If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being a fan. I’ve always done the sort of things a fan might be expected to do. As a Stone Roses fan, for example, I did things like buying the records the day they came out. In the case of their second album, I even bought it on tape, solely so I could listen to it on my walkman on the way home. I did things like burning a record of a band I saw to be their rivals when they started out (Oasis), and threatening Liam Gallagher at one of their gigs. I did things like sending Ian Brown a pack of fags when he was in prison, and John Squire a painting I’d done while I was in hospital. Famously, I threw a Cardiff City shirt on stage at one of their gigs, which Ian Brown wore (more of this later).
If it’s a part of my DNA, I probably inherit it from my dad. One person I remember him being an admirer of, for example was Clive Sinclair. He had sent off for a ZX80, but got a nice letter back saying they were in fact about to launch the ZX81, and he would be better off buying that, which of course he did. Around a year later, my dad took us to the launch of the ZX82, or ZX Spectrum as it was to be named, at a computer conference in London. As fans, this was an exciting thing to do. My dad later became a fan of Marilyn off Home and Away for her “acting skills” he told us.
There is an old cliché that says that as a fan, you should never meet your idols. I think, if they’re worthy of being idolised, and they don’t match up to your expectations when you meet them, perhaps that shows they weren’t so worthy after all. However, if they do meet expectations…well, that just goes to show you were right.
When I met John Squire at the opening of one of his recent art exhibitions, I had already met him briefly earlier in the year, so there wasn’t that thing of meeting him for the first time. Also, I was with someone who wasn’t so bothered, so that helped. But it was actually all quite ordinary. But I did still get the impression that I was meeting quite an extraordinary person. I sensed that he was trying to get me to talk to him quite naturally, which was nice of him, so when I said it was an honour, it actually sounded a little trite, even though this was how I felt.
I mean, let’s face it, worshipping popstars, of whatever type, be it boy bands or death metal bands, is a pretty childish thing to do. I don’t really feel the excitement as I might have done when I was younger when I go to watch a band I like. And yet, once I’m there, after a couple of drinks, I do still get the urge to behave in the way a much younger fan might, such as crowd-surfing at recent Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine gigs. I mean, really – what was I thinking?!