Sigh… OK, here goes.
Blackie’s retirement has left a massive void in the Chili Pepper community. Not only have we lost our “go to” source of information and fan in-between with the band, but it’s created issues within the community. Before, he was Head Honcho and there was no point competing with that as it was a given and he would also steer the community- I’ve seen him have a discrete word with someone about their behaviour when there were issues. Now the gaping void he’s left has nobody to steer it and some people are prepared to do anything to step into it. In the ten years that I’ve been heavily involved with the CP community online, I’ve never know it to be like this with the back-stabbing and bullying that is going on in some areas. There is some pretty unpleasant stuff happening at times on social media.
Into this fell Fandemonium which effectively split the fan base into two; the “ins” and the “outs” with the “ins” having fan status on their side and the “outs” being pushed to the edges. I think what is worse though is that there’s even been a divide in the “in” fans. Some of them see themselves as being better than others because they made it into the hallowed pages and have been using that to effect. And somehow from that an inner circle has formed. Obviously, some of that inner circle totally deserve to be there as they are loyal and dedicated fans and I’m not commenting on the rights or wrongs of it but just making observations. That inner circle gets pretty much everything exclusively and repeatedly to the exclusion of everyone else and a minority of them will do anything to keep it that way and others are trying to get in by trampling on everyone they see as being in their way to do so. Other fans are totally on the outside and left out and resentment is growing over it all and it’s adding to the fan base tension and split.
OK, why I’m writing this…
I’m an “out” and nothing I can do will change that. I have been ever since the book was released and I nearly gave up running the websites then but, after a lot of persuasion, I carried on as everyone assumed things would settle but they haven’t and this year I’ve had a lot of issues with some members of the online community within social media and the threats/bullying/ “self-improvement” messages (I get it! And thank you, I’m just commenting and understand without the need for anymore as a result of this post) some of the real side-stage pass possessing fans and the “wannabe” fans like to send to outsiders like me. It’s been really unpleasant and hard and has led to lots of consideration about me continuing to be involved as many of you know.
On top of this, at Reading seeing RHCP in the summer, I had two people dismiss my claims of being a RHCP fan because of my lack of book status with one telling me “You’re clearly not a fan then” when I said I wasn’t included. Ten years of being involved heavily online as the admin of at least 10 websites and social media pages over that time, hundreds of fan questions answered, a wealth of knowledge and contacts built up, two current websites of my own getting thousands of visitors a day plus the associated Facebook pages and all of the hours spent sourcing and posting news and writing articles (just one two-page scan that is read in a couple of minutes can take two to three hours to get online. An hour trip to the town centre and back to buy it and then time to scan it, edit the scans, post it online and add the transcript). I’ve spent thousands on magazines, concert tickets, webpage hosting and domain fees… and all reduced to nothing for a book page number, or actually, lack of.
And then also at Reading I had a moment (OK, a concert length one!). I’ve put so much into supporting the band and their charities and projects and helping the community as much as I can. And I was standing there being jostled in a crowd unable to see much (being 5ft 2″ in a crowd isn’t good!) and looking at ants in the distance on the stage knowing the fans from the inner circle would be side-stage with perfect views and hadn’t had to queue or be pushed around. And it made me wonder what the hell I was doing. Then I got home and had the disappointment of my rubbish pics as I was too far away and too short to take anything decent; knowing I would have shared them with the community and couldn’t… but that photo passes are sometimes given out to the real fans in the inner circle. I’d love that chance to take proper photos to share but as a certain person sings, some dreams are meant to be declined.
As a result, I really started to think about whether I carry on with the websites and decided to give myself until the end of this year to decide as it is such a massive decision to take. I’ve put so much into this and it’s hard to walk away from it. I’ve managed to keep this going all through the hell and chaos of the last few years. I’ve nursed two people, my mother (Alzheimer’s Disease) and husband (alcohol addiction), through terminal conditions within three years, been widowed, seen my whole life turned upside down and still kept it going but I know in my heart I’ve now come to the end of the line. I don’t need the hassle from certain quarters and I don’t need to feel rejected and foolish for wasting my time on something I cannot achieve in because I’m an outsider. Ten years and I don’t even have full band autographs which says it all really.
It’s time to step aside and leave things to the fans as fan pages really ought to be run by them. I’ve got tickets to two concerts in December and I will go and enjoy them just as a face in the crowd and leave the photo taking and reporting to the proper fans. And hopefully I’ll meet a lot of friends and that is the good thing to come from all of this and is something I really do value. A few posts by me will sneak on here I’m sure around the time of the UK concerts (I’ll make a final post at some point if nothing else as this is just an update rather than a proper goodbye). I’ve paid for domain names and hosting for the next year so I’ll leave the websites (this one and anthonykiedis.net) up in case people want the info on them (I might tweak a few things as there were some things I’ve always meant to add/update) or want to read the 50000+ magazine pages I’ve scanned 🙂 But I won’t be involved in them or the Facebook pages any more from 2017. Peace <3 Rebecca (Squitherwitch)