Back in 2007 I raised the issue that every other animal has it’s own Chinese year, so why not a pigeon? I brought it up again in 2011 when it was the rabbit’s turn, and still no year. I mean we’re talking rat, ox, pig, rooster, the list goes on. 2014 is, I’ve just discovered, the year of the horse. A fucking horse? Since when has a horse been able to fly using hedges for navigation? Or carried messages for hundreds of miles whilst being shot at by enemy fire? And when was the last time a horse wrote a decent song or some poignant poetry? Thought so.
For a while I put it down to a dislike by the Chinese of pigeons generally. I won’t bore you with the gruesome details, but if you enter ‘Chinese cooked pigeon’ into any search engine, and check out the images, you’ll see what I mean.
However, I think with all this talk of emerging pigeon artists, we could be onto something. Surely creating successful cut-through statement art is enough to get any animal a year? Currently 2015 is year of the sheep. Pointless. Change it. Year of the Pigeon. It’s got to be done.
So, I’ve been head to the ground down here since my last communication with NYC artist, Gary Pigeon. Word is there’s a talented Brighton based pigeon called Gerald who’s been into his art for a while now. He’s a bit older, so doesn’t go out much these days. Kind of semi-retired. He’s also only got one leg thanks to an accident he had with a washing line and some chewing gum. I’ve been told not to mention it if we meet. On the case in tracking him down though. He sounds really interesting.
In the meantime, this made me laugh. Gary sent it last week. He went out with a mate to scope out a location for his next project, and nearly got busted.
“Po po all up in my grill!” Was the message from Gary, whatever the fuck that means.
Love the fact his mate hid his face, like he wasn’t already on CCTV. Total genius.
Good luck with the search, Gary. Let me know how you get on.
In the meantime, I’m thinking of hitting the skies of London on Friday to check out the welcoming in of Year of The Horse celebrations in Chinatown. See what kind of exposure we can expect when our time comes.
Last week I got word from Gary Pigeon over in NYC who is alive and well, despite the recent Arctic conditions. Have to say, it was a relief to hear from him. Joey hunted him down. Cheers Joey.
As always Gary’s typing skills were a bit lacking, so I had to spend a few minutes deciphering his email. Half an hour to be precise. In all fairness, I think it was probably worse this time because his feet were cold.
First thing he said was under absolutely no circumstances was he venturing into Central Park to do some ice sculpting. He reckons every pigeon in NYC who thinks he’s an artist heads there when it snows to roll up a ball of it and call it ‘art’.
“Everywhere you look there’s a pigeon standing back admiring his fucking snowball art. One even said to me that ‘the real art is in the melting’. It melts, dickwipe. Get over it.” A fair point well made, Gary.
He said that what he’s actually been working on is a continuation of his statement street art. Remember the quite brilliant ‘Flight Control’? Well check this out. I’m honored to be able to post it too as it’s the first time it’s been seen over here, or anywhere really.
He did it just before the snow hit. It’s called ‘One Step Beyond’:
It must have been really hard to keep that line going. Genius.
This is what he wrote in his email:
Greetings from the Big Crumb and a Happy New Year to all my feathered friends and their friends.
Been a busy few months. The holidays are a great time to get out and do street art.
My latest, “One Step Beyond” was created on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. You can maybe see 1 Hanson Place in the distance, a key Brooklyn landmark and one of my fave perches, although it can get very overcrowded with the fashionable set.
Problem with Brooklyn is it’s a bit too full of Pecksters. It’s what ‘people’ call ‘hipsters’, I believe. You know the sort; Asymmetric feather cut, silly ankle ring, the ironic stance. Mind you, some of the doves are quite hot and, as a single bird, I’m always on the look out for some beak-on-beak action.
Dating in this town is tough. You may have seen that pigeon show, “Pecks in the City”? Well it’s a lot like that. So wish me luck this year as I search of love, fame and fortune.
All the best,
Gary “Don’t call me Gazza” Pigeon.
Nice one, Gary. Love ‘One Step Beyond’, and really pleased you got in touch. All of us UK fans wish you a grand and happy 2014. May it bring you all the ‘beak-on-beak’ action you deserve. I’m not a fan of beak-on-beak, personally. Best will in the world, but you just don’t know where it’s been.
I love the name ‘Pecksters’ though. We’re not so polite over here and just call pigeons sporting an asymmetric feather cut, ankle ring and ironic stance ‘wankers’.
The news from land GB is the storms looks like they’re over. Pigeons everywhere are celebrating being able to leave the ledge at last.
So, it’s onwards and upwards in the art world. Really hoping Gary and myself can do some sort of collaboration this year. Maybe a cross-Atlantic art show, or something like that? I gather a few pieces over here. He does the same over there. Who knows.
In the meantime, just enjoy ‘One Step Beyond’.
First off, Happy New Year, and may 2014 give you all the seed you wish for.
So, finally I emerge after what seems like weeks of endless wind and rain, rain and wind. No. Wait. It is weeks. Would you believe the sun even made an appearance today? It was so bright I could have done with shades. A few of us headed down to The Meeting Place Cafe on the seafront. Really it was just to make sure it hadn’t been washed away. Thankfully, it was still there.
Here we are mopping up some bits from the pavement. Not even sure what they were, but it didn’t matter.
That’s me on the left with my arse in the air. Rather unflattering, but there you go. Desperate times:
As you can see, everyone was a bit manic too. Hardly surprising considering the length of time we’ve all been ledge-bound. Stuart to my right was beside himself.
Has to be said, there really is fuck all for a pigeon to do when the weather sucks this bad and it’s blowing a gale strong enough to blast you from here to Leeds. I’m not kidding. It happened to a pal of mine, and it wasn’t even Leeds he ended up in. It was Halifax. Stranded in Halifax over New Year. Jesus. Imagine.
Not being able to fly anywhere is a pain in the arse, but finding shelter down here is another whole issue. It’s not easy. There are loads of options in London what with all the bridges. Couple of years back I remember Waterloo Bridge became my home for a while, but Brighton? Not a cocking bridge in sight. So mainly I have been sitting with Mart in various car parks. Dull as shit but at least they’re dry. Mart invented a game the other day to pass the time called, ‘What Car am I?’
“It’s like charades, but with cars!” He said, excitedly. I should have known better.
Thankfully he gave up after two rounds realising it wasn’t going anywhere other than; “It’s big. It’s got four wheels, a roof and a windscreen…”
Even though this weather is tough, it’s not as tough as what’s going on in New York. They’ve got it bad over there. Real bad. I didn’t even know about it till I got online yesterday, but the City is well and truly freezing its massive nuts off. Proper cold, with snow. We’re talking minus thirteen. That’s five degrees off the recommended freezer temperature. Unbelievable.
I sent NYC Joey an email never thinking I’d get a reply, but I did, and it wasn’t good.
Here’s it is, word for word:
Good to hear from you. I can’t type very much though as my feet are too cold. I bound them in cotton wool on the way here, but it isn’t enough. My toe got stuck to a lamppost yesterday. I had to get a dog to lick it off. Imagine that?
I’ve never known it so cold. Minus 13? I mean really. Most pigeons have managed to survive by hanging out near subway vents and steam pipes, but that’s no way to live.
As you can imagine there isn’t much food around either. Who’s gonna eat a sandwich outside in this weather? As for the bins, just don’t go there. The little food we do find is frozen anyway. Gordon suggested we build a small microwave out of bits of old tin, but where the hell do we start with that one?
I hear you guys are having it rough too with the wind. It may be cold over here, and wing freeze is a real danger, but at least we can get up in the air if we have to! I don’t hold out much hope for our Chicago pals though. We’re talking minus 27. I mean that’s just not right. Colder than the Arctic. I sincerely hope they’ve found themselves some penguin suits!
Here’s hoping it warms up a bit soon, or a lot would be good!
So, there you go. He’s alive and well. I must ask him about Gary too. He’s probably off chipping at ice sculptures in Central Park as I type.
Be safe all you pigeons out there. In the meantime, it’s back to the ledge I go.