Sounds that really grind my gears

Peter Griffin, from Fox's "Family Guy"

You know Dave-ros is back on top of things when he has time to complain about anything and everything

Yeah, I’m back, and just because I’ve been denied the chance to write in my blog for so long, doesn’t mean I’m going to say anything profound or inspiring in this post; no, I’m going to complain, belatedly, about sounds that annoy me, because I’ve been bottling this up for a long time.  After all, there’s some new people at work with deeply irritating voices, including one who gives the annoying woman a run for her money, by constantly (and I do mean constantly) chatting loudly, and frequently laughing in a manner that sounds like a cross between a car starting and a heavy smoker wheezing.  Others keep chatting about football with one of my long-term work colleagues, and in one case this goes literally over my head (I sit facing one of them and have the other sitting behind me).

And oh, yes, the annoying woman herself… well, Beavis and Butt-head came to my rescue when I finally got around to watching the new episodes: during “Holy Cornholio” they criticise a girl getting a boob job in a clip from Teen Mom by saying she “talks through the back of her nose”, which is an excellent description of my arch-nemesis’ mode of speech.  Thus, whenever she gets going again (in that voice of hers that’s somehow much louder than anyone near her), I find myself thinking: “Breast augmentationnnn…” (no YouTube clip, alas)

Of course, I loathe people talking in just about any situation where you’d expect quiet.  When visiting “female best friend” recently, on the train home from Sheffield, I was sitting behind a group of three Germans (?) who kept talking loud enough that they were drowning out the Bee Gees on my earphones.  Maybe I’m becoming a racist in my old age, but I really am sick of foreign visitors who don’t know, or care, to talk at a reasonable volume in public places, and somehow the fact that it’s in another language makes it worse, as then there’s the whole “hah, we can talk about these stupid English peasants and they won’t even know!” aspect to it.

But native English speakers can really grind my gears too.  Sometimes I’ll be on a nearly-empty Tube train and a group of semi-drunk middle-aged people will get on, presumably coming home from a dinner party, and the moment some red-faced bloke tells a joke and throws his head back, “rahahahahaha!”, I’ll get up and walk to the other end of the carriage.  And then there was the group of Kettering-ites making a lot of noise on another train home from Sheffield, another time, who actually required a train guard to shut them up… I really wish I had the guts to go up to noisy people and ask them to be quiet, instead of sighing and tutting all the time (the yobs in the latter example claimed it was everyone else’s fault for not telling them to shut up!).

And don’t get me started on people who talk in cinemas… oh, you all agree with me anyway that they should be strung up, that anyone who pays to sit in a movie theatre and TALK the whole time, as though they’re too stupid to realise they’re not in their own living room but are actually sharing space with other people who might actually like to listen to the damn film instead of asking “dur, what did he just say?”, is the worst kind of person?  Good, no need to dwell on their utterly worthless, putrescent existence, let us not give these vile filthbags any more attention than they deserve.  A pox on them!

Oh, and mobile phone noises.  Oddly, the default alarm music on my HTC phone is something that makes me feel physically sick, perhaps reminding me of early 2012 when I first got it, during the time I thought I was insane (and not in a good “wibble, hatstand, Elvis is alive” kind of way), despite the fact that it must have been a week before I changed it for that scary music in Amnesia: The Dark Descent when the invisible water monster first comes at you.  Weird, huh?  Then again, I still cringe if I hear someone’s old Nokia phone playing the noise that I heard for most of 2011 to get me up in the mornings.

But the very worst mobile device-related noise ever, and I doubt it will ever be beaten: the Samsung “text message received” whistle (don’t open that link… oh, too late).  THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THIS SOUND, AND I WISH IT COULD BE BANISHED FROM EXISTENCE ENTIRELY.  Not joking, I truly loathe it, and nothing, not even hypnotism, could ever stop me flinching in annoyance at its every intrusion upon my consciousness.

My text message noise used to be Roger the Alien from American Dad! going “Myaah!”, and I got complaints about it (it’s now a Gatherer from Amnesia growling in the distance… I really should stop trying to scare myself, shouldn’t I?), but that was a sound effect designed to be annoying; people with this dreadful whistle emanating from their smartphones don’t seem to think that they’re doing anything wrong, that a fairy dies every time it plays, or that the Chinese are using it as a new form of water torture (yes, I know Samsung are Korean, please don’t point that out).

(I was completely unsurprised when the annoying woman at work delcared she absolutely loved it the first time she heard it — this tells you all you need to know.)

Anyway, let’s try to think calming thoughts.  It ought to be nice and quiet here in the little village outside Worthing where my folks live, and where I’ve joined them for this week-long exile… but no.  It’s bad enough that we get used as a thoroughfare for people who want to avoid the big motorway to the north, every hour of every day, but over the years I’ve lived here, we’ve had the following night-time nuisances:

  • seagulls
  • noisy neighbours (old lady with radio turned up too loud, drug-addled couple playing music too loud, family with kids screaming and jumping around)
  • a weird burglar alarm going off at the old car showroom opposite altogether too often
  • seagulls
  • drunks staggering home shouting at the sky, people chatting about houses advertised in the window of the estate agent that used to be right under our flat (this was at around midnight)
  • a druggie in a bus shelter playing Spirit FM at maximum volume
  • more seagulls
  • some oik kicking a football around in the middle of the road
  • boy racers zooming up and down who didn’t even have the decency to prang their chavmobiles
  • seagulls, seagulls, F***ING SEAGULLS!!!  Honestly, someone has the audacity to walk past our house, and these damned avians get stirred up and swoop around for the next two hours!

And it gets worse: since coming home the other day, we’ve had an old codger constantly setting off his car alarm right outside (he seemed to be triggering it by the mere effort of climbing out), a yapping dog in a car whose owner wouldn’t let me pet it, and (one for my mother here) a guy with a lot of sound leaking from his earphones, delivering a paper or something at around 6am (to make matters worse, he seems to be an Eminem fan, so I can’t even have him executed!).

Which brings me onto music.  Here goes… never mind the accursed Bieber or No Direction, I’ve long hated the entire works of The Streets (especially “Fit But You Know It” and “Dry Your Eyes”, which got altogether too much airplay in 2004… yes, I’m still bitter about him being called “the British Eminem” when he’s not even the British Vanilla Ice!), and I’ll change station if he ever dares to come on.  One time I was desperately trying to turn off the radio, but he just kept on going… which turned out to be because I was still asleep and hearing him on my alarm clock radio.  By comparison, my hatred of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is distinctly minor!

There are other, more recent songs I’m sick of hearing: “Next to Me”, for example, which reminds me of the worst time of my life, early 2012; and that song the Military Wives released for Christmas 2011, for similar reasons — a random song doesn’t just take you back to a happier period, you know.  And then there’s the Glee version of “Don’t Stop Believin'”… ecch.  Fortunately, the music I’ve listened to since late 2012 (such as Gwar, and the 1980s stuff my friend at work gave me) has combined with a better life overall and helped me forge some positive music-related memories, but I still get a pang whenever I hear a song that reminds me of the bad times…

Similarly, my mother hates the Homebase radio adverts with the whistling music “Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn & John — but no worries there, as I play Gwar in the car whenever she’s driving us to and from the climbing centre.  But wait: a challenger appears!  Yes, the final bit of audio-related annoyance for me is that while Mumsy doesn’t seem altogether thrilled by the thrash metal-playing alien barbarians who have kept me going throughout 2013, she was instantly hooked by another band I’ve discovered, King Missile.

You may remember Beavis and Butt-head reviewing “Detachable Penis” in this post; well, I got the album, Happy Hour, and played a couple of tracks (including the aforementioned phallic misplacement-related one) for my mother after finishing the Gwar album This Toilet Earth, and she responded positively and wants to know more about them!  Dammit, don’t the Scumdogs of the Universe get any love?

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One thought on “Sounds that really grind my gears

  1. Pingback: Offences to the senses, or: The general public really grinds my gears | Dave-ros Lives!

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