(2003 to 2005)


Sat Sep 25 17:12:00 UTC+1000 2004


I grew up without a TV.

We used to rent a TV during school holidays, and I used to OD on it during that period.

I used to stay up really late watching videos.

The TV room always seemed to be just outside Mum and Dad's bedroom. (we lived in lots of houses)

If it disturbed them, one of them would come out and yell at us to turn it off and go to bed.

So, while I watched videos, I used to sit with the volume control, and turn the volume from 1 (i.e. the lowest volume you can have before mute) and 2 (i.e. the tiniest bit louder than 1) and down again.

While there was dialog I'd turn the volume to two, or even three or four if I was brave. Then there would be an explosion or loud score or something like that and I'd panic and try to get the volume back down to one.

My parents were relentless. There was no margin for error. If a bomb went off and you had the volume on three, you were fucked. Game over, thanks for playing, go to bed.

I ended up unable to take it. I'm a nocturnal creature, and my parents would hear a mouse fart at night time. So I ended up moving out to the garage and just basically telling my family to fuck off an leave me alone. You know, teen angst, etc.

Anyway, I didn't escape childhood without becoming *hyper* sensitive to volume.

If it's dark, and I'm listening to music, or something, I *constantly* worry about the volume.

You have to understand, when I grew up, you just didn't get away with anything. The tiniest little mistake at night time, and that was it. You had to assume that if you made any sort of sound, like a floor board or hinge creaked, or TV went on, or anything, then you were going to be held to account almost immediately.

I'm still not over it. I've been living in my own house for years. By myself.

I *still* creep around at night, and if I open a door and the hinge makes a sound I cringe.

The thing is, I really like playing music.

Headphones are OK, but I prefer speakers.

Bah... I'm craping on.

What I'm trying to say is that I've been listening to music at a barely audible volume for ages here, concerned that I might be disturbing someone. Tonight, listening to triplej, I really wanted to have it 'just a little bit louder'.

So I decided to turn it up a bit.

But I felt *really* uncomfortable.

Like my Mum was going to be beating down my door and yelling at me to turn it off and go to sleep.

I'm 24.

I haven't lived at my parents place for so many years it's not funny.

Tonight I kept turning it down, then up, then down, then up.

I just couldn't handle it. I wanted it louder, but if it was loud it just really left me feeling uneasy.

So here's what I decided to do.

I turned it up *even louder*, and decided to walk outside my house (it's about 3am) and close the door and see how far I could hear it for. This took some balls, I mean I felt like a real arsehole having it up *that loud*.

I really thought it was just *blaring*.

I went to my door, opened it, stepped outside, closed the door.


The faintest, faintest bass throb was coming from my flat.

I walked three steps from my front door, in front of my neighbors door.

Absolutely *nothing*.

I couldn't hear a thing.

I think I'm going to have to work on getting over this phobia of night time noise.

Mum, this is all your fault! :)

Copyright © 2003-2005 John Elliot