For the past eight years I’ve had to put up with Taylor Swift. I’ve had to listen to the country twang of Fearless. I’ve tried to scratch my brains out as the lyrics “Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone” circled my mind like the revolving door from hell. I even jumped on the bandwagon quick-smart when 1989 came out, thinking if I listen to this enough before it gets airtime, I might actually enjoy it. And to be fair, it worked. Welcome to New York and Wildest Dreams are my favourite T-Swift songs. I even gave Reputation a fair go for an After the Hype article earlier in the year. I thought, what the hell, I’m going to hear this album for years to come anyway. I’ve followed Taylor Swift through her ups and downs, through her different relationships and through her transition to pop-queen. Do you know the names of Taylor’s two cats? I do. I’ve even begun to defend her against the haters who spit out the classic “she only writes about drama and breakups.” My usual response being, “yeah but she’s bloody good at it.” For the past eight years I’ve had to put up with Taylor Swift because my partner, and now my younger sister, are devoted Swifties. So, when it came to T-Swift’s big stadium gig in Brisbane earlier this week, and my news feed soon filled with wannabe fans filming the show, I got a bit defensive.
I sat on my couch, hours after dropping the two devoted Swifties at the stadium, as Taylor Swift took the stage. It was around 9:00pm if I remember correctly, I had just burnt some tobacco fields as Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption. I was plum tuckered from my in-game debauchery, so I paused, turned to my phone and flicked through Instagram. To my surprise, my feed was full of videos of Swift. Everyone was uploading. Even people I wouldn’t pick as fans. The illusive Closet Swiftie.
She struts out on stage, glimmering in a glittery black bodysuit. Lights flash and the crowd screams. I see all angles of the stadium; thanks to the closet Swift fans I seem to follow. Many captions read, “tonight I’m a Swiftie” and “last minute decision to see Taylor Swift”. Maybe it was the hot spring air that got to me, or the couple of beers I had through the night, but my blood was boilin’. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, I think was the phrase I muttered allowed. I haven’t been sitting in the passenger seat of this eight-year Taylor Swift journey to see some wannabe fans basking in the ambiance of Queen Tay. She deserves a better class of fans. And yes, I do realise that she’s also one of the most successful pop artists in the world.
As the night grew older and my back slouched more into my couch, I continued to glance through my feed. I was hoping I’d get to see a stage side view from the two Swifties I had dropped off earlier in the night. But I didn’t. And a glimmer of pride struck me. I was glad I didn’t see the up-close videos, that must mean they are enjoying themselves too much to get their phones out. They are in such awe of Taylor Swift that the idea of watching it via their phone screens would be a mere insult to the show. That pride stayed with me as I went to bed. And as I woke up the next day, the devoted Swiftie still sound asleep, I watch her bank of Instagram stories, eventually uploaded hours after the show had finished. She would later tell me her stories wouldn’t upload for some reason. Too many people in the one spot, maybe. I guess you can’t win them all, I thought as the glimmer of pride faded to a flicker. I stared at her in the eyes and wondered, am I now a Swiftie?