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?


  1. The experience of enjoying something public isn't enough any more. People feel they have to be part of it, and have to yell like a lunatic so that the lead singer looks at them and maybe makes a witty reposte.

    I also find it odd that a lot of people don't enjoy a gig, but instead spend their time filming it on their mobile so they can 'enjoy' it at home in poor quality all round.

  2. Anonymous3:44 pm

    Oooh, clair, that soooo grinds my gears!! Lost count of the gigs I've had ruined by starf***ers down the front who insist on shrieking like banshees at the most opportune of moments, or asking apparently mundane questions (judging by the responses) just as a number's getting going. Still, Wimbledon starts soon....they'll all be down there exhorting Tim/Andy/Roger or whoever to 'C'MON' just as they're about to serve.

  3. The question is though did Jim Laker die from a huge ulcer from repressing all that emotion or did the brylcreme counter act it?

  4. To be fair, Dennis Compton was the Brylcreem boy. I love the fact that the first man to congratulate Laker on achieving the most extraordinary feat in the history of the sport is the Australian not out batsman.

  5. I've never thought of Richard and Linda Thompson fans as the type to take their knickers off and jump up and down. But they're a lot older now so maybe they've loosened up a bit.

  6. It's all about awareness. Jim Laker was playing for his team and probably wasn't much aware of anything beyond the boundaries. This game - however great - was just part of his career. Shabnam is painfully aware that this footage of her eviction - her rejection - is her career, so she has to pack everything into 30 seconds. Anyway 6:50am. Happy father's day!

  7. I got a Father's Day text from my son at 5.54 a.m.. No doubt just leaving a club.

  8. Anonymous9:35 am

    Sit tight David! It's when your kids are GOING to clubs at 5.54am that you need to start worrying....

  9. Anonymous7:01 pm

    I disagree with BLTP about repressed emotion. It just wasn't done in those days. People weren't in the habit of going for the big, dramatic gesture. There was no pervasive TV coverage where participants were encouraged to play up to the cameras. It was still the era of Gentlemen & Players and Laker, as a player would have suffered great disapproval form the Gentlemen.
    As for Big Brother contestants, they try to elevate the banal to a level of significance knowing the producers want them to act up as much as possible. After all C4 do not want viewers to watch someone walk out of the BB house without some show of emotion.
    This morning when I went to get the papers a young man in front of me bought the News OF The World and some cigarettes. When asked for the money he handed it over with the comment "Superb". When handed his change and thanked his reply was (inevitably) "Awesome". When these words are used to describe something so trivial how do you react to something meaningful?

  10. Anonymous10:23 am

    The Jim Laker story continues. After taking 19 wickets he went home for his tea (as he lived locally). His wife, who knew nothing of cricket but had had the radio on, asked "Did you do something special today?"

  11. Anonymous10:05 pm

    While mostly they just clap at the end of the songs at the Richard & Linda concert, at the end of the stunning 'Calvary Cross' they do not. Apart from one solitary clap, there is just silence for a while, followed by a crescendo of claps and cheers.

    Its great to see all these live tracks released together at last.