I’ve debated whether or not to comment on something here publicly, because it could put Daily Duranie at odds with DDHQ, or it could put us in the direct line of fire from fans in the community, or most likely, both. Do I mention that the band is not promoting Ian Little’s book about Seven and the Ragged Tiger, or do I stop writing about it altogether and pretend it doesn’t exist?
Amanda and I are not promoted by the band. We are not employed by Duran Duran, nor are we a part of their inner circle. Aside from having a link on the band’s website, and occasionally helping us out with special projects, we don’t really receive or expect anything from them. Amanda and I don’t get passes to shows, go backstage or even have free tickets. Our names aren’t big enough to convince them that we matter beyond just being fans – we don’t host a radio show, we haven’t written books, and we’re not celebrities. Basically, we do not owe anyone, other than ourselves, anything. We are not sycophants, but we are fans of this band. We don’t write this blog because we want things, we write because we want to share our opinions and tell about our experiences in this fandom with people who want to read them. Whether that gives us any sort of credibility with anyone is honestly beyond my worry at this point. After nearly eight years of blogging, I’m sort of over worrying about who I’m going to offend or impress, I guess.
With that in mind, I noticed last week that DDHQ finally commented on Ian Little’s potential book project on Seven and the Ragged Tiger. In case you don’t know what that is, please check out the previous blog on the subject here.
To provide a bit of backstory, everyone who had signed up for information on the project should have gotten a note from Ian explaining that he’d heard from Wendy Laister (the band’s manager) saying that they would advise he not publish because it would likely be in competition with a few things the band has planned. Judging purely from what I saw online, I think the news that the band wouldn’t back Ian hit him hard. I don’t think he was expecting that news, and initially, he seemed defeated, saying that he was disappointed and couldn’t figure out why the band wouldn’t want to get onboard. After MANY replies from fans (Ian had also put the news out on Facebook) suggesting he go ahead with his plans, I think it gave Ian the motivation he needed.
It wasn’t long after that DDHQ put out a short tweet regarding the subject. I’m just going to copy/paste it here:
“A lot of people have been asking if Ian Little’s forthcoming book on the making of “Seven & the Ragged Tiger”is an official release and rather than responding individually we wanted to let you know it is not, and it is up to you whether you want to participate or not. Thanks^DDHQ”
A bit of clarification: it is always up to each of us whether or not we want to “participate”. That wording is awkward and quite frankly – odd. Secondly, this is not an “Us vs. Them” sort of situation. Many people have published books about the band, and only a fraction have been “official” releases. Most of us read them anyway, and we’ve all gone on to continue being fans of the band, leading productive lives. You won’t spontaneously combust if you read something the band hasn’t given their kiss of approval, and you won’t be a bad fan if you read somebody else’s point of view. Supporting the band does not mean drinking the Kool-Aid and never bothering to ask what’s in it!
On one hand, Ian wants to do this project, and I love the idea of reading about the making of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Whether or not the band gives this project their approval is of little worry to me, personally. In a lot of ways, it seems like to have their approval means doing it their way, which may or may not actually hurt the validity of the project (to be blunt). They might decide what stories could be told, how they’re worded, and so forth.
On the other hand, I don’t know what the band could possibly have planned that would be in competition with this book. Even IF they have a similar story or anthology planned, it would seem to me that they’re forgetting that many (if not most) fans will buy anything they sell, assuming of course that the items are within financial reach for most fans. Selling a comprehensive limited edition, signed and sealed book about Duran Duran for $1000 or more means that decidedly few can and will buy. On the other hand, selling a comprehensive mass-market book that goes for $20.00 means that thousands of fans can and will buy a copy, and if some will be signed – many more copies will be purchased.
I’m not in the business. I don’t work in the music industry. I do wonder sometimes though, what goes on behind-the-scenes that encourages DDHQ to throw support one way and not another – and they have to know that their backing matters. I can’t help but notice that it isn’t what you ask, or how you ask, but instead how big of a celebrity you might be. Fans don’t seem to matter to DDHQ the way they do to the band themselves (and we DO matter to the band). It would seem like that’s wrong, but management is responsible for the business of Duran Duran. They have to protect the band’s interests, even if the decisions look backward to fans. It is hard (at least for me) not to throw a side-eye when I’ll see DDHQ respond directly to a celebrity when they say something about Duran Duran, but they don’t really seem to do the same for real fans. Yet, I get it. I do know how it is. Social media is all about who sees what. How many eyes see a tweet to a fan versus a response to a big celebrity? That’s not to say that DDHQ doesn’t try. They absolutely do. But sometimes, it just comes down to basic economics.
If you’re intrigued by Ian’s project, I’d encourage you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will respond and send you details. Getting on his mailing list is not a financial commitment, it is simply a way for him to gauge interest. Participating does not mean you will be committing a crime against DD.