Women create an online world of horny, homosexual rock stars
image by Kyle T. Webster
Kurt Cobain is alive. And he’s banging Dave Grohl.
In an online phenomenon known as “bandslash” or “bandfic,” thousands of people, mostly women, have been quietly building thriving online communities by writing and sharing largely homoerotic fictional stories about their favorite bands.
Community members at websites like Rockfic.com can log in and find members of Panic at the Disco making out on a casino roof, or Sting and Stewart Copeland of the Police having sex in greenrooms. These sites serve as an online fantasy exchange—a way for members to bond, play with their sexuality in a way that may be more difficult in real life, and, ultimately, get off. The phenomenon provides not only a new means of being a music fan, but also insight into the nature of fantasy itself.
“Slash” is so named for the punctuation between erotic pairings (Cobain/Grohl). It all began in the ’60s when some Star Trek fans, sensing something unspoken between Captain Kirk and Spock, began writing and distributing short stories with new story lines that weren’t suitable for broadcast television. Pairings from other universes started to propagate, first through fanzines, then online through Livejournals and blogs: Potter/Malfoy, Obi-Wan/Anakin, Frodo/Sam. Eventually, the characters came to include rock stars who were doing not drugs or groupies, but each other.
Despite its rise, bandslash has remained a virtually unexplored trend outside of its own communities and a few in academia. The sometimes shocking nature of the material, combined with fear of legal hassles, a desire to maintain close-knit communities, and the lack of a central organizing body, have kept it relatively free of scrutiny.
“We try to keep it a little quiet,” says bandfic writer “sidewinder,” who did not want her real name used. “They’ll say, ‘You’re sick and twisted and being disrespectful.’ ”
Many mainstream fan fiction sites, where Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy frequently go at it atop the Astronomy Tower, frown upon “real person slash” because the characters are based on celebrities and sometimes even their families.
On the other side of the coin, argues Seattle-based bandfic writer Leah Claire, “We’re not writing about real people,” she says, “because we’ve fictionalized them.”
Reality isn’t what it used to be. This is an era of the copy of the copy of the copy, when celebrities are projected into dozens of different media in a dizzying number of ways, their images gradually distorting until they become a shadow of themselves. It’s a game of telephone, but at cable modem speed. Playing with and shaping reality has never been easier, and fictionalized versions of real celebrities were perhaps inevitable.