SYDNEY, Australia – It could be magic for some, but the use of loud Barry Manilow music to drive away late-night revelers from a suburban Sydney park is getting on the nerves of nearby residents.
In a move reminiscent of U.S. efforts to drive former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy where he took refuge in 1989, the local council in Rockdale, in Sydney's southern suburbs, started a six-month trial of high-volume hits by Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at Cook Park Reserve.
"Barry's our secret weapon," Rockdale Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, four weeks after the start of the effort. "It seems to be working."
But some people living near the park are less than enthralled. They say the barrage of "Copacabana," "Could It Be Magic" and "Que Sera Sera," blasting from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is driving them crazy.
"I don't know how I will cope," said Moya Dunn, describing how the songs have invaded her house. "I just can't sleep when it's on, and to think there's going to be another six months of this."
Officials have given in a little, agreeing to turn down the volume a bit after residents complained.
"The initial reaction was that they found it irritating," Saravinovski said. "I'm not disputing what the residents are saying. I can't swallow some of the tracks like `Mandy.'
"We have tried to reduce the sound and we are reviewing the songs. I don't mind Barry Manilow, but I'm more of an ABBA and Celine Dion fan."
In 1989, U.S. soldiers blasted hard rock music and news bulletins about Panama at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City in attempt to drive Gen. Noriega from refuge there. The Vatican complained, and U.S. troops stopped the noise. Noriega later surrendered.