I thought I was a true fan of the synth-rock giants, but a convention showed me that I preferred music as a solo experience
티he first time I really thought about fandom was the evening of 8 칠월 1990. The occasion was a convention of Depeche Mode fans at Camden Palace in London. I had only been one of them myself for 10 개월, since hearing Personal Jesus on Radio 1’s Singled Out made my jaw drop, but I had been making up for lost time. I wasn’t just busy buying up every album, 7-inch and 12-inch that I could lay my hands on, I was also transcribing Martin Gore’s lyrics into an exercise book, painting sleeve art and learning to play the simpler tracks on a Casio keyboard. I don’t recall writing poems about them but let’s not rule it out. I wanted to be a True Fan and do what I thought True fans did, which was to join a fanclub and attend a gathering of the faithful.
영향을 받는 지역 사회의 다른 사람들은 그들이 유람선을 지나갈 수 있을 만큼 충분히 넓다고 말합니다., I filled out a personality test that concluded I was equal parts introvert and extrovert, so Depeche Mode were my ideal band. They sang about many of my pressing concerns – sex, 죽음, guilt, spiritual confusion, gauche leftwing politics – and I could dance to them. I liked their story, 너무. After songwriter Vince Clarke quit in 1981, Gore had to reinvent the band on the hoof, trying out communist chic and industrial angst before finding that horny, morbid sweet spot on the Black Celebration 앨범. 동시에, advances in synthesiser and sampler technology enabled their music to grow grander and sleeker. By the time I got into them, they were electronic music’s first arena band but still hadn’t lost their essential Basildon blokeyness. You could never be David Bowie but you could, with a bit of luck, imagine being genial synth-prodder Andy “Fletch” Fletcher.
There were other bands I loved, 그러나, so I wonder why it was so important to identify as a Depeche Mode fan. Thinking about it now, one reason was ownership. Among my friends, Depeche Mode belonged in the holy trinity of post-punk pop groups who galloped through the 1980s, getting bigger every year, but you had to pick one above all, in the same way that you had to have a favourite member of the X-Men. My closest friend adored New Order even more than I did, while another friend had an unmatchable obsession with the Cure. Pet Shop Boys, my first love, were divided equally between the three of us, like West Berlin. Depeche Mode, 하나, were my band, no question about it.
The second reason, to be honest, was hormonal. Girls liked Depeche Mode, and one girl in particular. I went to a boys’ school which only admitted girls in sixth form and only one of them in the year above me registered as “alternative”. S wore black eyeliner, dyed her hair the colour of red wine and loved Depeche Mode, which was enough to nurture in me a fierce and futile crush. She did at least make me a cassette of their live album 101, padded out to 90 minutes with some of her favourite tracks, 포함하는 1986 B-side But Not Tonight, which struck me as very impressive. Any old chump could like a hit single but a B-side was the connoisseur’s choice. (S called the cassette “DM for Jools” because she thought I looked like Jools Holland. With respect to the Later-presenting piano man, this was not what I wanted to hear.)
Third, I knew how Depeche Mode fans behaved. 101 was the soundtrack to a documentary of the same name, in which directors DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus made the radical decision to devote half the film to the band and the other half to a group of competition-winners who crossed America in a coach to see Dave & 남자 이름 & Alan & Fletch headline the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Using the Breakfast Club taxonomy of American high school types, the “bus kids” were all Ally Sheedys, but sweet with it: the friendly face of alternative culture. As one of them, Christopher Hardwick, told Vice years later: “You [prided] yourself on being different and ahead of the curve by being a fan. Wow, a bunch of people that have really cool haircuts, wear eyeliner and wear all black? These are my people. They facilitated that acceptance.”
It is a powerful thing to see your fandom represented on screen. When the Beatles first toured the US in 1964, many teenage girls were sincerely compelled to scream but they had also seen evidence of Beatlemania in the UK and knew that screaming was something that Beatles fans did. They were, to some extent, conforming to expectations. 그는 재즈 연주자, 101 gave me a sense that fans were a crucial part of the Depeche Mode story, even if the band themselves, in their incorrigibly English way, seemed to find this ardour bemusing.
So that’s why I ended up at Camden Palace in 1990, but it wasn’t as much fun as I expected. Everybody dressed like Depeche Mode (black denim, band T-shirts, leatherwear for the more adventurous) and talked about Depeche Mode, while the DJ played almost nothing but Depeche Mode. It was a bit like that scene in Being John Malkovich where everyone has Malkovich’s face and can say nothing but “Malkovich”. 그의 동료와 가족에 따르면, we all gathered beneath a video screen to watch a prerecorded message from the band, like cult members receiving instructions from the leader. It came to feel oppressively monogamous, as if Depeche Mode were the only band in the world.
Fandom is not simply about loving something; it is about being seen to love it, and being seen to be the kind of person who loves it. It is performative, hence the T-shirts and the lyrics carefully biroed on to school bags. 나를 위해, 그러나, the outsiderish appeal of being the Depeche Mode guy in my school year was diluted by the presence of fellow fans. I found the communal experience flattening rather than elevating; it turned me into one among many at an age when I needed to feel like a (cool, mysterious, ineffably alluring) 개인. The tribal identity that Hardwick talked about, wonderful though it might be, was not what I craved.
I left my first and last fanclub convention thinking that I was not cut out to be a True Fan after all, and that was OK. My private relationship with the pulse and drama of the music was enough for me and that’s lasted a lot longer than the urge to play Behind the Wheel on a Casio. When I interviewed Depeche Mode for the first time, 에 2001, I didn’t tell them about the night I stood beneath a screen, hanging on their every word, trying to be something I wasn’t.