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Top five worst sounds in London

Written by
Eddy Frankel

1. The mouse click

You’ve just returned from two weeks in Marbs roasting yourself on a lounger, pickling your innards with mai tais and blobbing about in the pool like a sunburnt beluga whale. Nothing makes the crushing reality of returning to work more crushy than being greeted with: 'Would you like to turn off your out-of-office reply? 'That 'yes' click isn’t just any old click: it's the sound of you condemning yourself to 11-and-a-half months of sunless, grey misery.

2. American accents

There's nothing wrong with Americans as people. But like a durian fruit, which tastes delicious but stinks of rotting flesh, they have one enduringly unappetising quality: the ear-violating, soul-piercing, knob-shrivelling shrillness of their voices. There's just something about their vocal cords. Somehow, no matter where you are or what you are doing - operating a pneumatic drill or spending an evening as Cannibal Corpse's drum tech - if there is an American nearby, you will hear them. You can slice off your ears and fill the holes with hamburgers and Cheez Whiz, but you cannot escape.

3. Banging on bus windows 

Hammering on the upper-deck window of the number 29 because you've spotted your mate on the street achieves nothing. Either the friend doesn't hear you because they're jamming to the new T-Swizzy album, or the friend hears the banging, looks at the bus and waves, while you scream 'DAAAVE! I'LL CALL YOU LATER!' If you'd just sent a text, the whole bus wouldn't be wishing for the glass to give way and send you hurtling down on to the tarmac.

4. The barrier beeps

It's rush hour. The queues snaking through the ticket barriers are 15 deep. A tourist ahead of you attempts to put their paper travelcard into the slot sideways. You switch queues. Finally, you arrive at the barrier and confidently slap your wallet on the Oyster card reader. 'This is how you do it!' you bellow at the tourist, silently in your mind. BEEP. 'Error 36. Seek assistance.' The person behind you slams into your back. 'At least buy me a drink first,' you say amusingly, but silently, in your mind. You try again. BEEP. People tut behind you, change queues, bump into each other. Those beeps are you coming last in the game of London life.

5. Text message alerts

People are such complicated creatures that accurately judging someone’s character can be quite tricky - unless they’re someone who refuses to switch their phone to silent. Then you just know they’re one of the worst people on earth. It’s 2015: phones vibrate for both pleasure and privacy. If I were king - and one day I might be - anyone who used that fucking whistle sound that goes 'woo woo wee woo-woo' would be arrested and forced to listen to Irish tin whistle music so loud that their spleen would rupture.

By Eddy Frankel, who wishes he sounded like an American.

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