He’s been the talk of the net for 36 hours, ever since the alarm on his phone went off during the closing pages of Mahler 9 and conductor Alan Gilbert stopped the performance until he was sure the device had been switched off.
The man was quickly identified by New York Philharmonic officials as a long-term subscriber, and they are being very careful not to disclose his name because, they say, it wasn’t his fault and they don’t want to lose his business. Already, there are philistine tabloids baying for his blood.
Here’s the story (and you read it here first): the guy had just bought himself an i-phone. No longer in the first flush of youth, he was not quite sure how the darned thing worked but he knew his etiquette well enough to shut it off before the concert started.
What he did not shut off was a preset alarm. When it gave a marimba ring, he thought it must be someone else and looked around in irritation. Then he found it was him, and the conductor was glaring at him like a schoolboy who’d let off a stinkbomb. Mortified? Our guy didn’t know where to look.
He’s gone to ground, maybe Florida, and will never live down the shame.
I’m not going to be the one to disclose his name.
But it does make a case for concertgoers, especially the over-50s, to be asked to check in their phones with their coats. Right?