LETTER: Blame TV for lack of manners

It is saddening but unsurprising that Sylvia Cameron had to withstand selfish behaviour at the Congress Theatre throughout the performance of Thriller [Letters, April 15]. Audiences for modern musicals are given every encouragement to behave as though devoid of manners, and television influence has a lot to answer for.

Saturday, 30th April 2016, 9:00 am

Currently, on Saturday nights, even before the action has got going for the Michael McIntyre Show, we find the packed house at Drury Lane on its feet and screaming inanely.

Quite a contrast to my memory as a young teenager in the circle for the start of an edition of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Before the live transmission we were asked to applaud and we did with enthusiasm as Cyril Ornadel and his orchestra struck up with the familiar ‘Startime’. There was no standing up, though, much less a display of mindless yelling.

Michael Deacon summed-up with tongue in cheek recently the difficulties of cinema-going. ‘There you are, trying to concentrate on taking selfies, or reading tweets, or answering a call from a friend, and some thoughtless lout goes and spoils it for everyone by putting a film on. Honestly! The dialogue is so loud! You can hardly hear yourself talk.’

But that is part of today’s scheme of things, when hearts are worn on sleeves and every encouragement is given to shed tears in front of the cameras, as long as we can express ourselves in whatever way we wish to without reference to anyone else’s feelings, except when it comes to fashionable ‘right-on’ attitudes, for these are also days in which university students must apparently have ‘safe spaces’. Viewpoints with which they do not concur and might cause upset cannot be expressed. They must not be exposed to literary texts that might disturb their sensibilities.

The time could not be riper for the EU Remainers to propound their trump card argument, ie that on account of the unknown we must not leave; that this being the time of the comfort blanket, it is no time for a sense of adventure. Our PM, steeped in a career history of public relations, must be licking his lips with his timing. Yet he might find there are rather more adventuresome spirits around than he supposes on June 23.

Edward Thomas

Collington Close

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