Great quote from Avril; the other night when we were having a few drinks at the flat and I mentioned the pinot noir festival that was on in town the other week, she came out with (tone of great scorn) "pinot noir is the REM of wine" What she meant was that they were both boring, insipid and overrated. Although I'm mostly a fan of REM, and don't mind pinot noir, I laughed like anything; knowing Avril's views on REM, it was a spontaneous and situation-perfect metaphor, a rare example of true wit.
Last night I went to a party at Matt and Jocasta's on Todman St for Jocasta's birthday. It was a surprise party, and Matt had got a jazz band to play in their back garden. As I walked down the street from my place I could hear the music floating up from the little hollow where their house is, and echoing off the hills. It was very light - "Watermelon Man" type stuff, with one sax and guitar. Sweet and dreamy sounds for an early evening Friday in Brooklyn - impossible to object to, one would have thought. Some people walking down Todman St clapped at the end of a song, and I could see other people who had come out on their balconies to listen
Yet as the band was finishing, about 9:45, a noise control officer arrived. They had received - get this - *five* separate complaints from neighbours. Not one of them called Matt (who had tried to warn most of the neighbours that it would be happening), or came over to say they had a problem with it. This situation would have been ludicrous if it wasn't somehow entirely predictable. Within the value system of our enlightened, cosmopolitan suburb, it's not quite legitimate to play some light, airy jazz outside early on a Friday evening. As Simon pointed out, what *is* legitimate is starting up your buzzsaw at 8:00 am and beginning a chorus of hammering as you make an early start on your house extension. No one would ever consider complaining about that.