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Got A Noise Problem? Call Barry Manilow, The Man From Bland!

Stop The Presses!

It was all the way back in the late 1600s that English playwright and poet William Congreve famously noted that "music hath charm to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."

While there is yet to be any serious study of his effect on boulders or trees, strong evidence is finally emerging that songster Barry Manilow, the man famous for warbling "I Write The Songs," can rightfully lay claim to having his picture in the Bartlett's Book Of Quotations under Congreve's words. That's because Manilow has now officially displaced elevator kings Muzak as the undisputed leader in music that lulls people to sleep--or at least into peaceful submission.

Just a few months ago, a judge in Colorado decided to "try something new" in order to cut down on the number of repeat noise offenders whose blaring stereos or high-decibel band rehearsals were driving their neighbors crazy. Since fines weren't working as a deterrent, Judge Paul Sacco of Fort Lupton Municipal Court opted for a different form of punishment: He sentenced the guilty parties to an uninterrupted hour of loudly played music by--you guessed it--Barry Manilow. And it worked: Most of Judge Sacco's lawbreakers chose to turn down their own music rather than face another harrowing 60-minute aural onslaught of the likes of "Mandy," "Copacabana," and "Looks Like We Made It."

As if this wasn't enough (can't you just envision some hardened Colorado headbanger throwing himself on the mercy of the court, crying, "No! Not 'I Can't Smile Without You' again! Anything but that! Please, I'm begging you!"), more soothing Manilow news came today--and from the other side of the world, no less. The town of Christchurch, New Zealand is looking to stem the tide of unruly behavior by teenagers in its mall district by piping in (to quote the head of the local merchant's association) "nice, easy listening music--like Barry Manilow" in the hopes that The Man From Bland's music might pacify the loitering hooligans. Or at very least get them to congregate somewhere else.

Of course, teens interviewed by the Associated Press claimed that hearing "It's A Miracle" wouldn't result in any miraculous change. "We would just bring a stereo and play it louder," said one of the kids. To which Central Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale replied that the city would then hit them with anti-noise laws.

And if they keep doing it, maybe they'll ship them to Colorado for trial.


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