"R.C." spilled her personal fantasy of being part of Keith Richard's life into Facebook. The adopted persona was a music tour photographer who had taken over her obsession's inamorata role from his actual adored wife Patti Hansen, the timeline for the fabrication being the last four years. The drive shaft that initially made it run was attention to minute details.
R.C. posted obscure Instagram pix incorporating a real, present day photo diaries of the Rolling Stones' current 2019 touring, of Richards' kids, grandkids and assorted insiders in his life like his guitar technicians, not to mention plus the interiors of his many homes plus current tour hotel rooms. Vacation pics from his Jamaican and Parisian homes popped up sporadically. There appeared an explanation of the British tax laws which precluded his fulltime residing in his stately British country home.
She concocted Facebook personas to write back to her like his son from his long relationship with Anita Pallenberg and or his daughter-in-law with all the grandkids, not to mention KR himself "explaining" his contentious onetime collaboration with Chuck Berry. She edited soundbytes of Richards' "Life" audio book and played them back as "voicemails" to an early doubter.
Her FB page attracted actual people who knew the Stones (self definitely not included) as well as fanboys and girls. She chatted with the daughter of one of Keith's late friends with whom he'd genuinely enjoyed a warm, close friendship. Two journalists from both the West and East Coasts contacted me privately saying many fishy things which R.C. was starting to spout did not add up in real life, and none of their press friends saw hide nor hair of her on this tour. I replied I'd dig a bit too.
R.C. had posted many, many live shots of this tour plus previous ones and claimed they were her own photographs. Most of the current press are attributed to agencies, but I finally found some hard evidence. On her Facebook page, R.C. claimed she took these rather stunning shots of the Stones live in New Orleans which actually were taken by a NOLA.com staff photographer Chris Granger, click LINK*
fair usage photo © 2018 Jerzy Bednarski, Warsaw, Poland, from Wikipedia public domain.
Then other friends from Facebook contacted me with more exasperation. The punk rock writer to whom she played the "voicemails" called her out privately and left. Others who questioned her publicly were "blocked." One pal even contacted the photographer Chris Granger who as you can imagine was not at all pleased, and who then called a really close relative of R.C. by telephone. Bingo.
The close relative alleged R.C. was schizophrenic and had been institutionalized but presently resided in her condo digging up dirt on Keith Richards on her computer. The close relative had not been aware that R.C. had been posting her fantasies as reality on Facebook. Assurances were offered that R.C. didn't have sufficient personal transportation to be a stalker. I do feel very sorry for this close relative.
This made more sense, a music fan turned super obsessive born of the desperation of mental illness, which no one can help having. She spends all day and night finding obscure, present day Keith references online and inserting herself into them. I knew a sad parallel. I once asked a friend of mine who was, unfortunately, terminally ill and has since passed away why she posted photos of the Stooges all day and night. She answered that there was nothing else she'd rather do than immerse herself in the Stooges for what time she had left.
R.C. since has removed incriminating attributions of her own authorship of photographs by other people, nor is using names any more, just pronouns, "following" along the tour in real time. Before this, I was briefly on her Facebook page, discussed non-Stones music, photography, British pop culture of the 1960s/70s, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright with her, then sent her an unsellable photo (I am casually generous sometimes.) I felt like the Maysles Brothers studying the Big Edie and Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, easier to do when the subject is intelligent and genial as well as disturbed.
Eight years ago I really put some thought into what was the adult version of being a rock music fan, and came up with that angle for my reportage on the tribute to Ron Asheton by Iggy and The Stooges in Ann Arbor in 2011, click **LINK. I don't ignore fans; their viewpoint on FB has been helpful to bolster my work. One fan at the Ann Arbor gig said I was the only photographer who still made Iggy look dangerous. I interviewed three of them for that piece, and pondered on some of the weird variables of adult fandom and fanfiction like "slash fiction" (writing about any fave, literary, film, music or otherwise in pornographic situations.)
Some fanfiction was quite good, like that proffered by Alan Rickman fans online, and a Beatles-based one from 1966, graphics/selections/addenda at bottom in red font. I wish R.C. had embraced fanfiction instead of what she's doing now, which had a potential for cruelty to real people and endless liability to her...what a whopper!
P.S. I later warned select Facebook friends who had quoted R.C. therein of her real identity, forwarding this blog piece. Imagine my surprise when one of the most influential American drummers of the 1960s in one of the most influential American rock bands of all time immediately wrote back that she (like me) had delayed ceasing the online FB friendship with R.C. and blocking this person outright because she the drummer (like me) had quite enjoyed seeing all those current, intimate Rolling Stones photos not readily available to American media! It was great to know that this icon who had changed the direction of all American rock could still be a Stones fan herself retained the same curiosity about them that I did. Example: R.C. daily had offered obscure shots like this one with its seemingly personal slant of Keith in his lovely English digs going to enjoy an al fresco meal with his family.
(actual photographer not cited of course, please count this as Fair Usage)P.P.S. Mental illness, delusional personas, a terminal illness, this is all so negative! I'd like to end with a tiny, positive silver lining. The plight of the real, terminally ill Stooges fan found its way to the real Iggy Pop, who promptly reached out to her in time before her passing away from cancer. This very nice story is here, click ****LINK
Addendum Fanfiction # 1 Article by the late Janey Milstead, great stringer for the L.A. Times and assorted teen mags of the '60s and first editor of the first periodical for plus size women, BBW, writing under the pseudonym Shirley Poston in 1966 for the house organ for its radio station, the KRLA Beat.
This is an example of fanfiction done correctly as well as entertainingly. The below is of its era and therefore incomprehensible to those who weren't teenage girls who liked the Beatles in the mid-1960s, as stylistically it is written imitating the whimsy of John Lennon's first book "In His Own Write." To save this over-long, cryptic explanation, here is John Lennon reciting his own "writty" from his second book of whimsy, "A Spaniard in the Works," click LINK***
He lay for some moments, breathing deep and often. Joya set her oxygen tanks aside and fell to her knees beside him. Her long fingers stroked his hair tenderly and a sweet smile curved her lips.
Finally he opened his eyes and stared at the sky above. At a sign from the captain, two of the crew gently lifted him to a sitting position. George examined them curiously, as if he could not understand who they were or where he was. Joya sat back on her heels and smiled fondly when he finally looked in her direction. He eyed her from her hair to her knees. She stroked his arm, her hand trembling slightly. He blinked, his breathing becoming more erratic, as he struggled for speech. Joya leaned forward, her lips parted. With an herculean effort, he finally managed to talk.
"Are you out of your mind? What happened to your dress? Get down to that cabin and put some clothes on! Immediately!!!!" He whipped around to face the stunned observers across the deck, shoving a crewman forcefully aside. "And all of you animals better just put your eyes back in your heads! She's spoken for already!"
Joya frowned. Lightening flashed from her blue eyes. "George. Look at me."
"Eh? What?" He glanced back at her. "Why haven't you gone to change -"
WHAP! The sound of the slap echoed in the silence. Joya rose to her feet and crossed the deck to the ladder. At the top, she glanced over her shoulder. "You no longer have any right to express an opinion on anything I might do. We are finished, George." She turned her back with finality and disappeared into the cabin area.
Behind her, the crewmen rushed away to other tasks that were safely on the other side of the boat, the FOF actors grinned at each other and some pumped the air with their fists, and George sat with his jaw hanging open, staring at the place where Joya had stood only seconds before.