Tuesday, 10 November 2009

BRING THE NOISE

I hate my neighbour. Now, that's quite a strong confession to make, especially since I don't actually know him personally, but trust me, I have my reasons. He's a chav, for a start, he has gold caps on his teeth and he wears a baseball cap (even though if you quizzed him on the rules of baseball and asked what a sacrifice bunt, a squeeze play or a sacrifice fly is, he'd probably be none the wiser).

That's what amuses me about chavs. They love their sportswear more than life itself, it seems. But they are often completely ignorant about sport in general, resorting to a lazy and health-destroying regime of playing Xbox Live, smoking spliffs and scoffing McDonald's, while at the same time acting as urban poster boys for Adidas or Nike by wearing designer trainers and tracksuits. Does anyone not think that it's a bit odd? I certainly do.

What riles me is that this neighbour of mine insists upon smoking, even though it's a non-smoking flat, and I've even caught him leaning out of the window puffing away like a trooper before slinking off indoors pretending like it didn't happen. You can definitely smell cigarette smoke in our hallway, it absolutely reeks, so how he stupidly expects people (or even the landlady) not to notice I'll never know. Now, I don't want to sound like I'm chav-bashing for no reason here, but I do feel like I'm quite within my rights to slag him off, even if it is based upon conjecture and/or ASBO-laden stereotypes. But, from where I'm standing, it's all 100% true, so that's good enough for me.

However, you should never judge a book by its cover, right? Wrong. True to his clichéd nature, my neighbour also aspires to be an Ibiza DJ every other night, frequently cranking up his limited collection of dance music, hip hop and R&B, blasting it out through his ghettoblaster, bass booming through the floor like he's trying to shift a tectonic plate. Now, I'm not prudish, I don't mind people enjoying music (even if it isn't music I happen to like), but here's the real reason for my hatred of him: he likes to play loud music all night long (as Lionel Richie famously sang).

That's right, I have a noisy neighbour. Normally, I wouldn't be troubling you with something so trivial, but since my girlfriend and I are kept awake until 4 o'clock in the morning every two days or so by his stupid Pete Tong antics, I felt compelled to have a rant. Our neighbour has made a habit of doing this, you see, and I'd given him the benefit of the doubt a few times, clinging on to the hope that he was a civilized human being, but this weekend I finally decided in a fit of rage to report him to the police. Needless to say, they did jack shit.

To be fair, it was about 1:30pm. I called Margate Police Station directly, but I was told that noise disturbances are no longer the police's responsibility, and that complaints should be lodged via Thanet District Council. She gave me a phone number. I called it up. Unsurprisingly, the office was closed. I was prompted by an automated machine to call an emergency number and speak to the Environmental Health Officer. Finally, after seemingly being passed from pillar to post, a lady answered the phone.

I told her that I had a noisy neighbour who insisted upon creating a godawful racket like a firecracker in a barrel of farts (although not exactly phrased like that) and that I wished to report it. The lady took my details, quite a lengthy process I must admit, and then she said: “I'm sorry, but the Environmental Health Officer won't be able to sort it out tonight. I advise you keep a log of every incident so that it can be dealt with in the future. Thank you, goodbye.” She didn't bid me farewell as bluntly as that, but she might as bloody well have done.

Let me get this straight: Thanet District Council has removed responsibility from the police for dealing with noise disturbances? I did some research and discovered that since the Environmental Health Protection Act 1990, councils have been obliged to take reasonable steps to investigate complaints of nuisance noise. I'm assuming that over the last twenty years, this Act has enabled the council to pay some chap a handsome wage to visit suspected troublemakers, threatening them with a fine or – worse yet – an ASBO. Ooh, I'm sure they're all quaking in their boots, don't you think? Especially when the Environmental Health Officer isn't bloody there half the time.

This whole thing left me feeling quite powerless. I tried to think of ways I could shut my noisy neighbour up. I toyed with the idea of knocking on his door and beating him round the face with my shoe; or putting on some heavy metal at high volumes to compete with him; or simply wandering out into the hall and switching the electricity off at the mains to spoil their party. I did nothing, in the end. But I did feel empathy with those who take the law into their own hands, going vigilante to tackle anti-social behaviour head on, rather than relying on the authorities to do their dirty work.

In fact, it's quite timely that the film Harry Brown, a Daily Mail-esque epic of paranoia and violence, in which Michael Caine plays a former Royal Marine who seeks revenge for the death of his friend by capturing, accosting and torturing young chavs who are destroying his local community. I believe it'll be swinging by the Vue Cinema at Westwood Cross this week, so if I can rustle up a few pennies, I may go and see it myself. I'll be the one with the extra large box of popcorn, completely engrossed in reverie, secretly imagining our noisy neighbour getting beaten to death by a belligerent OAP.

I can only hope my neighbour doesn't discover this blog, finds out that I've written about him and blows my bloody doors off. But I'm guessing that he can barely read a book, let alone a blog, so I'm not gonna lose sleep over it. Unless he keeps me awake tonight, of course. If he does, I'll be tempted to give Michael Caine a call. I'm sure he'd be able to sort it out.

4 comments:

  1. Great post and luckily for me my neighbour is a quiet one but there's nothing worse than not getting a good sleep. Hope your neighbours bugger off someone soon ;)

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  2. I've got a feeling my neighbour's lease isn't gonna be renewed, largely due to lying to the landlord about his smoking habit. Luckily for me, I'm also moving out next month and renting a house instead - I'll be living next door to two old ladies, so unless one of them enjoys playing Vera Lynn at ungodly hours, I'm sure some peace and quiet awaits. Haha.

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  3. Sounds like he's a fecking nightmare. But seeing as none of the authorities are prepared to take any responsibility, is it any wonder that people take the law into their own hands?

    You might get further by taking it up with your landlord. But then, of course, you run the risk of him turning ugly. (Or should I say even uglier?)

    You might also want to spare some sympathy for the people of Ramsgate, who TDC and the airport want to fly 747s over all night. Imagine, an authority that's not only as useless as tits on a bull when it comes to noisy neighbours, but actively encourages them!

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  4. Before u move superglue & lock spring to mind. If the slag has a car then a jiffy squeezer filled with brake fluid sprayed on his windscreen does the trick. Never go down the authority route-it doesn`t work. It`s always best to move and sort the scum out later. Best wishes.

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