The Music of the Night

So, last night we did our usual "winding down from the weekend" thing: dinner, glass of wine, calling the police at midnight to complain about the EAR SPLITTING NOISE from people blasting out loud music from their houses… Just the usual, really.

This experience was slightly strange, though, for two reasons:

1. The music was coming from at least two streets away

2. It was Terry who finally flipped and and called the police about it, not me, Freaky Noise Hatin’ Girl.

Being the party animals we are (Look, you try living in the Little House of Renovation Horrors and see how tired you are of an evening…), we had gone to bed at about midnight. Terry was settling Rubin down for the night, so it was I who heard the noise first. In fact, I heard it the second I walked into the bedroom.

THUMP! said the noise. THUMPTHUMPTHUMP! Then THUMP! it said again. Then it did that thing where it shut the hell up for a few minutes, making me think that maybe it was just a car stereo or something, and then THUMP! it said again.

Instantly, my head exploded.

Regular readers will not need me to explain to them how totally incandescent with rage excessive noise makes me. For the benefit of new readers: excessive noise makes me incandescent with rage. Seriously.

Well, I threw open the bedroom window and glared around the street, trying to work out where the THUMP! THUMP! of the booming baseline was coming from. It was at this point that I made my shocking discovery: the noise wasn’t coming from our street at all. It was coming from some unspecified location far, far away – a distant galaxy perhaps – way the hell past our street and in the direction of the estate that lies beyond it.

Now, I know sound tends to carry at night, but in order to understand just how ear-splittingly loud this music would have to have been for us to have heard it from INSIDE OUR HOUSE you have to know that there are no other streets really close to us. There’s our house, then there’s a row of houses opposite us, then there’s a strip of freaking FORREST, which normally acts as a pretty good sound buffer, then there’s a footpath, then there’s the next door estate.

So, basically, this must have been one hell of a party is all I’m saying.

Anyway, I must have been even more tired than I realised, because rather than pacing the house hysterically for hours, ranting about how INCONSIDERATE and FREAKING STUPID other people are, I chose to rant hysterically for only about two minutes, before putting in my earplugs and trying to go to sleep. Which left Terry do deal with the onslaught of noise all by himself.

Now, Terry is a pretty placid person. Nothing really annoys him. Seriously, you could come and wash your car near our house any time with the stereo blaring, and Terry wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I know this because most people do wash their cars with the stereos blaring. But Terry had just spent an entire week destroying and then recreating a kitchen with his bare hands, which is why it came to pass that I woke with a jolt some time later to hear him calling the police.

Yes, people, Terry had finally Had Enough. It was no more Mr Nice Guy for him. Sadly it was "No More Mr Nice Guy" for the police, either. The woman who answered the phone, you see, wanted to send someone round to our house to "assess the noise level". This person would call us first, she said. Did I mention that it was now about ONE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING? Well, it was. And we were not at all down with the idea of getting out of bed and sitting down with "noise assessors" in the middle of the night. I mean, what happened to the old method of dealing with loud parties, whereby the police would drive into the street in question, identify the source of the noise (which, given that we could hear it from MORE THAN TWO STREETS AND A FORREST AWAY, shouldn’t have been the hardest job in the world, ya know?) and tell them to shut the hell up? Seriously, the type of noise that can be heard from that far away is not the kind of noise that needs "assessing". It’s the kind of noise that needs switching off. No?

Apparently not, though. We have no idea whether the police did go out to the noise makers, but the THUMP! THUMP! went on until about 1.30am in the morning. Which sucked. And this, my friends, is why everyone in the world should own ear plugs…

In slightly better news, I found my gym mojo – it was hiding underneath the kitchen sink. Latest crazy running time: 45 minutes. I am back in the game, people! (What is the game, though?)

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  • I hate noise in the night. It's awful and really unnecessary. Our neighbours are being good right now, but when we first moved in they would start their parties at midnight and they would go on until I left for work the next morning. Which is 8 am. I tried knocking on the door/ringing their bell etc. Nothing. I left them notes and they said they'd be quiet and it started again. Plus their friends would come and ring our doorbell at all hours.

    Obviously I am still not over this, but what I am trying to say is, I feel your pain, and it should not be allowed. There does need to be better noise pollution prevention. Or something.

    April 28, 2008
  • Erik (Sorrento)


    Noise assessing? Standing in front of a house of the residents who complained about the noise to "assess" the volume of a loud party is a woefully inadequate method to properly "assess" anything. There's a big difference between sitting on a front porch for about 10 seconds and attempting to sleep in a bedroom when most humans require either silence or distant natural ambient noise and being endless jolted and nagged by THUMP THUMP THUMP reverberating through the walls and floors. I'm wondering if amplifier companies have contributed to your local police pension fund.

    April 28, 2008
  • I totally agree. It makes me feel like an old biddy to admit it, but I have zero tolerance to noise at any time of day. It just leaks into my brain and a switch turns on and I'm instantaneously annoyed as hell. I make Dave wear headphones at his computer because I can't stand computer sounds (my volume is always off). I keep the apartment stuffy because I can't stand the street noise when the window's open. I keep the phone on low. I like to chock it up to my super sonic sensitive hearing, which can hear a pin drop. You're not alone!

    April 28, 2008
  • Stephen


    "The woman who answered the phone, you see, wanted to send someone round to our house to "assess the noise level". This person would call us first, she said."

    The hell?

    That's the strangest / shitiest thing I've heard about our 'polis' yet.

    April 28, 2008
  • So glad to hear it's not just me who suffers from the intolerance to noise! (Amanda Nicole – I make Terry wear headphones too. I honestly thought I was the only person who did that.)

    From the police's point of view, their main problem was that we couldn't give them a specific address to go to – this being because the music was coming from two streets and a forest away, and we weren't prepared to get up in the middle of the night and go trecking through the woods to write down the address. And we'd probably have had heads kicked in for our trouble. But seriously, if it was loud enough for us to have heard it from that distance it would have been more than loud enough for a police car driving into the street to identify the source of the noise. For them to want to come and carry out a "noise assessment" from OUR house just seemed ridiculus at that point – and as Terry pointed out to the woman on the phone, it wouldn't have been just us that was being disturbed by it, either.

    April 28, 2008
  • A noise assessor?? How infuriating! As though the fact that you are disturbed by the noise isn't enough for them to send one of their bored patrollers out to hush up the offenders! Poor Terry! I would have gone through the roof…

    April 28, 2008
  • Steph


    I hate noise. It really distresses me, loud and/or uncontrollable noise actually causes physical pain for me. I feel so sorry for you guys!
    I had to travel to take an exam today, on a train with kids running up and down screaming, and my nerves were shot to pieces by the end of the journey. Then, during the exam, my invigilator had to go out twice to tell people in the corridor to shut the hell up, because apparently the giant yellow sign saying 'EXAM' didn't do the trick.
    When I rule the world Amber, it will be perfectly legal for you and Terry to hunt down these people with a cricket bat…

    P.S. I do the headphones thing too. Slightly more alarmingly, I have in the past told my sister off for breathing through her nose. Yes, I am mental.

    April 28, 2008
  • Oy, I hate that too. The people who live above us are constantly stomping around. Little old lady me responds by hitting the ceiling with the broom. Nice.

    April 28, 2008
  • Wow, I only just discovered your blog and I have to say – strangely – we have many of the same attitudes. Noise makes me homocidal, especially bass noise, especially at night. I live in an urban neighbourhood on the very edge (mercifully) of the student ghetto and I've been known to call the police many a time. Bass thud in my room at 3 am is a strange kind of torture…

    May 2, 2008