A pants warning to Zoom users

A pants warning to Zoom users


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2020

If you have to appear on screen – whether for a social exchange, lecture or a TV appearance – do pay attention to the camera angle.

Unlike this chap, who forgot he was wearing no pants.



  • TheBossOfAllOfYou says:

    I’m an IT manager; we all work remotely.
    I’ve fired one person for smoking on camera, and one for wearing tightie-whities, and nothing else.

    • Fan says:

      Are you IT manager of some porno company, firing workers for wearing things online?

    • Smoker says:

      You must have enjoyed the power trip. Does it feel so good to fire someone smoking on camera? I didn’t know you get third-hand smoke from watching someone smoke on the screen.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      My previous reply to you, “TheBossOfAllOfYou”, was deleted, so I will rephrase my thoughts in a more Norman-acceptable manner, which means, I suppose, refraining from calling you a name that you most richly deserve.
      You, sir or madam, have fired (FIRED!) two of your employees for offenses which are at most minor, and which could surely have been dealt with by issuing a reprimand and a caution.
      But in this time of crisis, when millions are losing their jobs and living a nightmare trying to feed their families and paying rents, YOU, sir or madam, fired (FIRED!) two of your employees for wearing clothing on camera which YOU, sir or madam, found not to your taste.
      Going forward, I do not know how you, sir or madam, will be able to look at yourself in a mirror.
      Nota bene, Norman: no name-calling.

  • Bruce says:

    I guess it can seem fun to take the risk, until you make a mistake.

    People should realize that if you’re working from home, you’re still at work; even if you aren’t dressed for the office, you should still be dressed.

  • Brian v says:

    He should be careful how he looks. My wife will not let me wear jeans at a wedding

  • SVM says:

    I think it is a very simple matter: one should dress for a remote encounter in the same way as one would dress for the corresponding in-person encounter. To do otherwise is unprofessional and disrespectful, and behoves an apology and explanation (e.g.: “my washing machine is broken”; “I was held up by an unexpectedly long supermarket queue, and had no time to change into my smart clothes before starting this meeting”).

  • Snark Shark says:

    You could say he was literally caught with his pants down.

  • Stephen says:

    And all this has what to do with music?

    • Petros Linardos says:

      It has to do with music and culture as much as the postings on doctors staging naked online protests,

    • Brian v says:

      Clothes have a lot to do with music. Why do the musicians in an orchestra have to wear the penguin suits which look like something in a Marx brothers film.
      When some conductors can wear a smart suite without a tie which I would think is much more comfortable.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Some do.

      • Bruce says:

        The “penguin suit” has been an ongoing pet peeve of mine for my entire career, since I started having to wear one in college. Ugh.

        I wish orchestras could simply wear black pants (or skirts) and turtlenecks (or mock turtlenecks). That way we’d look as if we were dressed for the job we’re actually doing, instead of some other job such as ballroom dancing, waiting tables, or getting married.

        But it will never change. Audience members who couldn’t hear a door slam will continue to write letters complaining that all the different shades of black onstage are a distraction because they clash with each other. (Not making that up.)

        • John Borstlap says:

          The ‘pinguin suit’ is an appropriate way of dressing for the occasion, to indicate that the realm of music is far removed from everyday life which may rage outside the hall and at home. Everything in the concert hall is meant to create an atmosphere different from the trivial, the mondane, the materialistic. Hence the impratical clothes, cumbersome instruments, chap waving his arms with his back to the audience, players cross-eyeing both their part and conductor, percussionist mumbling – counting the bars until his big bang – etc. etc., it is just not the usual monday morning work yoke.

          • Brian Viner says:

            Artur Rubinstein once said he cannot understand people going to concerts. He said I wear black the piano Is black the conductor
            Wears black and most if the audience are dressed in black.

        • Brian v says:

          If I had a choice to get married in a penguin suit or remain single
          I would remain single.
          I have been to afternoon concerts where the orchestra wear normal
          Smart clothes this looks better

  • V.Lind says:

    A I understand it, the Americans use the word “pants” to mean trousers. The British in my recollection have always tended to use “trousers” and when they say “pants” they refer to undergarments.

    Is it usual for the British to go about without underwear? I do remember as story Jennie Bond told on herself on HIGNFY that made me wonder…

  • Edgar Self says:

    Bravo, caro Greg Bottini.

    Orchestral players wear evening dress for evening concerts because their audiences used to. Like many customs, it persists long after the original reason for it is forgotten. There are signs it is changing.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Thanks, Edgar, for the support.
      Have you ever read Harry Partch’s book “Genesis of a Music”? It’s a great read, and in it Partch opines that people in the audience and the orchestra onstage should wear whatever clothing suits them (within the bounds of decency). Audience members should also be free to talk during a concert, if they choose to, and should not be discouraged from applauding not only between movements, but whenever a great moments happens musically, like the audience in a jazz club does. (AllRIGHT, solo trombone in “Bolero”!)
      What a guy!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Thinking further along these lines, audience members should feel free to not listen to the music at all and prevent others from hearing the music, and should unwrap their lunch sandwiches with maximum noise, visit their smart phone, etc. etc. – why going to a concert at all? We would be back at the first stage of public concerts in the 18th century when a bourgeois audience, not used to serious music, would make acute listening impossible. The following 1 1/2 century was an improvement.

        But, on the other hand, such behavior may be less disruptive with listening to Partch’s works:


        • Greg Bottini says:

          “Acute listening”!
          How quaint….
          You strike me as the kind of person, Mr. Borstlap, who would freak out when someone sitting three rows away from you sneezes or accidentally drops their printed program. Not to mention your outrage at being disturbed by someone getting up to go to the bathroom or hearing a door slam at the back of the hall! Imagine your “acute listening” being disturbed by such unforgivable incidents! Why, I get the vapors just thinking of your distress! Don’t you simply HATE those bourgeois audiences?
          You have never been, apparently, to a musical performance in an Italian town.
          And Harry Partch’s works? I have a distinct feeling that they will come into popularity after the over-70-year-old generation dies off and – hopefully – takes with it the stuffy conventions of the “classical music concert”. That very thing could be happening right now….
          BTW, thank you for the link to Partch’s “Windsong”. It’s a lovely piece of music, performed on instruments of his own design and build, employing microtonal scales of his own devising.
          Much of Partch’s music, back in the day, was released on Columbia Masterworks LPs. I have a number of those in my collection, and a number of CD reissues of his music.
          What have YOU invented, constructed, composed for, performed, recorded, and had released on a major record label lately, Mr. B.?

  • Edgar Self says:

    Servus, Greg! I just barely know Harry Partch’s name, and his book not at all, butwi’ll search it out on your recommendation as it sounds interesting, grazie.

    Concerts, recitals, ballet, church music, the opera are revealing social institutions that have varied widely with time and place. In Beethoven’s and Liszt’s day, they were sometimes as Partch advocates, especially salons and private affairs that were then common. Opera in Italy likely persisted in them much longer.

    The artificiality of music and its conventions has been remarked, and not only the classical area. No dodubt the Creator intended the physiology of Guido’s scale and that catgut be scratched by horsehair under tension. Else how could it be otherwise?

    I hope Mr. Borstlap avoids outdoor performances.