Break the fourth wall of star­dom

New app Fanapo al­lows fans to get up close and per­sonal with their he­roes

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - UNA MUL­LALLY EMILY LONG­WORTH

A new app popped into The Ticket’s in­box dur­ing the week. Ir­ish con­tem­po­rary mu­sic col­lec­tive Crash En­sem­ble are tak­ing part in a trial of Fanapo, an app that al­lows mu­sic fans to video a ques­tion for a band, and have the band re­spond.

Cre­at­ing con­nec­tions with fans is big business. As the mu­sic in­dus­try in­creas­ingly val­ues niches and core groups of fans in­stead of try­ing to reach ev­ery­one at once (un­less you’re U2, who missed that memo), ac­cess makes fans feel spe­cial, and then their ex­pec­ta­tions about that ac­cess need to be met.

At the Web Sum­mit this year, Lau­ren Wirtzer-Sea­wood, head of dig­i­tal at Bey­oncé’s Park­wood En­ter­tain­ment company, said that Bey­oncé checks ev­ery sin­gle piece of on­line con­tent broad­cast from her HQ no mat­ter how small. Over on In­sta­gram, Madonna is hav­ing plenty of fun giv­ing ev­ery­one a glimpse of her body. Justin Bieber’s (right) In­sta­gram feed is all about him look­ing cool, skate­board­ing and play­ing ice hockey. But gen­er­ally, th­ese in­ter­ac­tions are one way. So Fanapo then, of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to get an in­ter­ac­tion, as op­posed to a broad­cast.

There is some­thing surreal about the abil­ity to get so close to mu­si­cians that their Tweets and Face­book up­dates drop into your feed, but once mu­si­cians break the fourth wall, there’s no go­ing back. The more ex­is­ten­tial ques­tion we need to ask is whether we re­ally want to know all of this stuff. For cer­tain acts, be­ing un­known has its pros, so we’ll have to wait and see if Burial gets mad into Snapchat or if Bowie adds you to his What­sApp group.

Mock­ing fillers

The stan­dard of pur­chasable twee is higher than ever this Christ­mas, mak­ing it even eas­ier to find the per­fect af­ter­thoughts for your loved ones. The hall­mark of a good stock­ing filler is novel im­prac­ti­cal­ity – mak­ing the “I woke up like this” shower cur­tain a Kitschmas es­sen­tial. Even more so if your shower doesn’t need a cur­tain. Avail­able from so­ci­ety6.com, it’s a mere £55 (¤70) to make your jacks fit for the Queen B.

Sigur Rós spread the fu­tile fes­tive cheer with their Vardel­dur Can­dle, the stu­dio-scented cus­tom lump of wax that smells like the record­ing of their sixth al­bum. And for only 30 beans. We’re torn be­tween that and the Sigur Rós cos­met­ics bag. Will it match the Bey­oncé cur­tain?

Break­able gifts are a must for Christ­mas. But gifts that melt will also suf­fice, so check out the Star Wars Death Star ice sphere mould. It gives min­utes of ice-mak­ing mer­ri­ment, and the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment for whiskey (ask a nearby adult to help you with this part).

Or get some­thing that can be regifted. Fig­urines in their orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing are a top choice here, such as the Mono­lith Ac­tion Fig­ure from 2001: A Space Odyssey (strange mag­netic fields not in­cluded). Equally use­less are Sol Repub­lic’s head­phones for cats – de­signed specif­i­cally for Dead­mau5’s fe­line friend, Pro­fes­sor Me­ow­ing­tons (above). Th­ese are a mere $1,000 for the most un­us­able – but regiftable – stock­ing filler on the mar­ket.

Giv­ing them some­thing they al­ready have is tra­di­tion, so look for the vinyl record­ing of Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit to Ire­land. This also gives you an op­por­tu­nity to shop lo­cal, since it’s avail­able from ev­ery char­ity shop na­tion­wide for ¤2.

But don’t put too much ef­fort that would ruin the magic of the af­ter­thought.

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