Saturday, July 23, 2011

The village paper

The London noise bylaw brought an end to the Bruce Cockburn outdoor performance.
According to The London Free Press, London "is a village masquerading as a big city." Why? Because a London noise bylaw prevents outdoor concerts from being "played too loud* after 11 p.m." In truth, if London were a village, it would be much easier to hold loud music festivals. The bigger the city, the more people who must be appeased.

Last year in Montreal, the second largest city in Canada, music festivals like the Osheaga music festival and a Pop Montreal showcase held at Parc des Ameriques were the focus of efforts by the City of Montreal to deal with noise pollution. The Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal initiated Project Noise and began handing out fines of up to $12,000.

When the Concordia student union planned on bringing international star K’naan onto campus for a performance, the city insisted the volume must be kept under under 80 decibels. The orientation headliner was moved to Loyola Campus when the city would not relent and the concert could not find another venue anywhere in downtown Montreal.

Loud music is a problem that all cities face but many do not realize the full extent of the problem. Loud music causes hearing loss and hearing loss is not a joke. In 2008, V-Fest in Toronto was promoted with catchphrase: "If it's too loud, you're too old." A more accurate statement might have been, "If it's too loud, you may be going deaf."

I suffer from tinnitus. The only sound I hear from my left ear is generated within the ear itself. Other than that constant background noise, I hear almost nothing with my left ear. Why? I trace the loss back to my youth and hours spent listening to outlandishly loud rock concerts. What finally did my ear in was an April Wine concert held at the old London Gardens. My left ear was pointed at a massive bank of speakers all night long. When that night was done the ringing in that ear never left.

When I was young, and immature, (rather than my present old and immature), I took in some fine, loud rock concerts. One of the most memorable was that of Detroit's Amboy Dukes at the former Terrace Bowling Lanes in Windsor, Ontario. The Dukes were fronted by guitarist Ted Nugent and Nugent knew a thing or two about loud.

Writing this I began to wonder how is Ted Nugent doing today? Is he as deaf as I am all from a silly drive for high decibels and truly ear-splitting volume? The answer in a word: Yes!

Musicians with tinnitus:
  • Ted Nugent - "My left ear is pretty much whacked."
  • Pete Townshend - "I have severe hearing damage. . . . It hurts, it's painful, and it's frustrating."
  • John Entwhistle - According to Who scholar Andy Neill, Entwhistle was pretty deaf, and tended to rely on lip-reading.
  • Jeff Beck - "It's in my left ear. It's excruciating . . . " You can ask, "Why is a guy scratching at a window with his nails such a horrible sound — I couldn't put up with that! This is worse!" 
  • Phil Collins - The former Genesis drummer and vocalist announced he will perform live only occasionally to avoid further hearing loss on his "hearing damaged left ear."
  • Danny Elfman - Oingo Boingo, film scores/composer. Touring took a major toll on his hearing. "My instincts were telling me I was doing myself a lot of harm — and I was right. I really should have gotten out sooner . . . I'm paying the price for it now."
  • Steve Lukather - The guitarist/song writer for Toto says, "Yes, I have tinnitus, what a drag. . . . My hearing is damaged . . . I always have to say, "What?" Be careful guys, this could happen to you!"
Free Press editorial writers beware that attempting to diminish your hometown, the city and its people with childish remarks doesn't actually diminish London; It does diminish you.

* played too loud - Shouldn't this be the adverb loudly modifying the verb "played" instead of the adjective loud as used?

This is an honest question. I make a lot of grammatical errors. I am slowly correcting many thanks to the suggestions I receive from former editors. I'd really like to know: Is it loud or loudly?


  1. It's "loudly"

    "loud" is an adjective, and describes a noun. In your sentence, you want a description of a verb ... which would be an adverb ... and, in this case, would be "loudly" :)

  2. If the phrase answers the question "How did they play?", then it's an adverb phrase. I say the LFP erred. The correct phrase is "too loudly". But I'm not an editor, so what do I no?