Stop coughing, stop texting, and shut up: toward a new ethic of concert-going

I’ve got aesthetics on the brain, which is usually what happens when I’ve got a lot of grading to do. Also known as self-distraction

Anyway, here’s an article at the website of WQXR-FM on the violinist Kyung Wha Chung’s recent performance in London, with some ill-tempered comments by yours truly, weighing in on the much-discussed “coughing child controversy.” It’s really just an anti-concert-audiences-today rant, one of my favorite subjects, whether I’m discussing rock or classical audiences. My comment is posted at 4:25 pm, under “Irfan Khawaja from Lodi, New Jersey.”

Happily, the Decorum Martinets seem to be out-commenting the Narcissistic Entitlement Defenders in this conversation. Some of my favorite comments include those of LAP from New Jersey, Glenn, Peter from Rosedale (on Andres Segovia), ilyatrakht, Reindeer Games, CastaDiva from New York, Dariv, Prevum Cor from Mexico City, and Ramona Perez Finkelman from Nyack. But it’s heartening to see lots of others.

We shall overcome.

3 thoughts on “Stop coughing, stop texting, and shut up: toward a new ethic of concert-going

  1. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, one of the many excellent things created in Austin, Texas (and, happily, now extended to Houston, where I recently saw Interstellar and can therefore confirm your assessment of the rank stupidity of Objectivist Thomas’ review) successfully enforces a zero tolerance policy on talking and texting during films. If that can happen, the same thing can be done at classical concerts. Then again, the Alamo makes it work in part by being hilarious about it and thereby shaming anyone who might be inclined to violate the policy — and perhaps that sort of humor wouldn’t sit well with the atmosphere of a classical concert. But it does make it clear that the venues can do better.

    The most famous incident:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is awesome. I hadn’t heard of Alamo Drafthouse before.

    The description of the “Shutter Island” event (in the Times article) was pretty sobering. I almost got into a fistfight myself while watching Yes a few years ago at a small local venue. Someone behind me was talking on his cellphone during the performance, and wouldn’t shut up even after being asked to stop. It was too much of a pain to leave my seat and find an usher in the middle of the performance, but for a minute there, I thought we’d have to mix it up in the middle of “Long Distance Runaround.” There were empty seats a few rows away, so my companion and I just ended up moving, but the whole thing soured me on concert-going for years. Ushers at classical concerts tend to be more observant and available. They just have to be empowered by audiences to take action. We can’t expect them to take the Alamo Drafthouse approach if they feel outnumbered.


  3. Pingback: Heckling Violates Free Speech | Policy of Truth

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