A Word In Your Ear - June 23, 2011

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Rain in the air, mud underfoot and everyone is blaming the weatherman – the festival season must be upon us.

Well not upon me obviously. No my friend those halcyon DIY-free days of long summer afternoons drinking snakebite and listening to spikey rock combos in the open air have long gone.

But for the groovy kids out there Glastonbury kicked off today, and so yes it rained.

Things have changed somewhat since my days of mosh pits and chemical toilets. Well it’s all trendy designer boots and executive passes to clean thunderboxes now.

Mid-1990s and the closest thing I had to luxury was the Strong Continental Lager I was ordering by the bathful.

I’ve become a TV festivals fan now in the era of wife and two kids, and so I take my hats off to those who party no matter the weather or questionable headline acts.

I can even forgive the flags which block my armchair views these days – yes even the ones from Yorkshire.

What bugs me though when I do go to gigs now is the era of the ‘smart’ phone.

I must have missed the point of why people bother going to see live music.

Is it to get a bit merry, dance like a loon, heck even enjoy a near death experience in the swaying, sweaty mass 10 rows from the front of Green Day?

Or is it to stand with your phone in the air trying to capture a really poor quality film version of what your eyes are picking up.

Presumably the idea is to show your mates back home how great it was or even post on YouTube.

I really don’t get it. The cracking thing about the human body is it comes complete with an inbuilt hard drive which can store millions of gigabites of information – it’s called your memory.

But you cannot go to a gig these days without some amateur Anton Corbijn getting in your way with their phone in the air, almost as if trying to get the lead singer’s attention in a desperate plea for them to ‘give me a bell once you’ve finished the encore. . .yeah’.

Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, was spot on this week when he suggested owners of mobile phones which ring during concerts should be fined.

He described the problem as becoming so common for classical music it was “a plague”.

Admittedly I doubt a phone ringing is likely to put techno kings Prodigy off their stride mid-gig, but their very presence irks me.

Come on, when chief Foo Fighter Dave Grohl says ‘I wanna see your hands’, he’s not exactly carrying out market research to check out the fascia of the new iPhone 4.

He wants to see passion, people having a good time. If the gig is worth capturing for posterity, your brain will do it for you.

And surely the best thing about going without your phone is it enables you to hold two pints – a much better use of your hands.

NB. Exposure to too much snakebite can affect your inbuilt hard drive’s performance.