Spring is most definitely in the air. The sun is out and pigeons everywhere are going for it, big time. It’s the same every year. Suddenly, overnight, every pigeon is only after one thing, and it has nothing to do with food.
This was the scene earlier today down near the seagull spa by the Pavillion:
Jesus. No shame whatsoever.
Having never been a fan of the blatant public display, I decided to ask some questions. Mainly I was interested in why it was he didn’t take her back to his ledge.
This is Gary. Unlike most pigeons, Gary still likes to play the field:
“I find being with the same pigeon day after day really dull. They move onto the ledge and the next thing you know they’re plucking shit from your tail feathers. I’d rather throw it about a bit. It’s more interesting that way. Bit of variety.”
I asked him whether it was the idea of commitment that put him off.
“No. If I met a pigeon I could settle down with, great, it’s just I enjoy the variety, and I think the variety enjoys me. Not being big-headed but there’s no shortage out there these days of single pigeons looking for a good time.”
I was shocked by his last statement. Okay, so I’ve spent more time in the last ten years hanging out with a pigeon called Mart whilst mastering the Internet than I have looking for a shag, but I do know it’s not that easy to find one. There was a pigeon called Mary once, and a duck called Pam, but that’s another story. Since then, not much at all apart from the odd sniff, but I don’t regret it. However I do find the increase in public displays of single shagging a bit worrying. It can only lead to more bad publicity.
Soho Square it is where it’s at for the single shaggers. Always has been. These two turn up year after year so they can get it on in public with whoever will have them, and they usually end up with eachother:
George P Phillips below is staunchly against this kind of public display of random affection:
“I find it utterly revolting and totally unnecessary.” He said. “As soon as Spring comes along, pigeons these days think it’s fine to jump on top of anything they see regardless of any potential long term relationship. It’s simply not on, and I believe it’s sending out a very bad message to the younger pigeons out there. Pigeons should find a partner and mate for life and anything in between is, frankly, abhorant.”
But what about the pigeons that don’t mate for life? Or those that don’t appear to mate at all, like me? Well if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the rocky road of being a blogging pigeon for ten years, it’s live and let live. If you find a life partner, great, if not, go where the urge takes you, but maybe consider going somewhere a little more private.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and that’s not because I haven’t been busy, I have. In fact I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath it’s been that much fun. Okay, so that’s not strictly true. You see, for a pigeon, this time of year really is dull as fuck. The tourists have gone, the weather is rubbish (or it is over here), and there’s shit all to do apart from hang around on grassy corners waiting for a half decent hand out.
In January pigeons tend to suffer from a general sense of humour bypass largely due to prolonged periods of extreme boredom:
Then, even when something interesting does happen like a mad woman turning up with loads of free seed to give away, the chavs arrive. By chavs I mean the greedy fuckers that don’t have any manners. The ones that stick their dirty wings in your face and expect you to leave them there. FFS. I thought it was bad in London, but it’s rude down here, probably because most of them don’t really know what getting it tough is all about. Coming from London, and having lived through the seed ban, I know what scrabbling around for a sesame feels like. I even organised a campaign about it back in 2006 called Give Pigeons A Chance around the time it was also discovered pigeons couldn’t get bird flu.
This is the mad lady that turned up in Queen’s Park ready to hand out a few bits and pieces. Within seconds she was surrounded. Couldn’t get anywhere near so we gave up in the end:
Unbelievable. Coming in from all angles they were.
Talking unbelievable, next year I’ll have been telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere for ten whole years. Ten fucking years, would you believe? How time flies, literally.
Have to say, the internet is the best thing that ever happened to pigeons, I’m just surprised more haven’t given it a go. It’s so much easier now too what with touchscreen and the like. Back in the day there was no such thing, and it’s not that long ago. I had to hammer out each key with my fucking toes. If you’ve seen that film Whiplash, from all accounts you’ll know what I mean. I’m talking blood, sores and welts that lasted for days. That’s how hard it was. Imagine the effort involved in a capital letter? Took me months to get anywhere near, and now it happens automatically. Start of a sentence and, bang, there it is. Perfect. One touch of the beak and it’s there.
So, back to now and here’s hoping something proper interesting happens soon. Maybe snow?
Brilliant laugh, and I bet Brighton’s got some neat sledging spots. Mart’ll be made up. He even came up with an idea for a sledge a couple of years back. One of the few good ideas he’s ever had. May even go get us one so we can have it standing by.
New Year’s Eve turned out to be exactly the mellow affair we’d been after. Good company and a quiet night courtesy of Nigel and Maureen on their roof – see post below. They’d even managed to score some cheese. Hadn’t had cheese in ages, so we did all that and then watched the fireworks go off from what is probably the best view in Brighton. It even stayed dry for once. The only snag with cheese before sleep is the dreams. Jesus. I’d forgotten about the cheesy dreams! Of course Mart’s included some sort of superhero action where he saved a Llama in distress from a cliff top in Peru. Mine, on the other hand, was just fucking weird. It included riding a sausage dog on Brighton beach and living in a large wholemeal baguette called Simon. WTF? I can still smell its doughy interior. Mental.
After that Mart and me spent the weekend lugging our Christmas decoration to the bin. We had to do it in several stages due to its awkward shape and size. On the odd year we have managed to find one, it’s always sad when we take it away. One minute there it is on our ledge all shiny and proud, the next it’s sat next to a dirty old bin. I’ve never honoured one with a photo, but somehow, colour aside, this one was kind of special:
So, onto 2015. Forget the Year of the Goat, this year, apparently, is the year of austerity. The year when no-one has anything at all. Scary stuff, especially for us pigeons who don’t have much to start off with. Less food to go round equals less food getting chucked equals less decent throwaway. Not good. I’ve been interviewing a few locals this week to see what they think about the whole austerity thing. One of them told me to get down to Jubilee Square, so I did, and this is what I found. Some dude standing very still in front of a sign saying ‘Temptation @ Jubilee Library':
Eh? I’ve no idea what the sign is doing there, but what I did find out is the local pigeon community has decided to use it as a frontage for what they’re calling ‘The Brighton Austerity Meditation Centre’. I asked one of them what their name was and what it was all about.
He said his name was Pigeon Purna:
“My name is Pigeon Purna. Purna means full and complete, because I am full and complete. That is what lies at the heart of the Brighton Austerity Meditation Centre.” I instantly regretted asking him, but he went on anyway. “The Meditation Centre is a place where pigeons can come to learn, and practice, the art of saying ‘No thank you. I don’t need it right now’. Most pigeons find it hard to resist anything they see on the ground. We’re trying to teach them to stand aside and perhaps let another pigeon who needs it more have whatever it is. It’s really about learning to share, and that food is not everything.”
Yeah, right, and that’s coming from a pigeon whose name sounds like an Indian takeaway dish. Try telling your average pigeon food isn’t everything. I asked him how it worked.
“It works through a simple meditation. Sometimes we do a chant, but more often it’s just standing still in front of The Instruction, focusing on the breathing, clearing the mind and taking ourselves to a place where food means nothing at all.”
This group were at it when I was speaking to him:
That said, I do get it in principle. Not jumping on every piece of shit you see would be a useful tool. I could certainly have done with it the day I ate the first piece of shit I saw only to discover it was actual shit. The thought of it still makes me gag. I think meditating on it might be a bit over the top though. Not sure I could do it. Standing still for even thirty seconds make me queasy. Don’t think I could do five if I was hungry, but I guess it if works for them, although clearly not for everyone. I caught this dude waddling away after giving it a go:
There’s no denying 2015 is going to be tough, but we’re ready. Even Mart and me have stockpiled a few emergency crispy crusts that are maturing nicely in a secret store ‘somewhere near Shoreham’.
Happy New Year again, everyone, and a big up to 2015.
Those of you who got my Tweet will already know that Christmas this year ended up in a bit of a drunken blur, and a hangover that lasted for days. Jesus. Still not sure I’m walking straight. This is the story of how it happened.
After a quiet one on Christmas eve, Mart and I decided to go along to to Mike and Jeff’s Christmas Show on the seafront.
Rumour was they were going to do Aladdin. Thank fuck they didn’t. They really were unbelievably bad, and things only got worse when they started the dance routines. We were desperate to escape but seeing as not that many of us had turned up and we were right at the front, we had to stay.
Anyway, about half way through Mart spotted what looked like quite a large puddle of lager. This time last year it was pissing down so all the potential lager spillages turned out to be water, but not this time. Still don’t know what it was, but it tasted pretty fresh, and we were off. The day went mental. Flew into town for something to eat. Didn’t find anything, so went back to the puddle. Things were bound to get messy, which they did.
And there we stayed till the sun went down. Even Mike and Jeff joined in once they’d finished warbling. Staggering all over the place we were. The end result of it all was three days on a balcony in recovery. Good times.
So, there it is. Another year blows by, and what a year it’s been including serial killer seagulls in Hyde Park. As always I got to meet some great characters too including Charles, the resolutely single magpie and Thomas and Phil the gay seagulls, and of course not forgetting the St Ives Collective.
And then, to top it all, there was the launch of the genius game I’m mentioned in called Hatoful Boyfriend.
So, 2015, bring it on. Believe it or not, year after next I’ll have been telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere for ten years. How time flies, literally, so next year could be pretty special. Here’s hoping. For now, seeing as I’m probably still well over the limit after Christmas Mart and Me are having a quiet one tonight. We’ve been invited to join Nigel and Maureen on their roof. This was us at a party there a few weeks ago:
Great sea view plus it’s really near to our ledge so we don’t have to fly far. By avoiding the annual carnage, I might actually be able to do something on New Year’s Day for once. You never know.
Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a rocking 2015.
For years I’ve been campaigning for the Chinese to honour the pigeon in their New Year’s list. Our exclusion baffles me. They’ve got everything from a tiger to a dragon. It’s not even like they’ve given feathers in general the swerve, there’s a rooster in there too. A fucking rooster? WTF? If you believe in that whole Noah thing, without one of us carrying that twig there would be no Chinese. Surely that deserves a nod? What has a rooster ever done for mankind other than make a loud irritating noise when everyone is trying to sleep. Us pigeons don’t join in the dawn chorus because we know that not everyone likes to be awake before daylight, including us I might add.
I first started looking into our exclusion in 2007 when I discovered it was the year of the pig. You can read what I thought about it here. Safe to say, I wasn’t impressed.
Then, in 2011, it was year of the rabbit. I researched this one to find out why a rabbit? I figured they must have done something to earn it. Saved a load of orphaned children from a burning building, maybe? Anything, but no. The best I could find is they can purr like a cat when happy. You can read what I thought about that one here.
2015 has been the year of the sheep, so what next? To my horror, on Feb 19th 2015 we enter year of the goat. Surely not. Okay, goats can climb trees which is pretty clever considering what they’ve got on their feet, but really? Mart did point out they make nice cheese too, which is true, but still.
We figured it was time to take action so while I was in London last week furthering my investigations into the serial killer seagull (or gulls, which is the latest theory), I popped into Chinatown with a couple of old mates. I even got Doug involved. I used to hang out with Doug a lot back in the day. Doug used to be partial to doing impersonations. Click here to see him doing a totally out-of-order one of Heather Mills when she was with McCartney.
Anyway, this is what happened. Please excuse the quality of the photography. Mart took them.
We figured the best route to inclusion on the list would be a sit in. Go into somewhere Chinese and stay there till they give us a year. At the very least we’d get noticed.
As soon as we arrived we spotted an open door heading straight into a packed restaurant. Perfect:
I should point out it was one that proudly advertised crispy duck, another bird that doesn’t get a year despite its food-based sacrifice on a daily basis:
No fucking justice.
I told Doug to go for it, so we did. Soon as we got through the door, this massive foot comes our way. Kid you not, it was huge, so we did a runner, shitting ourselves:
And we kept running, just in case:
Pissed ourselves afterwards, but have also realised we may need a slightly different approach if we want to appear on a Chinese calender any time soon.
Any suggestions welcome.
What an eventful couple of weeks. Mart and I flew to Hyde Park in the pissing rain after another dead skin-less pigeon was found under a pile of leaves. Looked like it could have been there for a while, apparently. The only means of identifying it was by the shape of its toes. Scary shit.
Of course Mart was off straight away pursuing any clues he came across. Basically a pile of random objects including an empty Fanta can, a tooth pick (that he suggested might be the murder weapon!), and a Snickers wrapper. Oh dear. Then a squirrel told him a gull behaving suspiciously had been spotted going in and out of Big Ben. He said the ‘gull in question’ was always there at midday. Of course there wasn’t any ‘gull in question’ but Mart sat under the bell anyway just in case one turned up, and then went deaf for three days.
“All in the line of duty.” He shouted when he got back. Jesus.
In the meantime, during my own investigations into the serial killer gull, I came across another story that I thought would strike a chord for hundreds of pigeons. Racism against white pigeons because they look a little bit like seagulls. WTF?
I met Nancy. Nancy is a white pigeon who lives on the roof of a laundrette in Pimlico and has spent her whole life working in Hyde Park. She told me that ever since the story went national, she’s been getting the cold shoulder and racist comments from her fellow pigeons.
Okay, so Nancy’s white, but she looks nothing like a seagull. Not even slightly:
It’s got so bad recently that she has to eat in private:
Crazy shit. A beautiful pigeon like Nancy eating alone?
Then I heard it for myself:
“Oi. Whiteeee. Show us your white bits!” The one at the back said. Not on.
Pigeons come in all shapes and sizes and versions of grey. It’s got to stop. White pigeons are nothing like seagulls. They can’t even swim!
I told Nancy I’d see her again next week when I go back. Apparently there’s a seagull who’s willing to talk. Says he’s got some information for me.
Bring it on.
Finally made it back to Brighton thanks to Hurricane Gonzalez. Battling against 100mph winds wasn’t something I was in the mood for after spending four days undercover in Hyde Park investigating a serial killer seagull. For those of you who haven’t caught up yet, I tweeted about it last week as soon as I heard.
This is the story, and this is me working undercover:
Jesus. What a week.
The atmosphere when I arrived was tense to say the least. Pigeons all over the park were extremely concerned they might be next.
No one has any idea which seagull might be responsible, so the threat level has now been raised to Red – the most severe ever – and the pigeon community living and working in Hyde Park is, rightly, very scared indeed.
“It’s terrible.” One said. “We’re all terrified. There’s even been talk that there are pigeons involved. Pigeons kidnapping pigeons, not that I believe it, but some do. Everyone is suspicious of everyone and no one wants to make eye contact anymore. It’s making Hyde Park a really uncomfortable and unpleasant place to work.”
It’s true. Even I noticed it. Pigeons going out of their way to avoid eachother. Something I’ve not seen happen since the bird flu scare back in 2006.
Even though pigeons have been disappearing for five years, the discovery of skinned corpses is a relatively recent thing. Whichever seagull is responsible has developed a taste for blood, which makes the situation even more worrying. During my stay there, three pigeons went missing.
I asked Colin from East Dulwich what he made of it all.
He said the pigeons who lived and worked in Hyde Park were becoming increasingly angry at the lack of action and that something needed to be done, and fast.
“It’s just not safe here anymore, not for anyone.” He went on. “The rising tension is going to ignite any minute. Already a few fights have broken out. Let’s face it, it’s never been particularly harmonious between us and the gulls, but I’ve never seen it this bad. Someone needs to get down here and start looking into who or what is responsible, but nothing like that seems to be happening and we’re just being left to fend for ourselves.”
I asked him why more pigeons hadn’t left the park.
“Oh, they have.” He said. “Lots, but you wouldn’t believe the number of bloody tourists arriving. Since the story went national, pigeons from all over want to come here hoping to catch a glimpse of Gull the Ripper. That’s what they’re calling him. Of course they don’t stay for long and leave well before it gets dark!”
He wasn’t wrong. Literally a few minutes after talking to him I bumped into a group of pigeons who’d flown down from Wigan on an organised tour. They were part of some crime club looking for clues. Couldn’t make it up.
Unbelievable. Still, at least they were trying to help I guess.
So, there it is. The horror in Hyde Park is unfolding on a daily basis. I’ve decided to go back next week to check up on the latest investigations, if there are any that is. At the very least I’m hoping I can raise awareness of their plight.
Mart’s going to come with me this time. Of course he’s wetting himself at the thought of us becoming Pigeon Detectives. He said he wants a monocle and everything. I told him a cape was definitely a step too far.
I touched on this one years ago. The myth that single magpies are unlucky. The truth is they’re absolutely not. In fact most of them are confirmed bachelors, and proud of it, as I discovered when I went to talk to a magpie I met last week called Charles.
Charles lives alone in Sheepcote Valley, and he wouldn’t have it any other way:
I asked him what made him decide to go it alone.
“Well, I had a couple of somewhat awkward experiences with females.” He said. “One called Lucy who liked to do things. Unpleasant things that I often found painful. I put up with it for two years until I finally decided I didn’t want to be sore anymore. Then the next one, Sarah. She was totally the opposite. She just followed me around all day. Everywhere I went, there she’d be just staring at me not saying anything. We really didn’t have much in common either, so now I’m on my own and it suits me down to the ground. I can do what I want. Go where I want. If sitting up there and staring out to sea is the order of the day…” He gestures with his slightly grubby beak to a tall lamp post behind us. “No-one is going to stop me. It’s a way of life that works, for me anyway. Of course it’s not for everyone, but there are a few of us happy singles living up here.”
I didn’t quite know how to frame the next question, so I asked him as politely as possible whether he’d ever tempted to ‘fly for the other side’?
“Good God no. That’s not for me at all. I mean there’s nothing wrong with it of course. Each to their own, and I have plenty of friends who do that kind of thing, but no. I’m really very happy on my own and intend absolutely for it to stay that way.”
Then he told me that every Wednesday a group of them meet up near the racecourse, and invited me to join him at the next one.
“Sometimes we fly about a bit, or we just sit and chat. Depends on the weather. A couple of them are into chess, but that’s not me either. Clearly not everyone is as content with the single life as I am, like David. He’s nice enough, but I’m not sure he’s single out of choice, if you know what I mean.”
So, that’s that. Single magpies are unlucky and a bad omen is a load of old bollocks. They’re on their own out of choice. Fact, and those that aren’t are probably best left alone, as I’m sure I’ll find out when I meet David on Wednesday!
I happened to be in Shoreham today, so I asked a seagull what he thought about the the vote for Scottish independence. He said he had no opinion either way. Typical. The only thing he was interested in was how it was going to be cut off if the vote was in favour. I said I didn’t think the plan was to physically slice it off so it could set sail for the North Pole. Twat. Then I asked a pigeon on the street who replied, “What’s Scotland?”
So there you go. Ignorance all round in the Brighton bird world, then again I guess it is quite far away. Personally I’m very interested in what will happen to the pigeons of Scotland if they chose to go it alone. Will they need passports to cross the border? Do they even get a vote? Course not. We never do.
I did try to get in touch with my old pal, Murray, but apparently he went underground after Andy Murray lost at Wimbledon and hasn’t been seen since.
Thankfully, another Scots pigeon got in touch. A reporter based in Glasgow called Neil. Not only did he go out on the streets to see what the pigeons of Glasgow thought, he sent me a report including a hilarious conversation he overheard between two pigeons.
This is Neil working undercover. Genius:
Good work. Nice one, Neil!
This is what he sent me:
“Hi Brian – quick wee note from the North. Thought you might be interested in the crack from George Square over the wee vote on Thursday. Wee vote … aye that’ll be right. Great big huge fuckin’ disruptive vote would be more like it. For those of us who spend our lives waddling round George Square posing for the tourists and generally keeping the traffic going, it has been quite a summer. First, the place was full of tourists for the Commonwealth Games – noisy or what! Not a seat to be had in the whole City – found a peaceful spot on the top of Walter Scott and just watched the world go round … and round … and round. Turned out it was the cycling speed trials! Still, life got a bit quieter when the tent went down and the big G was moved. Big G? Yeah, that was the big logo for the Games – actually it was quite nice. Loads of kids came to have their photos taken, dropping loads of chips. Became quite a meeting place for us pigeons – dinner at Gs! Then after they left the whole Indyref thing got going. Once again the peace of George Square was shattered by a load of flag waving demonstrators with Yes and No flapping in the wind in equal measure. What’s the chat? Well I was happily dozing on Queen Vic’s crown yesterday when I overheard this. I had to send it to you. Kind of says it all:
“You awrite Davey boy?”
“Alright, Wullie? Aye, man, I’m good. How about yourself?”
“Just nabbed some sucker’s fries right out his hand, so, yeah, I’m good.”
“’Ere, have you heard of the Indyref stuff?”
“Who hasny? It’s all over the bloody place. TV, post, even just doon the road in George Square. I’ve got a friend who went down there. Said the whole place was fucking packed with people watching some bloke called Cameron pulling his hair out over the fact that we’re splitting. Said the bald patch looked would have made a great target if only he could have got close enough.”
“We might be splitting, we don’t know. We’ll just have to wait an’ see what the vote says.”
“Aye, we will. Either way, I’m all for Scotland being independent. What about you, mate? Which way would you vote if we got a say in it?”
“Oh, aye, I’d vote Naw for sure.”
“Oh, aye? Why’s that?”
“Well, to be completely honest, man, I just don’t see Scotland surviving on its own. Apparently, we aren’t even gonna get our own currants!”
“Whit? Scotland will no be allowed our own currants?”
“Nope. All the currants get sent up from England, so it’s the English currant.”
“I dunnae get it. We make oor own currants too!”
“Yeah, but the factory’s gonna move South if we break up…”
“Why would it do that?”
“Aw whit do you know? Youse are fae Paisley!”
So as you see Brian, the Nation appears to be as split as the currants! Just hoping we get one final demonstration on Friday cos the pickings are always great afterwards. Will let you know whose flag is flapping on that day!!! I’ll fly around the city tomorrow when the vote is on and see what’s going down. Could be carnage. I did a ledge to ledge the other day and noticed ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ stickers stuck to loads of windows, some even on the same house!”
Cheers Neil. Top job. Look forward to an update and maybe some more pics if you get a chance.
Watch this space.
Ever wondered what it’s like to date a pigeon? Wonder no more. Hatoful Boyfriend is here, and it’s about to go big, or should I say huge? The best bit is I’m in it. Kid you not. Ages ago I was asked by a dude in Japan if I minded having my pic in a pigeon dating game. Of course, my answer was yes. Initially I thought it might help me with my own dating strategy. Sadly that didn’t happen, but I was well chuffed to be in it, and now it’s over here.
And just in case you miss me, here I am in the game:
‘The world’s most famous blogger.’ Love it. Cheers Moa!
Anyway, for those of you new to the blog you’ll notice my love life has been somewhat lacking for quite some time. Some would say non-existent, so you’ll understand my excitement when I spotted a rather lovely thing the other day.
Her name was Salli. She’d flown all the way from Tunbridge Wells on a day trip:
Okay so it’s not the best picture, but there was a certain something about her and those big eyes.
We chatted for a while about the ins and outs of pigeon life in Brighton, including the recently discovered rampant gay gull scene – see last post. She talked about Tunbridge Wells and how the best thing about it is the Farmer’s Market, particularly the one on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month outside the Town Hall.
“Bloody great bread.” She said, and that was enough for me. I told her I’d check it out soon as I find out where the hell Tunbridge Wells is. She even said I could share her ledge if I was stuck. Not sure if that was a come on, but it’s worth a shot I reckon, even if all I get out of it is some decent crumbage.
So big up to all you new Pigeon Bloggers. I’ve been telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere since 2006. Surely that has to make me the oldest blogging pigeon out there? Occasional foot and beak strain aside, I’m still going strong.
As you’ll see, I’m always up for getting your pigeon pics. You can email them to brianpigeon at gmail dot com. Right now I’m particularly interested in any pigeons in Scotland. I bumped into one yesterday called Scots Gerald. He said there was some shit going down that may result in Scotland floating away and becoming an island. Interesting times.
Finally managed to get onto a computer. It’s not as easy in Brighton as it used to be in London. Back in the day I’d always find an open window somewhere. Down here, not so much. Weekends are a nightmare, and even days like today can prove a right pain in the arse feathers. Council offices are usually a safe bet, but it looks like they’ve all gone off on their summer holidays. It was like Fort Knox everywhere I went this morning. Totally empty with all windows firmly shut. You’ve got to wonder who’s running the joint. Anyway, struck gold with a flat in Shoreham so it’s all good.
The other thing to say is I’ve been jumping around on keyboards for eight whole years telling it how it is for pigeons everywhere, so sometimes these days the feet just aren’t up to it. Know what I mean? Mart tries to help but as always he’s more of a hindrance spending most of his time hopping up and down on the delete button rather than getting any actual words done. If only voice activation was an option. I even tried touch screen with the beak once, but that didn’t work either. Too much spit came out. So it’s keyboards only for me, whether I like it or not.
Looks like the weather’s finally calmed down, which is good. It all went mental yesterday. Initially I hadn’t given a hurricane with a name like ‘Bertha’ much cred, till I tried to fly. Jesus. It was like the whole of autumn in one hit. Not seen rain like that for ages. Precarious stuff too seeing as we’d decided to spend Saturday night under the pier after a lovely sunny day on the beach, only to get woken up at 6am by gale force winds. Nearly lost Mart to France. Kid you not. He said he’d have been fine as he knows how to nod in French. WTF? Let’s face it, he wouldn’t have stood a chance. He’d also have no clue how to get back and would have ended up either in a casserole or in Norway.
Saturday was a top laugh though. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the beach was buzzing with bar-b-qs. The trick was to get in there for the leftovers before the seagulls. Not always easy considering the size of the greedy fucks, till we managed to get two of them onside. Result. Thomas and Phil. They turned out to be pretty good company too.
They’d come down for the Gay Pride event a week ago. It’s a big one on any gay seagulls festival radar, apparently:
Turns out they like the scene so much down here, they’ve decided to stay a bit longer.
“Brighton is where it’s at, Brian.” Said Phil on the right. “We’re actually thinking of moving down here, like, permanently, aren’t we Thomas? We just absolutely love it! Last weekend was wonderful. Like, the best party ever! We had thought about dressing up, hadn’t we Thomas?” Thomas, clearly the quieter of the two, continued to stare out to sea. “But I’m, like, so glad we didn’t. Carrying the costumes would have been a complete nightmare, especially with Thomas’ tiara!” He squealed.
Not wanting to explore the thought of Thomas in a tiara, I asked him where they’d come from.
“Well…” said Phil, with a sigh. “There’s a sorry tale. Kind of, like, everywhere these days. It’s not easy being a seagull and gay I can tell you. There’s still a lot of prejudice out there, even in this day and age. Even in London. Most of the gay gulls in London have moved out to places like Marlow and Bourne End. Pride aside, we’d also heard Brighton has the largest population of gay gulls in the UK and mmmmm, so far, so good. Isn’t that right, Thomas?”
Thomas shifted his position slightly. It was the only answer I needed.
I told them I was surprised as I’d always imagined London would be the place to go for gay seagulls, or gay gulls as I now know they’re called.
“I know. You would have thought so, right? We even got poohed on last time we went to Soho. It was really unpleasant, and all we were doing was keeping ourselves to ourselves under a bush.”
Phil and Thomas keeping themselves to themselves under a bush was another image I didn’t want to dwell on.
Great gulls though, and never thought I’d hear myself say that. Said we’d keep in touch and may even hook up later this week. Phil wants to take me to a new club he’s heard about… Not so sure about that one, but the journalist in me definitely wants to find out more about the Brighton gay gull scene. May even explain what some of the noise is about!
Of course Mart now wants a tiara.
I was just about to bang on about National Pigeon Appreciation Day and how it took me over a week to recover, but it’ll have to wait. Something way more important came up.
Remember my pigeon pal in London from years ago, Murray? The Andy Murray fan who used to fly to Wimbledon every year to watch his hero play? Remember how he’d lost it back in 2012 and was living as a recluse on the roof on Centre Court? Click on the link to read more.
I heard from him the other day, totally out of the blue, and all is well. Excellent in fact, which is a massive relief. Since the shock of the shooting followed by the arrival of the hawks, particularly Rufus, he decided Wimbledon sucked and moved to Scotland to be nearer to his idol. Apparently he spends Christmases in Dunblane hoping to catch a glimpse of Andy spending time with his family, and then the rest of the year in Edinburgh. Reckons, weather aside, the place rocks. He also mentioned it took him a week to get there. That’s what I call dedication.
“Wimbledon just wasn’t fun anymore.” He said. “Pigeons don’t dare go there, which is a shame for those of us who were genuine tennis fans. I realised last year that the stress of if all had finally got to me. I had to move. I watch the matches on the screens up here or I look through pub windows. Much safer.” He also said he was still getting to grips with the Scottish accent. Don’t blame him on that one.
He sent me this. It’s a pic of him in a place called Hunter Square:
Considering this is what he looked in 2012, I’d say the move to Scotland was just what he needed:
He asked if I’d go up for a visit. I said I might if Andy Murray reaches the final again.
Obviously I’m hoping that won’t happen as it’s one fuck of a fly, but hearing that Andy Murray has just gone through to the next round, I may need to start warming up.
Good to hear from you, pal. Bet you’ll be partying hard tonight. Have one on me.
It’s that time of year again. National Pigeon Appreciation Day is tomorrow – Friday June 13th. Unlucky for some, but not for us. Bring it on.
We didn’t do much last year as we’d only just moved to the seaside but, back in 2012, celebrations in London rocked the big one. Ended up with a massive rave-up in Trafalgar Square. Even Club Foot Earl was giving it large on the dance floor and, thanks to Fat Nige finding a puddle of beer, everyone got suitably twatted. Then there was the fly-by led by Roger from Lewisham. Genius. We were all quite emotional by that point I seem to remember.
This year, however, I’m a bit concerned at the organisation, or lack of. In London we spent months in planning, but when I went down to see what the committee sorting out this year’s Brighton celebrations were up to, this is what I found:
It’s the one day we pigeons get to celebrate being pigeons, and this lot looked like they couldn’t organise a crumb up in a bakery. I offered to help telling them I’d been heavily involved in previous years in London, but they didn’t seem to be interested. All they wanted to do was organise some more meetings. Load of bollocks considering the fucking day is tomorrow.
Then, even worse, I went down to the seafront and found this lot. They’ve been booked by the ‘committee’ to do some ‘Buddhist formation mime’. WTF? Formation mime?
I asked for a demonstration, and this is what they did:
Oooo. Walking around. That’s good. Not.
Is that it? Really?
This is their leader Jerryvasanano (his Buddhist name, apparently!), grabbing five minutes mid-rehearsal meditation:
And this is what he said when he stopped meditating and I asked him what the hell was going on:
“It’s a demonstration of the struggles facing pigeons in everyday life in order to help us gain insights to end our suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving by way of understanding and seeing of dependent origination with the ultimate goal of attainment of the sublime state of nirvana”.
May as well have been talking fucking Dutch. All they did was walk about a bit, stand there, then walk about a bit. Fucking stupid and the kind of thing that makes me want to move back to London immediately. Give me a mass piss up any day.
So, I’m taking it upon myself to make sure those Brighton pigeons who want to party hard, can. I’m on it. Venue tbc. Watch this space.
As for last Saturday’s meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the number of seagulls – see last post – we decided to postpone it due to Kemptown Carnival and the fact most pigeons would be going to that for some fine Shit or Miss action, and it was fine let me tell you. Mart scored a direct hit on some Spaniard’s burrito. Pissed ourselves. Looked like a creamy topping.
As for the tour of Gerald’s art, seeing as I’ve got my work cut out organising a half decent Pigeon Appreciation Day party, I’m going to meet Monty next week. Can’t cover it all and, far as I’m concerned, partying like a pro takes precedence every time.
Long time no post. Still, better late than never. I partly blame it on the build up to my birthday. It’s on May 26th. Trouble is the older I get, the longer the celebrations seem to last, or rather the longer it takes to recover.
Put it this way, this was Shoreham Steve on the 27th:
Pretty much stayed there for two whole days he was that bad.
We’d kicked it off on the pier and it all went downhill from there. Mart found a cup with some local brew at the bottom, and that was it, we were flying all over the place. Literally.
Anyway, it’s June now and back to business. I’ve got an afternoon coming up with Monty (see previous post). He’s got permission from Gerald to show me a couple more of his art works. NYC Gary’s been on it too. Apparently he’s moved into more of a ‘conceptual phase’, whatever the hell that means.
Exciting times. I’m also hoping the sun might join us at some point. I seem to remember this time last year we were hurtling towards a heatwave. This year, so far, not so good.
Other news is I’m getting stuck in to some serious action. Haven’t done that for a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been pretty successful in the past with my ‘Give Pigeons A Chance’ campaign back in 2006. There was also the very necessary ‘Operation Stop The Squirrel’ in 2009 in reaction to their newly found love of martial arts – click on the link if you don’t believe me. We rocked it large on that one including a massive protest fly by. Pigeons from all over came to it. Good times.
Now I’m living in Brighton though, it’s all about the seagull and the sheer numbers of them flocking over here giving it large. There’s a meeting on Saturday in Queen’s Park for any pigeons up for airing their views. You don’t have to be local, and we want to hear from as many of you as possible. Personally, I’ve had a gut full of their shouting about the place behaving like they own the town. It starts at 10am. Then, if you fancy it, you can join us for some Shit or Miss at the Kemptown Carnival. Right laugh last year. Just sit on a ledge and take your pick. Bring it on.
It’s been a busy old couple of weeks with the wings working overtime, hence the slightly delayed Bri Day update. There’s also a lot to report including some art from Gerald, news from Gary in NYC and what happened when I flew to Cornwall. Have to say, it is a long fly. Fucking miles in fact. First off, an update on my encounter with Monty, nephew of the famous original Brighton based street artist pigeon called Gerald (see previous post).
A few days after we met in Queen’s Park he took me to see one of Gerald’s earlier pieces (circa 2009). Total genius. Blew me away. It’s on the walkway that runs along the seafront. If you look closely you can see a bit of sea at the top of the pic. What makes this genius is he’s chosen to create it on concrete that runs across the path, therefore creating a new path that runs towards the sea. Brilliant.
He calls it, simply, ‘Path':
Love his use of lines and angles. Really innovative and way before his time. Lines and angles weren’t widely used until late 2010.
Monty said he’d told Gerald about my interest in pigeons who do art and, despite not even knowing what the Internet is, he might be up for a UK/US collaboration, even if it’s just an ideas exchange. He wants more info, but it’s a good start. Exciting stuff, so I got in touch with NYC street artist, Gary Pigeon, or I tried to…
Back in March I’d sent Gary an email after he’d sent me the picture of him in the snow. I didn’t get a reply so I presumed he was just working on his new piece. Then I sent another one a few weeks ago updating him on Gerald. Nothing, and then I get this from a pal of his who goes by the name of ‘FH’. Turns out all the global attention may have gone to Gary’s head…
This was the email he sent me:
“Gary’s been quite prolific lately, spurred on by a meeting with an artist rep who recently invited him to the ledge on Soho House. Frankly, it’s gone to his head and I’m worried he’s turning into a bit of a knob. He needs to wind his neck in and get his feet back on the ground, so to speak.
Not only this but he refuses to answer to the name Gary anymore, apparently it’s ‘Beaksy’ from now on.
I also think he may be developing a flax seed habit. I’m getting a bit worried. I wanted to have a chat with him about it over a bagel in Fort Greene park, like the old days. He told me he’d get his pigeons to speak to my pigeons and we could peck something in for early May. Unbelievable. At least it’s getting a bit warmer here thank goodness. When it snowed a few pigeons ate the road salt in the mistaken belief it was a snack, Made them thirsty as hell. Not good.”
‘Beaksy’? Really, Gary? Surely what you’re doing pisses on wall painting?
Cheers FH. Nice one, and good luck with getting Gary back on the straight and narrow. Tackling the whole flax seed issue is another one for another time. It’s not as big over here as it is in NYC, but I’m pretty sure it will be.
He sent me this pic of himself with a couple of pals. Think FH is the one in the middle. It’s taken in Brooklyn:
Wonder if any of them have a daffodil allergy like I do? Pain in the arse at this time of year.
Anyway, this is Gary’s latest piece. The one he was working on when we were last in touch. Against all odds he finished it when the snow was still there. It must have been tough. No wonder he turned to The Flax!
Apparently he wanted to charge FH to take the picture, but then he told him it was for me so he agreed. The reason it’s taken so long to get to me is FH was trying to persuade Gary to send it himself, and now we know why he didn’t.
Here it is. ‘(Another) Walk On The Wild Side’, and I love it:
I do hope Gary manages to remove his head from his arse because his work really is rather special.
So, back to the UK now and my trip to St Ives in Cornwall. It all came about after my chat with Monty. He asked me if I’d heard of ‘The St Ives Collective’. I said I hadn’t, and he told me I had to go check them out. Boy am I glad I did, and not just for the art…
I arrived after a rather hairy and very long flight. A lot of it was over water too which is never a favourite for the pigeon seeing as swimming really isn’t our thing. Basic route was Brighton to Bournemouth, Bournemouth to Torquay, Torquay to St Ives. Took two lots of 6 hours with a stopover in Torquay. That won’t be happening again I can tell you. Total shithole. Finally I got to St Ives and what a great place it is. Heaving with tourists too so scoring some decent throaway was a piece of piss. Straightaway I had my beak right into some proper Cornish Pastie. Fucking lovely. Not sure what was inside it, but whatever it was it went down like a treat.
After a couple of minutes post-food shuteye on the harbour, it was time to meet Margot, Head of The St Ives Collective.
When I did, Jesus, the pastie nearly came straight back up again. She was gorgeous. Stunning, and with the most amazing feet.
Honestly, I could hardly speak. This is her:
She reminded me a bit of a pigeon called Mary I was into once. Never came to anything. You can see the post with a picture and read the poem I wrote for her here. Embarrassing looking back on it, but it was years ago. Eight to be precise. Never forgotten her though.
Anyway, back to Margot. Looks aside, she was lovely to chat to. Great sense of humour. Really open. Knew everything about art. She said the reason The Collective had grown around St Ives was the art scene generally is big there. Has been for years. There’s even a Tate Modern, not that pigeon art has ever been recognised by it.
“There’s always time.” She said. “We do keep trying, but they won’t let us in.”
She was really interested in Gerald’s work in Brighton and asked if I thought he’d like to come down for a visit. I said he probably wouldn’t as he rarely left his cliff, but I’d mention it to Monty. You never know. She also loved the idea of a UK/US collaboration with NYC Gary.
In a nutshell, it’s all coming together nicely. I also did something I haven’t done for ages, but if you don’t try and all that. I suggested a follow-up visit. Asked her if she’d show me around St Ives. I can’t swear to it but I think she quite liked the idea too. You never know, she might be into the older pigeon.
I also didn’t manage to get any pics of the work done by The Collective down there as she said she’d have to ask the permission of the individual artists. Let’s just hope that on the next visit I can spend more time looking at the art and less time looking at her arse, sweet though it is.
Happy Bri Day everyone, and don’t forget to keep looking out for pigeon art.
Bring it on.