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:

Brian is coming 1

“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. 4 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. 48 comments.

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