5/29/2014
The divine rights of a true fan

I write this bewildered at some of my friends' bewilderment - nay, dismay - that there were not-so-little girls crying over not getting tickets to the One Direction concert happening here in ten months' time. They went in line, maybe spent the night outside, armed with a mat and several bottles of water and a gofer, only to run out of tickets. And there they are, crying. And caught on camera.

"Kids nowadays," not a few of my friends have said. "Why would they cry over some stupid boy band?"

Yeah. True. Why would they cry over some stupid boy band? Why won't they cry over, say, not getting tickets to Armin van Buuren despite joining every Twitter contest and using every Twitter hashtag? Clearly five handsome boys with some (some) musical talent and loads of good looks are not worth crying over. Clearly a Dutch DJ who just stands there, alone, fiddling with his gadgets, huge pair of headphones slapped on him, making hand gestures to himself - clearly this weird guy is worth crying over.

But no, I'm not gonna say one thing is better over another. For one, I'm not a dance guy nor a pop guy. Also, while I'm an indie guy, whatever that means nowadays, I'm still not a gig guy - I'm happy compiling playlists, rather than rushing to spend money watching acts I have heard of, but not heard enough of, just so I can look cool. I've been to a few concerts myself, but they're of people I'm really interested in seeing - or, in the case of David Cook, of people I've involuntarily heard stuff about, non-stop. Actually, I didn't really come here to make an argument or two about the blurred lines between genres and tastes and perceptions and whatnot - I've had enough of that, and then some, in the two years and two months I've done earthings!

But yes, this whole thing I'm writing is borne of those two years and two months. Well, actually, it's borne of one tweet. Yes, you probably know there will be a second One Direction concert. It's likely already in the books, but the organizers prolly couldn't resist the smug feeling of being treated as a god by a bunch of not-so-little girls. Anyway, they will sell tickets to that second concert in over a months' time, early in July, and it will be an online thing, rather than the so-called "ticket launch party" which essentially boils down to a long line for tickets, unless Clarence says I'm wrong.

I saw tweets about the new tickets, and I saw replies to those tweets, and one of those tweets struck me. "I wish you'd sell tickets in the -ber months instead!" she said. "We won't be able to save enough! Only the fake fans will get to watch!"

Yeah, so what makes a fan a true fan anyway?

I've always considered myself a big Keane fan. I mean, I liked them when I first heard their stuff on local radio. By the time I watched them perform live in Manila, nine years after "Everybody's Changing" came on my trip home from school, I have bought all but one of their albums: Under the Iron Sea was an exception, and only because I did not want to buy the booklet-less Philippine edition. (I ended up doing so in Singapore a month after.) But, yes, I played those CDs a lot, I have memorized some of their songs, and I bought a ticket to their concert in half a heartbeat. I must be a big Keane fan.

But then again, maybe I'm not big enough of a fan. I only settled for a seat on the seventh row during the concert. I didn't even join the meet and greet contest, because I also have a job to look after. (Ultimately I left work early to go to the concert, but still.) By some standards, those who won that meet and greet contest are bigger fans. In this case, that's Chesca and Nia. I remember asking the former about the Keane albums she owns, and she told me she only had Strangeland, and I was actually surprised. My point is, it's all a blurred line.

I mean, for all the crazy things I ended up doing in the hours leading up to Dia Frampton's first concert here - all that waiting outside the venue early, and almost catching the soundcheck, and gaining the sympathy of Hard Rock staff to the point of me getting the best seat in the house - I will be the first to say that I only really knew Dia from The Voice, that I wasn't very exposed to her earlier work. So, in a way, I am a fake fan. Okay, that's harsh. I am still a fan, but not a true fan. True fans are there from the start. True fans know everything. True fans deserve the best seats in the house, because... because they deserve it?

Yes, I am at awe at how some people can devote so much time to the artists they idolize. I've seen it myself, over and over again. Maybe I've been there a few times, but not to the extent of setting Twitter searches and keeping track of every show and all that stuff. I can't afford to watch every piece of footage on YouTube. I can't afford to tweet every photo, repeatedly, and go Louise Belcher over it. I'm not saying I'm above it. I'm not saying I'm better than them. I'm just amazed that they can do it, because I can't. I can't make myself do it. But my love, if you could call it that, remains the same, generally.

Sure, it sucks losing out on tickets. It sucks losing out on tickets to some, err, Tim Yap type who wants to look cool and, therefore, will buy tickets to One Direction even if he hates it. (To be fair to Tim Yap types, they would likely not buy tickets, but rather, manage to pull some strings and get choice seats for free.) But what's your alternative? A college-style entrance exam? Take the 15,000 people who camped outside the Mall of Asia Arena. Instead of falling in line, each one of them will have to take a 150-item questionnaire testing their knowledge of One Direction. And there will be one essay question, too. What are the implications of Niall's love of all things green and Irish on the band's future musical releases? The top, say, 500 people will get first dibs at the VIP slots - but it will all get complicated when one of them admits that they can't afford those tickets, and thus has to trade slots with another who's willing to move up. Imagine that. A true fan slugfest.

And all these thoughts, because a girl is wary that she won't be able to save up by July, and that a fake fan, like, err, me, will buy the One Direction ticket that she is entitled to by divine right. Or, technically, her parents won't be able to save up by July. Maybe they can ask to move Christmas to July, so they can get their presents early, but unless luck is on your side, you'll have to settle with the fact that being a true fan, whatever that means, doesn't mean the best seat in the house. It takes a lot of crazy (to paraphrase Mika) and, well, luck. Luck, meaning money, or connections, or that radio DJ seeing your tweet and deeming you vaguely deserving. Yes, I know, that sucks.

And your responses...

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