Can we define U2 fandom?

By Line: Eric Shivers,

In my excitement of finding this pic, I posted the image on my Facebook page, dedicated to my U2 fandom. I clearly stated that I had never seen the photo, which is true. Within a few hours of the posting, someone made a comment that me not seeing a previously released image of Bono didn’t make me fan enough of U2.

I took offense to this immediately. It was a natural reaction to a comment flung through cycberspace by someone who doesn’t know me personally, but noticed my page dedicated to my U2 fandom, and memoir, and took a cheap dig. Yes, the image was available to me but I did not know it. Supposedly it was published in a book that sits on the bookshelf behind me as I write this blog. I have cracked U2 & i a few times, but have never dived into it deeply. I just have a knack for amassing all things published about U2, because I am a collector as well, which is where I am drawing the line on defined fandom.



What gripes me the most about being a fan, of anything, is the level to which your fandom lies. Unlike earthquakes or tornadoes, there is no barometer created by science to say how deep of a fan you are of U2. Take my friend in Canada, who has a whole room dedicated to the Irishmen. One might think he is a super fan, right? Well, I would agree with you, but he is also a down to earth guy, who has a passion for encrusting himself in mirror chips and putting himself on the front rail night after night last year on the 360 tour. In contrast, there is the fan who turns to U2’s music in order to get them through life. In both cases, the level of fandom is personal, which is really what our passion for U2 should be as we carry them with us in our suitcase of life. It does not matter if you missed an image of them or did not know that Bono housed Salaman Rushdie in his back garden because those are technicalities.

Once found, they open you to more discoveries, which is why I like this band. I walk away from the narrow-mindedness of the comment, posted on Facebook, knowing that I put myself out there for public scrutiny. However, we tend to act first and then think later. I do it all the time and I am reminded by my better half that taking the time to think things through before taking action is the best way to handle any given situation. I greet others who are fans of U2 with the same compassion. Instead of telling my story, I want to hear theirs because that is important to me.

It gets me to think about how my life was touched as well as garnering me insight to how U2 has built a “flock” of followers. Yes, some have fallen off the bandwagon due to the creative output or musical direction U2 has taken and that is okay. They were the original adopters once, still considered by me as being a part of us, who were the true believers.  We, the current fans, carry the flag for those previous to us, knowing full well that sometimes the weight of pole, from which said U2 flag flies, can be a burden, but we hoist it, nevertheless, because we believe.