Fandom and Nostalgia

Wanderers, we’re doing something new here (on this article about old stuff). We’re co-writing. So here, for the first half of this article, is Eleanor Musgrove. Z McAspurren will, we’re sure, let you know when she takes over.

We’ve all had moments of nostalgia, haven’t we? We sit there with a wistful sigh and we think ‘weren’t things great when…’ – and yeah, sometimes we’ve got the rose-tinted past-goggles on, but sometimes we’re right. Especially when it comes to fandom.

Z’s probably going to talk about some of her favourite old stuff – old stuff she’s a fan of – but right at this minute I’m feeling nostalgic about something relatively new. Because, Wanderers, I’m a member of the Merlin fandom. Present tense; I remain a fan, and I suspect I always will. But the show itself drew to a close – going out with a bang, not a whimper – on Christmas Eve, 2012. It was always planned that way, so I was more or less ready for it. I’m going to be OK.

But, understandably, there’s been a lot of nostalgia going spare in the fandom over the last couple of weeks. We look at the emotional final episode, we realise that legendary dragon-voiced intro is never going to emit from our televisions again, and we cling to the memories of happier times – times, back in the first series, where the monsters were defeated at the end of the episode, where characters only almost died unless we didn’t like them very much, and where there were more little comedy moments than harrowing dramatic scenes. And best of all, where there were still four or five years’ worth of adventures to look forward to.

It’s nice, sometimes, to be able to look back. Because you never know when a show’s going to disappear, or go downhill, or just turn into something it never used to be. A book series can come to an end, a show can have its finale – or get cancelled – a film franchise’s credits will eventually roll for the last time. Fandoms themselves can get too dramatic for some fans to stay in. What’s nice, though, is the fact that you’ll always have those beginnings, and you can always cherish the memories of those times. Chin up, Wanderers, we haven’t lost what was.

Alright Wanderers, Z here to continue with this little nostalgia fest we’re having. Eleanor’s right, when it comes to fandom, we’ll often find that the rose tinted goggles are out in full force while we’re remembering the very best of our fandoms. But that’s because we’re remembering the very best of our fandom, we’re remembering those moments that made us grin, or laugh, or even had us sobbing so hard we didn’t think we’d stop. All of these moments are important to us as members of fandom, because without them, what are you really experiencing?

Maybe the nostalgia ties into the idea of fandom being this huge play on your emotions. To put it simply, there will be that one show, one that you grew up with, and maybe just hearing the theme tune is enough to spark happy memories in your head and bring a smile to your face. It’s nothing big, it’s nothing spectacular, but it’s enough to know that it made you happy, and really that’s what fandom is for, when we get down to it. It makes us happy. (Or causes us to sob uncontrollably, but don’t worry Merlin people, us Whovians are here for you. Just remember its our 50th this year, we’re going to have a lot of feels.)

Why do we go back, that would be the big question to ask ourselves. Eleanor said sometimes it’s because it’s fun, and again I’ve got to agree with her line of thinking here. Even the bad stuff can have a memory attached to it that gives you warm fuzzy feelings when you recall it. A moment that made you scream at the show you were watching, or throw the book across the room, because how could they do that? But you still went back, you still finished it off, because dammit, this was yours and you weren’t going to run from it.

We’ve all got that one show in our memories, or that one book. For me, well, it was the very first thing I reviewed for this site: Press Gang. Okay, so it’s one of a few but let’s not ruin the poetic nature of the moment here and stick with me. But books? Books it always comes down to three of them, three stories that I read as a child and that have stuck with me for years and remain to this days stories that I adore. I won’t name the books, I’ll name the lands. You might have heard of them: Wonderland, Neverland, and Oz.

Fandom as nostalgia is really what it says on the tin, if we’re looking to sum it up in some easy to parrot catchphrase. It’s remembering stuff that we want to remember, be it for good connections or bad. To close this out, my mind goes to one production. I think Team Starkid’s A Very Potter Sequel summed it up for us, guys.

“Yeah, but that’s what makes it so special. Sure, we have to go back home for the summer, but imagine how, how totally awesome going back’s gonna be. ‘Till then, I gotta go back to the muggle world and they’re gonna try to tell me this wasn’t real, and none of this happened, but you know what? It was real, and it did happen. We spent time here, and we made friends here, and that’s a part of us. Because Hogwarts, it’s bigger than any of us, bigger than any of its founders, and it’s gonna be around long after we’re gone. Maybe we’ll see our kids come here one day. That’s the thing about Hogwarts. No matter how long you’re away from it, man, there’s always a way back.”

Can’t say it better than that, can you?

Eleanor Musgrove & Z McAspurren (are a very nostalgic two-headed monster)

This entry was posted in Fandom As..., Issue Fifteen and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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