John Man, music guru and part-time gate-keeper, is outraged that so many young people are glued to their phones all day.
“It just seems like they are always on their phones, and they have totally lost their connection to the real world,” he said. “What could possibly be keeping them glued to their screens?”
Man works in the music industry as an Approved Contractor, or as he likes to call it, Contractor, meaning he regularly needs to find and hire musicians for gigs. “It really frustrates me when I send out an email or facebook message at literally any time of the day, and I don’t get a reply for, like, minutes,” he said. “These gigs don’t book themselves!”
Man says he operates a simple policy to ensure professional standards are maintained when he doles out jobs to freelance musicians, or “squawkers” as he calls them. “Whoever replies first gets the job,” he said. “That is the one golden rule I always stick to, except when I don’t like the person who replies first, in which case I wait for a couple more replies and then I pick the person I deem to be fun, or attractive, or well-connected. As the old saying goes, you have to be in it to be ignored or maybe not, who knows.”
Man’s colleague, Bob Guy, does a similar job for World-Class Famous-City Orchestra. His policy is simple: “If we need to hold auditions, we send out a message to everyone on an email list that hopefully one of my colleagues can find in a file somewhere in the office,” he said. “If a musician doesn’t reply within the hour, then I think it is pretty clear they are not a serious candidate. What could a musician possibly be doing other than sitting at a desk answering emails like me?”
We spoke to Sally McNally, a young professional musician fresh out of music college. “It’s true, I do indeed feel like I am addicted to my phone,” she said, “but what if miss that crucial message asking me to play some gig at short notice? And what if answering that message is actually the difference between me paying my rent for the month or not? I guess you could say I am addicted to not starving.”
We asked Man if he had any thought’s about Sally’s plight. “Whenever I see a young person on their phone for any reason, even if I don’t know what that reason is and make no effort to find out, I always think to myself: I am definitely better than that.”