The steady decline in people’s behaviour highlights the rise in ‘me, me, me’ narcissism in society, according to a Guardian music journalist.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Simon Price said people's behaviour at gigs is getting objectively worse – with phone use and chatter the biggest issues.
“Obviously, phone use is something that just wouldn't have happened in the past because phones didn't exist,” he said. “But chatter is something that's really crept in.”
“It’s just people with this idea that being at the gig and experiencing the gig isn't the main thing.
“The main thing for them is to catch up with their friends and just natter away about their new car or their holiday or whatever it may be and they just give off this sort of background noise.”
'It ruins the night'
Depending on the venue, it can be impossible to escape the flashing phones and hum of conversation and it can often destroy the atmosphere.
“I've got into arguments about it,” said Mr Price. “But that's the problem because, you know, you're there sizing up the situation and you're already on edge, almost before the bands come on stage.
“There's a sort of lairy group of people in front of you and you're thinking, ‘Oh, God, how's this going to go? Am I going to have to tackle it?’
“You know, even before it's happened, it's already kind of ruining your night a little bit.
“Sometimes people are sort of OK about it and they'll say, ‘Oh, sorry, I didn't realise’ and they'll quieten down or they will put their phones down.
“But often, it escalates and people double down and can get quite nasty.”
Mr Price said people often think they can get away with more when they are in a large crowd – but there’s more to it than safety in numbers.
“I do think it's part of a broader trend in society,” he said.
“People just think, ‘Oh, it's all about me, me, me’ and part of that is just the kind of narcissism that mobile phones have caused in all of us.
“Everybody thinks their own enjoyment somehow trumps the kind of communal, the kind of mass experience – which is why you get people playing videos out loud on mobile phones, which blows my mind.”
He put forward his own three-point plan to improve gig etiquette: “Shut up, put your phone away and don't be a nickname for Richard”.
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