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Fandom Squee: Bandom! 2/2

Fandom Squee

Bandom Fandom (Pt 2)

And let's go for the second part - I promise, it's shorter!

Hmm. That sounds better than I expected.

Told you so :P

But… isn’t it creepy, writing about real people?

Bill is confused about this question.

Well… no.

Because for many writers (and by extension artists etc), you’re not writing about ‘real’ people, in terms of people like your mother, or your best friend.

You’re writing about an entity that you don’t know and don’t interact with personally.

Think about it in terms of some of the ‘fannish’ things people do – it would be creepy to hang up giant posters of your sister in your room, or make button badges of your teacher or sleep with bedding emblazoned with your best friend’s face, but most people have no issue doing those exact things with their favourite band or singer, right?

Some people, like me, prefer to think about the performer identity when we write – it’s this concept that’s so hard for other people to get outside the fandom. It’s the idea that when we write about Adam Lambert, or Tom Kaulitz, we’re writing about the part of themselves that they show us. The one that’s the performer, the artist, the carefully edited version that’s almost a character in it’s own right. We don’t know everything about them as people, and for the vast majority of fans, we’ll never meet them face to face for any length of time – maybe 30 seconds in a signing session. So you know, the bit we see on stage is the bit we know the best, and that’s the bit we write about.

We use the face, and the known personality, and because there’s no ‘main canonical view’ of a band, or whatever, well, we sod off and do what we like with them, and it doesn’t matter if someone else disagrees with us. The source material in so far as people, and characterisation, doesn’t really exist. Borrow the body, and see what happens, that’s often the way to do it, and even if you don't do it consciously, that's what people do sub/unconsciously.

It's pretty similar to what happens in 'traditional' fandom, only there's a bit more philosophy behind it. XD

Of course, there are other ways to look at it, and some people like the reality element, and focus hard on the idol’s ‘off stage’ personas too, so it’s exactly as deep as you want to make it.

What do the bands themselves think?

Well, many bands known that fanfic exist, and they’re either ambivalent, or they seem to enjoy it.  For the sake of shortness, here’s two explicit reactions:

Franz Ferdinand band members don’t seem to be that bothered about it, for example (might be before people’s time/out of interest here)

Another reason that Alex isn’t bothered by the fictionalization of real people in slash is that he doesn’t think it’s that different from what Franz Ferdinand do.

"It’s what we do in songs as well," he says. "I mean, we take characters who are around us and write stories, write songs about events that have happened in their lives. Of course, when you tell any story, you make it dramatic, you use the tools of drama to make an exciting story. All they’re doing is an extreme example of what we do."

Adam Lambert is definitely aware of it, as seen in this video here, and he doesn’t seem all too bothered about it. Tommy finds it amusing, too.

And of course, if any person in the public sphere has ever googled themselves, they have to be aware of it. It’s unavoidable. So I imagine that at least some people have clicked it  :P

Many many bands have declined to answer questions about it, and most fans and bands exist in a state where the fic etc is hidden behind the fourth wall – that is, bands are aware it exists in the same way that you’re aware that a place you’ve never visited exists. But they and fans make the silent contract to leave it well enough alone - bands don't ask and the fans don't tell - and then everybody lives happily ever after. Of course, it's not totally secure but it's pretty solid most of the time.

In five years, this might change with the professionalisation of fandom, and the growing market for selling it, but until then, the fourth wall is mostly intact for bandom.

I heard it was illegal! Is this true?

Basically, no.

I call bullshit! Seriously?!

Calm down there, my little lawyer in disguise.

When a person puts themselves in the public sphere, they’re fair game to be written about, and there’s not a great deal that they can do to stop it if it’s just existing out there. The vast majority of fic is out there in the internet-o-sphere, floating around, and making nobody any profit except in reviews. That’s fair game. When you start hanging a price tag on it and selling it, then the law takes a dimmer view but that’s by the by.

Likewise, as long as you don’t start shoving it under a celebrity’s nose, and pushing it into their sphere – like, sending them the 100,000 word novel you’ve been writing full of buttsecks and kinky porn so they can read and tell you their opinion on it - you’re also golden.

If you do that, I will thwap you with a paper and be very cross. Don’t do it.

However, that only applies to fan fic that you say is fiction. You can’t make it out to be real, or a story that is the ‘true version of events’ because that’s naughty in the eyes of the law.

Putting a disclaimer on there (this story is fiction, it did not happen, I do not own yadda yadda) actually does help for RPF; it’s kind of hard to sue someone for libel or slander (saying something is true when it isn’t, in a way that’s designed to harm someone’s reputation etc) when it says right at the top, not the truth, it didn’t happen, not reality.

For example, I can write a story about Adam and Tommy Joe, and that’s fine if I say it’s not true. The minute I start pretending that it’s the ‘real story’, and treating it as fact, there’s going to be a rather important letter from a lawyer dropping onto my inbox, and I shall be sadface and broke for a while.

But the same is true for fictional fandoms – you can’t go selling teen wolf fic until you’ve filed off the serial numbers (scrapped anything recognisably Teen Wolfish), so it’s not a whole new concept, right?

And before you start panicking, the number of lawsuits involving bands and RPF? Zero. So sit down, have tea, and stop fretting :P

Well, okay then. I’m curious about this thing. Where do you suggest I start?


Seriously, anywhere. Think of a band you like, and poke around on google or archive of our own, or livejournal. Put [band] and fanfiction or fanart or essays to the search bar and see what you come up with.

Or find a tag you like - alpha/beta/omega universe, for example, or a particular kink and instead of narrowing it down by fandom or character, choose one that you wouldn’t normally read in the bandom ‘verse’.

Some of it will be crap, because that’s sod’s law, but you may find a hidden gem that really draws you in. And it doesn’t have to be the one that makes you fall in total love with the band, but it will definitely start the process.

Try something new. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but if you haven’t tried… What do you have to lose?

Go wild.

See what you love, and what you like, and what you don't. There's no place for caution here - you have to throw yourself into it, and you're bound to come out with something awesome.

Just like I did.

Group hug from MCR (RIP, *sobs*) to say bye bye with XD


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)

-looks at MCR and starts to cry really hard- They are my babies I would have never survived High School. And they put on an amazing show I had the great pleasure of seeing them three times.
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'm not a total bandom nerd but I've definitely dipped my toes in enough places to get a feel for the place :D MCR definitely were the first big fandom I was aware of, and even though I never got into it completely, some of my favourite stories came from there and many of my friends started in there.

I'm sorry for your (bandom) loss. *pets*
Apr. 3rd, 2014 03:16 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I love RPF and recently started shipping some singers with each other, but I'm not that hardcore into it...yet >_>. I did wonder what some of the different terms in RPF are and I just learned about this which sounds like a sub-genre of sorts so yay!
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
You don't have to be hardcore in it at all :D Just play as far and as deep as you want in the field. That's one of the best things in bandom - there's so few 'you have to do this' kind of rules so you can always do whatever you want.

And I hope to do a Pacific Rim Squee but maybe I'll make it shorter XD I got wordy on this one XD
Apr. 3rd, 2014 08:48 am (UTC)
Well done! Awesome couple of posts! I don't do bandom, but have dabbled in RPF, so I totally understand the fascination with it, and the ways to view it. I've had a great time in actor RPF-land, and I imagine bandom is just as much fun!

Yay, you and this intro into the possibilities. Thanks for bringing it to the comm! ;-)
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
YAY! Thank you for the modly approval!

RPF and bandom do run into each other pretty often, so it's quite easy to step from one into the other or to just understand it from the other side of the field :D

And welcome :D It was a lot of fun to write about something I love.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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