The other day my family got together to play games on Zoom. This isn’t anything really new as we have been routinely getting together to play games, chat, discuss movies, etc. since the pandemic began. Frankly, it is a new tradition that I hope continues long past any discussion about Covid-19. The invention of Zoom or other online services like it has been a game changer in bringing my family together. Now, we take time to be together, to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and more when we didn’t before due to people being in different states. Anyway, after we got done playing games, we chatted briefly about what is going on in our lives, including what my brother is planning on covering in his popular culture class that he teaches at the college level in Massachusetts. This led to a discussion about fandom, which isn’t terribly new as it is something my brother and I have talked about at length since he is a big fan of comic books and I’m a big fan of…well…you know.
Anyway, the conversation proved more interesting than most as my youngest niece chimed in as well. I was not surprised that she had many thoughts about the subject since she is pretty into multiple forms of popular culture. In fact, we have been sharing some television show viewing together. What this means is that we pick a TV show to watch, agree to watch a certain number of episodes and then agree on a time to chat about what we watched. In some cases, I have picked the show and other times we have gone with her idea. We have been doing this for quite awhile and have watched a number of shows that way. Personally, I love how seriously we take this task that we have assigned ourselves. We analyze characters, plot, acting, etc. This is much like how Rhonda and I dissect each and every aspect of everything that Duran has done. My point in sharing all of that is to point out that my niece is like me when it comes to elements of fandom. She had lots of say with the family discussion, especially when it came to how much fandom matters to us.
Interestingly enough, the next day I received a text from her asking me to share some of my favorite Duran songs with her. She wanted to understand why Duran matters so much to me. To say that I was touched would be an understatement. In turn, I asked her to share her favorite songs of her favorite band. By the next day, we both had lists in our hands. Still, I was not sure whether or not she would actually follow through with listening to the songs I recommended. Soon enough, though, I got the following message, “Planet Earth made me start dancing in my room!” This was followed by how much she really liked the first verse, lyrically, especially the line, “only came outside to watch the night fall with the rain.” After discussing that song, I really listened to the first song she recommended and asked some questions and gave my opinion. Yesterday, then, she dove into Hold Back the Rain, my second choice. Her thoughts there, “It sounds so upbeat, but I’m not sure that the lyrics are.” From there, we discussed the meaning after she provided her analysis. Now, of course, it is my turn to dive into her second song choice.
Now, I’m sure that a lot of you are probably wondering why the heck I’m sharing this with all of you. Am I just trying to prove that my family is full of big nerds like myself? While that is true, it does make me wonder why my niece and I enjoy this sort of thing and other family members of ours do not. What does this tell us about fandom and the nature of it? Why is music something so personal to us? My niece and I don’t have answers but we are appreciating exploring what music matters to each other. I, for one, feel like a super lucky aunt to have a niece who gets it.