Columns - Features

Life Through A Lens


Isn’t technology mindblowing?

I’m typing this collection of words onto a page, in whichever font I choose, displayed on a screen, which is attached to a bunch of plastic and metal with electricity running through it which is wirelessly connected to an international network containing all the information ever, which I can’t even see. Crazy.

Thanks to technology, the world of entertainment has been changed forever. Sure, it has its pros and cons but it has certainly made things a lot easier. There is no need to leave your house to do most things. You can buy albums, watch movies, read magazines, order food – the lot. Not to mention how it has streamlined the entertainment industry, particularly music, by cutting out the middle man on so many levels, again not always in a good way (so long, record shops, you will always be in our vinyl hearts) but certainly in a bid to make things more accessible. As a musician, I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder it must have been for bands in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s to organise tours across the world. While essentially involving the same things, only being organised by means of telephone and mail, the amount of time spent adjusting logistics compared to how things are done today would surely be tenfold.

But how has it changed how we experience music? Let’s take gigs as an example.

In an age where mobile technology has reached the point of ‘life companionship’ rather than simply a telephone, it’s increasingly common to see a swarm of screens being held in the air at shows by mobile phone wielding gig-goers. This means of experiencing music in the live environment has pushed some artists as far as displaying notices in venues requesting a change. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs recently took this step at their Webster Hall show in NYC, asking fans to “Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera. Put that shit away as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian.”


A valid point for some. Too many times in the past have I found that perfect spot in a venue only to have a screen raised right in my line of sight, like an unexpectedly tall person sitting in front of me at the cinema. In the words of Jarvis Cocker, who has previously shared his views on the subject via The Quietus “It seems stupid to have something happening in front of you and look at it on a screen that’s smaller than the size of a cigarette packet.” Surely if you have paid the ticket price for the show, you have paid for the chance to experience it with the other attendees?

Modern mobile technology is separating us all from reality and from each other. Whether it’s by choosing to experience a gig via whichever device we carry in our pocket rather than enjoy the atmosphere of the room with friends, or if it’s by using said device as a constant distraction from ‘real life’ when surrounded by others in an otherwise social environment, it’s a conscious choice we make to hide behind a screen. The other argument is that it has brought us all closer together in so many other ways. Each to their own I guess. Dave Magee

In true ironic fashion, below is a clip of Dave’s band LaFaro covering the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ at Glasgowbury at the weekend (he’s the only in lovely black one-piece, stage-left).

is also Riffmaster General in Belfast-based four-piece LaFaro.