The other day I checked out a podcast posted by Duran Duran’s twitter entitled “For Your Ears Only” about film and television music. In this particular episode, John Taylor was featured as he described his favorites from the James Bond franchise. I found it a fun listen even though I cannot say I’m a huge Bond fan. I appreciate the points John made, including about how various music enhanced scenes in the movies or about how the series produced a lot of amazing music throughout its history. While I could blog about all of that, instead I want to focus on the memory listening to this podcast brought to my mind.
Were any of you dedicated posters on the DuranDuranMusic message board? For awhile in Duranland, this message board was the place to be. The posts came fast and furious and people spent hours upon hours there. For some, it felt like Random was their home base, talking about everything and anything under the sun. A fan fiction section formed that caught others’ attention. Many people, however, focused on the section of their favorite band member. In my case, I deliberately planned to hang out on John Taylor’s part of the message board. I wanted to get to know other John fans as I figured that we would all have an understanding of each other, which is not easy to come by. While there were many threads in that part of the board, the most popular was definitely the Church of the Bass God thread. It was there that John fans could “worship” the “Bass God” in any and all ways that they wanted. This might be posting favorite photos and reacting to them. It could be talking about the latest interview or rehashing some of his solo work. At the height of the message board, this particular thread was super duper popular, with hundreds of posts per day. I joined in as much as I could but it was hard to keep up, at times!
One year, 2006, I think, the people on that thread decided that they wanted to do something special for John’s upcoming birthday. There was much discussion on that thread at the end of 2005 and early 2006 about John’s socks while on stage during the Astronaut Tour. In case you don’t remember his socks then, he was seen night after night wearing bright, neon socks under his black leather pants, often worn on that tour. John fans loved to bring attention to these socks, in a loving but teasing way. (Hm..that sounds familiar.) Therefore, it was completely logical to connect our love for his fun socks to his birthday. What if fans sent him socks for his birthday? Some fans stepped in to organize. The plan was simple. People would send the gift socks to one person who would then package all of them into one box and send it on. A disposable camera was included in hopes that John would take pictures for us of these new socks. I knew that it was a genius idea and definitely wanted to be a part of it. But here is where the hard part came in. What do I send him?
Some fans were sending socks about where they lived or socks that had instruments or musical connections. I thought and thought. Nothing came to my mind. I could not figure out what the heck to send. Nothing felt right. Finally, it hit me. I should send something that I knew that John already liked. James Bond. Now, could I find some to send? I searched online and finally came across a pair that were cool enough to send. So, I purchased and happily sent the pair along. I didn’t expect anything to come of it, of course. I was just happy to play along. I was satisfied with my addition and didn’t think too much of it.
A few weeks later, the Church of the Bass God thread saw evidence that John had, indeed, received the box of socks and was enjoying them. Photos were taken, sent and now shared. Not every pair of socks were shown in a picture as more socks were sent than there were photos on that disposable camera. Everyone understood that and cheered for those who did get an image of John with the socks they had personally sent. As someone who doesn’t typically have any luck with that sort of thing, I never even assumed that *my* socks could have been chosen as one of the lucky 20 or so, but they were!
Let’s be real. I was pretty excited just to participate. I was doubly excited that he would want to take a picture with the ones I send but words fail when I try to describe how thrilled I was by his expression. He seeemed to genuinely think these socks, my socks, were cool! Even now, a decade and a half later, I’m still beyond excited by this!
It was so great to see fans come together like this, to do something fun, in the name of our fandom, in appreciating John. Sometimes, Duranland devolves into nothing but competition or snarky pettiness but in the case of the Bass God worshippers of the Church of the Bass God, it wasn’t about that then. No, it was about appreciating John Taylor and working together to show him our love for him. It is a reminder of how good fandom can be.