Travelling tittle-tattle, tall tales and shameless name-dropping by Jon ‘Don’t Call Me’ Norman

About Me

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Monday montage

Okay, so it's not Monday. But today, on the way back from work, I sat on the train and considered things and saw my life as it would be as a 30 second TV segment complete with moment of realisation music. I'm not usually a negative person. I've even been accused of looking at the world through rose tinted glasses - is this a bad thing? But during my journey back from Waterloo this evening I started to seperate from reality and observe and judge rather than experience and react.

The reason for this can easily be traced back to 2.33am last night when I was awoken from sleep by all manner of bedlam going on in the flat below me. Raised voices, slamming doors, tinny music and drunken revellry of the aggressive kind.

I lay there in a sweat. For despite awaking to fog in the morning the early hours brought nothing but hellish heat and frustration. My immediate concern was for Fe who returned to college this week; with its exacting hours, constant sensory and physical work overload and barrage of not so constructive criticism. But thankfully her soft, deep, steady breathing remained the only pleasant constant throughout a fraught hour of extreme restlessness. For below me came the noise of those who really don't give a fuck.

Hey, we've all done it. I'm not so old that I can't remember what it's like to enjoy after hours company. Music does sound better loud. And who hasn't looked at the clock, recognised that work is just a few hours away and thought 'to hell with it?'. And maybe I do sound ancient when I say it. But there is a time and there is a place. And it's not half past two on a Tuesday night when you live in the poorly sound insulated flat beneath the one I reside in.

And then they all started arguing. I'm not sure who was on whose side and what was said to who but I do know that I lay there in my bed, my mind slowly starting to frazzle, I started to dream I had a gun. Because going down to order them to keep quiet without one wasn't an option. I certainly didn't want to be the middle ground that the opposing forces could combine to combat. Part of me was hoping someone else would intervene but in my heart I knew that person was either going to have to be mad, or me. And unless the poor sucker who lives below those that reside beneath me was a care in the community type he/she was no doubt lying in his/her own bed, staring up the celing, desperately hoping I would grow some balls and do what neither of us was prepared to do.

And so I rode it out. And eventually the yelling died down, the music was turned off and I drifted back off to sleep. Only to wake in the morning to the realisation that something needed doing. But what?

And that thought kept with me throughout my working day until I found myself on the train on the way back home. Sitting to my right an anonymous angst-ridden 15 year old girl with stripey leggings, ambiguous hair and face studied a punk magazine. The headline read 'Britain is fucked!' and she consumed every word of a band I've never heard of. And I imagined they were right. Looking to my left a man dressed suitwise read a newspaper that told how stabbings were going to go up for the next 9 years. Another guys paper told me of another 3,000 jobs that could disappear this week.

And then when I got to the station and alighted the train, two passages of people approaching two flights of stairs heading towards the underground tunnel that connects the 'have nots' on the Winstanly Estate with 'the haves' on the Northcote Road what sounded like the strangled cry of someone shouting for the police rang out. Momentarily people stopped, I sub-consciously checked that I had my bag/wallet/phone. Nothing untoward was immediately recognisable. And then we carried on. Moments later three police officers hurtled the ticket barriers, running on back from wence I had come. Flashing lights could be seen from the main road. Whatever had happened in front or behind me disappeared from view as those paid to care did their duty.

It's a poor state of affairs. A house I've enjoyed living in more than any other since leaving home is starting to become something I dread coming back to. With my trip to the West Indies just weeks away I'm concerned about leaving Fe to deal with it herself. Antagonising those that live below just as I leave the country doesn't seem like the wisest course of action.

Answers on a postcard to?


Mancalas Mancersson (Neighbourhood Watch Chair) said...

It's a tough one to be honest fella. What profile/number of people is that you have living below you?

I had a similar thing when I lived in levenshulme (the last house of mine you visited, i think) with a bunch of early 20s asian lads living next door. I shat myself the first time I had to go and deal with the noise (about 2am on a school night) but managed not to show it. I put on my Dad's 'copper voice' and firmly, economically, but politely, reminded them of the time and the volume.

I didn't get any shit back from them, and the noise was turned down. I had to go and bang on their door a few times therafter, but fair play to them, they always turned it down when asked. Shame they never bought any better CDs, mind (I mean, Britney Spears? FFS! Come on lads!)

But that's South Manchester and not South London, which is where i guess there is a bit of a gulf.

I would suggest trying to speak to them during the day, but I doubt that's viable for a bunch of southerns ;o) Its sad - things like talking to your neightbours are becoming rarer up north too.

So, in short, my suggestion would be this: Do a poo in a paper bag; set fire to the top of the paper bag; leave the paper bag complete with steaming/firey contents outside their front door; ring the doorbell; run away.

Jobby's a goodun.

Nath said...

Victor Meldrew had various ways of dealing with such hoodlums. Have u got a hose pipe?