Friday 24 October 2014
I’ve had a CD/DVD set sitting on top of the filing cabinet in my study for over a year, with all good intentions of watching the DVD . . . tomorrow . . . on the weekend . . . next week . . . over the holidays . . . no, really, I’ll do it today. And finally I viewed it today. I don’t have a good reason as to why it’s taken me so long to watch it, especially given that it’s a concert and documentary of one of my favourite groups. However, that’s only a lil bit relevant in regards to this post.
The documentary, It All Begins Where It Ends, traces the journey of Roxette, from the origin of the band to the hit that broke them outside of Europe, to the successful Join the Joyride tour to Marie Fredriksson’s battle with a brain tumour, and on to the massively successful comeback tour, Travelling. Again, that is only a lil bit relevant to the post. Included in the documentary are a few interviews with die-hard Roxette fans who explain what the band means to them. Their stories include meeting their spouses through a mutual love of the band, and how Roxette’s music helped a husband bring his wife out of a forty-five day coma. Oh, I do love a soppy recovery story.
In travelling around with the band, the cameras also catch the utter chaos that ensues when the band arrive at hotels, particularly in South America. These fans are nuts. They go off like rockets when the band members disembark from the tour bus to check in to the hotel. At hotels where the management haven’t considered the needs of the band and roped off areas for the fans to stand, band members and their minders run the gauntlet through the crowd. It seems an incredibly frightening experience for people to go through. At one point, I think it’s one of the minders says that they don’t really need to worry about Per and Marie because they can look after themselves, but they are worried about the fans because they often and inadvertently push others out on to the road.
I’ve been Roxette fan since I was a kid. From the first moment that I heard The Look I was enamoured, and to this day I still call myself a Roxette fan. I own every album, numerous videos and DVDs, and I haven’t missed any of the band’s major tours to Western Australia. Roxette a band that has provided the soundtrack to my life. Sadly though, I won’t be in attendance next February when Roxette returns to Western Australia to perform as part of the 30th Anniversary Tour. It will be the first Roxette concert I’ve ever missed, and I am disappointed about that. Yes, I’m getting to the point of the post . . .
As it turns out, I’m not as much of a die-hard fan as I once thought I was. Some of the fans profiled in the documentary have spent thousands of dollars following Roxette around the world and attending Roxette concerts. I’ve not done that. I also haven’t chased the band’s tour bus down the road trying to get my own candid happy snaps of Per and Marie. Nor have I waited outside their hotel until the wee hours of the morning screaming my lungs out, and badly singing every Roxette song known to man. Apparently, there are many, many people who do these things, and not just to Roxette.
Out there, in the big, wide world, there are fans who border on batsh!t crazy. They drive at speed alongside tour buses, hang out of car windows to take photos, endanger themselves and their friends and whoever they’re trying to get photos of or autographs from. They wait outside hotels in an attempt to meet their idols. They do all manner of batsh!t crazy things in order to meet these famous people. Imagine engaging in that sort of behaviour towards a regular Joe, every day, not-famous person. It would be classed as stalking, I’m sure. And yet these fans think nothing of behaving this way. It’s not normal. It really isn’t. But somehow, fans are given a sort of free rein to engage in nutty behaviour, and it’s not until they cross the line, a-la John Hinckley, Jr. that we hold up our hands and say ‘Hold on a second there buddy, you’re batsh!t crazy’.
Has this kind of behaviour towards famous people always been acceptable? And if it has, why? Why is it acceptable to basically stalk someone simply because they’re famous? We become enraged when we hear the details of some non-celebrity being stalked or harassed, but we buy magazines and sift through posts on the Internet to find out about celebrities. We encourage the paparazzi in their “professional” endeavours by buying those magazines and visiting those websites.
I worry that we’re now living in a world of screaming fans and insanity.