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Jessica Duchen
Monday 18th January 2010
Around the Roundhouse

I have a piece in today's Independent about the new classical series at the Roundhouse, 'Reverb', from 22 to 31 of this month, aimed at cool 20-somethings. The crux is: to stop patronising them and give them good music, well played in a relaxed and familiar atmosphere.

But somewhere in the cutting process we appear to have lost the bit about being able to take your drink into the auditorium. This little 'you-can't-do-that' detail of concert-going matters - it would make the atmosphere more relaxed and familiar, and actually most 'grown-up' concert-goers would like it too.

I don't think any of us really enjoy being effectively strapped into the centre of a row unable to move one milimetre for an hour. It would be ever so easy to implement a you-can-drink policy, since most venues - eg Barbican or RFH - are equipped for it and allow it in other types of event. It's only classical concerts where you can't. And, as we know, young Brits like to drink...

That would help, plus better lighting, and a few words from performers to audience before the music starts. It's not the music that keeps youngsters away, the OAE told me, it's the way it's presented. We'll see if the Roundhouse has cracked it, but wouldn't it be funny if it turned out it really is that easy after all?

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Rose Kue
January 25th, 2010
1:01 AM
Hi Jessica, as a 20-something, I think it's a valid point. BrooklynVegan had a funny entry on his blog about the re-opening of McCarren Park Pool a few years ago re: the chaos which ensued due to the unpreparedness of the bar scene. Anyway, I was at the Roundhouse shows this weekend and we were able to bring in our drinks. Even better was the fact that the drinks are reasonably priced. This was my first visit to the venue, so maybe it's different for more traditional concerts; I'm not sure. In response to Barbican: I saw Efterklang with the Britten Sinfonia back in October and we were definitely able to bring our drinks into the hall. I'm curious as to where the line is drawn...

January 18th, 2010
6:01 PM
It sounds interesting. But I do think people stay away from performances because they are not interested in the performances, not because of any fine point of etiquette.

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About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

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