I'm not exaggerating when I say I haven't been to a single movie, concert or theatre performance in the last six months that hasn't been ruined by people talking.

I thought perhaps it was just a few isolated cases, but after a busy festival season I am ready to conclude that rude audiences are an EPIDEMIC. Chatty Cathys and Talkative Toms are invading theatres, cinemas and concert halls everywhere, and they must be stopped.

There they were at the end of my row in a screening of Tarantino film "The Hateful Eight", loudly explaining bits of the plot to each other and offering such sharp cinematic insights as "gee, that snow looks cold".

There they were again behind me at the Fringe, paying zero attention to the bloke hanging six metres above the stage doing acrobatics to Sia's "Chandelier", instead preferring to carry on a loud and boring conversation about Caitlyn Jenner.

Then there were the ones at the Festival of Arts opening night performance of Groupe F, who clearly thought that sitting on Adelaide Oval made it OK to chat because, I dunno... you can talk at the footy?

The show lasted less than an hour and they talked a good 20 minutes of it, offering such intelligent commentary as "I thought this was a fireworks show where are the fireworks... oh there they are". It was like listening to the Christmas Pageant narrated by Cheech and Chong.

They were even at Prince's concert in Sydney last month, a sold-out gig with astronomically priced tickets that precluded everyone but the most die-hard fans. And yet, there were these two chatterboxes, quite happy to ignore the Purple One to instead talk about such-and-such cousin's hen's night, and so-and-so's new baby.

At least Prince had instigated a "no mobiles" rule at his concert. The only thing ruder than someone talking through a performance is someone playing with their phone through a performance.

Like the bloke in front of me at Groupe F (yes, I was sandwiched by idiots) who insisted on holding his mobile camera up for minutes at a time, trying to get the perfect shot, presumably so he could put it on Facebook with a caption like "I AM AT FIREWORKS" and never look at it again.

It's not only the talking and the happy snapping that's gotten out of control. At a recent concert at the Festival Theatre I sat three seats away from a girl who took her shoes off and put her bare feet on the seat in front of her, rubbing her greasy skin all over the red cushions. I almost threw up.

I don't hesitate to admonish these jerks: first with a glare, then with a longer, more pointed glare, and then with sharp words, but it rarely makes a difference.

More often than not you'll be greeted with a wounded "SOR-RY", like you're a horrid old hag ruining someone else's fun, which is typically followed by 10 minutes of muffled grumbles as they try to get their ego back intact.

One woman, who ruined at least three songs of a Jack White concert by loudly performing a monologue entitled "I don't know whether to break up with Steve", told me I was being "mean" when I asked her to shut up.

Who are these awful, entitled people, who have such little respect for the audience members around them and the performers on stage? When did everybody get so bloody rude?

It wasn't that long ago that we had to start reminding people to turn off their mobile phones during a performance; it's high time we started reminding people to shut their big yaps, too.

Remember: if you're not the one on stage, no one wants to hear you.


First published in The Advertiser March 26, 2016. CLICK HERE to read the original article.