Culture

R U OK?

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Instagrammed the Entire Jungle Concert Last Friday

Hey you, with your pink t-shirt and turquoise shorts. We’re both in our early thirties, we both have glasses, we’re both at this concert for a band from the UK who only have, like, ten songs.

I see you.

You’re obviously the ‘fun’ one in your social circle. Maybe this was your idea, maybe not, but one thing’s for sure: you are here for it. You bought your friends beers, you’re gently ribbing your friend who is maybe a bit uncomfortable in a crowd this big, and this crowd is huge for a band who are really only famous for their YouTube-friendly videos. You’re even flirting with the women around you in a friendly, low pressure way. You’ve decided you’re a big fat party animal and I respect that.

Now put your goddamned phone away.

You’ve snapped your friends, you’ve selfied, you’ve done a 360-degree vid of the crowd. You’re good. Every time you do it, because I’m standing right behind you1, I get to see the world through your eyes. Your glossy, 5.8″ iPhone X screen-eyes. Of course you have an iPhone X.

Of course you do.

For someone who probably presents themselves as “spontaneous” and “fun,” you’ve got a really predictable pattern.

Here it is:

  1. Take pic
  2. Look straight down at phone
  3. Retake pic
  4. Repeat Step 2
  5. Add pithy, ironic, coloured text
  6. Emoji storm (optional)
  7. Post
  8. Social profit
  9. Be real and present and alive for less than 1 minute
  10. Repeat

Pre-show, I get it, you want to show off what you’re up to tonight. The guys at the office won’t believe this! As the band is coming out, fine, everyone is doing it. During the first song, I guess that’s okay, but now it’s time to just watch the show. Save your next shot for your favourite song, or when they really crank up the strobes and LEDs, say to a synth solo or that exquisite moment of suspension in “Lucky I Got What I Want.”

Now the really short girl next to me (and you and me, bro, we do not appreciate our tall guy privilege) is complaining too. Something must be done. This is my Crime Alley, you are Joe Chill, and I am Batman.

“Woo! Yeah! Put your phone down! Woo!” I say.2

Oh, sure, shoot the crowd again. Maybe your friends who are just tuning in to your stories haven’t seen it yet. Awesome. Is that old man still crowd surfing? Better slap a filter on that shit, make him look like he’s puking rainbows or whatever.3

Here’s the thing, though: when you do put your phone down, you are tearing up this dance floor. You’re one of those guys who can manage to bounce, shake your arms, and look side-to-side with way more rhythm than I would have given you credit for. You’ve probably been doing the same dance since Men In Black and it is really working for you. This is a dancy show. Concert dancing is all about maximizing space and you are maximizing to the max.

I’m proud of you, even though you’ve migrated closer to us and I keep having to dance my arms up over my girlfriend’s head to shield her from your wrists and elbows. The girl you’re dancing with just noticed and tried to stop you by grabbing your wrist, so you turned it into a spin.

Damn.

One of the guys in the band4 just said we’re the loudest crowd they’ve ever had. I beleive him. So does everyone else. You’re filming the Danforth Music Hall, which is rammed, even in the balcony, go absolutely nuts for these guys. I would film this too.

Actually, I should get one pic of this. I could finally replace the Kusama pic I’ve had as my phone background for months.5

Ahh, geez. They’re playing “Busy Earnin’.” I love this song and it’s probably their last one before the encore. I should take a pic.

I’m gonna do it.

But.

But then I’ll be like you.

You. Dancing your little forearms off and sharing your joy with your couple of dozen IG followers. Maybe they’re not the guys from work. Maybe they’re your family somewhere overseas, trying to stay in touch with their ever-distant cousin. Maybe I shouldn’t be judging you at all. We should all be as free and eager to share our joy as you are.

Now it’s the encore and of course they’re playing “Time,” which is not only the best song on the album, but the only song they haven’t played yet.

Just hold on tight /
Don’t let it in /

Yeah. You’re right, Jungle, I should let it go.

Just let it out.

You got it, T & J.6 You do you, phone guy, I won’t judge.

But if I ever see you pulling that garbage in a movie theatre I will end you.

References   [ + ]

1. But not close enough to ask you to stop. I’m perfect passive aggressive distance from you.
2. I actually tried this. I got a dirty look from someone else.
3. I do not have Instagram, I do not know if this is a thing.
4. I don’t know their names. The bald one.
5. Because I’m the most Basic Toronto Man ever.
6. I lied, I do know their names.