I've been working sporadically on an essay on the subject of Fandom for probably a year now. I still haven't quite cracked the nature of it to my satisfaction, but I got more fodder for it tonight.
I'm a “fan” of very few artists: two musicians (or groups of musicians) and two writers, (one of them dead.) I *admire* many more than that — in some cases admire them deeply — but only those four get inside me and make my heart swell and my vision go fuzzy. I only really lose myself in their work.
Tonight I had the opportunity to see a band called Lapdog play, in a relatively tiny venue, with a significantly limited crowd. Lapdog is the current project of Todd Nichols, formerly of Toad the Wet Sprocket. I've been a fan of TTWS, and specifically of Todd, since 1987, when I first saw them play in a little coffee house in Isla Vista, the student community outside the University of California at Santa Barbara.
What is it about a certain sound that just gets under your skin and transports you? Why this band, and not a million other bands? I don't know. But they got under my skin 19 years ago, and stayed there.
So tonight I sat about ten feet from the stage, dead center in front of Todd, and got to hear some of my favorite songs played live, and was introduced to a host of new material. It was intoxicating.
And I just can't figure out why that is.
What is the nature of fandom? It seems to me that one distinguishing feature is a sense of *importance.* The fan doesn't merely like or admire the artist (or their work – a distinction I'll have to explore) – the work is *important* in the fan's life. It adds a dimension. There's a relationship between the fan and the work.
I'll have to think about it some more. If I ever get that essay finished, I'll post it here. I certainly welcome your thoughts on the subject.
Edit: I completely forgot to mention that I got a new tattoo today. Hurt like a mf'r. Got it to cover the mess I made trying to give myself one in 11th grade art class. It's my third professional tattoo, and my first one to be done in color. I actually went in with a koi design (yes, a goldfish of sorts) but the artist didn't think it would cover the mess well enough. I figured he's the pro. I'll try to remember to post a pic.