C.J. Skuse, author of Pretty Bad Things and Rockoholic, was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. Loves: My Chemical Romance, 1980s sitcoms, gummy bears and Nanook from The Lost Boys. Hates: omelettes, carnivals and coughing. The book C.J. would most like to have written is Twilight. C.J. has a First Class degree in Creative Studies in English and gained a distinction for her MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University, on which course her debut novel Pretty bad Things was written. She is currently working on a third stand-alone novel for teenagers.
I loved Rockoholic and it's an honour to have CJ on my blog today...
My Life in Obsessions by CJ Skuse
We’ve all had obsessions for a fictional hottie or two in our time. You’ll often hear a sixty-something talking about how they once posed as a journalist in order to get to the front row of a Beatles gig and caught John’s plectrum. Or a fifty-something banging on about waiting outside a theatre all night to catch a glimpse of Donny Osmond. You might hear a forty-something talking about nicking Grolsch tops to put on their DMs when they were a Brosette or a twenty-something talking of the time they rang the helpline when Take That split up. And more recently, you’ll have heard about swarms of ‘Beliebers’ descending on a TV studio where their idol was being interviewed.
Such fans can be mad, bad and dangerous to know and they will go to untold lengths to get close to their heroes. I’ve heard scare stories of roadies who have been trampled underfoot by hordes of tweens desperate to get to Michael Jackson. And while I’ve never had a tattoo of my idol’s face inked onto my stomach or broken into a band’s dressing room to scrawl ‘I’d Die 4 You’ on the walls in my own blood, I have nurtured my own little obsessions over the years. In comparison though, my actions have been pretty reasonable. I did the Grolsch tops thing with Bros (my parents ran a pub so Grolsch wasn’t hard to come by). I made my own Wyld Stallyns t-shirts to celebrate my love for Bill and Ted. I went to sleep with a picture Christian Slater
selotaped to my hand after going to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for the seventh time. I convinced myself I was going to marry Jamie Redknapp and I recorded the 1993 MTV Awards three times on three separate video recorders, just in case one of them broke, just so I would be able to catch Pearl Jam collecting their award for Best Video and rewind Eddie Vedder’s stultifyingly sexy hair flick sixty thousand times.
Most recently I queued up from dawn until dusk to get on the front barrier for a My Chemical Romance gig. And it was this act of love for this band, and notably their lead singer Gerard Way, which drove me to write Rockoholic, my new novel. For Jody, the main character, the fictional rock band The Regulators represents a reason to keep on believing life is worth living. As she sees it, there’s no one else who can help her. The lead singer, Jackson, ‘understands’ her better than anyone. He is her ‘soul mate.’ The one she was meant to be with. And at that concert, she HAS to be on the front row and he HAS to know she loves him. Which is why she kidnaps him and locks him in her garage.
Sometimes a rock band/actor/singer/footballer/pop act can fill a void that nobody, however real, can come close to understanding. Our adoration for these men/boys/bands has been dubbed hysterical. Obsessive. Stupid. Even mentally deranged. It’s never really seen as love. But didn’t some bright spark once upon a time prove that lovesickness was a form of mental illness? Of course this type of obsession is love – it is love in its most primal form. It makes no difference that at any one time you might happen to share this love with millions of other people, all professing to love even harder than you.
The only difference between any one of these Paul McCartney/Donny Osmond/Justin Bieber fans is the object of their affections. To these screaming fan girls (and, in many cases, boys too) a rock band or a pop group or a singer or an actor means THE WORLD. The love these fans project onto them is the love they perhaps cannot project in their real lives. These celebrities speak the words they cannot voice themselves. They fill a void. They complete us. Just like the perfect partner should, though quite often, doesn’t. But sometimes, if you’re like my character Jody, true love can be just around the corner and you realise the celebrity object of your affections is the thing that’s been getting in the way all along.
So if you have a fan girl/boy in your family, underestimate them at your peril and know that the stunts they will pull in order to demonstrate their affections are just manifestations of the intense love they feel inside. It’s genuine. It’s all-encompassing. And it’s real. And when all’s said and done, it doesn’t really do any harm.
But I would keep checking your garage, just in case…
------------------Thank you CJ! What a wonderful guest post! Be sure to pick up your copy of Rockoholic straight away!