My neighbour finishes work at midnight. You might suspect that he (it must be a he, this is a he thing) works at a pub. But then he would surely have to stay back a while to polish the drunks and arrange the pool balls in triangles. No, it has to be something where he can stride out at the stroke of pumpkin, whistling. Oh yes, whistling. He is thinking forward to the time when he will arrive home, throw open the windows of his lair and put on the Soggy The Sailor record.
I know, it’s probably not called that. In fact it’s more likely some plastic replica Celtic piffle. Some man with a floppy angora hat and a shaggy beard plunking away on his acoustic guitar and singing about life in the woods of Wales in 1862:
Oh once I were a bonny lad a child of groves and glens
A stupid bovine turnip face and an arse all covered in wens
Hey nonny nonny vocab-u-lorry I’ve run my stock of words
So it’s do the same verse again and entertain some turd
If you can imagine a sea shanty except with the tempo and bite of an overdose of Thorazine. Each song is the same tedious dribble repeated ineffectually for what seems an epoch. Suffocating and insipid and some dickwad puts it on every morning at half midnight. Loud.
Who in their right mind plays that kind of shit loud after getting home from work? Metallica? Sure. Gangsta Rap? OK I can understand. Soggy The Sailor? There are aliens among us.
Some nights my neighbour pulls out a fiddle and plays along. No it’s not a violin, you can tell it’s a fiddle, because this would be the kind of guy that thinks Dexy’s Midnight Runners were Beethoven. He perches that infernal thing under his chin and scrapes away at it with all the musicality of somebody cleaning an oven.
Lord help me, how can this caterwauling make its way across the street, somehow vibrate the glass and brick of my house enough to emerge on the inside of my bedroom, pass through the pillow jammed over my head and enter my ears? I am nearly a deaf man! And yet Soggy is there, whispering in my ear.
I have such dreams of revenge.
The main resonant frequency of these pipes occurred in the “range of death”, found to lie between three and seven cycles per second. These sounds could not be humanly heard, a distinct advantage for a defense system. The effects were felt however. The symptoms come on rapidly and unexpectedly, though the pipes were operating for a few seconds. Their pressure waves impacted against the entire body in a terrible and inescapable grip. The grip was a pressure which came in on one from all sides simultaneously, an envelope of death.
Too good for him.
This is all part of an insomnia that is I guess part of getting older and having more responsibilities. My partner no longer gets up with the chickens – she’s up so early she gets up with the eggs. This means that once Soggy runs out of glens at 1.30AM I’ve got til about 5AM before the shouting starts. I deserve to sleep through my lectures more than the students do.
It’s 11.15pm. In an hour, he will be home.