Monday, July 17, 2006


My next door neighbours are one of those thoroughly modern families, where the man about the house is married to the lady, but not father to the two children who live with them. He has a daughter of his own, from a previous marriage, and she comes to stay most weekends. This is, I am told, the future. No more the nuclear family of mother, father, two point four children and four grandparents to help with the child rearing. Now there are step brothers and sisters, multiple sets of grandparents who may or may not be talking to each other, cousins who are actually no relation at all, and strange-smelling uncles.

Actually there were probably always strange-smelling uncles. That's just the way of things.

But why, you ask, am I worrying about this? Well next door, most of the time, consists of two adults and two young girls. Recently the younger of the two girls was given an electronic keyboard for her birthday. This wonder of modern science can play eighteen backing tracks,* and has a microphone input so that you can sing along. And it has, of course, a keyboard.

A diligent student of music would take tuition from a qualified teacher. They would practise their scales and work hard until they could play Fur Elise with their eyes closed.** Mindful of the rest of their family, and their neighbours, they would do all this whilst wearing headphones.

Neither of the two young girls next door is a diligent student of music.

Instead, at random times during the evening, one or other of them will pound up the stairs, switch on some electronic backing track that makes motorway service station arcade games sound like chart-topping indie hits, and then strike a few random keys in the hope of stumbling accidentally upon a tune.

So far that hasn't happened.

The youngest of the two girls usually gets back from school just before 4pm, her sister about half an hour later. Any time from then onwards until around half eight or nine, the ersatz music can start. The keyboard lives in the room that is just a party wall away from this study where I type my words.

Ahh, there it goes again. Joy.

The school holidays begin on Friday. Then they'll be able to play all day.

Please forgive me if my posts stop making any sense.

*that I've heard so far. I suspect there are many, many more.
** I know this because it's what my sister did when I was younger. I hate that tune now.


Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I'm trying to work out what the adult configuration next door has to do with the kid's practicing habits? Or is this an early sign of the brain being addled beyond repair by the random electronic noises being emitted by the neighbor kid?

July 18, 2006 3:07 am  
Blogger JamesO said...


July 18, 2006 11:35 am  
Blogger Trace said...

That sounds lovely, James. Just lovely. You may be living next door to the next Joan Jett or modern version of The Go-Gos.

July 18, 2006 12:28 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Or they could be the next Spice Girls...

As long as they remember their kind neighbour when they're rich and famous

July 18, 2006 12:59 pm  
Blogger Anonymous City Girl said...

Ginger Spice was my favorite... why did they kick her out?

July 18, 2006 7:07 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Could it be because she was ginger?

July 18, 2006 10:33 pm  

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