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Saturday, June 16, 2007

World Gone Mad (latest in a series)

The performances on Richard and Linda Thompson In Concert November 1975 are one thing. The audience reaction is another.
At the end of each number they do something hardly anyone does today. They clap. They just clap.
They don't make that waves crashing on the shore sound at the back of their throat. They don't go in for whoops, rebel yells, "look at me" hollers or shouting for favourites. They just clap.
And remember, this would have been no bookish gathering of old librarians. Most of that audience would, I calculate, have been under 30 at the time, probably under 25. Richard and Linda were, if not exactly hip, certainly a hot ticket for the cognoscenti. But they just clap.
It's the same if you go and listen to most live recordings from that era. People were, by contemporary standards, undemonstrative. They hadn't learned the deranged semaphore of delight that we seem to expect of ourselves nowadays.
This extends into every public activity. Footballers take off their shirts on scoring a goal, cricketers go into high-fiving mode as soon as any wicket is taken, athletes routinely burst into tears on winning, nobody believes that anything is taking place unless it's being acted out.
Now I realise this isn't a fair comparison but I beg you, even if you have no interest in sport or reality TV, to look at these two clips:
1. Jim Laker taking 19 Australian wickets in one Test Match in 1956.
2. Somebody called Shabnam being evicted from the Big Brother house just a few hours ago.
What's happened to us?