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?