Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why me?

Seriously, what is it with psychos sitting next to me in concerts?

First on Friday, at the performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I end up sitting next to the two people in the entire auditorium (and this is the Verizon hall we're talking about - this thing seats some gazillion people) who decide that they simply have to leave in the middle of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. So they come in, listen to the performance for all of the 20 minutes or so it takes to get through the first movement and then decide to leave. And of course they're sitting in the center of the row so they have to pass a dozen people to get out. And naturally it takes them all of the fifteen second pause between movements to decide that they're leaving so that they're start walking only after the second (slow) movement has started. And obviously they have bulky coats and jingly purses and clicking heels so that they make the maximum possible noise leaving. Aarggh!!

And then yesterday, at a recital by mezzo-soprano Monica Groop I have to be the one sitting behind the guy who's either stoned or drunk or both. The concert starts. Ms. Groop gets to the third quatrain of Schubert's Suleika I, and this guy's already snoring. And he has a snore like a poorly oiled buzz saw. Fortunately he also has a companion with sharp elbows, so he doesn't snore for long, but every five minutes or so he'll nod off and start snoring again.

Finally, today I'm at a performance by the Guarneri Quartet. This time the people sitting next to me are this nice old couple - the kind who look like they're season subscribers. At last, I think, fellow music lovers. Any lingering doubts I might have had are dispelled in the first half, where they behave beautifully. Intermission passes. The Quartet comes out and starts playing Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat Major Op 130. And the woman next to me - this little old lady who looks like she couldn't hurt a fly, but, it turns out is really the devil in disguise - starts tearing up her program. I'm not kidding. There she is, going shrrrrkkk! shrrrkkkk!, ripping out the pages right in the middle of that glorious Adagio ma non troppo opening.

I can't wait to see what the seating charts will throw up for the Philadelphia Orchestra concert I'm attending day after tomorrow. Probably a prestidigitator, or a guy with pockets full of fireworks.


km said...


My Concert Law #1: At a Dylan concert, the guy next to you knows all the lyrics. Law #2: This guy can not hold a note if his life depended on it.

Falstaff said...

km: Hmmm...I don't remember ever being next to you at a Dylan concert.

Space Bar said...

I'm actually having fun with the thought of someone sitting next to you at the next concert you go to, who has no parlour tricks to entertain you with, but who just looks at you unblinkingly and with deep devotion through the whole thing. Rather like Benigni.

Anonymous said...

Space Bar:

... and then there was n! Ok, Ok, I admit to staring longingly more at Marin Alsop and Martha Argerich but I'm sure there were times when there weren't sexy conductors or cool soloists or that utterly distracting and delicious second violinist when I quite creditably benignied our Falsie. And what did he do? Booked his season tickets this year without so much as mentioning it to me!

So no, as fluently as he rants about his, I am afraid he actually does prefer the program tearers (look! she's tearing off something!) and the coughers (oooh! that throat!) to the intensely quiet devotional starers.


Falstaff said...

space bar: That is a scary thought.

n!: Not true. I did too ask you if you wanted to book season tickets. You were too busy pretending to be devoted wife and all.

Anonymous said...

Falstaff: Yeah, well what can I say except THAT fad wore off soon enough. As a fashion trend, "being a devoted wife" ranks somewhere between wearing skinny jeans and carrying a vial of blood around your neck. Which is to say its so 2007 (and we are nothing if not forward looking, by my calculations, I'm already in 2009).


Space Bar said...

n!: 'benignied' has such a dignified yet bees-knees sound to it. i love it people are verbed!