I was watching the news this morning and I heard that Bruce Springsteen was coming to the Grove in Los Angeles this morning to sign his new book—Born to Run. The news segment focused on the amount of people in line and how long they waited. The first few several people in line had camped out overnight, and the reporter thought that was—oh go on, you know the word—crazy.
What struck me wasn’t how the reporter felt about the people who had waited in line overnight, but how happy those folks were to be there waiting for Springsteen. These fans were easily (on average) a good 10-15 years older than the average Duranie. Yet they were still out there, and having what seemed to be a great time.
I also laughed at some of the comments made to the reporter:
“Anything for Bruce!”
“Oh, I’d do him, I mean THIS…..over and over again!”
“Waiting overnight isn’t so bad, I’ve waited two and three days in line for his concerts!”
“I’d follow him anywhere!”
“When we all get together, it’s like a family reunion, so that is part of what makes this fun.”
Many of those statements are things I’ve heard at our own gatherings, whether concerts, appearances, or even meet-ups or conventions. The feelings are the same, no matter the fandom, and really—those comments the Springsteen fans shared are exactly why they work. I think when it comes down to it, people who are really into fandom—not just into the band—but also into being a fan, are looking for that sense of togetherness. They want friendships and personal connections. Those relationships sometimes outlive the fandom itself, and they are real.
It is almost too bad that more people don’t recognize fandom for what it does rather than the stereotypes it sometimes creates. I say almost because fandom is special, and if people don’t get it, I guess I’m of the opinion that maybe that’s OK in the long run. Far be it from me to take on the task of convincing everyone otherwise.
Yes, I’m the first to say that there are crazy people who sometimes take fandom a bit too far. I have my lines in the sand, other people have their own. I can’t decide for others what constitutes “too much”, but I can tell you that in my mind—being able to take a day or two to “camp” out for a book signing with a group of my closest friends, people who genuinely understand me—doesn’t seem so crazy to me. In fact, it seems like a luxury right now!
At the end of the segment the reporter cautioned the viewing audience that if they were interested in going to this signing, they should probably forget it because she’d already counted over a thousand people in line and Bruce had something like 1115 books ready to sign for this particular in-store appearance. A thousand people were already in line waiting at 7am this morning. Amazing.
I found myself smiling in memory of the past year. Driving incredibly late at night up and down the state of California….picking up friends at the airport…going to shows and discovering that once again, my seats are in nearly the same spot as they were for the show prior…buying ridiculous pants at a Target store just so that we could tease John and Simon (as if they even saw our video, but dammit it was funny to us anyway)…meet-ups along the way…VIP parties…vodka tonics…new cities…and yes, those crazy videos Amanda and I made.
Like many of those interviewed in line this morning, I wouldn’t trade any of the memories I’ve made during the past twelve years, much less those from this summer. Those thoughts, and the smiles that follow, are what will keep me going during times when life isn’t quite so carefree and I’m wishing for times with friends again. Not long ago I wondered how long I could really keep this up, thinking that at some point I’d want to stop. Seeing Bruce’s fans still out there having fun makes me hope I’m still involved in ten or fifteen years.