Episode 16: Larry is Real

Episode 16’s cover, of Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.

Flourish and Elizabeth welcome back statistician Destination Toast for her first segment as a regular contributor! They take a quantitative look at some linguistic issues from last time and discuss the peculiarities of RPF. Next, they’re joined by Owen G. Parry, a visual and performance artist who created Larry!Monument, a piece inspired by One Direction fandom. Topics covered include discovering transformative fandom communities, art as fanfiction prompt, the relationship between slash and queer culture, and shipping diagrams.


As always, our introductory music is Awel, by Stefsax. The cover image is by Karukara.

A graph showing that some fandoms (like Once Upon A Time) use the term “femslash” and others (like RWBY) use “yuri” to describe the same type of fic.
An art gallery. A structure made of pipes dominates the space. Two laundry baskets, pink, hang on the wall, as does a piece of cloth with a work of Larry Stylinson photomanipulation fan art.
  • We also talk about Larry Stylinson Performance AU, which is the performance piece by Owen that took place at the same gallery. You can see the pictures here, and be warned, they’re not explicit but they’re probably NSFW…

An animated gif: Harry and Louis, black with white outlines on a galaxy background, touch each other casually at shoulder and waist.
An animated gif of a very young Harry whispering in Louis’s ear.
  • OK but this is just an excuse to post lots of Larry gifs sorry.

An animated gif of Louis, on the soccer field, coming running to high-five Harry.


[Intro music]

Flourish Klink: Hi Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Minkel: Hi Flourish!

FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!

ELM: This is episode 16.

FK: 16!

ELM: 16, and it’s called… do you want to say? Do you want me to say?

FK: “Larry Is Real”!

ELM: The look on your face while you said that, it was like you’re just hopin’.

FK: [laughs] So the reason why the podcast episode is called “Larry Is Real” is that a little later on we’re gonna be talking to an artist who has done a gallery show, or a piece in a gallery show, that is about you guessed it, Larry Stylinson fandom, um, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles as anybody who has been listening to this podcast and knows about my obsessions knows. But before we get there, we are gonna have a repeat guest!

ELM: Yes! Well, she’s not like a guest, she’s like a contributor.

FK: Right! She’s, this is the moment where she goes from being a guest to being a contributor!

ELM: That’s right! Destination Toast, stats extraordi—stats, statistician extraordinaire. That’s the word I want. She’s not a stat, she’s a—

FK: She’s not a statistic. She’s a person.

ELM: That’s true! I think that before we talk to her though can we talk a little bit about RPF for a few seconds?

FK: Sure!

ELM: So this is all very fortuitous deciding to talk to the artist, Owen Parry is his name—

FK: Owen Parry.

ELM:—who did the Larry show, it was called The Larry!Monument?

FK: The piece in the show was called “Larry!Monument.” The show was involved other artists, it was called Common Property I think?

ELM: Oh, ok, gotcha. We were gonna talk about…did we think we were gonna talk about RPF even before you jetted off to London and…?

FK: At first we were gonna talk about the fourth wall, and then we were gonna talk about RPF, and then we got even more specific because I happened to be in London at the time this show was up and went to see it.

ELM: Right. So, we will definitely be talking about the fourth wall in the future, but not now, we’re gonna talk about RPF, which like, is interesting.

FK: Yes.

ELM: You also recently wrote about RPF, I have written articles about RPF, we were just talking about this earlier, I feel like we have had different experiences writing about RPF on the internet…

FK: [laughs] That’s very true, because I do not have nearly as large of a soapbox as you do, so when I wrote about RPF I got like one person yelling at me anonymously in my ask box calling me a creep, which was easy to ignore, and a lot of people being like “Hey! She said the thing about RPF! That RPF is okay!” Whereas when you wrote about RPF apparently everybody who likes Benedict Cumberbatch and is not part of creative fandom decided to dogpile you.

ELM: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t, it wasn’t, it was OK. It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t the worst reaction I’ve had to a piece, I will say.

FK: Aww! But it was bad enough that you got the thousand yard stare, though, when you talk about it.

ELM: What?

FK: You got the thousand yard stare when you told me about it, though.

ELM: [laughs] I’ve blocked some of it out. No, I mean, someone tweeted at me that I was like Jennifer Lawrence’s phone hackers. [FK snickers] And I was like, um, this conversation’s over goodbye. What? Like, and all these people were like “You’re bullying him.” Benedict Cumberbatch. And I was like, I don’t think that means what you think it means.

FK: Yeah. I’m sorry that you had to put up with that. I didn’t.

ELM: That’s fine, that’s fine. I don’t know, I just feel like the perception of RPF is changing so much, also you’re writing and reading RPF in a very different context than the one I think that maybe both of us have encountered in the past, and also frankly the stuff that I’m writing about with Cumberbatch, it is different, you know?

FK: Yeah, yeah.

ELM: It’s the main thrust of like—thrust, I’m a child.

FK: Heh heh heh.

ELM: It’s the main, like, boy bands—not boy bands, just bands in general, right?

FK: Bandom, yeah. That’s what it is.

ELM: That’s the only way to do transformative fandom, is basically you’re gonna do RPF, right?

FK: And it kinda always has been, I mean, I read Tiger Beat when I was a kid and I read all about “My Date with JTT.”

ELM: That was factual reporting, Flourish!

FK: I’m sure it was completely factual, completely factual reporting.

ELM: Anyway anyway I guess we’re gonna be talking about RPF more later.

FK: Yeah, with Owen maybe, but also in other episodes.

ELM: So we should probably talk to Toast now.

FK: OK, let’s talk to Toast.

ELM: Alright, so we are super excited to welcome back Destination Toast, hopefully for the first time of many times, that’s slightly awkward, I’m sorry, for our new semi-regular fandom statistics segment that we don’t have a title for yet!

FK: Welcome Toasty!

Destination Toast: Thank you! I have successfully invited myself back, I’m very pleased.

ELM: No, it was a really good suggestion, thank you for coming back! So we wanted to talk to you about a couple of things that related to this episode and to the last episode. You were struck with the last episode, like, it presented you questions to explore, right?

FK: Yeah, we watched you talking with Gretchen about it.

DT: Yeah, so I had a couple follow-up things that actually brought me back! One of them was a follow-up to the episode with Gretchen as you say. 

So you guys were talking about a number of really fascinating things with Gretchen, one was sort of, I think one of the listeners had asked something about terms like yaoi which came in from the Japanese fandoms and is sort of at least the way we use it is a synonym for slash, basically, and there was some discussion about how were these terms used, and it seems like there was a mention that maybe yaoi had kind of been more popular in the past and had maybe disappeared some more recently, and just discussions of how fandom language changes over time. 

And I also had sort of noticed that and think that’s really interesting, and I just did some stats for February on femslash, and there’s also a term yuri, which is the equivalent for femslash pairings. And I was wondering whether or not I could see any language change in how yuri is used compared to femslash, I was also just sort of wondering, AO3 makes it all nice and easy to find femslash by using the F-F tag, F/F, just like there’s the M/M category and so on, so I was also wondering just are users on AO3 even using any of these tags as much anymore. 

So you guys basically inspired me to go do some investigations into language change if I could see any, just looking at how the different tags are used relative to one another, so I did some of those as part of my femslash stats. And it was really interesting!

FK: Yeah, what’d you find?

DT: I actually found that kind of like I predicted, the femslash tag itself is being used on fewer works on AO3 over time, relatively. So in terms of absolute works, both femslash and yuri which are the two most popular tags for femslash are increasing in use, because AO3 overall is getting more popular and every single tag is going up in numbers basically over time, but in terms of the proportion of works that they’re getting used on, those are getting smaller and smaller over time.

ELM: Of, like, F/F? Of that category as well.

DT: Right. So if you just look at the number of F/F works, the number that are also tagged as being femslash as an extra tag as well as being in the F/F category, those are going down over time, and the number of works tagged yuri are actually interestingly staying about the same. So what I found was, like I said, sort of overall usage of most tags on AO3 does continue to grow in absolute numbers, but if you just look at the number of works that are in the F/F category, the percentage of those that people additionally tagged femslash is going down. So in 2010 and earlier it was like 20% of those works also used the femslash tag, and now in 2015 it’s less than 10%, so fewer people for whatever reason—maybe they don’t feel the need to use the femslash tag as much! Interestingly, the yuri tag is staying more constant at like, it’s less than 5%, it’s more like 3% or something, but it’s staying more consistent in its usage.

ELM: Is that, is it specific fandoms or types of fandom, is it non-Western source material, that kind of thing?

DT: Yeah, totally. No, so I was very interested in that, and it is a very different set of fandoms where each of the tags is popular. So the top tags that are using the femslash tag when they’re using it are Once Upon a Time and Teen Wolf and Marvel, and the ones that are using the yuri tag most are RWBY and Attack on Titan and Naruto. I don’t know so much about that first one, I think it’s said “ruby,” but most of them are anime and manga fandoms. So, yeah. It’s still the ones that are more the Asian and especially Japanese influenced or originating fandoms. So you’re right, it’s very fandom dependent and I was also sort of fascinated, I don’t know why, but I kind of assumed that maybe because AO3 has so much, like, Western-heavy fandoms and people posting to lots of Western fandoms, I kind of imagined that maybe authors would come in and, like, start using the femslash and the Western tags more just because AO3 is so dominated by those fandoms.

FK: But that’s not the case?

DT: No! I actually found that the authors even who post to, like, there are plenty of authors who post to both Western and East Asian fandoms, but even those authors seem to—I only looked at a handful of authors so far so this isn’t like Science!Science, but it was looking like from 15 authors or so that even the authors who were posting to both types of fandoms over time that were using both types of tags were kind of using both types of tags themselves depending on what was most appropriate for the fandom they were in and kind of going back and forth, and I was talking to Gretchen about that, and she was sort of saying that’s very cool, that’s kind of what you would expect if authors wanted to code-switch—

ELM: I was gonna say, code-switching!

DT: So if they wanted to identify themselves as being part of each community and knowing what the community norms are and using the right tag showing their expertise in each community. I’m finding some evidence of change over time in at least the femslash tag, but I’m also finding that individual authors are still using whatever is the most appropriate set of tags on a per fandom basis.

ELM: So, OK. The biggest thing that strikes me is, do people tag slash on AO3 still? I don’t even notice it. I’m usually reading within a pairing, but like 10 years ago, if it was a slash story, you’d label that pretty—more than 10 years ago. You’d be like, sometimes you’d be like, not you’d be, the writer, not me in my private stories or whatever, would be like “So sorry, if you’re offended, don’t read it!” and all this stuff. And you’d have to do all this apologizing, it was ridiculous.

FK: People still do that on Wattpad a little bit on some things.

ELM: Really? That’s interesting.

FK: “Boy x  boy, if you don’t like it, don’t read it,” it’s usually more sort of defensive or like—

ELM: Yeah, don’t like don’t read!

FK: Don’t like don’t read, it’s not like apologizing, but it’s like very—

ELM: It’s like fuck you in advance?

FK: Yeah, fuck you in advance.

ELM: If you’re gonna be a homophobic dick about this…so I think that kind of language has faded away in the AO3 culture. But it strikes me as something, if people are using femslash less, is it like, slash and femslash are gonna cease to become, as we have universal acceptance of all sexualities, are slash and femslash gonna cease to exist as categories and we’re just gonna have pairings? And you know, or, uh, ships, not necessarily just two—I’m trying to not say pairing, which is maybe too finicky. I’m slipping this into my articles and I’m like, “no one cares” who’s reading my—someone’s dad is like “What?”

FK: I think people still call OT3s, people still call OT3s—

ELM: Pairings?! That’s not…

DT: They do. Yeah. I know.

FK: It’s not right, but people totally do it. I find myself saying, you know.

ELM: Yeah, anyway, you know what I mean! I’m getting bogged down by details.

DT: I totally know what you mean. Um, no, and I have the same, hehe, the same, yes.

FK: [sighs] Detail-oriented people.

DT: It’s interesting, to address a couple things you said. Interestingly when I look at the yuri tag and also when I was looking at girl x girl, which is sort of something that Wattpad users use more to tag femslash, like femslash is not popular on Wattpad they mostly use girl x girl, um, and yuri over there, so I was looking for that on AO3, it’s much less popular, but when I was looking for both those terms on AO3 I saw more of the don’t like don’t read disclaimer still than I saw in any of the femslash fics, so it may still be somewhat—

ELM: In dude slash on AO3? Go back.

DT: No, just in femslash.

ELM: Alright, we’re still on lady slash. OK.

DT: So these are great questions, I’m only answering for femslash right now cause I’ve just been buried in those stats for the past several weeks.

ELM: It’s Femslash February, what else are you gonna be buried in?

DT: Exactly! And so not all of those answers are necessarily symmetrical, obviously, for femslash and for dudeslash. But all I can speak to is femslash right now, because that’s what I’ve been looking at most recently. But I interestingly did see some of those same disclaimers of like “This is girl on girl, if you don’t like don’t read,” and I saw those on some of the ones that were tagged yuri and that were tagged girl x girl, which is some of the same tagging that you see over on Wattpad more, so I don’t know if that’s some of the same users or just that some of the same fandoms tend to warn more or what. But those warnings haven’t entirely gone away, but I don’t really know if it’s just community dependent or some users more still or what.

ELM: It could be culturally dependent, though, right? So that’s interesting.

FK: It could also be one of those things, I think it probably is one of those things that also shows you’re a member of an in-group. Right?

DT: Right.

FK: I mean, I know that I definitely considered putting one of those warnings on my Wattpad fic, and then I went, “Why would I do that?” and then I thought “Oh, it’s because every fic I’ve looked at on Wattpad has those warnings.” And I feel like if I don’t put one on, even if I’m not actually worried about someone’s homophobic ass, like, then I won’t be part of the, part of the community.

ELM: Well, Flourish, this might actually be a good transition to our second topic, if that’s OK to go there right now.

FK: I think we should.

ELM: Because as far as I understand, the One Direction fandom, there are enormous factions within the RPF community.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: And I wonder if some of the stuff you’re seeing…you know that Anna Todd got death threats, right? Because—

FK: Mm hmm.

ELM: Some people were mad because she was writing, the Larry shippers were mad, right? Or like the slash shippers, and also all the people who thought that Harry was not a like, you know, was a better guy than she had portrayed him.

FK: Yeah. There’s a lot of people have a lot of opinions about things, even within Larry people, you know, I’ve had people whose usernames are TopHarry96 and BottomHarry96 and they’ll argue with each other…

ELM: Flourish, are you new to slash fandom?! Literally the—

FK: No, but they’re so—

ELM: Literally the most important ship wars in every slash fandom is—

FK: But they’re so—

ELM: I find it so offensive. Like, top/bottom arguments.

FK: I know they are! I had just never found, I’d never seen people actually like arguing in the comments of a fic over it. [DT laughing in the background] That I have written.

ELM: I’ve seen people issue death threats over top and bottom John and Sherlock.

FK: You know, there’s a reason why I do not consider myself a slasher even though I read and write slash fic and this may be part of it.

ELM: This is not about—no! Don’t paint all slashers with this brush, Flourish. I don’t wanna hear it.

DT: OK but wait. Can we, on the One Direction topic, as somebody pretty far outside of the One Direction fandom, can I just ask a clarifying silly question?

FK: Yes.

DT: Does Anna Todd, does she write slash, or does she write Harry—

ELM: No. It was like a self-insert.

DT: OK, that’s what I thought.

FK: Which is like the most common, it’s the most common kind of story outside of—

ELM: Which is why Flourish wrote a self-insert.

FK: Oh, many. [all laugh]

DT: OK. Thank you for validating my belief as a statistician observing the One Direction fic on Wattpad. It’s good to hear that that belief was right.

ELM: All the boybands too, the, the most popular thing apparently, not the most popular but very popular is self-insert in kind of dubcon-y situations. Like a slave auction, that kind of thing.

FK: Yes.

ELM: And that’s not just One Direction.

FK: For whatever reason daddy kink is a big thing and has been for awhile. I don’t fully get it, but you know, there it is.

ELM: Well, so I feel like I led us astray by talking about the One Direction fandom which we’re gonna talk about later in the episode, but we also wanted to ask you about RPF, and you were saying that you noticed some trends. Is this on AO3 mostly?

DT: Yeah. So I actually had somebody write to me when was this? This was like a year ago and write to me about AO3, because AO3 lets you lock some or all of your fics if you want to, so that they’re not publicly accessible and only other AO3 users can see them, and so an AO3 user asked me whether or not in the case of real person slash—specifically whether or not more of it was locked than other slash in general, which I thought was a really interesting question.

ELM: Yeah for sure.

DT: So I did just that analysis in general, or specifically rather, and I did searches on AO3 for  slash and for RPF slash, so this is just dude slash, M/M, and I did this while logged out and while logged in so that I could see the difference in the number of results that I got. And it turns out that yeah, there’s a lot more in the RPF category there’s a lot more locked stuff than there is in AO3 overall, so if you look at AO3 overall not that much stuff is locked, it’s like 1% approximately of AO3 fanworks are locked in the slash category. If you look at RPF slash, it’s like 5 times as much.

FK: Woah.

DT: Yeah! So it’s still a low number overall. There’s like 6.2% or something of RPF slash works are locked, but compared to the 1.2% that are locked overall, that’s like 5 times the number. So that’s indicative that people do actually consider these probably more sensitive for whatever reason, they’re more wanting to lock those works.

ELM: So wait. For my clarification, so it’s not like having a LiveJournal story friends-locked.

DT: That is true.

ELM: Can you make a story private so that only your friends can see a story on AO3? I haven’t encountered that.

DT: No. All you can do is make it so that you have to be logged into AO3 and you can’t just google search it as an AO3 user and find it.

ELM: It won’t show up in search.

DT: Yeah. It’s not like private only to your friends, it’s just private to all of AO3.

FK: Yeah that seems to conform to a lot of my understanding, it seems to me just from conversations that a lot of people feel like RPF is fine as long as no one can find it unless they’re really really really looking for it, which includes keeping it out of Google search results, right?

ELM: It’s just, it’s just such a telling detail, I guess. Cause if it was just for my friends, then you could be like, you know. But it’s not. It’s just for people who are within the fanfiction community. It’s like an explicit statement, I don’t want whatever actor to google his name and for him to see this because I just—you know. Which that’s very interesting distinction to me.

DT: No, it does seem to me—I’m not part of the, I haven’t written RPF fics since I was a teenager writing about myself and Peter Gabriel and myself and Phil Collins as we covered on the—

ELM: Dreamy pairings, not gonna lie.

DT: [laughs] So I haven’t been part of, I wasn’t part of a community at the time, sadly. But I think it’s very much the sharing of that with a community of people who understand what you’re doing and aren’t going to, like, stare at you askance of “What the hell is this even?” But not completely shutting it down to just your friends. So I think there are other social platforms that do, like LiveJournal, um, that do allow you to do that more limited thing and this is not that. This is limiting to people that you hope understand and are looking for that particular thing if they find it. And keeping you out of the google search.

ELM: So is that, Wattpad, which is much more dominated in RPF—that’s not a, is that a functionality feature?

FK: No, it totally is not. You can’t do that on Wattpad. For Wattpad it is a publishing platform and you’re publishing it to everybody the end. The only thing you can do is label as mature.

ELM: I don’t think that’s gonna stop the mystery celebrity who’s googling himself.

FK: No. In fact, probably quite the opposite.

ELM: [laughs] Probably gonna have pretty good SEO cause it’s Wattpad, so!

FK: Yeah, it’s pretty interesting, cause it’s very different as far as I can tell, the way people think about it.

ELM: That’s interesting.

FK: All right, Toast, thank you so much for doing this stuff, and we’ll look forward to the next time we’ve got some questions for you that fandom stats can enlighten us on!

DT: Absolutely!

ELM: And people should write you or us if they have questions to be answered, right?

DT: Yeah, please! If people wanna leave notes in my ask box and tag them for fansplaining or if they wanna leave them for you guys and tag them with me, any of those will work.

ELM: Alright, awesome. So it’s destinationtoast or toastystats, right, is the, uh—

DT: Yes.

ELM: Are the tumblrs to find you at.

DT: That’s right.

ELM: Well, thank you so much for doing this! I can’t wait for next time, our regular segment.

FK: See you next time!

DT: Can’t wait. Bye!

[Interstitial music]

ELM: OK! That was very interesting.

FK: It was awesome!

ELM: That’s a really default response.

FK: Do we say this every time? I guess we do. It’s OK! It’s true!

ELM: [laughs] Yeah, it is true. Usually. Except for that one guest we had.

FK: You know the one. [both laugh]

ELM: Anyway, um, I am so excited that that’s gonna be a regular thing so yeah, please contact us or Toast with questions.

FK: The whole thing with RPF being more frequently locked than other things, I don’t know, I’ve been thinking a lot about that and the morality and politeness and whether politeness and morality are the same thing, I dunno.

ELM: Yeah, I dunno. It’s interesting! I have to wonder. It’s interesting to think about context. And I would be so curious if Wattpad had that kind of functionality.

FK: Mm hmm. Whether people would take advantage of it?

ELM: I also sort of think it’s gotta be a generational thing too, like, there was some post on tumblr I saw a while back that was like, oh, it was talking about how like when you’re a very young fan you want the people you’re writing about to read your story, or something like that, and they were like, I just wanna sit these people down and tell them “You’re not gonna want this in five years!” or something like that. But it’s interesting, cause I was talking to someone from Movellas, which is like the British Wattpad.

FK: Uh huh?

ELM: So she was talking about how I was trying to explain this sort of fandom norms to her about this stuff, and I was like “Oh no,” like, “there should be a firm fourth wall and the content creator should never see—especially if it’s RPF they should never see it, it’s not for them,” blah blah blah, my party line and she was like, “Well, our users request that we show the stories to these bands.” And their like, target users are all 13-16. And I was like, NO, protect them! They don’t want that. I mean, they do want it, but they shouldn’t! I don’t know. I have to wonder.

FK: I think there is something interesting cause there’s also like—I totally feel you on the protectionist impulse, but I also think man, when I was 13 I didn’t want nobody to tell me nothin’, and like, actually, I wasn’t wrong, some of the time. You know?

ELM: Yeah, yeah.

FK: I was right about a lot of things when I was 13 in certain ways, you know! Maybe in the future fan norms will change to the extent that people will find it cool and are interested and are willing. I think it’s possible!

ELM: Yeah, well, fuck canon and fuck creators and fuck the subjects of RPF. No. Fanworks are for fans, Flourish!

FK: I’m not saying I don’t feel that way! I’m just saying I can envision a world of cultural change wherein…

ELM: We all write RPF for celebrities and then we put it at their feet like idols.

FK: Yeah! Maybe. I don’t know. Weirder things have happened!

ELM: I don’t wanna live in that world! No.

FK: You know, the world changes in ways that we don’t want sometimes.

ELM: Yeah, it’s so true! Like, when President Trump…

FK: God, President Trump. Let’s not get depressed and—I gave up booze for Lent! We can’t talk about President Trump with me not having booze.

ELM: I miss Jeb Bush already.

FK: I know! Right? Can you imagine? Somebody who like literally posted a picture of his name engraved on a gun.

ELM: That was the best thing I’ve seen in awhile. That was staggeringly good.

FK: Anyway.

ELM: I felt bad. Gav, my newsletter partner who is Scottish, not even American, was really into Jeb Bush. She, uh, when that gun America tweet came out, she sent me an email like eight hours later being like, “I just keep thinking about it again and laughing.” And just reading that made me lose it all over again. It’s just so—

FK: You know, people in the UK are weirdly invested in American politics. I spent my entire trip over there like talking to people about it, because that was all anybody wanted to talk about.

ELM: This actually segues into our next topic! Because you just went to the UK for like a five second trip. Five seconds of UK.

FK: Basically.

ELM: And so that—this is how this all came about. So you flew to London.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Extravagantly. For Valentine’s Day.

FK: If you want to frame it that way, yes.

ELM: Romantically? Just by chance this was the end of this exhibit, which we already referenced.

FK: Yeah! Who told me about it, was it you?

ELM: It was me.

FK: Probably you, yeah!

ELM: You’re welcome.

FK: Thank you. Yeah! So it was like, ah, there’s this show up! I was like OK, I can go see that! And I should. And I did!

ELM: Yeah! And so you wrote this post about it, and we’ll definitely link to it in the show notes, because it’s a very thoughtful review, and then the subject of the review contacted you, Owen.

FK: Right. Because I…I didn’t think too hard about tagging him in it? I just tagged him? And then like when you tag normal humans who exist in the world, he responded! So. I was like alright. And he was like, I’ll come on the podcast.

ELM: And I was like, “Yes, please!”

FK: And we were like—and in fact Elizabeth sent me a really cute email being like [gasps] “Ahh! We have to have him as our guest!”

ELM: We do, though!

FK: And we’re gonna have him as our guest right now!

ELM: Perfect. So let’s talk to him and, um, I mean, do you think that we’ve explained what the exhibit was?

FK: Probably not.

ELM: OK. Sixty seconds or less. Just for our listeners who haven’t read about it, there was a big article in the Telegraph and I found out about it because Anna Leszkiewicz, who was on the last episode of 2015, who’s a One Directioner as you may remember, wrote about it, kind of contexualized it with like Larry fanfiction in general.

FK: Right. So this artist had one piece in a larger show, the piece was called Larry!Monument, it’s an installation which includes a bunch of stuff like a sort of clear plastic screen with Larry fanart etched on it and a photomanip of Larry and a couple of laundry baskets, one of which has a fake baby belly with Harry’s tattoos on it, and this video piece, and it’s really cool and interesting and like I said it’s part of a larger exhibit that deals with copyright and I guess the moral rights of authors and things. But anyway, yeah! It was really interesting, I felt like it was a really respectful piece and I still have a lot of other stuff to say about it, so I wrote a lot about it.

ELM: And now he wants to come on and talk about it, and we want to talk with him about it.

FK: And he’s gonna!

ELM: Perfect. Alright, should we call him?

FK: Let’s call him! …All right, so we are back and we would like to welcome Owen to the podcast!

ELM: Hi Owen!

FK: Pleased to have you!

Owen G Parry: Hi guys! Thanks for having me, I’m really excited about this.

ELM: Thank you so much for coming on!

FK: It’s completely our pleasure! I was so anxious when I realized that my tagging you in Tumblr posts meant that you would actually read them.

OGP: I actually got to read it and, no, I really appreciate the response, so. And one of the things about fandom that’s really interesting for me is the fact that there is this continual response and dialogue around things, so, I’m really happy to be able to respond to the response! [laughs]

ELM: So let’s, I think we should start at the beginning and especially for contextualizing things  cause I didn’t get to see the show and I’m guessing most of our listeners won’t have either. Can you talk a little bit about it? We’re particularly interested in its conception.

FK: Yeah, how’d you just—how’d you get into it, how did you decide to go there?

OGP: Yeah, I should say, so I’m an artist primarily an artist, just over a year ago I kind of started this project called FanRiot, and the reason I started it was because I started to think about how the relationship between the artist and the fan, basically, and how I’ve always been a fan of other artists and how much that had impacted on the work I made. And yet I’d kind of kept the idea of being a fan of other people’s work kind of separate from what I was doing. So. 

And then thinking about kind of instances of where, moments of fanworks and fanart particularly videos and stuff online, started becoming more interesting than the actual official works. That kind of—I like this idea that fans could upstage those official works and it was a bit of a joke for me in thinking about that. 

But also, just kind of turning to works that I’d been making before and realizing that I’d kind of been working like a fan for a long time although not necessarily within a specifically fandom context—although I have a few things to say about that because I think a lot of the kind of scenes in which my works have been made are kind of fandoms in themselves, so. For example, performance art. Most of my work has been kind of involved in a performance art scene in London which I see as a bit of a kind of fandom, so.  Part of the project has been me looking at that kind of scene if you like or subculture as a kind of fandom. 

And then, yeah. Larry!Monument came about, so the work that we’re kind of talking about, mostly because I came across a Larry fanartist Karukara, I’m not sure if you guys are familiar with Karukara’s work, and I just, I totally really really loved her illustrations and was kind of, yeah, just, I suppose confronted by them in a way, and finding different ways to connect with them, I felt like they were works that were kind of, I suppose this is the whole thing that we’ll talk about in relationship to slash fiction, I, I, I saw images in her work of like Larry images that reminded me of images of work I’d made in my previous collaborations, for example, with another artist friend of mine, which were kind of like intimate collaborations. 

So I saw relationships between those things. But really I just really love her works. So I was—I got in contact with her and said could I talk to her about the work that she was making, and we had this conversation which just became really fascinating and kind of out of that I started this whole project and became more and more involved in kind of following everything Larry on Tumblr. [laughs]

FK: So that’s kind of cool, so it’s sort of a work of fanart of Larry fanart, almost.

OGP: Yeah it is in a way! I sort of feel like if anything, I am a fan of fans. If I have to take a position, which I feel changes sometimes, and I think that—yeah it does change, if I do, I am a fan of Karukara’s work, I think she’s an amazing illustrator, and the actual Larry fanart in particular, and talking with her about her own relationship to making that work became really fascinating, you know the fact that she really keeps that very separate from her own kind of work as a fine artist, as an emerging artist in art school and stuff like that, just brought up loads of really interesting questions for me. So. 

And then Larry!Monument was kind of an idea that just happened that I thought would never happen, but then I got to actually make it happen, so [laughs] because I got an invitation to be part of the exhibition through the curator because she’d come along to a series of fan clubs I’ve also been running as part of the project where I’ve been inviting like fans who create fanworks and artists who work in kind of fanlike ways with fanlike tendencies. And I’ve been having conversations with those people, bringing them into conversation, and I’m interested in that kind of slippage area between what it means to be an artist or to be a fan.

ELM: When you were saying that, like, you’ve been a fan of things and—I guess what I’m curious about is, you know, there’s a lot of different ways to be a fan. And I’m wondering if the stuff that you’ve been exploring and working with and this type of transformative work, if this is relatively new to you or, you say you’ve been a fan for awhile, is—was this the sort of stuff? Have you been into fanart for a long time?

OGP: Well no, it’s just that I made this realization that my work was fanart without being necessarily in a fanart context. Or I felt like I was making fanart.

FK: Right.

OGP: And I wanted to explore the relationship between my work and, yeah, and what was happening in kind of fanworks, and I can give examples of it: I made a series of works which are kind of like reenactments and performances, so where Yoko Ono kind of turns up, because I’m kind of a Yoko fan, but I’m kind of equally frustrated by some of Yoko’s legacy and history, and I kind of believe that whatever anyone tries to do today Yoko has already done it in 1968, so there’s this kind of like [laughs] kind of feeling of like yeah. So that’s been an ongoing feeling in my work. 

But I also made a series of works that I just wanted to be in, so I made a work called “I want to be in that show,” where I staged a series of performance works from the history of performance art that I just really loved and wished that I was in. [laughs] So it was kind of a bit—there’s definitely a fannish relationship to the way I make my work in that sense. But I’ve also created, like, a Yoko Ono tribute band and stuff like that as part of the work. This was all previous to Larry.

FK: Yeah yeah yeah. That’s really cool because it seems like it has a lot of relationship to a lot of people who write fanfiction especially talk about—I know, Elizabeth, you’re one of them—talk about writing fanfiction before you had a word for what it was or before you found the community.

OGP: Yeah, exactly!

FK: It seems like this is like that except with performance art instead of with illustration or fanfiction or whatever.

OGP: Yeah. I think so. And you know, I suppose me bringing my work into that context does throw up lots of new questions which, like your response did, which I find really interesting and I really hope the work would bring up those questions. And I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that I’m working in my medium, which is not necessarily…I’m not a fanfiction, I’m not a fiction writer. But I am a kind of fiction creator, but through the medium of performance, if you know what I mean. So I’ve just kind of been, yeah.

ELM: OK. So I’m assuming that a fair number of our listeners have not read Flourish’s…I don’t wanna say critiques?

OGP: No, they’re—

FK: I didn’t feel like it was a critique directly of you so much as of the world in which we operate, but.

ELM: Yeah, yeah! So then, I’m just wondering if we should maybe paraphrase some of them and then maybe talk about it a little? If that’s OK with you, Owen.

OGP: That sounds great, yeah, I’m up for that.

ELM: OK, so Flourish, you wrote it, so maybe you wanna…?

FK: Sure! So I think the major thrust of what I said on Tumblr was I really enjoyed the show, I felt like it was very respectful of fans, I felt like it was sort of recapping a lot of things about Larry, like it wasn’t teaching me anything new about Real Person Fiction or Larry in particular which is not unexpected particularly, but that got me thinking about how the existence of Larry, the existence of real person fiction is maybe in itself a provocation to the art world—

OGP: That was interesting.

FK: Yeah, and then that made me feel a little bit like, well, Owen, you’ve done a really great job of being respectful and wonderful, but at the same time it made me a little sore because if we can be a provocation to the art world but our actual fan productions are not taken seriously when they’re fan productions qua fan productions, that’s a bit frustrating, right? And feels, I don’t know, sticks in my craw a little bit. And you know, that’s not a critique of you, because I think that everything that you did was good, but maybe it is a little bit, I don’t know. So that was the main thrust of what I was saying and I guess I was, when I saw that you’d read it I was kind of nervous, like, oh God, will he take this the wrong way, you know. Will he be mad that I called out the—

OGP: No, I think that’s great! I really appreciate the critique and I think it is a critique, and I think it’s really good to have a critique and—again, like, you responding to the work in that way for me makes the work a kind of a fanwork, because all of a sudden there’s a kind of dialogue that’s happening around it as well, which become really interesting. So it’s strange to say, but I feel like almost once there’s response, and there is like fans interacting with the work, then it becomes more like a piece of fanfiction, and it almost legitimizes it as a fanfiction as well [all laugh] which I suppose is a bit annoying if I say that that way! But—

FK: That’s OK!

OGP: But you’ve legitimized it as a work of fanfiction. But I totally take on your points, in terms of—I think the issue that I can see that you’re bringing up, and it’s not something that I didn’t think about, obviously, is the idea of placing a fanwork that is maybe kind of subcultural in a gallery context which is high art, a high art context. But I didn’t feel like, I mean, my approach to the work isn’t necessarily about appropriating fanart, it’s about building relationships between what I think it means to be a fan and be an artist, so for me I suppose that’s what I was interested in and that becomes problematic if it’s just read as me appropriating kind of fan culture and putting it in a gallery. Because I was—I feel like I’ve been already doing a lot of things that fans do, but I just hadn’t made that relationship in my mind between ways fans and methods and ways that fans work, and the ways that I’d been working, and I suppose in that way that work I’ve just been able to think about that and organize that in a way.

FK: Right.

OGP: I found your, what I found really interesting was your really detailed description and critique of the video.

FK: Well they wouldn’t, I took a video of it and then the gal at the gallery was like “Oh, you need to use our official photos, you can’t take a video of that, or you can, but just for yourself.” And so I was like alright, well, I can’t take a video, but people are gonna want to know what’s in it, so I should describe it, you know?

OGP: That’s great! I really liked it. Cause that’s the other thing about being a fan that’s been really fascinating for me is the way that fans obviously have, it comes from Henry Jenkins that talks about fans being experts in useless knowledge and things like that. But there is this attention to detail that I really really think is great, and that maybe like, I do think there are relationships between the ways fans work and artists work in that way in terms of like accumulating information that isn’t necessarily the most useful to everyone, but.

FK: You know what it really reminded me of was when I was first in X-Files fandom and you couldn’t get the episodes on video or DVD and so you’d miss one and somebody would describe it to you in painstaking detail, right. It wasn’t just, it was recaps but it wasn’t just recaps, right. And I definitely felt that way when I was sitting in the gallery and going “Shit, I’m gonna have to watch this like two more times so that I can take notes and like explain to people what it is.” I was like “Oh man, it’s 1996 and I’m…”

OGP: But what I should say is for me that video is a way of sort of organizing some of those ideas, so for me it’s a way of looking at, using shipping I suppose as something I feel like I’ve been doing in my practice all along without realizing it. I’ve always been obsessed with artists who are in relationships, lots of artists that really inspired me were like Marina Abramović and Ulay that walk the China wall towards each other. It’s a kind of diagram, so it’s like diagrammatic, and it’s like, thinking about what can be created. It’s basically drawn it from, you know, you have shipping diagrams. There’s one that went around for ages of Sherlock, there’s a Sherlock diagram.

FK: Possible pairings?

OGP: Possible pairings, it’s basically that, but in my own work I’ve been thinking about doing that as well, and always making pairings or more than pairings, like OT7. You were like “Why is it OT7 when there’s only 5 band members?!” I suppose that diagram is just a possible sort of way of coming up with your own fiction.

FK: Right.

OGP: You can read, you can put those different characters into different relationship and you can come up with…and that’s what really excites me about fanfiction and the way fans work, that shipping is a really specific method that works, but it’s actually really fascinating because it can produce something entirely new. You can produce something new of a story that exists already that’s being marketed to you or whatever. 

In part in my work, cause I’ve been running a lot of workshops with students and artists, one of the things I get everyone to do is we build shrines to the things that we love as fans, you know, at the end of the day we kind of ship our shrines, so we create these new fandoms by thinking about what would happen if, I don’t know, a Michael Jackson fan meets Yoko Ono, for example. Or any kind of combination. And you can produce new work through that, and it’s the whole, the idea that in fandom fans produce new languages in the way—even just OT7 is a specific example, its own vocabulary and things like that. Similarly, that’s the kind of thing that artists do when they work as well. They create these new kind of languages and stuff.

ELM: It’s funny though just hearing you talk about this. Because I don’t feel like…I feel like since I didn’t see the show, which I would have loved to have seen, it’s not really fair for me to critique in any way. You know?

FK: But when has that ever stopped anybody, Elizabeth? When has that ever stopped anybody.

ELM: I thought you were going to point that insult directly at me, so it’s nice that it was so broad, thank you! But it’s interesting because I feel like my gut, knee-jerk reaction would be like, “oh,” you know, like “Fanfiction is so gendered, and this is so complicated, and to take it out of its context and to put it in a sanctioned space…” They’re not positive feelings. And then listening to you talk about fandom in like a beautiful way but also an incredibly open and fluid way is making me feel like a silly closed minded jerk who needs to like move to the future, basically.

FK: Awww!

OGP: But it’s understandable, right? That’s the whole thing that, I think fans and fandom for so long has had this pathologized idea around it. But I think that’s really, I think that is changing and that might be problematic, because it, you know, we see how fandom is being absorbed into commercial culture, we all know about fanfics being taken on by blockbuster movies etc. without naming obvious things, and previous to that it being a kind of activity that took place where fans are reworking and kind of taking ownership over things that are being basically marketed to them by, you know, in certain ways. And I think there’s something about that that’s really important. You know, like when you said “Oh, I didn’t understand why OT7 was in there.” There’s a series of things, and for me I would like people to come along to the work and like a fanfiction prompt, these are just a series of prompts for you creating your own scenario, and your own fic, if you like, of what might take place or what the work might be about anyway. So it’s not like this means this and this means that so much for me, it’s more about as a kind of prompt, I suppose.

ELM: And now you’re making me feel more excited about art in general, too, so. Thanks a lot for that.

FK: You know, actually I think this brings up something that—just seeing the work and having the work stand on its own, Owen’s work, without either just talking online or without actually talk in person, I think it’s easier to make judgments or have expectations…

ELM: Even on a more basic level, reading about it in a place like the Telegraph. Reading fancy art gallery fanfiction Larry RPF. And you’re like “Well, first of all.”

FK: Right.

ELM: I’m not saying anything against the Telegraph article. I’m just saying the idea of, like, that was just a stand-in for like, a newspaper.

FK: No, but it’s really true! Like whenever I see, whenever I see something—

ELM: Like in the New York Times.

FK: Yeah. In the New York Times.

ELM: God, the New York Times.

FK: Do you remember that time when the New York Times had, like, fanfiction as a crossword clue and I like nearly hit the roof? It was the worst.

ELM: I believe it was the same weekend that they described David Mitchell’s last book as fanfiction.


OGP: Why does that make you so angry? I’m really interested.

ELM: Which one, the crossword or David Mitchell’s last book?

OGP: Yeah, just the fact that it—

ELM: Because those are different reasons.

FK: They’re different things. The crossword thing was because the clue was wrong about what fanfiction was. It was a clue that was, like, cluing fanfiction and it was from this very biased perspective, of like, I think it used the word “derivative,” if I recall, that was the thing that made me really angry?

OGP: Ah, right. That’s another thing that it’s great you’ve brought that up, because that’s been a massive part of the work as well. Larry!Monument was this idea that, like, fans have always been working in a derivative way—my relationship to that isn’t about making something like a subordinate work. I don’t see fanworks as subordinate works and less, I think that they—

FK: Right.

OGP: Someone’s written a really great article that I read in, is it Karen Hellekson’s book? And Kristina Busse, Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. There’s one on fanfiction as archontic literature, and I read that and I really connected with it, because it’s about this kind of expansive rather than subordinate work, so the idea that fanfiction is building on these works, I really connected with that idea. And that does challenge the idea that fanworks are illegitimate in that context, or whatever.

FK: Yeah.

OGP: I think it challenges that idea and that’s why I really liked her essay, because I just find that idea of it being more like, kind of generative, and building on what exists already, instead of a work that is less than the so-called original one or something like that.

FK: Yeah. So that was what got up my nose about the Times. And then the other thing, people use the term fanfiction in a very casual way sometimes…


ELM: It’s gotten very trendy, so I’m also a book journalist, and so it’s gotten very trendy to describe books as fanfiction now that book critics are aware of this term. But in a similar way, I think they have a pretty surfacey understanding of what that means, so.

FK: And sometimes it can be irritating, particularly…I mean sometimes I think it’s appropriate to talk about like “Oh yeah James Joyce was writing Odyssey fanfiction in Ulysses,” right, like, people say things like that casually in some contexts and I don’t think it’s always wrong, but there’s also this aspect where fanfiction can also be about a community of people and a community of practice and also about seeing things in a particular way which I don’t think David Mitchell’s book does…

ELM: Yeah, I remember, so I wrote an article about this a few months ago and one of the examples I gave was that people say Steven Moffat is writing Sherlock Holmes fanfiction, which on one level he is but on another level it’s like, yes, but he gets paid massive amounts of money to do this.

OGP: Right, and that’s when it becomes problematic, obviously.

ELM: And the point of that one was also like, you know, this does become a gendered issue then, because you know.

FK: You mean Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, although I like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as a concept it’s like, so there’s all this Jane Austen fanfic that’s out there that exists, some of which is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies essentially that’s written by women—but of course it’s a man who writes the thing that gets the movie, always.

OGP: Yeah and that’s really problematic.

FK: And I can’t blame the individual guy, I’m not sure that it’s, you know, how can I be mad at him, he’s just a person writing a thing. But like, goddammit.

OGP: Yeah. That might be an interesting way into talking about slash and about my relationship to slash fiction, cause I know you mentioned that when you said a few ideas of things we might talk about.

ELM: OK, so let’s talk about slash. I’m excited to talk to a man about slash!

FK: We rarely get to.

ELM: No, and it’s a problem, and I’ve been a slash reader and writer for 15 years and I know Flourish is not a slasher—

FK: I mean, I read slash, like who doesn’t, you know…

ELM: Lots of people don’t. But you’re not, you wouldn’t describe yourself as a slash fan, whereas it’s something that I’ve only really really started to interrogate in the last couple of years. So I would love to hear what you have to say.

OGP: Probably seeing Karukara’s illustrations, Larry illustrations, because it was kind of based around boy on boy action and it was authored by a girl, that was the thing that really fascinated me and that’s why I got in touch with Karukara and spoke to her about what she was making and that’s how I got into looking at more slash fanfiction. But for me it was really interesting cause what I was confronted with at first was what I thought a kind of very kind of heteronormative kind of approach to what would be queer culture, right? So obviously fluff fics and stuff like that.

ELM: Yeah yeah yeah.

OGP: Curtainfic, but one of the things is I actually think curtain fic is one of the most subversive, more than any hardcore or smut stuff or whatever, other kinds of fanfic. Reason being because even though it presents what looks like what looks like normative relationships and that might be seen as problematic, it always goes further than that and that’s obviously because when you start realizing that Harry’s pregnant, or that they, that in the pictures their kids look like five years younger than them, or that they bodyswap, or that it’s set in an alternate universe, or all these kind of things, take it out of just being a representation. 

So I think from a queer perspective, a critique on slash fiction could be that this is just superimposing idealized heterosexual relationships on to queer culture and for me it’s not, but I didn’t know where to place myself within that. So this has been a bit of interrogation of that as well, because I found one of the images of, the Larry family images, I found it so confronting because it looked so white, so middle-class, so kind of all these things that just really stand out to me and scream “this is problematic!” 

And yet at the same time I find that really fascinating, cause they’re really gentle and yeah, there’s a clear connection between the person who’s made that and the actual work and that’s because they’re involved in a process of doing something that they love. So, it’s really complex. It’s not as simple as this idea of girls appropriating gay culture or something like that. So I found it really fascinating, and it’s been a bit of an interrogation into that I suppose and a bit of an exploration of that. 

But also, when I said earlier about looking back at my previous work as a kind of fanfiction, my performance work, I was in a collaboration with a friend of mine, Mitch, we were called Mitch and Parry, and we created a lot of what I’m looking back at now as kind of slash performances. And the reason being is because most of the people who like those works were women. The people who responded to our very intimate, we basically dribbled in each other’s mouths and spat on each other [all laugh] amongst other things, but the audiences, we did it in a gay club and got booed off stage by a roomful of, like, gay bears. Um, [all laugh] and they booed us offstage! But the people who wrote about the work and seemed to respond to it, not only women, but—I started to think about it that we’d been creating work that was actually maybe for a female audience rather than what people would assume, which is that oh, this is kind of like gay work or something. Or queer work. But actually I think that a lot of women and—

ELM: That’s really interesting.

OGP: —enjoyed the work, so it made me think, have I been also working in slash without realizing it? Nothing is, like I said these are all just questions that I’m asking, and the work’s asking for me, it’s not like this is what it is. I don’t know if that explains anything.

ELM: No, it totally does! This is just so interesting to listen to—and I mean, I guess I’m trying to think of some of the things that have been troubling me about slash, and my uninterrogated relationship with it, and definitely what you’re describing in terms of the imposing heteronormativity. I definitely think that’s, that’s it. I also think, you know, it’s interesting to hear a man talk about it, because I have a few friends, gay and also trans men in fandom, who just feel totally silenced. Because they’re told that they’re not allowed to…

OGP: To talk about it.

ELM: Yeah! They’re told this is a female practice, these are female communities, you’re not allowed to speak. It’s like, well OK, but…you’re arguing over who in your ship tops and bottoms in a way that sounds totally homophobic, and a gay man is like “Hey, you sound really homophobic,” and you’re like, you know, I don’t know. It just, it frustrates me a lot.

OGP: I mean, I don’t think that, like, fluffy slash fic is necessarily kind of straightening out queer identities. I don’t think that that’s what’s going on and the reason why I don’t is fanfiction is unfixed in a very queer way. There’s endless possibilities of what those characters can do or what they can become or they can body swap or all these different things. So for me, it is something slash fiction I think is usually read as an appropriation of gay culture? But I don’t think it’s just that, I think it’s more than that, and it’s not just an appropriation of gay culture. Although it does fascinate me how some of the terms got there and started being used in that way.

ELM: Like what? What are some examples?

OGP: Like, just when I came across all these discussions around and arguments in the Larry fandom around who was top and who was bottoming, I was like when did this—when did people even just start talking about this?! Which is a kind of gay male predominantly I would say subcultural language. When did that make its way into that fandom, and…? I’m not offended by it in any way, I think it’s really fascinating, because what it does is it poses questions to not only heteronormativity but also to queerness. It brings that into question as well because it’s like a further step or something.

ELM: Similarly like before there’s like a generosity of spirit in all of this which is just really refreshing to hear.

OGP: Good!

ELM: [laughs] No, you’re great! Um, you’re still, I mean, I still feel complicated about slash but all I did today was have brunch and read slash, so. [All laugh]

FK: Yeah, right?

ELM: I know! I’m supposed to be writing an article about shipping.

FK: But instead you’re reading slash fanfic.

OGP: What’s come out of this work for me which is really exciting is actually a feeling like, I mean, I kind of felt like cause I’ve been working around and looking at, stalking Larry stuff for the last year or so, I felt like it was kind of a culmination? But now I’m totally, since the performance and since people are like responding and people are excited about it, it’s made me really excited about it again! I don’t think Larry!Monument is the end of my work of being involved in Larrydom. I think there’s gonna be more stuff.

ELM: So there will be something I can see in the future, is what you’re promising.

OGP: Yeah yeah! I just, definitely.

ELM: OK, can you get it together by July? Cause I’m thinking of coming for a visit.

OGP: Well, I’m thinking actually it’s gonna be something, it’ll be more like, actually I feel like I wanna make a Larry soap opera. [Flourish gasps with excitement]

ELM: Oh my gosh.

OGP: That’s what I’m feeling like I want to do.

ELM: So we can watch it from anywhere, is what you’re telling us.

OGP: From anywhere.

FK: Oh man.

ELM: That’s a joy! Alright alright. This is binding, that’s a verbal contract, you’re going to do this. That’s great.

FK: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, this has been awesome!

ELM: Thank you!

OGP: OK, thanks guys!

[Interstitial music]

FK: Oh man that was so exciting!

ELM: Yeah, that was like…you know what was great about that too? Was like, in the email I was like “We’re just gonna talk for 20 minutes, just real quick.” And…

FK: Yeah, right.

ELM: An hour later we’re like, “Oh no, what are we gonna cut out?!”

FK: He was so disarming! I was like, aw, I wanna have resentments but I don’t.

ELM: Yeah, no, that just made me feel happy but also like a bad person.

FK: I mean, I’m familiar with that feeling. Aren’t we all?

ELM: Yeah, you’re a trash fire. I know! [FK laughs] It makes me feel…I think we talked about this before, but I don’t wanna feel gatekeepy.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: You know? And like, I was talking about this…was it last episode where I was talking about how I had written that piece for the OTW. You’ve read it now! I don’t think it was as bad as I was remembering.

FK: It was not as bad as you were remembering.

ELM: But you get a little bit of what I was saying, right?

FK: Yes.

ELM: Because basically the part that I was referring to was basically, like, writing fanfiction is very natural to me and I’ve never thought of doing anything but that. So I get a little annoyed when people come in and they’re like “Well, that’s interesting! Teach me about it!” But it’s stupid because, like, whatever! I also hate it when people gatekeep in all the other ways. So there’s no reason why, if you're interested you’re interested, and fuck myself, you know? [laughs]

FK: Yeah. I know. I can’t help you with those feelings, but I appreciate that you’re probably a better person for having them than if you were just going around being like “la la la la la la BEHHHHHH.”

ELM: [laughs] Uh…what was that? What?!

FK: …I might be a little incoherent because I’m having con crash from Boskone.

ELM: Ahhhhhh YES. That’s possible.

FK: The answer is yes, I’m incoherent?

ELM: You’re making me incoherent too. I’m slightly incoherent because last night I had my very first fandom dinner party.

FK: Ahh, so fancy!

ELM: So you have to come back to New York to come for the next one.

FK: Did people wear black turtlenecks? Was it like in Adaptation?

ELM: Well, it was in New York, but it was not like that at all. I showed them my Buffy album. I distinctly remember one of the guests, we shared our love of the Marauders and Harry Potter and she said something and I just distinctly remember throwing myself against the back of the couch… you know when you can’t even, and you have to like physically express it?

FK: Yeah, when you have to physically can’t even.

ELM: I was just like, “UH!” [laughs] Which was delightful, because that does not happen at my other dinner parties, where we mostly wear our turtlenecks and sneer.

FK: Yeah, yeah, I do, I do. You’re enjoying your honest fandom.

ELM: Yeah real nice! So anyway. Anyway!

FK: All right, I should probably go and get some sleep, basically, so I stop con crashing so hard.

ELM: OK, that’s fair. So I’ll talk to you next time, Flourish!

FK: Talk to you next time, Elizabeth!

[Outro music]

FK: The opinions expressed in this podcast are not those of Stratus Media Ventures, Chimera Media Group, Chaotic Good, or our clients, or our employers, or anyone’s except our own.