If you’re human or from Wolverhampton then the chances are that yes, you do enjoy your sleep. I know I do.
It’s precious. It’s the only time we can truly rest and have dreams like Mrs Grump’s recurring dream of Hugh Jackman, shirtless, riding on the back of a unicorn over a rainbow. It is also the time when we can have nightmares, like my recurring night terror of Hugh Jackman, shirtless, riding on the back of a unicorn, over a rainbow with Mrs Grump sat behind him, holding on, with a big fat grin!
But the first thing you need to do is actually fall asleep. If that is proving difficult due to the neighbours then it is enough to drive a man into despair and end up having a bit of a Falling Down moment.
A few years ago I was staying with one of my closest friends. Let’s call him Dave. Not only because it is a very common name and can easily be utilised to protect the anonymity of my friend but also because his name is actually Dave.
I consider Dave to be like an older brother to me. Despite having completely different parents we seem to share the same follicle gene.
Our crazy antics of going out for a few non-alcoholic drinks until late (11.30pm) were well and truly behind us. We were both mature men now; refined, debonair and sophisticated. I had a pair of shoes that were not even for work! I even had a turtleneck jumper. Dave was now married (still is) and had two children (still has).
It was now a time when going out for a night in Maidstone and still sober, finding yourself getting into the only R&B bar with dozens of black men grinding and winding and finger bashing chavy white women up against the walls and feeling completely out of place, was a thing of the past. By the way, that did actually happen.
So thank God we’d moved on. We were no longer into going into the most popular club in town to check out women (check out because that’s as far as it ever got) and dance badly to the Funky House music that was played by the house DJ who had travelled down from London and who’s height of fame was being mentioned once on Kiss FM. Just as well, because Dave’s dancing always resulted in him trying to do the splits to show off. The only thing he used to pull was his hamstring!
Those days were behind us. It was all about intellectually stimulating conversation and gatherings around people’s homes. Invited of course! This night had been such an event with friendly faces popping round, drinks and conversation flowing and as a man from a far off distant land known as Dudley, with strange dialect and mannerisms, I would regale these southerners of the beautiful surroundings of Dudley, it’s castle, it’s canal network, it’s history and it’s high numbers of unemployed cider drinkers who piss in public places.
The soiree had come to an end and myself, Dave and his wife retired for the evening, going to bed. Not the same bed! I was in the guest bedroom. There was no love sandwich going on. It definitely wasn’t one of those parties I can assure you!
We were trying to drop off to sleep but the neighbours were not allowing us to do so. Unlike the neighbours next door to Chateau Grump where you can be kept awake by the sound of someone arguing, falling over, crying, having an orgasm, fighting or summoning the evil bastard of a cat or sometimes all of those things, in that order, the next door neighbours had gone on holiday. But they had left behind their teenage sons. These boys had decided to have a bit of a soiree themselves. The bass, drums and distorted guitars from Kings of Leon made their way through the adjoining wall combined with the sound of loud chatter and laughter. They weren’t playing live! I can only assume it was a cd.
Now I’m not one to break up a party and spoil peoples fun. There’s a difference between Grumpy and Nasty. But it was late. It was now AM people, AM! This wasn’t on. Dave thought the same. I could tell. I’ve known him for years so I could read him like a book, even though we were in separate rooms. I wasn’t standing over him as he lay there in bed. Well not until he eventually got to sleep anyway.
But yes, it was obvious that this was really pissing Dave off. The subtle approach of banging on the wall and shouting, “F*cking Shut Up!!!!” seemed to indicate this.
But alas, it wasn’t enough to stop the noise from next door.
Dave had had enough. He darted out of bed and stormed downstairs. He was about to have a Falling Down moment. I don’t think he has any guns but as a Martial Arts instructor I knew full well that he could kill a man with his bare hands, so a couple of teenagers playing loud music and smoking weed shouldn’t be a problem. Impulsively, I jumped out of bed too, to give support or to prevent unnecessary bloodshed! I’d always got his back! Not literally.
When I got downstairs, I was surprised not to find him in the kitchen grabbing a big knife. Instead he was turning his speakers around to face the wall and he then turned his own stereo on. This was a war of audible volume. We were Spartans with speakers! Dave cranked it up and as the music blasted at the wall, rocking the foundations of the house, we just stood there for the four minutes and twenty two seconds of the song. We didn’t speak; it was too loud. We just stood there, waiting.
At the end of the song, the stereo was turned off. Our work was done, for next door was suddenly rather quiet. We looked at each other and I could tell there was a sense of pride in Dave. His message had been well and truly understood and his work was done.
I gave him a look as if to say, well done! Spartan!!
Triumphant we climbed the stairs. I don’t know why I was feeling triumphant; I had just been standing there. Perhaps it was because I knew that if it did kick off, I was there to, I don’t know, do something?
Anyway, these two victorious warriors were almost at the top of the stairs when Dave’s lovely wife spoke up. I wasn’t surprised if she would no doubt greet her hero of a husband and his mate, grateful at the alpha male dominance asserted to ensure that from here on, the night would be ours to relish in the silence and sleep easy.
But no. She said something along the lines of, “You both go charging downstairs like you’re about to kick off, all manly and then you play Scissor Sisters, I don’t feel like dancing, really loud and stand there in your underpants. It hardly looks intimidating!”
Yeah, she had a point.