One Direction's 1D World at Mall of America is a nostalgia presale
|Photos by Reed Fischer|
Upon receiving the 1D announcement, what first came to mind was "1 dimension," like 3D, minus 2. Once it was clear this is a group of English and Irish young men brought together by powerful hands of The X Factor's Simon Cowell, it recalls an all-too-clear arc of lineage from the past three decades: Menudo, New Kids, the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync. Then Gimme Noise hit adulthood.
For the week leading up to Saturday, it was impossible to not think about boy bands, and have memories of lines of teenagers winding through the mall concourse to wait for New Kids on the Block. It was mostly girls, but some boys in there too. They looked out of place because they were masking their anticipation and the girls weren't. It is like scanning someone else's memories; I wasn't there. I never went out to a thing like that. I stayed home. Maybe I'll get to the One Direction store and throw a fit, especially if I have a little brandy in me.
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When Saturday arrives, the ride out to the mall with my editor reminds me how long it has been since I've made this trip. So, before finding the 1D World, it's time to do a little browsing, and pass a Cinnabon that has people swarming like ants inside it. Pop into Hot Topic. It used to be over there, but now it's over here. Lots of stuff has shuffled around in the mall. As a goth, one could buy gunmetal grey nail polish here -- even after your father, ordinarily a softy on fashion, threatened you (the threat was very general) unless you swore the stuff off. Now the place is loaded up with Coheed and Cambria shirts, Batman shirts, Bob Marley shirts, Justin Bieber shirts, and even One Direction shirts, all hung from the same rack. It would be easy to spend a fortune in here.
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A look at their pictures confirms they're actually boys. This is a surprise after being accustomed to boy bands that are composed of men with beards and hair on their arms.
In all, it's a rather small corner store. Outside in the rotunda, banquet tables full of bead displays lay covered under black tablecloths for a bead convention being prepared. There's a corral for the queue, two posts connected by a waist-high belt strung out maybe thirty feet, enough for a line of 40 people standing three abreast. It's empty, though. At the entrance, there's a young man with short spiked hair holding a clicker. He checks the store, as if making certain he won't exceed fire code. But there's only a dozen kids and their parents in the store.
"All right," he says, waving me on.
"What was it like this morning?" asks my editor.
"Pretty crazy," he says. But he's already looking out at the concourse, hypnotized by the flow of people.
The standard fare: 1D shirts, 1D bike bags, 1D hats, 1D pajamas, 1D hoodies. There's a rack of shirts, one for each member of the band; "Future Mrs. What's-his-name," they say. Except, instead of "What's-his-name," it's the name of a member of One Direction. I stare at the shirts, and when I shut my eyes, the name is gone, wriggling out of my grasp like a bar of wet soap.