I’m sure, if I ever met the pop star Prince, we’d have plenty to talk about. We’d probably disagree about whether the Emancipation album was a good career move or whether improvised guitar solos were a source of entertainment, but one thing I suspect we’d agree on is the use of cameras at concerts.
I really don’t like cameras at concerts. Particularly camera-phones, held aloft by people throughout the show, so that the short-arsed individuals standing behind them – such as yours truly – don’t end up watching the show, they end up watching the show as relayed through a viewfinder. I don’t like it because it’s selfish, it’s antisocial, and also because it’s crap for the gig; if someone is snapping they’re not clapping, if someone is video-ing they’re not pogo-ing.
It’s also annoying because it’s not needed. Watch Glastonsbury on television and you see a hundred people in the audience capturing the show on their camera phones. Why are they bothering? If they want to have the concert perserved for posterity, why not just tape it off the television? Or buy the live concert DVD? How can their crappy little camera-phone rival the work of a professional film crew?
I’m obviously a complete hypocrite writing this, because I’ve taken cameras to concerts, and running the Erasure fan club actively encouraged fans to take cameras to shows so that we’d have some pictures to print in the newsletter. But my conscience is clear; I knew the fans who were taking the photos, and I knew they would never let the fact that they were taking photos get in the way of them having a good time or anyone else in the audience having a good time. But that’s because Erasure fans, in my experience, are uniquely kind-hearted and considerate people.