Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In the news: Spanish bar owner to serve five years for excessive noise!

As someone who suffered immensely from the excessive noise of the bar located down the street from my flat in Madrid, I was surprised and pleased to read the following story about a bar owner in Barcelona who will pay the price for her bar's excessive noise.

The owner was sentenced to more than five years in prison and fined 17,000 euros as a penalty for the physical and psychological damages suffered by the bar's neighbors due to its excessively loud music system and patrons. Fining bars for extreme noise is not uncommon, for sure, but five years of jail time? While five years does seem excessive at first glance, I can relate to the neighbors who had to endure this torture for so many years. It's no secret that a good night's sleep is important to our physical and mental health, and several months or years of disrupted sleep can really take its toll on you.

My building in Madrid was around the corner from a disco/karaoke bar that blasted music so loudly, it made our windows shake. When the music finally ended around 2 a.m. (every night, even on Sundays), the drunken patrons would congregate in the street or parking lot below our building and yell, sing, fight, smash bottles... We, the neighbors, took turns yelling at them, threatening to call the police, and at times carrying through on those treats. But nothing ever changed. Some neighbors resorted to throwing water, eggs, and even yogurt down on the patrons below, which naturally did nothing more than provoke them, so they were even more obnoxious. And so, for my last year in Spain, I had to rely on earplugs, siestas, and coffee to maintain some semblance of alertness.

I applaud the judge for taking such a strong stance against irresponsible bar owners with little regard for the health and wellbeing of their neighbors. I hope, for the sake of my friends and former neighbors who still suffer from the excessive noise of inconsiderate bar owners and bar patrons in Spain, that other judges will soon follow suit.


Te said...

Hi! I've possibly chosen the worst time to move to Spain, but I'll be there in a couple of months. I recently found your blog and it's great, really helpful and interesting. Just wanted to let you know I've added you to my links. Cheers, Te.

musica said...

Hey Te,

Good luck with the move! I'd have to say there's never really a bad time to move to Spain... :) You'll have so many great experiences if you're open to adventure and meeting new people.

Not sure what your plans are there, but I wouldn't worry too much about work. I know there have been some cutbacks on English classes, for example, but if you look hard enough, you can almost always find something... at the very least some people who want private classes. And if you're totally broke, just grab a pack and head to the Camino de Santiago for a while...

Have a great time -- I'll keep tabs on your blog as well!