Brian’s Coming!

There I was minding my own business yesterday when a head pokes out, look’s down at me and goes, “Watch out. Brian’s coming!”

BIC 2Nearly had a heart attack. WTF?

Then a couple of steps later, and it happens again:

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“Brian’s coming! Any minute now… You mark my word…”

By this point I’m totally confused. Didn’t recognise either of the dudes and had no idea what the fuck they were on about, till I nearly got blown across the Atlantic by a gust of wind the like of which I have never felt before. Jesus. It was like being kicked up the arse by a football boot. Took me right off my feet it did. Didn’t even have time to get the wings out. Dangerous stuff when you’re not pissed. Awesome if you are. Used to love a bit of wind-banging back in the day.

Next thing I know, Mart rocks up and tells me they’ve named a storm after me. Yep. It’s true. There is a storm called Brian, and it is happening right now this very minute. Even though I like to think the mammoth effort it took me to get to Newquay deserves some kind of recognition, a whole storm might be a bit much to expect. That again, it did involve a stopover in Okehampton… More on that never-ending epic trek next time. For now, be safe out there. Brian’s about to kick some windy arse!

October 21, 2017. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Brian Pigeon is Back – let’s just call it a lucky escape…

Hello, friends. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. A year and a half to be precise. How time flies, or doesn’t in my case. I could lie and say I’ve been wandering the Himalayas on a voyage of self-discovery, or fighting on the front line in the name of World peace, but no. The truth is I’ve been mainly beak down in a gutter the entire time, and I’m not kidding. Things came on top in London and this, my loyal friends, is how…

I started doing Pigeon Blog back in 2006 (if you’re new, there are some links in here to help you make sense of it all!). It was pretty innovative at the time considering Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist and touchscreen was still a pigeon’s dream. Check this out from back in the day. Mental when you think about it. Pigeon Blog did well pretty much straight away and in 2008 it only got into the Top 10 Blogs of Time Out’s 50 Best London Websites! Overnight I became a little bit famous, mainly just within the pigeon community. Then, in 2012, Time Out asked me to be their Olympic Commentator, and it all went mad. Suddenly pigeons everywhere wanted to talk to me. Any bird in fact. Some just wanted to touch me, and that’s when I knew it was getting weird.

What had started out as a bit of a laugh about the day-to-day doings of a London pigeon was turning into the mouthpiece of choice for every pigeon issue going. I didn’t mind it initially. In fact, it was my idea. Causes like the seed shortage and the emergence of the ninja squirrel were worth fighting for, but as time went on and the pressure increased, not only had I started to suffer from a dull and persistent ache in my beak and right toe, every night when the blogging was done, I went in search of whatever was around to help me escape. Partying hard became a way of life. So much so that I moved to Brighton in 2013 to get away from it all. I pretended I’d lost it with London, when the truth was I’d lost it, full stop. It’s funny now looking back on what I wrote about then. You wouldn’t have a clue unless you knew. We made friends and did stuff, but it was all bubbling away underneath, like the time we went to Gull Fest. All good at first, till I ended up chancing upon a discarded hash cake in a bin only to wake up in a random window box in Hove, no clue how I got there, and one very pissed off lady pigeon next to me asking me to ‘kindly remove myself’.

Ever heard the phrase, ‘Wherever you go, there you are’? True.

Pretty soon Brighton became all about the partying too so, after several visits to the smoke whilst working on ‘Pigeon’s Got Talent’, in 2015, Mart (my long-time hard-suffering pal) and me decided to move back to London, and that’s when it started to go really tits up…

Fuck knows how I was still writing the blog, but I was. I think the realisation I’d been at it for ten years could have been one of the final straws. A discarded tin of Stella (a firm favourite), a puddle of cider, hash cake, half slung shot. Whatever I could get beak into, I was up for it, and pretty soon I’d started to loose interest in everything, including Pigeon Blog. Couldn’t see any stories worth telling. Sure they were there, I just couldn’t see them.

These were the last words I typed: “…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!”

Quite telling, don’t you think?

Mart joined in with the partying at first because it was fun. Nights out with the boys hanging at Piccadilly Circus or under Waterloo Bridge. Pissed up poetry nights with our old Shoreditch pals, but when they all returned to their nests or wherever, I’d go back out in search of another fix. Couldn’t help it. I never wanted the party to end, even if it was a party for one. Fuller’s Brewery became a regular nightspot where I’d often wake up with eyes like a surprised cormorant, covered in foam and stinking of hops.

Before I knew it, Mart stopped coming out with me altogether, and I’m not surprised. I barely noticed. Who wants a sweaty feathery mess staggering around as a social companion? There was the odd night where I managed to get back to the ledge, but not many. Of course I didn’t write about any of this at the time. Who would?

Pretty soon I started sleeping rough. I know you probably think this is horse shit, but it’s true. There is such a thing as a homeless pigeon. It’s why homing pigeons don’t drink.

One rather choice spot I used to kick about in was this fetching shit-covered bridge. I’d discovered it years ago when I slagged off a pigeon who lived there. No excuse, but I think I chose it because it was pink and easy to find when pissed. It was also only a short hop from Fuller’s and the Westfield Shopping Centre with its many alfresco drinkeries.

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Last winter was harsh, let me tell you. Fuller’s kicked me out in the end. Probably fed up with dirty tail feathers in their beer tanks. Fair enough. I headed back to the West End again, and that was when I hooked up with Gordon in Soho Square.

This is Gordon, a lifesaver as it turned out:

Gordon told me he worked at a shelter of sorts next to St Martin-In-The Fields. It wasn’t so much a shelter as a place where washed up pigeons could hang out together being washed up talking about the good old days. It worked for while. No-one knew who I was and I never mentioned it. Not once. I spent six months there this year in a blissful drunken haze of anonymity – of course my time there is deserving of an entire post in its own right, and it shall get one! Then, one day in July, Mart came to see me. First time I’d seen him since ‘shit-gate’…

Shit-gate happened the day I wrote my last blog post. April 23rd 2016. The one where I wanged on about Shakespeare’s Birthday. If you read it you’ll see Mart went off to ‘find bacon’ when, in fact, he’d told me he’d had enough of the dribbling, and was off. I was so hammered that day I could hardly stand up. Had to get him to type the capitals, and some of the rest. Then it happened. I shat not only all over my own legs, but Mart’s too. That’s when he said no more, and I pretended on the blog he’d gone off to look for bacon. Bacon? Really? I don’t even like bacon!

So you understand why it was hard to see Mart again at first, not least because I hadn’t washed for months.

Think he got quite a shock:

Feathers were well on their way out.

To say he gave me a bit of a talking to was an understatement, and he was right. He said I was throwing everything away, not just my feathers, but my dignity. He said I was a pigeon who had a lot to live for. That Pigeon Blog was a real achievement. That I’d touched pigeons everywhere. I winced at this remembering the events of 2012. He got me thinking. I had been doing the blog for ten years. Certainly one of the first ever pigeons to master the art of the internet never mind a keyboard. Loads of blogs that started when I did had sunk without a trace, but not mine. ‘A bona fide urban pigeon telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere’. That was me.

Cut a long story short involving a few tears and lots of brotherly wing slapping, he persuaded me I needed to go into rehab. Get my shit together, literally. Somewhere far away from London and all its distractions. Somewhere like… Newquay.

“Newquay! WTF?” I said. “Isn’t that in Cornwall?”

“Yes.” Said Mart. “Heard it’s a great place. It’s near the sea.”

I asked him if it was it better than Brighton. He said the beaches were sandy and the place had an open door policy so I could check them out anytime I liked. Sold.

For those who don’t know, Cornwall is where this country runs out. No more land whatsoever. None. I knew nothing about the place. Was it even inhabited?? It looked fucking miles away to me, and it was, but I was a pigeon on a mission. I knew I had to turn this thing around and get back on it. Either that or go bald.

So we set off at the start of August after a few farewells. I agreed with Mart I could party hard until the day we left, and hell did I. Many a memory hole waking up next to an unsavoury I didn’t recognise. Still, I knew it was all about to change, and change it has, but not before getting lost in Bristol, an enforced stopover in Okehampton, and a month’s hard graft in rehab…

Next time… The Longest Way – A Pigeon on a Mission of Recovery Part 1

It’s good to be back!

October 18, 2017. Uncategorized. 45 comments.

Happy Birthday, Bill Shakespeare. 400 Today.

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!”

You can read the full post here. Have to say we pissed ourselves at the time.

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:

You can read the post here.

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!

April 23, 2016. Uncategorized. 18 comments.

Pigeons Against Pollution

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.

March 17, 2016. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

The Squirrels Are Getting Larger

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:

Scary shit.

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:

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Jesus.

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Wouldn’t want to meet this on a dark night!

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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.

March 1, 2016. Operation Stop The Squirrel, Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Happy 2016: Ten Years, A Pigeon.

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:

December 2006 – The Frank Report

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:

December 2008 – Squirrels Up The Anti

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:

Good times.

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.

December 31, 2015. Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Rupert Duffet – A Spokesbird For The Gulls

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:

Rupert Duffet

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.

November 8, 2015. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

London, It’s Good To Be Back.

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.

September 30, 2015. Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Hello London!

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.

September 13, 2015. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

London Here We Come!

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.’

Unbelievable.

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!

July 22, 2015. Pigeon's Got Talent 2015, Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Happy National Pigeon Appreciation Day!

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!

June 13, 2015. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Launch Of Pigeon’s Got Talent!

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.

June 5, 2015. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Pigeon’s Got Talent

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.

May 17, 2015. Uncategorized. 6 comments.

A Spring Chicken Called Frieda

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.

April 28, 2015. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Britain’s National Bird

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.

March 18, 2015. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 9 comments.

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