Etiquette Of Silence

A Plea Against Arseholeish Behaviour At Gigs

Firstly, a confession:

Many years ago, I was at a gig at the old Wembley with my brother. I’d not seen him in months and there was loads we needed to say. The gig was a big-name, double header. The stage was several miles distant and the “big screen” was less use than trying to watch Eastenders on your neighbour’s telly across the street. So we weren’t exactly caught in the music. We ended up gassing most of the way through Eric Clapton’s set, but we only got called up for it during the awful and maudlin Tears In Heaven when the woman sitting behind us leaned forward and politely informed us that we were ruining her favourite song. We bit back out initial reaction which was to tell her that her taste was in her arse, and if any song should be drowned out in any way possible, it was that one. We bit it back because the follow-up realisation was that she was right. Whatever we thought of her favourite song, we were spoiling it with arseholeish behaviour.

It was a lesson learned on the need to be aware that a gig experience is not necessarily a shared one by everyone in the audience, and one which I’ve borne in mind ever since. Which is by way of introduction to saying:

You. Yes, you. The young ladies who have taken up position between me and the band. You’re talking – no – you’re shouting. Really shouting. It’s clear you’ve got a lot to catch up on. That’s great. Conversation’s a dying art and should be practiced frequently and openly, but you’ve been shouting at each other non-stop for over half the set. Through the rocking songs, through the quiet ones, with hardly even a glance in the direction of the stage. I’m looking at you – because your constant yakking demands attention, distracts from the gig that otherwise I would be totally enthralled by – and I’m wondering:

Why The Fuck Are You Here?

Seriously. If you’re not here to listen to the music, to watch the band, to get into the gig, why be down here with the fans? Get up to the bar at the back and yak all you like or, better still, just piss off to the pub.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the main act or “just a support” band. It doesn’t even matter if you consider the band to be utter shit. Constant yakking during the gig is arseholeish behaviour of the highest order. Why? Because while you may not be totally captivated by what’s happening on stage, the people around you might be hugely into it. They’ve paid their money to come and see the bands and they’re entitled to hear them without the shouted soundtrack of your banal and inconsequential social life.

So, give it a rest, eh? A bit of chat between the songs is fine, but for the sake of your clothes not suddenly becoming drenched in tepid Tuborg lager, keep the peace.

Just sayin’ likes.

4 thoughts on “Etiquette Of Silence

  1. I couldn’t agree more, same thing happened to me at the recent Anathema gig, and Roddy Woomble before that (which was even worse because it was an unplugged set) and Laura Marling last year. Why laugh and talk all the way through the gig? At Tour of Chaos at the SECC, I noticed how easy it would be to murder some of the audience, hide their bodies and maybe get away with it, pity that doesn’t apply to some smaller venues.

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