She didn't leave, she resumed. Sturtz didn't heckle for the rest of the speech. Heckling hasn't simply become - like the rainbow parties* of Ariel Levy's book Female Chauvinist Pigs - something the press is talking about but nobody is doing. It is not reserved for sweaty comedy clubs, PMQs (is that heckling? Or political banter? Why can I never remember which is which?!) and rallies. Heckling seems to be gaining ground, does this mean we are waking up?
This week the "yoghurt weavers" as guest James Delingpole called them were booing, cheering and heckling so loudly that they had to be told to shh. Because they would rather see the odd wind farm cluttering up their sea view or countryside than, you know, grey smoke billowing out from huge chimneys into the lungs, sky and countryside. So Dickensian.
I'm pro-heckling. I think it is necessary because unfortunately often the people with the expertise or relevant life experience don't get given a platform. It demonstrates engagement and discourages those who have the mic from effing around with facts. It is our responsibility as the bloody proles to call people on stage the heck out.
people were more shocked by the... heckling than... wishing gang rape on somebody.
My only rule regarding heckling and comedy is I don't heckle newbies. At a comedy competition recently a stand up ripped off Dara O'Briain. I chose not to heckle because there must be something wrong with you if you think you can get away with stealing a hugely successful stand up comic's material. Be it misplaced hubris or stupidity. I knew it, that sweet thievin' dum-dum knew it, the rest of the audience (who outnumbered the comedians) knew it. He didn't win.
So, when to heckle? More importantly, when to shh (don't make Jonathan Dimbleby shh you)? First up make sure your heckle is relevant, let's just get that out the way. Heckle the powerful who are standing idly by in order to save their own necks. Heckle those who are preaching hate through deception. Heckle those exploiting the weak. Call people out. Make them answer your question (that's when you stop, nothing worse than a heckler who expects an actual answer). Whether you're a worker in a biscuit factory honoured with the presence of an glottal stop indulging MP or a Radio 4 audience. It shows we are awake and it shows we are dangerous.
*if you don't know what one is then I warn you it's a NSFW google.