Annoying Audiences
December 5, 2002 2:44 AM   Subscribe

That Show-Stopper: The Bloody Audience! Interrupting a performance of Hamlet, John Barrymore once threw a large fish at a group of coughing members of the audience, shouting: "Busy yourselves with that, you damned walruses!" Stephen Pollard, in The Independent, suggests people now behave in public as they do at home, oblivious of their fellow concert or theatre-goers. Art-house audiences are equally annoying. Perhaps show rage will become the road rage of the 21st Century? [The main link, addressing rock audiences, comes in very small type but is worth reading all the same. The third link is an amusing mini-play about audience harrassment.]
posted by MiguelCardoso (65 comments total)
Funny, that reminds me of a Peter O'Toole anecdote. Apparently he was doing a particularly pretentious version of Hamlet and the audience laughed. So he told them to fuck off. Classic.

When they (the kids) started getting restless, he (father) didn't whisper to them to sit still, but smiled at them and blew them kisses.

posted by Summer at 3:24 AM on December 5, 2002

threw a large fish at a group of coughing members of the audience, shouting: "Busy yourselves with that, you damned walruses!"

There's a tagline there somewhere, I'm sure of it. Fun reading, too.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:33 AM on December 5, 2002

Great links Miguel. I have experienced all of these in recent months. The "Art-house" in front of me at Das Rheingold at the Barbican that laughed uproariously at what was at best a "smile" gag. The father in front of me that had his two daughters climbing all over him at a Roddy Frame gig in Sheffield. And believe it or not, when I saw the 25 strong Polyphonic Spree in Sheffield, the noise of people talking (shouting) was competing with the band.
Let's not forget the people at the cinema that have to have every detail of the plot explained to them, whilst eating crisps.
There's also the "condecending" audience. I saw Lambchop last night and the support wasn't very good (I think she was drunk), and the guys in the row in front were laughing at her all the way through. That wound me up.
off topic - Lambchop were great, if anyone in the UK can get to see them in the remaining few dates of this tour, do so.
posted by chill at 3:39 AM on December 5, 2002

less intolerant journos , more kids at concerts please.

however i do remember being at a napalm death concert and having my enjoyment of the show spoiled by people (i'll call them mr and mr mentally retarded) who INSISTED on stage diving throughout the entire performance.
This guys made a religion out of his attachments to culture and i sincerely hope he suffers for it.
He has a good point about staying focused on one thing for an hour though.
shame he couldnt do it himself.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:57 AM on December 5, 2002

Napalm death gig - Mahler concert. Yes, I can see the similarity there.
posted by Summer at 4:19 AM on December 5, 2002

Conversely, what happen's when good artists go bad
posted by PenDevil at 4:23 AM on December 5, 2002

pretty easy to draw a comparison between that and the globe theatre if ya want......

you tell me the all ears.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:58 AM on December 5, 2002

annoying is 4 college students in the next row smoking hash (not so annoying) and yammering about football (very annoying) straight through a steve howe solo (possible homicide inducing behavior).
posted by quonsar at 5:21 AM on December 5, 2002

Saw the new Michael Moore movie at an arthouse theater on opening night. Guaranteed EVERYONE came in aware of the horribly politically indiscreet Kirk Douglas comments. Predictably, these drew the most sustained, loudest, fakiest, indignant laughter of the evening. People are assholes, except for me.
posted by luser at 5:22 AM on December 5, 2002

I cringe when a film audience laughs the loudest during scenes which were used in a trailer. Talk about a conditioned response.

quonsar, I was under the impression the Steve Howe solo was homicide inducing by itself. ;) I prefer Rick Wakeman on ice.
posted by anathema at 5:39 AM on December 5, 2002

Sgt serenity, I was going to point out the differences between a Napalm Death gig and a Mahler concert at the Barbican, but I couldn't do it without adopting an unattractively condescending tone, so I'm not going to.
posted by Summer at 5:40 AM on December 5, 2002

The etiquette of live performances comes down to what the performers expect. If they want you to cheer and sing along, that's what you ought to do. If they want you to shut up and sit stony-faced in pretend rapture, do that. It should be obvious. Most of the audience should pick it up. So if your behavior is different ('worse' or 'better' don't always apply) from the vast majority of the audience, you're probably being rude, but it won't matter unless your behavior also attracts attention. Now if most of the audience is behaving in a way contrary to the performer's expectations, that probably means the performance sucks, and the performer ought to know that. Failure to accept that you suck and improve accordingly makes you a bad artist.

Movies are different. In a movie the etiquette is as follows: STFU, hunker down, and stay seated. We want to watch and hear the movie, not you. By all means do whatever quiet things you want to during the movie, including sexual acts or sleeping, but if so, STFU and don't move your head high enough that it would hide any of the screen from the person behind you. And if you've got some sort of back problem, excessive height or a tall haircut that prevents you from hunkering down in your seat like a decent person, STFU and sit up the back. That is all.

And if you do shit like this, a savage beating is too good for you.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:07 AM on December 5, 2002

Music snobs suck. There is nothing about Mahler music that makes it inherently better than Napalm Death music.

Audiences are annoying, yes. If only we could do away with them.

I think rage-at-everything is becoming the new rage. People are mad at everything all the time now; waiting in line, traffic, bank machines, audiences, people in restaurants on cell phones, slow walkers, telemarketers, parking lots, and the list goes on. It's like all of North America is building up to have a giant collective stroke.
posted by Fabulon7 at 6:14 AM on December 5, 2002

Right on, Fabulon7... I find rage is a much more productive default emotional state than say, angst or bitterness. Excuse me now, I have to go beat my dog.
posted by ao4047 at 6:27 AM on December 5, 2002

aeschenkarnos: Failure to accept that you suck and improve accordingly makes you a bad artist.

Or, if you persist long enough, a genius.
posted by anathema at 6:36 AM on December 5, 2002

Interesting coincidence: Just last Monday, the Consumer Affairs Committe of NYC has just approved a Cellphone Ban for "places of public performance".
posted by thanotopsis at 6:37 AM on December 5, 2002

Audiences are getting worse at movies, but I had a bad experience at Cirque du Soleil last week. An age 5ish boy kept a conversation going with his father during most of it (of course, right behind me). I can understand a 5 y/o asking questions. What I can't understand is why the father answered them in detail when asked, instead of saying "shh--we'll talk about it later". I think people are not learning/practicing good behavior and it is only going to get worse . . .
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2002

There is nothing about Mahler music that makes it inherently better than Napalm Death music.

What's that got to do with anything?
posted by Summer at 6:59 AM on December 5, 2002

There was a time when I was certain that some company was hiring people to sit near me at movies and talk. Every time. Now when there's a movie out that I want to see, I think, nah, I'll wait for the DVD. I believe it is true that people have been conditioned to behave as though they were at home. Many don't even make the effort to lower their voices. It's just chat, chat, chat. Perhaps they feel they have the right to talk as much and as loudly as they want to. At rock concerts, the singing, dancing rapturously, and behaving as though you were the star of the show is such a narcissistic thing. "Look at me! I love this band more than anyone else in the room does!"

"I don't hate people . . . I just feel better when they're not around."--Mickey Rourke in Barfly.
posted by Man-Thing at 7:02 AM on December 5, 2002

Shouldn't the annoyed concert-goer have told the husband and wife that their behavior was inappropriate and was disturbing him? I agree that their behavior was abhorrent, but someone should have said something to them.
posted by agregoli at 7:04 AM on December 5, 2002

I do agree that there seems to be more rage these days, and mostly over the little things - issues of manners, or accidental bumping in the street, or what have you. I think that there are just so many little annoyances these days that many people (myself sadly included) are on a hair-trigger, annoyance-wise, much of the time.

However. The fact that I am more irritable than I might have been ten years ago does not make it any less rude to talk, run in and out of the theater 20 times, receive cell phone calls, let your kids throw a tantrum inside a theater, etc. And yes, I regulary see all of this behavior, and yes, I think it's much more prevalent than it was a decade ago.

Just a cranky old-timer who thinks that movies are for watching and hearing, that's me!
posted by hilatron at 7:05 AM on December 5, 2002

I remember a story about a Henry Rollins (well, at the time, Black Flag) show.

Some idiot kept getting in Rollins' face, when he'd lean into the crowd. So, having heard enough of this, Rollins levelled the guy with a fist to the head and continued singing. The guy gets up again, and got dropped on his ass -- the show never stopped.

Then again, the singer for Hammerfall recently had his face cut-up by a beer bottle some jackass threw into his face.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:10 AM on December 5, 2002

My boyfriend and I went to see Les Miserables and we joked afterwards about counting the number of times people coughed/sneezed/talked during the show, even the most delicate parts. It was really frustrating to keenly tune your ears to a lilting voice then have it drowned out by the hacking of some schmuck two rows behind you. I joked that people should get demerit points every time they cough, then they wouldn't be able to sit in the main area and would have to go to the "Coughers Lounge", or be labelled as a "Disturber of the Show". I should say that symphony orchestra goers are much better at keeping their coughing and shuffling to the louder parts of the concert and aren't such a disturbance. Forget movie-goers, they're hopeless.

Carl Wilson, a famous Dutch art director, is launching a no-sneezing campaign to stop people from sneezing and coughing during concerts.
posted by KathyK at 7:22 AM on December 5, 2002

I'm with [on preview all of the above]: all for audience participation, especially with live music (long as it doesn't drown anything out), but in a movie I paid to see in darkness and silence, shut yer pie hole.

I like the new pre-movie bits they've started showing, at least in US theaters, where people answering cell phones or otherwise being rude are subjected to all sorts of brutality like being launched at the screen, set on fire, etc.

And re: luser's comment on appropriate laughter, my friends and I were quite disturbed when the audience at The Ring [SPOILER ALERT] laughed loudest when the horse jumped off the barge hurt.

Metafilter: People are assholes, except for me.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:23 AM on December 5, 2002

Anathema: If people other than yourself think you're a genius, you probably never actually sucked. :)

Dark Messiah: Hit by Henry Rollins? I'm amazed the guy got up the first time. :)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:31 AM on December 5, 2002

Gottabefunky: Not all laughter derives from humor, sometimes a shocking or unexpected event will provoke laughter. Not to say that the people you refer to weren't assholes, of course. They probably were, if your sign-off comment is right :).
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:33 AM on December 5, 2002

Another classic berating of the audience...

Billy Connolly is also very good at dealing with disruptive audience members--I've seen it in action.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:52 AM on December 5, 2002

The secret for an irritance-free movie-going experience is to go a couple of weeks after it starts playing, on a weeknight. Patience often rewards one with a mostly empty theatre, which makes for less chance of interruption, or at the very least a clear shot at the perpetrator with a poison-tipped blowgun dart.

Of course I'm going to see Two Towers on opening night, but a brute squad of over-caffeinated and excited geeks will see that order and civility are maintained throughout the showing.
posted by picea at 7:52 AM on December 5, 2002

I was at a Black Flag concert back when I was in college, and witnessed Henry Rollins jump offstage, sweaty beyond belief, clad in only a pair of shorts, and grab some 275-pound dipshit by the throat and run him backwards all the way to the back wall of the auditorium (about 200 feet or so). The idiot being punished had just spent the past 15 minutes giggling and leaping on the backs of people smashed up against the front of the stage, and had generally pissed off or hurt most of the people around him. The band played on while Rollins single-handedly berated and slapped the idiot for what seemed like a long time. He then ran back onstage and finished the song. That was a pleasant experience for everyone but the punished dork - who just turned and walked out of the house.
posted by kokogiak at 8:43 AM on December 5, 2002

i've noticed that atlanta has a particular problem when it comes to concert behavior. any opening act has to deal with the sad fact that half of the audience sees them as nothing more than an extra 45 minutes to get to the venue and find their seat. and they do this loudly...

of course, concert promoters try to deflect this effect by starting shows up to an hour later than scheduled.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2002

I once saw a group of guys get beat up for being rude during a movie. the entire audience.

Everyone then recieved free movie passes.
posted by pemulis at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2002

I agree with picea. I almost never go to the movies anymore (unless it's something special like The Two Towers). My logic is twofold: 1) For some reason, I keep choosing seats next to freaks who have snuck half-a-dozen hamburgers into the theater... and persist in noisily scarfing them down through most of the film; and 2) The cost of two movie tickets is $15 and I can usually buy the DVD for $10 - $20 within 90 days.
posted by maniactown at 9:38 AM on December 5, 2002

I, too, went to see Les Miserables with the SO earlier this year. It was our first Broadway show so we treated ourselves to second row center seats. You might think that since a bit more money was spent to sit in that area, that the people around you might appreciate the show a bit more, (not to say that it can't be appreciated from up high where I have seen, and appreciated, many shows), and might actually 1) be on time and 2) sit down, be still and STFU. Silly me.
However, I did appreciate MY seats and wanted my evenings enjoyment and was willing to be a rude bitch to get it. Curtain went up with the two seats next to me still empty; they were filled with the late arriving occupants 10 min in to the show. Fine, no biggie. But it became obvious fairly quickly that the man who sat next to me did not want to be there by the way he a) checked his watch almost every 5 min, b) shifted in his seat after that each time and then c) leaned over to tell his wife, loudly, what time it was each time he checked. I couldn't believe his wife didn't tell him to STFU as it was apparent he was bothering everyone around him, but maybe she was used to it and was just ignoring him and trying to watch the show.
Anyway, I got really sick of it and finally leaned over and asked him if the show was bothering him, as he seemed quite distracted, and if he wasn't could he be quiet as he was bothering everyone else around him (emphasized with a finger drawing a wide circle in the air). He stammered something like "uhh, no, umm" and then shut up until Intermission, which they thankfully did not return from, which lead me, and everyone around us, to having a much more enjoyable night.
I think alot of people do crap like that because they are pretty sure that noone will say anything to them, so it really surprises them when someone finally does, or at least it seemed to with this guy.
And I didn't even have to beat him up to do it.
posted by thatothrgirl at 9:47 AM on December 5, 2002

No pity for the people who have colds? Are they not allowed to attend events?

But please, please don't keep shaking your popcorn, there is no pot of gold at the bottom of the bag.
posted by drezdn at 10:47 AM on December 5, 2002

True New York story: during "Kissing Jessica Stein," my gal turned around to politely ask two women who'd been talking nonstop since the movie started to please, if at all possible, keep it down a little? One of them looked at the other and said, "Can you BELIEVE her? She wants us to SHUT UP!" Simply shocked, shocked by this outrage, they continued to jabber through the whole damn thing.
posted by muckster at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2002

i love a thread that hits me right in the pet peeve.

a) Broadway audiences: it's the elderly and the rubes, and especially the elderly rubes, who ruin it for the rest of us. i once sat through "Angels in America" with the tubercular geezer next to me sound asleep, his hearing aid beeping at dog-whistle levels. just last week i saw "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" (featuring a nude Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci) and the older couple behind me asked me to pull back my (admittedly curly and somewhat untamed) hair into a ponytail for the performance. and my personal Les Miz story: back in about '91 i saw it on a class trip, and the family in front of me came back from intermission with, i kid you not, McDonalds happy meals.

b) rock show jerks: when i came home from Lollapalooza (the one with Jane's Addiction) i had bruises on my boobs and decided to take a more proactive stand in the future. my default now is a combined instep stomp and spilling of beverage on the offender. i also love the idiots who try to weasel their way to the front where we diehards have been standing for like hours on Ben Folds Five once a guy actually pretended to be *my* boyfriend to get up to the front, like, "Hey hon, I'm back with the beers." keep steppin,' homeboy.

c) pretentious moviegoers: Boston MeFites know that the epicenter of movie snobbery is the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge...all indie movies, pricey gourmet snacks, totalitarian parking garage, the works. i went to see "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" 2 weeks ago (EXCELLENT, btw) and there was a sign on the theater door: "There will be a short film before the feature." well, it turned out to be one of those BMW "Films" which is really a 10 minute commercial! at the end, one guy shouted "BOO! BOOOOOO! Boycott BMW!" and everyone hissed and clucked in indignant hippie unison. he sounded like the "queen of putrescence" woman from "The Princess Bride."
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:53 AM on December 5, 2002

I've actually been on the receiving end of this, now. At my last reading of horror fiction on Halloween here in Seattle, someone actually answered their cell phone in the middle of one of my stories. What stunned and horrified me was that it was actually someone I know and like, so I really had no idea how to react. If it had been a stranger, I wouldn't have hesitated to stop the performance and call them out on it; as it was, I just ignored the call and the shocked looks of other audience members and just went gamely on.
posted by webmutant at 10:55 AM on December 5, 2002

I was performing in the comedy "The Complete History of America (abridged)" at a local theatre last year with two other actors. When somebody's cell phone went off, we had built into the show that we would stop the action and one of the three of us would go and try and answer the phone for them. It only happened twice, but each time we did, it got a long, sustained applause from the audience.

The script is written so that latecomers are seated loudly at about ten minutes into the show. The action grinds to a halt and the cast watches the latecomers come down to specially reserved seats in the front of the house. After they're seated, the three performers recap everything they've missed and then spit water all over them. Again, a very popular moment with the rest of the audiences...
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:06 AM on December 5, 2002

Once upon a time, I went with a friend to our local art-house to see Elizabeth, the movie about Elizabeth I starring Cate Blanchett. Two couples sat behind us who seemed to be yuppies straight out of central casting. Before the movie (and during the previews) they loudly discusses their ski vacation in Aspen, their boat, and the great deal one of them got on a bunch of Armani suits. Throughout the movie, one of the couples discussed how cheap the sets and costumes looked (hello? are we watching the same movie?). The other couple...the man explained, not-so patiently (read: loudly) and in great detail, exactly what was going on in the plot to his wife who couldn't grasp what was going on. Movie ends. Clueless woman asks. "was that a true story?" which none of them seemed to know. At this point my friend had to restrain me, the penniless history/sociology major, from turning around and bitch-slapping the first one of the four I could get my hands on.

Also, at a recent Sun City Girls show: extremely tall guy tells shorter friend he has to go stand in the back as the show's starting. Shorter guy says, "you're gonna go stand in the back just because you're tall? That's lame." Tall guy bends to pressure and, of course, stands in front of me. Urge to punch short guy in the head gradually passes, but grudgingly so
posted by kittyloop at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2002

So glad to know I'm not alone in hating movie and theatre morons. I too, have decided to just wait for DVDs to come out. The way I see it, if theatre owners can't be bothered to make sure the audience enjoys themselves, they don't get my money.

I used to be an usher at a symphony hall when I was at university, and we had a clear no food/no talking policy that was enforced. It'd be nice to see more of that at live performances.
posted by Salmonberry at 12:06 PM on December 5, 2002

webmutant: Did your friend at least apologize afterwards? If not, did you bring it up? That's just plain unacceptable behavior (like a friend who once kicked my wife in the ass because he thought she was making coffee the wrong way).
posted by languagehat at 12:10 PM on December 5, 2002

I was unfathomably excited about David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. and found myself with a sneak-preview pass intended for those of the press for a showing two days before it's national release. Stoked, my friend and I settled in to our seats early and waited patiently for the weirdness to begin.

Turns out, Billy Ray Cryus' (who had a small role) entorage was there (I live in Nashville), including his wife and mother as well as a handful of others. Beginning with the first lesbian kiss, until the end of the picture, the audience laughed loudly and obnoxiously, completely confused by what was going on on screen. I was terribly angry and disappointed--and until I saw it again that weekend--had no idea what to make of the movie I'd just seen due to the inappropriate laughter.

(Okay, so it wasn't just the laughter that had me confused, those little old people running out of a brown paper sack near the end didn't aid my comprehension.)
posted by brittney at 12:39 PM on December 5, 2002


I feel so out of control rage is my only option.

I'm so pent up and barely able to deal with life that my personal space has become A) so ill defined that I have a hard time remembering I'm in public and B) so absurdly vast and deranged that people coughing or sneezing make me angry.

My space is important to the most ridiculous of proportions and even though I behave just as everyone else in so far as I no longer understand the difference between the private and public experience, I still believe that they are some how worse then me. I am becoming incapable of enjoying life outside of a very narrow range of acceptable situations.

I think It's okay that I can't deal with people on any terms other then my own and that I have begun to live my life with out compromise.

My life has become one trivial grievance after another. I blame others. I am ignorant but mistake it for clarity, rude but mistake it for brave, stupid but mistake it for angry, boring but mistake it for classy, dumb but mistake it for polite, afraid but mistake it for reasonable.
posted by at 2:16 PM on December 5, 2002

So what,, you're saying you talk on the phone during movies or approve of people who do?

posted by Joey Michaels at 2:37 PM on December 5, 2002

I'm just like them, Joey. I'm angry and stupid too.

only for me it's not the guy using a cell phone or the odd loud disruptive person. it's them, the assholes who go about making everyones life miserable with there damn stupid judgmental sneers and glares and idiotic obsession with the ways things ought to be and the way people should behave. they're selfish people and to be around them is intolerable.
posted by at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2002

OK, I'm drunk and my judgement may be a little off, but, it seems that you are trying to say that consideration for others is selfish? I only hope that you are more shit faced that me and know not what you say, because what you say is a little weird.
posted by chill at 3:54 PM on December 5, 2002; those "damn stupid judgmental sneers and glares" you're getting from everyone might be a sign of something. Have you showered recently?

If you haven't, no big deal. I mean, I wouldn't want to be a selfish, intolerable, angry, and stupid person making a selfish judgement based on my idiotic obsession with personal hygiene, after all.

Oh, and by the way, if you believe the academic erroneous word god, you will die stupid and evil - for you have not the mental freedom to comprehend Nature's Higher Order Wisdom of the Harmonic Simultaneous 4-Day Time Cube Creation Principle within 1Earth Rotation.

You know what I mean?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:58 PM on December 5, 2002

people busy making up little rules for how others should behave are the most impolite of all.
its bloody hard not to do though.
beauty of a kid versus beauty of a symphony = no contest.
good stuff, mr president.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:55 PM on December 5, 2002

Whatever, Sgt Serenity - just keep your beautiful kids quiet during the beautiful symphony. Politeness derives from courtesy, which is consideration for the needs and desires of others. The concept of formal rules of politeness derives from the need to coerce discourteous and stupid people into behaving in a manner that simulates courtesy. It's like teaching a child how to operate a gas stove, you teach rituals and systems because these are easy to remember and stick to. The modes and consequences of courtesy need to be explained to meatheads in exhaustive detail, with hand-slapping or its verbal equivalent, because meatheads don't comprehend how or why their behavior might affect other people. Their capacity for empathy and objective reasoning is retarded. Hence etiquette. It's rules for meatheads. Courteous people don't normally cause offense, and if they acidentally do, they apologise.

Yes, a lot of useless cruft (like eating this food with that fork) has gotten into etiquette over the years, but courtesy is all about drawing the line. It can actually be discourteous to insist on modes of behavior that don't affect anything and are difficult and tedious (like the various ritualistic guff that goes on in front of 'royalty'). The concept of STFU during the movie is not in this category.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:56 PM on December 5, 2002

beauty of a kid versus beauty of a symphony = no contest

Oh, get your hand off it. - Are you sure about this? Someone talks on their phone through a film you just paid $15 for and you're going to say "Hey, let's not should this fella to death with our sniffy glares".

Fuck that, those people not only make the film hard to enjoy, they make everyone in the cinema feel awkward as they toss up between sitting and enduring this rudeness or making a big fuss about it and embarrasing themselves.

I think It's okay that I can't deal with people on any terms other then my own and that I have begun to live my life with out compromise.

That sounds to me like the thoughts of a person who thinks "My witty commentary to my friend during this film takes precedence over the enjoyment of the hundred other people watching it".

On preview - right on, aeschenkarnos
posted by backOfYourMind at 7:14 PM on December 5, 2002

I think it's okay that I can't deal with people on any terms other than my own and that I have begun to live my life with out compromise. My life has become one trivial grievance after another. I blame others. I am ignorant but mistake it for clarity, rude but mistake it for brave, stupid but mistake it for angry, boring but mistake it for classy, dumb but mistake it for polite, afraid but mistake it for reasonable.

This is pure poetry, and describes a colleague of mine that drives me up the fucking wall - for totally unrelated reasons - with disconcerting accuracy. Thank you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:09 AM on December 6, 2002

Oh, get your hand off it.

my sheep stealing friend, dont you think you are rather spoiling the enjoyment of metafilter for us more
enlightened users with these coarse and impolite comments?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:37 PM on December 6, 2002

aeschen- im not saying i believe that all forms of socially acceptable behavour etc are valueless.
Im saying that people who try to control and manipulate other people in order to try and make themselves feel at peace when it is their own attitude that is causing the disorder are interesting to say the least , ok?
i read the article.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:55 PM on December 6, 2002

Dude, so the person talking on the phone during the movie isn't the problem? It is the person asking them to be quiet that is the problem? I am just checking to make sure I understand you...
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:51 AM on December 8, 2002

ill tell you what the problem is , it's those people that follow me around noisily interrupting MY PEACE OF MIND thats the problem, like last week i was watching some goddam movie or other where this bomb was being dropped on a house and right in the middle of the explosion there was some inconsiderate asshole OPENING UP A SWEET WRAPPER.
I couldnt focus on the damn thing at all the rage that was burning up within me was just unbelievable, i keep going to places where they say i will have a good time and im not having a good time and i keep trying to have good time but EVERYWHERE I GO there are people talking and opening up sweets and coughing and if only these people would behave then i would have a good time like they say i will and all i want to do is just enjoy myself like i used to when i was a kid before people started tellin me to shut my mouth.

theres your problem.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:41 AM on December 8, 2002

sgt.serenity: You're not very good at explaining yourself. We understand you think people get excessively upset at other people's behavior; the question is, are you never bothered by it? Is it perfectly OK with you if the guy next to you has a loud cell phone conversation during a movie or concert? If so, fine, you live up to your name (although you're not very serene in your comments here); if not, you're a hypocrite.
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on December 8, 2002

Belated comment. My chief annoyance in theatre - especially amateur theatre - is how audiences laugh uproariously at nothing. Middle-aged woman enters right carrying a cup of tea. "Coo-ee, it's only *me*". Audience convulses. She finds stage is empty. "Oh, I thought there was someone here. I must have been mistaken." Audience convulses again. And so on.
posted by raygirvan at 11:27 AM on December 8, 2002

langaugehat : would you like to show me -

a:) what part of the fpp poses this question
"are you ever bothered by other peoples behaviour in public?"


b:) a serene member of a military organisation.

either i'm not very good at explaining myself or perhaps
you too have forgotten how to listen.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:12 PM on December 8, 2002

sgt.: Never mind the original post; you were recently asked:

Dude, so the person talking on the phone during the movie isn't the problem? It is the person asking them to be quiet that is the problem? I am just checking to make sure I understand you...

and you didn't answer. And you haven't answered me either. It's easy to attack everyone else's position when you haven't got one yourself. Once more: do you have any problem with people in the audience making noise when you're trying to enjoy a movie or concert? I'm not talking about a quiet rustling to which only "people who try to control and manipulate other people" could object; I'm talking serious interruption, like a loud cell phone conversation.
posted by languagehat at 5:50 PM on December 8, 2002

the last time i was in a show i had to go and tell this guy his father had been murdered.
so i gets ready and goes on and gives him the good news and he collapses in a sobbing heap etc and then i go and comfort his brother and then help carry off a woman who collapses on stage .
During the run i was asked "its a pain in the arse that bell ringing during that scene eh?"

and up until then i had no idea that there was a bell ringing.
I think theres an art to zoning that stuff out .
I am about as serene sometimes as godzilla on a bad day,
there is a man drilling outside my house as i speak and later
on at 3 am there will be a crowd of drunken scots loudly forgetting the words to flower of scotland , edinburgh
(as well as being on fire) is the home of drunken bums staggering loudly outside your window , new york at night is gentle and peaceful in comparison.
I was actually amazed when i came back from ny at how mental it is here , i honestly thought it was like that everywhere , trainspotting is extremely accurate by the way, a lot of people think its made up but it aint.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:10 AM on December 9, 2002

I think I understand your answer now.

If somebody was standing next to you while you were watching a play or movie and they were talking loudly on the cell phone or discussing the surprise ending of the movie that you would zone it out and not let it effect your enjoyment of the movie or play.

Accurate assessment?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:22 AM on December 9, 2002

I think a little historical perspective is in order. Riots occurred at the premieres of both Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Erik Satie's Parade. In 1849, New Yorkers rioted at Astor Place when the theater replaced a popular American actor in the role of Macbeth with an elitist British actor. During the early days of British punk, audiences would engage in "gobbing" or spitting their own phlegm at the performers. Joe Strummer got hepatitis and Siouxsie Sioux got conjunctivitis as a result. Let's not forget the riots related to Guns 'n' Roses concerts. The practices described in the linked articles are certainly annoying and impolite, but very mild in the grand historical scheme of things.
posted by jonp72 at 12:02 PM on December 9, 2002

And people are starving in China, so we shouldn't complain if restaurants serve us substandard food. In fact, we shouldn't complain about anything, because hey, we could be in the gulag. If that line of thinking helps you, great; it doesn't do much for me. I still want to garotte the jerk with the cell phone.
posted by languagehat at 1:55 PM on December 9, 2002

well fuck going tae the cinema wi you then laddie !
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:10 PM on December 9, 2002

Get tae fuck, ah'm goin doon the pub fer fucksake.
posted by languagehat at 8:42 PM on December 9, 2002

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