What in the hell keeps us going?

Happy Halloween to anyone out there that celebrates this godforsaken holiday.  It is not one of my favorites these days.  Funny how that changes when you’re a parent!!!   I say that will all of the cynicism and jaded attitude that comes with being a mom.  Candy+tired kids=migraine 4 me tomorrow.   I fear for the teaching profession in the morning, and I apologize in advance to my son’s teachers at his middle school.  My oldest daughter’s teachers are on their own…she’s a teenager and in high school. That’s all I can say.

I’ve had a couple of conversations recently that have coaxed my brain into pondering about why in the hell I’m still a fan.  There are all of the obvious things: the music, the band, the nostalgia, etc. etc. etc.  Those are a given and not what I’m really considering here.  I’m thinking about all of the other things.  The things that we don’t really talk about much on this blog, but are very much a part of the whole Duran Duran ambience.  I’m talking about going to a show, being super excited to see them after X number of years, only to have the setlist shortened by X amount of songs (as opposed to other shows on the same tour).  I’m considering those very much fan treasured meet and greets where one band member or another doesn’t bother to show (granted, there may be good reasons for someone not to be in attendance, but if that isn’t acknowledged by the band or their management…what is a fan to think?), or perhaps those meet and greets where it’s very apparent that one or more wishes that they could be somewhere, anywhere else.  I suppose that in most individual instances, they are easy to explain away, dismiss, or otherwise cast off as not being a big deal and certainly not something to dwell on.  I would stick my own neck out here and say that I myself have said that people need to “get over it” at times.  It’s true.  Quit whining and get on with it…that’s what I try to even tell myself when I’m annoyed. What happens when those kinds of things seem to happen continually or at least often enough to draw comment?  I have friends who have all but walked away from this band as a result of seeing them truly bite the hand that feeds, and at the time, I’ve shaken my head and told myself that those people simply have bad attitudes and don’t really get it.  Of course they were bound to be burned.  Well, is that really the case?  I doubt it.  I think it is probably more of a case where they’ve finally just seen and done enough and don’t have an urge to put up with the B.S. that comes with being a fan.  Let’s just take a second and admit that – there IS B.S. that we all put up with, whether it comes from the band, fellow fans or just life in general. It’s OK to say it and still be a fan (in my mind anyway), so let me hear it!!

Is there really a point where you’ve seen and done enough and just realize its not worth the trouble, and if once you get to the point and cross it – can you come back?  Hell, should you?  Is that where the infamous “end of the line” resides??

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard about a bad fan experience someone had with the band or even their management over the years, I think I’d probably be a pretty wealthy woman right now.  At the very least I’d be able to finance my UK tour.  (I’m feeling a new career coming on here….) To be fair, the good experiences FAR exceed the bad ones that I’ve heard and perhaps that’s the point, which I’ll get at later. The trouble is, where at one time I would almost start to scoff at the “bad” experiences – trying to find a reason behind why something would happen, almost to the point of making excuses for the band (who doesn’t even know me or pay me to do so…), it’s getting to the border now where I’m finding that there are just too many good people out there having the same complaints for me not to notice.  I wish I had the right answers, but I do not.

The fact is, we’re talking about humans here.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “Listen, the band CAN have bad days.  We can’t judge them based on a single incident.  They do have the right to private lives…etc. etc.”  ALL of those things are true.  Goodness knows I’m in a bad mood much of the time (Yes I am indeed a scorpio.  Approach carefully, with coffee in hand.), so I get it.  The trouble is, the impression they leave behind – and I use the word “they” collectively here because I’m not going to single out individual members – is that they don’t give a damn as long as they are kept in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed.  (She  who used this quote this morning should be aware that while I won’t name her publicly I am giving credit in my head privately. :D)  Of course none of us have any idea whether or not this is true.  I would strongly suspect that my writing partner Amanda disagrees wholeheartedly with that sentiment.  I know she believes they really do care about the fans and about the band, that they would have to after so many years. I am not nearly that sure.  I think they all (mostly) need to keep working, whether that’s financially or egotistically speaking, and I think they definitely care about the direction of their careers, but I think they all have their moments because they are all entirely human.  Well, everyone except that little alien they’ve got playing keyboards.  😉  There are days when I couldn’t care less about the blog OR the band because I’ve got other issues (I really wanted to say crap but I’m trying to sound somewhat intelligent today…so far its not working for me.)  The difference being that I don’t get paid to care. (Not that it would change, but I must call a spade a spade)  Regardless, I suspect the same to be true for them.  The difficulty with that of course is that their entire career is played out in public, as well as much of their private lives.  With that I say a hearty “Thank god it’s not me – I might not have a mansion or a private plane, but I can also say what I will, go about my day and not have cameras in my face either!”  It’s an excruciatingly difficult balance that none of us can really understand unless we were them, and we are not.  It’s entirely healthy to recognize that sometimes, they completely screw up and piss us off, and yet we’re still fans.

It’s the end of a tour – the US tour – and for many, it’s a letdown emotionally.  It’s easy to misread the depression of the tour being over and not really knowing the direction from here as anger towards the band.  It’s also easy to feel as though let down because we didn’t see the shows we wanted, we didn’t meet John Taylor’s glance when he was playing right in front of us…..we didn’t get that front row seat we were dying to have….and we didn’t get to sit between Dom & Roger at a bar that won’t be named here…..oh wait, that’s just me.  Moving right along….

At the bottom of the Trick or Treat pillowcase are all the leftovers from the night.  There’s a few crumbs in there and probably some dirt from when I dropped the sack as I was running away from the house with all the fog and the zombie dude saying he was going to eat me and all of my friends.  All of the candy fell out and in the haste of shoving all of it back in the sack so that I could run and catch up with my friends for the next house, I probably threw some dirt and pebbles in there too, and it settled in the bottom of the pillowcase in the seam.  But amongst that dirt and those crumbs…and of course the leftover JuJuBees (I can’t stand those!) is one perfect Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.  That’s what the good times are like as a fan, and that’s why I’m still a fan…even when I think the band should be spanked, and not in a good way!  (Get your minds out of the gutter people, I’m being stern here!)

-R

12 thoughts on “What in the hell keeps us going?”

  1. OK, I am going to have to break this up into parts. Part 1:

    I COMPLETELY get where you are coming from. I am there myself. As a Duranie, I know a life of ridicule, scorn, and abuse. Usually, this comes from those who have no taste in music and simply don't understand. But in the last few years, it has started to come from other fans. DDM has gone to hell. Between the changes made to the site, the higher prices on everything, and more recently, the drama over the decision to get rid of the Fan Fic section, affectionately called OL, short for Offenderland, the place we were all banished to. All of a sudden, other fans started to RIP into people for really trivial things. It got ugly. I have however put up with it. I did not want to miss out on anything. I once said I would go down with the ship. Lately, my feet have been getting wet as it has sunk lower and lower. I realize I am a bit off the overall topic here, non my own tangent, but it is just PART of what has been bothering me lately.

    I have had other issues, some of which simply stem from the frustration of a dwindling bank account since I still have no job. But I guess the real thing that I felt hurt by was the deluxe vinyl box set. As a devoted fan, and collector for over 25 years, I was both devastated and pissed off by the decision to release the deluxe vinyl, which I was so excited about, as a special box set with a price tag that equals half a month's rent. For a record. All I want was all of the tracks. I didn't care if they were packaged in a display box with the fugly artwork I didn't even like in the first place. I don't WANT to pay for the artwork. I understand wanting to offer something special to fans, but lately the band has been making it seem like only those who can afford expensive things and traveling and VIP tickets, are good loyal fans. Excuse me, but fuck that. I felt a bit betrayed. The regular vinyl does not include ANY of the special bonus tracks the deluxe vinyl has. AND after ordering the US version and receiving it, I found out the UK version is the one on the QUALITY vinyl with a gatefold cover. WTF? Could we not have been told this BEFORE placing our orders? Now I don't have the money for the UK vinyl. I have to pray I get it for Christmas and I only know a couple of people who will order things online. So, as you can see, there is a lot for me to be upset with now.

  2. Part 2:

    However, I also just recently saw the shows in LA and Las Vegas. Now that was a mixed bag of emotions. First, I love NOTHING more than seeing the band live. I still dream of following them around the globe. And when it is all over, i have withdrawals like a full blown junkie, complete with a deep depression. So as much as I love the experience, earlier this year, we were all faced with the thought of never seeing the band live again. It was a fear that cut deep through me. I was worried for Simon and felt empathetic about the fear and uncertainty HE must have been facing. You could see on his face how upset he was and how bad he felt any time he met a fan and knew he had let them down by having to cancel the UK shows. I thought to myself, if I could just hear them live again, I don't even care what they sing. I just want to be able to see them. They could play HLTW 5 times a show and I would sit happily through it, just to hear Simon sing again and to hear the band play again. But then, they got our hopes up. They played shows in the UK and played some special songs nobody was expecting to hear live. And it was promising to be an AMAZING show. They sounded GOOD! Simon's voice was strong and the band was tight and all SO happy to just be on stage. We waited in the US. Then they came. And there was a taste of some special things in the first show. Nick commented that Las Vegas was going to have something special. Then they played the same songs they had been playing and even left one out. No special songs. Later, after they had finished playing here, they FINALLY pulled out a couple of special songs. We didn't get them. Other parts of the country did. Once again, I felt let down. *sigh* BUT, I STILL want more. I STILL wish like HELL I Could be going to another show. I am completely aDDicted.

  3. Part 3:

    Simply put, no matter what, I just can't not love this band. This album is amazing. Their live shows are amazing. If they come back, i will do anything I can to see them. I simply can't help it. And I don't WANT to help it. I can't NOT go see them. Even if I have to settle for crap seats, I need to BE there. And @ this point, it isn't even JUST for the band. It is also about the other Duranies. There really is nothing like a bunch of Duranies getting together. We understand each other in a way nobody else does. I love my Duranie brothers and sisters.

    I realize this has been quite long winded. Sorry. I needed to get that all out. I absolutely think that you can be a fan AND criticize the band for not being perfect. It is BECAUSE I am a fan, that I feel I have a RIGHT to speak my mind. I have a right to say why I am upset, AND why I still love them. It is a complicated existence. It is one I have lived with for 30 years now. And I will continue to be a fan the rest of my life. I still do not have any tattoos, but one day, when I can afford one, I do have one planned. I would have no regrets. I have loved them this long. No matter what, they are a part of my life and my very identity. When I meet someone and they ask me to tell them about myself, I introduce myself as a Duranie first. Then I usually tell them how long I have been married, lol. I will say that if anyone ever questioned my loyalty or love for this band, they have another thing coming. I am sure I more than answered any questions you asked here. And again, sorry. I really needed to vent a bit.

  4. Venting is good. Its cleansing…and we all need it sometimes, and there is no judging here. Feel free! Bonus if the band reads it or hears of it, because to be honest, I think we're pretty damn fair and balanced here, and I think that means (for them) taking the good WITH the bad, and understanding that yes, we all know they screw up sometimes and it ticks us off.

  5. My “end of the line”….was the fan forums. It started with the RCM & the EMI Deluxe “Remastered Editions” of the albums.

    I am probably one of “those fans” you speak of above but I know you and I have an honest and respectful relationship…which I am forever thankful for. There IS B.S. and if I ever truly go back to being a serious fan…there will have to be honest changes for the better amongst all the issues that “burned me” in to duranie oblivion.

    You two are familiar with my existence on the 2 fan forums I speak of. You are also probably familiar with my stance on the EMI debacle surrounding the Deluxe Remasters. And RCM…well, it speaks for itself…a shameless learning experience for everyone. I should add that I also got burnt out on the “Mark Ronson resurrects Duran Duran” articles posted far and wide up until the release of AYNIN. I don't like Amy Whinehouse and I'm not a fan or Mark's music. Sure, he does have a fancy for the 80's and the now but how integral was his presence when it comes down to it? Did Duran really lose their way and have to be found? Did Duran really fall so far that it took another departure with Andy Taylor and more missed opportunities before they could come back in a mediocre but painted as stellar form? As I've said a few times recently, I'm much happier being a fan on my own terms than everyone else's….if find it far more rewarding and less disheartening. The last concert I saw…the Reunion Show in Chicago at the HOB in 2003 (I Believe?) and it was a Birthday present to myself. I had great company and I got a T-shirt, a Tourbook, some pictures, and a dream fulfilled. I've met Simon, Nick, Warren, Joe, and Wes…..Warren, Joe, and Wes were really great. Simon and Nick….well, if I had breasts I'd a been a hit…but alas, it was not to be. I was disappointed for sure but each to his own ya know.

    On one end….I find that there are still many fans who believe me to be a disgrace and treat me as such because I don't love or believe everything the band produces, says, do, or promise…..it's a crying shame. It has kept me from going to any more Duran Duran concerts or participating in any “fan” events. The hassle now outweighs the joy….and that is not good.

    On the other end, I need to say that I am very thankful to those fans who've supported me and said what they could openly in my defense(without saying enough to get them banned right behind me)….they KNOW who they are and they have my everlasting thanks. I still own a crap load of Duran Duran vinyl too and it blows the hell out of any “Remaster” or “Deluxe Remaster” that's been done and that keeps my music fix well oiled. Thanks to the band for the opportunities to see them live in different incarnations over the years. It was awesome being a fan back then….far better than it ever could be now.

    In the end….it's been quite a long ride for me. Places like this where one can actually post in safety are amazing. I wish the band well and I hope for the fan base that it gets a much needed upgrade. The days of hostility, entitlement, bullying, and double-standards need to be put to rest if they are going to survive, grow naturally, and be a far better place to hang with all your duranie friends, not just the ones who think like you.

    Cheers,

    Shawn

  6. Hi Shawn! You are always more than welcome to post here, and I don't mind at all that you're not necessarily drinking the same kool-aid that everyone else (and even me at times) seems to drink with reckless abandon. It's good to see differing opinions because it forces me to think – just as this post here has done. I can't imagine why that would be a bad thing, but you know – people are funny that way.

    I guess my thinking is that you are and should still be a fan, regardless.

    The boards are difficult to impossible, fans can be two-faced much of the time the band can be…well…very male at times…and women are women. It's truly a recipe for disaster at it's worst, and at it's best when everything works together, it's incomparable. It's those other moments that drive me crazy.

    BTW – you are welcome at ANY “event” we ever have. It's an open ended invitation with no judgement. I'm sure as hell not qualified to judge anyone, that much I know for sure! -R

  7. Bummer to hear that…..I know a few girls it seemed to work for the night I met them….the look I got from Nick was almost like “really, you want to meet me…when there are these girls here…sucka”….I was bummed out. Those 2 were the only ones that didn't sign my Barbarella poster….go figure.

    Shawn

  8. I did forget to mention….I am still pissed off about the AYNIN Vinyl dilemma as well. Had I known that the U.K. was getting the 180gram vinyl and the U.S. was getting the crappy stuff I would have waited….but there ain't NO way in hell I'm spending the extra money….as if already having 4 different versions of the album isn't enough….really? There are days where I actually think the band and their management think it's GOOD PR to pit one set of fans against another just to see what things look like when the smoke clears…how sad is that?

    ~S

  9. This is one way in which my procrastination has helped – I haven't bought the vinyl yet, and now that I see the UK has the better vinyl (as opposed to the US), I'll just buy that, but I get what you're saying here. One thing I've ALWAYS hated with this band (and probably every other band out there) is that we get the information so fragmented – meaning we never know how many versions there are, what's on each one (although I WILL say that they were better about this with AYNIN CD release this time), etc…and I can say the same for their tours. (although again, this time they were better about unrolling ALL of the US dates prior to presales beginning so that we could make informed decisions, and I appreciate that) It can't ever be completely perfect, and I get that – but as a fan it does make it very tough at times. Most of us live on a budget and have to make choices, right? -R

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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