Sounds that pierce my brain like the fire alarm that just started the instant I decided to try writing, need to be silenced and destroyed.  Why can’t there be less loud sounds or more soft calming sounds. As I get older sounds seem to be both harder to hear and harder to stop hearing once I’ve noticed them and become annoyed by them. I find it increasingly difficult to put these intrusive sounds to the back of my mind, as I think I could before – before I became this old fart.

Are they an assault? Am I an old fart? Yes and yes I think. When I finished working in my garden a few weeks ago in the first weekend of fine weather, making it nice, so I could sit out and relax and be peaceful, it did feel like an assault to have to listen to the music of the people at the bottom of the garden. They’d  thoughtfully decided that rather than letting people waste electricity playing their own music; or waste money buying a stereo; or spend hours fretting about how to spend their time on such a wonderful afternoon, they would provide an instant all-pervasive, choice-free solution.

Maybe they’re not selfish, maybe they’re just misguided philanthropists.

‘I want to help the poor people of the street (poor in terms of ideas and culture and ability to choose their occupation on this glorious sunny afternoon.)’

‘I know best, they’ll love this crap-imitation reggae , all the chart stuff, nothing decent, just tacky, tinny, “accessible” stuff that we ALL love once we get a chance. I’m going to give them that chance. ‘

‘OR I might sometimes even play some of the music they already have but have forgotten about. It won’t spoil it for them; it won’t make them think:’

“Oh my god I have some shared tastes with the fuckwits at the bottom of the garden, I’ll never play that again.”

‘No, it’ll reawaken their obviously forgotten interest and they’ll be dancing in their gardens.  They’re probably shouting over the fence at me asking me to turn it up right now, but I can’t hear, obviously, as I have it on full blast. Still, I’ve got all my doors and windows open so they should be able to hear it, after all my windows are vibrating and the sound’s so loud it’s distorted in here. I don’t mind doing that for my neighbours – it’s all about community spirit –INNIT!’

It could be that or it could be that they’re as I imagine: brainless, selfish cocksuckers who don’t give  a single thought  for me or their other neighbours and are so pathetic and feel so little of themselves that they have to have their music as loud as possible to try and demonstrate in some pitiful ill-fated way that they are powerful, that  they do have a voice and that they don’t need to listen to anyone,  especially that old fart at the bottom of the garden who keeps poking his balding four-eyed head over the fence and asking in his posh-nobby  voice if they could please turn it down.