It’s been a while since I posted, but that’s mainly because I’ve been busy. No excuse I know, but it’s true. First off, I’m thinking of moving and have been looking into potential destinations. After all these years struggling in London, I reckon I’ve had my fill. There’s just too many of us with not enough throwaway to go round, and when I read the other day about that BBC hawk chewing on a pigeon, that was the final straw. The odd stray one accidentally downing a pigeon because it’s hungry, fair enough. Showing off in front of a load of BBC staff however – not on. Why do the BBC need hawks anyway? Trafalgar Square, I sort of get it seeing as it used to be such a hang out, and still is, but we don’t even like the new BBC building. It sucks arse. The only pigeons who go there are either star spotters hoping to catch a glimpse of Bruce Forsyth, or they’re lost. Give it up, BBC. You’re not that great.
Another nail in London’s coffin is the lack of decent ledges. Back in the day there were plenty to go round. Now, no chance, especially in the West End where they’re strictly on a first come first served basis, and spikes have clearly come down in price because every fucker appears to be getting them.
Yesterday, I found some pigeons finally making some noise about it outside Starbucks on Carnaby Street:
Bring it on.
I spoke to one of them. Debra from Dulwich (left):
“I can’t believe how many spikes there are these days.” She said. “They’re everywhere. It’s especially hard if you’re a larger pigeon like me who needs a slightly wider ledge…”
She went on to say they intend to sit up there every day until the spikes are removed. Fair play, although I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen any time soon.
As last year came to its inevitably soggy conclusion it looks like 2012 is officially the wettest on record. You don’t say. Frankly, things had better improve in 2013 on the weather front. There’s already talk of a new migratory policy and it’s only January 2nd.
The only snag is, how do we do it? All those in the know, i.e. all those that fuck off every year, have already fucked off, so it looks like we’ll have to wait till the spring when they come back to get the low down.
We just need some detail. Where to go? How far is it? Best en route stop-offs etc.? I’m sure we can make it to Morocco at the very least. Who’s with me?
Any of you in any doubt, just take a look at this poor fucker sifting through a pile of wet sick on a Monday morning:
Anyway – Happy New Year!
Mart always accuses me of never wanting to do anything festive. Fair comment as generally I do try to avoid it, apart from the traditional Shit or Miss on the Christmas shoppers on Oxford Street that is. So this year I decided to go for it by suggesting we fly to Windsor for the annual Christmas carol singing event. A pal called Ed goes every year and says it rocks the big one. Mart was made up so off we flew first thing this morning straight up the M4.
Thankfully we managed to dodge the pissing rain. Pretty easy fly as it goes, mainly because you can see the Castle from miles away. The only downer was Mart practising ‘Away In A Manger’ the whole way there. Kid you not.
As we approached they were already half way through an air-bound rendition of ’Ding Dong Merrily On High’:
Have to admit I even hummed along a bit. Of course Mart was straight in there with the harmonies. Painful stuff.
Then everyone hit the turret for Silent Night:
That’s Ed at the top. Frankly getting into it a bit too much for my liking.
Still, it was a right laugh and Mart said it was the best Christmas Day he’d ever had.
Tomorrow we’re back on the ledge getting ready for the annual Boxing Day Brazil Nut Hunt on Berwick Street.
So, seeing as the world didn’t end after all, here’s to a Happy Christmas from me and Mart.
Everyone’s talking about it. The end of the world is this Friday, apparently. Not sure what that means but checking the mental weather this year, I wouldn’t be surprised. Have to say though, it’ll be a shame if it does. I haven’t even been to the Isle of Wight.
Some of the conversations I’ve had about it have been hilarious. There are pigeons out there actually preparing for it. Unbelievable.
Take Francis from Morden, for example. Francis has spent months filling her nest with whatever shit she can pick up, even if she doesn’t know what it is:
Mental. She can’t even sit in it anymore and spends most days walking around with crumbs stuck to her arse.
This year really has been one big weather roller-coaster. Mental, and now it looks like the Arctic is moving in to make 12.12.12 the coldest day, ever.
Practically every lamp worth taking in London has gone as pigeons hunker down for the night. Think I’d rather have non-stop pissing rain than this. My beak was literally frozen solid this morning. I even had bits of frost on my toes. This afternoon I decided drastic action had to be taken, especially as Mart spent most of the day sitting as close as possible trying to keep warm. To be honest, I found it all a bit uncomfortable.
The good news is we managed to bag one of these on Leicester Square. Mart is sitting on it right now.
Just got to make sure neither of us roll over in our sleep. Could wake up to a nasty shock:
Still, least we’d have had warm arses for the night.
In this day and age, considering the massive technological code breaking capabilities of now, no-one has been able to crack the note that was stuck to the leg of a dead pigeon from 70 years ago. Mental. Poor dude was found stuffed in a chimney in Surrey. Probably only ducked in there for a bit of shut eye. Hats off though. Daring stuff delivering messages over enemy lines. Not sure there’s many pigeons these days who’d stick a metal box to their foot and fly around Europe dodging bullets on the promise of a leg-over (which was the promise, apparently).
If you fancy giving it a go, here it is:
Really not worth the effort. Probably says something like: ‘If you’re flying over a chimney, don’t go down it if there’s smoke coming out’. Idiot.
Anyway, talking places to kip, it looks like we’re into a winter of sleeping under bridges again. Jesus. The rain has been SO bad I’m considering moving permanently into somewhere with a roof on it. The only snag is, and I know I’m always saying this, but where? Anywhere half decent undercover usually means dodging some sort of spiked obstacle course. Anyone know anywhere dry and risk-free, let me know. And, while we’re at it, can I add warm to the mix seeing as the temperature has dropped today by ten degrees? Cheers.
All this flooding has been bad for us pigeons though. Got talking to Sylvia at Clapham Junction yesterday who’d just evacuated herself from Somerset when conditions became ‘atrocious’.:
“There was no land for ages. Just water. It was everywhere. I’d be learning to swim right now if we didn’t sink. There’s got to be a way to deal with it, especially if water is the future. Ducks can do it. Why can’t we?”
She has a point. Maybe we should be putting some real effort into it instead of saying, ‘Oh. Shame we’re a bird that can’t swim. Never mind’.
It can’t be that hard, surely?
Off tomorrow to chat to some ducks, if I can find one who can string a sentence together that doesn’t send me to sleep.
The thing about getting older isn’t just the occasional ache in the wing joints, it’s the rapidly fading memory. Honestly. Mine is so shot to pieces it’s embarrassing. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing in there at all.
Yesterday, I bumped into this guy:
“Bri!” He said, straight in my face looking quite excited. “Bri Pigeon! Great to see you again!”
I had no clue who he was. Not a single one.
“Oh, hi.” I said, trying not to look too vague, “How are you?”
“Great. Great. Cheers. Bloody hell, that night, dude. Dude! Best night in years. Still laughing about it now!”
“Yeah. It was great, wasn’t it.” I had no idea what he was talking about.
“When you said that thing. What was it?” By this time he was laughing so hard his foot was slamming on the pavement. “You know? That thing? Hilarious!”
Time for a swift exit: “Listen, really sorry, man, but I can’t stop. I’m just on my way somewhere. Great to see you again though. Let’s not leave it so long next time.”
Then came the sting: “But it was only last week…”
Damn. Fucking typical. He shuffled off looking somewhat deflated despite my attempt to salvage the situation: “But last week feels like ages ago!”
That was the moment I decided something has to be done before it gets any worse and I’ll have to start referring to my blog as ‘the online diary of an aging pigeon who can’t remember very much any more’. Not good.
I figured food might be a good place to start. Turns out nuts can help by boosting my Vitamin E levels. Easy. So tomorrow I shall mainly be sitting under the nut stall on Berwick Sreet Market if anyone fancies joining me?
I’m also going to investigate some other more practical methods. Perhaps a few simple mental agility exercises? Mart suggested counting pavement cracks but that’s more likely to send me mental than anything else.
Any other pigeons out there suffering the same lack of recollection, watch this space (if you can remember that is).
Sorry for the earlier error. Accidentally stepped on ‘publish’ before it was finished. Twat. Also decided to go Top 10 hobbies for pigeons rather than Top 5. Too many good ones to ignore.
Cheers everyone for some great suggestions. Since posting about it I’ve not only been trying a few myself, I’ve been testing them out on some pals. Not all of them got it. A few actually said that they were quite happy standing around all day doing nothing. Fair enough. Anyway, here you go. My absolute favorite Top 10 (in no particular order).
- Dove Bombing – where you find a random dove and dive bomb it. Arrogant fucks deserve it.
- Stair (or Step) Hopping – a handy one in London with there being lots of them around. Also good for keeping fit. Could expand it to racing up them or doing it backwards? Could also knock out the stairs and just do some hopping.
- Parrot Gliding – go to Richmond Park, find a parakeet, wait for it to take off, then hop on and see how long you can stay on for. I recommend ear plugs for this one though. They make a dreadful noise at the best of times. Imagine what they’d sound like with a pigeon on their back.
- Cow / Horse Back Riding – as above, but on a cow or horse. Jump on and see how long you can stay there for. May be easier to sit on the head so you can hang onto an ear? Possibly even use it to steer? Could work?
- Rambling – love this one. Dead simple. Go to somewhere you haven’t been before, preferably outside the M25, and just walk around a bit.
- Mud Wrestling – a great one for this time of year when there’s plenty of it around. I can strongly recommend the banks of the River Thames at low tide.
- Skating – a few of you suggested this one. This is something I’ve tried few times. Bloody hard, especially on a busy organised rink like Somerset House. If it’s your first time, I’d suggest giving it a go on a quiet puddle somewhere. Get the hang of it first.
- Put On A Play – doing some kind of public performance is always a winner not only for the pigeons taking part, but also for those watching, providing it’s good of course. Nothing worse than sitting through a bad one. If you’re interested, just be sure to join a group who know what they’re doing, take The Kentish Town Players for example. Here they are performing a battle scene from Shakespeare’s Richard III last year:
- Nearly there. Here’s one from Mart. I had to include because I said I would – Baking. He suggested, with Halloween round the corner, we could start with some gingerbread witches. Jesus.
- Finally, and my personal fave, Nut Nicking – This is right up there for me. Nicking a squirrels nuts. Bound to piss them right off. Could also be adapted to Nut Nipping where you nip a squirrel in the actual nuts. Providing you get good purchase, this would piss them off even more:
“Awwww. Me nuts!”
I would apologise for not posting for a week, but I won’t because this time it’s not down to the rain. There’s just nothing going on. Not a thing. I’m sure it’s because we’ve all had such a fun-packed summer full of sports and partying that suddenly, now autumn has kicked in and it’s all over, the world feels a bit flat. What the fuck am I going to write about? Today I flew to Oxford Circus, sat on a lamppost for a while, and flew back. Not very interesting, is it? I considered writing about what I’d been eating, but I bored myself with that one too. Jesus. Today I found a raisin outside Sainsbury’s. Well good for you, Brian, you dull fuck.
It’s not just me. Everywhere you look there are bored pigeons desperately clinging to anything they can find to make their day interesting.
For example, take Vince from Bayswater who said he’d been toying with the same piece of chocolate for nearly two hours now and was starting to go slightly mad:
I asked him what made him turn to the chocolate?
“Boredom, mate. I am well and truly bored out of my fucking brains,” he said. “Ever since the crowds left and London got wet and dark again, sweet FA.”
Hobbies. That’s what we need. Something new to learn. Something to get us excited again. Mart suggested water-skiing using lollypop sticks. He reckoned he’d met a goose called Lucy who’d be happy to tow us. Twat. As if that’s going to catch on in winter.
Finding something for pigeons to do in the months ahead is my new mission. Seeing as it’s also the time of year when obesity starts to spread, including some sort of exercise based activity would be good.
I told Vince to ask around. See if any pigeons he knew had any suggestions, but I think he was so obsessed with his piece of chocolate by this point he wasn’t really listening:
So let’s get our heads together to help pigeons like Vince fight the boredom.
Decent hobbies for pigeons to keep us active both physically and mentally.
Any suggestions, let me know. Your input would be much appreciated.
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?