, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You really could not make this stuff up. Longer term readers of this blog will have shared the saga of my drug-dealing gun-toting neighbours who upped and left in the middle of the night after tyres were slashed, houses raided and goodness knows what else. Since then the house has been disinfected, having smelled of a particularly disgusting circle of hell, redecorated and newly rented out to what initially was a youngish couple, then two youngish couples and now what seems closer to three youngish couples, all crammed in, I assume. Their various cars perform a bizarre ballet in the morning when they all go off to work, diesel engines clack-clack-clacking underneath my bedroom window but, that aside, all has been a marked improvement on last year.

On Saturday evening they had a barbeque in their back garden, the music kept to a decent and unobtrusive level and switched off at half past ten, so far so good, and I had treated myself to an early night in any case. It transpired that this was a good idea, for at four in the morning there was an almighty crash outside, and I immediately thought that some drunk or other had put a brick through my car windscreen. Not so, for as I peeped through the blinds it felt as though I had fallen back in time – there was a police raid going on next door. Two police vans, battering rams, the boys in blue searching the garden and the shed, and another completely destroyed night of sleep.

It turns out that our valiant finest were seeking the former tenants, raiding four addresses simultaneously, so I have heard. Given that they attended the eviction hearing and really should have deduced that these unsavoury folks had not been around for over six months, it all seemed a little overdramatic. Hopefully that is the last of this nonsense, and I feel more than a little sympathy for my newish neighbours.

This made me a little tired as I headed off to work yesterday morning, although the day was neither long nor arduous, and at least I had been tucked up relatively early on Sunday. With some irony, almost as soon as I had published my last post I received a rejection from my latest competition, but no matter for the next piece is already lined up and ready to go. I am still baffled that a hugely successful composer should be so negative about competitions, especially when he is more than keen to serve as a juror these days. Maybe that is how he is able to inform us with such authority that “juries are biased”. It is, I think, a little like a certain British composer bleating on and on about how he is underrated from his enormous house in Holland Park. All composers think they are underrated and ignored, and we certainly all think that we are good enough to win every competition. The difference is that some are famous enough to make these opinions heard, but they should be more positive in their success, I feel.

It would be remiss of me not to jump onto the old bandwagon and say something about the Olympics, specifically that I was wrong in my predictions of travel chaos and organisational disasters. In fact, apart from arresting 180 or so cyclists on the opening evening, which seemed just a touch heavy handed, it all seems to have gone rather well, London Underground even avoiding their weekend engineering works for the occasion, which has made the capital a rather pleasant place to live and work.

TV-less, I did not watch much, but have followed the stories online. The closing ceremony yesterday was a bit of a mish-mash, I thought, the low point for me being the Spice Girls squawking “Spice Up Your Life” over and over like sexed-up Daleks. There is a sound engineer in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium who certainly deserves a gold medal, however, for it was clear to me at least the the Girls’ mikes were on whenever they had to shout at people to exhort them to spice up this or that, but were deftly switched off whenever it came to the singing bits, leaving the backing tape to take over and sparing all our ears. All the same, if Eric Idle was prepared to sing live in front of an audience of billions, why not one of our “greatest musical exports” (it says here)?

What I will take away from the Olympics is the lesson that hard work will pay off, and that the spoils will usually go to those who are prepared to sacrifice the most, the Mo Farah who trains at gone midnight when everybody else has gone home, the Chris Hoy who spends 35 hours a week on his bike. I have said it here before and I will say it again that dedicated effort away from the limelight, put in day in and day out, is still the way one is most likely to achieve success, even in this age of instant gratification. If these Olympics have genuinely been for the children, as we initially posited, then we need to ensure that these people become their heroes and role models, not the X-Factor wannabees or the narcissists on The Apprentice. What irked me most about the Spice Girls yesterday was not so much the miming and the pointing (oh, the pointing), but more the thudding awakening from a dream, the realisation that we are much more likely to get frothed up and excited by the manufactured, the vacuous and the insubstantial than by the genuinely deserving.

In other news the Spice Girls Musical opens at the Piccadilly Theatre on the 27th November, but I am sure that’s just a coincidence.