Not done one of these for a while but seeing as it’s St George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday, I thought I’d get my aging arse off my ledge and do it. I also have to confess I started it two days ago it takes that long to write one now. Every toe aches at the end, and as for the beak? Jesus. Mart had to feed me with a straw for two days after the last time. Anyway – it’s all worth it. For those of you new to Pigeon Blog, I’m sure you understand that ten years on the block is a long run for any pigeon. Still, least you’ve got ten years of stuff to wade through! Those of you who have hung in there all this time – and you know who you are – nice one, and well done! If I could send you a T shirt, I would!
Anyway, on with now. First off, Shakespeare’s birthday. Only a handful of you will remember Doug. Doug was my pal back in the day who fancied himself as a bit of an actor. He was also a total Shakespeare nut. He used to say the world would be nothing if it weren’t for ‘the beautiful Bard’. Of course with Doug, everything was a drama. Even finding a flattened pizza slice in the gutter would always get an, “Ah ha! Look forth! Such a splendid thing of beauty I bear not to touch it…” Of course by the time he’d finished wanging on, it was pretty much all gone.
Here he is on this day in 2006 celebrating the Bard’s birthday by performing the death scene from Romeo and Juliet:
“Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here’s to my love!”
Mart and I always found it hard not to laugh. Doug did take himself and his acting incredibly seriously and, if I’m being brutally honest… he wasn’t terribly good. Obviously we never said as much and always cheered loudly at the end.
Here he is doing the famous ‘Friend’s, Roman’s, countrymen. Lend me your ears.’ speech from Julius Caesar:
He would often stage his monologues on statues in order to ‘immerse his audience in the scene by encouraging a dramatic backdrop’.
He even used to hang out at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre hoping to find an opportunity to make an appearance. Far as I know, he only managed it once in the 2008 production of ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ when he landed in the middle of the stage and managed to stand there for a full five seconds before being thrown off. Said it was the best four seconds of his life. The fifth was when he got a pointy costumed toe up the arse. Always a painful moment. I’ve had a few of those in my time and it smarts for days, costumed or non-costumed.
Of course I lost touch with Doug years ago when I moved to Brighton, and now I’m back in London I’m based up West pretty much full time and barely ever go Central. Doug, mate, just wanted to say that, wherever you are, I’m thinking of you and hope you’re still giving it large on what I know is your absolute favourite day of the year.
So, onto St George’s Day. St George’s Day is supposed to be the day when, if you’re English, you celebrate all things English. Mart reckons it means bacon is obligatory to get the party going so he’s gone to look for some. Good luck with that one, Mart! Not many bacon butties flying around W4 these days!
The thing is, I’m not sure there’s anyone left anymore who is totally ‘English’. Surely by now most of us are a little bit of a mix up of all sorts? I know I’ve got Scot’s in me, and possibly a bit of Durham.
Someone told me the other day that in two months time on June 23rd, people in the UK are going to vote for whether or not they want to stay mates with the rest of Europe. WTF? Surely no-one thinks we’d be better off as a tiny little island floating cold and alone in the big blue sea? Personally I’m a big fan of Europe. Love the place. Costa the Greek was one of my best buddies for a long time.
This is Costa:
Costa arrived from Greece in 2004 and has stayed here ever since. Of course border controls make no odds to us, not that many of us can fly the channel! The ferry is usually the transport of choice, but I do think if we cut our little piece of land off from the rest, it will mean less people will want to come here, and ultimately that will mean less diversity in the pigeon world, which will be a shame. Diversity is good. I’d go as far as to say, essential. Tell you what, I had better conversations with Costa than I do with a lot of pigeons London born and bred. Just saying.
So how do I feel about St George’s Day? I’ll eat a bit of bacon if there’s any going, but won’t be partying with the rest of them. Just don’t think it should be about celebrating all the little bits, but giving it large as a whole, and that includes the big bit over the water.
Saying that, I’ve never been one to turn down a spilled tin of lager, or spinnie as we used to call them. Maybe I’ll send Mart out in search of one of those later? One’s never too old for a spinnie!
In the meantime, I’m off to rest my beak!
Hate to say it but I was very excited about an MP called Caroline Pidgeon, until I discovered she wasn’t actually a pigeon. Talk about false representation. There’s nothing pigeon about her whatsoever. Word is she’s pro the spike. Enough said.
Strangely it also coincided with a re-emergence of the use of pigeons to measure air pollution. WTF? Yet again we’re forced to take to the skies wearing backpacks in order to test the air. You’re kidding, right? Bang out of order. Volunteers my arse.
Weird thing is I wrote about it back in 2006 when they sent a load of back-packed pigeons up and over San Jose, California, one of the rankest place on earth.
The ‘Simple Sniff Test’ was the result. My invention. No need for backpacks and chaffing straps, just open your beak, have a sniff, and let me know. Simple as that.
Anyone out there up for joining in? Sniff wherever you are, and let me know what it smells like. You can send your results to brianpigeon AT gmail DOT com.
Finally something worth reporting. So far 2016 has got off to a very slow start. Practically stationary. The weather has generally been shitter than I’ve seen it for years with not a frosty morning in sight. Just pretty much wall to wall rain and the odd dollop of sunshine. In all fairness, there’s also the fact I’m getting older now so not quite as agile about town. In days gone by it used to be I’d fly all over the City searching for blog-worthy stories. Now, generally speaking, news stories tend to come to me, like this one, and anything involving the potential demise of the aggressive urban squirrel is certainly worthy of attention.
A few years ago, a story I covered in detail was squirrels and their ninja-like ways. I kid you not. Suddenly out of nowhere they all appeared to be partaking in serious combat training:
Everywhere you looked there were squirrels working out pumping peanuts. This was about the time they also started demonstrating some serious attitude towards almost all other parklife.
Things got so bad I even started a campaign called Operation Stop The Squirrel that went down quite well. Click on the link to read more.
I had noticed that in recent years the squirrels have been lying low, and now I know why.
Turns out all this warm weather has encouraged them eat more, and more, and more. And the more they eat, the less they want to do. For some, even walking, has become a struggle. I heard one got stuck in a tree the other day and had to be cut out. Not cool.
It looks like morbid obesity has landed in the squirrel world.
Warning – Some of you may find these images disturbing:
Wouldn’t want to meet this on a dark night!
How times change. Saying that, perhaps it’s their strategy that’s changed? Maybe their approach is now more sumo style? Knock your opponent to the ground and just sit on them?? Doesn’t bear thinking about!
Whatever it is, I’m not sure it’s going to work out for them as pretty soon living in trees will be a thing of the past and our parks will be full of huge great squirrels snoring under bushes. Nice.
So, 2016 is just around the corner, and it’s a year I am very much looking forward to. Amazingly, 2016 is the tenth anniversary of Pigeon Blog! Yep. I’ve been telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere for ten whole years. Mental. Have to say, it’s flown by.
Incredible to think that when I first started, tablets didn’t exist, phones were most definitely NOT smart, and there were absolutely no Gs involved in any mobile coverage. Everything back then was much, much slower.
Saying that, life was still seriously full on for me. I was living in Central London on Beak Street and, being the only pigeon with any sort of social media capability at the time, the pressure was on to deliver. The workload got so much at one point, I tried to involve a couple of pals in reporting for me, but it never really worked out. Take upcoming comedian, Frank, for example. I gave him a slot back in December 2006 called ‘The Frank Report’. Click below to see what happened when he tried to interview a load of geese in Hyde Park:
Then of course 2007/2008 saw the rise of the aggressive squirrel prompting me to start my ‘Operation Stop The Squirrel’ campaign. This was a post from when everything was getting rather heated:
As you can probably tell, I’ve been doing a lot of looking back over the years recently, hence the lack of up-to-date posts. Sorry about that. The reason is I’m working on a little something to celebrate being at it for ten years. Watch this space. Exciting.
Anyway, enough of the past. What about this New Year’s Eve? Pigeons are already gathering in Gunnersbury Park. Good times. We’re planning on an Acton flyabout later hoping to find some sort of spillage or another. Anyone in the W3/W4 area fancy leaving us out a little saucer of something special, it would be much appreciated. Personally, I’m not a fan of the Stella, but anything else. Craft beer would be nice..?
Here’s the crowd starting to build:
Looks like Jerry on the left is well on his way already!
So, a big up to 2016 everyone. May it be everything it should be.
Bring it on.
Your good pal, Brian Pigeon.
Weather aside, I’m having a cracking time being back in W4. Love it. To be honest, I’d forgotten what diversity was like. Down in Brighton it’s kind of one pigeon fits all. In London we’re talking pigeons of all shapes and sizes, literally. From the fat posh ones in Kensington to the nut jobs in Brixton to the pigeon literati in Shoreditch. As a result, no two pigeons are the same, and thankfully the conversation often flows beyond food, seagulls and the weather.
That said, I did get talking to Geoff the other day about the reason why seagulls get so much airtime in Brighton. It’s because there are bloody millions of them. Everywhere you turn there’s a seagull screaming in your face.
Anyway, he started to tell me about Rupert Duffet. Genius. Duffet is a seagull who’s recently flown over from Calais and keeps popping up all over London trying to ‘educate’ pigeons on the upsides of the seagull. WTF?
Of course I had to go track him down at his next scheduled appearance in Gunnersbury Park last week:
As I got nearer, I realised why there was only one pigeon listening. Duffet was mainly speaking French. Speaking French to a bunch of pigeons from West London was never going to go down well.
I asked the one that seemed to be listening if he understood what Duffet was saying.
“Mais, oui.” He said. “Je suis Jean-Philippe.” Not wanting to extend the conversation any further, I simply asked him if he knew when Duffet was speaking next.
When they came out, the only words I understood were ‘St James’s Park’, so that’s where I went today to see if I could find him, and I did:
Duffet was friendly enough and happy to chat. A little too friendly I thought when he came in for a cheek kiss. It’s what they do in France, apparently.
For a start, it turns out his name isn’t Duffet like bucket, it’s pronounced something more like doufflé. FFS. It wasn’t a good start. Frankly, overall he just sounded like a total rambling nutter, and probably is.
As I only understood one word in every five, and three of them were ‘seagulls’, ‘pigeons’ and ‘sharing’, I switched off pretty early on.
My advice to you, Rupert Duffet, is learn at least a smattering of English if you’re going to go about defending the gulls. That said, I’m pretty sure he won’t be coming back any time soon.
First off, London, remind me why I left in the first place? I feel like a whole new pigeon coming back to roost on my roots. For starters, I’m way better connected to the pigeon world just like in the old days. Also turns out Chiswick really is the place to be for the retiring pigeon. Even though I’m a bit of a way off, it’s food for thought for the future. There’s loads to do here, and no need to fly any long distances. Suits me just fine! Wings really don’t carry it like they used to. Know what I mean? Frankly, anything more than an hour and I’m stiff for days. Maybe I should take up yoga? Where’s Olga when you need her?
Another good thing about being back in London is the sheer variety of pigeons. In Brighton the choice was decidedly limited, but here? Jesus.
The sun was out so we went to a new spot yesterday – Chiswick House. Can’t believe I’ve never been there. Only snag is it comes with geese, but then a goose is better than a seagull any day, and I never thought I’d say that.
Anyway, I saw something rather lovely…
Stopped me in my tracks.
Unfortunately, Michael took it upon himself to ‘put in a word’. He meant well, but oh dear.
No reaction whatsoever:
‘See my mate over there? His name’s Bri and he fancies you’, wasn’t quite the introduction I was after.
Then Steve decided to join in and that was it, game over. She legged it:
Can’t say I blame her.
However, not being one to give up, I’ll probably head back there tomorrow, or maybe even today. On my own this time, and certainly not with Michael or Steve.
This is definitely the last move I’m going to make. Totally knackering stuff. We sacked the idea of taking any twigs with us in the end. Couldn’t be arsed. So, after a few trips backwards and forwards from Brighton up and down the dull-as-fuck A23, we finally found us a decent ledge in Chiswick. For a start, it’s an area I know it pretty well even though it was 2006 when we lived here! It’s near to Central London but far enough away for a bit of peace and quiet of a weekend. Perfect in fact, and not a seagull in sight. Plenty of parrots though. Jesus. I thought they only lived in Richmond Park, but they’re bloody everywhere here. Millions of them. Still, sounds like they keep themselves to themselves most of the time. We’ll see.
Loads more outside eateries here now too which is always a good thing on the throwaway front. Soon as we arrived we managed to bag us a half decent slice of organic sourdough pizza. Literally, there it was, a great big piece of it sitting under the table. Not only was it still warm, we had it between the two of us. Mart said it all felt very civilised compared to sniffing around the streets of Brighton hunting for the odd cold chip, and then having to fight over it with a ton of other random birds.
Then I bumped into Doug. Not seen Doug in years! Doug used to be massively into Shakespeare back in the day. I asked him if he still saw Clubfoot Gerry. He said sadly Gerry had returned to being a recluse and was holed up somewhere in Mortlake. I asked him if he still did his Shakespeare recitals, but he said he didn’t really perform much these days due to his memory not being quite what it used to be. He was on good form though. Apparently quite a few old pals from Central London have chosen Chiswick for their retirement. Mainly they hang out here on the railway bridge on Turnham Green Terrace.
Even though I’m not quite ready to retire yet, I’d certainly consider a bit of that one day. Just sitting there thinking about shit and watching the world go by…
That said, talking shit, I’d probably give the place a bit of a clean first.
So – bring it on in W4. Good to be back.
I’ve made two big decisions recently. One is I could do with a bath after all this flying about. Not covered this kind of mileage for years. The second one is a massive one – me and Mart are moving back to London. Brighton’s been fun and all that, but there really isn’t much to do down here apart from look at the sea and take the piss out of seagulls. Having spent so much time in The Smoke recently doing Pigeons Got Talent – more on that in a bit – I realised how much I missed the place. The smells, the sounds, throwaway on every corner, the bridges. To be honest, I can’t fucking wait.
We spent a few days up there last week. This is Mart posing in front of one of the ‘Don’t Feed The Pigeons’ signs on Trafalgar Square:
He asked me to take it as it’s become a must-have pic for the visiting pigeon. I did draw the line at him jumping in the air though.
The deciding moment came on Saturday when we squeezed in a game of Shit or Miss on the tourists in Piccadilly Circus. Not done that in years either. Good times.
So, now the decision’s been made, we just need to decide where to live… When we left London a few years ago, we were on a pucker ledge on Beak Street in Soho. Just looked it up in the archives and it was nine years ago we moved there. Mental.
This was what I wrote about our move day on March 7th 2006, which was pretty much when I first started Pigeon Blog.
Not sure if that particular ledge is available at the moment. Probably not. We may even want to find a quieter spot. Don’t know. Guess we’ll see when we get there.
So, onto PGT. We’ve decided to extend it another couple of weeks as the caliber of hopefuls appears to have gone somewhat downhill. We had a good run at first, but the last couple of auditions… Oh dear.
Here’s two examples. Let me introduce you to Dianne.
“Hi, what’s your name, where are you from, and what have you got for us today?” We said.
“My name’s Dianne, I come from Clapton and I’m dancing the Fandango.” She replied.
“Hi Dianne. That sounds interesting, but aren’t you supposed to have a partner?” I asked.
“I’m going to perform it solo.”
“Fair enough, Dianne. Off you go.”
Jesus. This was it. Literally. Left leg forward, left leg back, left leg forward, then back again, and with no music:
Seriously. Okay, so she had some rhythm, but considering the definition of Fandango is ‘a lively couples dance from Spain’, WTF?
Then along came William Shakespeare. I kid you not. He’d actually called himself William Shakespeare. Said he was going to be performing the opening monologue from Richard III. Know the one? ‘Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York’. The really famous one that goes on for ages?
He tried it six times and didn’t get any further than ‘this son of York.’
Anyway, I think we’ve lined up a couple of good ones for next week, so watch this space. Fingers crossed we can wrap it up after that too. Mart and me have got some serious ledge hunting to do!
Seeing as I totally forgot to promote National Pigeon Appreciation Day due to the hectic schedule of the Pigeon’s Got Talent auditions, I decided we’d give it large after today’s round. We found ourselves outside Morning Crescent tube station. Originally we were only there to see Bob perform his supposedly splendid head-feather-disappearing act. To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement, although we didn’t say anything. All he did was put feathers on his head, and then take them off with his toe. One minute they’re on: The next, they’re not: Oh dear. Loved the serious face too. Hilarious. Still, at least he gave it a shot. Not quite up to the talents of Taupe – see post below. However, when we told him his audition coincided with National Pigeon Appreciation Day, he got well excited, as did all his mates. One by one they rocked up: Pretty good turn out, and they’re still arriving. Word is there’s some sort of a warehouse roof party going on in Camden. Good times. Of course a full report will follow, or what I can remember of it that is. In the meantime we’re off on the hunt for some spillages. This is Camden FFS. Got to be one somewhere. Bob reckons Camden Market is always a safe bet at this time of night. Here’s wishing all you pigeons a very happy National Pigeon Appreciation Day. Let me know what sort of badness you get up to this evening. Be safe, and party on!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks putting it mildly. Ever since Sally got in touch asking if I’d help her launch ‘Pigeon’s Got Talent 2015’ – see post below – we’ve been all over the place auditioning various entrants. Mart did a great job flying about spreading the word, so the response ended up being pretty good. Reason we missed the June 1st launch date was we got stuck in London when the weather turned to shit. Sally’s not a fan of flying in the rain so we hung out with pals under Waterloo Bridge, but now we’re back, the sun’s shining, and we’re raring to go.
Only thing we’re trying to work out is where’s best to hold the final… Some entrants aren’t keen on flying long distances, particularly those from London, so we may do it there. Not sure yet. Anyway, to kick it off, here are a couple of hopefuls.
First up, Olga from Stratford who put on a fine performance of some gymnastic moves culminating in a full one-leg-wing-stretch:
She held it for two and a half minutes. Impressive stuff.
Then we met another strong contender in Brighton. A group called ‘The Pigeon Ringers’ who performed their rendition of ‘Cry Me A River’:
I’ll be posting and Tweeting more of them over the next couple of weeks. Let us know which ones you like. Also, if you happen to spot a pigeon with a particular talent, send me a pic. The final will be in July so there’s plenty of time.
Talking finals, I did happen to notice that the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent was a dog, and a cheating dog at that. Couldn’t even walk the tightrope so he got his mate to do it. Outrageous. So, Simon Cowell, how about it? Give us pigeons a go next year. You’ve no excuse now.
I thought about it briefly back in 2011 when a giant pigeon jumped on Amanda Holden, one of the judges on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. In fact, I went as far as emailing Simon Cowell suggesting pigeons should be allowed to enter the show, but he never got back to me despite me telling him all about the amazing ‘Pall Mall Collective’. Remember them? The pigeons that did mime? Anyway, thanks to the hard work of a pigeon called Sally, the concept has reached a whole new level: Saturday 6th June 2015 sees the launch of ‘Pigeon’s Got Talent’!
Bring it on.
Sally used to be a dancer back in the day until she suffered a mild dose of toe rot and had to give it all up. This is her on the right during rehearsals with ex-dance partner, Jacques:
Love to have seen them in action.
Best bit about it is she’s asked me to help organise it as well as be one of the judges. Kid you not. Of course, I said yes. Mart wanted to get involved so I told him the most helpful thing he could do would be to spread the word. Get it out there in the pigeon community. We’re hoping to attract pigeons from all over the country, so any of you out there fancy showing your wares, let me know! We’re looking for pigeons with any sort of talent. Literally, anything at all that you think you can do better than the rest. We’ve already got the support of Martyn (below) who has held the record for the longest ever leg stand since 2012.
Two days, seven hours, twenty seven minutes and six seconds. Amazing stuff.
Currently we’re thinking of hosting it in Brighton, possibly using this as the stage:
It’s just outside the Town Hall. However, if we get enough interest around the country we’re equally up for a roadshow. We’ll see.
Exciting times, and big thanks to Sally for asking me to get involved.
So, you might wonder where I’ve been the past few weeks. Slough. Kid you not. For those of you who have never heard of it, if you look at the link you’ll see why. Its biggest claim to fame is a massive industrial estate. It’s a pretty dreadful place, but Mart and me used to hang out there back in the day so we thought it would be nice to take a fly down the memory highway, otherwise known as the M4. Turned out to be a total shlep from Brighton, and then still a right shithole when we got there. Okay, so they’ve done a bit of urban regeneration, but it hasn’t made much difference. It’s still as grey and concrete as it always was, just with a massive Tescos where the bus station used to be. One of the best things about Slough back in the day was the Greyhound stadium, and even that’s gone. I remember playing Shit or Miss on the racing greyhounds like it was yesterday.
Course we ticked all the tourist boxes. We visited the Jubilee River, walked around a bit on the turrets of Windsor Castle, tucked into some splendid throwaway at the back of Akash Tandori on Burnham High Street, as good as ever. Check out the reviews if you don’t believe me. Best bit of peshwari I’ve ever had.
Sadly, one of the hightlights was going to be a beer festival at the The Royal Standard in Woburn Green, so we went up there only to find out it’s this weekend. Real shame too as beer festivals are always a winner. Just wander about under the barrels with the beak open. Carnage guaranteed. Oh well.
Then Mart suggested visiting Dorney Court’s recently re-furbed outdoor eating area, so we headed over in the sunshine, and suddenly our holiday took a whole new turn for the better. Soon as we got there, the crumbs were flying with seemingly little objection coming from any of the punters, mainly because we remained at ground level. I don’t get why any pigeon would go straight for the table. It’s always going to end in tears.
Then, to top it all, we met Frieda. Frieda is a chicken, which is unfortunate as I have to confess I found her rather attractive. She was also one of the funniest chickens I’d ever met. In fact I’d go as far as to say one of the funniest birds I’ve ever met, and I’ve met some funny birds.
This is Frieda:
Our first conversation was on the more serious note of life behind wire. I’d always wondered what chickens made of it, so I asked her.
“Know what?” She said, “It’s how it’s always been, and if it means I’m not going to be ending my days in some fox’s gob, I’m happy!” I got her point.
“What do you call a fox with a carrot in each ear? Whatever you like. He can’t hear you!” She said.
It wasn’t a particularly funny joke, but it was the way she told it. Everyone fell apart.
Then I asked her if she’d ever consider escaping and maybe paying Brighton a visit..?
“Not fucking likely. Not sure I can even remember how to fly!” She said.
Oh well. I’ll take that as a no then. I’ll definitely pay her another visit if ever I head out to Slough again. So – we’re back in Brighton now in time for the festival to kick off. The sun is shining and the tourists are pouring in. Bring on the summer. The throwaways, Shit or Miss on the seafront, National Pigeon Day celebrations – yes, there will be one, even if it’s just for the party. Any pigeons out there thinking of coming down to the seaside, now’s the time to do it.
Just had a massive argument with a seagull who reckoned it was fair game that pigeons didn’t make the shortlist for Britain’s National Bird whereas seagulls should definitely have been on there. I held my own but walked away thinking, actually, it is an outrage. We should both be on there.
Voting is taking place as we speak on the following top ten birds:
1. Mute Swan – can’t even speak.
2. Red Kite – scared of buildings.
3. Hen Harrier – never heard of them.
4. Puffin – WTF? How many puffins do you see hanging about in your local park?
5. Barn Owl – only comes out at night.
6, 7, 8. Kingfisher / Wren / Robin – all way too small. Pointless.
9. Blackbird – Fair play. The only one I think deserves to be on the list.
10. Blue Tit – Really?
And not a pigeon in sight. Considering the number of us around, I’d say not even getting a mention is a massive mistake and, frankly, disappointing, particularly considering the huge effort we’ve made over recent years towards engaging in a meaningful way with local communities. According to the BBC, the robin is an early favourite. Robins are already quite hard to stomach. Becoming Britain’s National Bird would make them fucking unbearable. You can read more about it here.
I hit the streets earlier to canvass a few opinions. Of course, it was no surprise that every pigeon I spoke to was as upset about it as I am.
This is Sid. Sid has joined me on a number of campaigns in the past including the G20 Fly-by back in the day:
To say he was angry would be an understatement.
“I can’t bloody believe puffins are on the list, and we’re not. It’s crazy, man! I mean, look at us. We’re everywhere. Ever met a puffin? Nah. Thought not, and as for a bird that only comes out at night. What’s the point in that?”
He did go on to say that he was equally as surprised that neither the magpie nor the sparrow made the list either. I agreed with him.
So, there it is. A bit late now but, assuming this is an annual thing, I’m hoping the Urban Birder who organised the whole gig will do the right thing by ensuring we’re on that list next time. Put it this way, if he doesn’t, watch this space.
Spring is most definitely in the air. The sun is out and pigeons everywhere are going for it, big time. It’s the same every year. Suddenly, overnight, every pigeon is only after one thing, and it has nothing to do with food.
This was the scene earlier today down near the seagull spa by the Pavillion:
Jesus. No shame whatsoever.
Having never been a fan of the blatant public display, I decided to ask some questions. Mainly I was interested in why it was he didn’t take her back to his ledge.
This is Gary. Unlike most pigeons, Gary still likes to play the field:
“I find being with the same pigeon day after day really dull. They move onto the ledge and the next thing you know they’re plucking shit from your tail feathers. I’d rather throw it about a bit. It’s more interesting that way. Bit of variety.”
I asked him whether it was the idea of commitment that put him off.
“No. If I met a pigeon I could settle down with, great, it’s just I enjoy the variety, and I think the variety enjoys me. Not being big-headed but there’s no shortage out there these days of single pigeons looking for a good time.”
I was shocked by his last statement. Okay, so I’ve spent more time in the last ten years hanging out with a pigeon called Mart whilst mastering the Internet than I have looking for a shag, but I do know it’s not that easy to find one. There was a pigeon called Mary once, and a duck called Pam, but that’s another story. Since then, not much at all apart from the odd sniff, but I don’t regret it. However I do find the increase in public displays of single shagging a bit worrying. It can only lead to more bad publicity.
Soho Square it is where it’s at for the single shaggers. Always has been. These two turn up year after year so they can get it on in public with whoever will have them, and they usually end up with eachother:
George P Phillips below is staunchly against this kind of public display of random affection:
“I find it utterly revolting and totally unnecessary.” He said. “As soon as Spring comes along, pigeons these days think it’s fine to jump on top of anything they see regardless of any potential long term relationship. It’s simply not on, and I believe it’s sending out a very bad message to the younger pigeons out there. Pigeons should find a partner and mate for life and anything in between is, frankly, abhorant.”
But what about the pigeons that don’t mate for life? Or those that don’t appear to mate at all, like me? Well if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the rocky road of being a blogging pigeon for ten years, it’s live and let live. If you find a life partner, great, if not, go where the urge takes you, but maybe consider going somewhere a little more private.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and that’s not because I haven’t been busy, I have. In fact I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath it’s been that much fun. Okay, so that’s not strictly true. You see, for a pigeon, this time of year really is dull as fuck. The tourists have gone, the weather is rubbish (or it is over here), and there’s shit all to do apart from hang around on grassy corners waiting for a half decent hand out.
In January pigeons tend to suffer from a general sense of humour bypass largely due to prolonged periods of extreme boredom:
Then, even when something interesting does happen like a mad woman turning up with loads of free seed to give away, the chavs arrive. By chavs I mean the greedy fuckers that don’t have any manners. The ones that stick their dirty wings in your face and expect you to leave them there. FFS. I thought it was bad in London, but it’s rude down here, probably because most of them don’t really know what getting it tough is all about. Coming from London, and having lived through the seed ban, I know what scrabbling around for a sesame feels like. I even organised a campaign about it back in 2006 called Give Pigeons A Chance around the time it was also discovered pigeons couldn’t get bird flu.
This is the mad lady that turned up in Queen’s Park ready to hand out a few bits and pieces. Within seconds she was surrounded. Couldn’t get anywhere near so we gave up in the end:
Unbelievable. Coming in from all angles they were.
Talking unbelievable, next year I’ll have been telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere for ten whole years. Ten fucking years, would you believe? How time flies, literally.
Have to say, the internet is the best thing that ever happened to pigeons, I’m just surprised more haven’t given it a go. It’s so much easier now too what with touchscreen and the like. Back in the day there was no such thing, and it’s not that long ago. I had to hammer out each key with my fucking toes. If you’ve seen that film Whiplash, from all accounts you’ll know what I mean. I’m talking blood, sores and welts that lasted for days. That’s how hard it was. Imagine the effort involved in a capital letter? Took me months to get anywhere near, and now it happens automatically. Start of a sentence and, bang, there it is. Perfect. One touch of the beak and it’s there.
So, back to now and here’s hoping something proper interesting happens soon. Maybe snow?
Brilliant laugh, and I bet Brighton’s got some neat sledging spots. Mart’ll be made up. He even came up with an idea for a sledge a couple of years back. One of the few good ideas he’s ever had. May even go get us one so we can have it standing by.