Del and Leslie McMillan are a lovely couple who live in Brooklyn and decided to see Susan Boyle’s hometown of Blackburn, Scotland for themselves.
They had become huge fans after watching Boyle on television and decided to make the transatlantic journey to see where their idol grew up and first performed.
Their diary account of their trip and the warm welcome they received in Susan Boyle’s hometown is well worth reading. It seems everywhere they were met with great kindness and friendship It's at http://www.blessingblackburn.blogspot.com/
That doesn’t surprise me; Scottish people are among the most hospitable on earth. There is clearly a great deal of pride and joy among the locals in Blackburn for what one of their own has accomplished.
Except for the tabloids of course. Here is Del’s rather too gentle account of how their visit was reported by one major tabloid, the Sunday Mirror.
“The Sunday Mirror of London had also sent a photographer, and the reporter had interviewed us by telephone. Their article was generally positive, and we appreciate their intentions, but we must say that we almost didn’t recognize ourselves in the description – quite a makeover! Ummmm….no, we’re not organizing tours; no, thousands of people didn’t contact us; no, merchandise hasn’t been approved; no, we don’t expect fans to be queuing round the block for tours; no, we never call her SuBo.
"We’re just two regular people who considered that in our own little way we might see the village, share the experience with fans, encourage other respectful visitors, and try to open a connection for fans to honor Susan by tangibly expressing their generosity toward her home village. We completely funded ourselves, and will always act on a 100 percent voluntary basis, without compensation, in any matters related to blessing Blackburn.”
That makes interesting reading. The subtext of the article is that they were there to begin cashing in on Susan, something they clearly had no intention of doing. You can almost hear the reporter, him or her, wondering aloud about these dumb Yanks coming half way round the world to visit the home place of the woman they have very unkindly dubbed ‘the hairy angel”
Ah the motive must be greed, you hear the reporter thinking – that is why they are here—typical Yanks looking to make money out of someone.
This little narrative is instructive, it shows that the media are still unable to understand the Susan Boyle phenomenon. Even on Friday when the news broke that the "Today Show" had snagged an exclusive interview there was lots of jeering and catcalls from the peanut gallery. One critic, Mary, wrote on the "Entertainment Weekly" site; “Damn I thought we were done with Susan Boyle." There were many such other comments elsewhere
Not so fast Mary, what you and so many others do not understand is that this may be only beginning. I liken it to the Notre Dame football team "subway alumni" phenomenon. Millions of mainly Catholic Americans support Notre Dame even though they have never been near the place or seen the team play.
It is because the concept of Notre Dame represents something fundamental in their lives, that sense of belonging, rooted in a history of a team that represented the little guy for generations when anti Catholic discrimination was rife.
Susan Boyle represents the same phenomenon. She speaks to millions who have been voiceless, who have felt a sense of belonging to her story, to her struggle, and they now are cheering on her unlikely journey to success.
Susan Boyle may only be dimly aware of what she created but it is very real nonetheless. Just watch the numbers for the Today show next week and the sales of her album and future concerts. This has only begun.
BTW I have received a number of requests for an email address. I’m at [email protected] if you want to reach me..
Food & Drink
Celebrate Potato Day with these lovely spud recipes