Response to Judiang's request and her post about Fandom (October 19th, 2011)
For some years now I am a fan of Mr. Armitage.
It is not, that I am in any way an experienced fan. Even during my adolescence, I never became a fan to experience, as Judiang so aptly describes it, the "giggly, girlish and silly" sensations of fandom.
I had to be the sensible one, the one to look after my older sister to keep in line during adolescence.
|Friedrich von Schiller - Source: Wikimedia.org|
I had a big poster of Friedrich von Schiller hanging over my bed. (Not the one on the right side ;o)
I also was alone with that admiration, so no fellow fans to share this experience with. All my friends and family could not understand, where I had that from ;o)
So my experience with fandom is rather limited, my knowledge about how a fan should behave not really developed. I do not expect anything from my idol - as with Friedrich von Schiller no return action could really be possible. All my fandom consisted of me researching about him, finding out more and admiring his bright concepts of thinking and ideology.
He had quite some influence on how I see the world, religion, politics, observe social behaviour, detect faults and how they could be remedied, how a person should act to better the society. In general he was an integral point in forming my critical abilities.
He was the main reason for choosing the subjects I later studied at university.
When I visited my sister at university, when she just had started studying biology, I recognized, that my approach to examine the world was a completely different one from natural sciences.
When I came to visit her at university, she had a dissected mouse on her table. Not that I swooned, I could stand that at that time. But I felt affronted, that to examine something, you had to destroy the object you wanted to learn from. I felt offended by the for me totally inadequate and stone-age approach to a living creature and research in general.
This confirmed me in my subjects of interest, which research without destroying the object of research, gaining knowledge without destroying the source.
In some way I think, this was a very formative time, also forming the way of approach I have to fandom for Richard Armitage.
I research - in history normally divided from the object of research by time - in fandom by distance to the idol - without trying to destroy, gaining knowledge without hurting, but creating an image, a knowledge, a beautiful ideological concept.
Perhaps I should not add, that my main interest at university were conspiracy theories ;o) Oh, I love a good conspiracy, to explore its foundations, effects, power and influence. This also was centered around Friedrich von Schiller in some way, so I did not really loose him on my way forward.
|Source: Armitage-Online.ucoz.ru Photographer: Joe McGorty|
I know that is ungrateful of me, to suppose I would not like him on closer acquaintance, but I am quite protective of my image of him to be kept pure and intact.
I don't need to know personal stuff. That is his to keep and his to enjoy.
The first year of admiration started absolutely lonely and in secret. I knew some of his films, became interested in him through an interview about Spooks 7 and was irrevocably hooked to come back again and again. I watched fan-videos, avoided everything concerning Guy of Gisbourne meticulously and even had problems connecting him with that role.
I was absolutely content to see my idol from a distance, in film, in interviews, in fan-videos (especially coming from the learning material to do video editing). I knew there were forums about the actor, but I did not really feel intent to discuss him or plunge into learning more. To even be interested in him in such an extent was absolutely new for me. Why did I have to see him and why did he have such a calming effect on me? (I am still not sure about that and why it can keep me hooked so irrevocably, so please do not expect an answer from me here.) It took the discussion concerning videos and especially Servetus' blog, to really draw me into fandom and to discuss my admiration and 'research' with fellow fans. This was the time when I realized, that for the first time I really had developed a complete 'fan'-admiration for someone.
Slowly, I found out more in those blogs, which in consequence drew me into discovering more, about fandom and myself. For a strange reason, the forums and discussion communities never attracted me in the same way, though I registered early on. My first closer discussion and feeling the presence of a community of real people was during the second FanstRAvaganza event this year where I was invited to take part, as I had a fan-blog about Richard Armitage, which I had started in November 2010. The founding of the KingRichardArmitage site was a further main step to connect fandom to reality for me. It was a break through between aspects of my 'real' world and fandom, formerly meticulously kept separate.
Through all the time, fandom still was a rather digital experience for me, as I never met or discussed things with other fans in person. Chats are rather digital for me as well. You do not see the person you 'talk' with, but see your computer screen instead.
Friends even asked me how I could bear to be on the computer for such long times and not feel lonely. (They obviously have not discovered the lovely Armitage fan community online, to ask such a farfetched question ;o)
So you can imagine, that I was utterly nervous last weekend, when all this came to an end and I met 'real' RA-fans. As a kind of recognition sign, I had my RA-bag with me. The funny waiters at the Victorian Tea House in Munich could not even pronounce "Armitage", our reservation name, and were not able to bring our group together, but told everyone who asked, that they had no reservation under that name and accused us that each of us had pronounced the name differently. But that is very unlikely. What real RA fan does not know how to pronounce his name ;o)
So it was a good thing to having had my bag with me to find our group.
The experience to meet people with similar interests, taste, knowledge and the same watched films as background, gave us an immediate topic to talk about, though most of us never had met before.
It was such a homogenous, friendly group, that I - normally a bit reserved and though friendly, sometimes a bit quiet in company and normally a better listener than talker - felt completely at ease in the group and felt as if I met with old friends.
I loved the meeting and now hope we can soon repeat the meeting in the Bavarian fan-group !!!
I am thinking now about all my fears beforehand with a smile. It was such an absolutely lovely experience to meet fellow RA-fans, that I can only recommend that ;o)
( I don't think we Bavarians are the only friendly exception, but the lovely rule of RA-fans ;o)
As I did not check with my fellow fans, I do not name them even with their fan-identity. Please understand that. I am always of the opinion, each fan has the freedom to reveal as much about herself as she likes and feels comfortable with. That I bubble about this lovely experience, does not mean everybody else attending the meeting needs to do the same ;o)
< < This article came into life because of a request from Judiang. She wrote, that surely I would write about this fan-experience and though that idea had not occurred to me before, when I came to think about it, it really made sense to me and is something to encourage other fans to meet as well. Also after just loosing a dear friend, it also became more of a conviction for me, to live friendships while we can. > >