Apologies for the lack of posts but I have, yet again, been stuck under Waterloo Bridge as the worst storm in thirty years hit the UK. Unbelievable. I know you got it a lot worse in places like Florida, but equally I reckon you probably deal with it a whole lot better too. Over here, it’s fucking mayhem. Pigeons getting blown about all over the place trying to land whilst desperately searching for a decent place to sit, preferably one that’s out of the wind. It’s not easy. Then again, with the lack of summer we’ve just had, most London pigeons are getting used to it. Having spent a good few weeks under Waterloo Bridge earlier this year, I almost consider it a home from home.
Saying all that, somewhere hotter and less windy would be nice. So, with a total lack of shit to do other than sit around waiting for it to stop raining, I started looking at where else in the world would be good for a pigeon to live. So far, Delhi is top of the list. Big time. Pigeons over there have got it good.
Not only do they get to live in nice sheltered places like this:
They get their own rooms and can spend their days looking at pigeons like this:
You can read more about it here. They’ve even given the whole thing a name. It’s called Kabootarbaazi. Bring it on.
If only it wasn’t such a long fucking way away, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
Maybe if I slimmed down a bit, disguised myself as a racer and sat in a box outside Heathrow Terminal 4 chewing on a poppadom? Could work?
There were angry scenes outside Stratford Station on Saturday as hundreds of pigeons, made homeless by the Olympic Park, took to the pavements in protest at what they say is a total lack of consideration for the local pigeon population.
I went down to investigate and was met by this lot chanting, “1,2,3,4. We are the pigeons you can’t ignore.”:
Emotional stuff, and they weren’t wrong:
Apparently some of them had been sitting there all night refusing to move:
They do have a point to to make though.
Earlier on I got to speak to one of the organisers, Gary:
“I was born and bred in the East End. Been here all my life. Knew the Krays and everything, and now this.” He said. “It’s not on and something’s got to be done. First they toss us out of our homes, and now there’s no food and nowhere to go when it rains.”
I asked him what it had been like when the games were on.
“Yeah. It was alright. Loads of people. Loads. Food everywhere, but not now. Never seen it so bad. Totally empty. Couple of mates suggested moving into Westfield Shopping Center. Could work. These are desperate times.”
By the end of the day, largely due to the heat and levels of frustration, tempers flared resulting in a massive fly-by over Stratford station. Shit flying everywhere.
Clearly no-one bothered to consider the pigeons of Stratford in their legacy plans.
Personally, I think the council should build them one of these:
Surely it’s the least they can do?
There must be room on the Olympic Park somewhere? A quiet corner where a hot dog stand used to be, perhaps?
In the meantime, if you’re over Stratford way and you see a load of pigeons outside the station, just spare a moment and listen to what they have to say, or just chuck them some bread. Either way, they’ll be happy you cared.
So that’s that then. The Olympics are all over, and it looks like they took the summer with them. Time for the leaves to fall off and the days to get shorter. Bummer. Quite mad that it all ended with the hottest day ever. Hotter than Mexico, apparently. Have to say, and I reckon this goes for all the pigeons in London, it’s been a blast. Never seen so many tourists knocking about. Managed to get at least one game of Shit or Miss in most days.
Here’s Mike preparing for a classic head shot:
Total genius. Even managed some splash back into the Coke.
Next Pigeon Olympics I reckon we should definitely include it as one of the sports.
It has been a rocking summer though, which explains the posts being a bit short on the ground. Just been having too much fun. Never seen so much decent throwaway either, not for years. Everywhere we went in London there was something to be had. Found an entire hot dog the other day just lying there.
So it’s back down to earth now and London already feels bored. Worryingly I saw some Christmas shit in a shop window yesterday. Kid you not. Mental. Christmas shouldn’t be talked about till at least November, surely?
Mart suggested a trip up north might be fun. Not been further than Watford for a long time. Could be fun?
A few of you suggested a Pigeon Paralympics. Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, but we couldn’t muster up enough interest in the end. Most of the disabled pigeons we asked thought we were taking the piss. Even Clubfoot Colin wasn’t happy, although that was probably down to the cider he’s been on all morning.
So, after such a poor response, I’m putting it out there. If anyone knows any disabled pigeons up for a bit of sporting action, let me know. Even getting a team together so they’re ready for next time would be good. One thing’s for certain, Club Foot Chip Toss it would be a great way of raising awareness of the dangers of standing in your own shit for too long.
Moving on, I was talking to Mart the other day about the massive development in Elephant & Castle. The one where Heygate Estate is about to be flattened. Not good, especially seeing as it’s mostly empty and currently home to hundreds of pigeons. Anyway, Mart thought I said they were building a massive elephant. Pissed myself. When I thought about it though, it’s actually a much better idea all round. A massive elephant slap bang in the heart of Elephant & Castle. Genius.
Not a lot going on since the Pigeon Olympics came and went, along with the summer, so I thought I’d give you a classic Freeeeeeeak of the Weeeeeeeeeeeek. Found it the other day. Unbelievable.
Surely this can’t fly?:
Sorry for the lack of posts. Decided to take a last minute mini-break with Mart. Went down to Brighton for a few days. To be honest, the day after the Closing Ceremony I knew I needed a bit of time out. Jesus it was messy. Woke up under a bush in Soho Square at nine in the morning. Massive shoes crashing around my head. No clue where I was. Mart said he’d tried to get me back to the ledge but I was having none of it. Time to get away. Thankfully, the weather was alright too.
Straight down the A23 on some great thermals. Got there in under three hours including a stop off. Soon as we’d found a place to kip under the pier, we were all set.
Best thing I could have done. Wandered up and down the sea front everyday. Even went paddling near Hove. Of course, Mart wanted to try surfing till I reminded him that he couldn’t swim and the last time he’d tried it, it hadn’t ended well. Suddenly, paddling became the best thing ever.
Best bit was meeting a reasonably okay Sea Gull. That’s never happened before. Her name was Harriet.
Yes, believe it or not, she is female, not that you’d know it:
Talked like a fella, ate like a fella, looked like a fella, and preferred to be called Harry. Anyway, she turned out to be a really good laugh.
We hooked up a couple of times in the end.
Here we are again hanging out near Charles Street:
The reason we went back to the same place was that was where ‘Harry’ performed her stand-up. It was fucking brilliant. If anyone is around the Charles Street area at 4pm most days, unless it’s raining, it’s free and well worth a look.
She told me she loved doing it here because of the ridiculous window behind listing everything that can possibly go wrong. She’d refer to them in her set. Genius. Think this was her frozen shoulder routine. When she got to ‘and many more’, she could go on for hours, and she always closed by picking up the fag butt and smoking it. Pissed ourselves, every time.
Anyway, back on the London ledge and feeling refreshed. Time to crack on with the rest of the year.
What’s coming up? No idea, but that’s the fun of it. Cant’ get any better than hanging out with a stand-up Sea Gull, can it?
Firm favorite, Olga, went on to win Gold for Team London in the final event in the 2012 Pigeon Olympics, the Wing Stretch. It was an amazing performance and no-one came anywhere near.
Here she is with her penultimate stretch:
And this was the final move that got her the Gold she so deserved:
So, that’s it. All over for another four years, and it’s been brilliant. Every minute of it. I was on my way to Stratford when I thought I had to post this. London ended up top of the medals table in the Pigeon Olympics. Total genius. Talk about inspiring a generation.
Right. Off to party. Don’t hold your breath for a post tomorrow.
Well, that’s it, nearly. Party time over. Thank fuck the sun’s come out or I reckon London would have the biggest come down ever next week.
The appearance of the sunshine has also meant the Pigeon Olympics have been kicking it too, at last.
The Synchronised Fly-By was great. They moved the venue to Hyde Park in the end. Amazing atmosphere. Surprisingly, London, firm favorites to win, were beaten by Cardiff. It was close but we couldn’t quite pull it off.
Here’s Team Cardiff passing the finishing flags:
Have to admit, they were pretty good.
And here’s a great shot of Team London’s Bread Tug squad discussing their strategy just before this afternoon’s final:
I managed to grab a quick word with team captain, Bill (centre). He said he was thrilled to have got as far as they have. “The home crowd has been fantastic.” He said. “We’d never have done it without their support.”
It turned out to be an gripping match. Manchester were on great form and looked like they were going to clinch it, that was until Archie from Kentish Town was brought on as a substitute. He was on fire. Almost literally in this heat. He hammered them and went on to win another Gold for London.
This is Archie just after he won the final tug:
Nice one, Arch. Celebrations all round.
Tomorrow it’s time for the Wing Stretch with another London favourite, Olga, ready to defeat her world title. Can’t wait.
In the meantime, we’ve finally decided on a venue for the Closing Ceremony. Seeing as most places in London are likely to be pretty packed on Sunday, we’re going for Soho Square. Any pigeons around, come on down.
Bring it on.
Unlike the ‘other’ Olympics with its warm and toasty venues, the London Pigeon Olympics is all outside. In most countries holding something outside when it’s summer is fine, but not here. Not somewhere where there is no fucking summer. Apparently the sun is coming out this weekend but I’m not holding my breath.
As a consequence, the Pigeon Olympics have been a bit all over the place. Some events have had to be cancelled whilst others have gone on for days.
Here’s Simon, Captain of the North London Chip Toss team, celebrating winning gold after a final that went on for a record breaking three days:
One event that did manage to take place without a hitch was the Single Leg Balance.
This is Yolanda who went on to win gold for managing an incredible seven hours standing on one leg:
Providing we stay rain free we’re hoping that today will see the conclusion of the Synchronised Take Off and Landing events. More on that later.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the closing ceremony on Sunday. There’s going to be a few parties kicking off but seeing as the biggest one is likely to be over Stratford way, that’s probably where I’ll end up. Bring on the beer. It’s time to party hard and celebrate two of the best weeks in London ever.
More Pigeon Olympics news to follow. In the meantime, had to post this. Could be either a Freeeeak Of The Weeeeeek or A Pigeon That Looks Like…
Seeing as my role as Time Out mag’s Olympic commentator has meant I’ve had to split my days between the Pigeon Olympics and the ‘other’ Olympics, I haven’t been able to cover it as much as I would have liked. Not selling out, just been too busy flying backwards and forwards to bloody Stratford. Jesus. I’ve already racked up enough air miles to fly me first class to Rio.
Hyde Park’s a laugh though. If you haven’t been, you should go. There’s wood chip all over the floor and more throwaway than you can shake a stick at. Every sort of food under the sun, if there was any sun, but don’t get me started on that one.
There are loads of big screens too so you get to see all sorts of sports you’ve never heard of, like trampolining. Going there later unless the fucking rain comes back again.
Anyway, back to the 2012 Pigeon Olympics. Of course all games have had to be suspended when it rains so it’s been a bit of a stop start affair. It’s also not been as well attended as we’d hoped. However, it looks like North London may beat Birmingham to win gold in the Chip Toss happening later today. Exciting stuff. In the meantime, some shocking news about Poussain Bolt, the sporting legend I interviewed the other day. He lost out on gold in the 1m sprint to an unknown pigeon called Jimmy from Southend in what turned out to be a heart stopping final.
Despite having led for the majority of the race, Poussain was overtaken by Jimmy in a breathtaking last 7cm:.
And here’s Poussain afterwards, gutted:
He didn’t want to talk to me, which was no bad thing after my last experience.
Hoping to catch the Chip Toss final in Trafalgar Square this afternoon, sunshine pending.
Before I get going with news on the first weekend of the 2012 Pigeon Olympics, I had to post this.
It seems that with all the excitement, someone somewhere has managed to slip eating pigeons under the radar. There I was thinking it was all a thing of the past. Check this out: Great British Chef’s list of pigeon recipes. Jesus. Outraged. It goes on and on too. Pigeon with beetroot, pigeon with butter beans, pigeon with salad, and there are photos.
Photos like this one:
It’s all happening today. The 2012 Pigeon Olympics are kicking off big style. Starting in St James’s Park and ending up in Hyde park it’s already kicking it hard, and it’s only 4. Can’t wait. Hoping for the party to end all parties. Can’t promise much on the posting front tomorrow. Saying that, in my official capacity as Olympic commentator for Time Out magazine, I’ve got to hit the other Opening Ceremony too at some point. Looking forward to clinging to the roof for ten hours, not. May make an appearance. You never know. Possibly around the time the birds with wings on bikes come out. WTF? And there I was thinking birds weren’t allowed.
Weather pending, watch this space for some video coverage of our very own opening ceremony. Exciting stuff.
I went backstage yesterday to check out the score. Managed to grab a couple of interviews.
Here’s Mike, Head of Security, St James’s Park:
He said he was preparing for some carnage.
And here’s Phil, Head of Backstage, Catering sussing out the throwaway situation:
“Loads of bins, and no one bothers to empty them. If you have allergies I suggest you eat before you arrive. Can’t say there’s much in the way of variety. Mainly chips and white bread.”
It’s hard work for everyone now as the finishing touches are made to the greatest show on earth. The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Pigeon Olympics. Bring it on.
Let’s hope it doesn’t piss it down. A bit of light rain, fine. Monsoon, no thanks.
So far, so good…
Klaus Bergman, otherwise known as ‘The Birdman’, has been thrown out of the London 2012 Pigeon Olympics for drinking Red Bull. It enhances the performance, apparently. The star of the 5m cross-country was caught sprinting erratically around Sainsbury’s car park in Chiswick.
Klaus declined to comment. Not because he didn’t want to, he couldn’t speak:
Klaus flew home to Durham earlier today.
Went down to Richmond yesterday in the boiling hot sunshine and managed to see one of the ladies beach volleyball teams in full swing, literally in some cases.
One word: corrr. Never seen so many hot birds in one place, and I’m not talking temperature wise.
Some of them were so hot it hurt:
On the flip side, why is it the umpires tend to be the polar opposite? Don’t think I’ve ever seen a hot umpire, ever.
Take this one from yesterday. ‘She’s’ called Olga and she comes from Watford:
No offense Olga, but I think you might be male. You’re built like a male and those noises you were making sounded pretty male to me. In fact, there’s nothing female about you whatsoever.
Weather pending, the 2012 Pigeon Olympics beach volleyball event takes place in Richmond next Wednesday, if anyone fancies coming down. Like me, I suspect most pigeons who do will be there purely for the visuals.