Monday, April 25, 2005


If noise is an earthquake, I live at its epicentre. I am constantly amazed at just how noisy my city is. I naively thought I could set up a little home studio for voice and music recording. A success if I wanted all my tracks to have a gentle bed of traffic. I remember my first morning, waking bolt upright to what sounded like a plane about to land on my head. I waited for the caucophony to pass by and recede. It didn't. Instead, it became louder and louder, signifying its imminent arrival in my bedroom. At the moment just before eardrums burst and blood trickles down the cheek, I rushed to the window and thrust back the blinds, desperate to see my attacker before my certain death. There in the alley was the SWEEPER; a grotesque metallic bug of gargantuan proportion, hissing and whirring, as it's many furry legs gather the trash that lines the streets. Terrifying.

Then there's Big Mama, the dumpster dumper. A great green block on wheels, that races between homes and screeches to a stop at the next dumpster. As its powerful arms gather and hoist each dumpster aloft, we are blessed by the monosyllabic Parp Parp Parp to warn us of its presense. An easy vehicle to miss, being as it is, the size of my apartment. Then there's the inevitable crash of metal as the dumpsters are flipped and flopped and dumped back down. And all this happens 10 feet from my swollen brain. It is swollen because when Big Mama and Sweepy are terrorising people elsewhere, I have the whoosh-whoosh of passing cars at the nearby intersection, the drilling of my DIY afflicted neighbour and the half-hourly Wooooooooeeeeeeeeuuuuuu of emergency sirens rushing off to who knows what. It's extraordinary. I lived in Johannesburg, one of the crime capitals, for years and never heard sirens this often.

Nightfall offers little respite, as the criminals prefer hiding out at my apartment block. Or at least that's the signal I'm getting, as police choppers regularly whirr and screech overhead, scouring the dark with their searchlight, blinding any poor sod who's just run out to see what the fuss was about. I'm begining to think that LA is either very very dangerous or very very clumsy. Perhaps we're getting rescued from ourselves. That's a consoling thought. Maybe I'll be swept up by LAPD just before switching over to The Apprentice. Or just before starting on that second tub of Haagen Daz. Yes. Maybe that's what they do. As I grab a coffee and set off on my day without eating a proper breakfast, I can almost hear it now.... Woooooeeeeeeuuuuuuuuu!

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