Meddling in Music :: A Beginner’s Guide to Surviving Backyard Music Wars

MIM-BackyardWars-photo1It’s an age-old struggle. Every point of history has dealt with the enduring problem of music-averse neighbours. Primordial cavemen and their fireside drums roused the local animals. Albeit, not the furry and docile kind. King Louis XVI’s monarchy-palace playlist was muted by the sound of a guillotine. And North Korea’s on-repeat clamour about ballistic missiles continues to draw the ire of not only its South Korean neighbours, but also the world. Granted, North Korea’s pro-nuclear-war tunes kind of suck (colossal understatement).

Okay. Maybe you’re not as reckless as King Louis or as diabolical as North Korea when it comes to blaring your backyard music, but there comes a time in every homeowner’s life when the neighbours implore you to keep the music at a minimum or worse – indoors. If you’re a music enthusiast like me, that’s one hard feat to pull off during the summer months. As the weather warms, the backyard shindigs, the tanning bouts, the grilling spells, and even the horticultural activities ramp up. All this beckons you and your summer soundtrack outdoors.


Clearly a rowdy bunch.

To help you navigate your summer and abate the complaints from next door, give a gander at the following tips. After all, these fail-safe pointers might keep the domestic peace and Michael Jackson’s melodious shrill floating in your backyard. All. Summer. Long!


Tip 1: Love Thy Neighbour

Instead of warring with a stranger, why not war with a friend? Typically, friends tend to be more lenient when it comes to indulging in their friend’s irritating predilections. Next time your neighbour comes barreling up his steps with an arm full of groceries, help him out and strike up conversation. You never know. He might think twice before asking you to turn down The Best of The Beatles collection. In fact, he might ask you to turn it up (the ivory-tower of advice columns here).


Tip 2: Give and Take with Thy Neighbour

Like any healthy relationship, there needs to be a balance between giving and taking. If you continue to indifferently blast your tunes in the face of your finger-wagging neighbour, there might be some severe legal penalties waiting for you in the offing. Instead, hone your diplomatic skills by having an adult conversation with your carping comrade. See if you can arrange a feasible schedule of when you can and cannot play your music. By simply deferring to your pesky pal, you’re engendering a base level of respect. This will certainly score you some music mileage and decibel allowance for those Great Gatsby-type parties you plan to host this summer.


Tip 3: Accept Thy Bad Neighbour

If we’ve learned anything from TV sitcoms in the ’90s, we’ve learned that there are some neighbours you cannot change. They’re irredeemably offbeat, obstinate, and consummately obnoxious. Quintessential bad neighbours can be found in The Simpson’s Ned Flanders, Full House’s Kimmy Gibler, and Family Matters’ Steve Urkel. No matter how many times the TV homeowners try to broker an agreement, to kick out, or even to dote, these TV goons remain chronically bad. And the more they try and change them, the more frustrated the homeowners grow. They’re set in their ways. The same goes for your bad neighbour. Leave them, accept them, and write them off as a “sandpaper person” who inadvertently smoothes out your own rough edges, helping you cultivate patience and tolerance. How’s that for self-help hogwash?


Whether this advice holds water or not, happy listening and happy co-habiting!

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