Maybe it’s time for a ringtone revolution

THEY can interrupt a tense moment in a film, drive stage actors to distraction and set teachers’ teeth on edge. Still, more and more people seem to think it’s okay to leave their mobile phone ringtones on when they’ve been asked not to.

IT was a Monday morning.

Like a lot of people out there, I’m keen on maintaining work-life balance. I believe a part of that is doing active, healthy things, like going for walks and heading to the gym every once in a while. It clears your head and puts you in a more positive mind-frame.

So last Monday I found myself lying on a mat at the LC2 in Swansea, feeling a zen-like calm after a yoga session. We had just done 45 minutes of stretches and I was starting to feel ready to take on the week ahead.

As we lay in our “restorative poses” our instructor put on some lovely, soothing music, and talked to us in a quiet voice about slowly bringing movement back into our bodies.

Then, about 10 feet away, neatly tucked in the bottom of someone’s handbag, a mobile phone starts blaring. “TRINGINGINGING!! TRINGINGINGING!! TRINGINGINGING!!”

The timing couldn’t have been worse.

The phone was eventually turned off, but not without quite a lot of swearing from the owner first.

You have to laugh, because this kind of thing could happen to just about anyone, right?


Anita Dobson and Greta Scacchi in Bette and Joan.

But it was on that very same day that South Wales Evening Post contributor Chris Carra wrote his review of Grand Theatre production Bette and Joan.  He reported that mobile phones bleeped and rang throughout the production. At one point actress Greta Scacchi was visibly annoyed with the ringing, and had to pause for more than 30 seconds while the call finished.


The owner of the phone was presumably too embarrassed to answer it and tried to pretend he or she didn’t know where it was coming from.

So yoga sessions, theatre productions… is anywhere safe from mobile phones?

Apparently not.

Libraries – those lovely havens for study – have been plagued by mobile phone users for years. According to the LA Times, some libraries in California were even toying with the idea of banning people who use their mobile phones in the buildings. Others have accepted that people can’t put down their phones and have created “cell phone friendly” areas in libraries.

Maybe it’s time for a revolution.

The fact is, you don’t have to use a ringtone for most things. As long as you’re checking your phone regularly, you will pick up texts, emails, and other messages without any problems.

You will, of course, sometimes want to be able to hear your phone if you’re expecting a call. But it’s not too difficult to make a habit of turning the volume off if you’re in a public space such as a library or theatre.

I admit, I’m guilty of leaving my phone at my desk at work while I go grab a cup of tea, and I’m sure on one or two occasions it’s gone off without me there to answer it.  I can understand why people forget – to err is human.

But folks, we live in a very loud world. Let’s grab a bit of peace and quiet when we can.


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