Magazine article The Spectator

Melissa Kite: Spare Me from Successful Neighbours

Magazine article The Spectator

Melissa Kite: Spare Me from Successful Neighbours

Article excerpt

At last. I've waited a long time for this moment. I've been through years of torture at the hands of excitable twenty-somethings, experimental thirty-somethings and Booker-prize-winning forty-somethings. I've had nothing but adventurous, liberal-minded, free-spirited sorts living in the flat upstairs.

But I don't want happy, joyful and free people living near me. I don't want successful artistic types. No good can come of it.

I remember only too well having to knock on the door the night my next-door neighbour won the Booker prize. 'But it's a big celebration, ' said a girl, swaying from side to side, as she explained why they were making such a racket.

'That's as may be, ' said my then partner John. 'But it's 4 a. m. and we're trying to get some sleep.'

The Booker-winner moved out soon afterwards, owing to the worldwide sales of his book making him a multimillionaire, and so we got some peace until a gaggle of young professionals moved in and started sitting in the garden after dark discussing what life was all about. As I lay in bed listening to them being exuberant and fulfilled, I came to the conclusion that the only peace would come when someone who was repressed, tortured and lonely moved in.

After the flat upstairs went on the market earlier this year, my heart leapt when I saw a really insipid-looking couple viewing the property. In the absence of an oddball recluse with no social skills, that would do.

But when I nobbled the estate agent the next time I saw him he told me that the insipid couple had been pipped at the post by two brothers, who were buying the property together as an investment. He wound me up further by telling me that he thought they were called the Mitchell brothers.

'You are kidding me?' I said, incredulous.

'After everything I've been through you can't sell that flat to the Mitchell brothers. No, you can't do that to me.'

But do it to me they did. The sale has now gone through and it turns out that while the buyers are not called Mitchell, exactly, they are brothers. They moved in a few weeks ago by sending a cut-price van to deliver all their stuff at 10 p. m.

The builder boyfriend almost had to pin me down. 'What sort of people move in at 10 o'clock at night? …

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