There’s a fine line between fandom and fanaticism. At what point does merely loving a popstar turn into the sort of unhinged, obsessive behaviour that would terrify the bejesus out of even the most stout-hearted musician (who isn’t Gary Numan)? Welcome to the world of the superfan, a select breed of devotees who put the 'eep' into 'creepy'.
So what constitutes being dangerously obsessed then? When does avid becomes rabid? Playing the artist’s music on repeat is probably okay for now, but writing slavering, sexually-charged fan-fiction involving you and them? Definitely a no-no. What about waking up everyday in a bedroom with a ceiling you’ve pasted hundreds of images onto like a twisted mini-pop Michelangelo? Well that’s probably the slippery slope that months from now will see you turning up at the drummer’s house with a goat’s heart still beating in a gift-wrapped box. If that’s you, then sort it out.
Here are some enthusiasts who took fanaticism to the sort of giddy heights that will leave you gasping...
Euro not alone
This week a court in Orleans in North-central France made history when it awarded five Michael Jackson devotees a payout for the emotional distress they suffered because of the King of Pop’s death. Whether this will set a precedent or not who can be sure, because you know, I cried my eyes out when a goldfish I briefly owned leapt out of a bowl to its death when I was 8. The affair clearly caused emotional distress, so can I have some cash please? The grieving five - two from France, two from Switzerland and one Belgian - were among 34 French MJ fans suing the quack Conrad Murray for indirectly making them upset. It seems 29 fans were probably not upset enough, or couldn’t prove it at least, whereas the special five got given one euro each as compensation. Clearly it was not about the money.
Watch out, needles about
Carl McCoid, a 40-year-old man who lives in Bridlington and irons things for a living, was in the news recently for his 22 tattoos - a little unusual you might think but not exactly newsworthy, right? Except the man’s inkings are all of Nashville pop sensation Miley Cyrus, 19 years his junior. McCoid started his Cyrus body art collection in 2009, proving how addictive getting inked with Miley’s face can really be. At least he’s unlikely to regret these decisions when he’s older, because let’s face it, he’s getting on a bit as it is.
Broken J peg
If you’re a regular Jessie J fan what’s the most extreme you’d go to in order to be more like the singer? Put on some black nailpolish or don a leopardskin bra? Maybe go as far as shaving your head? One girl - whose name the press couldn’t reveal for legal reasons - went to unprecedented lengths to mimic her idol when she broke her own leg like The Voice star. When Jessie - who fell off stage last year causing herself an injury - saw the girl’s picture and a message saying "I will do anything to be just like you”, she understandably upped security. Brrrr! Brrrr!
The Amazing Drakehead
Pictures of an unnamed Drake fan set the internet alight recently after she got the rapper’s name tattooed right across her forehead. Having shaved her eyebrows as well, it’s the sort of indelible spam-spanning self vandalism that there’s no coming back from, not even if one grows a strategically snipped fringe. We all know someone who regrets having that Pearl Jam tattoo on their ankle, so there could yet be some repenting at leisure, that’s all I’m saying.
Kanye nick it? Yes you can
A woman from Chicago changed her name to Kanye West, but if that weren’t enough she got tattoos of the rapper on her arms, chest and bottom. She apparently drew gasps from a court when it was revealed she'd thrown an amplifier through the window of an Office Depot on Broadway. C'mon female Kanye, is that really what Yeezus would do? Err, don't answer that.
I am dutiful no matter what they say...
When Christina Aguilera’s 'Bionic' album failed to set the charts ablaze in 2010 - peaking at a relatively disappointing no.3 - one fan decided to do all she could to help her idols’ career and set about buying up 250 copies of the record in a desperate bid to help it to the No.1 spot. Unfortunately it slid down to No.9 the following week. Pop’s a fickle mistress, make no mistake.
Another Chicagoan got arrested recently, this time for turning up at Taylor Swift’s pad uninvited. The 22-year-old man might have suggested he’d got lost or something, but the fact he’d swam premeditatedly all the way to her Rhode Island beach home meant he was bang to rights in swimming trunks and snorkel. The man was arrested for trespassing and detained at the local nick.
Ed Sheeran might come across as a sensible lad but good god he has some wild fans. One sick puppy sent him a cake he’ll not forget in a hurry back in 2012. “I thought, ‘it’s very sweet to be given a cake,’” said the singer at the time, “then I found a clump.” The sender had baked their own hair inside as a special treat for their hero. Ed is praying Newton Faulkner isn’t a diehard fan.
Writing in the guestbook at the Anne Frank museum last year, Justin Bieber mused on whether or not Anne Frank would have been a Belieber. One would hope not considering the behaviour of some of his godawful fans recently, who made New York Madame Tussauds withdraw a waxwork of the singer because of persistent groping of the replica Bieber, breaking his bits in the process. Is it any wonder he can be found tear-arsing around in a yellow Lamborghini of a night or chuffing on the odd doobie in a bid to escape?
Tooth and fail
Here’s a gross one to finish off with. Ke$ha was sent a human tooth by one of her fans a few years ago, but rather than be freaked out, the singer decided to start an appeal for more molars from her maddest zealot fans. Suddenly she was besieged by fangs wrenched out of heads. Ke$ha waded through her lumpy mail bags and promptly made bras, earrings and necklaces out of the thousand or so human pearly whites that turned up at Ke$h-HQ. So yeah, hail Ke$ha, pop’s own Pol Pot and the only star sicker than her own craziest fan. All hail!