If it’s not too traumatic, try and remember the last time you screamed.
For me, it was when I stubbed my toe on a sofa leg the other day. Maybe it wasn’t so much a scream as the lovechild of a growl and a yelp. Whatever it was, it was a sound rooted in my most primal instincts – “I’m in a great deal of pain,” it said, “I may require assistance.”
Maybe your last scream was provoked by similar circumstances. Imagine though that the last time you screamed – the last time you let the sound of your inner caveperson erupt out of your mouth with palpable force – was when a couple of posh people turned up in New York. Imagine being so enraptured, so driven out of your mind, by some moderately to not very interesting people who you’ve never met, that you let off the kind of sound usually reserved for the moment you discover your head’s on fire.
This is what happened earlier this week when royals, William and Kate arrived in New York. The BBC reported that they were “greeted by screams”, and here’s a not remotely hyperbolic Fox News segment on their (for some reason) extremely important arrival in the US.
The screaming fan is a phenomenon that I’ll never even begin to understand. At, say, a gig, I’ve clapped ferociously, I’ve even been known to cheer. As a Brit, that’s something I’m quite comfortable with, and I know how to do a, “Hip-hip huzzah for a fruitful Marmite harvest, and a happy St Swithin’s Day to one and all.” My screams though are usually kept in a safe place and doled out in reasonably rare cases of extreme pain or fear.
To give you some idea of how little I understand the screaming fan, I’m going to use crisps as an example. I love crisps. They enrich my life. I probably have the same amount of affection towards crisps as one of those screaming people in New York has towards posh British people. If I started screaming like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart, when he’s having all his innards dragged out, every time I walk down the snack aisle in Tesco, I would almost definitely be sectioned.
The screaming fan isn’t anything new. If you close your eyes and just listen to the audio in this 50-year-old footage of some girls losing their shit over The Beatles, it’s easy to imagine that a massacre is taking place. And I’m sure that if you jumped in a time machine and went to, say, eighteenth-century Vienna, you’d find some people in wigs passing out over how fucking excellent Mozart is. Then again, I’m convinced that today’s screaming fans are more extreme than ever.
I’m going to bypass One Direction super-fans though and go back to William and Kate. While on their US sojourn, not only are they getting screamed at, but there are people willing to shell out tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege of having dinner with them. Although this falls under the heading of “things that are actually fine because they’re for charity”, I can’t imagine a more uncomfortable situation than being sat at a table with some people I’ve never met, who I’ve had to pay to be there. In fact, picturing Kate and William’s stilted dinner date with Creepy Creeperson is making me feel a bit nauseous.
“So, uh, do you guys like jam? I’m big on jams at the moment. Raspberry, apricot, strawberry….” says Creepy Creeperson, his voice trailing off.
“Our two hours is up,” says William, not even bothering to look at his watch.
“I hope you have enjoyed our presence,” says Kate.
The two of them then hold hands, become pixelated and disappear, leaving Creepy Creeperson with nothing but a half-eaten crème brulée with whom he can discuss jam, long into the night.
I don’t know about you, but if I were Creepy Creeperson, I would’ve paid £30K not to be in this horrible, horrible situation. But, then again, I only scream at appropriate moments. What do I know?