Musical memory or rummy remembrance?

Is it possible for people to go two hours without drinking? I do not think so. I refuse to believe that people refrain from “pre-gaming” before going to Cineplex or that they do not slip a little rum into their $12 Pepsis before a film. I am fairly certain that parents at elementary school concerts have all had multiple beers beforehand and even during, and the only reason they do not shuffle in and out of the rows of brown folding chairs for pee parties and “shotgunning” beers in the back is that they do not want to miss their child’s lackluster dancing and stumbling over lines. In other words, they push their bladders and their desire for booze to the limit for the sake of their children. That, my friends, is true dedication.

Why do I believe these things, you ask? I believe these things because there is one situation where people are far less subtle about their inability to go two hours without drinking — the concert. For some reason people relax their personal rules about drinking at entertainment functions and behave their poorest, when they should be behaving their best. They flout their boorishness to the world, disturbing those of who wish to have a ripping good time without getting cheap whiskey poured down our backsides.

I am not averse to a little apéritif or digestif now and again. A good snifter of cognac to liven up a session with John Dryden’s The Hind and the Panther is a sure cure for intemperance of the humours. Why, though, must alehouse madness and Falstaffian foppery be suffered in the context of a musical performance?

To engage in such behaviour is clearly a brutish endeavour, insulting poor Aristotle, who so vehemently argued for the status of man as the rational animal — a cut above the rest. Apologies, Aristotle, founder of Western thought, you were mistaken! You failed to take into account those who dole out serious drachma to shuffle in and out of cramped spaces, doling out more drachma for exorbitantly-priced drinks and shuffle in and out again to fulfill their basest urges, utilizing both functions of their down-under parts, bothering everyone else, who wait for a “sorry” that never comes as you slosh about. Why did you waste your time, Aristotle, carving out a distinct species for us humans in the genus of animalia, when people choose to fritter away a singular event by participating in what they had yesterday, can have later this evening, and will inevitably have tomorrow, barring a failure of Phoebus to make the climb in the East tomorrow? Or will he be hung over too? This behaviour belongs to the set who feel that turn signals are just extraneous “bells and whistles” that come with their autos and people who use contractions in their prose.

Concerts are singular. They occur once and float away into the fog of memory. They will never happen again. Sure, they will eventually fade into cracked and fragmented pieces in the mind, but why catalyze this deliberately as the event is happening to excess? You can go see a film over and over again. If given the choice, I would rather you ruin that for me than a concert. The venues and artists do little to remedy the situation, though. In fact, they feed off of it. Venues line their coffers from overpriced, watered-down (sing praises) drinks and artists attain excited fans. Perhaps this should stop.

Only one artist has treated us with proper respect. He played Winnipeg in 2007, with the true fans in mind, the ones who were there to enjoy the music, by banning alcohol sales and Johnny-come-latelys at his show. The ticket read a menacing “7:30 sharp,” and meant it. But the ticket promised us not “an evening gawking at” or “an evening stumbling around in front of” but “an evening with” this man. The venerable Van Morrison treated us with one of the most special nights this backwater burg has ever seen, giving us a piece of his ancient Celtic soul, enwrapping our fancy as a pint of swill never could. Van the Man, while largely perceived as arrogant, gave me true consideration.

Of course some will cry out against me, furrowing their brows and claiming that drinking is integral to some acts. Sure, AC/DC screamed into town, ripped up the stadium with their trademark boorishness and bosomy inflatable women. In fact, that was one of the most special nights this backwater burg has ever seen. What good would it have been without a little loutish debauchery? But many of you complained that you could not get drunk, on account of the incredibly long lineups. I have to commend AC/DC for having so many oafish fans that they could not possibly have been satisfied alcoholically, largely leaving my shirt dry and my knees unbashed. Were you not entertained, despite your lack of liquid happiness? If you were not, perhaps you should have stayed in the Best Buy parking lot.

Perhaps it is time to end this bizarre experiment. The test is over — booze and bards do not mix! Maybe in the hidey-holes and alehouses they do, but not in the supposed relaxed atmosphere of a musical venue. Several avenues are open to us that make logical sense — either begin selling alcohol at film screenings in order that I and the other film-lovers will be miserable there too, or remove the element of drinking at concerts. Save these tragic rapscallions from themselves.