Originally published: 27.03.15
By now, there are few people who haven’t heard of Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction. News of his departure has been greeted with a variety of reactions, from the slight mocking of the band, to jokes that Jeremy Clarkson was taking his place, and from the fans of the band, genuine upset. It’s something that has become a point of mocking, and –in a more worrying aspect – a point of genuine derision.
Upset at band members leaving successful groups is by no means a new phenomenon. I was in junior school when Robbie Williams left Take That, and remember genuine upset between my friends. In a way, many of my friends entered a sense of mourning for the band they had been invested in since the band had first become famous. Even before the days of social media, the days of Tumblr and Twitter, there was that united grief for a day or two, before the class discussions moved on to other matters. Had the internet been as widely accessible in 1995, I suspect the Take That fans would have received much of the same treatment that has been afforded the predominantly young and predominantly female fans of One Direction over the past few days.