How Fans Are Made

I’ve had month of unprecedented sales of my books in February. I’ve no idea what triggered it, but I’m delighted. It got me wondering about fans and where they come from.

Fan

Noun

  1. An apparatus with rotating blades that creates a current of air for cooling or ventilation.
  2. A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.
(Obviously I’m not writing a blog post about the machine that keeps me cool while I’m riding on the turbo trainer.)

I’m a fan of Train. We went to watch them in concert recently as they toured the UK. I’ve been trying to remember what it was that triggered my enjoyment of their music. I’m pretty sure it was just prior to a trip to my favourite city when I was compiling a playlist of songs about San Francisco and I came across Save Me, San Francisco. I bought the album, and realised they were the band that sang Drops of Jupiter, a song I always liked but had no idea who sang it.

I’ve now got three of their albums and was thrilled to be going to a concert. Quite a big fan. In the queue we met a family from Luton who said this would be their fourth time seeing Train play live. Wow. I guess they’re bigger fans than us. Then we met their friends, a family from Peterborough who had also seen Train play several times before. In fact they’d been at the concert in the Hammersmith Apollo the night before. Two Train concerts in two days. And I don’t even own all of Train’s albums. I felt as though calling myself a fan was a bit presumptuous.

Train in concert in Wolverhampton

Train in concert in Wolverhampton

All this pales when you find out that there was, at the front of the queue, a small group of fans who had been queuing since 10am (the doors opened at 7pm). Not only that, but they had queued at the door that early for every single concert that Train did on that UK tour. That is a really serious fan. Even the guys from Peterborough who’d seen two gigs in a row thought these fans were hard-core. As a writer I aspire to inducing this much enthusiasm in my readers. Well, maybe not quite that much.

Maybe at this stage in my writing career I should be watching more closely what happened to the support act. I’d not heard of her before the tickets arrived (a week before the concert) and I looked her up on the internet. The clips I heard sounded promising, so I bought the album. It’s superb, I love it and I’d played it so much that I knew the words and was singing along.

Most of the audience, while we were waiting for the gig to start, were asking ‘Who’s Gin Wigmore? Have you ever heard of her before? Is she any good?’ It was instructive to watch how their initial uncertainty turned to delight once they’d heard her sing a song or two. They were all disappointed when her set ended, and she was welcomed back on stage with a huge cheer when she came on later during Train’s set to sing a duet with Pat. They might not have followed her to every concert or bought a single one of her records, but they were all fans. I’ll bet that quite a few went home and bought the album.

I must remember that there are more fans out there than I think, they’ve just not read my book or heard you sing yet. But when they do, they’ll be camped outside, anxious for the next one. I’d better get on with writing it.
In the meantime, while you wait in the cold, wrapped in a space-blanket, you can listen to the same soundtrack I’m hearing while I write:

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