my neighbour's french, so this one seems appropriate Lovely evening spent in the company of Dolly and Iain last night. I tried not to be Obsessive Pregnant Woman, but they still had to coo politely at CJ’s scan and listen to my tales of swollen ankles and indigestion, poor sods. Dolly and I tried to persuade Iain not to comb down his hair, and nagging him about his Little House on the Prairie meets John Wayne shirt. Iain was doing that alternate moaning/purring thing that men do when women fuss over them.

Got home and the upstairs neighbour (who appears to be mourning the recent loss of his mother by having half the Francophone African population of London staying in his bedsit) had got his little electric piano out, and was bashing out some godawful modern gospel number, accompanied by a caterwauling female – doing diva hands, no doubt. Agh! May Mahalia Jackson curse him and his bland minor chord progressions to eternity! Went into the bedroom and the other upstairs neighbour had cranked up the heavy house music to drown out the noise across the hall. What could I do? I just had to play the opening track of Bossanova at about 50% on our far superior stereo (that’s about 11 on their stereos). At first, the upstairs music got louder and tinnier. Then I turned it down to comfortable listening levels (for me anyway – did I mention that I spent a large chunk of my adolescence in a recording studio?). The clunky gospel clunked on for a bit, then they gave up and went home.

What I couldn’t understand is that absence of an inner critic. It’s like when I’ve been watching the most awful performances on Pop Idol, and they say afterwards that they thought they were rather good. By whose standards? Bloke upstairs obviously thought he and his friend were doing great, otherwise they wouldn’t have cranked the levels up to ear-bleeding point. I dunno, maybe I should drop some Al Green his way or something…


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