Pigeon Fat Camp
So, thankfully, it seems not all obese pigeons are happy just to wallow in their fatness. Some are even trying to do something about it. I caught up with Fit Nigel at the weekend who told me business is positively booming at the moment.
Fit Nigel, so-called because of his extreme fitness, runs the Southbank Pigeon Fat Camp situated on a grassy square next to the Millennium Wheel. The S.P.F.C. has been going for about 6 months and specialises in helping pigeons who are concerned about their weight, get back into shape. “Generally speaking, these are pigeons who gave up on flying a long time ago” says Fit Nigel, “It’s like starting from scratch with some of them.”
He invited me along to his Monday morning session to see for myself. He wasn’t wrong.
I turned up in what can only be described as the most appallingly shit weather conditions, and there they were – at least a dozen or so of the fattest pigeons I have seen for quite some time.
Fair play, it was fucking cold so a few of them had puffed up, but still, there was no disguising the obvious weight issues which, in some cases, were clearly way out of control.
I spoke to one of the attendees, Duncan, and asked him what his story was.
This is Duncan:
Duncan said he had been sent along by his other half who had told him in no uncertain terms that the reason she didn’t let him shag her anymore was she found his obesity repulsive. She told him she could no longer see beyond it, even when she closed her eyes. Basically, faced with the prospect of never having sex again, she left Duncan no option. Shape up or fuck off. This is his fourth class and he says he’s already noticing a marked difference not only in the reduction of his waistline, but also in an increase in confidence. I asked him if he’d enjoyed any results yet in the shagging department. “Damn straight!” he replied, “Old bird can’t get enough of it these days!” Fair play.
There were others, however, who didn’t seem as keen, like Valerie. Valerie wouldn’t talk to me, unfortunately, but it was clear on seeing the efforts Nigel had to go to trying to motivate her during class that she wasn’t remotely interested. Frankly, I have no fucking idea why she bothered turning up.
This is at the start of the class. Fit Nigel asks the group to walk around in a large circle until he says stop:
They all move off, apart from one – Valerie (centre), who just sits there.
Fit Nigel (left) moves in to give her some one to one encouragement:
Initially he suggests a little movement would warm her up and she’d enjoy it once she got going. Nothing.
So he tries the slightly firmer more military style approach:
He tells her that if she doesn’t start to move he’ll have to ask her to leave the class as the other pigeons will only trip over her and she was therefore causing an unnecessary health and safety hazard. Nothing.
Finally, he resorts to demonstrating a simple stretching exercise that she could try from a static standing position:
“Just throw the head back and grab those tail feathers!”
Still nothing. Jesus. Patience of a fucking Saint, or what?
…this was the point at which Fit Nigel lost interest and gave up. Don’t blame him. By and large though, the rest of the pigeons I saw were right up for it and I was more than impressed by their dedication to the cause of shedding the pounds.
If there are any pigeons out there are interested in joining Fit Nigel’s Southbank Pigeon Fat Camp, membership is free and classes run from Monday to Saturday. For the full timetable and to find out which class suits you, your best bet is to go see him and have a chat.
Next I’m going to tackle the tricky and often sensitive subject of diet and what should and really shouldn’t be eaten.