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When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans' Story
IMDB Rating: N/A/10 from N/A votes
Release: 29 May 2015 /

When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans' Story

Genre: Documentary
Director: Sam Bridger,
Synopsis: Music journalist Kate Mossman recalls her adolescent obsession with rock band Queen and her crush on their drummer Roger Taylor. She also goes through a potted history of pop fandom. The ...

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Critic Reviews

Using her own experiences in the early Nineties of falling in love with Queen - especially Roger Taylor - as a teenager, Kate Mossman told the story of the fan phenomenon.

Perhaps predictably, she began with The Beatles and continued right through to the late Nineties with the advent of grunge. She talked to various aging fans of various groups - The Beatles, the Bay City Rollers, Manic Street Preachers, and so on - as well as interviewing gray-haired performers, some of whom still went on tour, attracting huge audiences, such as Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers and Dave Hill of Slade.

The only snag with this documentary was that it told half a story. The screaming teenager phenomenon did not "begin" with The Beatles, but was evident in British and American popular cultures in the Forties and Fifties with Frank Sinatra and Johnnie Ray. There were other forms of extreme reaction: when Bill Haley and the Comets toured Britain in the mid-Fifties, rock 'n roll fans tore out theater seats in their enthusiasm. The media had a lot to do with increasing fan frenzy, especially in its scaremongering tactics: was this the end of civilization as we know it? Encouraged by their sudden popularity, many fans continued in their extreme behavior. We can cite the battles between Mods and Rockers in the mid-Sixties on Brighton beach as an example; much of the so-called "anarchy" that took place on a Bank Holiday was staged for the media's benefit.

Sam Bridger's documentary also contained a fundamental contradiction that was not adequately explained, despite the presence of a "fan studies expert" among the interviewees. On the one hand Mossman was keen to argue that the extreme behavior of many fans was really only confined to their teenage years; once they grew older they became more sober in their reactions. On the other hand there were several fans whose obsessions persisted in their adulthood: one fan of Iron Maiden had an entire shed devoted to his heroes, and freely admitted that his mania had cost him his marriage and his children's' love.

Perhaps the best explanation for fandom came in the documentary's final line, as Mossman described it as "pure, intense, unadulterated devotion" that continues as a lifelong passion for many people.

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