3 kinds of audience members I love to hate

This is what a good member of the audience is expected to look like.

I have this weird attitude to concerts, theatre productions, movies and other such events – I attend them because I’m actually interested in the music/play/movie or whatever. I want to appreciate the experience and to forget the outside world for an hour or two.

“Isn’t all this obvious?” I hear you ask. Hardly.

Judging by the three specific types I invariably encounter at public events, I’m something of a rarity. Speaking from experience, a substantial portion of any typical audience will always show an astounding indifference towards the proceedings on stage. You know the people I’m talking about, but just in case you don’t, please find enlightenment below. And if you fall within one of these categories, do us all a favour and mend your ways. Or you’re risking the full Depares wrath descending on you one fine evening– and you won’t like that.

The chatter-boxes: with so many people I meet totally lacking the social skill of making small-talk, I just don’t get what people find to talk about when they’re at a concert/play. If this happened once every blue moon, I could shrug it off. Sadly, it happens every blessed concert I go to. The worst experience was during last summer’s Kronos Quartet performance, when the guy behind me just wouldn’t shut up. We were practically at the front row, these guys receive raving reviews the world over and we’re honoured they agreed to play in Malta… and some Neanderthal shows his appreciation by keeping up an incessant chatter. My shushing and my glares failed to get him to shut up. After a while my stomach developed an ulcer with the irritation of it all; I had no choice but to face him and ask him politely to stop talking. He obliged, for all of five minutes. My next request was a tad less polite. I was rewarded by obscene gestures but he did shut up. I have to put up with variations of this scenario at ever single blessed event, including last December’s Nil By Mouth sessions (which were amazing, incidentally, click here and here for the reviews). Note to everyone else: when you’re in the mosh pit, you’re there to appreciate the music. You can chat by the bar. End of story.

The de-constructers: This usually happens at the cinema. There’s something insanely irritating about people who feel the need to explain everything that is happening on screen to the person besides them. Watching your typical action movie, the scenario usually goes something like this: Hero holds gun against villain’s head. Genius next to me turns to girl-friend and goes: “Did you see that? No chance of escape for him now, huh?” Girl-friend gives resigned nod while our screen hero blows away villain’s knee caps. “Holyyyyyy moley. Look at what he did there!  Isn’t he just the coolest ever? Man, I love this actor.”

In the meantime I’m pounding a small hole with my fist in the seat in front of me, hoping that the screen hero somehow pulls an Arnold Schwarzie in Last Action Hero and pulverises our own genius’ kneecaps. But then he probably wouldn’t stop whining about it and I still won’t get to enjoy the movie. Strike that off the list then.

The complainers: You know the kind. Nothing is good enough for them. If it’s a concert, they won’t stop complaining about how bad the sound is. Or how chaotic the organisation. Or how overly expensive the tickets. If it’s a theatre production, the actors are guaranteed an on-the-spot critique that verges on the rude. It’s all about how the accent is wrong, the backdrop cheap, the seating plan stupid etc etc. If it’s a movie, then the director is taking the audience for a ride, the plot was copied from so-and-so and their own grandmother could do a better portrayal of every character in the story. Just cut it out already.

This post appeared on The TV Guide  (The Times of Malta).



  1. Ros says:

    The above issues you’ve mentioned are exactly why I deem it risky to go out on a date early in the relationship at the movies/theatre/concert – or to watch a DVD at home…. It can very easily cut off the relationship before it actually takes roots. For some unknown reason, it is considered rude to discuss one’s hatred of the above ‘stereotypes’ prior to watching the movie with said date. Or so I’ve been told.

  2. Barb says:

    Yep, although, I probably fall under the Complainer category when I see my hubby’s action movies. I expect a bit more for my $11, so I’ve become mostly a Netflix Gal. We did see Tailor, Tinker, Soldier, and I wished someone would have explained what was happening to me. It was a 4 day movie packed into 2 hours. I also tire of the folks who shake their popcorn boxes and rattle their candy.

  3. Paul Falzon says:

    I personally relate to this blog update! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ramona!

  4. Ian Micallef says:

    from where i was, Kronos Quartet wasn’t so bad crowd-wise; actually i was pleasantly surprised. although I still vividly remember the stifling heat of that night. temperature had remained at 30 degrees, it was incredibly humid with not the faintest trace of a breeze. thought i was done for.

    Nil By Mouth ….. well people might argue that they can do whatever they want since they bought the ticket. including chatting loudly to their mates, telling them all the uninteresting and mundane things they’ve been doing all week etc. however i do think there is a limit. talking and laughing loudly even during the times when the music on-stage was quiet-ish and intimate (Stalko, Eimog) is plain lack of manners and respect, to the other members of the audience who want to actually listen to what is going on onstage and to the band themselves.

    Cinema found something that helps considerably. 11pm showing, mid-week and you’re sorted. :)

  5. Well said! I can certainly relate to all the above. A prime example is last Sunday, I went to watch Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, a good movie filled with mindless fun and full of action (typical testosterone boost for the male audience, but we are excused! We need our boost every now and then!) and during a scene when Tom Cruise is hanging off the Burj Khalifa the guy next to me proudly tells his partner “I’m sure he’ll survive! What do you think!? WHAT DO YOU THINK!?”… No s88t Sherlock! As if Tom Cruise is going to fall of and die in Mission Impossible! And what will happen if he falls and die? Will someone look over his dead body and say: F..k it, he’s dead and The End credits roll up?