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Turn down the volume on loud people

IN the film Bad Neighbours Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen's characters suffer a fraternity house moving in next door.

They debate how best to ask the young men to "keep it down". I sympathised with Rose and Seth. The world is full of bad neighbours. Not the people who live next door to you but the people you are forced to bump lives with, day to day, particularly those with a complete lack of volume control.

Earlier this week Jamie Laing, McVitie's biscuit heir and bit part player in Made In Chelsea, was arrested after refusing requests to desist using his mobile phone in the quiet carriage of the 3.05pm Leeds to London train. I would have thrown him on the tracks.

People who are loud in public show a blunt self-importance that deserves no less than the full might of an eight-carriage express rolling over them.

At least in the cinema, which seems to have a magnetic attraction for people with well-carrying bellows and no shame, you can go and ask an usher to defuse the problem for you.

On the bus you can count the stops going past and know your agony ("I'm on the bus! Yeah, uh huh, yeah. Oh my God! I heard that too! Did she?!") will eventually end.

Worse is in a restaurant when you can't hear yourself taste over the noise of the embossed carbuncle at the next table. Recently I was in a restaurant seated next to a couple where the woman was mouse quiet and the man was like a town crier gone off-script. The energetic idiot, a musician, wanted everyone to know his professional opinion and admire his best efforts at undermining his companion's every utterance.

My patience was stretched at his description of female singers as all "shouty b*tches" but snapped entirely at his dismissing his partner with "What would you know, you're from Coatbridge." Good sir, there are many of us fine and bright who are from Coatbridge.

This is the worst thing with loud talkers, when you disagree. Do you contradict them? I say yes. In fact, generally I take loud talking as an invitation to join in. If you are talking loud enough for the whole room to hear you then you are essentially talking to the whole room.

My mum says she is lucky: if someone is being insufferable she just takes her hearing aids out. Joining in a stranger's conversation as if you know them has a similar silencing effect. Yes, they think you are a nut but it's worth it.

If you can't shut them up the only other option is to shut them down.

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