Stalking DJs and Coronation Street tattoos: Meet the superfans
Don’t accuse them of jumping on the bandwagon
Superfans aren’t limited to teenage girls who listen to One Direction and cry at concerts. Anyone you know could have a secret obsession they’re keeping quiet.
The most dedicated fans get tattoos of their favourite soap stars, follow Katie Perry over to Scandinavia and base their whole image around their favourite band. We tracked the superfans down to find out why they do it.
Getting a Coronation Street tattoo
Coronation Street superfan Martyn Hett got a portrait of the legendary character Deirdre on his leg earlier this year because of his long-term dedication to the show.
Martyn told The Tab: “People think I’m a mentalist. I have been watching the show since I was around three years old. I’ve pretty much seen every episode since then and have also been catching up from 1988 on YouTube.
“It’s been really interesting to see some of the huge 80s/early 90s storylines unfold like Rita’s domestic abuse and Ken Barlow’s affairs. It also used to be much simpler then – less characters, and more believable storylines.
“I’m fully aware that I need to get out more.”
The PR worker was accused of using the death of Anne Kirkbride (the actress who played Deirdre) for attention by getting a tattoo, but it was actually a cover up
“My boyfriend and I had drunkenly gotten tattoos. He got Ken and I got Deirdre written on our ankles. Although we did like them, it was a bit weird when I was on my own.
“People kept asking who Deirdre was and why I had her name on my ankle, so I decided I wanted to get a portrait instead. This is my favourite era of Deirdre’s – the big perm and the big glasses – and her acting around this period was incredible.”
While Martyn saw it as no different to getting a portrait of a musician of their legs, he doesn’t plan to get any more Coronation Street body art.
“No, I actually don’t like tattoos, believe it or not. I don’t think I’ll ever regret it though, ask again ten years!
The Beatles and 1960s fashion
Huge Beatles fan Astrid Shapiro launched the first 60s night at Leeds Uni and even DJs at her own night dedicated to the period.
She said: “It took a couple of years for me to completely fall in love with The Beatles. When I was 14 or so, and joined Tumblr photos of a young Paul McCartney found their way onto my dashboard, and I was utterly taken with him.
“I fell in love with the band as a whole when I watched videos of interviews with them on YouTube, when their charisma, humour, intelligence, beauty, and charm were clear to see.”
She added: “I guess I’m as avid a fan as any true Beatlemaniac. I have a deep running passion for The Beatles, and this has consequently had a huge impact on my life, and all my interests that have followed on from falling in love with The Beatles.”
The 1960s society Astrid formed now has over 350 members, proving her dedication is anything but a niche.
Astrid said: “I naturally collect Beatles records, and have many books relating to them. My entire wardrobe has been crafted through my love of The Beatles, and subsequent fascination with the 1960s. Most of my clothing is carefully selected vintage pieces, with a focus on psychedelic statements.”
Running a site dedicated to One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson
Not superfan list would be complete without a One Direction story, and Queen Mary fresher Kim Yudelowitz ran one of the band’s first ever fan pages and has met all of the members numerous times.
Kim said: “It was predominately all about Louis, posting pictures of him from their concerts and just updates on his life. I decided to call the page ‘Tommonews’, because there weren’t enough characters for ‘Tomlinsonnews’.
“When Louis followed me he only had 100,000 followers compared to millions now and was following just 300 people. He tweeted me quite a few times, saying thing like ‘Hey babe, how are you?’ and it made me feel really special at the time.”
While Kim was getting positive attention from the band themselves, she was also starting to get noticed at concerts.
She said: “I was in the queue and this girl randomly started shouting: ‘It’s the girl who runs Tommonews’. It was strange and overwhelming. Everyone was like: ‘Yeah, I follow her too’.”
Despite running a successful One Direction blog for nearly five years, shockingly Kim no longer listens to the band.
She confessed: “When I turned 17 I slowly phased them out.”
“I still like their music, but I’m not an obsessed fan like I was two years ago. It’s sad they’re going on hiatus because it’s almost like a whole part of my teenage years are ending. My sixteen year old self probably would have shed a tear.”
Following Katy Perry all the way to Scandinavia
Michael Rogers is an unashamed Katy Perry fanatic, forcing his friends to watch her movie and booking place tickets just to see her in person.
He said: “I can’t remember exactly when I started to love Katy Perry, but judging by the Facebook statuses coming up on my timehop I was caught up in the I Kissed a Girl hype and just never let go.
“My peak fandom would be booking to see her in Stockholm back in March when I was still high off the buzz of seeing her in London. I flew out and queued to be right at the front, she held my hand and I cried for the rest of the evening.
“My Facebook albums are named after her albums so I guess every picture is a Katy Perry picture.”
A lot of superfans keep their love quiet, but Michael has been nothing but open about his addiction to Katy Perry.
He said: “My friends mainly take the piss but in an embracing way. I try to avoid getting overly emotional around them about it.
“I watch the Katy Perry film most weeks, and I always make guys I’m dating watch it at some point. I don’t think I’ve ever cried at a film as much as I’ve cried at hers.”
An obsession with Ellie Goulding
Royal Holloway student Isabel Gonzalez-Prendergast used to be so into Ellie Goulding she cried when she saw her, and even asked to go and sing on stage with her idol.
She said: “I first found Ellie on YouTube in 2009, obviously before she was famous – she didn’t even have her own channel.
“Being a wannabe singer/songwriter myself at the time, I tried to morph my voice into hers. I remember my family telling me I sounded like a child, but I totally ignored them because Ellie knew better than everyone what sounded good.
“The first time I saw her was in Digital, a club in Brighton, in 2010 with my friend. I definitely cried when she came on, and I screamed “Can I sing with you?” at her, as a serious request which she laughed at to my horror.”
She added: “My ex bought me a signed poster of her, as well as a framed CD to put on my wall. They, along with the concert ticket, which I of course kept, were my prized possessions until her next concert.
“At the time, my biggest regret was not buying a t shirt when I saw her, so instead I named at least three of my Facebook photo albums with her song lyrics,.
“Six years later I can’t stand the sound of her voice, it’s just a bit whingey.”
Begging James Blake to perform at a birthday party
Superfan Bella Eckert is in love with James Blake, and isn’t afraid who knows it.
She said: “It has become a running joke that I am similar to a ‘Belieber’ for James Blake.
“My sister sent me his album when I was 15 and I thought it was a mistake as it was just a jumble of sounds, but then I got obsessed. His illusiveness only added to his attraction.”
Bella’s fandom peaked when she invited James Blake to play at her birthday party while under the influence of some strong painkillers.
“I managed to find his agent and send her a message saying how great it would be if James Blake could play at my birthday, which I falsely advertised as ‘a small festival’. She politely declined.
“I eventually saw him at Bestival in 2014 – and he was pretty much the only reason I went. I’m ashamed to say this but I nearly cried when I saw him, everyone else was dancing and I couldn’t. I was just watching him loop and play and sing and mix and I was transfixed.”
Performing Abba songs in front of Japanese tourists in Sweden
Brad Vanstone has been seriously into Abba since listening to their greatest hits album over and over again in the family car.
He said: “By the time I was ten I’d started inventing dance routines to accompany the music, reciting every song word for word. My favourite is a toss up between Voulez-ous and SOS. Both stalwarts at any family gathering.”
Brad was even lucky enough to travel to the Abba museum in Stockholm, and even had a crowd gather around him.
“Half way through the tour you have the opportunity to sing on stage with the full band. They super impose the rest of the members by your side with you in the middle. You then perform the full dance routine of Dancing Queen.
“There was literally no one in the room when I started, but much to my dismay a Japanese touring party entered the room half way through my performance and took ten photos each whilst pointing and giggling.
“Unwilling to let anything cloud over my childhood dream I soldiered on.”