We’ve all been there: you’re finally there, at the gig of a lifetime. The one you’ve been waiting for all year, and you are completely thrilled to be there. You’re counting down to the big moment…And then just before your favourite band appears, like a phoenix out of the ashes, soaked in lights, the atmosphere starts to build… Then somebody – let’s name him Joe, for the purposes of this article – that guy Joe with his big head stands whack-bang right in front of you. You think it can’t get any worse, you try to avoid the head-the-size-of Mars and you start to rage. And then it does get worse – Joe takes his phone out of his pocket and starts to film. THE WHOLE THING. FOR THE ENTIRE GIG.
Joe if you’re reading this I don’t want you to take this personally. And if any of you have Joe-like tendencies then I’m not attacking you for simply taking a few snaps or freezing the moment in your iPhone time to replay later. But my tolerance starts to wane when it goes on for longer than this. Have we really lost our ability to think or to remember? It’s like we need to record everything that happens for fear of our friends and colleagues not believing we actually went to the gig in question. Do we doubt out ability to recollect the evening so much that we now have to rely on technology to pick up the fragments of our evening and reassure us the next day? And Joe – one other thing: Doesn’t your arm hurt, mate?
Our obsession with all things technological has reached dizzy, new heights: we all have the chance to become papparrazis, film producers, artists which can be a great thing. The possibilities become endless, the things we can do become more exciting. The advance in technology means society has become more utopian, more equal. Joe has the same chances as a pap (though I am willing to believe our mate Joe probably has more integrity, though that’s not saying much). And with access to the latest technology and the latest social media we can share what we have seen with friends and family via Facebook and Youtube and then post it on our blog ( and then advertise what we’ve put on our blog via twitter) so it’s like they were there too. An individual’s experience can instantly become a social phenomenon. Everybody can enjoy it with you. The memory becomes impotent.
I have met Joe a lot this year: at numerous festivals throughout the summer, in Ibiza Clubs and in museums too. I don’t know why Joe feels the need to stand right in front of me in each of the above cases and just film. I just see his actions as a bit desperate and I want to scream at him JOE! JUST WATCH THE GIG. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE and just soak in the atmosphere, enjoy it. You might not get another chance, especially if I see you ever again. ARE YOU EVEN ENJOYING YOURSELF JOE??
It’s not just Joe’s enjoyment I’m concerned about. My rage levels are going up and the people are starting to get really peeved off. This new technology can open doors but it can also shut them in people’s faces. An unhealthy obsession with technology can destroy any ounce of empathy a person had before they got so involved in a tiny, little red button.Recently I crashed into a blind man at King’s Cross after I got lost in rapping to myself. He started swearing at me while I cringing, removed my headphones and ceased to bleat out my lines of musical genius at the commuters because I decided I was causing more harm than good.
The last time I saw Joe (looking very snazzy in his red beanie) he stood right in my eye line (I already have issues with this being just 5”3) , then used one hand to record while the other was used to stroke his girlfriend’s face. He didn’t put the phone or the girlfriend down once. So when anybody asked him how it had been he couldn’t really truthfully say he was ‘there’.
So Joe, I am pleading with you. Before I see you next, as I know I will, just take a minute to take in your surroundings, have a beer maybe and let yourself go for once. You might even want to have a bit of a dance if you fancy it.
Of the sixties the cool cats used to say ‘If you can remember it, man, you weren’t there’ I’m saying the opposite to you, Joe.
We’re all guilty of it to an extent. It’s the way the world is going. In our desperate attempt to retain something tangible in this transient world we capture EVERYTHING. But there’s not much point when you can’t remember where you’ve been the day before.