Don’t kick the seats.
I know only about ten people will read this, but if you’re somebody who kicks the seat in front of you while watching a movie at a theatre, or a play, or a concert, or any social arrangement that requires being in rows of seats (like a wedding or a funeral), DO NOT KICK THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU. Don’t you ever get kicked at? Don’t you feel annoyed that when you’re lost in some other reality, you’re kicked back into your own?
And don’t give me that entitled crap parents give, just because they have children. You don’t allow your child to kick you at the dining table in your home. Then why should I, a stranger, bear the brunt of it?
And there are other things too. This post was inspired by film critic Mark Kermode’s list of do’s and don’ts in movie theatres. Eating has been banned in a recent theatre production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with performers discussing how the audience eating interferes with their performance. But, even when performers aren’t physically there, it’s still annoying for other audience members!
Of course, entertainment establishments won’t stop serving food. One, because people can’t imagine sitting through two hours of entertainment without food. Two, because people don’t mind paying triple times more for popcorn, aerated drinks or even water at movie theatres, thinking the unreasonable expenditure adds to the experience. Why don’t you save that money to buy food for those who actually need it? Or for your next movie ticket?
Not that people actually watch what they paid for. They’re too busy filming it on their phones, or talking on their phones, or texting on their phones, or talking to the person next to them about their phones. Sure, they bought their ticket on their phone, but I’d leave the function of the phone to that if I were you. Why do you even need to go to the cinema or a match anyway? Why not just, you know, watch it on your phone?
Of course, there are exceptions. Or emergencies. I went to watch The Hunger Games part 2 without eating any breakfast. In the first hour or so, I could well have eaten a human. But, I kept myself together, and waited till the interval to get a sandwich. In my own way, I suffered for art.
At least, keep it down. Or don’t buy smelly food. I was nauseated sitting next to the stinkiest, sweatist and noisiest group of young men while watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, whose trays of nachos were in competition with their body odour.
And of course, there’s the classic publicly private PDA in dark cinema halls, except people prefer texting instead. Why, why do they bother giving the impression of doing anything at all, when they’d all be doing the one thing (being on their smartphones, not having a lovely, nothing-to-do-with-what-they-bought-their-tickets-for time) they would be doing no matter where they went?
And the worst offender, in the Audience Offenders Registry, is not the one who farts, but the one that gives away what’s going on. This person is engaged, probably not doing anything else but watching what’s going on in front of them, but they have to have a running commentary on what’s going to happen. Chances are, they’ve read the book or seen a previous show. Chances are, they are privy to match-fixing bets. Most of all, chances are they are WRONG. But, the word spoiler doesn’t begin to describe what they do. They wasted their money on tickets, but what’s worse, they wasted yours. They spoiled your first viewing, a condition you can never recover from.
Since there are CCTV cameras everywhere, it’s time for movie companies to monitor audience behaviour, rewarding good (like mine, for I sit straight like a statue, am always on time, and only leave after the credits) with free tickets, and ban those who behave badly. Which is something they won’t be too unhappy about, for that just means more revenue for streaming services.
What bad behaviour do you encounter in places of entertainment?
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