But for the occasional fracas in the players’ tunnel, soccer and rugby matches generally start on time.
But for the rare event of badly fitting scenery or bewildered actors losing themselves in the labyrinth of theatre corridors, much the same can be said about most stage shows.
Why then have pop and rock stars developed the annoying habit of wandering on stage at whatever time they choose despite what it says on the admission ticket? I’ve lost track of the times I have diligently parked up for what seemed like an ample amount of time only to find myself waiting until that evening’s bill topper could be bothered to accept their hero or heroine’s welcome from an instantly forgiving audience.
This tardiness has certain side effects. For starters I spend much of the set worrying whether it will finish before the Traffic Al Qaeda pounce on my car with parking tickets.
Then there’s all those people with a 60 minute bladder attempting to sit through a 90 minute show. They’ve either had too much to drink before they came in or brought too much to drink in with them.
Beats me how they manage to stagger through at all carrying various plastic “glasses” as well as backpacks, handbags, cameras, phones I-pads and all the other detritus of modern living.
Just lately it’s also seemed necessary to bring a big mouth with you as well. Blackpool is fast becoming a centre of moronic heckling. Time was when a heckle was generally good natured with the occasional hint of genius. Or it was a genuine attempt to shake up a lacklustre act. Now it tends to be someone just shouting out random obscenities.
Billy Connolly recently hit the headlines by walking off stage in Blackpool rather than put up with it. Even the newer wave Russell Kane was clearly irritated when what he thought might be banter turned out to be mindless.
And it’s not just heckling. At Rebecca Ferguson’s packed Opera House concert last weekend several of her “fans” chose to keep yelling “WE LOVE YOU” or some such thing. That’s fine if (a) they do love her and (b) it’s kept to the spaces between songs (ie when she’s not singing). It’s not acceptable in the middle of a highly emotionally charged song to yell at the top of one’s voice.
It’s also pretty annoying when cameras are constantly flashing, camcorders are whirring and people are broadcasting the concert back to their friends from their mobile phones.
That ranks on the annoying scale with having to get up every few minutes to let people through for their toilet breaks (and back again) – and having to explain that theatre seats generally run odds one side of the aisle and evens the other. The wording “these seats are together” and “this door is alarmed” are not references to their state of well being.