I was sitting at a pavement table outside a café the other day, admiring the view across the street, when someone pulled up into the kerb-side parking space in front of me in a small bright red car. It was a hot afternoon and all his windows were wide open.
The most extraordinary sounds were belting out of the open windows – I did wonder if he had an electric kettle in there, coming to a frantic boil. My teacup was vibrating to the beat of the bass, and kit wasn’t only the kettle that was coming rapidly to the boil.
I was about to take steps of some sort or another, when he closed his windows. He, and his back-seat passenger seemed to enter some kind of twitching trance-like state, and the noise, if anything, intensified. I reflected that I was turning into a stereotypical Old Person. I too, was beginning to twitch.
In the end, when he opened his windows again, I went on the attack. “Excuse me,” I said with sweet and dulcet tones, “Please could you tell me what you are listening to?”
“Oh, is it too loud? Let me turn it down.” “No, not at all,” I lied.
We had a really good conversation. He was listening to a singer called Georgia Brown because he loved it when she sang really, really high. He was fascinated by her wide vocal range; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkN2zFYYfCU. He also liked Mariah Carey for the same reason.
Well, fair’s fair – I swapped him his favourites for my favourites – in my case the Allegri “Miserere” and Mozart’s aria “Queen of the Night” from “The Magic Flute”. When I left, he was looking up them up on his mobile, and I have since followed up his music on the internet.
Somewhere along the exchange, I lost my irritation, and resumed my normal cheerfulness was remarkably quickly.