Opinion: Apple are heroes for trying to limit iPhones at gigs

A photograph of lots of people using their phones at a gig
(Image credit: Getty Images)

“How dare you, Apple?! How dare you threaten to prevent me from capturing golden moments in my life and saving them for posterity? You evil, manipulative, authoritarian bastards! YOU DON’T OWN ME, DAMN YOU!!!”

And so on, and so on, for all eternity. Thousands of people, pissing and whining because technology has bitten them in the arse and encroached on their, erm, “freedom”. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Sticking your poxy smartphone in the air and recording large chunks of whichever gig you happen to be attending is (a) massively antisocial, (b) hugely selfish and © entirely pointless. That’s obvious. We all know it. Most of us have complained about it. More importantly, Apple’s new patent, which promises to prevent people from filming and taking photos during gigs http://teamrock.com/news/2016-06-30/apple-patent-could-temporarily-disable-iphone-cameras-at-gigs , is exactly the kind of heavy-handed move we should expect from such an all-powerful company. And I’m 100% in favour of it.

For a start, I have already resigned myself to being a slave to Apple and their products. I regularly moan at my 12-year-old daughter for her inability to put her sodding phone down for more than ten minutes. But then I’m not much better myself. “Just one more game of Angry Birds Pop!” I mumble to myself at 3am when my square eyes are bleeding and my psychological equilibrium is twitching and dancing like Korn’s Jonathan Davies in the middle of a performance of Twist. Most of us are addicted to these fucking things, and it’s pathetic. As a result, I welcome Apple’s imperious intervention into our social lives. When you go to a gig, enjoy the fucking gig. Plenty of us would cheerfully wander around the venue, knocking phones out of people’s hands and shrieking “Stop it, you cunts!” so it seems a bit churlish to get upset about Apple doing the dirty work for us.

Ultimately, the extreme and enervating pointlessness of filming and taking endless photos at gigs cannot be realistically legislated against, which is probably a good thing. But why do people bother in the first place? No one wants to see your shitty footage, sunshine. No one needs yet more crappy, unlistenable clips of bands performing live on YouTube. In fact, the vast majority of photos and videos captured at gigs must surely never even make it online. I don’t know about you, but videos are the first things I delete when I run out of storage on my phone. Even though I’ll happily admit that I did once record Suffocation playing Infecting The Crypts at a show in Brighton, because I was drunk and it seemed like a good idea at the time, I never watched the stupid thing after the event and I swiftly deleted it so I could download an App for making hilarious memes. Which, predictably, I subsequently deleted when I realised that even my hilarious memes are generally about as hilarious as being stabbed in the eyeball with a sharpened selfie stick.

Fortunately, I’m 43 and have long since realised that I’m an idiot and surplus to humanity’s requirements. But there are millions of people seemingly hell-bent on filming and photographing everything they ever see or do. It’s not just self-absorbed teenagers. It’s a disease that has infected all generations (except, perhaps, really old people that have been fortunate enough to evade the clutches of modern technology) and it’s not going away any time soon.

“But what about my rights?” I hear you cry. “I’ve paid for this ticket and I should be allowed to enjoy the gig however I blimmin’ well please!” you shriek. Oh, right… so if I decide that the best way to enjoy the next gig I go to is to strip naked, smear myself with excrement (mine or someone else’s – either is fine) and roll around on the floor, in the middle of the moshpit, bellowing excerpts from Mein Kampf and crying hysterically, that’s okay, right? Because I would just be enjoying MY experience and living MY life, so therefore anything goes! Brilliant. I’m going to start collecting my poo in a jiffy bag right now.

Honestly, people are fucking stupid. Never mind the moral and legal issues. Never mind that Apple are a monster corporation with their talons firmly planted in our skulls. We all rolled over for these people years ago. Stop pretending that you have a mind of your own anymore. We’re slaves to these bastards already, but that doesn’t mean we have to piss on each other’s parade quite so enthusiastically every time we go to a gig. And anything that prevents some imbecile from blocking my view when I’m trying to watch Andy LaRocque play a blistering guitar solo gets my support. Even if this new patent is the thin end of the wedge and we end up living in an Apple military dictatorship and misuse of iPhones in public results in our violent executions at the hands of unnervingly young and glassy-eyed Apple executives… well, I’m still 100% in.

Live music is one of the greatest things we experience in our lives. Watch it, enjoy it, remember it. Savour the moment, the communal euphoria, the thrill of the sound and the lights and the taste of the watered-down beer. Put your fucking phone away. And stop whining, you vacuous, entitled buffoons. You’ve got Facebook for that (and I’m not on Facebook).

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Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.