Notes on reading for Week 1
Loving Music Listeners, Entertainments, and the Origins of Music Fandom in Nineteenth-Century America
What I find interesting is the way Cavicchi describes performers in the 1850s as 'commodities for sale' and that the manager/agent role started that early on. Today's musicians also have to curate their personas both on and offline, but this idea of manipulating the public demand for an artist starting that early is interesting.
A lot of the topics we covered in the last class are pretty evident here - fans feeling a connection to the musician, pilgrimages to sites associated with a performer, etc. But an interesting dynamic is the relationship to a venue - most of my experience has been tied to media, so the fans' feelings toward their seats and the effect it had on their enjoyment of the performance is new to me. It's also nice to know that even back then there were people who looked down on music lovers. There's a specific way to enjoy music? A more refined way? Why do the upper classes dictate what the 'refined way' is and say it's the right way to enjoy music?
Shooter Boys and At-Risk Girls
I have to reread this article twice before the message hit home. In terms of fan practices, the author found a place for herself in her clothes and practices but it was considered taboo by society. In this regard I understand the author's point: her choices were considered unacceptable by the larger society and thus there had to be something wrong with her. The last paragraph is really key:
What they destroy when they do so are the frail life preservers that carried kids like me through childhood. We needed our black clothes, our art, our angry anthems. We needed things that were as jagged as we were. Take them away, and you might provide the illusion of safety. But you steal the small safe spaces we built for ourselves.
Fandom is a safe space (generally... hopefully) for a person to express the things inside of themselves. Like Molly Crabapple says, of course schools target poetry or trench coats which are considered signs of a problem; yet there are those who commit murder only to be explained away as "he seemed so nice". These assumptions make living that much harder for these people who already feel something that isn't being met by their surroundings.
The harder the world pushes back, the more we cling to what we've identified with.