May 20, 2004

Boorish New Yorkers on the Loose!

For those of you who don't read the often hilarious Miss Manners-like "Your Problems Solved" column in the Spectator, a classic from a couple issues back (subscription required):

Q. Some mega-rich American bankers bought the house opposite and have outraged the neighbourhood with two solid years of construction work — endless daily noise from a circular mechanical digger gouging out a second basement, thick dust, meaning endless trips to an expensive carwash, endless window-cleaning, blocked street, lost car parking, and rude and aggressive builders — without a hint of an apology at any time. The traditional form here is to send a charming note apologising in advance or wine (relating to height of inconvenience) in retrospect.

How can I show these dreadful vulgar people that they are universally loathed and completely unwelcome while staying within the law? Have you any suggestions for killer insults which would not be actionable (these people are New Yorkers)? [emphasis added]

Name withheld, London Wll

A. As you live in the Notting Hill area you doubtless have a wide circle of friendly neighbours who work in the media, most pertinently people who produce reality television. Simply arrange for the offending neighbours to receive a letter from a production company announcing that they are to be the focus of a forthcoming Neighbours from Hell shockumentary (which is in the very early stages of production) and requesting an interview in which they will have the opportunity to hit back at their critics in the surrounding streets. ‘Please telephone to arrange a suitable time when we can film you outside the property when the diggers are in action.’ Even if you do not see an end to the noise, you will have the satisfaction of having unnerved the offenders and possibly put them to the expense and inconvenience of issuing an injunction. You may even find someone who genuinely wants to make such a documentary. The haves would enjoy feeling outraged as they watched and the have-nots would enjoy for quite different reasons.

Heh.

The bolded language strikes a certain endearing London note...

Posted by Gregory at May 20, 2004 11:15 AM
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