This is in response to this post by Ray on Idolminded and also this one by the lovely Chiima. I think many of you will just skip this. But for any who read I hope it’s not too boring. But before I start some key players…
So what made me a fan of H!P and idols in general? Well I guess it pays to start at the beginning. I was born the youngest of a family of…okay maybe not at that much of a beginning. Although being the youngest probably played it’s part. I was always surrounded by what others liked. Being the youngest you tend, initially at least, to watch and listen to what older siblings watch and listen to. As a child I got into Doctor Who as one of my brothers watched it. Strangely I got into it shortly before he abandoned it and I’ve watched it ever since. This is relevant by the way. 😄 As a child I was the type to be overwhelmingly into one thing. Kids in my street used to play with their toys in a way I found weird. They’d have such a bizarre mixture of toys. One Transformer, one He-Man a Spiderman figure, etc. They’d play with them together. To me that was WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! I mean WTF? It makes no sense. Look Transformers were from Cybertron but based on Earth. Spiderman was also based on Earth I grant you but their paths never crossed. Besides the scale was all wrong. Transformers as robots were huge. And as for He-Man he was from a different planet entirely…I think. Odd! Yes as a child I collected ONE thing. That was just the way my mind worked. At first it was Star Wars figures. When I was about to see Star Wars on the tv for the first time it was because I had picked up on my brother’s talk of it and was excited. A friend of my mum gave me an action figure that her son had but had outgrown (a Stormtrooper) and so I sat watching Star Wars with figure in hand waiting to see it on the screen. For birhdays and Christmases the next few years that’s all I wanted. The main and often only presents (we certainly weren’t rich) were Star Wars toys. I remember I used to get money of my Nan or whoever for my birthday and I’d be taken to a local Toy & Hobby store and it was like Narnia but better because it was full of Star Wars toys. To my little child eyes the shelves were 75 foot up. The aisles were about five miles long and there was a whole aisle just of Star Wars ships. Then at the front of the aisle the figures. I’d spend ages choosing which figure to buy. >< So Star Wars was the thing. Sure I watched many other things. I loved Doctor Who (but there were no toys during that period). I liked plenty of cartoons too. But the thing I played when I wasn’t kicking a football was Star Wars.
Next came Transformers. When you couldn’t get the Star Wars toys in the shops I had to find something else for birthdays and Christmases. I think Transformers were a triumph of advertising as I became obsessed without ever watching the cartoon. I just saw adverts for the toys and thought they were quite amazingly cool. Which they were. I started reading the UK version of the comic which was great. So that was toys for Birthdays and Christmases until I outgrew toys…or at least until I knew I was too old to carry on getting them. Really being a guy I never outgrew toys. ^^
So yeah I was very much a one thing to collect type of kid. Then in my teenage years it grew. I’d always loved Doctor Who and when the show was celebrating it’s 25th year I hunted down a Doctor Who Magazine 25th Anniversary special. I’d always read the novelisations of the stories as a child. I was an avid library visitor ever since my parents took me when I was about 4 (The Cat in the Hat was one of the two books I got during my first ever library visit. Good memory huh?) The 25th anniversary special was something I read from cover to cover twice. It had pictures of people I’d read about in the books but never seen on tv. The first three Doctors and their companions for instance. I doubt I’d ever seen photos of them before. Just drawings on the covers of books (they always had brilliant drawn front covers). And the episodes were never repeated as it used to be on tv for like 46 weeks of the year in the early days (plus it turned out the BBC had destroyed lots of episodes in the days before home video recorders as they thought there was no further need for them). Well reading this one-off special made me want to start reading the monthly magazine so I did. This mag was very in-depth. It looked behind the scenes of the programmes delving back into production schedules, interviewing people and so on. It also had a great comic strip each month. But really it was all the features on past programmes and the interviews with people involved that got me. Ironically the year after I started reading it Doctor Who went off the air. Not to return, bar one tv movie, until 2005. The magazine continued anyway. There were 26 years of programmes to discuss and 26 years of actors to interview. Plus the videos were being released. I was virtually obsessed…in a not particularly geeky stereotype kind of way that is. I mean I also loved music and football and tennis and many other things. But above all else I loved reading about and watching Doctor Who. The magazine kept my interest burning even though the show had finished.
So for the next ten years or so I was mostly into the good Doctor. I had periods where I drifted away obviously. I was a teen. I had pocket money to spend. I was shy so didn’t tend to go out much but yet I was alive. You know that thing when you are a teen when you have this limitless energy and every feeling is hyper realisitic? So I loved music and spent a lot on that. I went to University and pushed Doctor Who out my mind there too. Yet everytime I forgot about it I’d get dragged back in. All it would take would be walking through a W.H. Smith and seeing the magazine and it would be like “oh Janet Fielding is on the cover. She’s interviewed inside?. I want to read it”. Or I’d be in a Music Zone or whatever and see a video and it would be “I read that novel as a child. I never saw the actual tv episodes.” So I always came back.
So I’m a child. Music is really important to me as I am 8 years younger than the youngest of my older brothers and they all love music so I do too. David Bowie is in the charts with Let’s Dance and my brothers are buying his older albums. So I bought one too with money I’d saved. My first ever purchase of an album was Alladin Sane. Brilliant album by the way! So music was something I loved from an early age. Mostly it was Indie stuff. Again this was the influence of brothers. As a teen I was heavily into The Smiths. I also loved Julian Cope and a bit later Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. I wasn’t really into pop.
So back to an adult me. Having left university I just happened to see the Doctor Who video “Horror of Fang Rock” on sale in a Music Zone store. This was one of two novels my brothers owned when I was a kid and I remember reading it one night and it scared the crap out of me. WellI was only young. >< So obviously having never seen the actual episodes I bought the video. Also that months magazine. And then several more videos also on sale. And then each time new videos were released them too (they were still releasing some even after all this time. They hadn’t ran out). And then the dvd’s started to be released. So from leaving university I had a period into Doctor Who that never ended. I found eBay and suddenly could cheaply get all the older videos. I had a job so had the money to buy them. I decided it’s about time I watched everything that was not destroyed. It took a few years. 😄 Just as I finished the BBC announced a new series. So yeah it never stopped. Oh and they are still releasing the dvd’s of the original series now. They haven’t ran out yet. I have every one bar one story (which is shit but I will still get when I see it on sale).
So I had left uni and was collecting the dvd’s of Doctor Who. I needed to find out what was being released next so I found an online forum that was full of info. It was also full of humour, lunacy, pricks, wonderful people and drama. So it was basically like life in general then. I became active on the forum for a few years. Basically posting in the humour section and making odd silly jokey posts the likes of which I make here about H!P. Indeed I used to do headlines based around tv episodes. Sound familiar? >.>
On the forum I got chatting to a girl and I liked her a lot. She wasn’t that way inclined so it was just friendship and that’s all I felt anyway.
On the forum I got chatting to another girl and she organised Doctor Who conventions and coincidentally lived five minutes walk from me. She gave me tickets to a con. It’s the only time I have been to one and it was interesting but not really my thing. But we became friends.
One night we had stayed in mine and watched an episode of the first David Tennant series. We had also drunk a lot of wine. At the end of the evening I walked her home. Walking back from hers I was jumped by two little shits and had my nose broken, needed 8 stitches above and below my right eye and given a headache that lasted for two weeks. Two against one and from behind. I love this town. Anyway it’s fair to say that this knocked my confidence a lot. To be honest I became a bit withdrawn and depressed. I struggled with that for a few years but one thing really hekped me through it all and that was my sudden burgeoning love of Idols and idol music. And it’s for that I have the first Doctor Who fangirl to thank.
So a few months after my beating (I almost thought of posting a photo of my face taken two days after the beating but decided not to) I was on MSN talking to fangirl and she sent me a link to a group she had recently gotten into. Now this girl was an American of Asian descent and liked some Japanese stuff already. She once sent me a link to a subbed episode of Sailor Moon. A programme she loved. I watched a bit, thought the girls were cute but didn’t watch more. Well I had plenty of English language stuff I liked. I mean I haven’t even touched on my love of Buffy (don’t worry. I am not going to). But anyway this time she sent me a link to a music video on Youtube. It was this…
I watched it once. It was so happy and catchy. And those black latex outfits were sexy. And the girls were cute. And it was catchy. Also it was catchy. I listened once and bookmarked it. I said I quite liked it. I had no idea what I had just watched but it was…interesting. Also catchy. And catchy. She then sent me a link to this video that had just been released that year…
I liked it. It was catchy. And sexy. And catchy. And the girls were cute. And sexy. Also who was the sexy one in the pink shirt? I bookmarked it.
The next day I woke up humming Renai Revolution 21 to myself. So I watched it again. Then started checking out their other releases. About one month later I had bought their tenth anniversary album and their pv collection. I also discovered the subbed Hello! Morning and Utaban epsiodes and those Alo-Hello’s. Invaluable in giving an idea of what the members personalities were like. Some early members I liked I ended up liking more and others basically disappeared off the radar completely (bye bye Miki). Oh and then Doctor Who fangirl told me she’d bought soime stuff off a bloke on a forum. So I was introduced to Himalia and Hello! Online. My first purchases were Konkon’s bloody lovely alo-Hello dvd and some pics. The rest is pretty much the history of this blog. I started this blog about six months later so this blog basically charts the rise of Ai-chan (who is my number one idol ever), then the rise of C-ute. Actually it wasn’t until Forever Love that I noticed them. It was their Yorosen’s that gave me an idea of the members. Okay not just their Yorosen’s. I mean Nacky is my favourite after all (although at first it was Kanna) but if I based Nacky on her Yorosen episode…well…poor Nacky. ><
Hmm…Nacky…I liked Konkon for her sweetness, quietness, humour and intelligence. I liked Ai-chan because…come on. Perfection in looks and personality. Her heart, her soul, everything is just…♥ Such a beautiful soul. So caring, funny, talented and all-round perfect. Than Kanna was the sort of quieter outsider type and Nacky the shy, sweet little adorable hugglefest. Yes I wanted to just hug her. Whereas now…err…moving on…so I think the idols I like follow a sort of pattern. It’s my kind of person. It’s how I see the world. How I think things should be. Or it’s people I can empathise with. Nacky is a female, prettier and cuter version of the young me. I was shy and quiet. I liked her and supported her because I felt that empathy. I wanted her to succeed. Watching her journey to the person she is now has made me feel proud of her. Almost like she is my daughter. 😄 She became the main presenter of C-ute dvd mags which given her personality wasn’t the obvious choice (but all credit to whoever decided it as it helped her step forward and grow in confidence). She became a good MC’er. She became a great dancer and performer. And she became, following Erika’s graduation, a great back-up to Maimi. Like a sub-leader, an organiser. She grew and became a beautiful young woman. A confident beautiful young woman. Seeing that journey is wonderful.
But I digress. So yes the idols you like say a lot about you as a person. The support for an idol is a really good feeling. Rather than the creepy image some people would have of idol fans it’s actually (in many cases at least) an incredibly pure and supportive thing. It’s happiness and respect and rooting for someone and sharing their highs and lows. If it was football that would be seen as normal. Because it’s idols people see it as weird. They are the weird ones and they don’t know what they are missing.
A couple of things I should add. Firstly my friendship with the Doctor Who fangirl broke down spectacularly despite having known her for several years. There was a post about it once. I felt used a bit. We haven’t spoken since but I still hope she is happy. I think she had moved away from H!P so I doubt our paths would cross again but despite what happened I am still grateful for the positive impact sending me those two videos had.
Secondly H!P has led to the most amazing changes in my life. Such unforseen and wonderful changes. As well as making me loosen up as a person, stop worrying about what others think and just totally embrace myself, as well as making me like music that is pure fun (although I still like all the music I used to like too. It’s just now there is more variety in my life. Life is better with more colours) and as well as opening my eyes to a culture I’d never really shown any interest in before (save for a few films like Battle Royale) it also led me to Paris in 2010. It was there I met Ai-chan, Sayu, Junjun, Reina, Gaki, Eri Linlin and the woofmonster (who was really funny and charming by the way). It was there I saw Momusu singing. I had never felt such an amazing feeling of happiness. Such a pure, happy gleeful feeling. It was also there I met my girlfriend. Nearly three years later I am the happiest I have ever been. Next weekend I head off to Helsinki again for another wonderful week with my Sayu-loving wota partner. Life feels so positive. I feel happier and more free than I have ever felt before. All thanks to H!P. All thanks to Doctor Who. All thanks to the fan gene. Life is random and odd and every so often surprising, exciting and wonderful. It’s an adventure. Through time (forwards only) and through (personal) space.
Doctor Who was about the outsider being a good guy. The Smiths were about the outsider finding humour in his predicament. Hello! Project is about the outsider finding pure happiness. Long live H!P!
P.S. In the background of all this has always been the idol whose name I asked about first. Sayu has never been my number one but has always been up there. She is a quite an incredibly beautiful, funny, kind and acerbic personality. She is also the only H!P member I liked in the early days who is still in H!P now. Sayu is a big part of my H!P fandom too. Her latest photobook arrived yesterday and it”s breathtaking. She has always been there. Long may that continue!