don’t tell me I can’t be who I am

Hudson Taylor, my favorite band, have a new song out that I really like. Alfie (the younger brother and lead singer) describes it as “a little song about gay rights. ” It’s called “Don’t Tell Me,” and the chorus goes like this:

Stand up to the people who hate
Stand up if you’re feeling afraid
Stand up if you’re feeling alone…
Don’t tell me I can’t be who I am…
Don’t tell me

It’s an incredibly catchy song. I love the fact that they’ve made a stand for gay rights. And though I know that it’s a very trivial matter in comparison, I’ve decided it’s okay to be who I am: a middle-aged Hudson Taylor fan. Q and his friends think I’m ridiculously obsessed, and I am. They think it’s creepy that a mom should be totally into a couple of Irish lads… but it’s not. My feelings about Hudson Taylor are age-appropriate, in my opinion. I don’t want to date them or marry them, for heaven’s sake! I just want to enjoy their music and their journey from teenage buskers to up-and-coming folk-pop band to international superstars. (Which they will be. Mark my words.)

And why shouldn’t I?  I certainly have a history of being an obsessive music fan, so it’s nothing new. As a teenager, I had a huge wall covered with photos of John Taylor from Duran Duran that I’d cut from magazines. In college, I spent all my spare time record shopping, listening to music, or going to gigs. I went to see Miles and Malc from the Wonder Stuff when I was hugely pregnant and on bed rest, and then schlepped the baby up to Seattle a few months later to see them again. I took Quinland to his first concert at age 4, where he got to meet Dave Wakeling of the English Beat and became convinced that you get to meet the band at every show. But suddenly, because he is now a teenager, I am supposed to behave with some kind of regular-mom decorum. Why is that? Why should there be an age limit on fandom?

I don’t think there should be, but I’ve been feeling that there is one, nonetheless. You may have noticed that after I raved about how I was going to see Hudson Taylor back in February, I never posted anything about the show. I actually wrote a whole post about that night, but I never put it up. I just succumbed to the pressure to not be that crazy fanwoman, and since then I’ve resorted to just the occasional HT mention in passing. (After all, I want to keep their name out there!) But it makes me sad to feel that I can’t indulge in my life-long hobby in the same way anymore.

If I were sixteen right now, living in these days of internet-fueled information madness, I know that I’d be completely over-the-top. I’d have an incredibly awesome Hudson Taylor blog on Tumblr. I’d make gifs of Harry’s silly antics and I’d put up adorable photos of Alfie and Gabby. I’d scour the internet for interviews and videos and news about where they are going and what they have done and when, when, WHEN the album is ever going to come out.

But I don’t. (Okay, I do a bit of that last one, I admit.)

I only participate in the fandom in the most minor of ways. I follow Hudson Taylor on Facebook and Twitter. I watch their livestreams and videos. I check their website for news. I buy their records CDs as soon as they go on sale. I occasionally reply to a Facebook post or comment on a video or favorite a tweet, but whenever I do, I feel that I ought to take it all back, to delete it immediately, lest someone discover that someone old enough to be Harry and Alfie’s auntie or their neighbor down the road is watching. As though that, in some way, would be a bad thing.

The truth is, I feel as proud of them as if they were kids from my neighborhood. These young brothers have spent the last six years – since they were 14 and 16 – working their way up, and they have documented it in such a way that someone obsessed with the music industry, such as myself, can start to get a picture of what that journey is like. Through their videos and livestreams and interviews, you also get a picture of what they are like, themselves: charming, polite, incredibly close, silly, a wee bit forgetful… and – most of all – talented singer-songwriters who churn out song after song after song that I love.

I enjoy Hudson Taylor tremendously and want to support them. At my age, I can do that. I have money to spend on their merchandise, so I buy copies of their CDs for myself and extra copies to share around. I want people to know who they are over here, so I talk them up whenever I can. If I lived anywhere that they were touring, I’d probably go to multiple shows, knowing that they switch up their playlist and I might hear new songs every night.

So please, lads, come to the Pacific Northwest so I can spend lots of money to see you live, over and over again. When you do, look for me! You might remember meeting me at the Hotel Cafe back in February of 2014. If not, just look for the short, middle-aged woman wearing glasses and an ear-to-ear smile. I’ll be delighted to see you.

As for the rest of you… here you go:

10 thoughts on “don’t tell me I can’t be who I am

  1. As an active member of the fandom, one who consistently gifs Harry’s silly antics and aw’s over Alfie & Gabrielle pics, I’d like to extend a loving “come take my hand, dip your feet into a wonderland, come be my friend…” from everyone (I know you’ll get that reference, because you are awesome and well informed) come join us, all ages welcome!
    I definitely see what you are talking about when it comes to age limits and fandom, but I think there is/should be an exception in the Hudson Taylor fandom – as long as you like the music you are definitely more then welcome in their fandom 😉
    (In relation to corresponding with the boys themselves online, I feel personally that they especially love to see comments or tweets from people who aren’t teenage girls…so don’t delete it! Go for it! (and if you regret that sarky tweet to Harry 5minutes later, it happens to the sixteen year old girls too ;))

    Love,
    Nikki
    (a sixteen year old teenage girl)

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    1. Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Nikki – what a treat to have you stop by and comment. I have to start by thanking you for being a great source of HT photos and info! I joined Twitter, which I don’t really understand, to keep abreast of Hudson Taylor news, and somehow – by clicking on comments? favoriting them? breathing too close to the screen? – I started following a few of you Tumblr girls. This has saved me all kinds of Googling time, for which I am grateful, and gave me a vicarious trip to the busk in Dublin last month as well. (It’s also given me a look into the Irish education system, which sounds much more difficult than my 16-year-old’s high school over here.)

      P.S. I do, of course, get the Cinematic Lifestyle reference. 🙂 I am both awesome AND well-informed.

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      1. You are very, very welcome! Ah – I don’t know much about the education system in the US, I do know there’s lots of problems in the Irish system but I am sure there’s problems in every system around the world. However, as a student in my final two years of secondary school in preparation for sitting the Leaving Cert, which is regarded as the most important exam in an Irish student’s life, I am quite biased. (And extremely stressed!)
        Alfie left school before doing the Leaving Cert which would get a bit of a*gasp* reaction from most people – but he’s a beautiful and talented singer – songwriter with a big future in music, I, however, do not have this talent (or courage) so I shall continue to struggle along for the remainder of this year and next and hope I somehow gain a photographic memory and an insight into what I want to do with the rest of my life 😉
        (Friends have suggested Hudson Taylor’s PR/Publicist but I think I better have a few other options, right? ;))

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  2. This blog post is absolutely lovely! Being a part of the fandom I know that we would definitely welcome you without any questions! Yes, it’s assumed that people in fandoms are usually young, but at the end of the day, we all just adore Harry and Alfie’s music and their lovely personalities, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be a part of that!
    I really hope that the boys can visit the Pacific North-West so that you see them first hand, they truly are incredible.
    Once again, you’re openly accepted into our tight knit community…that is if you want to be a part of it.

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    1. Thanks, Bekah! (You are famous, because you got to go to tea with Harry and Alfie on busking day. I was wishing I were in your shoes!) I got to see them in California back in February – not at the beach, which would have been so cool, but at a very small club – and chatted with them after the show. Harry talked with me about US vs UK releases and touring and decided to give me their last T-shirt since I bought 5 copies of Osea. Alfie struck me as a bit of an old soul, very sweet and kind. I just hope I don’t have to go 1000 miles to see them the next time they come to the US!

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      1. Oh my goodness, crazy that you know who I am, you definitely are part of the fandom:’) oh yes! Ahh, I wish I’d have seen them at the beach! Seeing them at a very small club sounds just as cool though, probably more intimate too! That’s so sweet of them to give you that tshirt, which of course, you deserved buying Osea 5 times! Yes, Alfie is definitely like that, they’re all so lovely to be honest, as is their family! Some of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Me and Nikki actually found this because Chelsea, their lovely older sister, told us to give it a read. She’s down with all the twitter and tumblr people too, which is of course, very cool! She loved this blog, just so you know;) (if you’re as fangirly as I think, this information will make you very happy) :’)

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      2. PS, the cafe with Harry and Alfie was absolutely unbelievable, I couldn’t breath/talk for a lot of it, but it was incredible, I can’t believe it happened…at all:’) the busk was crazy too, the boys just never cease to amaze me!

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  3. Also, the fact that you know about Tumblr and speak of it in a positive light (and have picked up on Harry’s forgetfullness!) automatically qualifies you as a hardcore member of the Hudson Taylor fandom/family 😉

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    1. Tumblr is a big deal in my house, since my daughter is 16. I’ve never understood the appeal of that format compared to a regular blog; the comments/notes on most of them are too small for my eyes! But, of course, keeping us old folks out may be the point… 😉

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      1. Well, as someone who has a blog on another format (blogspot) and has used wordpress in the past, I think Tumblr is a completely different format. I wouldn’t use it as a serious blog or to make money from, Tumblr’s format is just perfect for fandom as its basis seems to be more the sharing of content rather then the making. You could have a successful Tumblr blog and never write or create anything original! Its the most appealing when it comes to fandom because its probably the easiest blogging platform for a non-blogger to use.

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