Taylor Swift - Anfield: here's what Swifties can expect

Taylor Swift’s net worth is northwards of $1.1bn, as reported by Forbes, yet, as her giganta-tour, Eras, heads for Anfield in Liverpool, I have a confession to make: I don’t get it. I don’t get Taylor Swift. What’s all the fuss about?

To my, admittedly, untrained and very much uninterested eye she just looks like a tall Kylie Minogue, with whooshier hair, smilier teeth and bigger cowgirl boots (you could fit a whole Kylie in one!) yet, Swift is already worth ten times more than the pint-sized Aussie pop princess.

So impactful is her presence in any given place - she’s off to Anfield in Liverpool this weekend - that an entire school of fiscal reasoning - reasoning might be a stretch - has emerged, known as Swiftonomics, which seeks to quantify the economic uplift that comes with Taylor Swift.

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Hospitality, hotels, pubs, restaurants, merchandise, photos, clothes, hats … you name it. All told, it is estimated that this 34-year-old Pennsylvanian girl-done-good will create in the UK alone a £1bn boost. One BILLION pounds. I bet Jeremy Hunt and the taxman have matching pink ‘Go Taylor’ pyjamas!

Taylor Swift - Eras Tour: Swifties swoop on Anfield in Liverpool this weekend, so what exactly is all the fuss about? (photo PA)Taylor Swift - Eras Tour: Swifties swoop on Anfield in Liverpool this weekend, so what exactly is all the fuss about? (photo PA)
Taylor Swift - Eras Tour: Swifties swoop on Anfield in Liverpool this weekend, so what exactly is all the fuss about? (photo PA)

And, as far as I can tell, she is as admired and adored by men as she is women and because her Eras tour is referenced every bloody day in our editorial conferences I am aware that it isn’t enough just to like or love Taylor Swift, you have to identify as a so-called ‘Swiftie’. What the hell?

Can you imagine back in our day? Working class Yorkshire, 1996:

Now, then. What music you into, James?

Oh, I’m like, you know, a total Swiftie.

Next leg, Anfield: Taylor Swift takes her Eras Tour to Liverpool - but what is all the fuss about? (PA)Next leg, Anfield: Taylor Swift takes her Eras Tour to Liverpool - but what is all the fuss about? (PA)
Next leg, Anfield: Taylor Swift takes her Eras Tour to Liverpool - but what is all the fuss about? (PA)

*Loses two teeth*

Seriously, though, it is an indication of the phenomenon this woman has made herself (and that’s the key, by the way. She isn’t yet another one off the Idle Pop Superstars Got No Talent conveyor belt). Have you ever heard anyone describe themselves as a Rolling Stoner (keep it clean!), or a Beatlizer, an Oasister, a Blurry (no, you’re not having Beatle-Mania - that was a thing, not an identity!)

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Who are these people, anyway, who are so happy to fly under this silly collective? Well, good luck pinning that one down. Yes, of course she’s an icon of female empowerment through talent, intelligence and indefatigability. I can see that the stories in her songs offer experiential validation to girls, young women, women, old women. I am not too oafish to recognise that Swift, for so many, is a beacon of acceptance; of being human and having all of the frailties, fragilities and vulnerabilities that come with being so but what I don’t get is quite how this woman has managed to transcend the music industry, to transcend popular culture, to connect so viscerally to so many - right around the world. It fascinates me.

No. It really does, not least because, as far as I can tell, Taylor Swift isn’t just there for one half of humankind - women - her milkshake also brings boys to the stage, and they’re like…(that’s enough of that). Actual blokes, too. With beards and everything. And that’s the bit that I really want to scratch at. Not the beard. The premise. Why?

What do you man-swifts see in this woman? Because as far as I can tell - I’m no expert, honestly - she doesn’t seem to like you very much. Half her songs seem to be hell-bent on the destruction of men. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived - yikes! I wouldn’t wanna be that guy when she gets her hands on him. Death by a Thousand Cuts - he was the incarnation of Satan himself, judging by that rant of hers. Although, she should have turned to a friend for advice - asking a traffic light is asking for trouble … (if you know, you know).

So, why? Why does Taylor Swift appeal to people of all shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds? Well. And this is perhaps why people write things down, in order to make sense of them, because I think the penny has dropped for me whilst writing this piece.

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She’s their mirror. To Swifties, Taylor is them and they are her and especially in those stadium moments where disbelief can be suspended for three rapturous hours as each Era plays out. She speaks their joy. Their hope. Their despair and rage. Their rank-bad judgement calls that bring self-loathing and anxiety, followed by the relief, smiles and laughter as context and closure inevitably come.

Taylor Swift’s own chaotic life put into her own words, costumes and music. A self-portrait that hangs in the eyes, ears and minds of people who find solace and acceptance all at once and altogether. If this beautiful, talented, smart, rich woman who has it all can mess shit up then it sure as hell is OK if I do.

Anyone got a spare ticket for Anfield?

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