Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Article excerpt

Only one thing is worse than noisy neighbours and that is neighbours who are almost noisy. Loud music and uproarious parties are covered by the law. Someone walking about all night in the room over your head is not.

I have been unlucky in this arena. The owner of the flat above me moved to Australia a couple of years ago and since then her property has been rented out to a succession of what I suppose the letting agent tells her are young professionals - students in their early 20s who attend the viewing claiming they are two City workers, then cram in as many friends as possible to make the rent. By the time they're finished I'm living beneath a commune of spotty, beer-swilling layabouts who stay up all night and sleep it off during the day.

The latest lot started off enthusiastically, throwing what they no doubt assured the letting agent were young professional parties. Such an evening begins with them sitting in the kitchen giggling while playing at full blast a radio show called Mellow Magic. If you have never come across this programme it involves a smooth-voiced DJ telling you every three or four minutes to 'relax and unwind' while he 'soothes away the stresses of your day', a feat he attempts to achieve by regaling you with something called chill-out music. I have no idea why it is thus termed, because it makes me want to self-harm. Hair-out music would be more accurate.

Every now and then he takes a break from X Factor-style power ballads to read a 'Magic love letter' sent in by a listener. Oh, the horror. 'Dear Danny, ' some wretched individual apparently writes, although I'm not convinced it can possibly be genuine, 'I met my lovely husband on the internet.

I knew there was something unique about him and a few weeks later he told me he was suffering from a rare form of paranoid schizophrenia that involves him being extremely violent. As you can imagine, he captured my heart. I feel like I have known him my entire life. Since we married at Dagenham register office, we've had our difficulties but I wouldn't change a thing. I feel honoured to be able to devote my life to this special man. And the pre-nup we signed ensuring he gets all my money makes me love him even more. I only wish everyone could feel the love I feel. I never want it to stop. …

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