x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Judging by album cover

I'm not hung up about noisy neighbours. We live in blissful modern isolation from one another. But I have started to become acutely aware of the person newly moved in to my right.

Like many people in Dubai, I live in a big anonymous high-rise. I've got people living on my left and people living on my right.

Generally, I'm not too hung up about slightly noisy neighbours. They keep it down, I keep it down. Rarely do we meet. We live in blissful modern isolation from one another.

But I have started to become acutely aware of the person newly moved in to my right.

Whereas the folks to my left scurry in and out of their apartment without a peep or a banged door, or a loudly clunking key or screaming children or loud arguments (the acceptable corridor carnival that goes on most evenings), newly moved-in man to the right, on the other hand, likes air guitar and he likes it loud.

About 11pm, he has his nightly power-rock freak-out. He bangs on Iron Maiden, Aerosmith and a bit of Bon Jovi and then, I imagine, stands alone in the middle of his apartment windmilling his arm on an imaginary guitar. He occasionally likes to holler along, too - badly.

This hasn't, as yet, got to the point where I'm going to go striding out there and bang on doors. The last thing I need is a noise-fuelled feud taking place with the man next door who thinks he's a legend of stadium rock. But his place does exude curling odours of stale smoke when I walk past, and the music rattles through the walls loud and till late.

All this had built to a rather specific image of this person, despite the fact we hadn't actually met. So after being woken up by a recent dead-of-night session of Ace of Spades, I resolved to say something should our paths cross.

Coming back from work a couple of days later, I was mildly surprised to find that the business-looking type I was sharing the lift with got out at my floor, even more surprised that he seemed to be walking towards my door, and shocked when he stopped in front of the apartment to my right.

The air-guitar wielding metalhead I'd imagined - sporting straggly beard, faded band T-shirt and nefarious odour - was in fact a rather plain looking fella in a drab suit and one of those short-back-and-sides, army-issue haircuts. He was even holding a briefcase.

It was obvious, really, that it wasn't going to be Lemmy from Motorhead living next door. But I was nonetheless surprised to find a complete alternative to the image I'd conjured up, based on what I'd listened to him bellow away at every night.

It floored me. I lost my nerve to offer a friendly-worded suggestion to shut up, and instead just went inside. We didn't exchange pleasantries, we just returned to our neighbourly isolation.