I’m not a joiner.
I distrust institutions – even (especially!) marriage. I was never a girl guide. I don’t do organised religion – not even the pagan flavours. I quite liked the look of anarchy until I realised it had societies…
So as you can imagine it was a bit of shock to discover that I had sidled inadvertently into a fandom!
What is fandom anyway… If you’d asked me that a few years ago I’d probably have said Star Trek or Star Wars with all the images of sad geeks in nylon costumes admiring each other’s toys amongst the sparks of static but is that really all there is to it?
Having written a guide to being human I was at London Film and Comic Con this year with Classic TV Press and this was my first real exposure to organised fandom – and it was quite an eye opener. I started the weekend mystified by cosplay, wondering just who would buy all this stuff and why would anyone queue for eons and eternities for a 5 second photo opportunity with someone who played something in Doctor Who (or maybe something that played someone…) I came away thinking about what costume I might wear next time! It was a brilliant experience, tens of thousands of people, all enthusiastic and committed to their own fandom.
The Being Human fandom is still quite cosy, it’s mostly friendly and one of the joys is the lack of eye rolling, which I’m sure translates to all the others. However much your friends and family profess to understand your ‘appreciation’ of a show they really do not want to analyse and debate it ad infinitum. A group where the tiniest detail can be dissected (more than once), where you can all have diverse views but still ultimately agree and everyone knows when you throw in a quote is a joy. It can even leak out of the online community into the real world. If you’ve seen a group exploring BH locations in Bristol, taking turns to be photographed on the doorstep of the pink house, communing with Herrick at B/E Edwards and earnestly examining a number of otherwise anonymous alleys then you might have seen me!
There are lots of intriguing definitions of fandom on blogs and tumblrs but this one is great: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/hesychasm.livejournal.com One line in particular caught my eye: “Fandom is five arguments over and over and over again.”
Of course I had to ask the question – what are the five arguments in the BH fandom? Well, that might be a subject for as much lively debate as the arguments themselves! I asked a group what they thought and I’m not going to list the options here because they would only be my five as the conversation immediately headed straight into one of those discussions. Proves the point beautifully. As a wise woman said “Thing with the arguments is that you can’t bring them to mind when you need to, but when they start up you go ‘Oh this one *again*?’”
(If you are interested it was the ‘who was the love of Mitchell’s life’ debate. Was it Annie or was it Josie?)*
It’s been curious and interesting to be part of a group – and I’ve got admit that despite early reservations I’m enjoying it. Won’t be reconsidering my policy on joining things though – this is an honourable exception to a generally very sensible rule.
I do have to say that while the Being Human fandom I have stumbled into is not the biggest group in the world – it’s not the biggest show in the world – I have been very lucky to meet a group of funny, clever, entertaining and most of all welcoming people.
*It was Josie. End of!