What is the definition of a true fan? Why are some fans seen as more dedicated than others? This is something that I have been pondering for a while. There are clearly different levels of fandom but how do you measure this? Does the size of your collection equate to the size of the fan? Does the amount of times you have seen them live mean you are a bigger fan than those who haven’t? How do you know when you are a die-hard? It’s not an easy thing to measure.
I have been called a Bowie die-hard. This title was bestowed on me by others but why do they think this about me? Well let’s explore some possible reasons and see if I am a true fan.
So, let’s start with the size of your collection. For many years my collection wasn’t much of a collection at all. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to collect all things Bowie, but simply due to a lack of funds. I would say I am still as much a fan as I ever was. Yes, I have a nicely sized collection now but being admin on the Facebook’s ‘David Bowie Collector’s Group’ has shown just how lacking my collection is. There you can see 30+ covers of the same album. I may have 4 or 5 of the same album but I have not collected them for each different country that it was released in. Also, I do not spend money on items that have gone for silly money and for this reason, I currently do not have the RSD Starman picture disc or the yellow vinyl Let’s Dance in my collection. So, if the size of a collection is a measurement of a true fan then I fail. And I do not believe that a lack of funds should equate to a measurement of a true fan. That can be dictated by life and your personal circumstances.
Perhaps you a true fan for the amount of times you have seen them live? I have only seen Bowie live four times. I feel blessed that I saw him those times and of course wish I had seen him more. He did keep touring while I was pregnant (okay so that is two tours) and I didn’t like the Tin Machine years as I felt he was having a mid-life crisis. This is David Bowie; he can’t just become a band member! So, I missed all those. Of course, now this is one of the biggest regrets of my life, but again funds do come into it. Raising a family meant funds were limited and I put my children first. I am so pleased that I went to the Reality tour as this turned out to be the last time he would do a big tour. At the time, I had no idea that this would be the last time I would ever see him again, so I do feel blessed that I went. Despite the restrictions on trains home and the weather (it poured down), I am so glad I went. However, I know people who have seen him more than 100 times. I know people who have met him personally. I know people who have a story to tell about him. It breaks my heart to say I have none of this. Does this mean I am not a true fan?
I rarely wear T-shirts. So how do people know if you are a true fan if you do not wear a Bowie t-shirt? I don’t wear them as I don’t think they flatter me – not because I don’t like them. You may not be able to wear a t-shirt to work either so how can you spot a true fan? Of course, you could suggest a more permanent solution to the t-shirt is the tattoo. It is certainly true that since David’s passing, many hundreds of Bowie fans have had a tattoo to mark their dedication permanently. This does include me as three months after his death I got my first ever tattoo. But I do not think it is fair to say that only fans with tattoos love him and those who don’t have a tattoo are less of a fan. A tattoo is a very permanent personal decision and it could be classed as one measure but certainly not the only thing that would define a die-hard.
So, how do you measure a true fan? It’s not about money and it’s not about the size of your collection. Neither is it about how many times you have seen them live or if you have met them personally.
There are different levels of fandom. That is certain. But the real measurement of that is none of the above. It is about your dedication to them. It’s about what is in your heart. How much you love them.
I do find myself talking Bowie to random shop owners, I find myself mentioning a line from a song if it fits a situation. I talk Bowie all the time to those who listen. I cried and mourned for him as if he was a member of my own family when he passed away. My website is dotted with blogs about my feelings for him. It is for these reasons that I believe my friends call me a die-hard. And although I would never say this about myself, I consider myself honoured to have that title bestowed on me. I am a Bowie die-hard.