John Man, all-round muggle and champ, went to see one of those predictable and traditional classical music concerts last night. It was the sort of concert that features a number of excellent pieces of music played in a certain order in a venue that has comfortable seats and great acoustics.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I like music, and this was an excellent way of hearing music- you know, going to a room specially designed so that skilled musicians can play music for you. It was great.”
However, other audience members were not so pleased. Bob Guy was very frustrated with the entire concert, and said it was much too traditional. “It was much too traditional,” he said. “When I go to see highly trained specialists do their job at an elite level, I spend most of my time thinking ‘why isn’t this something else?’ I just can’t understand why it is so much like what it is.”
Journalists and critics were quick to pick up this story and perpetuate it for decades for no reason. “It is clear from this one concert that all of classical music is dying,” they all said incessantly without evidence. “The way we are going to illustrate that argument is by constantly talking about how audiences are supposed to clap or not clap and how important that is because that’s the only thing we understand fully.”
Man, who so enjoyed the concert that he promptly bought some tickets to other concerts he also hopes to enjoy, said that clapping was the last thing on his mind during a concert. “I’m not involved in the performance in any way,” he said. “I pay to see and hear performers doing what they do best. I honestly don’t care about clapping- I just love music.”
Bob Guy had a perfectly tangential argument ready to counter this. “Ah, but Man is part of an old audience,” he said knowingly. “We need new audiences. You know, the ones that are new, not old. This is so obvious to me I will never explain what I mean by it.”
Due to his curious nature, positive outlook, and general enthusiasm for life, Man was perfectly content to ignore this abstract fatalism altogether. “How amazing is it that I still find this music fascinating and delightful, even though it was written so many years ago in a world so different to mine? What a marvel.”