February 22, 2021
Finding devotees on the other side of the world let me escape from school, though my misbegotten responsibility soon became too much like hard workRead more from The fandom that made me seriesRaising a child is always a burden – though not all mums are terrorised by their pre-schooler’s obsession with the video for Hung Up by Madonna. I will never forget my mother’s exasperation as the song popped up again and again on MTV: the sound of a clock counting down to reveal Abba arpeggios recast in a nu-disco reverie. I was a four-year-old boy thrashing around on the living room floor, mimicking Madge’s arm rolls and hip thrusts. An undignified spectacle? Perhaps, but one my mother invited as she allowed me to steep in the music TV of the mid-2000s.
Katy Perry found me my first friends – they were online, and in Brazil
As I grew into an awkward, introverted child, that parade of fleeting images and sounds became tangible. All the divas, once interchangeable vessels for catchy tunes, came to life. Kylie Minogue, Kanye West or Rihanna: each was their own glitzy, magnetic brand and accompanying legion. I figured I had to enlist in a pop army as well: the burgeoning, cartoony Katy Perry seemed like a sure bet. While the faux-sapphist I Kissed a Girl had failed to evangelise me, the dance-pop froth of California Gurls engulfed my summer of 2010. The pirated MP3 file (thanks, Dad) fed my curiosity about the forthcoming Teenage Dream, the first album I would experience in real time.
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