Phone ad­dicts ru­in­ing opera ex­pe­ri­ence for all, in­clud­ing great per­form­ers

7 Days in Dubai - - DEAR 7 DAYS -

I was for­tu­nate enough to get tick­ets to see Jose Car­reras on Satur­day at the new Dubai Opera House. It is a beau­ti­ful build­ing and once again Dubai should be proud of an­other land­mark fa­cil­ity that will at­tract many res­i­dents and tourists. The event, to mark the farewell tour of the leg­endary singer, was partly spoil how­ever by the ‘dumb’ phone ad­dicts who lit­er­ally can­not stop view­ing their screens dur­ing the per­for­mance. It is bad enough in cin­e­mas, but pre­dictable, how­ever in the en­vi­ron­ment of a clas­si­cal mu­si­cal event which is live, it is a to­tal lack of re­spect for the per­form­ers and oth­ers in the au­di­ence. One very lucky per­son sit­ting in the front row vir­tu­ally in front of Car­reras spent more than 20 min­utes glued to his phone en­tirely obliv­i­ous to the fact that 1,900 peo­ple be­hind him could see the shiny white screen of his mo­bile. The ques­tion has to be asked: Are these peo­ple so im­por­tant that they have to con­tin­u­ally check their mes­sages? One as­sumes they must be dif­fer­ent than the rest of us lit­tle peo­ple and that their pres­ence in the room, even in front of the great singer, should be ap­pre­ci­ated and we should ap­plaud them for their abil­ity to multi-task even if it spoils the event for the rest of us. Is there any cure for this dis­ease? Dur­ing one pe­riod of the evening I counted more than 10 bright lights em­a­nat­ing from the dumb phones. We were lucky to have these 10 or so im­por­tant peo­ple in the crowd al­though if I could have I would have thrown each of their phones into the ex­tra­or­di­nary Dubai Foun­tain just out­side the build­ing! Roger Wake­ham Dubai

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