Monday, 16 August 2010

Escaping the noise

For the last few days, I've been sampling the wonders and delights of central London living. The Flat is proving to be a great convenience, and I've drifted seamlessly into a life where going out in Old Street means leaving ten minutes travel time, rather than the five hours I'm accustomed to on my local tube. Days spent lolling about on the sofa watching The Lion King and deciphering Donnie Darko have succeeded nights out that end with a short ride on a night bus, rather than spending forty grand on a taxi. In short, I'm pretty much sold on this (admittedly rent-free) living arrangement.

There's just one thing.

Going from detached housing to attached-on-every-side-imaginable does have it's drawbacks. Lesson one: noise.

With Neighbors Above seemingly running from one side of their flat to the other, and Neighbours Beneath  getting the party started, it's been a fairly amplified weekend. Granted, the Boyfriend and I like our music loud and bassy or not at all, and have spent most of the weekend bombarding our ears with that and the drunken in-ear shouting of friends anyway. But once home and nursing hangovers, the sound of silence has been a little bit harder to come by.

A deep, underfloor bassline - courtesy of Neighbours Below - began while we had a few pre-beer beers in The Flat on Saturday evening. Unbothered, I assumed that "Well, at least if they're starting now, they'll be knock-out all day tomorrow." But, err, very occasionally, I have been known to get things wrong.

We left the civilised Neighbours Below and Friends chatting on the patio and hopped out into Angel to meet friends, returning - falaffal kebab in hand - six hours later. The party downstairs was still in full swing; a bigger group now eliciting chatter that drifted up along with the house beats beneath our living room. We played 'guess the tune' before alcohol's secondary effect set in.

The next thing I know, it's 6:30am. I wake up on the sofa, the Boy's form curled around me, and my movement nudges him awake. "Mhrrrr. Hmmm. Shall we go to bed?" and then, as jump-up drum 'n' bass replaces the temporary quiet, "Oh, bloody hell. They're still going". The fast bassline ripples into the bedroom and permeates my dreams, and by 8:30am we're back on the sofa, unable to sleep.

"They've got to be on something." I comment, as the music switches to an underground selection of tech-house and gets louder, despite the voices outside remaining surprisingly civilised. "If they were drinking, they'd be yelling or asleep by now".

The morning ticks on towards afternoon. We eat a late breakfast to the rumbling sounds of Notorious BIG, attempt TV above some Booker Shade and finally, at lunchtime, decide resistance is futile. The fact that London's free tourist spots on a Sunday offered a quieter solution to our hangovers should go someway to describing what we were leaving behind.

Returing from a day at the British Museum and Tate Modern around 5pm, we made tentative steps into The Flat. "I think they've gone to bed" said The Boy, flopping on the sofa. He was right. The bench outside, littered with empty glasses and other bottled remains, was void of people; the Technics now quiet.

We clicked on the TV, but as we stopped talking and started watching, it came to me. I turned to the Boyfriend and pointed to the ceiling.

"The XX."
"Someone's listening to The XX" I said, as the sporadic prods of deep bass in Islands merged into the low, continuous sub-rumble of Fantasy

We sighed and clicked the volume up a notch. The Neighbours Above and Below might be interrupting my Sunday quiet time, but I can be thankful for one thing. At least they've chosen good music and decent sound systems to do it with.


Robbie said...

Neighbours Below sounds like an awesome name for a band.

AFC 30K said...

It looses it's attraction after a while and they you sell up and move out to a quieter part of town.

Circle of life ;-)

Ellie said...

We've always been lucky with our neighbours. Loud clobbering down the stairs is as lound as upstairs neighbours got.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Robbie - You could be onto something there.

AFC - Yeaaah, but got to give it a chance before you give it up, right?

Ellie - Oh we got that too. Bassline's back again tonight. A monday. Grrreat.

AFC 30K said...

Oh absolutly - a good few years before you need to move to suburbia!

nuttycow said...

Although I sympathise with Neighbours Above doing the running thing (although I'm sure they're probably actually tip-toeing about) I couldn't stand the constant *noise* of London.

Oh God. I've turned Swiss. I actually enjoy the fact that it's quiet after 10pm in this country.


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