To Shut the Fuck Up, Or Not to Shut the Fuck Up?

Shhhhhh! says someone, trying to stop a conversation. Or, someone turns around and looks at you, somehow telling you to shut the fuck up.

Now, there’s a festival for people who them wot don’t like talking people at the gigs they attend. But, why should people be silent at gigs? What a bunch of fucking losers.

There are signs in jazz clubs nowadays ask people to be respectful of the band … but, why? The article in the Independent writes of ‘Laura Moody’, who ‘is a fan of quiet listening and a classically-trained musician who usually only plays quiet-music events.’

But, classical music never used to be like that, when it had a mass audiance. According to The New Yorker music critic, Alex Ross, this is a somewhat modern invention. ‘Classical’ gigs used to be raucous, where the music would have to fight for attention – which, he suggests (if my memory serves me whatsoever), is why a lot of pre-modern era classical music was big, bombastic, sweeping, over-the-top, etc.

My idea of a jazz club was of people talking and smoking, and the job of the soloist was to grab your attention, make your eyes pop out and your ears bleed. None of this we-must-have-your-respect bullshit.

Occasionally, it’s fine to tell people to shut up. At a Fang Island show in London, three people in front of me stood right by the pit (my favourite place) and had a conversation the entire time. That’s fucking annoying – 1. they didn’t stop; 2. they were shouting because there wasn’t very much room there. Ruined what was otherwise an astonishing gig.

But, if people are talking all the way through most of your gigs, you go and see really fucking boring music that is not deserving of attention. Either that, or get closer to the fucking stage where you can’t hear them and the band are actually playing to you.

Stop putting artists on a pedestal that they’ve never fought for. To the man at Television at the Roundhouse in 2014 – don’t shh, fucking talk. They were bloody terrible at that gig, why would I pay attention to that?!

People’ll shut the fuck up when you’re good enough to shut the fuck up for. Most of the time. Other times, tell them to shut the fuck up.

Or, maybe the problem is the lack of mass audience for these things anymore. That it is about disdaining how most people have to experience gigs. It’s always about creating something exclusive.

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