A tale of two tickets

In the past few days I have revived my live music attendance, with two shows in very different experiences.

Firstly on Saturday, I was at the Libertines semi-triumphant return in London’s Hyde Park. I say semi-triumphant, as the environment was Apocalypse Now-ish in its disorganisation.

Let’s take it step by step. We (myself, my wife and a group of friends) arrived around 4pm during the set by Maximo Park, one of many bands on the bill who were past their heyday, but whose heyday produced a damn good album. They sounded ok, but we were in after visiting the opening of Beavertown brewery’s tap room and nature called. There were too few toilet facilities near the entrance meaning the hoardings became a public urinal. This is hard to stop and what security I did see were not moved to do anything either.

I’m not defending the Royal Parks despite my two half marathons in there, but this is easy to solve with more facilities.

Next we hit the bars, with thousands of others in an attempt to pay £5 for plastic glasses of Fosters. Hey at least the bars were accepting contact less cards and they put a queuing system in later, shame the organisers didn’t have the foresight to do this in advance and save a lot of aggrevation.

The food lines were long, and around the stage area, there were more toilet facilities but same story unfortunately.

Into the arena, and we found ourselves fairly centrally located with a decent view of the stage. However we were far from decent people – open use of drugs, people pissing and a huge fight which saw a member of our group caught up in it. Where were the security? Sadly absent.

The band themselves were actually very good. Considering they have not played together for the best part of 10 years, they sounded tight and well organised. What they could not prevent was the crowd surges and trouble which caused them to stop during two songs, as well as their support act The Pogues.

We stayed for most of it, but headed to the empty back of the arena and it got a bit more tolerable. The band finished sounding like the plug had been pulled, perhaps it was after naked people started climbing the speaker/delay towers.

All in all, not a pleasant experience. In fact, the most unpleasant since I went to Milton Keynes to see Eminem in 2003 and saw plastic bottle battles, still at least both Marshall didn’t get interrupted.

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Moving on to the next live event three days later, and it could not have been different. An audience of metal fans of varying ages where the biggest grumble was the three-deep queue at Kentish Town’s Assembly House.

Extreme announced these shows, playing their second album, 1992’s Pornograffiti. An album-order and hits gig that lasted two hours? Thanks very much!

My wife and I ended up next to three mid 40s men who were not only entertaining company, but bought us beer – yes no fighting here but pure solid entertainment from the band and audience.

What is the answer? Only go to gigs that are indoors? Only see bands touring albums 20+ years old where the audience are there to listen and enjoy? Arguably yes. In the same way that I get annoyed at people who buy cinema tickets and then talk all the way through it, I don’t understand how you pay all that money for a concert ticket to cause aggro.

I don’t do drugs but am also not anti them, but it would be decent to know how to be sociable whilst under the influence.

Final word is for the organisers, just organise properly. You know who is coming and know how to prepare, it’s not rocket science, just organising a live event and there has not been any experiences like this in my previous experiences.

Mind you, it was bands performing 20+ year old albums.

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Ladies and gentlemen – the audience!

 

A few months ago I had a mad idea to do a live presentation on a subject I’ve been especially passionate about for some time – the death of the media.

 

I’ve generally contained these thoughts, save for a few choice rants now and again, but decided that the best way to get my point across would be to go on a stage and talk in front of an audience of hundreds of my readers (not likely of this blog) and peers. Yes, sometimes it pays to think about these things first!

 

Actually I was delighted to find that my talk for 44con was accepted. To the delight of the organisers, my talk may touch on the able subject, but instead I’ll be much more focused on the day job of information security and the media.

 

I won’t give too many spoilers away because at the end of the day, I want people to come and watch this, but there are grievances I have with my industry and the way reporting is done, and it seems that with the bustling community conference scene that has emerged over the past few years there was a great opportunity.

 

As for me, well it came as a surprise to be accepted as this was my first ever conference submission and I was told by the organisers that they received around 200 submissions last year. So I was accepted on my first effort, why? Well I guess I made my CFP entry to stand out by saying that I won’t be presenting on technology or hacking procedures or a chosen topic in my marketing portfolio, instead on something that was never seen before. Organiser Adrian told me that there was another media type talk, my response was to ensure that mine stood out and inform him that this is worth being told. Plus this is an original talk, and it seems that   is always a bonus.

 

I talked to some key people from the industry to gauge opinions on the idea of the talk and how to deliver, and wrote the submission off the top of my head in about 10 minutes. Much like this blog.

 

It was accepted this week and the next stage for me is to knock the slides and narrative together, and hope for Adrian and Co give me a decent slot – I’ll update this when date and day are accepted.

 

For now I’ll leave a teaser on the talk, and encourage you to get tickets at http://www.44con.com and to keep 10th-12th September free. Now, as for that Heartbleed virus…