Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Bruce story and mixed messages from the stadium.

Melbourne was buzzing with Bruce Springsteen stories over the weekend. People were wearing tour t-shirts, old and new, and the name of The Boss could be heard when eavesdropping in cafes.

The Yarraville Festival was on Sunday and before I headed off to see the show, I had a poke around the stalls as there are often some interesting wares to be found. As I asked a stall owner about a dress, she told me that she was very excited because Bruce Springsteen is in town and "everyone is talking about it!" She then asked if she could tell me her Bruce story. Naturally I said yes.

"Well it was a few  years ago and I was at the concert down the front. My boyfriend at the time was six foot four and I'm quite short and was surrounded by really tall people. I couldn't see anything. My boyfriend told me to get up on his shoulders and I did. Anyway, I was there waving my arms around - it was great, I could see everything - and then Bruce paused and started to wave his arms from side to side, then I realised that he was waving at me! I waved back! We did that for about twenty seconds!"

Her excitement over this 20 second exchange was equivalent to the level I would display if I'd been invited for a night cap and a private audience after the show. That wasn't the end of the story...

"And the other day, I came across this video on the internet. It was made by fans, for fans and anyway, I watched the whole thing - it went for about half an hour and then right at the end, there was me waving to Bruce and he was waving back! I reckon they had me there for about 6 seconds! At least I know it really happened!!!"

She laughed as the endorphins surged as she relived the experience. I'd have to call an ambulance if she'd had the night cap.

At the gates to the stadium we went through the usual bag search and noticed that all drink bottles were having their lids removed and anything over 1 litre was being confiscated. I asked why, wondering if was a cynical attempt to boost bar sales.

"Well see that lid?" the security woman held up the pale blue lid of a Mount Franklin bottle of water.

I nodded.

"That's a potential weapon. People were throwing them at Bruce."

Her grim delivery of the message nearly convinced me until I saw the size of the stadium. The world's greatest baseball player would have trouble getting that lid to hit its target. And what kind of fan wants to throw bottle tops at The Boss? A friend later told me that the lids are confiscated so that full bottles of liquid can not be thrown.

As I sat in the stadium before the show began, I noticed all the signs around the stadium.

One sequence that had me puzzled was the invitation to "join the conversation" via this billboard:
© 2014 divacultura
This was immediately followed by severe warnings that photography is forbidden in the stadium. That third icon represents Instagram, the photo sharing social media platform. Most people would obey this sign and ignore the other.

Lastly, there was the sign that said "Text anti social behaviour to [phone number]". The idea of personal safety within a stadium environment is important and while I think it's great to provide a way for people to report bad behaviour, this instruction is very ambiguous. It could mean:

  • I send a text message with the words "anti social behaviour".  What happens next?
  • I could send a message that is an example of anti social behaviour, for example "$#%^ off". What happens next?
  • I could send a picture of someone behaving badly. What happens next?
I suppose what they want is for a text message with details of who, when and where the behaviour is occurring so those fifteen year olds wearing a high-vis vest with the word "Security" emblazoned on the back could receive a message through their ear piece. 

There was no anti social behaviour near me and I resisted the urge to be mischievous by sending pointless text messages.

I hope Bruce wasn't injured by a stray bottle top.

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