Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Phone etiquette

Apparently people are having some sort of problem with the way people standing near them are behaving.

An informal poll of Gambit staffers unaimously agreed that if you really need that photo, take that photo. The sea of bright screens surrounding a dark club is distracting, and pretty annoying — the moment is on stage, not on your screen. Boilen does have a point: Constantly texting and talking during a show is the worst. I've been to a billion shows, several a week, and it's not uncommon to hear an entire conversation take place over the course of a band's set, or all of the bands' sets, sometimes with back completely turned to the stage. Sure, it's your money, your ticket, whatever, but nobody would prefer listening to someone talk loudly about their shitty significant other or "oh my god did you hear about (something that can wait until after this show to talk about)."

I can see why it could be considered irksome if a person standing in front of you at a crowded show blocks your view by holding a phone aloft.  I would hope most folks would be conscientious toward those around them.  But 9 out of any 10 times I've seen this happen, it's either easily avoided by a step right or left or lasts only a few moments and is nothing to get all upset about.  More importantly, though, if you're at a show where it's possible to be distracted by someone texting near you, odds are the band sucks.

Anyway I guess it's a good rule to try and not be a dick and ruin people's good time under any circumstance. On the other hand, sometimes that yields interesting things. Here, for example, is one of my favorite recordings.  It's from some forgotten GBV show nearly 20 (correction: nearly 30!) years ago.  The song doesn't matter. It's barely intelligible and kind of saccharine sounding. What's interesting is the banal conversation via some people in the crowd caught on the tape.  They start talking over the band just about midway through the song and dominate the rest of the track.  I always liked that the conversation interrupts what is meant to be the climactic bridge of this silly song.  To me it illustrates the idea that the moments when we are our most earnest or vulnerable, as Bob kind of sounds here, it is precisely at those moments when no one in the room gives a shit. And that's probably a good thing.

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