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by Oscar van Duijn
Throughout our lives, many of us sooner or later become the victims of love. That is not a bad thing in itself, as long as the person you love returns the feeling. If he or she doesn't, a wonderful feeling can suddenly turn into a nasty affair. A reason for failure could be that your love interest simply isn't interested in you. Another cruel reason for unanswered love is the fact that the person you have set your heart upon can never be reached. This is usually the case in many fan-artist crushes.
We all know the images at concerts of people screaming and shouting their affection to their idol. The concert venues are filled with signs on which fans express their undying love. And of course the one true love can only be found here and not with all those hundreds or thousands of other fans who are saying the exact same thing. One wonders how artists cope with this.
The real question here is: why do all these people fall in love with this person, who just happens to be famous? Is he or she any different from the guy or girl from the next street?
In essence, the answer to this question is no. The person you see, the person you fall in love with, is not real. He or she has a fictive personality created by the record company and the media, maintained by the artist. After all, the public generally only buys records from people they think they can identify with or to which they can relate to. Love is the strongest possible relation in this case.
Let's take the Spice Girls, for example: Sporty, Scary, Posh, Baby Spice. There are role models for each taste, a perfect example of how the record companies use personality to attract people. In this case personality goes over talent, because let's face it, neither of them knows how to carry a decent tune. No problem for the record companies however, who are well known with technological developments, which can be used in recording studios.
What is there to think of boy bands like Westlife, N*Sync, Backstreet Boys and so on? Come on, ladies, do you really think these guys are any different from the rest of the male population?
Take Boyzone's Shane Lynch. He was recently heard stating that he could neither sing nor dance, insisting he lacked any talents in those directions whatsoever. Furthermore, he fully admitted that the only reason he stays with Boyzone is the cash-flow it brings towards his bank account. Yet loads and loads of young females throw themselves at him. Personally I do not see why a man with so many holes in his head is so attractive for females, but that might be because I am of the male gender myself.
Another perfect example of image being everything is given by Christina Aquilera. Although loads of young men would die for just one night at her side, in real life she isn't the loveable person we are lead to believe. Loads and loads of make-up make her look twice her age and she does things just to see how far she can annoy people. Nobody does anything to prevent her from being the snob she really is, and why is that? Because she's Christina Aquilera, that is why! Yet despite these facts, Christina can easily wrap ten men around each finger of her hands.
Most of us probably felt something for a famous person at least once in our lifetimes. No harm in that, because usually that feeling doesn't last very long. You'd probably walk around with your head drifting in the clouds for a short while, before getting back down to earth. Pretty normal actually. But when this feeling lasts longer, some people tend to do very strange things.
Rock bands of the 1980s, such as Aerosmith and Guns n' Roses, were renowned to be followed by hordes of groupies wherever they went. These so called groupies were usually female fans who would do literally anything to get in touch with their idol. Some of them were "lucky" to be picked out after a gig to come backstage and get in touch with the one or ones they adored.
But more often, they were seduced by someone else who claimed he could get them into touch with their idol; abused might be the better word here. In either case, it would remain a one night stand. The next morning, the whole circus would leave town for another gig in another place where the entire story would repeat itself, leaving the girls in their wake. It is exactly this kind of life to which the term "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll" refers.
When the love interest of a fan persists however, he or she becomes the victim of his or her own love interest. These sorts of fans get extremely focussed with the love for their idol, sometimes so bad that it becomes an obsession. And obsessions rarely turn into something good.
Most of these people live in a dream world, becoming isolated from the real world around them. This will most likely have a negative impact on their work or school and the relationships they have in real life. When it has come this far, the subject of their affection only has to make one wrong move (such as marriage) to turn the table on this person. The obsessed fan might become severely depressed and suicides are known to happen.
On the other hand, the worst scenario for an artist is when a fan becomes so obsessed with his or her love that he or she starts stalking the artist, turning up at every event, harassing the artist on the road and at home. These stalkers can make an artist's life really frightening at times. Agnetha Fältskog, from the legendary ABBA, can vouch for that. She has been harassed by a Dutch fan for years and years. Just as in this case, it usually turns out that the obsessive fan has to be made to stop his or her activities via court.
Unfortunately for the fans, true fan - artist love relationships are rare, despite the fact that in many relationships the artist says that his or her partner is his or her number one fan. So why is it that artists try to keep a personal distance from their fans? A reason could be that many artists like to keep their private life separated from their career and fans belong to the latter.
Another reason could be the difference in profession. The one is famous beyond words, where the other will have to lead his or her life in the shadow of his or her partner. This is not something real love can not fix.
What about the huge difference in money? Artists tend to earn a little bit more than us mere mortals, which means that the partner could start living a luxurious life on the money of the artist. This brings to mind the brief marriage between Melanie Brown and Jimmy Gulzar. Some of you might argue that Jimmy is hardly the prototype of a Spice Girls fan, and I would have to agree. Mr. Gulzar seems to be more of a money fan. According to reports on their divorce, he should be able to live out his life without ever having to work again, provided he is able to handle his given fortune with sensibility that is.
This whole money business is also a theme we can find in many songs. Melanie Brown used tracks like "Tell Me" from her last album to write of some frustration she experienced from her marriage. Other artists tend to warn the audience beforehand, such as Destiny's Child did with their "Bills, Bills, Bills".
Meanwhile, lots of us, the fans, are left with our crushes. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you remember that whilst you might drift in the clouds for a while, you always have to come back down to earth. And back on earth you might realize that what you were looking for up there is closer by than you expect!