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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Any Other Crabby Listeners Out There?

Few things annoy me as predictably as public speakers and musicians who rely on their charm and/or notoriety to "wing it". Unless asked to speak or play extemporaneously, what excuse does someone have to not prepare or rehearse?

Not long ago, I watched yet another arrogant, under-prepared individual try to bluster his way through a fifteen minute speech. He didn't appear to be working from notes. But even if he was, his remarks had no discernible theme - certainly not one related to the event - the speech had no flow, the whole debacle demonstrated no respect for his audience. Sitting there, I was reminded of a Kinks concert from many years ago. Each time those clowns flubbed a song - or depended on the audience to fill in a lyric they didn't take the time to memorize - I got more incensed. I paid money for this? Despite loving their music at the time, I never bought another Kinks record.

I'm not expecting perfection. Seams show, mistakes are human, and I actually don't enjoy speeches or
performances so buttoned up they strike me as sterile. And it's also possible my crankiness about off-the-cuff performances is connected to my own propensity for being hyper-prepared. But it seems to me there is a subtext to the sloppiness these improvisers foist on us, the listeners - "You are not important enough that I would spend time preparing or rehearsing."

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like Christmas Eve. Some people clearly prepare in an attempt to do their best and entertain their family. Others don't mind practicing with their family watching.

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    1. Anonymous; Interesting observation. I'm inclined to cut my family slack; they can "practice" all they like, while I'm watching or not. Anyone who is "entertaining me" in a purely social situation like that is, for me, held to a different standard than a public speaker or musician being paid for what they do. Thanks for commenting.

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