Until 1999 I had no idea that ‘fandom’ and ‘slash’ existed. Of course I’d heard of Star Trek conventions and fans in that respect, but that was all. Then in 1999 during quiet Easter, I heard the three videos of one of my favourite shows as a teenager Starsky & Hutch were being/had been released. So I did a little browsing on the web and this searching somehow led me into a story, which I started to read and sat there unable to believe my eyes. Someone was writing about them as lovers!! Something that I had been done in my mind (along with Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals, and another couple of pairings when I first saw them on TV.
At the time I just thought that I was weird and alone, after all surely nice, normal girls (especially quiet, studious, bookish, naïve girls) didn’t have thoughts about two men together, did they? Not that my thoughts then went beyond hand holding or some simple kisses, maybe the odd bit of gentle petting, but they were together as a couple.
Throughout the years between being a teenager and 1999, during which time I did the usual education, degree, marriage, jobs, etc. I still had these thoughts about some male/male pairings from TV, but I still kept telling myself that I was ‘odd’. However, this story proved I wasn’t. Some more browsing (at which time we weren’t on broadband and so were paying by the minute) revealed more stories, and eventually I made contact with someone influential and well-known in Starsky & Hutch fandom who invited me to join a list and that was that.
There I discovered that far from being alone and ‘weird’, there were many, many, many others who had similar thoughts, and that there was this whole new world called ‘fandom’. I soon discovered that people in fandom will bend over backwards to be helpful and encouraging, providing episodes, lending zines, recommending zines and stories, answering all sorts of daft questions, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I entered a swift learning curve, but as learning has always been a passion of mine, I was in my element. I made some wonderful friends, virtually of whom I am still in touch with, and started to have story ideas of my own.
I attended a small British con, which I have to say I didn’t really enjoy, not because of the people, it was super to meet them, but just because gatherings of any kind once they get above four aren’t my kind of thing. However, the people there once again couldn’t have been more helpful, especially to someone who is disabled.
From there I have never looked back. Fandom I can safely say has helped keep me sane, especially throughout the recent years when I have had health and more disability problems. It has not only given me many new and wonderful friends with whom I have enjoyed some wonderful discussions, and of course a lot of fun and pleasure from the fanfiction, but has given me confidence and has taught me new skills. I now feel that I have something to give back and I enjoy helping newbies in the way that I was helped at the beginning. In fact that help never ceases, whatever a fan asks for, whatever help she/he might require, there will always be someone who is prepared to assist and go the extra mile. It is a fantastic community and I am delighted to be part of it.
When I first discovered fandom, I told myself that I would be a mono-fandom person and that I would never move beyond Starsky & Hutch . Hmmmmm. Things, as can be seen below, did not work out that way :-)