Calling all Janeites, Whovians, Katycats and Tributes (and all you other brilliantly bonkers fan-boys and girls), this one’s for you.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ll be aware of the wildly obsessive yet strangely intriguing subculture that is Fandom. Whether you realise it or not, you’re probably even a part of one of the many individual fan groups that popular culture seems to have adopted. Fandom, it would seem, has a simple yet effective recipe. You take a loyal and lovable following, add a pinch of unhealthy yet somewhat understandable obsession, a dash of harmless (in most cases) crazy and a heavy dose of sincere community spirit and voila, you have yourself the oddest collective phenomenon to have exploded out of our generation.
Whether it’s reciting word for word every Harry Potter film, having fake Game of Thrones fight-to-the-death scenes whilst larping (live action role play), or attending as many conventions as is humanly possible for a single person, the most important thing to remember is that there’s a camaraderie that comes with sharing a mutual interest with others. Extremes aside, what’s not to love about that?
Now it’s not considered a fandom unless there’s a coined term to act as your masthead, and it varies from the obvious to the ingenious. It began with the ‘Trekkies’, a term invented in 1967 after Star Trek fans started sporting the latest Vulcan inspired ear accessory. Since then we’ve had the Sherlockians (Sherlock Holmes), Janeites (Jane Austen) and Warsies (Star Wars), all vying for the title of most loyal following. And make no mistake, it is a competition.
However it seems that a new wave of fans are taking over. For music lovers there’s the aforementioned Katycats (Katy Perry), Justin Bieber’s Beliebers and Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, whilst TV fans divide themselves dutifully into Whovians (Doctor Who), Trubies (True Blood) and Gleeks (Glee) amongst others. If you adore Mad Men you stand under a blank title because the show is way too sophisticated to nickname its fans. Unlucky!
I would say I’m more of the film fandom persuasion, counting myself as not only a mild Potterhead (Harry Potter) but also a Twihard (Twilight), Tribute (Hunger Games), Ringer (LOTR) and, my personal favourite, a Rum-Runner (Pirates of the Caribbean)…but that’s not wholly to do with the film.
What’s amazing is that these fandom groups are being recognised and celebrated within awards ceremonies (most recently the People’s Choice Awards). The world is rife with fan mania; it’s juvenile, barmy, time-consuming and, in some cases, costly, but it’s about being part of a bigger picture. No longer do we have to sit alone in our rooms scribbling ‘I Heart One Direction’ into our notebooks. Now we can write it on discussion forums and social networking sites, and better still, people will want to be our friend because of it…or maybe people don’t want to be friends with an adult Directioner? Don’t all rush to friend request me at once.