Records thrown from a window now on a pavement

Just like in the movies

Amsterdam • May 2020

A purple flower pot on the pavement

One sunny Saturday morning a good few weeks into the first lockdown, piercing screams and incoherent shouting from a nearby apartment changed the mood of the day.

The crash of a mirror shattering. Bundles of 12” singles, some with sexy covers, landed with a thud on the pavement. Plants were flung out of the window, objects met their demise on impact, and lemons rolled into the gutter. Across the road, a crowd began to form.

The screeching continued as objects continued to smash to the ground. A man appeared on the street. He began to clean up the debris, his composure calm despite the public nature of his embarrassment. Across the road, a sparse crowd looked on. Socially distant, they commented among themselves, some photographing as I was from my window, others texting, some calling. Another man appeared on the street inspecting the damage inflicted on his car parked below. He seemed perplexed as if woken from a deep sleep, casually looking up as shouting continued, though now waning.

Within ten minutes a policeman arrived on a motorbike. He called for assistance and soon three police cars were on the scene. A couple of officers disappeared, presumably entering the apartment in an attempt to calm and appease whoever was hurling things out of the window. The other officers remained on the street. One approached the man as he swept up the mess. As they spoke a flower pot rolled on the footpath.

Spontaneous unrest or just the reality of living in close quarters with an annoying partner? News reports back then suggested that lockdown was having devastating consequences for some as relationships were put to the test. Domestic abuse was on the rise. Was this that?

Before long the calamity subsided. Onlookers resumed what they were doing. The police left the scene. Life returned to as it usually was.