David Lister: Art rage is just the start. There's movie rage, concert rage...

The Week in Arts
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A new term was coined this week – gallery rage, to describe the anger of art lovers at Tate Modern who had to fight their way through the crowds to get anywhere near the actual paintings at the popular Gauguin exhibition.

I usually have my gallery rage at Tate Modern as I enter the building. I suffer a bout of gallery rage waiting for the slowest lift in London to take me up to the exhibition. So by the time I come to look at the paintings I tend to be raged out, and can quite enjoy them despite the jostling.

But I'm glad that medical science or at least a few headline writers have recognised that culture lovers can suffer rage too. Of course, we usually suffer it at the first point of contact – buying the tickets, and being lumbered with booking fees, handling charges and the like. But after that, culture rage can occur for reasons you might not expect.

I've rarely noticed the much-discussed mobile phone going off in the theatre. I suffer my theatre rage from unnecessary laughter, audience members laughing loudly and in the wrong places and ruining the rhythm of a play. Worst of all are people who feel it incumbent upon them to laugh uproariously at the Porter's scene in Macbeth, one of the least funny scenes ever written, and you know that those who are laughing are only doing so to announce to the rest of the auditorium that they have studied the play, not because they find the scene remotely humorous.

Rock-concert rage comes in many guises: people talking throughout the gig, pausing only to spill beer over you; roadies making just one more check to the equipment many times over and an hour after the due start time; singers (stand up Stevie Wonder) who want the audience to sing most of the numbers, when we have paid to listen to the artist, not the bloke in the next seat.

I've recently found a new source of anger at operas. Yes, surtitle rage is striking with increasing frequency. How do the people who write these translations manage to leave the screen blank during vital interchanges in the drama? Is it a mischievous joke?

Understudy rage is also reaching epidemic proportions. Refunds, of course, are rarely if ever offered to audiences. But all credit to the English National Opera, which doesn't let a good dose of rage go to waste. It never knowingly has one lead off when two will do.

And then there's movie rage, or, rather, trailer rage, previews that give away the entire plot of what you plan to see the following week. Such cinematic concerns, though, pale into insignificance when compared with the person behind kicking your seat. And I'm about to patent "premium seat rage", the anger when you discover that these new, special and specially expensive premium seats are no different from the cheaper ones next to them.

Gallery rage is just the start.

The sands – they are a-shiftin'

It's a treat for Bob Dylan fans that he has signed a deal to write no fewer than six books, including two more volumes of autobiography to follow his acclaimed 2004 memoir Chronicles: Volume One. The deal has been made with publisher Simon & Schuster, and I rather like the words used by its spokeswoman, Hannah Corbett, in explaining why it has taken so long to negotiate a follow-up to Chronicles.

She said that the singer had been "very hard to pin down" on how many books he wanted to write, and the initial agreement had been made on "shifting sands". This is very Dylanesque language for a publisher. "Shifting Sands" would be a good title for a Dylan album, with him drawling the lyric, "I met a man, hard to pin down...".

Dealing with Dylan has clearly had a lasting effect on Ms Corbett. But her words could bring comfort to other tardy authors on the Simon & Schuster list. They can plead the "shifting sands" amendment.

Seal the deal with plenty of brandy

Shakespeare's Globe is to build a new £8m indoor theatre next to the famous outdoor one so that the venue can remain open all year long. It's a splendid idea. But how is it in these much proclaimed difficult times for the arts that the Globe can raise the money for this new project? The Globe, of course, receives no public funding, so all the money has to be privately raised.

I understand that the theatre's artistic director Dominic Dromgoole managed to get a substantial donation from an American benefactor over afternoon tea. More accurately, and more pertinently, it was over tea and brandy. The lady promised a substantial sum at the start of the tea and brandy, and by the time they were into their third or fourth glass, the substantial sum had grown to be considerably more substantial.

So there's a lesson for arts fund-raisers in these difficult times. Put a drop of brandy in the tea.



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