You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody that hates peaches.
– Dita Von Teese
What is it with classical music that the people that don’t like it, really hate it? What I want to say here is about neighbours that think playing classical music is so bad that you should be put into prison for it.
You may think I’m exaggerating, and even though this news is already a few years old in Barcelona, here is an example. A few years ago, Laia, a pianist, was sued by her neighbour for playing the piano, for acoustic contamination. Not only did her neighbour want to put her in prison, but there were also rumours that a new law was going to be invented so that nobody at all could play the piano in Barcelona.
Thankfully Laia was acquitted, and the rumour was either a rumour or got laughed off by the justice system.
Pianos can be a noisy affair, but modern day technologies have brought new solutions so that you don’t need to soundproof your room. You can have an electric piano, a softer sounding piano, or a hybrid piano.
Unfortunately I currently have an electric piano, which is the worst solution, because they sound nowhere as good as a real one. However, they are really neighbour friendly. There is no real hammer banging onto a real string, so there is no real soundwave propagating through the building. It’s like a TV, so if you adjust the volume low enough, it shouldn’t bother anyone. You can also plug in headphones so only you hear what’s going on.
Softer sounding pianos just, well, don’t sound so loud. The ones I’ve heard, you can barely hear them in the room next door, let alone in the apartment next door.
The best solution, which is what I want in the future, is a silent or hybrid piano. These are real acoustic pianos where you can press down on a pedal, so it detaches from the acoustic system and becomes an electric piano. That way you can play to your hearts content at any time of the day or night, and then reattach to the acoustic system during the day when you want to play your song nicely.
In my case, I’m very lucky that not only have my neighbours never complained about my piano playing, they actually compliment me when they see me in the hallway and say I should play some more. Also, lucky for them, if I’m going to do a hundred boring repetitions I’ll usually put on my headphones, and I only practice scales about once a year. Yeah, my teacher isn’t too pleased with me on the not doing scales part.
In the past, I haven’t been so lucky. I have lived in other places with housemates where, as soon as they realise I’m playing the piano,which would take a while to realise as I had the volume on so low, they would instantly tell me to stop playing. Just because so. I’ve been so careful that these people have only heard a few notes from me. They have never heard me play a whole piece. They didn’t even want to bother to try and listen.
Here’s the thing I don’t get. Why is that so unacceptable? But then why can they watch a movie on TV, with lots of loud violent gunfire, with the volume on 4 times higher, at 2 am? Or why can other neighbours put on their rock music (hey, if it’s good music, I don’t mind) so loudly that you can’t hear your own music? Why is that acceptable? Why is it that no matter how good you are, – and I’m pretty good – practicing a Chopin prelude can bring so much hate?
Sirloin steak and white bean salad
If you thought that salads where exclusively a matter of lightness and dietness, this one will give you second thoughts. If you hate salads, you might love this one. This salad was the result of three simultaneous situations:
- Days ago we had gone for a dinner with friends in La Taina. The food was utterly amazing, as always, and so plentiful that we ordered a doggy bag (yes…) for the huge sirloin steaks. I realised there was leftover sirloin steak that needed to be used up.
- I was in a rush, as nearly always, so I needed to make something quite fast.
- I am in the middle of an obsession, which is turning into a long term affair, with pouring spicy honey and mustard sauces over as many dishes as possible. This salad seemed like a perfect candidate.
Ingredients (per serving):
150g sirloin steak, 150g big white beans, 5 cherry tomatoes, lettuce, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Original Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, salt, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
Wash and cut the lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Rinse the white beans. I simply used some from a jar as they are excellent here in Spain. Arrange the lettuce on a plate. Add the white beans on top. Arrange the cherry tomatoes around them.
Cook the sirloin steak – or in my case, reheat it. I reheated it on the stove as I actually do not own a microwave. Cut into cubes and place on top of the white beans.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small dish. Stir until it becomes sort of like a vinaigrette texture. Pour on top.
Thank you for reading!