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Tom Ravenscroft's music blog

The dos and don'ts of talking at gigs.

I've always taken issue with being told to be quiet. This is perhaps because it's something I'm not all that good at.

I take even greater issue with been shushed when it happens at gigs. I can understand it when someone's gob is louder than the music but I go to gigs with friends and I'd occasionally like to whisper something to them. The Barbican is an easy place to get shushed; it happened a lot during an extraordinary Bill Callahan gig this week, the strange thing being that often the shushing came at a point when no one was talking and so the shush itself was the only thing that could be heard.

I think it's a way of the shusher wanting to let everyone know that they appreciate the music more than everyone else, maybe understand it more and are perhaps, hell, a better music fan than the rest of us.

Callaghan, meanwhile, accompanied by a truly brilliant guitarist and drummer, managed to weave into a (slightly over-long) set so many sounds and textures and other worlds for you to briefly reside in that you had no desire to talk. That's how you shut someone up.

Tom Ravenscroft's radio show is on BBC 6 Music every Friday at 9pm. He writes a monthly music column for the New Statesman print edition


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