Neighbourly noise: confrontation and silence get you nowhere

 Supersonic stereo enough to drive neighbours to suburban warfare
Supersonic stereo enough to drive neighbours to suburban warfare Crystal Spencer

DURING the 1980s, I lived in a unit next to Mr Music, a guy who played his stereo at supersonic levels.

Once it was so loud that the picture hanging behind my couch dropped onto my head.

He ignored numerous requests to turn down the volume, until late one night when Boy George roared, "Do you really want to hurt me?".

I levitated from my bed, screaming, "Yes. Yes I do."

But a bloke from down the road beat me to it.

The music stopped abruptly, and the glorious silence that followed was broken only by Mr Music's shrieks for help as he was chased down the street.

Most of us are prepared to endure some neighbourhood sounds, like dogs barking at the postie, badly played guitars, roaring mowers and loud rants about politics - basically the noises that regularly erupt from my house.

It's only when the racket goes on for days on end that we start getting a bit ratty.

Like my mate, who lived below a couple who frequently enjoyed long bouts of noisy sex. His heartfelt cries for them to "give it a rest" only spurred them on. So he wasn't exactly devastated when they broke up after a couple of months, possibly from exhaustion.

Complain, and you risk becoming a target. Don't complain and you risk insanity.

Threats, retaliating with louder noise or tossing lit firecrackers through the front door aren't the answer either, as the police take a real dim view of neighbourhood noise vigilantes. Trust me on this.

You're better off letting the law deal with the selfish sods.

Speaking of which, I never found out where Mr Music disappeared to all those years ago, but I'm fairly sure the only sound system he's cranking up nowadays is the volume on his hearing aid.

Greg Bray blogs at Find him on Facebook: Greg Bray - Writer.

Topics:  noise complaint

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