THE PEOPLE on Radio 5 Live were expecting a torrent of complaints to their phone-in after rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney had the plug pulled on them during their recent Hyde Park performance.
In fact, the majority of callers rang in to offer their support for the plug pullers.
These were people who, no doubt, regularly suffer from the noise pollution of modern life. Maybe residents whose nights are punctuated by loud rock music from neighbours, bars or amplified outdoor events.
The concert in Hyde Park was played to 80,000 fans and organisers knew the music had to end by 10.30pm. When it did there were outraged protests from concert goers that we are now living in a police state and those who cut the music off were “killjoys”.
But the killjoys were, in fact, protecting the rights of all those who weren’t in attendance and were hoping for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Ours has become a very noisy society.
There seems to be some sort of unwritten rule by bar keepers and night club owners that what the punters really want is to be totally deafened while they drink. Perhaps they believe that everyone will drink more if they can’t hear what the person standing next to them is saying.
More than a decade ago a virus damaged my inner ear and left me with a sensitivity to sound. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t stand more than a few minutes in a bar with thumping music. What this has done is to raise my awareness of just how noisy life has become.
I once attended a birthday party at which the DJ had decided to play music at such a level that it was impossible to hold a conversation anywhere in the room. The birthday girl said she couldn’t offend the DJ by asking for a reduction in decibels. Instead, she offended her guests, who mostly left early.
There are many other occasions when I’ve wanted to pull the plug.