Is it possible to write when it’s 30C by eleven in the morning? In the centre of London? It’s not so much the heat (although, really, it IS the heat) as the noise which accompanies it. Every window in my flat is wide open in a desperate attempt to find some small lost breeze and encourage it inside. Despite this, the temperature inside is the same as it is outside: utterly burning hot. The air – if you dare go out in the sun itself – seems to be on fire. But I digress: the noise.
First there’s emphysema man who, every summer, sits at his open window ALL DAY and smokes. And coughs. And coughs and coughs and coughs. The phlegm production is phenomenal. Every year I hope he’s died. Just how long does it take to expire from emphysema? Is he not smoking enough?
Then there’s the garbage men, the garbage truck itself which is like a monster, the removals truck, the endless traffic, the police helicopters which have decided that my estate is the centre of all world crime and persist in hanging overhead at a dead stop for hours on end, and the drilling. Seventy different kinds of drilling. Drilling is only permitted in summer as this is the only time drilling can actually occur: the hotter the better because then you can get out Your Really Big Drill that goes into the foundations of the building and makes everything shudder, including your neighbours’ brains, thus driving them suitably insane. One year the drilling was so unbelievably awful, went on for so many hours a day (how many hours are there in a day), made my desk and computer shiver while I tried to work, that the noise itself actually ended up in the novel I was writing. You’ll read about it one day: it’s in “V.Gomenzi” and it’s hell. Drilling is only permitted to stop when your hammer is ready for use. Random hammering is best, at all hours, a hammer here, a hammer there, a little bit everywhere. It’s as if they’re trying to kill flies by randomly hammering the room around them. Like drilling, this only occurs in summer. Hence the flies.
How am I supposed to create a thing of beauty with all this crap going on? I end up spending my time looking at pictures of the Antarctic: cool green ice, endless ice fields, ice mountains, freezing aqua seas, arches of ice, towers of ice….
Excuse me, I’m going to go and put my head in the freezer.