But First Let Me Take A Selfie

But First Let Me Take A Selfie

Yes, the title of this article DOES refer to the mind-numbingly banal and irritating track from the past summer by god-knows-who. But don’t worry, this is not going to be a vigorous analysis about the “depth” included in these lyrics which encourage us to pull out our iPhones and pull our best duck face.

What I want to talk about is selfies and the culture formed around them. Most of us take them, partially due to boredom and partially because looking good on social media has become who we are. Our identity is shaped through our experiences, shared on websites like Facebook or Instagram. Usually practiced by the American Apparel-clothed guys and girls, selfies and Snapchat have become a part of gigs. You don’t pull out your camera phone at the opera or in a theatre but watching a carefully constructed musical act at a gig through your screen is completely acceptable. But what is all this for? It undermines the work of the band you are seeing and it ignores the whole notion of LIVE music.

It is hard to escape from the world ruled by excessive imagery and sound.  To some of us, going to see your favourite band is escapist. For a an hour and a half you are in a sanctuary shared by other refugees from the real world but this peacefulness can only last for a certain while until someone pulls out their iPhone to record a memory of an event that they are not actually experiencing.

There is irony in the existence of smartphones. While they provide us with services that are developed for capturing data and forming memories, we are eventually left on our own with artificial memories stored in these devices, instead of in our actual minds. If music had the power to make millions of girls faint from Beatlemania, it surely has enough power to create a vivid memory of a gig in 2015, too. So next time when you are reaching for your phone during a gig-stop, take a look around and embrace the atmosphere. Notice all the people around you and experience the live show the way it should be experienced: with open hands in the air, drinking it all in with your real eyes, ears and mind.

Kasimiira Kontio