Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crazy About One Direction

"We're a part of a fandom that could kill you if we wanted to."

Never since the words "I'm your number one fan" from a certain Annie Wilkes in Misery has the idea of a fandom being scary become so apparent. Okay, I am going to be fair here because while I'm sure these selected girls are the more Crazy About One Direction and the majority of the lads fanbase is pretty harmless, it does get you thinking about the intensity of fans, especially given the rise in social media nowadays.

When I was their age, I was barely using the internet, never mind obsessively checking out for Twitter updates on my phone/laptop/tablet every five minutes for bands I've liked (and I'll admit my own taste in music can be all over the flipping place at times). These girls on the documentary that aired on Channel 4 last Thursday (talk about good time - given that a certain movie has been released this week) certainly proves that fandom can be a double edged sword.

It was these fangirls that propelled One Direction from another runner up on The X Factor back in 2010 to the most talked about boyband over the last few years. Musically, I don't think there's much that actually separates One Direction from their other predecessors and rivals and while they're not the only band with an intense fandom, it has been their fandom just of late that has generated a lot of negative press for the last while. This documentary did show that some of this negative press towards these particular set of fans wasn't entirely unjustified.

Throughout the hour I saw a group of teenage girls who weren't content with seeing the boys but took to levels of stalking them, fantasising about at least two of the members dating each other, viciously attacking their girlfriends through social media sites and even each other as well as well as even joking about cutting off their own limbs in order to be close to their idols. I know some will chalk it up to them just being kids and that they'll learn eventually but given the recent reports of more online cyber bullying (particularly from that site), this documentary was something of a depressing insight into how some people take their enjoyment of certain things to extreme levels and how vicious things can escalates over nothing either.

Now I know that not all fans of bands like One Direction behave this way (thank goodness) but the fact that there's even a vocal few who do (and realise their behaviour is a bit excessive and still do it) behave this way is worrying. After the Channel 4 documentary aired, some of them took to Twitter to express their anger in a way that was both laughable and worrying as well. In these girls defence, if social networking had been around during Beatlemania, we would probably see similar behaviour patterns but at the same time, I couldn't help thinking these girls should just get a grip and enjoy the lads music without behaving like lunatics over them. One Direction might be the hot boyband right now but I doubt it'll be that long before another one swoops in and take their title.

Crazy About One Direction can be watched again on 4OD.

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