By Dave Stacy
For the Gazette
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A few weeks ago, my old friend, Morgan Spurlock, asked me to liven up his dull life by accompanying him to two premieres of his latest directing venture, "One Direction: This Is Us," chronicling the meteoric rise of the band One Direction. This would involve traveling to London and New York City, hobnobbing with stars and inhaling near toxic quantities of vaporized female pheromones.
I signed on for this "Tale of Two Cities," thinking, "It is a far, far better thing I do now than I have ever done, etc.," (apologies to Charley Dickens).
It wasn't so noble according to my 7-year-old daughter, Emi, a major One Direction fan, who referred to me as "the worst daddy ever" upon hearing she wouldn't be coming along for stop one in London. Instead, my wife, Aileen, would join me for the film's world premiere there last week.
One Direction, for the uninitiated, is a boy band mentored by Simon Cowell, a modest fellow who has guided them to international fame and 30 million in record sales in less time than it used to take him to say, "If I'm being honest..." to "American Idol" contestants. He chose these lads from the UK edition of his "X Factor" show. Now, they're the number one selling artist in 35 countries.
From the moment we arrived in London, we found it completely taken over by One Direction fans. The band's memorabilia was everywhere and rivaled Union Jack flags, royal family and typical British landmark trinkets.
Fans began camping outside the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square days before the premiere. This level of commitment has been demonstrated all over the world, including in the States: on Aug. 23, 18,000 people broke the record of largest crowd to ever attend a taping of "The Today Show" when 1D performed on it.
In London, we met with Morgan and arrived at the theatre, where Aileen and I quickly made our way across the red carpet and positioned ourselves to witness a resurrection of Beatlemania upon the band's arrival. We witnessed girls fainting and requiring paramedics.