A true story, which happened … this very morning.
I’m quite contentedly sleeping (dreaming of the next Niluccio podcast) when, at 5am, I find myself ... awake. Yeah, it’s become a recent habit. Presumably the light summer mornings. I don’t mind - the lovely birds of Hackney are doing their stuff and it’s kinda nice.
Except, what’s this! Voices outside, a mere 40 metres away. Yep, it’s people from an adjoining building out on their roof. In fact, I now realise I’d heard the distinct popping sound of a wine bottle being uncorked (really). It’s what’s woken me up.
Well, well. So they’re chatting away, mere youngsters (compared to me) having a little dawn party in groovy E9. Who can blame them? I’ve done the same myself (though doubtless in far less fashionable circumstances).
Anyway, time ticks on. The chat is getting rather voluble. It’s hard not to tune into what people are saying, especially the loudest one, a woman who speaks in surprising foghorn frequency. She’s blathering on (with total assurance) about some music that can actually also be heard in the background (it’s coming from inside their building). “I LOVE this. Listen!”, she commands. And then other stuff about the musician concerned, who, it seems, she actually personally knows and advises, and possibly even “manages” (I hear her speaking about “being a manager” repeatedly).
Blimey. Early-morning music industry chat. Right outside my window. But … it goes on and on, and the music manager woman is basically a know-all who switches to the EU referendum and the US election with equal self-assurance (and apparent lack of knowledge), talking across other people and generally getting on my nerves.
And so to my point, dear reader. Contrary to received opinion, it’s not loud music that’s annoying when neighbours have their little nocturnal gatherings, but the bloody infernal racket of their nonsense conversations. Give me (even) the Stone Roses at 100 decibels compared to people like my music manager neighbour braying away at 10 decibels.
Many years ago, when I actually lived in the home town of the super-tedious Stone Roses, I once made the mistake of giving in to pressure from my then partner and getting up in the middle of the night to confront our neighbours over their loud music. I hated doing it (shyness, fear) and later regretted it. Who was I to get them to turn down the music? I like music. It wasn’t even bothering me.
No, the noise abatement bores have been focusing on the wrong thing. It’s not music that’s anti-social. It’s people.