Sunday, 24 December 2017

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas has rolled around once more. Where have the past twelve months gone?! It only feels like yesterday when we were all hanging decorations, writing cards, and wrapping gifts for Christmas 2016.

2017 has been a strange year, one of ups and downs. Things that we thought would happen haven't come to fruition while some far off dreams have become reality. Some of us are still battling to get to where we want to be while friends and family have far surpassed their dreams and are heading for the stars. We sit and watch them, smiling as they achieve all that their hearts desire.

Amid it all, we've watched as the world has changed beyond our dreams and nightmares. Political powers have risen and are battling it out with one another, putting our safety at risk. Companies have fallen because of corrupt and unethical ways. New ways of living are being developed and we find ourselves staring at the beginning of a new, technological revolution.

What will 2018 bring? More of the same instability? Or something a little more settled? The past three or four years have felt as though we've been in a snowglobe that is randomly picked up and shaken. None of us know where we're going to land nor what is going to happen next. We just hold on and hope that whatever is coming will be better, happier, and bring peace to the world around us. The pain for many people has been unimaginable and the hardships tougher than anything we could have dreamed off. In the end, we have to believe that maybe these events are occurring in order to teach us something about ourselves and the world that we live in.
What kind of world do we want? Do we want one where the power is in the hands of a few unstable and megalomanic people? Or one where worry doesn't perpetually live in our hearts?

This Christmas may be harder for some people because of the impact that the world is having on them. They may not feel like being around people, nor be in a particularly festive mood. They may be tired, or just feeling the strain of the past year. If there's someone you think of over the festive period, drop the message, even to just say hello.

Hopefully 2018 will see us in a much better place. Hopefully the wrongs will right themselves and the rights will become reality. Whatever you're doing over the coming days, may your days be merry and bright and may your 2018 be filled with all the joys that you wish for!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

What Makes a Fan?

Photo: Sarah:

What makes a fan? Is it someone who spends thousands of pounds a year on their favourite band and goes to see twenty shows? Or is it someone who never sees a live show yet quietly appreciates an artist? Is it someone who is actively involved in a band's fandoms? Or someone who sits somewhere in the middle, never really participating but wanting to be a part of it all the same?

There's no definite answer to what makes a fan, nor should there be. As anyone who loves an artist knows, circumstances differ from one person to the next. Some people have the energy and resources to spend several weeks following a band. For others, anxiety, lack of money, or their location may stop them from attending live shows.

Photo: Bantam10

One of the reasons that I wrote the fan book was to explore the sense of community that springs up around bands. From the local guys playing bars on a Saturday night to the bands hammering away at sold out stadium shows, someone, somewhere will love what they do. And the communities that spring up around them are incredibly important. Not just for sharing news but for the support that they bring to those who reside within them. Support that includes shoulders to lean on during the tougher times of life as well as love and laughter for when things are going well.

People gravitate towards these communities for a variety of reasons, and the internet has made it far easier for us to find those who resonate with us no matter what our circumstances. Our own, local, communities may hold nothing for us and finding a support network can be hard at the best of times. The internet allows us to remain anonymous while also building up friendships with those who share our interests and passions.

As for the communities that surround the Foo Fighters, a quick search of somewhere like Facebook throws up a myriad of meeting areas from the large Foo Family groups to smaller, more niche ones which focus on everything from hotel shares to dating to news pages. All of them are interconnected, not just physically by the people who are in them but also by their love of the same band. It's a world that can, on one hand seem very tiny but, on the other, feel as though it goes on forever. And, like any community, it's moving from being an online village to a sprawling digital city with an ever-growing population.

For me, I found a home among the Foos community. At the time, it was a home that I didn't realise that I needed, nor wanted, and from which I'd constantly try and leave. But it was one that drew me in, one that was filled with the kind of fun, laughter, and love that I'd spent a good deal of time looking for. And, while I might not be the most active, or most talkative, of members I still enjoy the company and camaraderie of those that I meet. In an age where the internet can bring about a great deal of loneliness, these pockets of music fans have proved that they can also be a haven for those who are seeking a place to call home.