Radios outside should be banned

Workmen of the region: Please turn your radios down. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Workmen of the region: Please turn your radios down. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What a cheerful sight – a glorious morning with a clear blue sky and the sun streaming through the bedroom window. After all those gloomy days and bitter winds the prospect of a seat in the garden with an early morning cuppa was really pleasing.

At 8.30am I was out there with the EDP. Then the banging started, accompanied by the booming. Bang, bang, bang. Boom, boom, boom.

It was a weekday. I could see a chap a street away, fixing some roof tiles, so the banging was acceptable, up to a point. Live and let live. When building work needs to be done it's inevitable that there will be some noise. What we shouldn't have to accept is the unnecessary noise of a loud radio that often goes with it.

It's my opinion, shared by a good many others, that radios outside ought to be banned, or at least kept at very low volume. Surely, it's not unreasonable for people to make it part of the deal, when having work done, to insist that there are no radios on site. Or if there are, headphones should be used. We always do. That way we don't have to share the builders' choice of music – be it Beyoncé, Bach or be-bop – and nor do our neighbours.

Back in the garden, with my morning cuppa, I put up with the roofer's din for a while until deciding that enough was enough. I went to find the house where the work was being done. There was another chap, radio on, working at the front of a house. I inquired politely if work was also going on at the back. No, that was next door. Two different radios within 50 yards of each other!


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I found my roofer and, very politely, called up to him. I apologised for seeming like a miserable old bag and asked him if he would mind awfully if the radio was turned down. Reader, he obliged! The sunny air was sweet again. I took him a couple of cans of beer as a reward. I paid for quiet that I was entitled to anyway.

Early Sunday. There was that banging again, and the sound of a radio, just as before. Bribery with beer was evidently not enough. I'd made a note of the phone number on the side of his van. I called him. I could see him, but he couldn't see me. I asked him again if he would please turn the noise down. He did, but reluctantly.

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Intrusive radios and piped music are everywhere: shops, restaurants, hairdressers, even in dentists' and doctors' waiting rooms. Not quite everywhere. Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and John Lewis are some of the places where canned pop isn't dumped on customers. To paraphrase the great Spike Milligan, tranquillity lubricates the soul, unwanted music destroys it. He was a supporter of Pipedown, which was set up to fight for the right to quiet.

Sufferers can be driven to extremes. One allegedly retaliated by relentlessly playing Des O'Connor records until the tormentor begged for mercy.

Roofers, you have been warned.

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