Hey now what’s that sound, everyone look what’s going round.

Sound is all around us. Indeed life can be summed up as a series of beeps and boops, with one very long BEEP at the end if you happen to die in a hospital setting.

Finding Quiet or Peace, especially in an urban environment is increasingly difficult, and there are times when not having such peace can be darn annoying. I was not surprised to read in the article about the ban on those damn annoying HELLS BELLS Church bells that churches felt the need to blast constantly to get their flock of sheep in the door.

If I had to live next to a Church and be woken up early on a Sunday morning to the sound of church bells while a bunch of old people rapidly approaching death decide that at 90 years of age it might be a good idea to start going to church again, I would probably want the churches to stop ringing their bells or at least quiet them down a bit myself.

I remember my first apartment in Toronto where I lived on the 3rd floor in this old building on College street–and at first things weren’t too bad, but then my neighbors on the 2nd floor, one floor below me–got into the habit of playing @#$ing Spice Girls, Lady GaGa or some other gay-friendly music at like 2 or 3 in the morning JUST BLASTING.  I am talking floor and walls vibrating, can’t hear your own TV when it is on maximum volume kind of blasting. Worse, they thought they could sing, and oh hell no, Simon Cowell would have torn them a new one.

At first I tried to be cool about it, because it was mostly restricted to Friday and Saturday night and you kind of expect noise then (but still 3 or 4am is a bit excessive)–but then they started doing that stuff through the week, like Tuesdays at 3 in the morning. I guess they would get back from a bar and decide to just go all night playing the most god awful music imaginable. Wouldn’t be so bad if there was a little AC/DC, Nirvana or maybe even Smashing Pumpkins in there. But nope–techno BOOM BOOM BOOM music.

Then once they got the word that the music was annoying us, as I complained to the landlord and made a couple noise complaints–they of course decided to annoy us even further by putting ONE song on repeat at max volume and playing that for like 2 hours straight. I am guessing they left the house when they did that, but my god I swear I wanted to kill them as that was the most annoying thing ever, and I rationalized it as–yeah I will probably have to do 5 to 10 in jail, but I will get a free education paid for by the taxpayers, and in 5 or 10 years they will STILL be dead and I will be out free to do my thing.

Instead I would retaliate by blasting Slayer, Slipknot and the loudest Death Metal I could get my hands on with my speakers turned up to 11 during the day when I thought they would be all hung-over, and when no-one could do nothing as during the day you can pretty much go as loud as you want. Legally. Screw with me, I’ll screw with you is how I looked at it.

Finally me and my girlfriend at the time just had enough as we were both going to school and trying to work full time jobs–and we moved out, breaking our lease. We moved into another apartment building and lived there for a year, before they decided to start renovating units as people moved out so we had a steady stream of construction related noise but at least it would stop around 6 at night or so.

While sound can create moods and trigger memories, and is of course necessary for verbal communication–there are just some sounds that most people can’t stand, like nails scratching on a chalk-board or grinding TTC Subway rails.

This is why I agree with Shopper’s Drug Mart for deciding NOT to play Christmas music until after November 11th, as really over a month of the same 200 odd Christmas songs has got to become incredibly annoying for the poor souls who are forced to work Christmas retail.

I mean on the most part music played in stores sucks 365 days a year as it is almost all Top 40 pop-tunes and golden oldies from the 50’s and 60’s selected as those songs are seen as ones that should not offend anyone regardless to their religious or cultural background–which is why so many of us in stores, try to drown out whatever is playing on the stores speakers by blasting our iPods.

One thing is for sure with all the noise everywhere and with how loud some dudes have their iPods cranking noise directly into their ear-canals, a sure-fire investment is in hearing aid products as in 30 or 40 years there will be a lot of deaf or near-deaf people walking around.


About mriceanthropologist

Michael Rice is an Anthropology student at York University. He is a heavy metal fan who enjoys rocking out to Black Sabbath, Slayer, Slipknot, and Iron Maiden.

Posted on November 7, 2012, in Senses Course. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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