Driveway karaoke singer who wanted to lift lockdown spirits cops council noise complaint

Can we have 'Shaddap You Face'* next?

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We've seen it countless times on the news during the lockdown coverage – Brits getting happy-clappy for our beleaguered National Health Service once a week among other forms of forced fun for the cameras.

As the days grow warmer, people are holding aerobics and Champagne parties in the street (all conscientiously taking place at two metres apart, mind), a nationwide colouring competition for biggest rainbow... all the interminable lockdown singing. Daily Zoom calls. Bunting. Joe fucking Wicks.

It warms the cockles, doesn't it, old chap? "Keep Calm And Carry On" and all that, wot wot?

Sure, until the dead-eyed whooping, banging of pots, and honking of horns wakes up the progeny whom you finally coaxed into bed an hour prior. Also, remember that if you don't take part, you're a terrorist.

Fortunately, at least one person in the vibrant Essex seaside town of Clacton is equally fed up of this forced fun epidemic because a local karaoke singer accused of "lifting spirits with driveway performances" has been served a noise complaint by Tendring District Council.

Binman Ted Townsend, 51, last month spent THREE WHOLE HOURS serenading his neighbours, "performing songs which spanned the decades from his driveway", according to the Clacton Gazette.

The response has supposedly been "overwhelmingly positive, with many appreciating his desire to put smiles on faces" – which honestly could simply mean that no one went up to him and requested The Black Eyed Peas' "Shut Up".

Even so, the notice concerning allegations of "excessively loud music" slid through Ted's letterbox all the same.

"In all honesty, I was shocked, and then I felt very sad," he said.

"All I've been trying to do is raise spirits and boost morale during the lockdown, as well as give people a bit of entertainment.

"Performing also helps me too, because I am very much a people person and love to entertain.

"I don't want to just sit here all day looking at the same four walls."

Same, Ted, but although some of us at Vulture Central admittedly take karaoke a bit too seriously, you don't see us doing Soundgarden's "Outshined" outside your house, do you?

The letter, which is little more than a warning at this point, has asked Ted to consider the veracity of the claims and make necessary changes or face action. If more complaints are received, the council will impose more severe penalties.

Ted, who is also accused of playing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during happy-clappy time on Thursdays, said he's now going to take his one-man show indoors, but continue livestreaming on social media.

"I am sticking to the rules, so doing a few live shows is my outlet, but I won't be going live outside anymore, which is really upsetting me.

"I would understand if I was playing loud music into the night, but I don't, and I have only performed outside three times.

"I would have thought that during this time, we all would need a little boost, a little community spirit and maybe a bit more togetherness.

"It is a shame for the wonderful people who have supported me."

Thing is, Ted, you have to ask yourself: would your neighbours appreciate it under normal circumstances? The answer's no. When many of us are at our wits' end trying to balance work with childcare and home-schooling, and would probably just like some peace and quiet each evening, why would the situation change anything?

Then there are the essential shift workers who are snatching some kip just as the Great British Public gets up to slap each other on the back for a job well done doing nothing much in particular.

No. We'll take "The Sound Of Silence". ®

* It's not so bad, it's a nice place...

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