Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Fight for your right to snack

Some of you, I know, have been knocking around here for a while. We've got to know each other a little bit, over the years. I know where you come from (hello Strasbourg!, hello Melbourne!), how often you come and how long you stay. You know my characteristics – good and, in particular, bad. I am quick to judge. I am easily irritated. I am a little bit of a snob. You'll have your own favourite. If you felt like keeping it to yourself, I'd be OK with that.

Probably you would not think of me as a law-breaker, a hooligan, a risk-taker.

Yet last week, the deeply conscientious security staff at the Shepherds Bush Empire felt it utterly necessary, with no brooking of argument, to dispossess me of these potentially dangerous weapons.

In the interests of safety (I am assuming) I was forced, against my will, to surrender a small bag of Nairn's Oat Bakes (Cheese) and an Eat Natural muesli bar to a nearby bin before entering the auditorium.

What exactly did they think I was going to do? Oat someone to death?

I understand the need to prohibit some personal food and drink items at a concert. One's own bottles, for example. The venue needs to protect their audacious bar price mark-ups, and in order to do this must outlaw the School Disco Hip Flask, aka a seemingly innocuous plastic mineral water bottle, topped up with the spirit of your choice. I also understand that plastic bottles, with an optional cargo of piss, can be used as missiles in the throes of the modern-music concert experience. It's possible it happens at Glyndebourne, too, but I've never been so it's hard to say.

If there had been, say, a watermelon in my bag, which I had somehow managed to shotput with immense force towards the stage, it's true to say that the Scottish indie scene of the 90s could have lost some of its best loved alumni last Tuesday night. Yet if, mid-performance, the band had seen a Nairn's Oat Bake landing on the stage, they would be inclined to think it was a small cardboard disc from the end of a party popper fluttering down from the rafters where it had been lodged since New Year's Eve, such is the flimsiness and wholly unappetising appearance of a Nairn's Oat Bake. (Luckily the taste is 93% Mini Cheddar.) Similarly, if you should drop some oaty, sultana-y crumbs from the balcony of the Shepherds Bush Empire, I honestly don't think they're going to kill anyone in the stalls. Gravitational acceleration really isn't all that.

I was hardly trying to cruise through the bag check with a piping hot and highly aromatic takeaway curry, or a large bag of rotten tomatoes labelled 'Don't forget to throw these at the band at some point during the show.'

Still, the security guard clung to the letter of the law like a young labrador with a particularly chewy slipper in its teeth.

I am ashamed to say that I didn't put up much of a fight. I did not stamp my feet and shout, 'I am a self-diagnosed borderline hypoglycemic! I must have my low-GI snackfoods!' I did, though, muster up an 'ARE YOU SERIOUS?' which was somewhere between sulky adolescent, incensed at their curfew, and customer of East Dulwich Sainsbury's being told there was no fresh coriander left on a Saturday morning.

I did not attempt to rally my fellow concert-goers into some kind of impassioned riot against the enfringement of my snacking civil liberties.

But next time, I will.

Almost certainly.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering how long that little event would make it to the blog, Miss Jones!

Readers, as a key eye-witness to the incident, I can report that Miss Jones was *seething*, if you can imagine such a thing. Just for a moment or two.


InvisibleWoman said...

I was momentarily distracted wondering what a 'Cat bake' was. I bet the snack police fought for the right to empty the bins and cart off their ill-begotten gains to scoff in comfort after the show.