Little bit less noise at the front, please!


One of the many things which both my wife and I have been forced to abstain from, primarily because of certain side-effects of her illness, is visiting and listening to live classical music concerts. If I could explain that, in terms of the essence, the immediacy of live music is both enhanced and achieved only with perfect silence within the auditorium, so that all the multitude of sounds which coalesce to form an orchestral piece, or a strong tenor’s voice in a well-loved solo, or the thrilling sounds of a female as she performs an aria; can all coalesce into the ears and minds of an audience. I have complained about extraneous noise in a concert hall, because there is nothing more distracting than any noise, no matter how slight, impinging on your enjoyment of sublime music. My wife cannot, simply cannot, be quiet. She breathes noisily, coughs a great deal, and in general makes many involuntary noises. Could I bring my beloved wife to listen to a concert? Of course I could. But the question surely is: should I? If I have respect for the other fifteen hundred members of the audience; of course the decision is that I stay away, and not disconcert or annoy other paying customers and lovers of music.

Do I resent having to absent myself from attendance of these concerts? Of course I do, but I do so out of respect for all the other members of the audience, and I expect the same respect for my own enjoyment by all others. Could I go alone to hear the music which has been part of my life for so many, many years? Of course I could, but I would not dream of attending without my wife, mainly because we have been together for so long, that a visit without her beside me, would simply be so selfish as to be impossible.

Which is why I find the attitude, and actions, of this bloke, together with his ‘carer’; in complaining because he was asked to leave a cinema because the noise of the motorised respirator annoyed other members of the audience, totally disgraceful. It is not ‘discriminatory’, it is not ‘insensitive’, it is not ‘disgraceful’ this is the world in which we live.

As one ‘Disability Campaign Officer’ stated, “If the noise unfortunately disturbed other customers, then you would hope they would make the compassionate choice to move seats.”

No Madam, you are wrong. These people paid their cash, and wished to enjoy the film uninterrupted by noises such as a ventilator, and they were correct in complaining. The Odeon cinema chain were equally wrong in their apology; as far as I am concerned, they had nothing to apologise for.

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