2/10: The banging of distant doors


It was a weird night, the other night. There was the soft sound of soft rain falling outside, and the swish of the occasional car. But behind that, very quietly, there seemed to be the slightest hint of everyone in our very polite little neighbourhood having the mother of all arguments.

It wasnt much, and certainly not so much that it would keep you awake if you werent awake already.

I was awake already.

Every few minutes thered be a soft slamming of an inside door from a few houses up the street, and the very muffled shout about something something ruining my life….

Then, entirely unconnectedly, a couple of pairs of drunken feet, half in heels and half not, would clomp up the road from the direction of the centre of town, feet punctuating a slightly surred fight about something that both would have forgotten about in the morning.

Five minutes later, a restrained but rapid knocking on a door some way down the street, trying to keep itself quiet, but failing to keep itself subtle.

And then, without any drama, it all faded away again, all these stiff-upper-lipped domestics in stumbling transit and behind closed doors, and I fell asleep.

I like the sounds of life. I like the way they change, from place to place.

Those are the sounds of this place, this house I have lived in only a couple of months. But (as anyone who has read this blog over any of the last ten years will tell you) I have a lot of other places to compare it to.


Things I Might Have Been Most Likely to Hear At Night From The Houses I Have Lived In During the Period I Have Been Writing This Blog

Possibly Could Have Thought Of A Shorter Title For This List, Now I Think About It. Sorry

house no.1: In the summer, a corncrake. (a rare bird with a rare singing voice, like a cog being scraped against a corrugated iron fence, and a rare talent for hiding in long grass, which is good, as it also inspires a rare talent for inspiring people to hunt it down and wring its tiny neck)

house no.2 (Technically the same house as above, but different living quarters within it): The faulty fire alarm that went off, without fail, at least once a week during the summer season. In the spring, though, sheep in the next field crying for their lambs who had been moved to the next field in preparation for the inevitable.

house no.3 (Glasgow): The haunting strains of the father of the On-The-Toilet Family next door, who appeared to be building a full-scale cathedral pipe organ in the back bedroom.

house no.4 (London): The sound of a trumpet drifting on kebab-scented air from the Jazz club out the back.

house no.5 (London): The mice that ran riot on the kitchen floor of the flat above us. The kitchen directly above our bathroom, that is. We tried telling the couple upstairs they had mice. They said they didnt have mice. Every night, I lay awake, petrified, listening to the mice they didnt have.

house no.6 (London): The last no.73 routemaster buses, rumbling up the road outside.

house no.7 (Brighton): People doing drug deals in the passageway outside. Or having a wee. Or, on one memorable occasion, kicking a seagull to death.

house no.8 (Brighton): Postal vans, and the sound of the open mic night drifting down from the pub down the road. Seagulls.

house no.9 (San Francisco): Police sirens pulling over people coming off the freeway ramp too fast.

house no.10 (San Francisco): Racoons in the garden of the house next door. Foghorns drifting over the city from the Golden Gate.

house no.11 (Brighton): Traffic. The soft kerchunk of trains leaving Brighton station, travelling toward Hove.

house no.12 (Brighton. Here): The banging of distant doors, and the noise of life going on.

Ten years is a long time. But bugger me, theres been a lot of moving house.