I have been to a lot of live theatre and concerts over the years. The saying goes 'there's always one.' What has grown increasingly frustrating over recent years, is the 'one' has grown significantly and audiences are becoming ruder and more frustrating.
So apologies before I continue, this is a cranky blog! Regular readers will know I try to keep things pleasant, upbeat and hopefully entertaining. But as I endure audiences to bring you most of my posts, sometimes things aren't pleasant and in the realms of disclosure, I am going to share honestly. So there may be language, there will be home truths and I have pulled on my cranky pants!
Those that know me well, know this is a little (ok huge) bugbear of mine, so why now...well Easter Saturday was a great day, back to back movies and a double concert, but from these I was witness to some pretty shitty behaviour and whilst it did not completely ruin my experiences, they sure as hell would have been heightened without!
Let's start with the cinema, because audience behaviour there can be pretty awful too. Cut about 10mins to the end of Amour. A movie I might add that was quite incredibly sad, emotional and exhausting to sit through (though very good!). I noticed a couple climbing the stairs to where I was sitting with a friend. I thought it was odd I did not see them leave, but continued watching. No, they had never left, they were arriving for the NEXT film!?! The choose the row in front of us....there were 7 people in the cinema, all spread out! They shuffled along until they almost got to us, sat down, had a conversation and mucked about with their phones. My friend and I exchanged glances that pretty much equated to WTF!?! Well, mine certainly did! Then, they got up and shuffled to the very 2 seats directly in front of us. How I did not smash the backs of their head I have no idea...I really mean that. The credits rolled, I wiped away my tears (it was that kind of movie) and we stood up to move out, they apologised in case they had disturbed us. My friend told them they had ruined the end of the movie, they looked back with shock and as I stood gobsmacked at their utter rudeness, they looked at me with a bit of a how dare we comment. I gave them my very best fuck off and die look (if you know me, you know it is pretty awesome) and moved away. Had I opened my mouth, I would not have been as eloquent as my friend. As I walked away, In heard one say to the other, 'we said sorry, what is wrong with them.' Why would anyone behave like that, I have absolutely no idea, but it is becoming fairly normal and common behaviour from my observations!
Cut to an evening at Newcastle Entertainment Centre to see Rufus Wainwright and Paul Simon. First off, I have to disclose I am a fuckwit magnet at concerts, ask anyone who has been to a concert with me, without exception I always sit next to a complete twat! I've even experimented with friends either side, yeah that was REM where a douche spilled beer down my back from behind all night! So behind us at this concert were two loud women, who conducted a conversation rather loudly throughout the most of the concert. That was when they weren't singing very loudly off key or clapping out of time...give me strength!! I used my evil eye, my friend told them off on more than one occasion, they looked at us as if we were the idiots! At one point they told us to shut up! My friend said something about they are probably waiting outside for us, hmmm I wish! You don't piss me off at a concert! Of course these are the same people who when Rufus was doing a lovely introduction to his song about Jeff Buckley, said to each other, 'never heard of him'. WTF? As my friend A said, "philistines". Paul Simon covered Here comes the sun, the very same people were like that is a XXX song, thinking they were cool we didn't exactly get the band they were referring to, but it sure as hell wasn't The Beatles or George Harrison.
So here is my list of really uncool things to do at a live event, concert or audience based activity:
- Constantly walk in and out of the concert/show while the performer is performing, we are all adults, go to the toilet before hand, if you cannot go a few hours without alcohol, STAY HOME. Seeing people stream in and out is embarrassing, what a waste of money. And how must the performer feel, seeing someone walk out during Paul Simon singing Sounds of Silence is inexplicable!
- Don't be late, YES parking will be a bitch, leave time to find one, get to your seat before the performance starts, it's not brain science. Even better get there earlier, have your drink and conversation prior to the event, as opposed to during!
- If you are going to stand to dance (and please do, we want to enjoy), think about those around you, some people cannot stand due to health reasons and you would be a complete arsehole if you stood up in front of them. Sometimes the polite and correct thing to do is jiggle about in your seat. If you cannot handle this, purchase tickets for GA or don't come.
- It is not cool to talk through any performance where you are in an audience of people you don't know, or even with those you do. By doing this you are pissing everyone off around you AND everyone can hear what you are saying...and (trust me) it's never anything that makes you look smart or interesting!
- If the venue (in my experiences a cinema) is quiet or almost empty, you don't have to sit on top of the only other person there. I mean, seriously, what is wrong with people that do that???
- If the phone rings, don't answer it and have a conversation. Surely by now you know how to silence or vibrate it. If you are waiting for an important phone call, possible an audience based activity it NOT where you should be.
- If you need to really do leave a live venue during the performance, then do so as discretely as possible
- if you are eating or drinking, try to do so as quietly as you can, especially in the movies.
- Denim Jeans at the theatre, or shudder the Sydney Opera House, are not cool...ever!
- Taking photos and videos are par for the course these days, but be mindful of those around you and check the venue's rules first...or be discreet!
Now, here are music gigs specifics. These are just wrong, on so many levels:
- if you are at a Stevie nicks concert, don't yell out for Christine McVie songs
- if you are at a Dave Stewart concert, don't ask where is Annie
- Don't wear the band t-shirt to the band, it's poor form. If you must, wear one you just purchase over regular clothes (you still look like a dick, just less of one)
- Fancy, shiny, stiletto type shoes at a rock concert are not cool unless you can move at ease up and down stairs in them...you still look like you might be 'with' the band, if you get my drift, but maybe we'll appreciate that...maybe, probably not, but you know, some people can't be told
- Women, you are going to a rock concert, not the Oscars, dress appropriately...to the venue and band
- if you are not into the support act, sit quietly and meditate or leave, cause some people might like them
- If you get all jiggity when you drink, don't hold full glasses of beer behind people
- if you are going to eat crappy, smelly food before attending a gig, please don't burp during the gig
- if you decide to be cool and dance down the front, don't do it in front of someone who is sitting down in the front row! Yes, they got the good tickets (maybe for the first time ever) and do not need some twit jigging up and down and ruining the moment.
- if you decide to be cool and dance down the front, be sure you actually can dance cool!
- if you are going to get up on stage with Australian rock and roll royalty, and you are over a certain age (in this case I think 60) please wear a bra, especially if you are wearing a strapless dress,
- (Sidebar: this rule is a basic fashion rule...one a LOT of people seem to be breaking lately, they may as well be running around naked!)
- if you are at a venue that is a bit classier and seated and people are more chilled, we don't need you downing 10 drinks to everyone else's 1 so that you run around the venue off your tit, showing your tits and being a twit!
- If you are going to buy 4 beers at once to drink just for you, please don't leave the on the floor, cause if you're drinking that many at once, chances are you are shitfaced and will kick them over, and I will be sitting next to you and it will look like I wet myself and also wreck my shoes...arsehole!
- don't wait till the quiet, sensitive moment in the concert to yell something out to the artist...it will always sound moronic!
- if someone is trying to move through the crowd, let them through
- if you are really tall or wearing a hat, check to ensure someone smaller is not behind you and you are not blocking their view
Seriously, I have seen all of this and more, I do not understand this behaviour, is it a Newcastle thing? Is it just how people are now? It has certainly shifted over then years.
I am not going to apologise to any who may take offense with this, it is written with tongue in cheek but meant with a fair dosing of reality, if you don't get it, nothing much must bother you and I wish I could be the same, but I'm not made that way! But honestly, the behaviour of a lot of the above is simply rude and is definitely disrespectful to the artists 'you' have (often) paid a lot of money to see.
Pretty sure I am preaching to the converted here, just venting and eager to hear your own stories of inappropriate audience behaviour???