The Power of the Mob

To Hyde Park to see Aerosmith in action. I’ve not been to a large outdoor concert in years and had forgotten the little customs and habits that can make or break the day. One new development seems to be people holding up camera-phones now instead of lighters. A technological advance I suppose and in terms of lighting, the effect is much the same.

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Anyway, it was raining . . . hard. By the time Chris Cornell finished his supporting set (excellent, and, considering I know him only as the guy who sang the Bond theme and who had some sort of vague connection to Pearl Jam, surprising to boot) most of the crowd were drenched and umbrellas were popping up all over the place.

Nobody complained . . . I mean lets face it, when the stage is manned by roadies setting out Aerosmith’s 319 guitars there isn’t much to see. Round about 8.45pm Aerosmith came on stage to a raucous rendition of Love in an Elevator.

The umbrellas stayed up.

Bad move.

People who have paid £45 to see a rock n’ roll band from Boston don’t like a) having their view obscured by an umbrella and b) having the dripping detritus of London’s sky rolling off an umbrella onto the back of your neck and, in some poor feckers’ case, both of the above.

I can’t recall who threw the first bottle but it was what Sunday Independent journos call a ‘watershed moment’. An astonished gasp from the folks all around me as the half-full Evian receptacle hit the folks unfortunate enough to be close by to a large golf brolly about 12 feet away. A few giggles. A few whispers . . .

. . . then came the next bottle – a direct hit. This is what Sunday Independent journos call a ‘tipping point’. The brolly holder paid no attention so a third bottle was launched, then a fourth and a couple more hit home before the brolly folded to a large cheer. I looked about and the same brutal process was happening all over Hyde Park. Brollies were getting a battering from any obstacle that came to hand (cardboard pint cups, cardboard pint cups with beer still in them, plastic bottles, toilet roll [unused]). And the more brollies that folded under the pressure the less time was required to ‘persuade’ the remaining brolly holders of the error of their ways . . . It was, dear reader, a spiralling, wonderful sight.

So here we have a majority (the drenched) getting their way over an oppressive elite (the brollies). Sunday Indy readers might think of this as democracy in action but really it was mob rule and quite frankly having seen everyone leave Hyde Park in more or less an equal state of squelching wetness, mob rule rules.

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