Mo’ Snow

27 January 2010

It has started snowing again in Berlin. I have been holed up in my room, writing. It’s nice to have a room to do this. Before we bought this house, and before the people that had it before us, it was a bar. This room was a disco. A friend of ours came by and while here she realised why the place was felt so familiar. She was all “We would sit over there, and the bar was over there and the DJ was over there…” She even found some photos of some nights they spent here. It’s cool to imagine all the parties that have happened in this room. It’s the best writing room I ever had. I think there are many good ghosts in these walls.

The writing place I had in London was this huge room. We took out the 1st floor and opened the whole room up. It sounded great but the space I created was cramped into a corner. I wrote some nice tunes in this room. My Eyes was written on the piano there and Re-Offender. Before this we lived in a tiny little house down the street. I had a nice little room there. I remember covering the walls in poems and writing before writing Driftwood and Blue Flashing Light. I wrote Sing downstairs there while watching MTV with the sound down. Before this all 4 of the band stayed in a house on the Haringey Ladder. We had a horrible landlord. This little fat Italian man called Mario who would come in regularly, uninvited, and take vegetables from the garden and nosey about. It was a nasty place but we had fun in the summer of 96, traveling from there to The Fortress rehearsal studios and to Camden for drinks at The Good Mixer. I wrote Midsummernight’s Dreaming in that house. It features on the back of Good Feeling. It wasn’t the most inspirational of spaces.

Oh and between the place I had with the guys and the little place were Driftwood was written, there was a flat with the most awful neighbour downstairs. One weekend while I was in Rome with the band, my friends did an all nighter and when I got back, the neighbour was livid. To get me back he turned his sound system up full at 7.30am in the morning and blasted The Lighthouse Family. It was torture. We almost came to blows. Another time I was lying on the couch and had the TV on super quiet and all of a sudden I could hear someone shouting. I thought maybe he and his girlfriend were arguing again but I froze when I realised he was screaming at me!! He screamed “YOU ROCK’N’ROLL WANKER” which to this day is the best insult ever thrown at me…

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24 Responses to “Mo’ Snow”

  1. Sue says:

    ahha we all have them then ! Now the insult from my neighbour was ( only last year) that i had mental problems playing music loud ( ohoh) and dancing around late at night …which means ‘SHIT’ he’s been looking through the window! so … he must know every word of Ode to J Smith! hehe
    Fran Says “God help him”

  2. Alice says:

    Ah Berlin is brilliant! I lived there for a short while and it seemed like any space could be converted into a bar or a cafe or an art gallery. I’m moving back later this year and can’t wait.

  3. arturo says:

    “ROCK N´ROLL WANKER!!”?? sorry but its actually funny i´ve never heard that kind of insult before. is the kind of insult where you dont know if you get mad at him or laugh at him. LOL
    yeah well every one got nasty neighbors…or.. are we the nasty neighbors perhaps?? who knows!
    keep it going fran, you´re the best! and, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! (8) hehe

  4. Amy Humphrey says:

    Haha! Rock ‘n’ roll wanker! Priceless. This is why we have cows for neighbors. Our writing space is a chicken house we renovated into a music studio. SO much nicer than the half-finished, leaky attic up steep, narrow stairs. Bucolic indeed.

  5. jocelyn says:

    Well i think that the insult that my mom said to me one time was that i was crazy,paranoid and some others that cant remember now…but em it was beacause i listen the music so loud, and when i like a song very much i repeat and repeat! specially travis!…according to my mom she said she hates travis .but i remember this one time i hang out with my friends and when i got home my mom was listening “the invisible band” and i was like whaat?!!,my mom was like ok i lie i like travis so what?! i was like thats great now we can go together to a travis concert or to the fran healy concert! 😀 jaja

  6. Trixi says:

    haha nice!…it’s really getting pathetic when those neighbours try to pay you back by turning up music themselfs..in particular nagging tunes. My revenge for TMW was Celine Dions “My Heart will go on”…o v e r and o v e r again! 😐

  7. Jay Parker says:

    The landlord Mario seems to be a copy of the landlady I once had. Damn, she was absolutely inadequate. I had to move.

  8. Sam says:

    Thats what you should have called the album Fran Healy – Rock n Roll Wanker
    Fran said “There’s still time”

  9. Rachele says:

    We live on a corner; our house faces one street, and our garage faces the other street. Though we are quite fortunate to have some really wonderful neighbors, our garage neighbor is obsessed with anything with a motor. His motor of choice is a leaf blower. He leaf blows his car dry, he leaf blows snow – he basically leaf blows everything except leaves. He spends hours outside raking those, and we get a little bit of peace and quiet. And he has that “look” in his eyes – you know that look that you can tell that someone is just not right in their head? He has it. He married the woman that lived in that house before who has this horrible sounding voice when she yells at her husbands and her children. We have nicknamed her the troll.

    The loud wanna-be Italian guy that lives next door is super nice, but also has an obsession with the leaf blower, he leaf blows everything including leaves, and a very large on-again-off-again girlfriend that he (and subsequently we) calls boom boom. She spends most of the time in the house, eating.

    Basically, the sound of the leaf blower drives my husband to the brink of alcoholism because it is so constant between about May and November. I tell him he would miss it if it was gone…

    In all of your fun neighbor/landlord experiences, did you have any fun nicknames for any of them? I would think that you and the guys might think of some fun stuff…

  10. Niko says:

    Rock’n’roll wanker!:D
    Very creative:)

  11. (EDIT TO LAST POST – sorry pressed send too quickly!)

    Oh to have a writing room…currently sitting in the corner of a cramped bedroom reading this and trying to work AND make time to rewrite the lines to the last verse of one of our songs which is driving me mad (but warmly challenging at the same time). Look on the bright side Fran…6 hours away from you I can only stare out of the window at Cologne attempting to snow, not quite getting there, and settling for the poxy grey rain again. Keep up the blog, like it.

  12. Nika says:

    Haaha, i had this neighbour for quite a long time (about 10 years) who spent almost every saturday-sunday plus some day in the middle fixing something (drilling, to be exact). Now THAT was torture. I still remember the sound, which came first(it usually woke me up in the ‘drilling morning’) – um…it was the sound of him using the toilet really loud:)) yuck

    The sounding system in the house was really bad:) gosh i’m soo happy to be living in my own house now

  13. Mila says:

    rock’n’roll wanker…epic

  14. Debbie (deebee) says:

    I wonder if Mario is now a boardie on Travisonline?
    I get what you mean about Midsummernight’s Dreaming 😉

  15. Debbie (deebee) says:

    This isn’t really a question (I’m just wondering out loud) Maybe the new stuff you’re writing could be for the next Travis album, now you’ve got your own one sorted, hehe.

  16. John says:

    I think the worst was while living in a dorm the person next door was learning to play the violin. I could hear through the walls their pathetic rendition of “When the Saints Come Marching In” I can still hear it in my head. I would blast Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. One day, I saw on my door a note that said “Please play another Floyd album.” I felt rather silly, but then decided to play Animals. Never had a note after that.

  17. Luke says:

    Italian guy called Mario who plucked up veg from the garden eh? Mushrooms in particular perhaps? He ever try jumping on your heads or have any particular obsession with plumbing? Yeah. I know the type.

  18. seasonticket says:

    *sigh* now I am homesick for Green Lanes. Who ever thought such a thing could be possible?

  19. johnny says:

    The worst neighbour I ever had was when I lived in a flat round the corner from Partick Thistle FC in Maryhill.
    I got a note through my door one day saying ‘i’m going to break your f’ing buzzing fingers’ (some kid had been pressing the door buzzers the previous evening and one of my neighbours obviously assumed, being a student, it was me!)
    I went round the doors the next day (in my dressing gown) to call his bluff…he didn’t ‘put up’…i felt like a champion! Just as well he wasn’t in the mood cause he would have creamed me!

    Fran, The Lighthouse Family, even at 7.30am, would be a blessing! I fell in love with Ocean Drive during 2nd year art class at school (the only class where we got to listen to the radio).

  20. neverAcquiesce says:

    I got called a vagina once. Still not sure what he was trying to say about me.

    Had neighbors above me that would, shall we say, “become intimate” at exactly the same time every night. 1:15am. It was brutal. I would either need to be sound asleep before it started or wait til it ended. Lucky for me the poor fella didn’t have much stamina and I was asleep by 1:25.
    Fran said “hahaha vagina… such a nice word. Maybe it was a compliment”

  21. neverAcquiesce says:

    “Fran said ‘hahaha vagina… such a nice word. Maybe it was a compliment'”

    Something tells me not; I heard it secondhand from a coworker (yes, a customer said this) so I think it was meant as an insult. Or he was coming on to me. I should prolly add that I am, in fact, a dude.

  22. o_unico says:

    When my mom is pissed off with me she calls me “motherf*ck” or “Son of a biatch”

  23. Cinthya Olguín says:

    My neighbours are always so loud!!! I remember the day I bought OTJS, I came back home and the people who live next to our house was listening to the radio so f… loud (again) and I decided that was enough for me to take, so I put the record and I turned on the volume as much as my stereo could handle right before I managed to put the speakers right next to the wall that we shared with them. All my house was vibrating to the sound of it, even the windows were rummblig, hahahahaha, I listened to the entire album like this, plus my singing… When it stopped I realized there were some construction machines doing their thing and I didn’t notice till then… also my neighbours have turned off their radio… When I went out, the construction workers were staring at me like “WTF?”, cause I played J. SMITH like five times on a road, so I guess they were kind of scared about the latin parts of it, kind of satanic to them (considering I live in México and this is music they are not used to), hahahaha… Ahhhhh, was nice to get even!!! Since then my neighbours have kept it down with the volume… so do I!!!

  24. Melissam317 says:

    I know I am a little late but wanted to share with you my story. Neighbors… Where do I begin?! As of now I am living in a apartment complex thats for college students (which I am waaaay past the age I feel like). Anyways the neighbors below me (I am on the top floor) seem to be the annoying very noisy ones. They have parties every weekend and we are constantly hearing “strange noises” or the more ovious moans and groans. The other day my roomie was telling me that one of the people below us maybe pregnant. I was like ummm how would you know… Well apparently my roomie heard their entire conversation while trying to sleep the other night. They were discussing whether the girlfriend may or may not be (& they are GHETTO) so at any given point and time they will blast some Lil Wayne or I dunno Jay Z, whoever can make my floor shake. They still have not confirmed whether she is or isn’t but if I see a crib coming up the stairs I am definately moving out. I cannot wait to graduate so I can live in normal housing! But I am moving in the summer (which I am hella excited about) so c’est la vie.

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