Yesterday I was in the bathroom when I heard my neighbours come outside for a smoke. The husband was telling the wife about his exciting plans. He wanted to organise a gig in a park. He wanted to get a bunch of bands playing, as well as a reasonably well-known and successful pop band. There’d be a gold coin donation “at the gate” or “there’d be a collection bucket passed around”, and a hot dog stand. “We’d get the city council in on it,” he explained, so it would “be all legit”.

Obviously there’s more to organising an outdoor concert than just booking the bands and food. There’d stuff like the sound equipment, security, crowd safety, and other stuff that probably only seasoned professionals know about. But just from his excited rant, it did seem that he didn’t really know what he was talking about.

The wife could tell this. She never once responded with anything positive, but instead went to neutral responses like “Uh huh” and “Oh, right”. He kept repeating his idea, seeming to want a bigger, more encouraging response from her, but she remained distant, probably not quite wanting to tell him that his idea wasn’t all that solid. After he repeated his plans for the third time and again got a lack of response from her, he finished with, “well, I think it would be a really great idea and I reckon it would work really well,” almost as if he was saying what he wished she’d say.

Noise, control

One of the signs of getting older, or perhaps rather maturing is when you call noise control on some rowdy neighbours.

Having attended more than a few parties where noise control was called, including the spectacular Metalfest ’94, where my friend’s sister got a whole bunch of metal bands playing on the deck at the back of her parents’ quiet suburban home, I know how much it sucks and I’ll happily tolerate hearing other people’s stereos. But I have limits.

The first and only time I called noise control was at the tender age of 22. I was living next door to a student village. There were supposedly strict rules for the residents about noise, and indeed there was never usually much noise coming from there. But then one night, I think near the end of a semester, someone was played their stereo really loudly. A massive party was in action. This German guy who lived in my building got out onto his balcony and started yelling at the students, who laughed at him and called him a Nazi. I was caught in the middle of this cul-de-sac melee and I didn’t like it. I picked up the phone and called noise control. Others had also complained and soon enough events at the student village simmered down.

Tonight I did the lite version of calling noise control – I banged on the wall.

My neighbours on one side are this cool married couple. They’re really nice people and possibly the best neighbours I’ve ever had. But tonight something mental was going on. Madonna’s “Immaculate Collection” was being played at a reasonable volume. Yeah, it was loud enough for me to be able to figure out what the music was (and to wonder if perhaps they were going to listen to “Like A Virgin” and recreate the Madonna/Britney/Christina lesbo pash moment from the MTV awards, OMG, how cool was that?), but not loud enough to be at all annoying.

Then it got annoying. Someone was playing with the volume control. Making things go really loud, then really soft, like they were just sitting there twisting it back and forth. Then it just got really loud.

Sometimes cars with loud stereos stop in traffic outside my house and it makes my windows rattle. This was worse than that. Everything in my lounge was rattling to the bass of “Holiday”. It was really, really horrible. Then the volume went down. Then it went right back up. I was getting really pissed off. After it went down again I got up, walked over to their side of the room and banged on the wall. I heard the stereo get turned right down.

Ha, that’ll learn them kids.

Insane Neighbours

I had this tendency to live in buildings with people who do unusual things.

The Lady With The Cat Named Lesbo

She used to take it for walks, like walking a dog. Sometimes Lesbo would go walking on his own and she’d be walking around the building calling “Lesbo, Lesbo! Where are you, you naughty cat?” Lesbo was very big and fat and white and fluffy.

The Person Who Couldn’t Sleep

A person of indeterminate gender started sticking notes under my door saying I was keeping him/her awake at night by doing such ruckus-inducing activities as opening my bathroom door, walking, closing the front door. After threatening me with eviction, he/she went to a doctor and discovered the he/she actually had a mental problem that was keeping him/her awake at night so he/she moved out.

The Guy Who Swore At Himself

One day I was sitting on my couch reading. I heard loud stomping down the hall. As it got closer to my place I heard a guy yelling “Fuck you, fuck you, just get the fuck out of my life!!” I went out on my balcony to see who was making the guy so angry, and saw him angrily walking up the driveway saying, “Fuck you, just fuck off”. He was completely alone.

The Naughty School Boy

I came home one day and there was a someone sitting in a car parked in my space. I went over to asked the person to move. There was a man sitting in the car dressed as a school boy. He said he couldn’t park on the street because someone might see him. Well shit, if you’re going to dress up as a naughty school boy, you should be prepared to accepted the consequences.

The Couple Upstairs

There was a couple upstairs who often had noisy sex. I’d be in bed trying to get to sleep and there’d be bang bang bang bang coming from above. That wasn’t so bad, but sometimes I could hear, “Oh yes, yes, oh baby, oh God!” type of sounds. I had once asked them to turn their stereo down and the woman was so friendly and nice that I wasn’t about to ask them to, er, be more quiet when they’re having a shag. I don’t know how you could do that without it being a little embarrassing for everyone.

The Singing Girl Upstairs

The shagadelic couple moved out and the singing girl moved in. She would do things like wake up at 3.00 am and sing really loudly. At first I thought she was singing folk songs in an Eastern European language, but one night I recognised her singing the Celine Dion song from “Titanic” and I lost all respect for her. She also hummed and I think she danced too, because there was lots of banging about. In the end I wrote a letter to her telling her to be quiet at night because I was losing sleep and she left a message on my phone telling me that she worked very hard. Right-o.

When I start getting bad voodoo vibes that’s when I know it’s time to move on. The road becomes my bride.