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: