1D split: it’s not over until the last Directioner tweets | Elle Hunt

The Sun has reported that One Direction is to go on hiatus. Nobody’s more sceptical than the fans, whose collective knowledge of the band is terrifying

As if the Leveson inquiry had not been evidence enough of the tabloid press’s hunger for unscrupulous fear-mongering, the UK’s Sun newspaper has reported that One Direction is to go on “extended hiatus” in March.

If I am to humour the claim, my thoughts are as follows: that there is a big difference between a year-long hiatus and a split, and if your anonymous source was as “close to the band” as they claim to be, maybe they’d be able to be more specific; that, even if the report is true, half a decade is a good innings for a boy band; and that Louis can do a lot better than a judge on X Factor, even if he does have a child on the way.

I guess you could say I have conflicted feelings. But, going by the derisive memes being traded on Twitter, the Directioners have considered the reports and formulated an official response. Our stance is this: it’s not over until a member of 1D tweets that it’s over.


— × Follow Ayuda × (@1DNandosNiall) August 23, 2015

The message to the Sun seems clear: they don’t know about us, and as someone who identifies with the least invested of the community, I’d take the Directioners at their word.

If the paper’s source is correct in that the split, hiatus – whatever – early next year has been the plan for a while, even pre-dating Zayn Malik’s departure in March, I find it hard to believe that the hivemind didn’t know about it first.

Diehard Directioners are among the best investigative journalists online today, scrutinising the online activity of the band members and those even tangentially affiliated with them.

There’s a wealth of conclusions you can draw from who follows whom on Twitter, and who likes which pictures on Instagram – for example, that Zayn is cracking onto Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez in the wake of his unceremonious dumping of his fiancée, poor Perrie Edwards; that Louis Tomlinson had some sympathy for Calvin Harris in his recent online spat with Zayn; and that Zayn’s on a downward spiral bound for rock bottom unless a positive, grounding influence intercepts him some time soon.

It’s exhausting keeping up with it all. It really is. But the Directioners, bless them, have got it covered.

For that reason, it beggars belief that the Sun would know about a decision as monumental as this one before a community of millions spending hours a day on just the one beat.

After all, One Direction are just four twentysomethings among the millions of celebrities, royals, sportsmen, politicians and grieving families that come under the scrutiny of the Sun’s eye of Sauron.

The 1D round is covered in excruciating detail by the Directioners themselves; as far as they’re concerned no source is authoritative unless it’s Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall, or their stylist Caroline Watson, who is pretty inner-circle.

1D will split up in March the fandom be like: #OneDirection pic.twitter.com/Azgg7H0vR2

— tiara (@faboulouser) August 24, 2015

But if Directioners are investigative reporters, getting their information straight from the source on social media, they’re also media critics, deeply sceptical of the motivations, accuracy and integrity of any journalism.

Many Directioners have expressed eye-rolling sentiment along the lines of “as if we’d trust the Sun” – despite, it seems fair to assume, reading it irregularly, and definitely not in print.

My friend who works at a gossip rag once apologised for being late to an after-work drink because at the last minute her editor had changed the sex of Beyoncé’s upcoming baby from a boy to twins (one of each). This is the culture in which today’s teenagers have grown up: celebrity romances, feuds, marriages, infidelities, pregnancies, miscarriages, even deaths – the full spectrum of human experience – can be reported on no grounds, with no repercussions.

If one claim doesn’t take your fancy, there are any number of contradictory reports you can choose from. If Jennifer Aniston had a baby for every pregnancy she’s had splashed across the cover of a gossip magazine, she’d be driving a seven-person people carrier by now.

But maybe I – we – just don’t want this particular report to be true.

We are not a fandom. We are a family #OneDirection #MTVHottest One Direction pic.twitter.com/BKnUmJKbGI

— One Direction (@OneDrecti0nFans) August 24, 2015

It’s true that boy bands have a shelf life, and five years is not a bad run. Four, their fourth album, is excellent by any critic’s measure (disagree? see you in the comments!), and the one point on which I hope the Sun’s Dan Wootton is correct is that their next – their last – is even better. (Though Drag Me Down, the band’s first single post-Zayn, does not give me reason to hope; the best that can be said of it is it resists a dubstep breakdown.)

Even if One Direction do part ways in March, for however long, the fandom won’t end with the band. As was evidenced by Zayn’s not-entirely-unexpected exit, it is sort of an organic, self-sustaining community, kept alive with memes and in-jokes so involved that they’re just about impenetrable if you weren’t down with 1D from day one.

By this point, the actual goings-on of the band, let alone the music they release, are almost incidental – look at how much mileage the community has got out of “Larry Stylinson” and other imagined, secret romantic pairings of its individual members.

If anything will bring an end to the Directioners, it will be growing up – let me tell you, it’s hard to juggle fandom with a nine-to-five. But even if, come March, the boys go their separate directions, with Liam Payne and Niall Horan drawing lots as to who gets to perform the casino circuit “as One Direction” for the decades to come, we’ll still have the memes and the memories.


Elle Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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