My various fandoms are very strange and peculiar beasts in the way they invade my consciousness.
Take Sunset Boulevard, for example. Whenever it comes to visit, it opens a trapdoor beneath my feet and drops me back into it with an almighty crash. I have brief, crazed flurries of productivity - whether that's fanfic or character study (sorry, Eni...) - and then it bows out for a while to leave me in peace. By contrast, Jonathan Creek comes in, taps me politely on the shoulder and hangs around for a few weeks before sloping off again. And The X-Files, when that revisited, awoke like a great sleeping dragon, blew fire and brimstone for a bit, then went back to its cave.
I always say that old fandoms never die, they just lie dormant; I'm just fascinated by the different ways in which they decide to reappear.
Phantom, however... oh dearie me. For the most part, I blame my decision to re-read Kay's novel. Immediately post-gala I was craving MOAR PHANTOM and reached for that book as a quick fix; the penultimate section (which deals with the events of the musical/original book) is, frankly, glorious. And now, of course, I've started it again, and Erik - my original and first Muse - has decided to return.
Many fandom characters have taken up residence in my head over the years, but Erik was the first. In the wake of John, Aeryn, Chiana, Norma, Joe, Spike and Jonathan (and latterly, Daniel), he became understandably chagrined by the invasion of privacy and went into hiding - after all, he's a recluse. ;) As a result of re-reading Kay, he's come back again, I like to imagine in the manner of striding purposefully into my brain and adopting a decidedly Lon Chaney-esque pose (which is odd, because my Erik is a combination of Crawford/Kay. :P). I've now finished "Whisper", inasmuch as it needs editing before I post it to FFN (why am I so nervous about that? It's not like I've never written for this fandom before...) and the epilogue is underway... and I have about a million other little thoughts and lines and ideas in my head, all of them in Erik's familiar voice.
I am making the effort this time to actually read Kay properly; both of the previous times I really enjoyed the first two parts (Erik's early life, narrated by his mother and himself respectively) and of course the Counterpoint (the musical section, again narrated by Erik and Christine), but tended to zone out a bit in the middle sections. For some reason I really enjoy novels about childhood. I can even remember when I read Jane Eyre getting incredibly bored of it once she'd grown up; and the same was true of Kay's other novel, Legacy (about Elizabeth I). I can't explain this and don't really want to examine why that is, but it is nonetheless true.
So, re-reading Kay and I've got to the bit with Giovanni (an architect), and Erik's teenage years in Rome. Which is neither here nor there, really, but I think maybe this novel is entirely responsible for the above fascination with childhood stories. Kay's thinking behind her prequel is that we have always joined Erik's story when he's a man in his fifties, and - as she points out - he must have had a mother, a childhood, a life before Christine and the Opéra. I find myself utterly fascinated by that same idea. I've made the point in "Whisper", via Christine, that of course Erik did not just miraculously appear as a fully-formed, enigmatic recluse; he must have been born, and his behaviour must have come from somewhere; all that rage and torment and angst must have been the end result of some past experience. We have Susan Kay to thank for being a massive fangirl and filling in those gaps, and I always think of her novel as being something to show newbies: seeing the fandom through fandom's eyes. It's so ubiquitous that it's now become canon even though it's basically a fanfiction - a now out-of-print, incredibly hard to find fanfiction, but still.
I think my favourite thing about Kay's novel is the way it makes you fall completely in love with him from the very moment he's born, which I think is because we know how the story ends, and we know what he'll become. All of his early experiences begin to fall into place - his existence starts to make sense - and it gives you an unwarranted sense of self-righteous belief that you would never be so cruel, if he were your child, your friend, your obsessed stalker... ;)
Also, all this fandom joy lately has pinpointed one particular reason (out of the many more obvious ones) why 2004 movie!Erik (or Gerik) is portrayed so wrongly, and why the Gerik fangirls just do not get it... I mean, I'm all for fandom growth, but not when UR DOIN IT RONG.
I mentioned this in my write-up: that bit where Erik appears in the mirror to draw Christine through, which is not only the first time we see him, but also the first time she does. The character - and anyone portraying him - needs to have presence. It's like that bit in Sunset where Norma appears at the top of the staircase the first time Joe meets her; you need to understand - instantly - her power and the sense of her commanding the stage. Erik is no different. I still cannot explain why, in that particular moment, he's so indescribably sexy - but that's the entire point. He's supposed to be, but it's because of the awe-inspiring presence, the voice, the mystery... It's not - repeat, NOT - because he has a tan and a six-pack; in fact, quite the opposite, and for some reason it never occurred to me where my obvious preference for skinny goth boys came from. :P (OHAI NOEL FIELDING.)
This is where the 2004 movie FAILS EPICALLY. Admittedly a lot of it took the approach of beating people over the head with obvious symbolism, but Gerik is perhaps the worst offender. :P
Once again I simply have to tell myself to view it as a parody, rather than getting angry. I wish I'd realised that a lot sooner, in retrospect, but I didn't know there was going to be a 25th anniversary show released on DVD to erase all the fail.
I don't know if any of my current fandom thoughts will actually come to anything, but I might write the 'flashback' sequences of the epilogue now in Erik's voice as "CF1" (Y HELLO THAR English degree) rather than third person, just to shut him up for a bit. :P
Good lord. I never quite anticipated that being out of fandom for so long would result in my LJ becoming full of periodic, epic fandom posts whenever I fell back into it. Was I always this bad? ;)
PS: Yay, I get to use my new icon!