6 June 2020


The true fan

Overnight queues, camp-outs and stampedes used to be the preserve of hardcore fans intent on securing long awaited tickets to see their favourite bands. A true fan would go to any length to be the proud owner of a ticket  that would give them the opportunity of seeing their favourite band play. Delirium brought on by forced sleeplessness and exposure to the elements furthered the exhilaration felt by a fan upon securing a ticket. Perhaps this same sense of delirium heightened the sense of cameraderie a fan felt toward his fellow fans with whom he queued, all standing in line, unsolitary, in solidarity. The measure of how hardcore a music fan he was, could be deduced by gauging how far he was willing to go to secure tickets. This once-necessary display of dedication gave music lovers a platform on which to display and publicly share their true, unabiding loyalty to a band. The rise of online ticket sales has reduced this phenemenon significantly.

As though the world were somehow a sorrier place for the lack of this mass gathering of likeminded people, lately it seems that we’ve sought the thrill and eager anticipation that once was found in such events as concerts in the search for the most banal and quotidian products. It’s suddenly almost as though nothing quite captures the imagination of the public quite as much as the Billy Shelf, Bixies or the iPod Nano. The lure of all-night queuing for limited concert tickets has been replaced by the lure of all-night queuing for limitless supplies of flat pack furniture, greatly discounted groceries and slick, albeit plentiful electronics. Why and when did the opening of a ubiquitous supermarket suddenly become an eagerly-anticipated event? Where once the only thing that would have people out on the streets for all-night queuing was the quest for music tickets, now it seems those same efforts are only made when a discounter supermarket comes to town.

Despite having over one hundred stores in Ireland, the recent opening of a Lidl supermarket in Dundrum generated such excitement as to entice hordes of customers to stand in line and queue before dawn broke. The opening of France’s first Apple Store earlier this month was also marked by lengthy queues of loyal followers, some of whom began their dutiful queuing some twenty four hours ahead of its opening. Over five hundred people gathered in line outside IKEA’s doors in Ballymun earlier this summer, safe in the knowledge that queuing hours ahead of the official opening would allow them the privilege of being the first to grace the floors of IKEA Dublin. Consumers have become fans and the true fan stands in line.

Pauline Ní Luanaigh

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