Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.
Case File: CL121013
We continue talking to fans about their entry into Philedom by chatting with Claire from Australia. I’ve known Claire since our days posting on the official FOX messageboards back in the day, and we’ve maintained some level of online correspondence since. This is her story.
Radhika: So, I’m going to start with the main question: What was your first episode?
Claire: That’s very difficult to answer! I have a feeling that it was “Quagmire.” The episode with Big Blue, and poor little Queequeg gets eaten… Queequeg.
Radhika: Yes, a moment of silence for Queequeg.
Radhika: All right. So what was about it about The X-Files that struck you when you first started watching?
Claire: I was actually already familiar with The X-Files through the really basic novelizations… I was pretty young when it first came out (I think it started when I was in Grade 4 in Australia). I liked reading weird sci-fi/mystery books and I got hooked on those. They were the next step up from RL Stine! So a firm love of aliens, sci-fi, and mystery from a young age enticed me, and I’d finish the books in less than a day so of course I had to watch the TV show! Our TV reception was pretty horrible (too many trees!) so my grandmother would fill up a videotape with episodes and then pass it on to me.
Radhika: Wow, that’s one way of watching. Also, I have to ask, since this was all before the days of streaming and whatnot: As a fan in Australia, did you encounter being a few episodes or seasons behind?
Claire: “Quagmire” was Season 3, so I was pretty behind when I first started watching it. It also took a very long time for seasons to start in Australia, even when the last seasons were airing. I think we were about six months behind. It was difficult! You had to get over spoilers pretty quickly, or become very adept at avoiding them. And of course, we couldn’t just pirate the episodes! Even if we could, it’d take about a century to download on a 56k modem.
Radhika: And you and I met on The X-Files forums back in the day, so I’m sure avoiding spoilers was hard work.
Claire: Yes! Most posters were good with leaving spoiler space in their posts, which I appreciated. Or I’d just avoid certain threads, or just read the spoilers and stay excited for six months until I got to watch it for myself.
Radhika: Oh yes, I remember the classic…:
and so on.
Claire: That’s the one!
Radhika: Now no one on the Internet cares, and they just yell at you if you didn’t avoid the spoilers.
Claire: It’s a completely different culture!
Radhika: Well, moving on from the Internet, or actually this might tie into it somehow anyway… I have to ask: How did The X-Files go on to affect your life, whether it was your hobbies or otherwise?
Claire: It was the first thing to kind of immerse me in ‘nerd culture’, though I haven’t really stuck with that in a major way… It hasn’t really influenced me to do anything with my life in particular, although I do have a doctorate, just like Scully! It did influence my friendships and social relationships – I was the kinda weird chick who liked weird TV and wearing dorky sci-fi t-shirts! There aren’t any regrets there though.
Radhika: Did you write fanfic? Or do anything else super nerdy?
Claire: Ohhhh, yes, I’m not super nerdy now but I was super nerdy then! I did write fanfic… embarrassing terrible fanfic that still exists on the Internet. The only one I can find was a Krycek/Spork shipper fic. Yep. That exists. I visited Mulder’s replica office at Fox Studios in Sydney… I took part in some fundraising for Neurofibromatosis (a cause supported by Gillian Anderson). A big group of us got together for a Scullython, watching Scully-centric episodes and raising money. I did that for a couple of years. That was super nerdy!
Radhika: I’m going to have to track down that fanfic.
Claire: Here you go. I never finished it… what a slacker!
Radhika: I appreciate your admission of guilt here.
Claire: I showed my boyfriend once… he saved the link, possibly for future blackmail!
Radhika: It’s okay. Every time I admit to writing The Hogwarts Files [Harry Potter/X-Files crossover fanfic], which I maintain was some pretty heavy-duty fanfic, I get some strange looks. It’s still on a CD somewhere.
Claire: It was writing practice! Mine are probably on floppies. That’s how long ago it was.
Radhika: Oh mine was too, and then the story got too long to stay on a floppy! Anyway, I do know you need to wrap up soon, and I must thank you again for being willing to talk to me as we both did some math to figure out our time difference. Thanks for reminiscing about geekier times!
Claire: Excellent, no worries! Thanks for the chat and I’ll see you round on the Internet!