A recent post by ion about noise transmission between tenement flats made we wonder why the neighbours never murdered me when I lived in Edinburgh. They never once complained about my off-key late-night saxophone practice. Even when Vinnie and his moll and Mary Hopkin and I spent several hilarious drunken hours after the pubs closed, dragging an abandoned piano up four flights of stone steps to my place, nobody said a word. One guy in his pyjamas did come out on the landing for a look at the commotion, but then went meekly back into his house. Hungover the next morning, we were faced with the reality of a heavily damaged piano in the living room, too heavy to move when sober. Someone suggested breaking it up into smaller pieces, but how do you chop up a cast iron frame?
To his credit, Vinnie came back the next night with a 4-inch junior hacksaw, with which he failed to make even the slightest scratch in the frame. So after a few home brews we started on something easier, the piano strings. Sawing through tensioned steel wires could be art if you're John Cage, but the whiplash is something awful.
I ended up living with that piano taking up half a bedroom, for several years. When I finally moved out I had to pay a team of guys to carry it back down the stairs.
But I was mostly a model neighbour, apart from the piano and the sax, and the night we launched fireworks out the kitchen window. I was too inhibited in those days to make bonking noises, but the guy in the creaky bed next door used to take so long getting off I felt like banging on the wall, but I didn't. I wouldn't have been so considerate if I'd known he would end up burgling me through the skylight one morning, while I was in the house. Surely that's not neighbourly?