The older I get the more things bug me and a particular bugbear is people using their mobile phones in cinemas or theatres. I mention this because on Wednesday night I went to see Daniel O’Donnell at the Congress and was amazed at the number of people with phones in their hands during his three hour concert. (I must mention at this point that I grew up with Daniel O’Donnell. Not literally – but my mother, a Tipperary girl, played his music constantly. The rest of us felt as though we knew him personally such was her devotion to the crooner from Donegal.) Much to my dismay the person next to me had her mobile phone clutched in her hand from the offset as did the fan in the row in front. For me, small screens lit up across an auditorium are a distraction from the stage. Catching sight of, or even sensing, people taking pictures or videoing the main act drives me mad. I had to sit on my paws at one point to stop me grabbing my neighbour’s mobile out of her hand and slinging it as far as I could which no doubt would have ended up with one of us getting a clatter round the jaw. In the interval I asked the usher why they weren’t stopping the audience using their phones to take photos and videos as that is obviously the norm for most productions. “Daniel doesn’t mind his fans using their phones,” said the usher with a faraway look in her eyes, adding that if it was annoying they would intervene and ask them the offenders to stop. Even so, I cannot fathom why, after spending a small fortune on a ticket, somebody would then want to concentrate on taking the right picture/video of their idol rather than watch with their own eyes, absorb the atmosphere and keep their memories in their head and heart as opposed to their mobile phone. Madonna has the right idea in my humble opinion. The queen of pop has banned fans from using mobile phones in her concerts. And singer Adele scolded one woman while singing in Italy saying, “Can you stop filming me with a video camera because I’m really here in real life? You can enjoy it in real life, rather than through your camera.” Hear hear.
Good Samaritan of the week award goes to Nick Burnett whose kind deed for the day was posted on the Old Town Facebook page by the people he helped. They wrote, “We’d like to thank the Good Samaritan that came to my niece’s aid when we put oil into her car into the wrong place. Firstly he gave my niece advice and then kindly came back after his school run and sorted the problem for her so she could drive back safely to Peacehaven. What a kind man.” Nice to know there are still knights of the road about.
Thank goodness there has been some resolution to the mess surrounding what was once the Under Ground Theatre. (If you haven’t seen our story online, Redwood Performing Arts Trust says it will be open by Christmas). The new operators have some big shoes to fill and there are lots of people hoping the promises to provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds will become reality.