[sic] Magazine

Groupies, fan girls and obsessives

The archetypal fan girl, more commonly known as a groupie: this rare and elusive breed is stylistically clad in skimpy clothing and accompanying wedges, all topped off with a vast amount of bleached playboy-esque hair. The typical female follower, originated back when popular music first exploded into a counter culture (realistically portrayed in The Beatles latest revival, this time in video game form…) thus birthing an entirely forgotten and compulsory trait still visible and essential to the music industry today:
The fan.

Never more has support been more necessary than in the independent music scene. While large labels have entire stadiums to be adored by, unsigned acts normally have to make do with comparatively smaller venues. In these situations a fan or two never goes a miss! Hannah Cole, life-long My Passion supporter differs almost entirely from the above “groupie” description…however her obsession with post punk electro rock has recently inflated to an extreme form of fixation. Hannah is neither blonde, bulimic or brain dead and makes it perfectly clear before the interview begins that she is in no way a “fan girl”; dressed from head to toe in black ‘My Passion fashion’ and slipknot beanie, Hannah hardly gives the impression an obsessive supporter…in fact, if it wasn’t for her age she could easily be mistaken for a roadie. However, little does the world know, Hannah Cole has in fact kept recently signed group My Passion in business due to the amount of gig tickets she has bought over the past year.

My Passion fashion

“I first saw My Passion on September the 24th 2008.” she says without thought. “I can remember every gig of theirs I’ve ever been to, which is seventeen in total. Sometimes, I just go backstage and chat to them even if I can’t go to see the show.” Fourteen when she attended her first ever gig, Hannah’s initial love of music has gradually become an obsession. From what began as a simple adoration, this young college student now “eats, sleeps and breathes” My Passion. After agreeing to shed some light on the reasons behind her cult following, Hannah is kind enough to give me the grand tour of her metal themed room… It does not take long. The walls are basically imperceptible behind layers of flyers, posters and magazine cut outs, all expertly slotting together with a weirdly autistic perfection. Considering the miniscule size of the room Hannah seems to have marked her territory expertly…there’s no way anyone else could mistake it for theirs!

Hannah with My Passion guitarist

“The best MP gig I’ve ever been to is probably Leeds; we all went to the chippy afterwards with the band, it was great!” Sixteen year old Hannah Cole doesn’t just stick to her home town gigs, in fact, nights spent in train stations are now part of her regular routine. “The furthest I’ve been away from home to see them is Camden I think… ” She pauses. “I don’t really think about it, just hop on a train and worry about the consequences later. It’s slowly become an addiction…which I think has caused a strain amongst my family.” Obviously, it’s not just My Passion Hannah supports, regular buddies include Will Francis, The Blackout and Kill Hannah (Bands I’m told by Hannah are brilliant yet am awaiting conviction…) after all, her obsession is solely based around a love of music. “My twin sister Emily is very supportive; I’m just not sure how my parents feel about me travelling around the country just to see a band play.” Hannah’s sense of self-sacrifice is unbelievable. “It’s a way of life for me now…and I don’t think I can stop.”

Jess glasses

While Hannah’s dedicated approach is intriguing, Jessica Barton (more commonly known as “Jess Bear”) differs from her almost entirely. The majority of Jess’s age group spend weekends enjoying the music of signed acts, usually immovably nailed into the charts, however, Jess has chosen to favour the more independent side of entertainment. Jess Bear is no groupie. Sexy, stylish and suave Jess is characterized as being simply OBSESSED with Manchester pop quintet Ten Bears. This fascination began back after seeing them support Tiny Dancers (who you can all find on Wikipedia!) in The leopard pub in Doncaster. “I’m so glad I persuaded my parents to let me go,” laughs Jess “Otherwise I would have never discovered the Bears and their amazing music. I cannot fault them musically…or as people really!”

While the Ten Bears have been taking Manchester’s music scene by storm (alongside touring Georgia and writing the theme song to T4’s orange unsigned act) Jess has been described as their number one fan and has been causing almost as much of a stir in local venues as the band themselves. Catch her at a gig and you’ll find her un-missable, however, that’s normally due to her incredible apparel. Unlike their gothic parallels (My Passion) Ten Bears themselves don’t have an official clothing line so their loyal fan goes to the incredible extent of making her own…and often painting her body. “The best gig I ever went to was when I really ‘Ten Bear-d’ myself up!” Jess grins, “I wore my Ten Bears T-shirt (which I had printed myself) and wrote Ten Bears all down my arms and legs-the lads were really impressed! I’ve even painted my nails so they spell out ‘ten bears’ now is that dedication or what?”

Jess's legs

It’s true that Jess and Hannah are opposite ends of the scale when it comes to their forms of support. Hannah enjoys acts with a huge group following, whereas Jess prefers the underground mystique of the unsigned. Hannah’s gigs usually tend to involve rioting and mosh pits, while Jess’ style is more refined involving swish venues and free drinks (provided by the band naturally) However, there’s one thing they both get a kick out of and that’s the music. Jess elaborates: “My favourite thing about the live set is that it’s live. I just feel such a buzz when they get the crowd going, it just makes me happy to be along supporting, I feel like a proud sister! Or when they dedicate a song to me, that makes me feel special…” Jess can even be spotted in a few of the band’s “Ten Bears TV” videos on you tube, normally growling at the camera ‘bear fashion’. “Their personalities are reflected completely in their stage personas,” she tells us “They’re all crazy and wacky and I bloody love it! What’s more they’re so nice offstage, I think that’s one of the things I like most about them.” Next comes the question Hannah refused to answer: who is your favourite member? Jess, interestingly doesn’t hesitate: “My favourite member has to be Sam Hammond, the front man.” She says, “I get on really well with him, he’s like a kind, caring older brother.”

Hannah and Jess are two contradictory people when it comes to music. Not only are their favourite musical genres conflicting (metal and ‘kosmic dirt rock’) but their approaches to this unconventional hobby differ almost entirely. Nevertheless, these two teenagers are united by one thing: a pure, unfaltering passion for music. Both girls agree that the basis behind obsession lies in an unyielding love of live. Without girls like these independent music simply wouldn’t thrive and the industry today would be no more than a fabrication of manufactured artists. “A love of music is a life well spent,” Hannah says “even if you don’t agree…at least it’s a life.”

My Passion space

Ten Bears space