From Amnesia Ibiza flickr

Annie Mac got a lot of coverage last week for her comments on the use of mobile phones in clubs, in an interview with Music Week.

“I noticed a distinct difference,” she told the magazine, commenting on a tour of smaller clubs she undertook last November. “That difference was phones – it was next level. Everything had to be recorded on people’s phones, or they were asking me to take selfies… It was constant phones in my face.

“There was this constant kind of need for documentation of the night and it just killed my fucking vibe. I feel like that’s a really big problem in terms of clubbing now, because the ultimate idea and goal of clubbing is to connect. It’s the same experience you get when you go to a football game – you’re all experiencing the same amazing emotional charge together.

“But if you can’t do that because you’ve got a fucking screen in front of you that you have to record everything on, it really takes away that initial base level of connection.”

I remember seeing Francois K in a small venue about a year ago and had the same experience – a young crowd, oblivious to the presence of a living legend on the decks, selfie-ing and shouting away to each other over some of the most precise, creative mixing I’ve heard for some time. The phrase ‘ignorant wankers’ doesn’t even half describe what I felt at the time.

Another, more positive experience, took place a couple of years ago, when Soulwax and James Murphy brought their Despacio soundsystem project to Electric Picnic. As well as boasting one of the most impressive sound systems ever constructed in a tent (and incredible tunes), one of the memorable features was a sign by the decks, asking people to ‘please don’t take any photos, please don’t talk to the DJ, and just enjoy the music’.

The suggestion was taken to heed by all present, and I don’t think there was anybody in the place that felt any worse for it.

Of course, Dublin-born Annie knows that her words are unlikely to mean anything – suggestions that clubs will force clubbers to either hand-in or cover the cameras on their phones is unlikely in this permanently-Snapchatting universe. But I can’t help but think back 20 years ago or more, to a scourge that was arguably worse than this current ‘menace’: cigarettes on the dancefloor.

Not content with having your clothes stink like Serge Gainsbourg’s ashtray, and ending up covered in a stodgy, black slime comprised of sweat and cigarette tar, clubbers in the 90s also had to try to avoid having their eyes poked out by one of these darting flames, while also hoping a deep inhalation of Vicks Vaporub would enable you to catch your breath amidst the Benson & Hedges haze (amongst other things… 🙂 )

I understand your point Annie, but nobody ever spontaneously combusted while standing next to a teenager choosing the right filter on their Instagram.

[Photo taken from Amnesia Ibiza Flickr gallery]

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