Emo runs high as fans defend band against Daily Mail
I guess that's one thing that will get a teenager out of bed early on a Saturday!
Around 100 My Chemical Romance fans had already gathered at Marble Arch, in central London, by 10.30 this morning - not bad given that organisers had given the protest a 12-hour window, of 10am to 10pm, and that there was a last minute change of venue.
The fans were objecting to Daily Mail reports describing My Chemical Romance as a "suicide cult band" and linking the recent suicide of a Peckham schoolgirl, Hannah Bond, 13, to the fact that she had started following the band two weeks before her death.
The Daily Mail has called the New Jersey-based band one of the foremost of the "suicide cult" groups forming part of the "emo" phenomenon. The paper described "emo" as a teenage trend that started in the US in the 1980s and was "characterised by depression, self-injury and suicide". Its followers, the tabloid said, wore tight jeans, studded belts and wristbands and had dyed-black hair and long fringes obscuring their faces.
The atmosphere at the protest was more carnival fairground than riot, with fans clutching balloons and soft toys and singing My Chemical Romance songs loudly and passionately - but not always tunefully. Lyrics included "teenagers scare the living shit out of me" and "I'm not afraid to keep on living".
The overwhelming majority of the crowd were young girls, bouncing with energy and shrieking with laughter as they rushed over to hug their friends or chanted: "Don't blame MCR!"
A few were dressed in typical dark, "emo" fashion but most followed the request of the organisers, who had written on the website: "Please consider dressing to suit the day ... Don't try to dress stereotypically." Many of the fans had homemade shirts with positive slogans such as, "Think happy thoughts."
Protesters came from all over the country, including Brighton, Oxford and south Wales and even a few who had made an overnight roadtrip from Cornwall.
Tabitha Reed, 14, travelled up from Brighton with her mother and sister and several friends and camped out at her grandmother's house in London overnight.
"I love MCR, it saves lives. The Daily Mail are liars and all they want to do is put the youth against the adults; they just hate us and it's really unnecessary, it's just wrong," she said. "I've read a couple of the [Mail] articles and they've actually misquoted lyrics and the research was so badly done, it was unbelievable. I actually thought [the story] was a hoax when I found it on the internet."