An Interview with Claire Sheehan – The “Spin Girl” (transcript)

ANDRE: Which days of Bumbershoot did you attend?

CLAIRE:  I only attended Sunday because it was the only day that seemed interesting to me.

ANDRE: What shows did you see?

CLAIRE:  I saw fun. Ra Ra Riot, and Death Cab for Cutie

ANDRE: What did you think of the shows?

CLAIRE:  Some were my favorite bands, one was one of my sister’s favorite bands when she was my age, and then one was my friend’s favorite, so it all three of us seeing our favorite bands together.

ANDRE: What did you think of the Ra Ra Riot performance?

CLAIRE:  I’m not saying it was bad! It just wasn’t my kind of music. It didn’t ‘zing.’ I’m more of a person who goes to cultural songs.

ANDRE: Why did you start spinning?

CLAIRE:  At first I told my sister I wanted to get closer but she said I couldn’t because it could have been dangerous and we couldn’t really stick together, so we just went to the back and she was just pointing out how most of the people were just standing stiff. My sister, my friend, and I started spinning because I just thought that’s what should happen at concerts like these. When you’re on the floor, you shouldn’t just stand.”

ANDRE: Do you spin for fun a lot?

CLAIRE:  I used to a lot when I was younger, but then it started freaking out my dog. So now I only do it at school with my friends, but I have a gift for not getting sick after a spin or two.

ANDRE: When did you first become aware that the audience was cheering for you?

CLAIRE:  My sister told me that the audience was actually cheering for me. I thought they were just cheering at some part of the song that they liked. When I realized they were cheering for me, it was a little embarrassing. I wanted to keep spinning, but I didn’t want them to think I was just doing it for the audience rather than because I enjoyed it.

ANDRE: Tell me what your interaction with security

CLAIRE:  Well I couldn’t exactly hear him but he said you’d have to go sit down. I acted like I was happen he told me to because I felt dizzy, but in my head I was like “Oh my god! What? Nooo!” Hopefully I did a good job covering up my feelings.

ANDRE: Why did they react the way they did? Both at the beginning and later?

CLAIRE:  I don’t fully understand that myself. I’m just kind of glad that they did it because everyone relaxed and started dancing. I don’t really know what they were thinking, because I didn’t see it from their point of view, but I’m pretty sure I would cheer for a little girl who was dancing. I’d get mad at the guard because she’d just be doing what she wants to do, which is dance. And what’s wrong with that?

ANDRE: How did you feel when the entire audience got up and started spinning?

CLAIRE: I felt slightly excited and I wanted to go back to dancing because, “Screw you guards! You can’t tell me what to do! I’m allowed to dance!” That’s what concerts are for.

ANDRE: How did you feel the whole thing affected the performance?

CLAIRE:  The main thing that kept going through my mind was that I hoped I wasn’t offending the band. People were posting things like, “Oh Ra Ra Riot was performing? I didn’t notice. I was watching #SpinGirl.” I hoped I didn’t offend them in any sort of way. I was thinking about it the entire time. It was going through my mind nonstop.

ANDRE: How did you feel when people asked for your picture?

CLAIRE:  I was like, “So this is what it feels like to be known.” I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to do and went along with them and said, “Sure!” It’s not like they aren’t allowed to have my picture, but it was kind of weird having people want it.

ANDRE: Are you aware that a lot of people have been posting about you on the internet and Twitter and such?

CLAIRE:  Yeah! Yeah! My friend told me, “This might go viral” and I was like, “Please… I don’t want that to happen,” but then this guy told me, “You know you’re on Twitter?” and I was like, “Great! It’s gone viral!”

ANDRE: Has anything interesting happened afterwards because of what happened?

CLAIRE:  Only a few people who asked me or got my picture know my real name, but a few kids at school who went to the show stopped me and were like, “You’re Spin Girl!”

ANDRE: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

CLAIRE:  There’s a story about a guy who was just dancing and the entire audience was just looking at him like, “what are you doing?” And then other people joined him and the audience starts to think, “Hmmm they’re doing it. There’s a crowd. Maybe I want to do it too because it looks fun!” The thing is, you kind of need a leader to get things started, but you also need those secondary people who are also very important in having that thing go on and on.

ANDRE: I asked a fan of yours what he’d say to you if he could have a word. He said he’d tell you to be happy and keep on spinning. I’d just like to say the same and thank you for giving me your time.

CLAIRE:  You’re welcome! And if you bump into him, tell him I will.


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