Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 09/12/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Too much is enough fandom

No-one could accuse me of being a cheapskate when it comes to spending money on my musical obsessions. I have items in my possession which no logical process can explain. Why did I pay for a packet of Cyndi Lauper bubble gum that is more than ten years old? Why is my ABBA record collection bigger than my wardrobe? How can anyone spend $40 on a piece of vinyl somebody has already played?

I know the answers to these questions deep within my being, so I'm not overly worried. It strikes me, though, that the market for fan-related items is getting a little steep. During one shopping sojurn recently, I picked up a flyer for the 'PJ & Duncan Official Fan Club'. Now, PJ & Duncan (who I believe may have since changed their name to Ant & Dec, or changed it from Ant & Dec, or something) are teen idols like many before them. The fan club is an inevitable cash-in. But the price isn't.

Standard Australian membership of this non-exlcusive group is $39, which entitles you to "a quarterly newsletter and some great free gifts". Doubtless if I was a PJ & Duncan fan, that would seem small, but it's a lot of money for a fan club. My ABBA fan club membership is only $25 a year, and it's a great resource. I remember when the Dannii Minogue fan club kicked off, it was $7.50 a year. Even the Yazz fan club in the UK was only eight quid or so. Record companies are already well-placed to exploit fans. Why encourage them further?

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