I'm not a grumpy old man, just an out of synch hippy

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Is it a phone? Is it a car? Is it an app?

Went to a Promenade Concert this week with Mrs K. I left My Teenage Self cringing in the bedroom. “Classical music? Yuk”  he said, spitting out the chewed-up fingernail in his mouth, “They’re not even old – they’re dead.”

Listen to me, MTS, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto rocks. There are killer tunes. There are solos Eric Clapton would have trouble getting his fingers round. There’s lots of Ludvig’s stuff you could bang your head to.

Except you don’t at the Proms. People just listen. That’s what I like about them. Unfortunately some of the crapness of modern life has been seeping in. It’s getting a bit “Whoooh!”. People clap in between movements, which is really dumb because the piece hasn’t finished. You don’t clap Hamlet halfway through “To be or not to be” (“Whahey, that was one great iambic pentameter!”) If you’re applauding, you ain’t listening. If Coldplay launch into one of their hits and everyone roars, it’s because they can’t bear to hear it.

Mobiles twinkle across the Albert Hall like glow worms. Soon they’ll be waving them over their heads and filming the violinist. Promenade floor? Mosh pit, more like.

The orchestra was playing Schoenberg. Schoenberg, I know -  gives me a headache too. Too tricky altogether, apparently, for the two young guys in front fiddling with their iphones. Guy 1 started whispering to guy 2. I leant forward to hiss “Phones down and shut the **** up”. Then I saw what he was googling.

It was “Atonal music.” “It’s the same theme as his Piano Concerto” he was saying. Young bloody people. They don’t even misbehave properly. 

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