December 21, 2008

Concerts and Coughing

Recently, I re-discovered this little solo excerpt from a live concert from 2000. Although at the time I was pretty annoyed, when I listen now, I can't help but crack up at the gentleman in the audience apparently in need of a lung operation during the performance.

When I think on it I realize now that coughing during a concert is an established nuisance universally tolerated but secretly despised by performers and other audience members alike probably since the dawn of time.

Picture if you will, the archetypal moment with all performers throughout the ages: bear skinned caveman over mastadon bones, angelic youth in a toga with aulos, Franz Liszt & Bugs Bunny in tux and finally myself at piano - arched back, clubs raised, hair and long ears thrown back, with arms raised ready to begin when suddenly...

"HAACKKKKKKKKKK...cough..cough ..COUGGGGGGH!!... kaff....................kaff kaff!!

What is it about quiet moments requiring rapt attention that elicits the worst coughing fits imaginable? Any ideas?

I think most of us would have liked to have used Bugs' "take matters into his own hands" solution featured in below video. But I guess the rest of us will have to imagine it in our heads.


Bugs Bunny and Franz Liszt
Jon Raney


Anonymous said...

I had horrible coughing fits today during a performance I attended. I was mortified to be so rude, but I couldn't just get up and leave. It's just as tough on the cougher as on the coughee.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bugs Bunny was probably guilty of unjustifiable homicide and his actions should not be encouraged.

Coughers are people too

Michael Hickins said...

Take it outside, I say! Good music is too fleeting.

Michael Hickins said...

And thanks for the link to BB, Jon. It's been a while since I've seen the rabbit in action.

Jon Raney said...

Your welcome, Michael. My unconscious memories consist of bugs bunny episodes and reruns of the honeymooners. Thanks to the omnipresent Youtube they can be revealed:)


Jon Raney said...

Apparently others have noticed and documented this "particular problem" as well.

Rick Stone said...

I've got a very serious lung condition and pretty much have had a cough for the last 3 years non-stop. I also do live recording for an early music group about once a year. The instruments are pretty quiet and the recording DOES pick up EVERYTHING. I have to remember to take all my medicines before I go to the gig and stuff my pockets with Ricola! (and if I have to cough, I try to suppress it until the applause which covers it up pretty well). But a lot of audience members become immortalized on the recordings because they just can't seem to control it.

But while we're on the subject, what about those damn programs? In order to remove subtle background noises (like the motor of the pipe organ) I need to find about 1-2 seconds of room sound with nothing else. You would think that in a 2 hour long program, somewhere along the line people would actually be quiet. But in fact it's almost impossible. If you've got 200 people at a performance, you can pretty much guarantee that someone will ALWAYS be fidgeting or fooling around with their programs (constant sound of folding paper) and of course ALL of this is picked up by the microphones.

So please add to the list:
"Concerts and folding programs."

Jon Raney said...

Sorry to hear about your lung condition. I had no idea.

Ha ha. Re: Blog on folding programs. Good idea

In terms of that suppressing silence. I see that in Audacity editor and attempted it once. But I'm really not adept at audio editing at all. When I couldn't do it, it prompted me to write this blog and leave the audio as is. In retrospect I think it would be funnier if they were MORE coughing... Perhaps I should've spliced in the incessant baby crying that was happening on the other tunes:)