Friday, January 17, 2014

Alfie Boe is a bit of an asshat

Okay, it's a pain when people go to a gig, don't switch their phones off, and they ring during the event.

But should the price for this should be public humiliation?:

The singer told the newspaper he was halfway through a concert in Cardiff when he heard a “loud ringing noise and spotted a woman trying to switch of her phone”.

So I walked down into the audience, made my way along her row, and introduced myself,” he said. “I asked if I could have a look at her phone and pressed the redial button. It started buzzing at the other end. Then someone picked up, and it was the woman’s mother.”

He added he had put the phone onto its loudspeaker, asking the audience to shout out his name to convince her he was mid-concert.
Apparently Boe does this a lot.

I think we're meant to be applauding his actions.

But hang on a moment.

Fair enough, this woman made a mistake, but even as Boe tells the story, she was always embarrassed and trying to switch the phone off when he did his little stunt. And he knows nothing about the context - maybe the mother was lying on the floor with a broken hip, or ringing because she was babysitting and the child had swallowed a gallon of bleach.
Boe made the disclosure in an interview with the Yorkshire Post, saying: “The lady with the phone was so incredibly embarrassed that I don’t think she’ll ever take a phone to a concert again.”
Or possibly, thanks to you giving her an public dressing down for having forgotten to switch the phone to silent, she might now suffer from crippling social anxiety and never go to an event again.

Boe's manager is keen to stress it's all a bit fun:
“People think he’s really angry and go bright red with real embarrassment, but it’s just his sense of humour. He always gets a massive round of applause for doing it and gives it back with a hug.”

He added: “I think people forget to turn their mobiles off, and then when it rings they can never find it in time to answer it or switch it off and get brighter and brighter red.”
I imagine some people might take it on the chin, but for other people, suddenly being treated this way in front of 10,000 people might not be such big yuks.

Maybe if someone answers the phone, it's a proportionate response. But for forgetting silent? Seems a bit much.


PamE said...

Really? Have you ever been to one of Mr. Boe's concerts? Unless you've been to one of his concerts and seen this happen you really can't tell Alfie Boe's intent so you only take what is given in a secondary resource? Mr. Boe's action is done in jest and fun and never with malice or insult. Alfie Boe's performance is interupted by the ringing phone which is of course rude to leave on especially when it is announced before the start of the concert to turn off all phones. Does it still happen? Of course it does and Mr. Boe knows this, so this is a chance for him to engage with the audience and have a bit of fun, at no one's expense I'll add, when the mood he's trying to set is broken anyway. Everyone laughs including the person with the ringing phone and we all know it's a chance to bring light to the fact that using or not turning off a phone in a live concert is rude but does happen. But seriously, " suffer from crippling social anxiety" that's a bit much isn't it? You, after all, weren't there and really don't know the attitude of this encounter. Alfie Boe lightheartedly makes fun of the "mistake" and turns it into a fun and memorable time for the entire audience, especially the one with the phone. Mr Boe simiply reminds us that this is a real, live person up there performing his heart out, trying to engage each person and it really doesn't help him maintain that "bubble" he's worked so hard to create when the ringing of a cell phone manages to go off and burst said bubble and spoil the mood for the entire audience, or at least those sitting around this ringing phone. Seriously Mr. Budgen, your piece is a little much. As a journalist, do your homework before you write. You weren't there.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

And it's a real, live person in the audience who hasn't chosen to be part of the show, suddenly being forced into centre stage because their phone has gone off.

Yes, it's annoying, but there are all sorts of things that happen in the audience which distract a performer. That's part of what they're being paid for - to do the show regardless of what's happening in the rest of the theatre.

True, I wasn't there; all I have to go on is Boe's manager laughing his head off as he described how the person whose phone rang got more and more embarrassed and went redder and redder as Boe humiliated her.

Here's the things you don't know: You don't know the person whose phone went off. You don't know whether they had a good reason for their phone remaining on. You don't know if they are a person who wants to suddenly be thrust into the middle of a stage show. You don't know whether they were comfortable or not. You don't know if they do have a social anxiety or not. You don't know if they really enjoyed being humiliated or felt obligated to go along with it. You don't know if they thought it was fun.

More importantly, Boe doesn't know any of these things when he launches into his sub-Michael Barrymore routine. (Barrymore, of course, used to single out people who had the temerity to need the toilet while he was pretending to be a kangaroogaroogaroo.)

It's a minor irritation if someone's phone goes off. It's not a justification for forcing someone to be humiliated - whatever the spirit, however joshingly it's done - in front of thousands of people.

It's precious, it's petulant, and it's using the force of the mob against someone for making a very minor error.

And then gloating about what they've done in the newspapers makes it worse.

Ask yourself this: if the 'bubble' Boe is trying to create (at first I thought you'd mis-spelled Bublé, which would have been a nice satirical point) gets disturbed by a phone ringing, how much more shattered is it by the five minutes hate* being turned on the poor sod whose phone went off.

* - sorry, lighthearted fun at someone else's expense

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