May 09
Lorraine Berry lives in the Fingerlakes region of New York, although it's her transplanted home. On weekends, she can be heard throughout the area, cheering on her beloved Manchester City F.C. When not writing at Does This Make Sense? or Talking Writing, she can be found hiking with her two dogs, hanging out with her two daughters, eating what her beloved Rob has cooked for her, or teaching creative writing at a small college in the area.


NOVEMBER 27, 2011 9:14AM

To the Drunken Lout at the Concert Last Night

Rate: 21 Flag

 written on four pieces of scrap paper in my purse as I waited for Ray Davies to take the stage


To the drunk guy at the concert sitting directly behind us:

Hey. Don't worry about it.  Going to see a rock 'n roll legend is a common experience for all of us. No wonder you felt the need to get black-out drunk and behave like a douchebag. 

Anyone would. 

'Coz, as you said after we politely asked you to turn your voice down: "it's all about you." Just as long as you're having a good time, well, hell, the rest of us can have your good time, too. 

The person I don't understand is the woman sitting next to you. Is she the wife who has been beaten down for so long that she doesn't even notice anymore when you have alienated everyone within your decibel range? 

Oh. Now. I've heard it. The familiar Ithaca plaint: "I'm sick of this fucking town." Yes. I know. Peace, love and stfu, dude. I'd be happy to see you move to some place where your ilk is tolerated. 

Question is, where is that place? Wal-Mart at midnight on Black Friday? 

Am I getting old? Have I always been this intolerant of your level of rudeness, or am I just becoming oversensitive to the "I'm the only one who counts" bullshit that passes for civilized behaviour these days? 

So yeah. 

I wasn't crazy about the opening band either. I kept my hands in my lap and clapped politely. 

When you stuck your head down between my date and me and rambled drunkenly, I decided I had had enough and went to get the usher. You intimidated her, so all she asked you to do is keep it down. 

I grab my partner's hand. We don't need a fight. Just keep cool.

"I have it all over these people here." Really? In the drunken asshole department? 

It's actually quite fascinating listening to your drunken illusions. Yes, you are the great and powerful Oz. And your enabler is trying to have a conversation with you. Does she realize what an addict you are? 




You say that one more time, and add the "bob" and I'll know exactly where you're from. 

You want a refund? Why? Because you're not getting to watch this concert in your own living room? 

Ray Davies just asked if we were having a good time. 

"Not yet," you moan. "This is bullshit." 

Yes. Yes. It is. 

You are bullshit. 

But, now the music is loud, and you are being drowned out by the crowd singing back to Ray. 

What do you think now? 

Oh. You're gone. 

Good fucking riddance. 


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The concert last night was fantastic. Ray Davies brought the house down. And this gave me a chance to practice Anais Nin's advice about dealing with difficult people.
Instead of continuing to try to hush him, I just wrote about him until I burned out my anger.
So, consider this a rant.
Oooh--I hate it when you have to sit at a concert or game next to someone like that. I know! Next time bring pepper spray!
Shouldn't you have been more honored to be sitting near Hank Williams, jr.?
In days gone by when iphones were the stuff of science fiction
the fate of drunken louts who shout disruptive malediction
was sure to be a sorry one in venues like the Garden
where Boston’s best were at their worst and assholes got no pardon.
We’d deal with him the way the Spartans dealt with Greeks and Thracians
We’d kick his ass down flights of stairs and cave his poxy face in.
Oh for the days when instant karma ruled with iron hand
Just shut your gob you fuckin fuck and dig the fuckin band!
Oh hatchetface. You should 'ave been there. Great show. And you'd have told the guy to shut his gob.
I hear you and am surprise this is still happening...
One of my fave concerts ever: The Kinks at The Tower Theater in Philly.

And no, not getting too old. People are getting more annoying after decades of not learning manners and becoming increasingly "me" centered and lost in television and gadgets and their own bullshit.

Like the style you wrote this in. Kinda jagged and wasn't sure who was saying what but didn't matter. You wrote in the style that it felt, no doubt.

Concerts just aren't what they used to be.
Beth--I wrote it as I felt it last night. No editing. Just what I wrote on the sheets of paper. It's amazing I can read it. :)
Ray Davies! Lucky ducky! Even with angry drunkie ;-)

I saw Elvis Costello last spring seated near a similar person. It helped to imagine him alone with his dark disappointed soul and his bottle, to remind myself that he'd made his own suffering reality. How sad, to be angry and nasty bad while surrounded in the pleasure of Ray Davies. If you can't enjoy that, there's probably not much that you can.
Funny, FLW…Nancy, some friends, and I went to a performance of Elton John’s Aida near Princeton night before last…and just as soon as the house lights went down…a couple of people (young women) sitting in front of us lit up their ipods and started texting and receiving texts.

I put up with it for a bit, because I was sure they would stop after a minute or two…but ten minutes into the play, they were still at it.

Finally I told them to shut the damn things down—that they were an annoyance. To their credit, they did immediately, but if I hadn’t, they would have gone on with their disregard for the impact of the texting lights in a darkened theater on the enjoyment for the rest of the audience.

Seen lots of that kind of thing lately…of the kind I mentioned and the kind you mentioned. Sports venues are becoming havens for drunken, unruly “fans” with little, in any, regard for language or conduct…and movie houses seem irresistible to people who want to text while others are trying to watch a film.

Not sure what that kind of crap is all about, but it goes beyond rudeness…or self-centeredness.

Glad you said something to the guy—sorry it didn’t work. I’m even gladder that it did not end up in a confrontation between your boyfriend and the jerk.

ASIDE: When the lights went up, no words were spoken between our party and the group in front. In fact, they studiously avoided even looking back toward us. Actually, I was glad of that, because they were young girls (16 –17 at most) and I felt embarrassed that I had been so abrupt in my asking them to turn their phones off. But all those kinds of things are uncalled for.
I think we have all dealt with people like this in life, more so encountered. What is amazing is that you channeled your emotions with words on paper, instead of taking out on this jackass. It definitely shows your maturity, and I applaud you (and this rant!)!
Frank, I hear you. I can't tell you how many times I've had to change seats at the movie theatre because people are talking loudly through the film. I really don't know if it's new behaviour. Certainly texting is. But the loud talking? Did people always do that?

BTW, in my classes, my students know if I catch them texting in my class they get kicked out. Done. It isn't a problem in my class because they know I mean it. And I also explain it to them as a professional thing--the first time they text during a boss's talk, my guess is they'll lose their jobs.
The same guy sat behind us at a Steve Miller concert this summer. I told him I paid as much for my damn tickets as he did and it wasn't to listen to him so shut up.
Nice and polite like that.
My wife giggled.
I won the tickets.
up the fuzztone, Ray: save me, save me, save me from this squeeze
I think it is age, but not yours. His. Young people who are drunk at concerts usually seem to be sociable and willing to share the experience. Older drunken louts trying to recapture their youth are pathetic.

As long as we're ranting about concert audience members, to the people at the Springsteen concert two years ago who yelled at Bruce to shut up when he briefly mentioned politics: Do you actually listen to his music?
I'm pretty sure I dated that guy once - just once. Unfortunately he was my date to my 5 year high school reunion.

Loved the way you handled this guy!
Greengeron, I was wondering why Elvis Costello was sitting next to a guy like this at a concert...oh.
Fingerlakes, this has happened to my husband and me so many times. We wonder if we have some sort of magnetic attraction for fools and jokers. I'm glad you got to hear the featured performer, at least.
Greengeron, I was wondering why Elvis Costello was sitting next to a guy like this at a concert...oh.
Fingerlakes, this has happened to my husband and me so many times. We wonder if we have some sort of magnetic attraction for fools and jokers. I'm glad you got to hear the featured performer, at least.
I figured writing a letter was a hell of a lot more therapeutic, and less painful, than hitting him.
Apparently I need to bone up on Anais Nin. Such brilliance to write about this douche, but I'm glad you did speak up. I've become an old farty grump when I see or hear people, young or my age, doing just flatly rude stuff. "Excuse me, I paid money to not just see but actually HEAR Wilco, so if you're not interested in doing that, I'd appreciate if you would move down to those empty seats and blather on." They did! Lucky there were seats to shoo them to. I was in a line somewhere and these teenage nimrods were cursing up a storm so I said, "Would you please watch your mouth?" (knowing full well that's physically impossible, but I was actually hoping they'd try to do it). They did that neck thing and said, "Are you talking to us?" Me: "Yeah, I'm talking to you, asswipes. There are little fucking kids around here for christ's sake, you motherfuckers. So shut your goddam pieholes, bitches." Again, success. :-) r
Oh, how I hate those types! I'll never forget the first time I went out in public with my then-boyfriend's father, to a concert I had wanted badly to see. He was "that guy." Loud, obnoxious and started a fight with the people in front of us almost immediately. He was almost kicked out, and quieted down after that, but I remember being mortified and horrified for me and all of the people around us. So glad yours got out of your hair eventually!
Lorraine, sorry to hear about the major league jerk sitting behind you and creating such a nuisance! When someone pays good money and goes to the trouble to attend a concert like you were at and someone ruins it there is no excuse for troublemaker's behavior. I looked up the venue and it looks like it was held at the State Theatre, if I have that right, and the place could be a subject of a post all by itself due to its interesting history.

While I haven't had the experience of an annoying concert goer sitting near me at various concerts I have attended, some interesting things did happen that interrupted some songs such as the time Dave Brubeck and his group were interrupted performing "Take Five" at a fundraiser concert in CT when the president of the organization holding the concert halted the song for a few minutes to find someone in the audience whose babysitter was on the phone with a problem (those were pre-cellphone days).
A thousand apologies, Lorraine. I should not have had that last glass of cabernet. I had to sleep in the chicken coop when we got home, and my wife still is not speaking to me. Yessirreebob.
So the guy had a prodigious beer gut, was about six foot tall, had grey hair, and, in addition to the "this is bullshit" comments, he kept issuing Bronx cheers. I swore, if he had spit on me, I was going to amputate his nutsack. But instead, I just kept scribbling away, looking for any pieces of paper I could find in my purse and wondering why the hell tonight of all nights I had failed to bring my pocket notebook for recording my observances of human behaviour.

I love the responses you've all offered about assholes.

My friend E has been known to move from her seat to the seat directly next to offending talkers and to say in a loud voice, "SINCE I PAID NINE DOLLARS FOR THIS MOVIE TICKET, AND I CANNOT HEAR THE MOVIE BECAUSE OF YOUR CONVERSATION, I THOUGHT I'D SIT NEXT TO YOU SO I COULD PARTICIPATE. SO, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? Her partner refuses to go to movies w/ her any more, but I'm with her.

I go back and forth between Yoga breathing and imagining going ballistic.
Oh, well, then it must have been someone else. I was wearing my girdle and left my platform shoes at home. Still had to sleep in the chicken coop, so I musta said something wrong.
Thanks for delineating one of my pet peeves. I hope it will make you feel better to know that Neil Young once offered to pay a guy to leave his acoustic show.

I was at a Keb 'Mo show some years ago, very intimate venue, and the people behind us, tits-up drunk, would not stop trying to engage with the artist, who politely replied to the first couple of things they shrieked. But when they yelled during his lovely cover of "Amazing Grace," I got super-pissed. It all worked out. As we were leaving the theater, they staggered down the sidewalk in front of us, and I decided to alert the local gendarmes that these folks had absolutely no business driving. I do not know what happened from there, but I sincerely hope it involved the drunk tank.

Two weeks ago, at a Tiger Lillies show, the women behind us whispered and giggled through each song. During the break, my friend very nicely noted that they were clearly having a wonderful time, but would they please keep it down for the benefit of we elders who are a little hard of hearing? Worked like a charm.

Glad you got to see Ray Davies.

I hate that "It's all about MEEEE" attitude, too. It's not about being old or young, it's about knowing how to behave at a public performance, or in the case of drunkie, NOT knowing how to behave, anywhere. (I'm sure he's even more tiresome, rude and self-centered at home.)

@ Matt. It was probably me. I got a little carried away in my joke and it was definitely the cab's fault. Glad my guilt brought me back so i could see that fabulous info about Neil Young. First he's sued by his record company for being not commercial enough, and then this. More to love all the time.