News & Insights 16 July 2012

Beware… incoming music rant.

JackanoryI’m hacked off.
That’s right, hacked off. (AKA: a hare’s whisker away from writing a snitty e-mail to the Guardian.)
On Saturday night, at the climax of an epic concert, two of the greatest performers in rock history – Springsteen & McCartney – joined forces onstage at Hyde Park. This has never happened before. And just to make sure nobody forgot this momentous collaboration, some jobsworth made an exhibition of himself by pulling the plug on the PA system during the tail-end of Twist & Shout.
The sound apparently dampened, went a bit weird, then suddenly silent. The 65,000-strong crowd were as confused as Bruce, who at first continued addressing them through the microphone before realising it wasn’t turned on. Basically, here you have a man – The Boss – who has dedicated his life to giving mind-blowing live performances and is just in the process of wrapping up what was by many accounts one of his best, and ____
As Springsteen’s guitarist ____ rightly pointed out, this wouldn’t happen anywhere in the world apart from England. That’s because we’re falling prey to
And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it is BRINGING ABOUT THE DECLINE OF CIVILISATION. We’ve inherited this culture of litigation from the States, and we need to be a bit bloody careful. Accidentally hacked your leg off with a saw while pointlessly wandering drunk through a building site without your glasses and ______? Yeah? Don’t worry, our team of spineless failed lawyers who, went not busy making _______ disingenuous TV ads to fill the _____ dead time in Jeremy Kyle ad breaks
We’ve experienced this ourselves      We just about managed to get our instruments ____, but every time the crowd applauded at the end of a song, the whole place was plunged into darkness  ______ just because some _____ – who was probably bloody deaf anyway – didn’t like the idea of anybody having fun within a ten-mile radius of their miserable little existence.
[____ism, you should do what you can to make sure the most people possible are happy. Simple idea ______. Just because some cantankerous, over-privileged, only-lives-in-Hyde-Park-because-her-ancestors-oppressed bla bla bla bla bla _ Daily Mail reading _____ moose has decided she can’t sleep because the house her slave-beating _________ is a bit too close to the CONCERT VENUE Hyde Park, then the sixty five-thousand people who had paid _______ ]

There I am - I'm sitting in my ranting chair, and I'm about to start a rant. Make yourself a brew, I could be a while.I’m hacked off.

That’s right, hacked off. (AKA: a hair’s breadth away from writing a snitty e-mail to the Guardian.)

On Saturday night, at the climax of an epic concert, two of rock ‘n’ roll’s best-loved performers – Springsteen & McCartney – joined forces onstage at Hyde Park. This has never happened before. And just to ensure nobody was tempted to forget this momentous collaboration, an unnamed jobsworth operating on behalf of the concert organisers carved himself a dubious spot in music history by pulling the plug on the PA system actually during the pair’s raucous rendition of Twist & Shout at the end of the night.

The sound apparently dampened, went a bit weird, then suddenly silent. The 65,000-strong crowd were as confused as Bruce, who at first continued addressing them through the microphone before realising it wasn’t turned on. Basically, here you have a man – the Boss, no less – who has dedicated his life to giving mind-blowing live performances and is just in the process of wrapping up what was by many accounts an absolute belter when some berk in combat trousers and a Black & Decker utility belt shut the whole gig down because the band had apparently ‘broken their curfew’.

As Springsteen’s guitarist Stevie Van Zandt rightly pointed out, this wouldn’t happen anywhere in the world apart from England. And I personally believe this is because we are gradually falling foul to a culture of litigation, where stuck-up local residents complain about concert noise and, after threatening legal action, effectively harangue local councils into imposing laughable sound limitations on venues, on pain of losing their licenses. So in truth it would be unfair to blame the concert organisers who pulled the plug on this particular occasion, because they’re really just trying to keep their jobs. No, instead we should all be blaming the residents of Mayfair and Knightsbridge who, upon purchasing their absurdly palatial London penthouse pads SLAP-BANG NEXT TO THE CONCERT VENUE HYDE PARK waste little time in complaining to anyone who’ll listen that, hang on a minute, there I was just a-going about my business when one day I woke up to discover I was living next-door to a concert venue. That’s right, Residents Of Central London, I blame you for this ridiculous circus of health and safety regulations, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you are BRINGING ABOUT THE DECLINE OF CIVILISATION.

We’ve inherited this culture of blame from the States, and we need to be a bit bloody careful. Accidentally hacked your leg off with a saw while pointlessly wandering drunk through a building site with a bag on your head? Yeah? Don’t worry, our team of spineless failed lawyers who when not otherwise tied up poisoning kittens for money will happily fill their time shooting endless disingenuous TV ads destined to clog up the dead air between parts one and two of Jeremy Kyle’s ‘Young Mums On Crack’ midweek special and carefully designed to lure witless people into suing their own grandmothers for fat wadges of cold, hard unearned cash.

In The Lightyears we’ve been on the sharp edge of this sort of thing ourselves. Countless venues we’ve played at have been forced to hardwire so-called ‘sound limiters’ into their electrical circuitry, maliciously designed by (I can only imagine) Lucifer himself to instantly cut all the power in the venue should it dare to creep over the laughably cautious pre-set maximum. The thing is, though, it would be okay if this pre-set maximum sound level allowed you to, I don’t know, PLAY A GIG, but it’s more like ‘Hey, yeah sure, come along with your guitars and your drums and just totally do your thing, right, but you’d better hope one of the earwigs living in the skirting board doesn’t inadvertently belch because that could very well max out our limiter’. We played a gig in a tudor barn once, a barn lumbered with particularly severe limiting technology, and while we’d managed to just about shoehorn the level of our instruments down underneath the red line, every time the crowd applauded at the end of a song the whole place was plunged into silent darkness. Ridiculous. And all because some wrinkled miser in a neighbouring cottage – who was probably half-deaf anyway – didn’t like the idea of anybody having fun within a ten-mile radius of their bleak little existence.

I’m a big fan of the principles put forward by Utilitarianism – a man should act in such a way that increases happiness for the maximum number of people. Simple idea, simple philosophy. So I don’t have a lot of time for the decision taken on Saturday night that made the lives of sixty-five thousand fully paid-up music fans considerably more rubbish in favour of pandering to the fatuous whim of some cantankerous, over-privileged, probably-only-lives-in-Hyde-Park-because-her-ancestors-oppressed-lots-of-poor-people, Daily Mail-reading coiffed moose in a blouse who’s decided she can’t hear the closing credits of Morse over the sweet sound of one of the world’s greatest living musicians.

There. I told you I was hacked off.

© 2022 The Lightyears. All rights reserved.