Illustration by Sophie Sargent

Dear Dream Come Blue,  

My flatmate is a fan of singing opera, but now it’s getting out of hand. They’ve started singing every night and keep going until at least 2am. I don’t know what to do. It’s bad enough that just as I’m falling asleep I’m woken up by their ear-shattering “vinceró”, but now besides my sleep schedule I don’t even know how I can ever have anyone over. I feel like I should say something to them but I don’t know how… 


Dear Sleepy Reader,  

First of all, I congratulate your flat mate for their practising rigour and technical ‘shattering’ expertise. 

I can see many possible solutions to your sleep problem – one of which is to find your flat mate a late-night hobby. I shall leave the specifics up to your imagination, but feel free to poach any/all of mine: purchase them an early Christmas karaoke machine (and leave it in the garden), start a nightly-practising acapella group (God knows Oxford needs another one!), even some ear plugs or an anonymous noise complaint may suffice. 

Another option would be to tire them out. When I was little, my mother would challenge me to the point of exhaustion: ‘I bet you can’t run to the end of the road and back in under a minute – I’ll time you.’ I suggest a similar tactic with your flatmate: ‘I bet you can’t run to the Ashmolean and back’ or ‘I bet you can’t work that bit harder and make your tutors and parents proud of you’; they will soon be far too weary for song.  

Alternatively, tire yourself out. Are you really pushing yourself hard enough if a tiny little bit of ‘ear-shattering’ opera is disturbing your slumber? Ask yourself: ‘Am I acting like the ‘brains of our generation?’ (Oxford Uni Website); ‘Is my Linkedin profile exceptional?’; ‘Am I a regular on the Atik Cheese Floor™?’ If the answer to any of these questions is no, maybe you need less sleep and more extracurriculars/ boogying – that chic gaunt look is so in! 

If these solutions fail, then you must learn to love a late-night opera sesh. May I suggest that you (and maybe your flatmate?) engage with OUDS? Within mere seconds your annoyance will fade into the joy of a new musical theatre opportunity. Suddenly, nights will be filled with castings, costume design, finding social media managers and taking yourself far too very seriously.  

However, I am saddened that you do not feel that you could have open communication with your flatmate about this issue. Sleep is so important, and you deserve to live with people who respect your well-being in this way. Perhaps your first port of call should be an honest chat, in which you request that they change their practising hours – they may not even know you have heard! If this does not work, you are left with no option but to engage in an angry duet. Have fun with it, for instance “che tremano d’amore” – “shut your f***ing door”.  

If you still feel that you cannot have this conversation, start raving about the amazing, ridiculously-conventionally attractive, stylish, insightful, cool, new Oxford Blue Agony Aunt. I think they will get the hint.  

The “having someone over” situation seems to be an issue of genre, not noise… May I suggest you broaden your flat mate’s musical expression, pointing them towards the work of “Marvin Gaye”, “Two Feet”, “Shakira” or “Lizzo”?  

Good luck, O sleepy one. FYI there is no shame in a midday Rad Cam nap.  

Your Dream Come Blue  



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