Monday, 24 November 2008


This morning I was awoken at 5.40 by the bloke upstairs, whom I do not know more than to nod at in passing. He was playing music. I suppose I should be grateful that it was classical music and not Slipknot or Slayer, and indeed I am. But not much. I think it was Bach, but I’m not sure. Lots of organs. Very brooding. And very, very loud.

I got out of bed, quite calmly, and I located the corner of the room where I keep all of the long things: the poster tubes, the discarded barbell, the golf flag (don’t ask). And I located the metre-long iron pole. I don’t know where this came from, and I don’t know why I refuse to throw it away every time I move – or at least I didn’t know until about half an hour ago, when I realised that I’d been keeping it for this occasion. Carefully I lifted the flat end of the iron pole up to the ceiling, then firmly I gave four stout raps. Something gave. Then I remembered that this flat has polystyrene tiles on the ceiling. White flammable powder fell onto my face. The music however, was swiftly turned down. Then up again. Not to the same volume – nowhere near in fact, but still loud enough to irritate me.

I got back into bed. I couldn’t sleep. Jesus. Who the hell listens to organ music in the middle of the night? I got out of bed, pulled on a tee-shirt, left my bedroom and opened the front door. I put the latch on, left the flat and climbed the fire escape stairs. I knocked on my neighbour’s front door. Nothing. I knocked again. Still nothing. I came back downstairs.

I had not been locked out. Thank you, Jesus.

Five minutes later I got back out of bed and came to the other room. I’ve got work to do. The government job I mentioned before starts today. So I made an early start. At my desk my 6.

I hate noisy neighbours. They’re so difficult to cope with. From the stomping and the door-slamming to the shouting and the music late at night. And not knowing what to do is the worst of it. Shall I bang on the ceiling or is that what yahoos do? Shall I go up and knock or will I be stabbed? Shall I just put up with it? Am I being unreasonable? Shall I poison them?

I was born to live in a detached house, surrounded by fir trees and quietly weeping willows.

Thank God I’m moving out.

So tell me, what’s your worst experience with a noisy neighbour?

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somechileanwoman said...

My neighbors upstairs are both large Tongans. I hear them slowly walking from their bedroom to the kitchen and back. Sometimes I can hear their toilet flush. I hear their loud music too, but I don't mind it 'cause they play some damn good music.
I am glad I work graveyards that way when I come home I can sleep when they're off to work. I am also happy that they are too fat to have sex, I don't want to hear that.

Kirses said...

I used to live next to a whole family of music lovers, the parents played loud music from about 11pm till 2am 3-4 nights a week and the kids used to start their amateur MC shizzle about 9pm on sundays. I unfortunately had a bedroom sharing a wall with their godforesaken house.

About a month before I moved out they acquired a staffy (barked a lot) and a mini motorbike, which they rode around their tiny back garden. My room also backed onto the garden.

Anonymous said...

My neighbours have two children who like to run around a lot.

Then they installed decking.

Need I say more.

Anonymous said...

It's a right pain in the arse, that kind of caper... I wrote this elsewhere, apologies for cutting and pasting:

My neighbour hit new heights of idiocy this weekend.

Sitting in his stoned ignorance within his little hovel, he played his dull, looped dub reggae so loudly the walls were shaking with bass. Obviously, we all like to play music loudly once in a while, but usually half an hour does the job, I find, and it's best to restrict it to Saturday evenings. But this bloke really knows no bounds and he played the same tune for about, by my estimation, four hours.

Recently he has been pestering my landlord with the complaint that our floorboards creak noisily when we walk on them and sent me a personal message asking me to step lightly in the morning. I tried to laugh these complaints off - after all, if he has no respect for us then why should we for him? In addition to the dub we put up with him slamming doors every time he leaves or enters, rearranging his furniture twice weekly and finally, probably the best example of cannabis psychosis I've seen save for the time my ex best friend was caught with a knife in his neighbours garden, shouting insults at himself so loudly we can hear it two flights up.

My landlord decided that he ought to be seen to take the complaint seriously so arranged a 'sound-test' whereby we would walk around our flat and he could check the complaint from our neighbour's flat. I had a problem with the idea but the lady, in her wisdom, suggested it would make us seem unreasonable to refuse and when it was discovered that the problem is minimal, will make the neighbour look like the berk he so patently is.

So that weekend the landlord came over, but when he knocked, immediately informed us that the neighbour wasn't responding when he called. So it was off.

We tried again the next week, but no response from the stoner goon again. So now it has been rearranged for the end of April after the landlord saw him quite by chance in the street.

When the reggae was at full pelt I was enraged, so I stomped about the flat so as to give the goon something genuine to complain about. Then the volume went up, so my stomping increased.

This was followed by the sound of our door being banged on so hard it might've fallen down. It's not the first time the goon has knocked so hard. It's tantamount to harrassment to knock like that. I've told him there's a crime reference number on him and this is all being noted. After hearing the banging I shouted down the stairs.

'Will you PLEASE turn that shit down'.
'Don't call me a fool'.
'Pussy-what?? What did you call me?'

After consulting with Bajan friends, I learn that 'pussyclat' is a similar term to 'raasclat' or 'bloodclot' - pertaining to menstrual fluid. Firstly, this isn't a very nice or even apt thing to go calling people with valid complaints against your behaviour.

Secondly, the man-boy who shouted this at me is not Bajan, nor Jamaican, nor black in any way shape or form. He is a middle class white boy whose daddy bought him his pokey little flat and who hangs around with other fair skinned kids who speak in a really badly pronounced faux-patoi. For some reason this gets under my skin even more than the music.

Any ideas on how to quickly bring about this jobless, brainless trustafarian's downfall will be gratefully received.

Lily Lane said...

My worst noisy neighbour experience was, unfortunately, being the noisy neighbour, rather than hearing the noisy neighbour.
The walls in the apartment that I share with four other students are paper thin; just a single layer of treated pine about 5cms thick. Basically, there's no privacy. Your neighbours can hear you fart in the night.
One night there was a big student party that we all went to, and I brought home the guy who I had just started seeing. My neighbour from one side came home but then left again to stay with a girl upstairs. No sign of the other housemates. So the boy and I went into my room and had fabulously loud sex - for the first time in 7 months there was no one home and I could moan and bang and talk dirty to my hearts content!
What I didn't realise was that the reason there was no sign of my other housemates was because two of them had come home early and were quietly closeted away in their respective bedrooms. They didn't get any sleep though! :-(

victoria said...

The noisy lesbians who played drums all night.

Laura said...

For the first 18 years of my life I lived down a cul-de-sac with no traffic and no streetlights and this has made it difficult to cope with everywhere else. My worst experience with noise was living in Isleworth, less than a mile from Heathrow and directly under the flight path. I wore ear plugs every night, and after repeated ear infections from the orange foam roll-up kind, I found the ones you posted a picture of, which are silicone and quite good.
Now I can't sleep without listening to an audiobook very quietly, blocking out outside noise with soothing closer noise.

Anonymous said...

the bastard got you with the response - turned it down, then back up. tricky... it says "i hear you, neighbor, but i don't care all that much..."

polite note on the door if it happens again, then the "look, you motherfucking satanist, i moved out because of you" note after you're gone... maybe telling him that you've landed in therapy because organ music stirs the memories of church-based molestation from your youth...

i haven't had problems with noisy neighbors. i AM one... a nice one, though, who shuts things down at midnight on weekends, and 10pm on school nights...

La Bête said...

Thank you all. I don't feel so bad now. WWM, that is horrendous. What happened in the end? Or is this ongoing?

Fenz said...

I used to live in an apartment block whereby we all had double storey units. All the living areas were upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. We all had polished floorboards upstairs. My neighbour obviously worked late and got home around the time I was going to bed every night. She'd come home and walk around in her high heels, on her polished floor boards, for hours on end. She'd also turn the TV on at high volume, all of which slowly drove me insane. Some nights she'd have a shower with her stereo blasting, which was right next to my room. I left her a few polite notes, then complained to the body corporate and in a final desperate attempt, turned her electricity off as I had access to the main switchboard!!
Now I just have to put up with sex noises from my flatmate through our paper thin walls!!

Anonymous said...

BDJ - we eventually moved out but that was quite early on. It escalated to the point where he was puncturing my better half's bicycle tyres, playing music specifically to spite us rather than by accident and then, in a fit of guilt, leaving an eighth of hash dangling from our yale lock as an apology.

The most disturbed individual I've ever lived near.

His name was Jeremy - which seems apt. A reggae loving stoner posho called 'Jeremy' - a stereotype come to life or what?

Anyhow - our new neighbours are totally fine thank Christ. You have my utmost sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Seems apt...

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

is awoken a word?


worse neighbor? the one who came onto my property and cut down a favorite tree. left the pieces in my yard.

don't ask.

Lauren said...

I live upstairs!!!! : ) And I'm pretty considerate for the most part. Although I'm sure my downstairs neighbors heard me screaming and jumping up and down on election night. Fair though, eh?

Clare Sudders said...

It's not fair, not at all, but the best way to deal with neighbour noise is to re-program yourself not to care. Trasin yourself to let it wash over you, or see it as positive in some way. Try hypnosis.

As for myself.... I have no tales to tell, for I live in a detached house surounded by quietly weeping willows.

That's not true. But I do have this zoning-out thing I do, where I become olivious to all background noise. Handy in some circumstances, but an lead to problems in offices, where for instance I will never answer the phone cos I simply won't hear it, and people have to say my name five times before I realise they're talking to me.

I have tinnitus in both ears, a rhythmic whomphing in one ear and a high-pitched whine in the other, but I have to concentrate really hard to even hear it at all, cos I zoned it out a long time ago.

Andy said...

When I was a grad student, the flat downstairs from me was occupied by a doctor and a nurse who kept odd hours. They had loud sex many many many times. It was arousing the first few times (I do confess having a hand shandy or three), but then it just got irritating.

Earplugs helped though.

Tim Footman said...

Used to live next door to a Dutchman who had two psycho dogs (Rotweiler and some sort of ungodly pitbull/ridgeback cross). He appeared to have two CDs, a Ministry of Sound compilation and the US audiobook of the first Harry Potter (with Jim Dale), both of which he played very loud at about 2:30 a.m. He also had an Asian girlfriend with whom he used to split up and reconcile on a regular basis, leading to angry recriminations followed by loud fucking. His business phone calls were conducted at a similar level of volume and sweariness.

The girlfriend eventually moved out, taking with her a large collection of fake designer sunglasses; he disappeared soon after.

All we have now is a bunch of Muslim students with a drum kit. I kinda miss the Dutch guy.

Anonymous said...

I used to live above a Manchester DJ, who would, unfortunately, bring his work home with him. It led to repeated knockings, letters and, eventually, screamings and early-hours ranting. One fine day I looked out of the window, sure I'd heard the sound of breaking glass, only to see a small figure running out of Adam's flat, clutching a large stereo.

I wrested with my conscience at that point. Phone the police or celebrate? I did the decent thing. But, sadly, one of his friends gave him a replacement and I moved out.

You're moving out soon. Why not retaliate? If your noisy neighbour is an early-bird, does he go to bed early as well? Would he like a late-night serenade of some suitable musical entertainment? If so, why not oblige?


Misssy M said...

The noisy sex walrus. It's all here:

You don't know noise til you know walrus sex noise.

La Bête said...

Tsk tsk, Shimacat. Does not an eye for an eye leave the whole world blind? Hmm?

Shimacat said...

Yup,and turning the other cheek just means you get slapped twice. gowaan, you know you want to!

Our Glamorous Heroine said...

Oh dear, I can't complain about anyone, ever, because I've been the most appalling neighbour in the past. Just before I dropped out of university I was living in a tiny room in a warren of scummy flats above a kebab shop. It was possible to climb out of my window onto the roof of the shop, where I used to stand and smoke next to the belching air-conditioning vent musing on how, for a supposedly beautiful city, Cambridge was really very ugly in places.

I would frequently bring back hordes of wasted people for after parties at all hours of the night and morning and I'm embarrassed to think what a nightmare I must have been for the neighbouring students who were actually trying to get a degree rather than embarking upon a drug-fuelled nervous breakdown.

I think my crowning glory was allowing a couple of my friends onto the roof where, hyped up on special brew and cheap speed, they proceeded to break my window and run around shrieking at the tops of their lungs. I, however, didn't notice this as I was preoccupied with trying to turn off the fire alarm, that sounded throughout the entire building, having forgotten to tape it up before lighting a joint. I don't recommend trying to make sense of a screaming, flashing machine while fucked on MDMA and skunk. This was all at about 5am on a Sunday morning and, yeah, not an irregular occurrence. For shame.

Iron Fist said...

I remember when I lived in a tiny apartment a few years ago, and late at night hearing my neighbor's fire alarm start shrieking. I recall it going off for a few seconds before hearing the distinct THUMP of someone jumping out of bed, and it occurred to me that this idiot had put dinner on the stove to cook and then laid down and fallen asleep.

And then he opened his door and flooded the hallway with smoke from his burnt dinner, and the damp smell of the permanently wet dog he lived with. Buffoon.

Bibil said...

My upstairs neighbour was an aerobics addict. At least, I think that's what he/she was doing...

Lin from Oz said...

Definitely the child beaters.

But, on a happier note, the toerags who arrived at my remote campsite at four in the morning and replayed a loud skinhead rally on their concert-sized car speakers, who ran around blasting who-knows-what with (real) shotguns, who thus had me cowering in my campervan too afraid to raise any objections, and who sneaked into my camp at dawn the next morning and made me jump out of my skin--no, I didn't lend them my jumper leads. For all I know, the little fascists are still there, with their flat batteries.

Quiet now, aren't we?


Pearl said...

Oh, where to start? The jungle dj, the deaf old lady who made more noise than someone of 4'9" should ever be able to, the family who love building and moving sheds to an accompaniment of eighties pop and angry dogs.

My favourites were the amorously noisy gay couple I used to share a flat with. I used to spend nights playing 'guess the moan', and over breakfast I would imitate the noises to see how highly I'd scored. Both fun and effective. They shut up pretty quickly.