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01 June 2007


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Thanks for the caps! If RC goes to Europe I'm so there. I like Alan too!


Hi, Rosalee. Welcome and glad you liked the caps. Isn't Land Of A Second Chance a great video? I like Russell too, so we're in agreement - we both like the pair of them.

If Russell and the band do wind up on that Northern Europe tour in a few years, I hope you get to see some shows. And I will keep right on hoping that Alan is in those shows too.

Are Russ fans better or worse than gbs fans? What's the craziest fan behavior you've ever seen?

It was a good interview. Working with somebody you've known all your life has to be challenging and rewarding in ways the rest of us will never understand. I wonder what it'd be like to have that degree of continuity in your life.

I hope the weather cooperated and you go to go on your drive. I'm curious about the treasure you're talking about too. How long are you staying in St. John's? Are you getting some work done there?

It sucks here, way too hot for spring when it's not pouring rain. Show me some sunshine & icebergs pictures, please.

Sweltering Steve

Hi, Dorothy. I don't think I'd go with "better" or "worse" when it comes to describing my impressions of the two fan groups. There are certainly differences - though there are also quite a few fundamental fan-type attitudes in common too, as is to be expected, I suppose - and like most things in life, those differences have their good side and their bad side.

Generalisations are always dangerous. One of the greatest temptations is to stop seeing a group of people as individual human beings, to begin seeing them instead as only undifferientiated manifestations of those generalisations. With all the bitching I've done about fans dehumanising their objects of affection with their self-delusions and fantasy perceptions, and about artists dehumanising fans by seeing them all as either needy/greedy Desperate Ones to scorn and avoid or interchangeable bimbos good only for quick use and easy disposal...well, I'd be a hypocrite of the first degree if I were to indulge in too much of that same kind of generalisation.

But I guess a bit of summing-up from (limited) past experience is possible, though the Crowe fan base is much larger and I've met comparatively far fewer of those many fans than I have GBS fans, nearly all of those I have met being at Russell's shows, which means I've mostly met a particular subset of his fans. Though I have come across quite a few more online, which is itself another subset of any fan group. It really is a limited view.

So, with that caveat and treading gently on the dangerous ground of "In general," my impressions of these two Russell fan-group subsets as compared to a more or less equivalent GBS-fan subset is that Russell's fans are somewhat older (probably less so all the time since many of the GBS fans I see up front at shows and posting online the most these days do seem to be trending considerably older than what it was more the norm five or so years ago) and seemingly more articulate about and interested in a wider spectrum of issues and events than I've found among some (as always, not all) GBS fans.

Or perhaps it's more a matter of the Crowe fans being more likely to share those wider interests with one another in fan settings than are some of us in the "GBS World". I know I try to keep a great deal of what I consider to be my private life away from any contact with most fan-group members, and that includes a good deal of my political opinions, religious beliefs, home events, and even sports involvements. Whenever I find myself re-writing or deleting something or changing the subject in direct conversation because things are running the risk of getting into too-personal territory, I realise just how much it is I've changed over the past few years. I never used to be at all wary, and now I am. Another lesson learned the hard way.

So of all those in the GBS fan base who come across as not ever thinking about much else other than how they feel or what trials and tribulations they're currently suffering or what new game to play or how badly they want to get their next GBS Happy Fix, it's hard to tell how many of them really are too stunned to think about much of anything else of importance and how many of them are bound and determined to make sure none of the other GBS fans find out what they do think about those other matters of importance.

I have said before that there are times when fans most definitely mirror the people they are drawn too, which would go a long way toward explaining the perpetual contentiousness in the Crowe fan base, given Russell's own penchant for hauling off and saying whatever's on his mind and not suffering fools at all, let alone gladly; it would also go a long way toward possibly explaining why some GBS fans work as diligently to keep their own non-band/non-fan-related matters as private as do the GBS band members.

But the similarities tend to get twisted in both groups - warped by over-magnification from the most extreme individuals, perhaps - in that the arguing tends to turn into pure meanness in the Crowe group and the reticence tends to turn into simple-minded shallowness in the GBS group. Add in the desire of some GBS fans for there never to be any GBS-Happy-High-spoiling unhappy talk or discord, and it doesn't take too long for the dialogue there to drift over into the realm of the idiotic.

For as unrelentingly nasty as some in the Crowe fan group can be, it's always seemed to me like a fundamentally sane nastiness. Lies get told, to be sure, mean and cruel and sometimes vicious lies...but it always seems as if the liars and the believers in the lies all know it's a lie and they play it more like a vicious game than anything else. It might be morally worse to do it that way, but it still seems more sane to me than convincing oneself that the lies really are true just because you want them to be true. Not at all fond of either tendency, to be honest, but if I were forced to choose, I guess I'd have to go with mean over nuts. There's at least a prayer of a hope of rationality with mean but none at all with nuts - by definition.

In a nutshell (hah!), I think the Crowe fan group has the potential to be meaner than the GBS group, but in a more sane way. When it comes to being "crazy mean," the GBS fans could have the Crowe fans for a light afternoon snack, and they could munch their way through their Crowe-fan snack while squeeing to each other about how happy the GBS tunes they were listening to at the same time were making them...how wonderful it was to have so many great GBS fan friends...*hugs*...{bouncing green smiley faces}...munch and swallow. A few Crowe feathers flutter to the ground unheeded as the scene fades to black.

In any contest between sane mean and crazy mean, the latter will always win, it not being constrained by such bothersome hindrances as mere reality. But in both groups you'll still find folks who are intelligent and thoughtful and articulate and kind. And in both groups you'll also find mothers who would sell their children to the highest bidder if that would buy them two minutes of attention from their target objective.

I've thought about writing about what I've seen fans do and heard them say. Some of it's mind-boggling, some of it touching, some of it hilarious, some of it disgusting, and some of it is outright heartbreaking, especially the incidents involving the children of some of the most ruthless fans. But then I think about it and it doesn't seem like I'd be doing GBS much of a favour at all if I detailed some pretty darn negative views of their fans' worst behaviour.

And it's not really what interests me, anyway. It's seeing how they have had to deal with those kinds of worst behaviours - the impact and effect years of that kind of shit might have on them - that interests me way more than the badly behaving fans themselves do.

Though it got so hard to witness that I haven't been able to deal with being around it in the places where it's the worst for a long time now, which makes me feel like a spineless coward when I think about the people who have way less choice when it comes to avoiding it, leaving it to somebody else to face the worst of it by himself, or with Murray and Kris when they're kind enough to go out with him so he doesn't have to do it all by himself. But at those moments when I do have the backbone to watch it, my concerns are not with the fans.

I must confess, however, that the way children are at times used does get to me, especially when I can see little girls being started out on those first steps along the path toward becoming tomorrow's band bimbos, all to get Mommy a moment or two with the band that she doesn't have the goods to get on her own anymore. Those are the times I wish I could report such parents to the authorities for child abuse. They're also the times I wonder if performers (actors and musicians alike) ever look into the faces of the current after-party bimbos (at least the faces of the still-young ones) and see the last remaining vestiges of those previously abused little girls, disappearing right before their eyes.

I get very upset with myself when I allow the dismissal of scorn and the boredom of contempt to blind me to what's still there to be seen in some of those faces. And I always wonder what the older bimbos are teaching their own daughters as the best-before date inexorably approaches for themselves.

As I said to start, Dorothy, I try to stay away from notions of "better" and "worse". Sometimes it takes all the resolve I possess not to find myself doing that same generalising that I've seen some others doing. Thank God for the great people I have met who keep me from forgetting how good some of those individual human beings can be in the midst of the larger group of people.

But I have to admit that I can understand how and why it happens. There are certainly some patterns that repeat with mind-numbing frequency, and it can at times be way more painful and disappointing to see people as human beings instead of as generalised (and easily dismissable) abstractions. If a generalised abstraction tries to use you, screws you over, or lets you down, that's just par for the course. It hurts way more when it's a human being doing those same things. Maybe even more, it's more bearable to endure witnessing generalised abstractions making silly fools of themselves and being self-destructive than it is to think of "real people" behaving in such ways and doing such things.

I guess we never really understand survival behaviour until the day comes when we have some need of that behaviour for our own survival. But while I can feel the sympathy/empathy, I am still going to keep right on making my best effort to resist the temptation to see each and every person in any group as being no more than the sum total of the general tendencies of that group. I get pissed enough when I'm seen that way so no way can I justify doing to others what I don't want done to myself.

Hope I didn't scare you off from future comments/questions, Dorothy. You're always welcome to do both here.

Stephen, yes, it's hard for some of us to even imagine that kind of continuity, isn't it? There's a quote of Alan's from somewhere I read years ago, and it permanently shaped how I see him and where he comes from; he said something to the effect that when he was growing up in Petty Harbour, every face he saw was a familiar one.

At first I reacted to this by thinking about how differently I grew up in the perpetual-motion culture of Southern California, and then it hit me what kind of life that Petty Harbour boy wound up leading - a life that takes him along a road that is filled with unfamiliar faces, day after day and night after night. That realisation has fascinated me, moved me, and haunted me for some years now. There are times at shows, especially shows in towns I know Alan's in for the first time and shows where the crowds are huge, that I look up into his face and watch him gazing out across a sea of unfamiliar faces. And I think about the boy I can still so clearly see in the face of the man during those moments.

I thought about him - as both boy and man - while we were travelling up the Southern Shore too, him and his collaborator and the music they share, as well as the place from which both come. I'm going to write more about that once I get some pictures I took ready to put up too.

It was a great day on Saturday and an even better drive; we listened to the Irish Descendants' "Southern Shore" the whole way, all except for the last bit when we wanted to hear Something Beautiful. We'd intended to go past Cape Pine and over to Cape St. Mary's but we lingered for a long time at Ferryland and ran out of daylight; we're thinking maybe another jaunt to St. Mary's this coming weekend.

I'll be here for another 10 days or so. Yeah, getting some work done, though not as much as I should. Too much simple enjoyment of "being" while here to let work interfere overmuch. Just as I came earlier than I'd originally planned, I'm staying later than planned too. Despite the fact that some people I think quite undesirable have moved/keep moving here, it's still a place that feels safe to me, as well as familiar in all the best ways.

The icebergs are wonderful - we went out to Fort Amherst yesterday evening and got up close and personal with a lovely one. These are the first icebergs I've seen - this is the first time I've been here at this time of year - and I've taken umpteen pictures and need to go through them, some video too; as soon as I do, there will definitely be iceberg photos to cool you off, though not a lot of sunshine. Last night we were out in the rain doing iceberg patrol. I love how the locals get excited about the icebergs too; most of the time they seems almost as amazed as I am by them and some of them are taking as many pictures as I am.

Still negotiating about that treasure. I hope I'll be able to share it. It's certainly meant the world to me to be able to have it. It might not be quite as wonderful for others, but I think there are those who would also be very happy to have it. But at the end of the day, I'm going to respect the wishes of the giver.

Going back to the notion of getting some work done, I need to head off to put a bit of time in before the evening walk. No time to do the work later tonight since it's likely that this could be the last hockey game of the season, so we are going out tonight to watch that game in style, whatever the outcome might be.

Okay, So now I gotta start saving up for this show?!?!

I'm barely making it now...

Looks like I'll have to look into alternate funds from one of the banks around here?!?

Miss you!


Mike, at least we've got till 2009 to do the saving. Lots of time for the pennies to add up.

I miss you too - is the Zoo show going to be a no-go? If not that one, I'm going to the first three shows in the Northeast in August (I think it's Cape Cod, Connecticut and Lowell Mass) before heading back to St. John's and then across the Pond. Oh yes, I think maybe Edmonton too, before the Seattle show, though probably not Fort Mac, even tbough I'd like to. The jury's still out on that one.

Any chance you could come for that weekend of shows? Edmonton is a very inexpensive show and the Zoo one is pretty cheap too. I even have an extra ticket for the Zoo show, if David hasn't sold it off yet.

I have to disagree. Nobody's nastier than Crowelanders. They tear Russ to shreds then turn on each other. *backs away*

Thankee much for the caps.

Fair enough, Dorothy. To each their own opinion, and I did say my experience is limited.

It's true that there's nothing in GBS fandom like how Russell gets blasted by people who take part in what's nominally part of his "fan" group. Same with how many people in that group there are who seem to hope for him to fail and resent him being happy, especially personally happy with his wife. That's always seemed so weird to me; they tend to be the same ones who express scorn toward the "uber" fans for caring about Russell but there's never an acknowlegment that detesting somebody is being as emotionally involved as is caring about somebody. (Yes, that goes for me too, which is why I am so glad to finally be moving away from giving a shit about those nasty folks about whom there is no good reason for that shit to be given.)

The people who feel that same detestation and ill-wishing for GBS members - and they are out there - either move along to some other fandom or lurk in sullen silence, for the most part. That is a big difference between the two groups, for reasons I've never really understood.

But there are places in Croweland where people are friendly and not attacking/under attack and that friendliness isn't something maintained by the iron hand of a company Russell has hired to admin an official message board. It's genuine. For the most part, the people who like Russell and the people who don't like Russell seem to get along well enough with those of similar opinion. On both sides of the fence, they certainly wind up having some interesting discussions about all kinds of other things. And some of the friendships I've seen among the Crowe fans are clearly genuine and long-lasting, same as within the GBS group.

To some degree it's probably like a lot of other times when the least appealing people tend to be the loudest and most noticeable and that makes it look like the majority of people are that way too. Evening News Syndrome: if all you hear or see is the bad stuff, you wind up thinking things must suck muchly.

You have to wonder about those loud ones who spend so much time going on about who they hate and how awful some other person is. Life seems way too short to me not to spend as much of it as you can focusing on things you like and people you care about. But some people do seem to prefer to invest their time and energy into being negative and nasty and that seems like such a waste to me. When people get to the end and are thinking about how they lived their lives, I really doubt many of them wind up thinking, "Damn, I wish I'd spent more time hating that person and saying shitty things about them." Then again, maybe there are some who do.

Glad you enjoyed the caps, Dorothy. I don't know if Russell has any more videos up his sleeve (Mickey would make for a great video, wouldn't it?), but let's hope there's at least one or two more. Until then, I hope you enjoy Oz.

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