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June 10, 2008 6:27 AM   Subscribe

Are cellphones ruining concerts? If they're not going off in the middle of a performance, they're constantly strobe-lighting the musicians. Of course, there are plenty of other ways you can ruin a concert.
posted by The Card Cheat (150 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
freebird!
posted by krautland at 6:38 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There's definitely a problem where people are so busy documenting the moment that they forget to just live in the moment."

Amen. I do a fair amount of documenting local art happenings with a small video camera, and I constantly remind myself to put the freaking camera down - and sometimes deliberately leave it at home - so I can have a more normal experience out.

People who obsessively photograph throughout a concert should be shot.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm torn--
for me, concerts have NEVER been about the music as much as the process of enjoying yourself with thousands of (seemingly) like-minded strangers on a lovely afternoon, dancing, flirting, laughing wild.
The music I listen to on my stereo, at home.
But--
I've never truly felt comfortable (or safe) in large groups of people anyway, and it seems that every year the yardstick for civility is woefully diminished.
Getting puked on by some little punk is not fun.
Solution--
Stay home this summer and grumble.
posted by Dizzy at 6:51 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


These are just a few of the reasons I never go to concerts.
posted by Phanx at 6:52 AM on June 10, 2008


As far as I'm concerned, cell phones have pretty much ruined most of the modern human experience:

1. At movies: why the the jerk behind me always have to have his cell phone on and speak on it during the film? Why does the guy two rows over not turn his cell phone off so it doesn't ring during the show? If you are that important or have that kind of pressing matters, don't freaking go to a movie now, rent a video!

2. Commuting: HELLO! WE ARE ALL STUCK HERE FOR AN HOUR AND IT'S 7-8 AM ON THE TRAIN AND NO ONE CARES, LIKE, HOW YOUR NIGHT, LIKE, WAS YOU PATHETIC EMO OR HIPSTER OR P.O.R.N.-STAR WANNABE 20-SOMETHING. LIKE, OMG! YEAH, WE DO EXPECT YOU TO BE, LIKE, QUIET ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT AT 8 AM BECAUSE ALL 120 OF THE REST OF US ARE, WHY CAN'T YOU YOU SOCIALLY INEPT FUCTARD? FURTHER MORE, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO DAMN LOUD ON IT TOO!

3. At concerts: yeah, on the phone, taking pictures, fantastic experience you're sharing with the rest of us who have to suffer around you. I happen to be 5'3" so I always get the guy who tries to cut his arm into my airspace.

4. On the street: it's the middle of rush hour for foot traffic in New York, why are you moving at like an inch a minute in Herald Square? Get off the phone and freaking walk. What could you possible have to speak about so damn early in the morning anyway? Extra fuctard points for walking in New York SIDE BY SIDE, four people shoulder to shoulder with everyone on cell phones and meandering down the street. WTF PEOPLE? Are you even friends that enjoy one another's company and why do you need to block the 600 people from using the street behind you?

5. On the road: I think laws aren't strict enough on this. I think it should be treated like a DUI if you're seen holding the phone and driving. I think you need to automatically have your license suspended for putting the rest of us on the road in danger... fuctard.

6. Eating out: It's not only rude to the people who are at your table to cut yourself off and speak to another person on the phone during what should be a group / couple bounding experience, but it's rude to everyone around you who can't help but overhearing your one-sided conversation when they too are trying to focus on those they share a meal with.

7. Meetings: Seriously, I don't get this. Why are you constantly on your blackberry / cell phone when YOU called this two hour meeting? There are five people here, speak to us.

Yeah, I'm having an angry morning. :(
posted by eatdonuts at 6:55 AM on June 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


Cellphones don't have strobe lights. Cameras do, and many cellphones come equipped with cameras. But this was a problem before, and independent of, the existence of cellphones.
posted by DU at 6:56 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not only are tellular celephones ruining concerts, the texting phenomenon brought on by such devices is one of the main contributors to the degradation of proper written language... but that is for another thread perhaps.
posted by Return Zero at 6:57 AM on June 10, 2008


But this was a problem before, and independent of, the existence of cellphones.

Sure, and the social rules for disturbing others at a public performance haven't changed in centuries: don't be an ass. It's just much easier for everyone to be a strobing ass now.
posted by mediareport at 7:03 AM on June 10, 2008


I like taking pictures at shows, because sometimes they turn out cool. That said, if you get in peoples way, use a flash, etc, then you're just being a jerk ass. I also don't like to spend the whole show taking pictures, because then you really aren't watching the show.
posted by chunking express at 7:03 AM on June 10, 2008


People who obsessively photograph throughout a concert should be shot.

Well, if that's because the flash is bothering you, that's one thing, and I guess I can't disagree too much. But if that's because you think that person with the camera isn't enjoying the concert (or the tourist site, or the vacation, or whatever) the "right way", well, that's crap. I enjoy taking pictures. I'm not great at it (can't even say I'm good) but I enjoy doing it. Taking pictures ADDS to my experience, it doesn't detract from it.

Just my 2cents.
posted by inigo2 at 7:05 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not only are tellular celephones ruining concerts, the texting phenomenon brought on by such devices is one of the main contributors to the degradation of proper written language... but that is for another thread perhaps.

2tru
posted by inigo2 at 7:06 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don’t think I’ve gone to a major concert since cell phones became popular but concerts were already ruined.

Drunk frat boys singing along… badly.

Idiots doing the “noodle dance”… badly.

Overpriced tickets.

People talking constantly.

People who can’t handle whatever substances they’re on.

Pretty much everyone in the room who isn’t me or the band.
posted by bondcliff at 7:07 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


The problem is flashes, not cameras as such. Solution: a big sign reading "NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED", and some bouncers. Eject a few violators--they can even be planted to be ejected, to demonstrate the concept to the crowd--and the problem would soon stop, at least at that venue.

Finding the location of a flash is one of the computer vision problems it is easy to solve. Here's how: put a recording camera above the stage, filming the crowd at 100FPS in low resolution, connected to a computer that looks for flashes, and connected to four laser pointers in the corners of the ceiling, mounted on swivels, with presets for every seat in the venue. You flash, you get four red dots, pointing you out like snipers for the bouncers.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:08 AM on June 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


People who obsessively photograph throughout a concert should be shot.

Amen that. If I wanted to see a sea of cellphones and digital cameras, I'd go to a fucking [your consumer electronics retailer chain of choice] store.
posted by _dario at 7:09 AM on June 10, 2008


Taking pictures ADDS to my experience, it doesn't detract from it.

Ah, but it detracts from the experience of many other people.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:11 AM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


*does the "noodle dance"... badly*
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2008


Me, personally I don't go to concerts anymore because I moved to a country that hardly any foreign artist visit, so I haven't had a chance to experience that recent trend. But, if not in concerts, I think it can be seen everywhere. People are developing the strangest communicational habits, like that of being talking to you, receiving a txt message, reading it and answering while saying -mhm, hmm, hm to indicate they are still "listening" to you.

Just yesterday a friend showed me this great Argentinian commercial on this very subject. For those of you who don't speak Spanish, the phrases that will come up in the screen say: "let's not have communication breaking our communication. Let's be responsible with our use of cellphones".

So, back to the concerts, I miss them. Wish I had the option of saying I don't go to concerts anymore because of the cellphone abuse and not because of the lack of concerts.
posted by micayetoca at 7:18 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


>6. Eating out: It's not only rude to the people who are at your table to cut yourself off and speak to another person on the phone during what should be a group / couple bounding experience, but it's rude to everyone around you who can't help but overhearing your one-sided conversation when they too are trying to focus on those they share a meal with.

Amen! If I'm out at a restaurant, café, fast food, etc. with you and you pull out your cell phone and put it on the table when you aren't waiting for some extremely important call, you're saying "well I guess I'll talk to you for now, but if someone calls, you're second banana, pal." I don't care how uncomfortable your cellphone is in your pocket, this is shockingly rude. The practice is gaining acceptance and it must be stopped.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 7:19 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


And yeah, if you're not in the front row of a concert, that sea of LCDs between you and the band is pretty terrible. I don't go to huge outdoor concerts though, so it's not so bad. We'll see what happens at summerstage.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 7:21 AM on June 10, 2008


The most prominent nuisance at concerts will always be the lack of brains in the people around you (as evidenced by flash photography, excessive horizontal physical motion, painfully loud and dissonant intonation, etc.).
posted by Return Zero at 7:22 AM on June 10, 2008


But this was a problem before, and independent of, the existence of cellphones.

It's a bit different though, because everyone has a cell phone on them, most have cameras, and they can't practically be confiscated at the door like stand-alone cameras can.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on June 10, 2008


GIT OFF MY LAWN!!

Jeeeze Loueez you people are too uptight to enjoy a concert. Stay at home and yell at the kids.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:23 AM on June 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


puked on, punched - those are things someone else can do to ruin your good time. but taking photos.... "Other people are annoying! I want things to be like I remember them! Other people are more annoying! WAAAAH!" I tell you what, if I was a journalist who had to go to concerts I didn't like then this kinda shit MIGHT start to bug me. But I go to concerts I want to see, and I know what crowds are like, so I have a great time. Bitch on, I suppose, but then relax.
posted by MNDZ at 7:25 AM on June 10, 2008


Cellphones don't have strobe lights. Cameras do, and many cellphones come equipped with cameras. But this was a problem before, and independent of, the existence of cellphones.

Plenty of cellphones have flashes for their cameras.
posted by mkb at 7:27 AM on June 10, 2008


Funny enough, one concert I was at the lead singer encouraged people to use their cellphones like lighters. A bit odd, but since the club I was at didn't allow smoking it seemed appropriate somehow.
posted by Talanvor at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2008


Jeeeze Loueez you people are too uptight to enjoy a concert.

This is exactly what the idiot doing the noodle dance / taking pictures / talking loudly / singing badly says. Here’s a hint: If your “enjoyment” detracts from the enjoyment of the people around you, it’s you. It’s not them, it’s you.
posted by bondcliff at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


You know what else I hate? This damned writing! People are ruining the great oral traditions of our ancestors by recording stories onto clay tablets!

I'm John McCain and I approve this message
posted by DU at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2008 [15 favorites]


It is a concert not a sing along! DAMMIT! I just paid top dollar to hear the band not you, so STFU!
posted by Gungho at 7:29 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


We can all do our part to improve the situation. At the movies, the magic word is "shhh," or "could you keep it down please?", or, if you're in New York, "shut the fuck up." At a concert, I've successfully used "I just drove 3000 miles to hear this band play," but a well-placed "dude!!!" usually does the trick.
posted by muckster at 7:33 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shit, you couldn't hear a hand grenade go off at most of the shows I've been to, let alone a cell phone.
posted by The Straightener at 7:33 AM on June 10, 2008


"There's definitely a problem where people are so busy documenting the moment that they forget to just live in the moment."
Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures. - Susan Sontag
posted by Pastabagel at 7:35 AM on June 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


Cell phone flashes can distract and piss off the performers, especially in a small venue. It annoyed the crap out of Johnette Napolitano when I saw her in this tiny basement of a venue. The flashes more or less stunned her slightly, causing these little breaks in the music. She asked people to stop about a dozen times. They didn't.

Personally, I think one of the Value Added things that would solve this problem is to have a concert photographer for the venue. Anyone who brings a jump drive or has an email address gets completely awesome shots of the show. Anyone whipping out their cell phone to take pictures has it yanked out of their hands and hammered to little bits, if nothing else than for being rude to everyone who might be a little short and in the crowd.
posted by adipocere at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course, there are plenty of other ways you can ruin a concert.

Indeed there are.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2008


they can't practically be confiscated at the door like stand-alone cameras can

I've been to shows where they've confiscated cellphones that had cameras. I've also been to shows where they denied entry to anyone carrying a cellphone that had a camera.

...yeah, I don't know how those tours made money either. It was amazing how many people they turned away.
posted by aramaic at 7:42 AM on June 10, 2008



Speaking of cell phones in public places -- Yeah, I'm old and cranky now, but please, for the love of all that is holy -- stop texting during the movie! Hi. You are in a darkened theatre with a whole bunch of other people. Your very bright cell phone is a major distraction. Don't you get that? Or do you even give a damn? Are you telling me you can't turn the damn thing off just for the length of a movie? Is the collective attention span so short these days? Oh wait, I know, it's just sooooo important that it can't possibly wait. And while I'm at it, STFU, you are NOT at home. I've just about given up on movies. /end rant.
posted by trixare4kids at 7:43 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


and you pull out your cell phone and put it on the table when you aren't waiting for some extremely important call

I take it out of my pocket because it's uncomfortable there when I'm sitting down. By no means does that mean I'll pick it up and any point in the meal. Calm down.
posted by kingbenny at 7:43 AM on June 10, 2008


Even without a flash they're pretty irritating. I don't pay for concert tickets so I can watch the show through the viewfinder of the guy holding his phone up in front of my view of the stage.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:47 AM on June 10, 2008


Ah, but it detracts from the experience of many other people

Hence the first part of my comment.
posted by inigo2 at 7:50 AM on June 10, 2008


Here's a little media/culture thought experiment. Let's say that all cameras were banned from a concert venue, but instead the band mounted dozens of cameras around the venue that would continuously take pictures. If you wanted a photo, all you had to do was note the time that you wanted a photo of, and they would give it to you free. Assume the photos are very high res, color corrected glossy 8x10s or digital files, i.e. assume that there are no problems with the official photos.

Would you want this? Why not? What would this 'official' photo lack that your crappy cellphone shot of the same thing at the same time has? Is it something about the photo itself, i.e. the angle, the composition, etc. or is it your knowledge that you took one photo but not the other.

I often think about this whenever I see lots of people all taking pictures of the same monument or landmark at the same time from the same fenced-in tourist vantage point--the extent to which the photo reinforces a memory, replaces a memory, serves from the beginning as the thing to be remembered, or whether it isn't really a function of memory but of possession or control. You photograph something to hold or own a piece of the experience or that intangible moment in time. Or conversely, whether the "fenced-in vantage point" is a means for social control. The authority that controls the vantage point controls the interpretation of it. And people taking pictures from that vantage point are enabling authority's control over them by reinforcing the prescribed vision/interpretation.

In other words, the photo to get would be a photo of the tourists, the audience, photographers from the vantage point of the thing they are photographing--to see the people as the authority sees them.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


....And then there's theater.

I used to be an usher for the show STOMP, and we had a very tight control on flash photography -- but still we had people bring things in, and once in a while we'd have an instance of a flash photo going off during the show. And since it was a live show, the performers would get distracted. And because these were live performers doing acrobatic things with brooms and garbage cans and quarter staffs and such, sometimes a distracted performer would result in things like a pushbroom catapulting into the audience and nearly beaning someone on the head.

All because someone took a flash photo. And this was in the days before cell phones -- I can only imagine what kind of fresh hell they're going through now.

And the ring tones are even worse -- I once worked for a show that had one quiet scene that was an intimate conversation between two characters. And one night -- well, it was bad enough that we had an audience member whose cell phone went off during that scene, and it was bad enough that she dealt with it by panicking and letting it ring until it went to voicemail. The worst part was that her ring tone was the sound of a clucking chicken.

...The scene was ruined.

If it's a live show, the performers need to be able to concentrate too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


-techiquette-

jayzus bogstomping satan, I hope that doesn't get traction.
posted by peacay at 7:56 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


This sort of thing has been a problem for as long as people have had personal cameras with flashes, but Facebook/Myspace have really exacerbated the problem. Everyone's gotta let everyone else know THEY WERE THERE, even if their photos look like shit.
posted by you just lost the game at 8:00 AM on June 10, 2008


I take it out of my pocket because it's uncomfortable...

Please note the second to last line of my first comment. If it rings, beeps, or vibrates, right there in front of us, it's a huge interruption whether you leave it ringing, pick it up, or just hang up and put it back down. May I suggest (a) a smaller cellphone that fits comfortably in your pocket, (b) a bag or some other manner of carrying it, or (c) shoving it into that sandwich you've ordered and taking a big bite out of it.

Just because you're uncomfortable doesn't mean you get to impose on me.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't been to a concert in a long time, but the way I remember them, with the mosh pit being right in front of the stage, anyone foolish enough to stand there with a camera would most likely have been bowled over and unintentionally stomped on.

Bluegrass shows get crazy like that.
posted by quin at 8:04 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do not own a cellphone.

Maybe someday something will happen that requires me to buy that virtual leash. For now, I've happily been able to postpone getting one indefinitely. I hate the things, personally. Still, I have learned to tolerate them, so long as they belong to other people.

Those of you who do, walking around oblivious to people around you, talking to air as if it were your relative or friend on the other side of town, are a form of entertainment for me. I like things just as they are. It's like occasionally walking into other people's sitcoms. I can't help but eavesdrop. You're all talking so damn loud. It's like channel surfing. I never really understand what's going on but often what comes out of your mouth is funny outside of your own narrow-minded context. Please don't leave your cellphones at home.

And if you record a concert or other public event, please post it to YouTube as soon as possible so if I want to see it, it's freely available for the world to view. So long as the rest of the world has cellphones, I won't ever have to get one of the annoying things.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:05 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Cellphones are ruining everything - concerts just happen to be included. Driving, riding the bus, shopping, eating out, going to the movies, going to class, working and even just hanging out are all more irritating now because of all the inconsiderate people who can't leave their damned cell phones alone. I'll tell you, nothing makes you feel more valued as a person than when the person you're with wants you to shut up until they're done sending a damned text message.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:06 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it because I live in a major city and people are a little more sophisticated that all these complaints read like total fiction to me- or are they just total fiction?

Restaurants: I suppose people talk on their cells, but I don't notice. Why would I- it's no louder than if they were talking to their companion.

Movies: I think I heard a cell phone ring once- maybe. I have never heard anyone pick up. I go to the movies all the time. Normally, everyone turns it off during the little ad beforehand that reminds you to turn it off.

Driving: I have never witnessed an accident caused by a cell phone, or known anyone who has, but I'm sure they happen. Almost as often as accidents caused by people fiddling with the radio. At any rate, cops have always had the discretion to stop people for reckless driving- the last thing we need is more excuses for cops to pull (poor, minority) people over.

re: shows. If the cells distract the performer, that's not cool. But I've never seen it happen. I don't think the audience having too MUCH freedom is really the problem at big rock shows these days. I remember a show at the Wiltern in L.A. a few years ago:

there was a line taped on the floor around our section. Someone stepped literally a few inches over because they were dancing and having a good time. The security guard was on them within seconds.

It's enough like a fucking kindergarten already. If I feel like taking a photo in a respectful way, I'm going to do it, and no amount of whining or pseudo-intellectual analysis is going to stop me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:18 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


The answer to these questions is "No. Cell Phones are not ruining concerts. Teenagers are." Just like everything else they come near, teenagers are the ones who refuse (they don't forget) to turn off their cellphone, and who then answer it and have a conversation on it during a movie. But even if they didn't own one, they'd find some way to ruin the experience for you, I promise.
posted by shmegegge at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


> Cellphones are ruining everything...riding the bus...

Especially riding the bus. The other day I got onto a packed, sweltering bus behind a woman on a cellphone who then started whining "Ugh, this bus is full, and it smells! I hate taking the fucking bus!" Then she pulled out a pre-packaged sub and proceeded to eat it - loudly, complete with lip-smacking and finger licking - while carrying on a conversation that included updates on her current location every block; "Yeah, now we're at Green St...blah blah blah...now we're at Duncan...blah blah blah...we just hit a red light at Garden Ave..."

It's a shame we were all Canadians (i.e. a society that prefers stewing angrily in silence to direct confrontation) because this woman desperately needed a NYC-style "SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2008


People who use their dinky cameras to take flash photographs of things that are hundreds of meters away aren't just asses. They're idiots.
posted by grouse at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Finally, a thread where I can brag about how I don't own a television and complain about the kids these days.
posted by electroboy at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


As much as this post is a nudge for people who act obnoxious at concerts, it should be a nudge for those of us who are a bit uptight about sharing our personal space to let go and unclench. Consider it character building. If you're at a Leonard Cohen concert and you spend the entire time growing increasingly furious at people taking cellphone pictures, then who suffers? Certainly not the amateur photographers. You're only cheating yourself. So try a little harder to tolerate. It's good for you. It's good for the world.
posted by loiseau at 8:23 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cellphones are ruining everything

I've been seeing this sentiment expressed a lot lately for a number of different reasons. For me, it's the driving thing; if talking on the phone is the reason you are driving at five miles per hour under the speed limit in the passing lane, then you need to stop. Now. Or there is a good chance I'm going to have to push your car into oncoming traffic.

But in the more general sense, I think the anger with people on cell phones comes from their expectations that the public space suddenly becomes private when they are talking. Like we should make every effort to ignore their conversation when they don't have the common courtesy to take their call into a different area.

I'm working on a new strategy for dealing with this; I want to become involved in their discussion. I want to hear a snippet of conversation, and wedge myself into it:

Him: Yeah, we went out and got really wrecked last night. Man, I'm still hung over...

Me: I hear ya brother! I was shooting heroin into my eye just earlier today and boy and I'm fucked up. I mean, I'm starting to come down and it's making me all jittery, don't you hate that? Oh no, I think I might have pissed in my pants...

Waiter: So... did you want me to bring the check?..

I don't think this will help, but hopefully it will irritate them enough to hang up the damn phone. Also, it will probably get me shot.

And don't even get me started on people using bluetooth headsets. There is something about that technology that drives me just batty.
posted by quin at 8:24 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Another example (and I'm sure not the only example) of why flash photography at concerts are near the apex of fucktardery:

Ndegeocello suffers from photosensitive epilepsy and is susceptible to seizures induced by flash photography when she is performing live.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:25 AM on June 10, 2008


> People who use their dinky cameras to take flash photographs of things that are hundreds of meters away aren't just asses. They're idiots.

Heh. Reminds me of one of my all-time favourite Simpsons lines, by a football announcer in Bart vs. Thanksgiving:

"In the Silverdome, now ablaze with flashbulbs, as `Hooray for Everything' leaves the field! Of course, a stadium is much too big for flash pictures to work, but nobody seems to care!"
posted by you just lost the game at 8:27 AM on June 10, 2008


Let us move further faster, and sweep the old away.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:27 AM on June 10, 2008


What boggles my mind, about cellphones, is the texting phenomena. I had a friend beg and plead with me to let their girlfriend come over with them to watch UFC 84 with our group because she "really wanted to see the fights". (It's a "guy's night" thing.)

She then proceeded to spend the entire 3 hour show texting with her friends.... I think she saw one replay of a fight highlight... Just insipid.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:29 AM on June 10, 2008


Finally, a thread where I can brag about how I don't own a television and complain about the kids these days.
posted by electroboy at 11:20 AM on June 10


Like I always say whenever someone says they don't own a television, you own a computer. Connected to the internet. Which includes youtube. And metafilter. My bet is you watch as much inane video as someone who owns a tv does. You simply use a more cumbersome interface.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


grouse: "People who use their dinky cameras to take flash photographs of things that are hundreds of meters away aren't just asses. They're idiots."

As are the dolts who think their cell phone video camera suddenly makes them Martin Scorsese. Yes, please, let me see your grainy, clipped Zapruder-like footage of Eddie VanHalen at the Omni posted on YouTube.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2008


Metafilter: Zapruder-like.
posted by JanetLand at 8:34 AM on June 10, 2008


"There's definitely a problem where people are so busy documenting the moment that they forget to just live in the moment."

People multi-task. Get over it.
posted by caddis at 8:35 AM on June 10, 2008


I used to go to 50+ shows a year. Last year I went to about 25, and at least half of those were what I consider to be disrupted by people doing something other than paying attention to the performance.

I decided to stop going to club shows last fall after one that was particularly badly disrupted by people talking on phones / typing on blackberries / generally not paying attention. The performer tried to get people to pay attention - or at least to get the blackberrying morons right in front of the stage to move and let interested people into their place, but it didn't work. I wasn't the only one to leave early, and I learned afterwards that the performer quit early too.

(The only club show I've been to since then was Robin Hitchcock, where the audience was totally and utterly paying attention. At one point the support act went and told the 1 drunk + barstaff to shut the hell up as they were disrupting the show. It was awesome.)

This year I've been to 2 shows, both at theatres, and neither of which I had to pay for. I'm actually going to a carefully-selected club show tonight. I'm interested to see how long I last, or whether the 'big band playing a small club' thing will make sure that people are actually there to see the band. I don't hold out much hope.

And then there's the related phenomena of a performer's cell phone going off in the middle of a performance. Not noticeable at a rock show, but embarrasing for them if it's a quiet acoustic show. I saw that twice last year. Once at a festival, the other at a radio taping, which caused a song to have to be re-done.
posted by valleys at 8:38 AM on June 10, 2008


NY has a new law that allows for 250 buck fine if you use cell p[hone during a play. I went to a aplay and the production began with not so much as an announcement to turn off the cells. Then, 3 days later, another play. the announcement mde to turn off phone; after intermission, another announcemt made...why:? on the way out for the break, all the phones began to put to use.

get very annoyed? do google and you can find a cell phone zapper for under 100 bucks...lots of fun! illegal? sure. so too pot./
posted by Postroad at 8:39 AM on June 10, 2008


Is it because I live in a major city and people are a little more sophisticated

Well golly gee, that must be it! All that new-fangled technology is just too much for us ignant suburban folk to unnerstand! Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s mayo-naise sammich and a PBR tall with my name on it sittin’ in the ice box.

Or maybe living in A Major City just desensitizes you to douchebaggery.
posted by bondcliff at 8:41 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Are drjimmy11 and I simply noticing an LA thing? Just last week I saw the Cure at the Hollywood Bowl, and aside from the occasional flash in the 15,000-strong audience, I hardly noticed any problems. I was more bothered by the people smoking really nasty smelling weed somewhere nearby than people taking the occasional cellphone picture.

And I rarely hear more than a couple quick rings on a cellphone in a movie theater before the person sheepishly pounds the mute button.

Of course, being an LA area resident, I cannot speak knowledgeably about people using cellphones on public transportation (of course).

And my friends don't shush me in the middle of a conversation to read a text message, or to make one. Am I magically moving in some rarefied social circles here, or is this all just another incarnation of "Get Off My Lawn" syndrome?
posted by chimaera at 8:42 AM on June 10, 2008


I was at a Voltaire show when he noticed somebody holding up her cellphone so her friend could hear the show. He took the phone, chatted with the person on the other end for a minute, then finished the song... with the phone down his pants. He then turned it off and handed it back to the owner.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I went to see Indy 4 (which sucked balls), I was in a VIP theatre that charges $17 for a ticket and doesn't allow kids. This leaves you with the impression that people will be well-behaved. The guy two seats over from me wore bright white sneakers, then rested his right foot on his left knee and proceeded to wiggle his foot back and forth vigorously. Since your peripheral vision is just as good as your focussed vision at detecting motion, this became quite distracting. It got to the point where I couldn't even pay attention to the movie because of how much motion was going on in the corner of my eye. After 45 minutes I finally said "Buddy.... buddy. HEY BUDDY! Can you please stop moving your foot so constantly? It's driving me nuts out of the corner of my eye here." His reponse was to say "What the fuck!?" But he stopped moving his foot. I was really glad he stopped moving it because I was genuinely afraid I might end up in a fist fight if I had to ask him to stop again.

The thing that really drove me crazy about this guy's foot motion was that he was almost doing it for everyone else's benefit, as if he were trying to communicate "I'm the biggest Indy fan here, as you can all see by the insanely exagerrated and energetic way I am kicking my foot non-stop to this movie. See how I kick it harder and faster when there's action? That's because I understand what is going on. It's actually causing me knee pain but I need you all to know how much more I'm getting out of this experience than you are!"

I have a friend who does this type of thing. We used to watch movies together all the time, but it became so annoying to have him trying to non-verbally communicate his reaction to the movie all the time that I just stopped going to the movies with him. He'd reel back from an explosion as if something had actually exploded in front of him. Give me a break guy, as if you do that when nobody's around. Now I mostly go to movies alone, and since the Indy 4 kicky-foot experience, I have put a hoodie in my car so that I can always bring it into a movie and use the hood to completely block my peripheral vision.

... aaanyhow, this relates to inappropriate cell phone practices, because I think a lot of the time people are using the phone as a prop to communicate either their connection or disconnection from whatever's going on in front of them. It's like how 90% of the people in my life right now seem to be unable to have a real conversation without resorting to sarcasm or "irony" or posing some inane rhetorical question that is supposed to be funny in every second statement.

/this piss is ruining my cornflakes!
posted by autodidact at 8:44 AM on June 10, 2008


... oh and I forgot to mention the 2 or 3 differrent people who flipped open their phones during the movie in the VIP theatre as well. That's actually what I meant to start typing...
posted by autodidact at 8:45 AM on June 10, 2008


... ARRRGH.. Sorry. It seemed to me that the guys opening their cell phones were not actually checking the time or checking for calls. I felt like the movie was so dumb, and this was such an enthusiastic audience (it was the noon matinee on opening day), that a lot of people started feeling somewhat embarassed to be there, and started flipping open their cell phones to tell everyone around them, and perhaps remind themselves, that they did have a life outside of waiting breathlessly for Spielberg and Lucas to shit in their mouths.
posted by autodidact at 8:47 AM on June 10, 2008


drjimmy - about a mile and half from where I live, some prick in a four-runner ran down a girl on a bicycle because he was sending a goddamn text message while driving through an intersection.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2008


But then, maybe I live in one of those areas you'd consider "unsophisticated." You're gonna take a picture whenever you feel like it? See, that's just the attitude we're talking about. Maybe I'll snatch your phone away whenever I feel like it. And no amount of condescension is gonna stop me.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2008


I'm with eatdonuts. I'm also small and concerts suck enough ('oh yes, I can see the bass players elbow, oh no, now I can't') without every soul in front of you sticking their hand in their air and waving a glowing LCD around in your eyes.

Mobile phones are the new lighters though, when Dolly Parton launched into 9to5 the whole stadium lit up with the light from people's mobiles. I can only assume they were ringing friends so that they could also soak up the atmosphere.

Leave the cameras at home. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the people.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2008


Cellphones might be changing things, but not everything. Cellphones are certainly not ruining everything. It's like the old adage about guns:

Cellphones don't ruin anything. Some people using cellphones can ruin the occasional thing.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Would someone please tell me what the "noodle dance" is? I'm picturing an entire concert hall filled with inflatable arm-waving balloon people.
posted by Kloryne at 9:09 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry. I, too, get annoyed by things other people do, but this whole thread reeks of entitlement and it's disgusting. It's not like living in a society with other people is a new thing.
posted by kingbenny at 9:09 AM on June 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't get to attend as many concerts as I want to (mostly due to geography) so when I do go and some idiot has a cell phone in front of my face I get pretty peeved. It's almost as bad as the blithering doltwad who feels the urge to fill any silence with WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! In some jurisdictions, nut-kicking is considered justifiable.

One of my favorite DVDs is David Gilmour's live concert at the Meltdown festival. He opens with an acoustic version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, which begins as unrecognizable riffing, then turns into the familiar chords and notes of the song. It's absolutely proper that the audience applauds as the song becomes recognizable, but during the opening riffs some idiot yelps out his "Whooooo hooooo!" a couple times, and gets shushed by the crowd. Needless to say that part always annoys me when I watch that DVD. I almost expect Gilmour to stop and go slap the guy and toss him out. Maybe it will happen next time I watch it.

My view of U2 during the Elevation tour was mostly through a girl's upheld hands as she danced with a glowstick in front of my face. That wasn't nearly as distracting as her date trying to hump her ribcage all night as she kept pushing him away. Yay, public performance!!!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:11 AM on June 10, 2008


And don't even get me started on people using bluetooth headsets. There is something about that technology that drives me just batty.

These are still uncommon enough that if someone is talking on an unobtrusive headset as they walk down the street, they get stared at because they're talking to nothing.

I actually kind of look forward to the day when that's normal and they're practically invisible, if only because the image of many, many people walking alone on a street talking to nothing at all tickles me.
posted by sparkletone at 9:16 AM on June 10, 2008


I actually kind of look forward to the day when that's normal and they're practically invisible

Yeah, people can do what they like, but even thought it's invisible, it still way too audible at times. Just as when using a regular handset cell phone, many people seem to forget that there is an actual electronic connection between themselves and the other party, and yell as if they are trying to shout to the other person across the vast reaches of space.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:20 AM on June 10, 2008


"This is exactly what the idiot doing the noodle dance / taking pictures / talking loudly / singing badly says. Here’s a hint: If your “enjoyment” detracts from the enjoyment of the people around you, it’s you. It’s not them, it’s you."

Sweet Jesus...... You actually want everyone at a freakin' rock concert, thousands of people, to not move, not talk, not sing, hands at your sides, no pictures, no dancing, no gum chewing, sit up straight........... Are we allowed to hum while we're at a concert with you? Foot tapping? Is that allowed?

Here’s a hint: If your “enjoyment” of a rock concert requires everyone else to stand still and remain silent, it's you. It’s not them, it’s you.

What part of "rock and roll" do you not understand?
posted by Ragma at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2008 [15 favorites]


> Would someone please tell me what the "noodle dance" is?

Here you go.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2008


yell as if they are trying to shout to the other person across the vast reaches of space.

Luckily, most of the people I've encountered talking over-loudly on cell phones at least have a legitimate excuse: Chicago streets are fucking loud. The ones that still talk that loud indoors... Well. They're probably just as loud and boorish without their phone, and would display their loudness and boorishness in another way if they didn't have their phone with them.
posted by sparkletone at 9:26 AM on June 10, 2008


I'll let you have your cellphones and tape whatever you want if, when you're at a concert with actual assigned seating, you sit the fuck down. I hate that game of seating roulette you play whenever you sit down at a concert - will your section be the section that decides it's going to stand up for the whole thing? Or will that be the group next to you? Who knows! Let's spin the wheel and see if your 60$ seats just got turned into 10$ standing room tickets!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:29 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Luckily, most of the people I've encountered talking over-loudly on cell phones at least have a legitimate excuse: Chicago streets are fucking loud.

Noted. I'll allow it! Proceed.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:31 AM on June 10, 2008


God, you people sound like you leave your dark dens once in a thousand years and are immediately scared off by someone with a cellphone. Just get the fuck over it, ya ninnies.
posted by nasreddin at 9:32 AM on June 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


Maybe I just go to different concerts or something (or maybe it's because I've recently become one of those fucking tools with a camera ruining it for everyone) but in the years I've gone to concerts, I've never once had my enjoyment ruined by someone with a camera. I've had people who wouldn't shut the fuck up, or crowds that wouldn't dance, or people spilling drinks on me, or teenagers shoving elbows into my chest.

But photographers? Generally my thought is if they're annoying you, it's because they're idiots, not because they're photographers. If they're throwing their camera into your face? Idiot. If they're hunched over their camera checking the LCD and you're worrying about them living in the moment? Maybe you're paying too much attention to the photographer and not enough to the concert.
posted by chrominance at 9:34 AM on June 10, 2008


I'd rather be at shows with cellphone-using creeps than the lot of you. I think maybe some of you are a bit off-base about which party is "ruining the world".
posted by loiseau at 9:38 AM on June 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


I do not own a cellphone.

I've just bought another one, after launching my previous one into the sea about four years ago.

I now use it solely to let people know about my likely arrival time when I'm meeting someone somewhere. Mainly via text message. I don't keep it turned on, and I don't use it to have conversations. You wouldn't have a problem with me taking it out and putting it on the table, because it wouldn't be turned on.

Used under these constraints, I'm starting to find it quite convenient. The previous one went into the sea because I was sick and tired of paying to be electronically monitored by all and sundry. That's a criminal conviction, not a convenience. At least it's only the police who get to monitor your movements and call you to account when you've been ankle tagged -- not anyone who happens to have your cellphone number.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:39 AM on June 10, 2008


I say we go back to the telegraph, as God Almighty intended.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:40 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whipping Post!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:41 AM on June 10, 2008


It's almost as bad as the blithering doltwad who feels the urge to fill any silence with WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! In some jurisdictions, nut-kicking is considered justifiable.

Someone should do a 'Where Are They Now?' retrospective of all the WOOO-Guys that were at Nirvana's MTV Unplugged taping.

Name: Bucky Walters
Which WOO?: Second WOO in 'Man Who Sold the World'
Job Then: Unemployed,
How'd You Get Tickets?: Fucking MTV Intern
Job Now: Dentist.
What Else?: Currently divorcing ex-MTV Intern.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:46 AM on June 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


And don't even get me started on people using bluetooth headsets. There is something about that technology that drives me just batty.

I, too, get somewhat wary when I see someone talking loudly to themselves as they walk along the street towards you. They're just a bluetooth headset away from the Bide-A-Wee Funny Farm for the Bemused, and sometimes you can't see the headset...and sometimes it just isn't there.
posted by Sparx at 9:48 AM on June 10, 2008


At a concert, I've successfully used "I just drove 3000 miles to hear this band play," but a well-placed "dude!!!" usually does the trick.

A well-placed kick in the fucking balls would work, too.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:48 AM on June 10, 2008


Is it because I live in a major city and people are a little more sophisticated that all these complaints read like total fiction to me- or are they just total fiction?

I live in a major city, too. Chicago, to be exact. I walk everywhere and not a week goes by that I'm not almost run over at an intersection by some jackass driving while on his or her cellphone. I actually did get hit once last year.

And there is nothing worse than having to hear the idiot next to you yammering on 'bout nothin' when you're on the train home with a headache and just want to relax.

I've also had to dump a friend largely because of her cell phone habits.

I think it may be an L. A. thing because there you are are protected from having to interact with other people more than we are here and in other cities by the privacy of your car. But I can assure you...the vagaries of cellphones are no "fiction".
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2008


You people are really, really ANGRY. Forget seated venues. You need to find a mosh pit and work out some of this aggression before you burst a vein.
posted by lysistrata at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


lysistrata: "You people are really, really ANGRY. Forget seated venues. You need to find a mosh pit and work out some of this aggression before you burst a vein."

Ha! Did that in the late 70s but there just wasn't enough people documenting our OMGPUNKS!!1!! shenanigans with video/film/cell phones so it wasn't cool anymore.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:59 AM on June 10, 2008


Lot's of tough guys in this thread. You know if you assault somebody at a rock show because they said "WHOOOO" or used a cell phone camera... that pretty much makes you the asshole. You should seek therapy and anger management. Just say'n.

I'd say most of you shouldn't go out. It's obviously too chaotic for you out there.
posted by tkchrist at 10:00 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


"This is exactly what the idiot doing the noodle dance / taking pictures / talking loudly / singing badly says. Here’s a hint: If your “enjoyment” detracts from the enjoyment of the people around you, it’s you. It’s not them, it’s you."

"Concert Ruined By Guy Enjoying Himself"
posted by spoobnooble at 10:03 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Would someone please tell me what the "noodle dance" is?

Here you go.

Oh yeah... that's a beatin'.
posted by Kloryne at 10:05 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Later, as text-messaging flourished, groups asked concertgoers to post messages on video screens.

Being able to text !!@(&$#!@& up on a 40'x40' Jumbotron and know that it was me? Get out! Too cool!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:08 AM on June 10, 2008


eatdonuts writes "7. Meetings: Seriously, I don't get this. Why are you constantly on your blackberry / cell phone when YOU called this two hour meeting? There are five people here, speak to us. "

I take notes on my Blackberry, thank you very much, and I almost never use texting. Also, I didn't call this meeting. I hate meetings. Must have been the new guy.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:14 AM on June 10, 2008


Sweet Jesus...... You actually want everyone at a freakin' rock concert, thousands of people, to not move, not talk, not sing, hands at your sides, no pictures, no dancing, no gum chewing, sit up straight

Yes. That is exactly what I meant. Not wanting some idiot in front of me to wave his arms in front of my face for the entire fucking concert, not wanted one of approximately eighteen billion "amateur photographers" to constantly line up "The perfect shot, dude!" in my line of site, not wanting Joe BackwardsCap and Billy Daterape to belt out an off-key rendition of "Wish You Were Here" right behind me, not wanting a 17 year old girl to tell me how drunk she is, and not wanting beer and puke spilled on me means I want everyone to sit with their hands by their sides, not move, and not make any sound whatsoever.

I'm glad you understand me. Now get the fuck off my lawn you damn hippie.
posted by bondcliff at 10:15 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


robocop is bleeding writes "I'll let you have your cellphones and tape whatever you want if, when you're at a concert with actual assigned seating, you sit the fuck down."

I should probably get off your lawn now.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2008


If I'm out at a restaurant, café, fast food, etc. with you and you pull out your cell phone and put it on the table when you aren't waiting for some extremely important call, you're saying "well I guess I'll talk to you for now, but if someone calls, you're second banana, pal."

Well, what I'm actually saying is "man, that sure is uncomfortable in my pocket when I'm sitting down", but I take your point.
posted by penduluum at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2008


Is it because I live in a major city and people are a little more sophisticated that all these complaints read like total fiction to me- or are they just total fiction?

Gosh, I dunno. Last I checked New York was about double the population and density of L.A.


Restaurants: I suppose people talk on their cells, but I don't notice. Why would I- it's no louder than if they were talking to their companion.

Not that I've experienced. In fact I think most people that chat on a cell phone are under the impression that they have to speak loud enough so that the actual person doesn't have to use a cell phone to hear them. All the majority of us are saying that when we are in a public space or paying for a particular service, we have experienced this particular technology as a curse and that folks seriously use it rudely. We're not just all being hyper-sensitive here, for many of this cell phone annoyance while eating outside the home is a collective experience:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E0DC153CF936A35756C0A96F958260&sec=travel


Movies: I think I heard a cell phone ring once- maybe. I have never heard anyone pick up. I go to the movies all the time. Normally, everyone turns it off during the little ad beforehand that reminds you to turn it off.

That makes you incredibly lucky but I am still paying some $15 (plus) dollars per ticket to enjoy a show and consider it my due to actually be able to enjoy in a reasonable manner that show/movie/performance without hindrances. Let me make it clear that I have a child and have vastly different expectations when going to a children's movie that 'reasonable manner' is greatly different than when I go to an adult movie. No one is angry over a 8 year old acting like an 8 year old. It is only upsetting when adults go in with such lack of respect for appropriate behavior that it ruins the experience I have paid for ... and that drives me bonkers.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15957956/
http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/film/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001738081
http://www.publicpolicychat.com/cell-phones-in-movie-theatres.html
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=186881


Driving: I have never witnessed an accident caused by a cell phone, or known anyone who has, but I'm sure they happen. Almost as often as accidents caused by people fiddling with the radio. At any rate, cops have always had the discretion to stop people for reckless driving- the last thing we need is more excuses for cops to pull (poor, minority) people over.


The misdirection is silly. We're chatting about cell phone usage and it does affect driving whether they be a minority or not.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/04/20/driving.study/index.html
If you feel you need to SEE accidents caused by using a cell phone and driving, by all means:
http://www.car-accidents.com/cell_phone_car_accidents.html


It's enough like a fucking kindergarten already.

Indeed. Maybe people should start growing up and stop thinking that it's all about them and only what they personally experienced.
posted by eatdonuts at 10:18 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everything is ruining everything, ever.
posted by Eideteker at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's a wonderful commercial of a guy at a graveside funeral service getting a phone call on his cell and merrily embarking on a conversation of purest self-serving assholery. I think this is pee-your-pants funny, but then I'm sitting here in a monkey suit, so what do I know. I think this is as good as Trunk Monkey. Maybe better. (This one's my fave Trunk Monkey video.)

/derail
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


After working at rock clubs on and off for a couple of years I had enough of assholes. The disruptive drunks, the whiney-ass complainers, the fight-instigator girlfriends, all of it. When people started Moshing to the Posies I realized the live show experienced had jumped the shark for me. But you know I realized it was ME. The vast majority of the idiots there seemed perfectly happy to suffer all that shit. So good for them.

The final straw was one night on my night off I went to a Meat Puppets show and was really getting into it when the crowd at the front started moshing like skinheads - throwing elbows and kicking. After working in clubs you get to feel when things are on the verge of being dangerous and out of control. I kind of started freaking out. I had to get out of there but people kept slamming into me. And finally I snapped. Seriously. Like an animal. I grabbed this one poor random wild elbow throwing guy by the throat and whipped him to the floor and literally used him as a foot bridge up over the corner of the stage stepping on his face. As I jumped down over a floor monitor somebody slammed into me hard from behind, slamming me face first into the speaker stack busting my lip, and I just reacted turned and punched. It was some poor girl. I probably busted her nose. I dunno she was immediately engulfed in the chaos and I just ran out of there freaking out. And I was right the place went nuts. More and more people started coming out with blood on their faces and the Puppets had to stop until people cooled down. I waited outside to see if I could find the girl I hit and apologize but there were so many people coming out all fucked up I gave up. That was 16 years ago and I haven't been to many live rock shows (that weren't assigned seating or viewed safely back stage) since.

BTW. I'm serious about the anger management thing in my earlier comment. I actually DID do it. If you want kick people in the nuts for trivial shit... well you know.
posted by tkchrist at 10:25 AM on June 10, 2008


I try to live by the adage "live and let live", but as someone who goes to a fair amount of shows (big and small) I have to say cellphones are definitely the bane of the modern concert-going experience. There's nothing that takes me more 'out of the moment' than someone shoving up an LCD screen in my face and desperately trying to take picture after picture after picture on their cellphone and wondering why every one is coming out blurred (there's NO LIGHT IN HERE NUMBNUTS). This invariably happens during what is supposed to be the most intimate and intense portion of the set.

I go to concerts to be moved, to be inspired, and to revel. I have been to shows where every single person was on the same page, like the 'secret' Sigur Ros show at the Avalon in LA a few years ago, where no one said a WORD the entire show, and after a particularly intense song, didn't even applaud because it would have broken the spell. A few hundred people literally stood in silence for 90 seconds while the band set up the next song and just soaked in the moment. I'll never forget that moment, and it's better than any picture I've seen or taken of any show. The only other shows I remember people being so uniformly, intensely involved were the early Bright Eyes shows I used to go to where it was about 75 people all standing around and staring like it was their own private show. Recently I saw Conor at a sold-out Hollywood Bowl performance with the LA Philharmonic back him up, and despite the fact that I had superb seats about ten rows from the stage, still there cell phones being waved in front of me at the most inappropriate moments.

Still, I don't think it's something that should be regulated so much as people should realize when they're being asses and keep their damn cellphones in their pockets.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:26 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Like I always say whenever someone says they don't own a television...

Pastabagel, for your reference:

This and this.
posted by electroboy at 10:28 AM on June 10, 2008


Mechanical scythes passing over the audience at just over head-height. There, problem solved.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


All of this talk about annoying concert behavior hasn't even touched the surface of the real problem: inappropriate clapping .

NOT BETWEEN PARTS PEOPLE - LET THE MUSICIANS FINISH.
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:30 AM on June 10, 2008


I should apologies. I really am having a bad day and my comments to the world at large and drjimmy11 in particular seem a bit pointed. Apologies, I should be more mild mannered I'm just emotionally charged at the moment.
posted by eatdonuts at 10:41 AM on June 10, 2008


Ironically sitting next to some guy who’s frothing with rage because OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING IT WRONG is probably one of the biggest concert buzzkills there is. Bonus points if they’re your ride.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


They can also make a concert, like when you hand your cell phone over to the lead singer, and he sings a verse of the favorite song of the far-away friend on the other end, who introduced you to the band.
posted by Eideteker at 10:53 AM on June 10, 2008


All of this talk about annoying concert behavior hasn't even touched the surface of the real problem: inappropriate clapping .

NOT BETWEEN PARTS PEOPLE - LET THE MUSICIANS FINISH.


Not a jazz fan?
posted by kingbenny at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Were buses and subways really quiet before cell phones? Not to my memory.
posted by desjardins at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2008


I wouldn't have a problem with this if the resulting photos weren't so fucking awful. LEARN TO FRAME A GODDAMN SHOT, YOU ASSHOLES!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:00 AM on June 10, 2008


Larry David deals with the Robocop bluetooth headset.
posted by nosila at 11:05 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


You guys want real torture? How about those idiots with the hard candy who try to unwrap the candy slowly at classical concerts?
posted by notmtwain at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only reason that the Robert Fripp/League of Crafty Guitarists was SOOO enjoyable was that the establishment's personnel were ADAMANT about no cellphones, no cameras, no recording devices.

Was a great concert.
posted by aldus_manutius at 11:16 AM on June 10, 2008


Desjardins -

I think the majority of us speaking about buses and trains (not subways) are referring to commuter specific lines - or peak commuter hours, and yes there is a general rule of silence when people are all stuck together from 7AM - 8:30AM on those lines - indeed this is a rule I've often seen enforced with "SHAME" (mocking / yelling / drawing negative attention to) anyone who dares break it. Trust me, if you have to drag your butt up everyday to catch an hour and a half long train ride at 7 AM every week day then you pretty much need the quiet in the same way as you need blood to pump to the brain. It's very very popular for commuters to nap on route to work this way.

Most every day I generally travel from the 'burbs to inner city with roughly the same crowd, and have done so for at least 6 plus years. Inevitably it's the odd 20 something year old day tripper, college student or random odd person who breaks this rule. It used to be once in a blue moon but has become increasingly common and sometimes violent.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2008


You should try Seattle Metros free-ride area, AKA the mobile homeless shelter.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll bet you miss the good old days when people would smoke at concerts and even in some movie theatres (though typically in the balcony).
posted by notmtwain at 11:31 AM on June 10, 2008


I don't own or have a cellphone. I've used one twice. I just talk to people.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:33 AM on June 10, 2008


I posted the link on a music forum I go to and the thread has gone on to its third page in three hours. That's a lot of posts - everyone hates this kind of behavior, especially serious music fans.

The story that I posted on there was this: Back in the 70s, the ridiculous practice of throwing fireworks was pretty common at rock concerts. The musicians understandably hated it. I was at a Zeppelin show in Bloomington MN and every now and then a firecracker would go off. Then a small smoke bomb landed on the stage during the acoustic set. Bonham picked up his percussion mike and growled exactly what he would do to the next person who threw anything. The rest of the show was fireworks free. God knows what he would have done to cell phone users.
posted by Ber at 11:34 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]



I'll bet you miss the good old days when people would smoke at concerts and even in some movie theatres (though typically in the balcony.


Fuck yeah. Concerts aren't concerts without a big fat reefer going around.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:39 AM on June 10, 2008


BTW, adipocere - - thanx for reminding me about Johnette Napolitano! Awesome live performer. How could I forget Joey?
posted by fairmettle at 11:52 AM on June 10, 2008


Lot's of tough guys in this thread. You know if you assault somebody at a rock show because they said "WHOOOO" or used a cell phone camera... that pretty much makes you the asshole. You should seek therapy and anger management. Just say'n.

I'd say most of you shouldn't go out. It's obviously too chaotic for you out there.
posted by tkchrist


Don't make me kick you in the nuts!!!!!!!

I'm actually pretty much a pacifist, so I would never kick anyone. But you can't steal my fantasy dammit!!!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:07 PM on June 10, 2008


"I'll let you have your cellphones and tape whatever you want if, when you're at a concert with actual assigned seating, you sit the fuck down. I hate that game of seating roulette you play whenever you sit down at a concert - will your section be the section that decides it's going to stand up for the whole thing? Or will that be the group next to you? Who knows! Let's spin the wheel and see if your 60$ seats just got turned into 10$ standing room tickets!"

Anecdata, but here goes.

In 2004, my father died. He'd been sick for awhile (cancer), and much of our family's time, energy, and money was devoted to keeping him alive, then happy, then out of pain. My father and I were very close growing up. He had been a drummer in several bands in NYC. After a show one night, someone came up to him and engaged him in conversation. This guy compared his drumming to this dude, Neil Peart. So my dad looked up his band, Rush, and gave their latest LP (2112) a spin.

Now say what you want about progheads like my dad; this story isn't about any particular type of music. My dad loved Rush, at least when I was a kid. He wasn't too hot on their later releases, but I grew up with Rush absolutely blasting on my dad's sound system (part of which I now own; it's an heirloom) and I knew all the words to all their songs. My dad was in a Rush cover band (well, Rush, Kansas, and some other prog) when we lived in Kansas City; I spent time on his knee as he drummed along at maximum volume to their entire catalog. The music was as close to "in my blood" as it could be for someone not involved in the creative process. My heart beats in the shifting time signature at the beginning of Jacob's Ladder.

So when my father finally passed away, it came to my attention that Rush was playing in the near future. But I missed (and couldn't really afford) the "good" seats. Instead of Orchestra, I snagged Mezzanine. Whatever; I was going, and I would enjoy it. Or so I thought.

The problem with going to see a "classic rock" act is that, even if you're still actively a fan and haven't missed buying an album in 20+ years, not everyone is. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. But the folks who come to see the hit single from the year they were in high school as drunkenly as they possibly can often do present a problem. My first concert (also a Rush show) featured a couple of mullet-headed Jersey boys and their still-in-the-80s ladies a few rows back, unhappy with the four of us standing but too drunk to do anything about it (like walk, or stand up). But this show, there were several folks, downright belligerent about me sitting down. And I know I'm prone to selfishness, but dammit, I was going to enjoy this show if I never went to another concert.

I had earplugs in, so it wasn't too hard to ignore the few bad eggs a few rows back who were being rather insistent that I sit down. But at some point, security was contacted. It was really too loud for conversation, but the gist of what I was able to overhear was that the venue's policy is whatever the section does, everyone does. "What are our options?" I asked.

And my very excellent girlfriend, in one of her defining moments, talked to the security guard for me (as she was closer to the aisle). I could not hear or even lipread what they were saying. But my girlfriend very succinctly and compassionately explained that we were at the concert to have a good time, not to mess with anyone; and that my father had recently passed away and that Rush was Our Thing. She related that these were the best seats we could afford. She may have also mentioned that nothing short of an army was going to drag me out of there, but I doubt it. She's better at the honey thing than I am (I'm more of a vinegar-in-your-eyes guy).

So, we arrived at a compromise that satisfied everyone. Well, kinda. The security guard led us both down into the orchestra section to a set of empty seats and made sure we were not harrassed or even that our ticket stubs were examined. These were now our seats. And I say kinda, because I did catch the look on the faces of the boors a few rows back as the expression of joy that we were being escorted out of the venue changed to jealous rage that we were being seated only a few rows back from Alex (seven?). So yeah, they were happy to see us gone from their line of sight, but not with the fact that we got a free upgrade.

And you know what? In the orchestra pit, everyone was standing. And air-drumming/air-guitaring/singing along. Everyone was totally into the show, and it was a completely different concert down there. Now, I always make sure I'm online the minute tickets go on sale so I can secure orchestra seats (and I always seem to end up back on Alex's side), because despite the extra cost, it's not worth the hassle to sit with people who aren't at the concert both physically and mentally.

For the love of criminy, would it kill you to just be fucking present for a change, people?
posted by Eideteker at 12:17 PM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


If you smoke a cigarette at the Fillmore, or the Warfield, or Slim's, or the Great American, you will be killed and then thrown out. Weed? No problem.

Cellphones at shows don't bother me so much. People who talk through the whole set make me want to bang their heads on a desk. I didn't pay $25 to listen to you bitch about work/your boyfriend/your girlfriend/your recent Ikea purchase. I once listened to two guys discuss their company's IPO for 30 minutes during a pretty quiet set; when I finally turned around and asked them to take it someplace else, they looked at me like I'd kicked their puppy (but they did shut up). What really kills me is that at places like the Fillmore or the Warfield, or Cafe du Nord, there's a whole other room or lounge - a separate room! - where you can go have your conversation. Please go have it there. I don't mind the talking that consists of "I love this song!" or "Can you get me another beer?" or "Do you think they'll play [song]?" or "Man, [lead singer] sure is fucked up!"

My most angrifying live-show experience: at Slim's, standing near the back, and three people (obviously high on something) were "dancing" - that kind of partnered dancing (not waltzing or anything like that) where you sort of grab hold of the other person and swing them around? yeah, like that. The place was crowded and their antics came near to kicking beers out of people's hands a half-dozen times. The folks around me were starting to glare and get growly (so was I) so when the high-as-shit-dancing-people paused for a moment, I went up to one of them and said, "You know you've almost kicked a lot of people, right? You know you're taking up way more room than this place can afford, right? You know all those people back there are currently hoping you break a limb, right? Please, please stop."

They did. Then they left. It was a much better experience after that.
posted by rtha at 12:20 PM on June 10, 2008


I have an hour commute on the train every morning.

Within the past year I had a woman talking loudly on her cell about the state of her menstruation to the point that I threatened to give in to the urge to vomit - on her - if she didn't stop talking; a guy who was harassing people for their cell phones because he'd forgotten to charge his and needed to make an 'important call' to his broker; saw a near fistfight when a sleeping man was woken up by the person sitting next to him because his cellphone was ringing and the guy wasn't waking up.

I'm sure there were others, but this is why I bring my iPod.
posted by mephron at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2008


The obvious answer is yes.

A more subtle answer is that many people have limited mindfulness of the world outside of themselves and cellphones extend this. I can imagine it happening at larger shows, but I have hardly ever seen anyone on a phone at smaller venue shows, and have rarely heard phones going off at house shows. I think maybe the smaller the crowd, the less likely this will occur, or more likely, the smaller the crowd, the more conscious people become of others around them. Of course, that doesn't scale very well.

However, an even greater scourge is the photographer. This is a great photo that captures the complete essence of a band on the rise and the documentscum who must capture every moment
http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2008/06/black-lips-vs-b.html
posted by 8 Bit at 12:41 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't really care about cell phones* and well-coiffed mannequins at shows, but I will say something as a person who has been on a stage: the next time someone yells "Freebird"** while I'm playing is getting the full-on, 13:50 live version***. It wouldn't be some Built to Spill thing either; I don't know it and I refuse to learn it. If anyone in the band knows it, I will start playing something else in a different key or just put my guitar next to the amp and turn it up like it was goddamn freedom rock. I'll probably sing showtunes and re-enact the plane crash with interpretive dance as well. I might re-enact the plane crash using a kick drum and lighter fluid at your table if you're loud enough. Depending on the night, I might even record the whole thing and then play it back at half speed afterward. Of course, it would all stop when the person left/was removed from the building or someone made me stop (more than likely someone else in the band), whichever one comes first.

I highly recommend the same for everyone who plays music. Please, let's put a stop to this Skynyrd abuse in our lifetime.

No offense, krautland, you just reminded me of it.

* I actually took a few photos a few years ago when we saw Vashti Bunyan play. It was her first show in the US, though, so I don't think anyone minded, especially since we were all basically sitting on the floor listening intently.

**We had someone do this a few weeks ago. I was a bit shocked people still do it, but maybe it's funny to someone in the world.

***"Saturday Night Special" I'll think about playing, though.

posted by sleepy pete at 12:46 PM on June 10, 2008


*Incoming text message: pla frebrd*
posted by Pollomacho at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Bitch
Bitch
Bitch
Bitch
Bitch
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.
.
.
.
.
posted by caddis at 12:53 PM on June 10, 2008


Bill Hicks on Freebird
posted by autodidact at 1:05 PM on June 10, 2008


like the 'secret' Sigur Ros show at the Avalon in LA a few years ago,

OMG. I was at that show. My girlfriend at the time got tickets to it and brought me; it was my introduction to the band.

It was also the first rock show I'd been to in AGES, having been immersed in dance music for quite a while.

Blown away doesn't even begin to cover it. Hands down the best concert I've ever been to, and nothing else has even come close.

(not even seeing them again at the bowl from the 3rd row in the orchestra pit)
posted by flaterik at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


hey what about the assholes who whistle through their fingers at 120 dB?

can we kill them first?
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2008


a million comments ago, drjimmysomething wrote: Restaurants: I suppose people talk on their cells, but I don't notice. Why would I- it's no louder than if they were talking to their companion.

It's not that it's louder--or maybe it is--but there is something about people's intonation and speaking style when they're on the phone that does seem to make it more obtrusive to me (though this could be our favorite friend confirmation bias--I might not notice all the people who talk on cellphones in a normal, non-obtrusive way). I'd be interested to hear if anyone has a theory about why that might be true.
posted by not that girl at 1:30 PM on June 10, 2008


I don't care how uncomfortable your cellphone is in your pocket, this is shockingly rude.

I take my phone out of my pocket because I get enough radiation down there just transporting it to and fro. Seriously. Maybe I'm paranoid. But I always take my phone out of my pocket and set it on the table whenever I go anywhere.
posted by fusinski at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2008


I take my phone out of my pocket because I get enough radiation down there just transporting it to and fro. Seriously.

If you don't intend to interrupt your dinner to answer the phone, then turn off the phone. Now that the phone's turned off, you can put it back in your pocket without any worries about radiation. Seriously.
posted by grouse at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2008


But I always take my phone out of my pocket and set it on the table whenever I go anywhere.

This might help you get rid of it, if you sit at the right kind of sidewalk cafe.
posted by ghost of a past number at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2008


Cellphones may be ruining concerts but they have been freaking awesome for my concert photos. How so? First, I am rarely hassled any more about bringing my cameras into a show without a press pass. A lot of places have just given up trying to police camera usage. Second, I don't use cell cameras or digital cameras at all. When bands that are so used to morons flashing off crap cell cams throughout the show see me standing next to the stage w/ a Rolleiflex made in 1954 most of them notice it and react very positively. I have had many instances of bands essentially flirting and posing for that camera during shows.
posted by well_balanced at 3:06 PM on June 10, 2008


I'll take a couple of shots with my cell phone just for a background image for later. I got a great Drive by Trucker shot that I use. I do try to take a few and put it away so the people behind me don't have to look at my LCD screen all night.
posted by zzazazz at 3:07 PM on June 10, 2008


Turning off your phone... hahaha... who DOES that?
posted by fusinski at 4:09 PM on June 10, 2008


I'm actually really surprised that so many people still have problems with rude idiots using their cell phones during movies. I generally go to a movie a week, and I haven't seen anyone using their phone or heard a phone ring in the theater in years (generally it's crying babies at midnight shows that bothers me the most). I guess I just assumed it was people getting used to the whole idea and turning their phones off during the movie, but I guess I've just been lucky.

Having your own photos from concerts is a great way to remember it later. It jogs your memory in ways that nothing else can. As long as I'm not waving my arms in your face the whole time, I don't see why it's such a problem. And I'm gonna stand up, dammit! How can you enjoy a concert sitting down the whole time, when you could be dancing?!
posted by gemmy at 5:18 PM on June 10, 2008


I do not say this to be a buzzkill, but it's a request for perspective and tolerance.

Those who are flippantly using violence in this context, saying that they wish they could kill people with cellphones or who get a little rowdy at concert venues, I know you don't really mean it. You're just being silly or funny or letting off steam. I've done that too. I ask that you please reconsider being so flippant about violence in concert venues.

I ask that because I knew this man, and I miss him terribly still today. I always thought he would be willing to take a bullet, if it meant protecting his friends from harm. Then one day I learned sadly, that he actually did. Mayhem died standing between a band and an audience. That was his job that night. That was his duty to friends. That's just the way he was. He died as he lived; a hero.

You guys are complaining about cellphones.

Please, I simply ask you to have a little perspective. People out having a good time should be a little more tolerant of one another, and watch out for one another. That's how Mayhem woulda liked us to be, I think.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:52 PM on June 10, 2008


hey what about the assholes who whistle through their fingers at 120 dB?


my fingers to to 130 dB ;)
posted by caddis at 6:03 PM on June 10, 2008


All these posts about people who ruin concerts and nobody has mentioned the General Admission Frotteur. You know, the guy that uses a crowded dance floor as an excuse to feel up/rub his junk on random women. Including you, or your girlfriend. I have punched that guy before. I have also had him cut off at all the bars, and escorted out. I have seen performers jump off the stage to drag him out.

I've been to many many many shows, and cell phone screens are pretty far down the list of things that piss me off. Maybe it's because I usually go to club and basement shows, where that sort of thing is less common, or maybe it's because there are lots of things that just bother me more. Yes, that means you, Mr. Inappropriate Moshpit and Miss Flippyhair Lookitmytits. And take old Uncle Freebird with you.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:49 PM on June 10, 2008


Now I am as crotchety as the next person, and I probably would have agreed with all of this -- if I had not gone to see Magnetic Fields in March in LA. All of these rude things, no one did them. No one. It was like a church. Utter silence, applause, utter silence, applause.

I love Magnetic Fields. I know every word of every song. But I was actually ready for it to be over before it was over. It was oppressive.

I have a new appreciation for jackasses.
posted by Methylviolet at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2008


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