The distinction I’m choosing to set depends entirely on the existence of fan conventions. It’s not stalking if the star is paid and willing to be there, answering hundreds of questions, posing for hundreds of photos, and signing thousands of autographs. At least, this is what I tell myself to justify the astonishing amounts of money I’ve spent flying to fan conventions to have my 10-second close encounters.
The first was so long ago, the photographic evidence was on film. As a rosy-cheeked 20 year old, I journeyed to Sydney to bask in the glow of James Marsters’s bleached hair (circa Buffy late Season 5) for a weekend. By now I’ve seen him more than once, so I’d like to assert with confidence that he is one of the great masters (no pun intended) of the fan convention. A true gentleman and a great storyteller. He can take the weakest, silliest non-question the audience can throw at him, and still turn it into an amusing anecdote.
This, people, is why the fans
stalk flock to the cons — to see our favorite stars proving to be the funny, witty, sparkling personalities we’ve always imagined them to be — and this is why I continue to go back for more. The nine year old photograph of James and I cosying up that day came with me to meet James a second time, at Supanova in Brisbane. I showed him the pic, suavely told him I’d been a huge fan for over a decade, smoothly complimented his looks and talent, then snuggled up for a movie-star quality new pic to add to my collection. At least, that’s possibly how it happened. I don’t remember the actual encounter itself, besides my internal monologue of don’t spazz out don’t spazz out don’t spazz out. He nodded and smiled a few times. I may have been speaking Fyarl. But it’s okay! Because James happens to speak Fyarl!
No, wait. That’s Spike. And yes, I do know the difference.