Chris Marshall

Talk To Me

In 1974 I saw Michael Crawford in Billy (the musical based on Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse) at Drury Lane, London. In fact to be precise I saw him twice: first during the afternoon when he was getting out of a Blue Audi and kindly signed an autograph for me, and second later that day in what remains one of my all time favourite shows.

In 1977 I saw Frank Sinatra at the Albert Hall. There is a photo somewhere in the family archives of me in Black Tie, but I don’t need to look at it. I remember the whole evening as if only 42 years ago! Most vividly I remember part way through the concert a lady walking the length of the hall and presenting Francis Albert with a pillow on which she had embroidered “Be Reasonable …… Do It My Way”.

I could go on: Morecambe and Wise live at Hull Theatre where they stood in front of the famous curtain for the whole show and had the audience in stitches, Bruce Springsteen at Wembley in 1985 where he did two hours, then came back and did a two hour encore!

I don’t have photos, videos or social media records of any of the above (naturally), but if you had a couple of hours to spare and we could find a ‘proper’ pub to sit down in I can recall pretty much every aspect of these events: pre, post and of course during.

I was reminded of the above recently when discussing with a friend that Sands and I had bought tickets for a concert next year (don’t get me started on how far ahead we have to plan now we back in the UK!)

Me: ” We have bought tickets for xxx next July”

Friend: “I saw them a couple years ago.”

Me: “What were they like?”

Friend: “I have a video I took ….”

Me: “Yes, but what were they like, what did you think of them?”

Friend: “Awesome, look at the video”.

I could go on. We did, rather like a final set at Wimbledon with no real end in site. I gave up in the end, as for the life of me I couldn’t get my friend to say what they actually thought, how the event had made them feel, what they experienced etc.

I was a little bemused by this to be honest, until we went to a concert recently at the O2 Institute in Birmingham. First visit and was very impressed with the the venue. A lovely old theatre (I think) with several levels, small bars dotted around, and a much older crowd than I was expecting. Viewing was a little difficult, even for me at 6ft 4″, until I realised that all I really needed to do is to look at the multitude of Smartphones people were holding up to video the concert.

I swear (often as it happens) that people spent more time recording, uploading, posting and chatting online about the concert they were at than actually enjoying the concert they were at.

The light went on ….. my friend had no recollection of the concert, other than they had a video to remind them.

Needless to say I have no photos or video from the concert at the O2 Institute, but should you want to Talk To Me about it I am more than willing to do so.

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