Popular Culture Fandom: Broadening the Picture

This chapter does not aim to cover all aspects of popular culture fandom; instead, we provide some examples to illustrate how diverse this field is. While Chap. 5 looked more closely at film and screen fandom, in this chapter we will predominantly look at popular music—including Morrissey, Elvis Costello, and the Eurovision Song Contest—but we will also touch upon Terry Wogan’s Terry’s Old Geezer’s and Gals (TOGs) and actor David Suchet’s relationship with Hercule Poirot fandom. The music examples in particular are linked to fan engagement on social media, but instead of treating these online fan activities as expressions and performances of homogeneous “communities,” we will view them as rather casual points of individual engagement with fellow fans and the artists or “scenes” they support.

As we have already seen elsewhere in this book, it is increasingly important for artists and musicians to have a large online following, and preferably an official fan community with a name which distinguishes them from fan communities of other artists. Some of the largest fan groups include Katy Perry’s “KatyKats,” Lady Gaga’s “Little Monsters,” Taylor Swift’s “Swifties,” Rihannas “RihannaNavy,” Mariah Carey’s “Lambs,” Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers,” Beyonce’s “Beyhive,” and One Direction’s © The Author(s) 2017

H. Linden, S. Linden, Fans and Fan Cultures, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-50129-5_8

“Directioners.” The initiative for some of these names has come from the artist, while others have been named more organically by the fans themselves. In the autumn of 2012, when there was a debate on Twitter among Ed Sheeran fans about what was the proper Sheeran fan name—Sheeran himself entered the conversation and endorsed the name “Sheerios” via a tweet: “i get asked all the time what my fans call themselves. i approve of sheerios, i like that one” (Sheeran 2012). This shows how much names of fans mean to contemporary pop artists, as they are important branding vehicles and also help forge a closer bond between artist and fan.

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