1739. The sound of music
© Bruce Goodman 21 February 2020

There was a general consensus in the whole street: Finlay, who lived with his wife at Number 45, was a crackpot. Since he’d found religion things had gone from bad to worse. It culminated when he brought home a coffin, set it up on his front lawn, and would lie in it with a sign that read: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. He would then start preaching – every day – from door to door, and it was driving the neighbours bonkers.

To be particularly fastidious, it wasn’t really a street; it was a cul-de-sac, a short street with a round-about at one end. Everyone knew everyone else. It was a close-knit community and Findlay’s “conversion” was catastrophic – sort of like a woodpecker turning up to a lumberjacks’ convention.

And suddenly the whole cul-de-sac went crazy. Everyone began to play their music at top volume, booming it out from house to house. Mrs Bronson not only played Saint-Saëns’ The carnival of the animals full tilt, but she coupled it with playing on the piano Mozart’s Piano Sonata in D Major.

Andy Summers played Frank Sinatra’s I did it my way over and over. And most didn’t mind when young Tommy Gloucester’s sophisticated sound gear broadcast the Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables fortissimo (which Ms Nancy Smith of Number 28 considered “very yesterday”).

There wasn’t a house on the cul-de-sac that wasn’t broadcasting. And all because Finlay’s wife was busy with a hammer. Everyone somehow had to drown out the banging emanating from Finlay’s front lawn.

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