Finally managed to get onto a computer. It’s not as easy in Brighton as it used to be in London. Back in the day I’d always find an open window somewhere. Down here, not so much. Weekends are a nightmare, and even days like today can prove a right pain in the arse feathers. Council offices are usually a safe bet, but it looks like they’ve all gone off on their summer holidays. It was like Fort Knox everywhere I went this morning. Totally empty with all windows firmly shut. You’ve got to wonder who’s running the joint. Anyway, struck gold with a flat in Shoreham so it’s all good.
The other thing to say is I’ve been jumping around on keyboards for eight whole years telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere, so sometimes these days the feet just aren’t up to it. Know what I mean? Mart tries to help but as always he’s more of a hindrance spending most of his time hopping up and down on the delete button rather than getting any actual words done. If only voice activation was an option. I even tried touch screen with the beak once, but that didn’t work either. Too much spit came out. So it’s keyboards only for me, whether I like it or not.
Looks like the weather’s finally calmed down, which is good. It all went mental yesterday. Initially I hadn’t given a hurricane with a name like ‘Bertha’ much cred, till I tried to fly. Jesus. It was like the whole of autumn in one hit. Not seen rain like that for ages. Precarious stuff too seeing as we’d decided to spend Saturday night under the pier after a lovely sunny day on the beach, only to get woken up at 6am by gale force winds. Nearly lost Mart to France. Kid you not. He said he’d have been fine as he knows how to nod in French. WTF? Let’s face it, he wouldn’t have stood a chance. He’d also have no clue how to get back and would have ended up either in a casserole or in Norway.
Saturday was a top laugh though. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the beach was buzzing with bar-b-qs. The trick was to get in there for the leftovers before the seagulls. Not always easy considering the size of the greedy fucks, till we managed to get two of them onside. Result. Thomas and Phil. They turned out to be pretty good company too.
They’d come down for the Gay Pride event a week ago. It’s a big one on any gay seagulls festival radar, apparently:
Turns out they like the scene so much down here, they’ve decided to stay a bit longer.
“Brighton is where it’s at, Brian.” Said Phil on the right. “We’re actually thinking of moving down here, like, permanently, aren’t we Thomas? We just absolutely love it! Last weekend was wonderful. Like, the best party ever! We had thought about dressing up, hadn’t we Thomas?” Thomas, clearly the quieter of the two, continued to stare out to sea. “But I’m, like, so glad we didn’t. Carrying the costumes would have been a complete nightmare, especially with Thomas’ tiara!” He squealed.
Not wanting to explore the thought of Thomas in a tiara, I asked him where they’d come from.
“Well…” said Phil, with a sigh. “There’s a sorry tale. Kind of, like, everywhere these days. It’s not easy being a seagull and gay I can tell you. There’s still a lot of prejudice out there, even in this day and age. Even in London. Most of the gay gulls in London have moved out to places like Marlow and Bourne End. Pride aside, we’d also heard Brighton has the largest population of gay gulls in the UK and mmmmm, so far, so good. Isn’t that right, Thomas?”
Thomas shifted his position slightly. It was the only answer I needed.
I told them I was surprised as I’d always imagined London would be the place to go for gay seagulls, or gay gulls as I now know they’re called.
“I know. You would have thought so, right? We even got poohed on last time we went to Soho. It was really unpleasant, and all we were doing was keeping ourselves to ourselves under a bush.”
Phil and Thomas keeping themselves to themselves under a bush was another image I didn’t want to dwell on.
Great gulls though, and never thought I’d hear myself say that. Said we’d keep in touch and may even hook up later this week. Phil wants to take me to a new club he’s heard about… Not so sure about that one, but the journalist in me definitely wants to find out more about the Brighton gay gull scene. May even explain what some of the noise is about!
Of course Mart now wants a tiara.
I was just about to bang on about National Pigeon Appreciation Day and how it took me over a week to recover, but it’ll have to wait. Something way more important came up.
Remember my pigeon pal in London from years ago, Murray? The Andy Murray fan who used to fly to Wimbledon every year to watch his hero play? Remember how he’d lost it back in 2012 and was living as a recluse on the roof on Centre Court? Click on the link to read more.
I heard from him the other day, totally out of the blue, and all is well. Excellent in fact, which is a massive relief. Since the shock of the shooting followed by the arrival of the hawks, particularly Rufus, he decided Wimbledon sucked and moved to Scotland to be nearer to his idol. Apparently he spends Christmases in Dunblane hoping to catch a glimpse of Andy spending time with his family, and then the rest of the year in Edinburgh. Reckons, weather aside, the place rocks. He also mentioned it took him a week to get there. That’s what I call dedication.
“Wimbledon just wasn’t fun anymore.” He said. “Pigeons don’t dare go there, which is a shame for those of us who were genuine tennis fans. I realised last year that the stress of if all had finally got to me. I had to move. I watch the matches on the screens up here or I look through pub windows. Much safer.” He also said he was still getting to grips with the Scottish accent. Don’t blame him on that one.
He sent me this. It’s a pic of him in a place called Hunter Square:
Considering this is what he looked in 2012, I’d say the move to Scotland was just what he needed:
He asked if I’d go up for a visit. I said I might if Andy Murray reaches the final again.
Obviously I’m hoping that won’t happen as it’s one fuck of a fly, but hearing that Andy Murray has just gone through to the next round, I may need to start warming up.
Good to hear from you, pal. Bet you’ll be partying hard tonight. Have one on me.
It’s that time of year again. National Pigeon Appreciation Day is tomorrow – Friday June 13th. Unlucky for some, but not for us. Bring it on.
We didn’t do much last year as we’d only just moved to the seaside but, back in 2012, celebrations in London rocked the big one. Ended up with a massive rave-up in Trafalgar Square. Even Club Foot Earl was giving it large on the dance floor and, thanks to Fat Nige finding a puddle of beer, everyone got suitably twatted. Then there was the fly-by led by Roger from Lewisham. Genius. We were all quite emotional by that point I seem to remember.
This year, however, I’m a bit concerned at the organisation, or lack of. In London we spent months in planning, but when I went down to see what the committee sorting out this year’s Brighton celebrations were up to, this is what I found:
It’s the one day we pigeons get to celebrate being pigeons, and this lot looked like they couldn’t organise a crumb up in a bakery. I offered to help telling them I’d been heavily involved in previous years in London, but they didn’t seem to be interested. All they wanted to do was organise some more meetings. Load of bollocks considering the fucking day is tomorrow.
Then, even worse, I went down to the seafront and found this lot. They’ve been booked by the ‘committee’ to do some ‘Buddhist formation mime’. WTF? Formation mime?
I asked for a demonstration, and this is what they did:
Oooo. Walking around. That’s good. Not.
Is that it? Really?
This is their leader Jerryvasanano (his Buddhist name, apparently!), grabbing five minutes mid-rehearsal meditation:
And this is what he said when he stopped meditating and I asked him what the hell was going on:
“It’s a demonstration of the struggles facing pigeons in everyday life in order to help us gain insights to end our suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving by way of understanding and seeing of dependent origination with the ultimate goal of attainment of the sublime state of nirvana”.
May as well have been talking fucking Dutch. All they did was walk about a bit, stand there, then walk about a bit. Fucking stupid and the kind of thing that makes me want to move back to London immediately. Give me a mass piss up any day.
So, I’m taking it upon myself to make sure those Brighton pigeons who want to party hard, can. I’m on it. Venue tbc. Watch this space.
As for last Saturday’s meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the number of seagulls – see last post – we decided to postpone it due to Kemptown Carnival and the fact most pigeons would be going to that for some fine Shit or Miss action, and it was fine let me tell you. Mart scored a direct hit on some Spaniard’s burrito. Pissed ourselves. Looked like a creamy topping.
As for the tour of Gerald’s art, seeing as I’ve got my work cut out organising a half decent Pigeon Appreciation Day party, I’m going to meet Monty next week. Can’t cover it all and, far as I’m concerned, partying like a pro takes precedence every time.
Long time no post. Still, better late than never. I partly blame it on the build up to my birthday. It’s on May 26th. Trouble is the older I get, the longer the celebrations seem to last, or rather the longer it takes to recover.
Put it this way, this was Shoreham Steve on the 27th:
Pretty much stayed there for two whole days he was that bad.
We’d kicked it off on the pier and it all went downhill from there. Mart found a cup with some local brew at the bottom, and that was it, we were flying all over the place. Literally.
Anyway, it’s June now and back to business. I’ve got an afternoon coming up with Monty (see previous post). He’s got permission from Gerald to show me a couple more of his art works. NYC Gary’s been on it too. Apparently he’s moved into more of a ‘conceptual phase’, whatever the hell that means.
Exciting times. I’m also hoping the sun might join us at some point. I seem to remember this time last year we were hurtling towards a heatwave. This year, so far, not so good.
Other news is I’m getting stuck in to some serious action. Haven’t done that for a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been pretty successful in the past with my ‘Give Pigeons A Chance’ campaign back in 2006. There was also the very necessary ‘Operation Stop The Squirrel’ in 2009 in reaction to their newly found love of martial arts – click on the link if you don’t believe me. We rocked it large on that one including a massive protest fly by. Pigeons from all over came to it. Good times.
Now I’m living in Brighton though, it’s all about the seagull and the sheer numbers of them flocking over here giving it large. There’s a meeting on Saturday in Queen’s Park for any pigeons up for airing their views. You don’t have to be local, and we want to hear from as many of you as possible. Personally, I’ve had a gut full of their shouting about the place behaving like they own the town. It starts at 10am. Then, if you fancy it, you can join us for some Shit or Miss at the Kemptown Carnival. Right laugh last year. Just sit on a ledge and take your pick. Bring it on.
It’s been a busy old couple of weeks with the wings working overtime, hence the slightly delayed Bri Day update. There’s also a lot to report including some art from Gerald, news from Gary in NYC and what happened when I flew to Cornwall. Have to say, it is a long fly. Fucking miles in fact. First off, an update on my encounter with Monty, nephew of the famous original Brighton based street artist pigeon called Gerald (see previous post).
A few days after we met in Queen’s Park he took me to see one of Gerald’s earlier pieces (circa 2009). Total genius. Blew me away. It’s on the walkway that runs along the seafront. If you look closely you can see a bit of sea at the top of the pic. What makes this genius is he’s chosen to create it on concrete that runs across the path, therefore creating a new path that runs towards the sea. Brilliant.
He calls it, simply, ‘Path':
Love his use of lines and angles. Really innovative and way before his time. Lines and angles weren’t widely used until late 2010.
Monty said he’d told Gerald about my interest in pigeons who do art and, despite not even knowing what the Internet is, he might be up for a UK/US collaboration, even if it’s just an ideas exchange. He wants more info, but it’s a good start. Exciting stuff, so I got in touch with NYC street artist, Gary Pigeon, or I tried to…
Back in March I’d sent Gary an email after he’d sent me the picture of him in the snow. I didn’t get a reply so I presumed he was just working on his new piece. Then I sent another one a few weeks ago updating him on Gerald. Nothing, and then I get this from a pal of his who goes by the name of ‘FH’. Turns out all the global attention may have gone to Gary’s head…
This was the email he sent me:
“Gary’s been quite prolific lately, spurred on by a meeting with an artist rep who recently invited him to the ledge on Soho House. Frankly, it’s gone to his head and I’m worried he’s turning into a bit of a knob. He needs to wind his neck in and get his feet back on the ground, so to speak.
Not only this but he refuses to answer to the name Gary anymore, apparently it’s ‘Beaksy’ from now on.
I also think he may be developing a flax seed habit. I’m getting a bit worried. I wanted to have a chat with him about it over a bagel in Fort Greene park, like the old days. He told me he’d get his pigeons to speak to my pigeons and we could peck something in for early May. Unbelievable. At least it’s getting a bit warmer here thank goodness. When it snowed a few pigeons ate the road salt in the mistaken belief it was a snack, Made them thirsty as hell. Not good.”
‘Beaksy’? Really, Gary? Surely what you’re doing pisses on wall painting?
Cheers FH. Nice one, and good luck with getting Gary back on the straight and narrow. Tackling the whole flax seed issue is another one for another time. It’s not as big over here as it is in NYC, but I’m pretty sure it will be.
He sent me this pic of himself with a couple of pals. Think FH is the one in the middle. It’s taken in Brooklyn:
Wonder if any of them have a daffodil allergy like I do? Pain in the arse at this time of year.
Anyway, this is Gary’s latest piece. The one he was working on when we were last in touch. Against all odds he finished it when the snow was still there. It must have been tough. No wonder he turned to The Flax!
Apparently he wanted to charge FH to take the picture, but then he told him it was for me so he agreed. The reason it’s taken so long to get to me is FH was trying to persuade Gary to send it himself, and now we know why he didn’t.
Here it is. ‘(Another) Walk On The Wild Side’, and I love it:
I do hope Gary manages to remove his head from his arse because his work really is rather special.
So, back to the UK now and my trip to St Ives in Cornwall. It all came about after my chat with Monty. He asked me if I’d heard of ‘The St Ives Collective’. I said I hadn’t, and he told me I had to go check them out. Boy am I glad I did, and not just for the art…
I arrived after a rather hairy and very long flight. A lot of it was over water too which is never a favourite for the pigeon seeing as swimming really isn’t our thing. Basic route was Brighton to Bournemouth, Bournemouth to Torquay, Torquay to St Ives. Took two lots of 6 hours with a stopover in Torquay. That won’t be happening again I can tell you. Total shithole. Finally I got to St Ives and what a great place it is. Heaving with tourists too so scoring some decent throaway was a piece of piss. Straightaway I had my beak right into some proper Cornish Pastie. Fucking lovely. Not sure what was inside it, but whatever it was it went down like a treat.
After a couple of minutes post-food shuteye on the harbour, it was time to meet Margot, Head of The St Ives Collective.
When I did, Jesus, the pastie nearly came straight back up again. She was gorgeous. Stunning, and with the most amazing feet.
Honestly, I could hardly speak. This is her:
She reminded me a bit of a pigeon called Mary I was into once. Never came to anything. You can see the post with a picture and read the poem I wrote for her here. Embarrassing looking back on it, but it was years ago. Eight to be precise. Never forgotten her though.
Anyway, back to Margot. Looks aside, she was lovely to chat to. Great sense of humour. Really open. Knew everything about art. She said the reason The Collective had grown around St Ives was the art scene generally is big there. Has been for years. There’s even a Tate Modern, not that pigeon art has ever been recognised by it.
“There’s always time.” She said. “We do keep trying, but they won’t let us in.”
She was really interested in Gerald’s work in Brighton and asked if I thought he’d like to come down for a visit. I said he probably wouldn’t as he rarely left his cliff, but I’d mention it to Monty. You never know. She also loved the idea of a UK/US collaboration with NYC Gary.
In a nutshell, it’s all coming together nicely. I also did something I haven’t done for ages, but if you don’t try and all that. I suggested a follow-up visit. Asked her if she’d show me around St Ives. I can’t swear to it but I think she quite liked the idea too. You never know, she might be into the older pigeon.
I also didn’t manage to get any pics of the work done by The Collective down there as she said she’d have to ask the permission of the individual artists. Let’s just hope that on the next visit I can spend more time looking at the art and less time looking at her arse, sweet though it is.
Happy Bri Day everyone, and don’t forget to keep looking out for pigeon art.
Bring it on.
Did you know I’ve been telling it how it is for the pigeon for eight whole years? Jesus Christ. Eight years. I know sometimes I’m more on it than others, but that’s only when I’m busy doing other stuff like trying to find pigeons who do good art. There’s a lot of shit ones out there, believe me. More on that later.
Eight years ago when I started Pigeon Blog, there were really only websites and blogs around. Nowadays it’s nothing but The Internet. Unbelievable. Mental how time flies, literally. I can remember writing about how useful it would be for me as a blogging pigeon to have some sort of smaller device so I could get online more easily. The first iPhone came out a year later. I’m not saying Apple got the idea from me, but you have to admit it is a bit of a coincidence, and now look where we are. When I started back in 2006, I had to find Internet Cafes with open windows. These days every fucking little bit of technology can pick up The Internet. Even watches. Anything. I guess one advantage is it has enabled more pigeons, foxes and the like to get online, which can only be a good thing.
From my point of view all the new technology obviously makes life easier, certainly less strain on the feet, but it’s also a lot busier. All I had to think about back in the day was Pigeon Blog. Now there’s Twitter, emails, Facebook. The list goes on. So, in order to work on other projects, and in response to pals asking where the hell I’ve got to, I’ve decided I need to give it a bit more structure. As I still firmly believe in the long form post, I want to keep it up and make it a bi-weekly occurrence. No more of this sporadic whenever I’ve got time shit. Every other Friday I’ll do a post about what’s been going on. Keep it regular. Every other Friday is Bri Day. Of course, there will be lots in between on Twitter, but if every other Friday I get on it I can deliver the latest pigeon news using as many characters as I like. Genius.
Now I’ve got the business end over and done with, on with the content.
First up, now spring is finally in the air, I’m hoping to get some more from NYC artist, Gary. He did send me this back in early Feb to show me how cold it was over there. It’s him and some of his artist pals hanging out in the snow. Looks like one of them might have taken up smoking. Don’t blame him. It must have been tough:
This was all Gary said when he sent it:
“Hello and greetings from an extremely cold Big Crumb. This is me and some pals getting our crumb on in Williamsburg. It’s cold. Nothing more to report. Gary”
Hopefully we’ll get more from Gary soon. Word is he’s busy and on it with his next piece. Can’t wait.
In the meantime, I’ve been busy and on it with the new project. It’s totally inspired by Gary and all the pigeons out there who do art. A pal down here in Brighton alerted me to a street artist pigeon called ‘Gerald’. Apparently that’s not his real name. He likes to remain anonymous, and always has done. He lives in the cliffs somewhere near Newhaven, and has been at it on the art scene for years.
I managed to meet up with his nephew, Monty.
This was me talking to Monty in Queen’s Park last Monday:
Got on really well as it goes. He said his Uncle Gerald was pretty much a recluse these days, but he’s promised to take me on a tour of some of his pieces around the town as he mainly worked in and around Brighton and Hove. Exciting times. I told him about Gary and the New York art scene. He thought a UK / US collaboration was a great idea and said he’d speak to his uncle about it. I’m also thinking we could go global. See if there are any other pigeons out there in other places who do art. I’ve already put a shout out on FB, so watch this space. Anyone who didn’t see it, if you spot some pigeon art, take a pic and send it to me, but don’t forget to tell me where it is. I’m hoping Gary will curate…
Another subject we covered was the seagull issue. As you can see behind us, the seagull situation is getting out of hand. Lovely parks like Queen’s Park are being covered in shit by the thousands of seagulls that go there. It’s got to stop. More and more of them are coming over from various parts of Europe with no clue how to behave, and it’s not just the shit, the noise is becoming unbearable too. I’ve spoken to some of the local seagulls and even they agree something has to be done. Seeing as I’ve been a spokespigeon for quite some time now, I’m going to take it on. See if I can’t have a word with a few of them, not that they’ll understand a fucking word I’m saying.
So, that’s that for now. I’ll be chipping in on Twitter with updates including, hopefully, some of Gerald’s art.
Nice one, and Happy first Bri Day.
Back in 2007 I raised the issue that every other animal has it’s own Chinese year, so why not a pigeon? I brought it up again in 2011 when it was the rabbit’s turn, and still no year. I mean we’re talking rat, ox, pig, rooster, the list goes on. 2014 is, I’ve just discovered, the year of the horse. A fucking horse? Since when has a horse been able to fly using hedges for navigation? Or carried messages for hundreds of miles whilst being shot at by enemy fire? And when was the last time a horse wrote a decent song or some poignant poetry? Thought so.
For a while I put it down to a dislike by the Chinese of pigeons generally. I won’t bore you with the gruesome details, but if you enter ‘Chinese cooked pigeon’ into any search engine, and check out the images, you’ll see what I mean.
However, I think with all this talk of emerging pigeon artists, we could be onto something. Surely creating successful cut-through statement art is enough to get any animal a year? Currently 2015 is year of the sheep. Pointless. Change it. Year of the Pigeon. It’s got to be done.
So, I’ve been head to the ground down here since my last communication with NYC artist, Gary Pigeon. Word is there’s a talented Brighton based pigeon called Gerald who’s been into his art for a while now. He’s a bit older, so doesn’t go out much these days. Kind of semi-retired. He’s also only got one leg thanks to an accident he had with a washing line and some chewing gum. I’ve been told not to mention it if we meet. On the case in tracking him down though. He sounds really interesting.
In the meantime, this made me laugh. Gary sent it last week. He went out with a mate to scope out a location for his next project, and nearly got busted.
“Po po all up in my grill!” Was the message from Gary, whatever the fuck that means.
Love the fact his mate hid his face, like he wasn’t already on CCTV. Total genius.
Good luck with the search, Gary. Let me know how you get on.
In the meantime, I’m thinking of hitting the skies of London on Friday to check out the welcoming in of Year of The Horse celebrations in Chinatown. See what kind of exposure we can expect when our time comes.
Last week I got word from Gary Pigeon over in NYC who is alive and well, despite the recent Arctic conditions. Have to say, it was a relief to hear from him. Joey hunted him down. Cheers Joey.
As always Gary’s typing skills were a bit lacking, so I had to spend a few minutes deciphering his email. Half an hour to be precise. In all fairness, I think it was probably worse this time because his feet were cold.
First thing he said was under absolutely no circumstances was he venturing into Central Park to do some ice sculpting. He reckons every pigeon in NYC who thinks he’s an artist heads there when it snows to roll up a ball of it and call it ‘art’.
“Everywhere you look there’s a pigeon standing back admiring his fucking snowball art. One even said to me that ‘the real art is in the melting’. It melts, dickwipe. Get over it.” A fair point well made, Gary.
He said that what he’s actually been working on is a continuation of his statement street art. Remember the quite brilliant ‘Flight Control’? Well check this out. I’m honored to be able to post it too as it’s the first time it’s been seen over here, or anywhere really.
He did it just before the snow hit. It’s called ‘One Step Beyond':
It must have been really hard to keep that line going. Genius.
This is what he wrote in his email:
Greetings from the Big Crumb and a Happy New Year to all my feathered friends and their friends.
Been a busy few months. The holidays are a great time to get out and do street art.
My latest, “One Step Beyond” was created on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. You can maybe see 1 Hanson Place in the distance, a key Brooklyn landmark and one of my fave perches, although it can get very overcrowded with the fashionable set.
Problem with Brooklyn is it’s a bit too full of Pecksters. It’s what ‘people’ call ‘hipsters’, I believe. You know the sort; Asymmetric feather cut, silly ankle ring, the ironic stance. Mind you, some of the doves are quite hot and, as a single bird, I’m always on the look out for some beak-on-beak action.
Dating in this town is tough. You may have seen that pigeon show, “Pecks in the City”? Well it’s a lot like that. So wish me luck this year as I search of love, fame and fortune.
All the best,
Gary “Don’t call me Gazza” Pigeon.
Nice one, Gary. Love ‘One Step Beyond’, and really pleased you got in touch. All of us UK fans wish you a grand and happy 2014. May it bring you all the ‘beak-on-beak’ action you deserve. I’m not a fan of beak-on-beak, personally. Best will in the world, but you just don’t know where it’s been.
I love the name ‘Pecksters’ though. We’re not so polite over here and just call pigeons sporting an asymmetric feather cut, ankle ring and ironic stance ‘wankers’.
The news from land GB is the storms looks like they’re over. Pigeons everywhere are celebrating being able to leave the ledge at last.
So, it’s onwards and upwards in the art world. Really hoping Gary and myself can do some sort of collaboration this year. Maybe a cross-Atlantic art show, or something like that? I gather a few pieces over here. He does the same over there. Who knows.
In the meantime, just enjoy ‘One Step Beyond’.
First off, Happy New Year, and may 2014 give you all the seed you wish for.
So, finally I emerge after what seems like weeks of endless wind and rain, rain and wind. No. Wait. It is weeks. Would you believe the sun even made an appearance today? It was so bright I could have done with shades. A few of us headed down to The Meeting Place Cafe on the seafront. Really it was just to make sure it hadn’t been washed away. Thankfully, it was still there.
Here we are mopping up some bits from the pavement. Not even sure what they were, but it didn’t matter.
That’s me on the left with my arse in the air. Rather unflattering, but there you go. Desperate times:
As you can see, everyone was a bit manic too. Hardly surprising considering the length of time we’ve all been ledge-bound. Stuart to my right was beside himself.
Has to be said, there really is fuck all for a pigeon to do when the weather sucks this bad and it’s blowing a gale strong enough to blast you from here to Leeds. I’m not kidding. It happened to a pal of mine, and it wasn’t even Leeds he ended up in. It was Halifax. Stranded in Halifax over New Year. Jesus. Imagine.
Not being able to fly anywhere is a pain in the arse, but finding shelter down here is another whole issue. It’s not easy. There are loads of options in London what with all the bridges. Couple of years back I remember Waterloo Bridge became my home for a while, but Brighton? Not a cocking bridge in sight. So mainly I have been sitting with Mart in various car parks. Dull as shit but at least they’re dry. Mart invented a game the other day to pass the time called, ‘What Car am I?’
“It’s like charades, but with cars!” He said, excitedly. I should have known better.
Thankfully he gave up after two rounds realising it wasn’t going anywhere other than; “It’s big. It’s got four wheels, a roof and a windscreen…”
Even though this weather is tough, it’s not as tough as what’s going on in New York. They’ve got it bad over there. Real bad. I didn’t even know about it till I got online yesterday, but the City is well and truly freezing its massive nuts off. Proper cold, with snow. We’re talking minus thirteen. That’s five degrees off the recommended freezer temperature. Unbelievable.
I sent NYC Joey an email never thinking I’d get a reply, but I did, and it wasn’t good.
Here’s it is, word for word:
Good to hear from you. I can’t type very much though as my feet are too cold. I bound them in cotton wool on the way here, but it isn’t enough. My toe got stuck to a lamppost yesterday. I had to get a dog to lick it off. Imagine that?
I’ve never known it so cold. Minus 13? I mean really. Most pigeons have managed to survive by hanging out near subway vents and steam pipes, but that’s no way to live.
As you can imagine there isn’t much food around either. Who’s gonna eat a sandwich outside in this weather? As for the bins, just don’t go there. The little food we do find is frozen anyway. Gordon suggested we build a small microwave out of bits of old tin, but where the hell do we start with that one?
I hear you guys are having it rough too with the wind. It may be cold over here, and wing freeze is a real danger, but at least we can get up in the air if we have to! I don’t hold out much hope for our Chicago pals though. We’re talking minus 27. I mean that’s just not right. Colder than the Arctic. I sincerely hope they’ve found themselves some penguin suits!
Here’s hoping it warms up a bit soon, or a lot would be good!
So, there you go. He’s alive and well. I must ask him about Gary too. He’s probably off chipping at ice sculptures in Central Park as I type.
Be safe all you pigeons out there. In the meantime, it’s back to the ledge I go.
Well. We made it through another year. Amazing considering the weather. Never seen a storm like it. Unbelievable. Puddles the size of lakes, and the most mental winds ever. Flying anywhere was absolutely out of the question, as Ed found out to his peril.
This was Ed a few days ago:
Unfortunately Ed had no idea the wind was as strong as it was. He took off just before a massive gust hit and was last seen hurtling towards the French coast. Looks like it’s Christmas in Calais for Ed. Good luck with that one, mate.
So today, seeing as the sun’s out, I will mainly be hanging out with Mart trying to find something half decent to eat. Not holding my breath though seeing as everywhere is closed, so it’ll probably end up being a bin day. That’s the downside of being a pigeon at Christmas. Anyone out there fancy popping out a few festive leftovers, I’m sure they would be much appreciated.
In the meantime, Happy Christmas.
I heard from Gary Pigeon yesterday – see previous posts. He says he’s hard at work on his new piece. Interestingly he also says he’s taking more of an ‘inclusive’ approach to this one by exploring the medium of ‘living art’, possibly involving a number of other pigeons who have either had foot issues themselves, or know a pigeon who has. He’s hoping to have it ready by Christmas. Nice one, Gary. Watch this space.
When I emailed him last I also asked about living and working conditions in New York. It sounds like it’s pretty much the same as it is here. A mixture of ledges, window sills, and derelict shitholes. He said he’d rather not publicise where he lives now as he’s managed to bag himself a rather choice hole near Brooklyn Bridge. The reason he wants to keep it quiet is squatting can be a real issue for any urban pigeon who lands on his feet. I know from experience. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a busy day to find some other fucker sitting there going, “So, what you gonna do about it?”
Normally the squatting pigeon wins. More hassle than it’s worth. I was lucky though. It happened to me twice when I was living on Beak Street. All I did was stick my camera up their beak and say I’d name and shame unless they fucked off, which they did on both occasions.
Even though Gary wouldn’t tell me where he lived, he did email me a picture of his studio:
That’s Gary’s on the far right. The rest are all artists too.
It’s located under The Highline, a recently tarted up disused railway in the meat-packing district.
The reason Gary chose to work there is he used to live there back in the day. Said it rocked before the hotels moved in. Parties every night. Pigeons from all over NY would hit the Highline on a Friday night, and most of them would still be there on Monday morning.
“Now it’s just a load of designer frontages, and not a bloody ledge in sight!” He said. “I prefer to live in Brooklyn these days. Most of the pigeons who work here are sound though, which is why I work here. It’s a good scene. We all get on and help each other. Last year Michael was working on an Origami piece involving a paper napkin. It took three of us to sort the final folds. It’s team work here, and that’s why I like it.”
Looking forward to the new piece, Gary.
Following the massive response to NYC Gary’s street art – see previous post – I’ve had loads of emails from him. As his typing skills leave a bit to be desired some of them are quite hard to work out, like this one:
‘deeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrr briiiiiiiiiiiiiannnnn hhhhhhoooooowweeee aattttttteeee uuuuuu?’
In fact, most of them are like this. Clearly hasn’t quite got the tap and lift technique down yet. How long one stands on a letter has to be perfectly timed, or this is what happens. Slipping off the letter is also easy to do. Believe me, it’s a skill I’ve had to practice, a lot. Still, what he lacks in the typing department doesn’t detract from his artistic genius.
He says he’s working hard on his next piece having been hugely inspired by his new found UK fanbase. He promises not to disappoint and will send a photo when he’s finished. He asked if I wanted to come to the private view. I said I wished I could, but hiding in the fuselage of a jumbo jet didn’t really appeal. This was his suggestion as it was how he unintentionally ended up in New York in the first place. Brilliant. Looking forward to that story, although it will probably take me a year to decipher.
He also sent me this picture of himself on a bollard just near Central Park. He says this particular one is where he goes to reflect. He also mentioned the view is normally a bit better than it is here:
“Sometimes I just need to have some time on my own.” He said. “Even though the rest of the world around me is very busy, I find this spot both peaceful and conducive to creative thought. I think the shackles attached to the post help me to feel grounded.”
I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more from Gary.
Having launched the pigeons doing art theme, I’ve had emails from a couple over here too. I found this one particularly impressive. Stephen ‘Pigasso’ Pigeon works with canvass, and he doesn’t just use his feet. The wings are involved too. Brave stuff. Apparently he wipes them in the paint and then drags them across the canvass to create, as he puts it, “A visual effect that reflects the subtle texture of reality.”
Not sure I got this, but the fact he’d done one of our very own NYC Joey Peroni blew me away. He painted it from Joey’s photo. Kid you not. Clever stuff. Here it is:
He said he works alongside another Stephen who has helped him realise his dream after he was discovered painting peanuts on a windowsill in Peterborough.
Nice one, Pigasso. Cheers for painting it. I sent it to Joey earlier and he’s already been in touch to say he loves it. He also wonders if he can get a framed thumbnail for his ledge?
So, Brighton being the creative hub that it is, there’s got to be pigeons down here doing stuff. I’m on a mission. Pigeons who do art is an untapped movement, and I think I could be onto something if Gary and Pigasso are anything to go by.
Bring it on.
This is it. Finally. The moment you’ve all been waiting for, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been worth it.
Ex-pat NYC street artist Gary Pigeon’s work, ‘Flight Control':
He apologised for the length of time it took to send it through but said he wanted to make sure the photograph captured the piece in a way that maximised the poignancy of the statement. He also said he struggled with the camera as photography isn’t really his thing.
His inspiration came from wanting to highlight the hardship experienced by the millions of pigeons suffering from foot issues. It’s not something we like to talk about.
Initially he was going to scratch a small foot onto a drainpipe, until he had the brilliant idea of using wet concrete. However, having decided on the medium he wanted to use to express himself, he had to wait two years for a suitable patch of wet cement to come up. Eventually, it did. That’s dedication for you.
“I wanted it to be out in the open. Right there. On the street for everyone to see.” He said.
What he’s hoping, now he’s revealed himself as the artist responsible, is that some New York art mag might be interested in doing a piece. They should. It’s not often a pigeon’s art gets recognised never mind written about.
Nice one, Gary. He’s going to keep in touch and let me know what he’s working on next. He’s also going to tell me the full story of how the he ended up in New York in the first place. Joey told me it had something to do with getting hammered near Heathrow and falling asleep in the under-carriage of a plane about to take off for JFK. Slept through the whole thing, apparently.
So, having recovered from my incarceration in Eastbourne stuck under a bridge with the world’s dullest pigeon, I’m back to business.
Had a couple of emails from Joey in NYC. He says life in New York is calming down a bit now Banksy has nearly finished. It’s also the reason why Gary, Joey’s ex-pat street artist pal – see last post, has been so hard to get hold of. He’s a massive fan, apparently, and has been trying to follow Banksy around to see what he looks like.
Unfortunately, same as everyone, he missed him every time. However he did manage to leave his own artistic mark near his favourite piece in TriBeCa, which even got a mention in the New York Times in the form of a quote by a local chef called Mr Mears:
‘…some of Banksy’s pieces were “poignant,” but [Mears] expressed disdain for Banksy’s followers, some of whom he said sat in pigeon droppings to pose for photos alongside the TriBeCa piece…’
New York Times, Oct 28th 2013
Apparently Gary was disappointed it didn’t get more of a mention as he’d worked hard on the placing and distance from the piece. He was also disappointed someone had sat in it.
He clearly knows his stuff though.
Joey sent me this. It’s a picture of him and Gary on the ‘Pigeons Do Art March’ back in September. It’s where pigeons from all over New York get together to discuss and practice art.
Gary (right) was running a workshop called, ‘Graffiti Matters':
Yesterday Gary sent me a brief email. He’s obviously not as adept as Joey on the tablet. Typing was all over the place. Guess you can’t be good at everything. Still, I worked it out in the end. He says he’s going to send me a picture of a piece he did a few years ago called ‘Flight Control’. He also said it was his first departure from using his own shit. Exciting stuff.
Nice one, Gary. Look forward to seeing it.
Last week I mentioned that a pigeon from New York got in touch. His name is Joey Peroni, as in the beer. His family were also originally from the Italian quarter in Chicago, which is how he knows Rocco (see last post).
Anyway, we’ve had a few emails backwards and forwards. Top pigeon. Seriously. Great sense of humour and likes a drink, unlike most other American pigeons, according to Joey.
Here he is:
It’s a good look, pose aside.
Turns out Joey has always wanted to come to London. He even tried to kick off a Pigeon Exchange Programme a few years back, but there weren’t enough takers. Not surprising seeing as I was one of the only pigeons online at the time. I’d have done it if I’d known you back then, Joey.
I’ve learnt loads about NYC. It does sound like the dog’s bollox of a place to be. I told him I’d had dealings with the people over there that organise National Pigeon Appreciation Day. Said I’d tried to get the ball rolling on one in London, but didn’t get very far, largely due to pigeons not being appreciated by anyone, not even the weirdos.
I told him about all the anti-pigeon activity that’s been going on over here the past few years. The feeding ban, increase in the use of spikes, serial killer hawks etc. I also told him that there was a huge protest fly-by back in 2009. It was genius.
Pigeons from as far afield as Northampton and Bedford.
Click on the link below for more, and work your way up from the bottom for the full story.
It was also round about the time I had my Operation Stop The Squirrel going on, but that’s another story.
He replied saying it’s the same over there with the rise of the anti-pigeon vibe, and sent me a photo of a sign:
He said nearly all the squares have them now.
So, me and Joey are going to keep in touch. Also, knowing I’m a bit of an art fan, he’s going to hook me up with another pigeon. A ex-pat street artist called Gary. Looking forward to that one.
Another interesting bit of lowdown is that Joey uses a tablet. Much easier than a keyboard, apparently. I’ve never given one a shot. All he has to do is tap his toes on the letters on the screen. He said it’s the way to go, apart from the scrolling which can be a pain in the arse, literally.
May have to give it a go.
In the meantime, big up to my new American pals.