We all want to meet our favorite musician, right? Wanting them to acknowledge us, recognize us, is part and parcel of the whole fandom gig. When someone goes too far, we call that stalking. What is stalking? What exactly is going too far? Maybe we should start with what is acceptable and work our way up.
Here’s the thing some people don’t understand. They owe us nothing. Sure, we give them money, in exchange for their albums, merchandise, or concerts. It’s a straightforward transaction. No, seriously. We may mention the time we’ve put in as fans, but they put in the time as well in the studio, rehearsing, whatever. Of course we like it better if they’re nice to us, it makes us more inclined to continue purchasing their product. What may trip us up is the feelings we get from those products.
So, because they give us joy, fill our souls, we want that connection to go both ways. To that end, we want to meet our idols.
A good way to do that is strategic loitering. This is best accomplished in groups of two or more, but probably should not exceed eight depending on the venue one chooses. Remember, if we know where to go, odds are others will as well.
Basically what we do is very simple. We go somewhere our idol is likely to be and hang out. For example, the radio station adventure I talked about last week. Other acceptable places are, in no particular order: concert/show venues, signings, hotel bars, and other public places. One location one should NEVER go uninvited is a private residence. This lands you firmly in stalking territory, and should be avoided at all costs.
Now, okay, we have the places, but what should we do when we get there? First, and most important, be polite…to the person you wish to meet, fellow loiterers, and most especially to any staff who might be working your chosen venue.
Let’s say we’ve chosen the hotel bar as our hang-out spot. Order a drink. It doesn’t have to be alcoholic, we just have to keep in mind that the bartender and servers are there to make a living. If we’re taking up their tables and bar space without ordering, we are impeding their ability to do so. That’s rude. What’s more, they’ll be less inclined to pass on any potentially helpful information, such as when Mr. or Ms. Rock Star tends to come down for a drink!
So, the bartender has given us the skinny that our idol will be down within the hour. What do we do when they appear? No! We don’t mob them or hover in the doorway! Bad fan, no autograph! We wait for them to come in, get comfy, and gauge their mood. If they look like they want to be left alone, we LEAVE THEM ALONE. Regroup, come back at another time or try a different venue.
If, however, they’re being approachable, do so. We don’t mob them, we send one or two of our group over to politely ask for autographs. If the water’s fine, they discreetly beckon the others to join. If, on the other hand, what we took for a welcoming smile was just gas, we back off post-haste.
“But Gigi!” I hear your dulcet tones clamor, “That means we don’t get to meet them!”
True enough, but it also ensures we don’t piss them off and make a bad impression. It gives us a chance to try again later at a more opportune moment. And maybe, just maybe
naughty girls need love too they’ll remember how polite we were at the hotel and be extra nice at the backstage door!
Okay, so let’s say our venue is at the back of the House of Blues or another small setting. There’s maybe ten people total, and two of them are with us. Where do we stand? Near the big black car/SUV/limo idling at the curb! Now we wait. We see the first band member exit. He’s the one our two friends are there to see so we take the camera, ready to play a combination of shutter-bug and wing-man(woman). Oh no! The crazy stalker fan has launched herself onto him like a monkey, arms around his neck, legs around his waist! For shame!
Here’s where playing to Mr. Rock Star’s tastes really comes in. God (yes, I mean Nick Rhodes) really likes the unique. Happily, one of our friends is in boots that make her over six feet tall, sporting fire-engine-red hair, and wearing a bindi. Though shaken by the scary limpet fan, he sees her and his face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. When politely asked for a picture, he readily agrees, puts his arm around her, and the picture gets snapped. We thank him, he slips into his limo, and drives off. Now we have a memory that will last forever and our idol is reassured that not all his fans are insane.
There have been a few examples peppered throughout of inappropriate behavior. Other things no good fan should ever do: dig through their garbage, abduct their pets for ransom, steal their clothes to sell on eBay, follow them into the bathroom, interrupt conversations, grope them without express permission/invitation or do anything we wouldn’t want a stranger to do to us.
What examples of strategic loitering have I missed? What about stalking? Share your tales of band encounters here!