what they want to share with us, I also get angry whenever I think they are taking an unpopular decision, but I can't compete with others, 'coz I got my physical disabilities and I'm not interested in competing with the fans.

  3. But Manuela, you know that when I'm talking about the competitive nature that it does in fact exists – and people do it for a variety of reasons. My only question here is whether or not it is in fact enough…for EACH OF YOU. I can't answer that for you, and my thinking would most definitely differ.

    As I said before, it's not up to me to point fingers, and while I gave examples – it's up to each of you reading to decide how it all should be taken. I'm merely asking the questions that people should ask themselves. Your circumstances are completely different and are in no way what I was referring. -R

  4. Julie,

    The point remains that at some time in the future, the band WILL quit. They can't play forever…and then those drumsticks and pictures and whatever the heck else we've all collected over the years will literally be things on a shelf. All I'm saying is that the friendships should mean more than they seem to some. You and I have no way of knowing when it will really end, and all I'm really saying is that some day, it will…and some will have nothing to show for it but the trinkets they've collected. It's sad.

    Julie, you're not by any means the ONLY fan out there that posts photos. Do you post a lot? Yeah, you do, and I think you know that you have far more than most of us can ever imagine. You also have an opportunity to see the band far more often than most. Only you know the reasons why you share the pictures, and I'm certainly not calling you out for doing so. The fact is, there are a ton of fans worldwide and some are not kind when they post things. It's done as an in-your-face, look-what-I-have-that-you-do-not sort of deal and it's VERY easy to find online. I sure don't have to look very hard to find those folks.

    If you personally don't see that and can't agree, then consider my blog as someone who is speaking up for those that do feel that way. It's not necessarily you I am speaking to here – it's a general statement towards fans who would bury their friends so that they could get to the band first.

    -R

  5. so true. some fans (not just of the band, but this is true for other bands too) can be really mean-spirited. rather than focusing on that it's the music that brings us all together, they let it tear us apart.

  6. One last comment:

    The band is an escape..for a LOT of people, for a lot of very different reasons. I have my own problems just like anyone, and those problems are almost never discussed openly – just like anyone else. I don't run around screaming why I think I deserve more things than others, because the reality is, I “deserve” nothing. I'm only a fan, just like anyone else. I don't pretend to know or guess why people do what they do, but it does not excuse poor behavior or unkindness. I'm sure you agree, I just wanted to throw that out there for the other people reading. 🙂 -R

  7. I post pictures, like from John's signing and award event because I want to share them. I am not trying to make anyone feel bad. I DO understand why they might, though. As someone who lives in the States, I am VERY jealous when I see pics of fans outside the studio with the guys. Yes, I like to see them. I like to see if they are smiling and feeling good about the recording or like when Simon was sick and was TRYING to sing, you could see the look in his face. It was hard to see that.Pain in his eyes and fear, I think, but mostly pain and apology to the fans. He was speaking volumes with his expression, concerned he was letting those fans down. BUT, as grateful I was for those pics being shared, yeah I was still jealous I could not be there myself. But I think that is our nature. When I read about fans who were there and just old enough to go to Rum Runner to see them live back in the beginning, I ACHE with the jealousy I feel. I mean physically ache! But I still want to hear every detail of the experience.

    I do understand there is some competition, though. As a collector, I feel that keenly when someone has something I know I will NEVER be able to afford because it has gone so far out of my price range. And yes, I take pride in the things I have. I do enjoy showing off the more rare items (like my Rio reel to reel). I don't think it is rude to show those off. I would never try to make someone feel bad though, for not owning something. I have friends who love the band, but do not have all the albums. Some are younger and have just begun to collect things. Some are my age, but @ some point in their lives they, or a family member got rid of their things. I cringe when I read someone's mother threw all their posters away. (Partially because I can understand their pain and partially because my first thought was, “I would have liked to have had that.”) Anyway, there is a good side to competition and a bad side. It is about if you are mean or selfish about things. I try not to be.

  8. I post a FEW of my pictures merely for reasons that a lot of my friends ask to see them, it may seem I have loads but I have been seeing the band for 30 years, and living just 3 miles from Simon in my teenage years, yes I have more pictures than the average person. At the end of the day, if people who I consider friends are finding my posting of pictures in their face, they just have to either click the unfriend button, or adjust their settings, so they can review what they see of me in their feed. I never in a million years believed that anyone I was friends with would consider my sharing of any of my pictures of doing it to taunt people. I am now wondering when I post pictures of my holidays from Vegas and Disneyland, do I need to worry that so called friends who may not be able to have such holidays for whatever reason will find that I am taunting them. As for the memorabilia thing, that also is a bit ridiculous. Given your line of business, surely must know that one of the best investments is Rock and Pop memorabillia, and the right memorabillia can be a nice heirloom to leave to your children. I know my daughter would carry on after I am gone enjoying my Duran memorabilia as she regards highly anything her mum does, and of course enjoys and shares with me.

    I cant help but feel this is finger pointing at a handful of people and I find it disappointing, as I have always been a fan of your blogs, and now find myself a target of one of them.

  9. Well I certainly do not believe I am owed by anyone. I agree with you on that point there are some who think they are owed, but I can assure you that is never my belief. Yes everyone has their escape for whatever reason, but that is up to him/her and really not for anyone else to question, as its really not anyone else's business.

  10. I was jealous when I saw all these pictures of one half of the Daily Duranie posting pictures of themself with our President all over Facebook and pictures at The White House. I mean, how is this any different to what is suggested above? Whatever floats your boat and all that, everyone is entitled to their guilty pleasure. I guess some are proud and want to share it, any harm in that? Lifes too short people.

  11. What I find most amusing about the outcry about my blog both here and on Facebook is that it has very, very little to do with pictures being posted. I don't care who posts pictures, or why for that matter. My point was the competition that gets played out between fans. That was one example, and yeah – I find it funny that I didn't name a single person and yet people are ASSUMING I meant them. Really? Why? Maybe that's the question that should be answered – why do you think I'm talking specifically about any one person in general? Especially when that one person was someone I considered a friend. That's the real problem here, isn't it??

    -R

  12. I'm not going to lie. I love my memorabilia collection. I've been a collector for years and not just Duran. I would rather spend $ on first addition JT Japanese viny that is
    rare then a handbag(peeps
    think I'm nuts).But to each there own.

  13. Good blog R, yes I agree that a healthy discussion n different points of view are good. I believe in dignity. Thr band is only a part of our lives and we should keep them there just like we are only a part of their lives and career . I'm very sure they don't think about us beyond what is absolutely necessary to keep their careers going. I apologise if that sounds awful but I think it's worth while to remind ourselves that we have to treasure fandom as an experience which gives us joy, moments of escape, hope and happiness but it doesn't define us as a person. And it certainly shouldn't cause us to abandon our dignity, our friends, family and values. Here's to many more happy years of being Duranies guys and even more happy years of friendship!

  14. Strange. Those photos of myself and the President were not posted on the Daily Duranie's facebook, just my personal one. Hmm…I think this is a slightly different situation since I worked for the President's campaign for over 4 years. Also, I wouldn't say that my political work is a “guilty pleasure”. It is work. Real work. At times, real full time work.

    -A

  15. Oh no, I totally get what you're saying, and it does make sense. My point about memorabilia though is that at the end of it all – they ARE just things. They are. As Amanda said, I value my friends and the relationships I've made through being a fan of this band far more than I do any one “thing” in my collection. I know plenty of others who feel the same – in fact, I have friends who parted with guitar picks of their own to give them to me because I happened to be a big fan of the guitarist. While those picks are special to me, the REASON they are special is because my friends cared enough to part with them so that I could have them. Those are the kinds of people I feel lucky to have in my life. That was the point I was trying to make with the blog. 🙂 -R

  16. Just for the record, I in no way took ANY of this personally. I was just sharing my feelings on the topics being mentioned in the blog and in the comments. I do get what you mean about the friendships being important. Part of the “tour experience” for me now is not just the shows themselves, but the friends I get to see @ each event. And yeah, there is also some level of competition there. When someone knows where the band is and they and a close group of friends goes to see them, others feel left out of the loop. It stings a bit to be left out if you know those people. But then again, we can't all descend upon them like locusts either. I understand a need to keep certain info quiet. Been on both ends of that one. Anyway, it is a topic with many different aspects to it.

  17. For everyone who has jumped on the defense, if the shoe fits. If you feel that this is directed towards you, perhaps you're just paranoid. OR perhaps some people may be sick to death of seeing yet another pic of you and the band at the airport or the studio. What I don't understand is this: How in the heck do those who constantly stalk the band at the airport or studio (or their homes?!) pay for things like food, clothing, housing, etc?? Makes me wish I had a job that allowed me to rush out at the drop of a hat to the airport where the band is landing or taking off so that I can get YET ANOTHER picture with them. How many pictures does it take to satisfy one's self? How much interaction does one need with the band to make themselves feel good?

    I've met the whole band once at a meet and greet, and later met Roger, Dom and Simon W at a DJ gig after a show. Was it awesome? Sure, but do I feel the need to go stalk them so that I may have a hundred more opportunities? Nah, when I'm at a Duran show, I'm with my friends. Those friends mean the world to me. The band is the reason I know these friends, but when the band ends, the friendships will continue. That, to me, is the most important thing.

    GREAT post, R.

  18. Thank you Teri!

    Your last paragraph, and actually the last six sentences (yes I counted) are exactly why I stay here, and why I keep blogging. Yesterday was a really tough day for me. I put on a really strong exterior, but anyone who really knows me understands that my bark is far worse than my bite, and I am a people pleaser, first and foremost. Writing that blog yesterday was actually a good exercise for me because I have to learn that not everyone is going to appreciate my opinion or see the same things I see. I have to be able to defend my writing and still understand where others are coming from and appreciate THEIR opinions as well. It isn't easy, but I'm learning.

    As far as the subject of the blog is concerned, its very clear that I am not the only one out there that sees the problem – and chances are, the problem will continue. The difference being that I hope it's not something that is continued to whispered about in dark corners. Let's just come out and say it. The competition in the fan community sucks. None of us will “win” because none of us are going to end up with these guys as our very own. They can't be owned and there are not going to be trophies for “Biggest fan” handed out at the end unless we make them ourselves.

    Mine is going to say “Most wordiest” 😀

    -R

  19. Don't sell yourself short on appreciating someone else's opinion, R. As a few of us have said, those who feel the need to go beyond the normal realms of being defensive really do need to take a good look at themselves and question why they're getting so angry at others who are merely expressing an opinion and having a healthy discussion. And you're right … not everyone is going to appreciate your opinion or see things as you do. But that's the whole point of you opening this blog up for those discussions. To gain the perspective of where someone else is coming from as well.

    And, I think that you and I could give each other a GOOD run for the $ on “Most wordiest”. LOL 🙂

    ~Mimsy

  20. I read your blogs from time to time. Find them interesting and most of the time I find myself thinking oh yeah that's so true! You hit the nail on the head with this one! Well this blog reflects not only what goes on with and between Duranies but with any other bands or celebrities or what not. I have a few other observations to add as well.

    I consider myself a hard core Duranie as I've been a fan of the band since I first heard their music back in high school in 1982. I haven't been to every concert and even though I have several valuable and not so valuable collectibles, I don't feel like I should always have to PROVE my love and loyalty to the band to other Duranies. I've been made to feel like I am not good enough to be a “member” of the “elite Duranie fandom” many many times both on Facebook and Twitter. The was main reason why I didn't renew my membership to the Duran Duran community. The elitists, as I call them, tend to ignore me most of the time anyway and will only chat or tweet with each other. I however am not jealous of their pictures with the band and their multitude of Duran memorabilia because as much as I'd love to have what they do have, I enjoy seeing pictures of the guys and I do have my own which very few have seen because I don't post personal pictures on the internet.

    That said, anybody who is a FRIEND OF MINE on Facebook and/or Twitter is not included in this scope so don't think I'm talking about you. I think though that this blog has made many take a look inside themselves. It's time to reevaluate what one's priorities are.

  21. I think those last words go for every single one of us…and I'm right there with everyone else. Sometimes holding up a mirror isn't very much fun and it might not even be very pretty…but can be necessary. I learned a little certain something myself! -R

  22. In 2005, I sat in a lobby of a TV station while some friends of mine were in the studio, viewing the taping with all 5 members of DD. I was so happy for them & couldn't wait to hear about it so I could experience it through their stories. There were two other fans in the lobby area (from So Cal) who started up a conversation about Duran and the great experiences they had over the last 12 months. It was great to hear about their meetings with the band. They asked me if I had met the band – which I had, once briefly many years before then – but no matter what I said, they had to one-up my experience with something better. Seriously? What year is this?? They went on to say how many shows they had gone to up to that point & looked down their noses at me because I had been to less than 5 shows. I was still fairly new to the DD community – so I wasn't sure what to say. It was a glimpse into what would happen over the next 3 years & would essentially drive me away from the DD fan community. Over the course of time, I too, saw friends ditching their other “friends” to go where the band was hanging out after the show. I have seen single moms using child support to purchase tix to a DD show rather than send their kids to summer camp. I have seen one fan (who had fallen on hard times) who was given a ticket by a generous fellow fan to a radio Xmas show only to see her pout because it wasn't a VIP ticket. I have seen fans make drunken idiots out of themselves in front of the band members. I have seen “gifts” I had given to a fellow fan show up on Ebay to enable her future VIP shows.

    I have made a small group of friends via this band & we have stuck together through good times & bad. I am forever grateful to have met these folks through DDF and I can't wait to hang with them again this fall. When I think of Duran, I think of these good folks. They will be my friends long after the band is gone.

    I have mentally prepared myself for the day when Duran Duran calls it quits. I recently mourned the end of another favourite band (INXS) and will cherish everything I had from the years of fandom from that band. I didn't get involved in the fan community of INXS and I think that made a world of difference. I enjoyed the band for their talents & the music they created. I didn't have to put up with the drama BS from the fan community. I enjoy many other bands – but refuse to get envolved in the fan communities.

    My friend's daughter is a fan of the Justin Beiber fan community & I laugh when I hear the drama that happens within the fans. Can you imagine if the internet existed during the hey days of Duran Duran?!?!?! Yikes!

  23. I've often wondered what would have happened had we had internet back in the 80s. I can't even imagine. (Sounds like a really great short story idea for those with MUCH more creative backbone than I!)

    I have heard or know personally of several similar scenarios to those you've mentioned here, and yes – they happen all the time. I think those kinds of things can really taint the way one feels about not only the community, but even about the band itself. For example, I personally have friends that finally just gave up on going to DD shows and things because they're so sick of dealing with the fans. Maybe they still come to shows, but not nearly with the gusto they once had, and yeah – I DO think that's sad.

    What you say here is important, “When I think of Duran, I think of these good folks [The friends she has made through the band}. They will be my friends long after the band is gone.”

    That's really why this blog exists. I like the idea of people coming together, and that's the kind of thing I like writing about the most. This fandom isn't just about one-upping people or getting the closest to the band. It can be about long-lasting friendships and great times. Sure, I kick over the proverbial dead stump every once in a while to wake up the ground beneath….but overall, I really like seeing friendships happen. 🙂 -R

  24. Coming into this very late in the game, but I agree with most of what has been said here, most especially what you had to say Rhonda.

    I have never understood the need to be competitive, catty, or the one-upsmanship that I have seen in the name of fandom – this one or any other. I witnessed it over the last DD tour – at the shows, on-line, Facebook, etc. And my first thought was, wow, I cannot believe that people who are supposed to be adults act this way!

    I think it is sad that people would throw a friend – or even an acquaintance – under the bus or leave them totally in the lurch if they had an opportunity to meet the band! I heard stories of women following band members around after shows, literally throwing themselves at band members, and was horrified. Seriously, if anyone thinks someone is going to leave their wife or significant other for them, they need to get real!

    Maybe my perspective is a bit jaded because I hadn't followed the band regularly for about 10 years before AYNIN hit, hadn't seen them live in 20. Or maybe it is more grounded because of that, I don't know. However, I look at the band as my little escape. I'll be transported to fantasyland during the show, but afterwards, my feet come backdown, firmly rooted in reality.

    Let me offer one other bit of perspective. We live in an area where many members of one our professional sporting teams do. We see the players on a regular basis. And what I have found is that when you treat them like regular folk, don't go all star-struck crazy on them, make an ass out of yourself when you meet them, respect boundaries, and don't look like some crazed stalker fan, then you get way more respect and are more likely to get a picture with them or have a conversation with them. What we have found is that they are just very ordinary people once you start talking to them!

    Finally, one of my best concert stories was at a Jimmy Buffett show about 5-6 years ago. We were tailgating in the parking lot, ended up sharing our steamers (steamed clams) and a stick of butter with the people next to us. Well, one thing led to another, but they were so appreciative, they gave us extra backstage passes they had for the pre-show. We didn't get to see Jimmy, but did see his band members, and had drinks on the house before the show. We were thrilled, and I will never forget the total kindness of people who were strangers to us before that day, but that we shared a common love for Buffett music!

    -Susan-

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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