If she had a Twitter account, Phil Burt would be posting ‘OMG, put that phone down!’

If she had a Twitter account, Phil Burt would be posting ‘OMG, put that phone down!’

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, gigs were overwhelming spectacles. When the likes of Marc Bolan, Jimi Hendrix or a pre-face-fallen Michael Jackson graced the stage, every pair of eyes in the venue would be set firmly in stare mode as each flinch and thrust of the artist was studied. Now, in the year 2009, you’re more likely to see people thumbing the latest advances in phone technology.

One look at aspiring fem-bot Lady Gaga proves that musical showmanship isn’t completely redundant today but we, the punters, have changed. No longer content with simply having a knock off t-shirt and torn ticket as souvenirs, we now need more to prove we had a good time. We’re are out seeking different ways to be able to take a piece of the night home with us, a way to capture it, treasure it and somehow make it more real. And most come armed and ready for this mission, with a camera phone, a Twitter-friendly device or a crumby old wireless that can only text.

Since digital photography ‘went accessible’, the sacredness with which the shutter button is pressed and a photograph is captured has all but disappeared. Without the need for a trip to Snappy Snaps, people have become trigger-happy fools with incredibly itchy fingers. Epileptics beware – the view of the stage is now continually blocked by dozens of newly acquired iPhones held aloft in the air, flashing away. The people on the end of the aching arm are embarrassingly unaware that due to the shitty 2.5 mega pixel camera, their photos will never amount to anything more than a dodgy, smudged blur no matter how many attempts they make.

And this level of distraction seems only to be on the increase as technology moves on. Just as we were Facebook’d out, a new social networking site had to go and destroy all real forms of communication once again. It’s called Twitter, now showing a constant stream of people’s thoughts on gigs as they happen. “”Jackie – shame that Brandon had to wear that dead weasel round his neck again””. As thoroughly interesting as that is – we thought he’d go for the peacock feather last night – poor Jackie has forgotten to watch the majority of the gig.

Lets face facts, no matter how many pictures you take, how many people you call while Noel does ‘Wonderwall’ – the oldest techno trick in the book and one that’s almost as retro as Oasis themselves these days – or how many funny quips you make to your army of followers you will not be able to recreate the experience of the night, and in turn you ruin it for yourself while it’s happening. Of course, if the band is Gash, Twitter away my dear.

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Originally published in issue 4 of Loud And Quiet, March 2009

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