Since the need to reduce pigeon obesity has become the hot topic of the day – see post below, I decided to go out and about showing some pals a couple of the moves. See if I can’t get the pigeons of London on the move. Obviously I don’t have the highly tuned skillset as the lovely Tracy, but I did my best.
Here are some of the results. First off, Sylvia trying the wing stretch:
Not bad for a first attempt. Noticing she didn’t look entirely comfortable, I suggested practicing it whilst ground-based would probably be easier.
Next up are these three. Thought I’d go for the neck exercise this time round telling them the key to great flying is a supple neck:
I sensed a distinct lack of interest apart from Jemma in the middle who gave it a good go. Fair play.
Next stop, St James’s park. Mart suggested trying it out on a group might work, so I did.
And that’s where it all went horribly wrong.
Walking down Exmouth Market today with Dave and a couple of the boys when Dave stops in he middle of the pavement and goes: “Fuck me! A Monster Munch!”
I got him to do it again, and took this:
I think it’s fair to say that summer has probably taken everyone by surprise this year. One minute it’s cold and wet, the next, hot and sunny. Proper hot. Sweaty feathers dried up throwaway kinda hot. Nice. London feels totally different when it’s like this. Apart from anything else, everyone is in a stonking good mood. Nothing quite like a dose of the old Vit D to lighten the load. Even Steve laughed yesterday. Steve never laughs. Steve is the most serious pigeon I’ve ever met, but here he is having a right laugh:
Good to see.
Anyway, all this summer weather got me thinking. As winter is mainly spent trying to keep warm and tends to involve quite a lot of stationary activity, it’s easy to pile on the pounds. I know I have. Equally, part of the reason for my recent tendency towards extreme lethargy is probably down to a drop in fitness levels.
I decided to go get some advice from Tracy. Tracy started her fitness classes for pigeons a while back. Sadly, attendance was so low she gave up in the end as she found the whole thing “a bit embarrassing”. She’s still got it though.
She said, “Every pigeon is built to be fit, it’s part of who we are, but so many aren’t. Part of the problem is laziness. Flying everywhere is all very well, but unless you’re doing it right, the muscles just don’t get the workout they need… I think lazy flying is the biggest cause of pigeon obesity there is.” I’m sure she’s right. Almost 70% of London’s pigeons are obese. Fact.
I asked her to demonstrate a few moves.
Obviously, this one would normally happen in the air:
She said, “The wing stretch is really important. Getting it right isn’t easy though, especially when flying at speed. You’ve got to really push it out till you feel the feathers spreading. Be careful though, if this isn’t something you’re used to, it can bring on cramp. If that happens, just slow down or stop completely. Rest, and gently stretch.”
“The tail fan. This is pretty tricky. Whatever you do, if you haven’t done it before, try it on the ground first. The key is in the levitation of the shoulders and placing of the wing points. The tips should be touching to maximise the stretch. It also makes it easier to fan as it helps core stability. This is a move that definitely gets easier with practice. If you’re feeling really brave, try fanning left and right independently. Great for the leg and chest muscles.”
Finally, she said that proper breathing and keeping the neck supple are important too. She suggested this move – breathing in and puffing the chest out whilst rotating the head from side to side:
Happy to give that one a shot!
So, that’s it. No more thermal hugging for me. It’s fitness all the way. Give it a month and I’ll be all muscle. Taught rippling muscles with a feathery coating. Aside from looking good, it will probably make me feel generally happier in myself too. Will let you know how I get on.
A pigeon pal in Doncaster knows a pigeon in Carlisle who, through various connections, knows a pigeon in West Lothian who knows a cat called Pebbles. Pebbles lives with someone called Susan Boyle. Turns out Susan Boyle has just done quite well in a TV Show. Anyway, Pebbles had been used to having it large. Susan lives on her own and doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Basically around the house 24/7, stroking on demand. Food never far away. Comfy bed. Occasional pillow action. Wandering the surfaces whenever the mood struck. Now, he reckons it’s all changed. She’s out most of the time for a start and then, when she comes back, she barely notices he’s around. He reckons she far too busy getting interviewed or doing her hair.
He hopes this is only a transition and everything will be back to normal soon. I said to say that it was the price of fame and he’d better get used to it. I also told him not to worry tho and that Bo, was having a right wail of a time, apparently.
Had a nice surprise yesterday morning. Out and about with Mart on the sniff for something when word got out there was a more than half decent throwaway on Tottenham Court Road. Never get that kinda shit in the West End. Brick Lane, maybe. But Tottenham Court Road? Anyway, turns out the word was bang on.
Best throwaway in ages:
Smashing, despite the greasy carrots.
Thankfully, word hadn’t got very far and there was plenty to go round. Stuffed ourselves. No wonder I didn’t sleep much last night.
A squirrel with a bum like a face:
It’s always kinda weird when I skip town. Takes me a couple of days to get back into the swing. Know what I mean? Spent most of today pondering on a game of shit or miss. Mart suggested Covent Garden as the sun was out. Couldn’t be arsed in the end.
Quite fancied a return visit to St James’s Park though after yesterday’s cracking result.
The park’s becoming a bit of a hang out these days, despite the squirrels.
Caught one doing this last Thursday:
Jesus. Size of those hands. Imagine those coming at you punching the air in a furry frenzy.
Anyway, Easter rocked this year, unlike last year. One massive free-for-all it was. Queues round the block. Loads of us from all over. Earlsfield, Mile End. You name it:
Why? Because for some reason, yesterday, for one day only, everyone loved the pigeon. Everywhere we looked, there they were hanging to chuck us the free seed. Begging us to fly all over them.
We came piling in at all angles left right and centre:
Magic. Nice approach from Nick there, top left. Textbook.
Then this arm came out. Not quite so appealing:
Er, no thanks.
I think it was around about this point that Mart decided to see how long he could stand on a stick with his feet crossed:
Answer: Not very long.
Top day all round. Stuffed by the end of it. Probably another reason why today was a bit of a right off.
Tomorrow might be better. It’s going to be summer, apparently.
If dogs can wear them, why can’t we?
Coz it looks pretty fucking stupid, that’s why.
Sorry for the lack of posts. Decided to go grab me a mini-break in Potters Bar. Don’t ask me why Potters Bar, just thought it sounded interesting. Just goes to show how wrong you can be. Nothing doing there whatsoever. Still, nice to get out of the Big City for a couple of days. Take in a bit of almost country air.
Ok, so there was one reason for going, embarrassing tho it is…
We wanted to visit the Ray Mears Nature Reserve. Wicked, I thought. Packed with crocodiles, tigers, great whites. We turn up, and it’s only the fucking Rye Meads nature reserve. Nothing but birds and butterflies. Jesus. Not a reptile in sight. Most disappointing. Was gonna be the highlight of our visit. After that, we didn’t do much else. Sat on Hatfield House for a while. That was about it.
No idea what do do for the rest of Easter, especially as the weather appears to have gone to shit. Oh well.
Cheers for sending it, Pigeon Rachel.
Definitely worthy of a posting!:
Here’s a selection of pictures from yesterday’s fly-by.
The excitement builds:
Taking off from St James’s Park:
Some of the Kensal Risers, part of my Operation Stop The Squirrel posse:
St James’s park, along the Thames and all the way to The City. Sadly, by the time we got to Liverpool Street Station I reckon we’d lost about half to various bins and throwaways en route. Still a good turnout though.
Today’s action, however, I’d describe as ‘somewhat subdued’. This is largely due, I suspect, to the excesses of last night.
Loads of you sent me this story – cheers, everyone!
Bit late posting it due to the G20 madness – see below – but it appears pigeons in Brazil have mastered the art of mobile telecommunications to such an extent, they’re being hired to smuggle mobile phones into Sorocaba prison.
Looks more like a grenade to me, but there ya go.
Could have done with one of them yesterday tho, I can tell you. A phone that is rather than a grenade. Would have made a big difference on the comms front and meant I could have Twittered from the air. Given a live bird’s eye view on the whole fly-by proceedings. That would have rocked. Damn. Next time.
Then, the mighty Annie Mole sent me a story about a lovely competition being run by the RSPB called ‘Mind The Bird‘. Annie suggested I get the cam out. Tbh, I’m not sure they’re after pics of pigeons looking slightly nauseous shoe-dodging on a sweaty tube train, but I’m happy to give it a go.
I had thought I could send them a still from the movie I made a couple of years back, ‘Brian Pigeon’s Adventures on the Underground‘? Mind you, not much a movie these days since You Tube nicked the Frank Sinatra track off it. No idea why. Sure he wouldn’t have minded. Sinatra loved the pigeon back in the day, apparently.
Anyhow, back on the G20 buzz in a mo. Bit of a large one last night, has to be said. A top one all round, that is till the Scottish contingent starting singing ‘I’ll fly the High Road’. Can’t be doing with that.
This was the scene this morning. Everyone a little worse for wear:
Gonna flock it large any minute now. Off to join the main G20 fly-by. Exciting stuff. Met my lot this morning, or most of them anyway. Mart is wetting himself.
This is the big one. More pigeons than London has ever seen flying for their rights from St James’s Park, the main take-off point, all the way to The City. Over Westminster, along the Thames, up and over St Pauls and onto Liverpool Street station. Not sure what we’ll do when we get there. Just hang out a bit I guess.
So far, judging by this morning’s trip to a couple of the camps, the atmosphere amongst the flocks remains jubilant. I’d say, for some, perhaps even erring on the side of over-excitement.
Here’s one group, The Pigeon’s Front, arriving all the way from Bedford:
They have interests in several causes including the auctioning of pigeons, seed shortages and the distribution of powered water pistols at primary schools.
I spoke to a representative who said, “We are thrilled to see so many pigeons down here demonstrating for what they believe. Flying side by side regardless of where they’re from. It’s rare, and something we should do more often.” That was all I got as he was a little out of breath at the time.
Anyhow, best be off. Don’t want to miss the start. Will let you know how it goes. Oh, and watch out for us down below!
In the meantime, here are some genius posters made by Charles Pigeon who, when I asked him to chuck me a bit of a biog said: “Just let ‘em know I’m a pigeon fan from Boston, Massachusetts, and that on the weekends I and my pigeon pals enjoy picking fights with geese along the Charles River near Harvard.”
Operation Stop The Squirrel here we come. Check ‘em out:
‘The Under Animal’. Nice.
And my personal favourite:
Eddie will be made up.
Also well motivating for my Operation Stop The Squirrel pals. Even though carrying them as placards during the fly-by may be tricky, we’ll be distributing as many as we can carry as flyers.
Cheers for making them, Charles Pigeon. You rock!