Brian the pigeon is in the running for Londoner of the year. The capital's smallest, most-winged blogger has taken the media by storm, appearing in TimeOut, The Guardian and even starring in his own movies. We caught up with the little fellow to find out what he thinks about bird flu, big bad Ken and, as usual, whether he's ever vomited on the Tube...
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Well… my name is Brian Pigeon and I’m Britain’s premier blogging pigeon – though I’m sure there’s gonna be loads more of us before long. I was born in Hayes but, being the shithole that it is, I decided to get out and move to town. I’m now in Beak Street in Soho and loving it. Persuaded my best mate Mart to come along for the ride too. Frankly, the whole blogging thing was a pain in the arse in Hayes. Ended up having to shlep it to a Cyber Caff in Slough after I got chucked out of my other one for ‘defecation’. Totally unfair. Couldn’t help it. Anyway, now I got myself a great set up. Guy called Norm works nearby and leaves the window open when he’s not there. I fly in, do my thing, post, get back to comments and stuff, then I pick up any dropped feathers – Norm’s allergic to everything – and that’s that. Job done. Piece of piss.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
Just for a bit of a laugh really. I thought people might like to know what we get up to in our spare time. How there’s a gang of poetry loving pigeons in Hoxton, and the Brixton homie pigeons are great with gadgets, how we invent games like ‘Shit or Miss’ and love flying up to the Coke sign on Piccadilly Circus to make our eyes go funny. That kind of thing.
I started Freak of The Week around then too – posting the freakiest pigeons around.
Really just wanted to tell the world there’s loads more to us than just eating shit and crapping on statues.
Then, it just kinda grew. I got in the press – Time Out Website of The Week, Guardian Guide, The Times and realized this was more than just a laugh; it was a great opportunity to let the voice of the pigeon be heard. There’s shed loads of us out there putting up with all sorts of shit – no food, labeled rats with wings, being kicked by kids and called dirty vermin and vandals - the list goes on. The pigeon P.O.V. needed an airing, and Pigeon Blog became the perfect place to do it.
So, first, I decided to use Pigeon Blog to sort out some serious pigeon issues. Started my ‘Give Pigeons a Chance’ campaign a couple of months ago – an anti-Ken’s ‘Do Not Feed Pigeons’ bollocks. Got over 350 signatures so far. Really not bad for a pigeon and a damn site more than I could have got with a clipboard! That led onto the anti Pigeon Obesity drive. This also did pretty well. Basically, since Ken said not to give us the good stuff, we’ve started to eat more shit and it’s not doing us any good at all. Those are the two main pushes right now, but whenever a pigeon issue comes up, I’ll deal with it – and people who care are starting to send them to me. I even got a mail the other day from someone who found a sick pigeon asking me what to do. Do I look like a doctor?! All I could tell him was go to the R.S.P.C.A. – not the R.S.P.B. coz they don’t do ill birds. With a bit of fame comes responsibility, I’m starting to realize that now. I can’t put myself out there as the voice for pigeons everywhere without dealing with it.
Right now, on a lighter note, I’m also using Pigeon Blog it to find love – I spotted Mary a while ago, a gorgeous white lovely from Chiswick – also, Pam, a duck I met in Soho. May sound a bit off chasing two at the same time but, as Pam’s a duck, not sure it’s gonna work anyway.
Can you ‘home’?
This whole homing thing is a total myth. Every pigeon can make it home if they can be arsed – unless they’re pissed. The so called ‘Homing Pigeons’ are just the ones who make a meal of it. Up their arse twats, most of ‘em. ‘Oh, look at me, aren’t I clever – I can find where I live!’ Jesus. Really, there’s nothing to it. Look at where you wanna go, fly in a straight line, and try not to crash, either that or get the tube. Piece of piss. Imagine if people made a big deal about finding their way home? You’d think it was well sad! That’s what we think of Homing Pigeons.
What’s you favorite place to roost at night?
The roof above No. 5 Bistro on Beak Street. Love getting home to the smell of the falafel, and the views are great. Totally central too. Sometimes, when I go and see my pal Ali at the Slough Cyber Caff, I might crash there. Mind you, Slough’s almost as big a shit hole as Hayes. One of the reasons I like going there is Ali, top mate, gets me any throwaway I want - I get to choose off the menu and everything – not that I always make the right choice… Tried a bit of duck once, didn’t agree with me one little bit. Not really surprised. Bit like eating your cousin – don’t tell Pam!
Tell us a pigeon joke.
Q: What’s small and pointless?
A: A sparrow.
Not sure if that one’s going to translate to be honest. Think it might be a bit of an in joke…Makes us piss ourselves tho.
So, you must hate Ken Livingstone, right. No more free lunches for you…More than you’d believe. This banning of feeding pigeons is out and out racism. That’s why I started a ‘Give Pigeons a Chance’ campaign. The man’s got one serious problem. Maybe he was shat on as a kid? I got a protest gathering together on Easter Sunday and hope to organize one massive fly by just to show him we mean business. Imagine all the pigeons in London landing on his shiny new offices. Hilarious.
One of my goals in life is to see the lady with no arms and legs statue in Trafalgar Square – question from us: why didn’t they give her arms and legs? - replaced by a large statue of a pigeon – not necessarily one of me, although that would be nice. I’d also like to see huge posters everywhere saying ‘Please feed the pigeons, they’re lovely and they live here too’, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen.
We hear that pigeons served as messengers during WWII, some of them even received awards for gallant service. Do any of your elderly relatives have any good war stories?
Sadly not. There is one dude called Cher Ami who mum reckoned was a great aunt. Think she was making it up though. The pigeons they got to do that kind of thing tended to be from the posher parts of town like Kensington and Chelsea. To my knowledge, they gave Hayes a wide berth mainly coz Hayes pigeons would probably just nick each others messages and spend the whole time sniffing out food supplies, fighting with each other and shagging. They were dead brave tho, the ones who did it. I’d love to have done it. Someone told me once they got given bullet proof helmets and small rifles. Think that might be bollocks.
Worried about bird flu? We heard that pigeons might be safe from it, but we’re sure we heard one sneeze the other day.
Really, truly – we pigeons just don’t get bird flu. Believe me, they tried! Even injected us with the stuff. Nada.
And, even if they did, me and Mart invented a cool mask we could wear. Having heard we can’t get it but chickens can, we’re thinking of adapting it. Sure the chickens would appreciate it. Just need to get someone to handle the distribution. Mart suggested we could air drop them in, so we might get a few pals and do that.
We’ve seen pigeons hop onto the tube and ride along to the next stop (normally on the District Line). Is this common? Are pigeons really that lazy and/or intelligent?
In my case, lazy. In fact, in most cases, probably. I did a vid a few weeks ago for a laugh of me getting the tube from Piccadilly Circus to Turnham Green.
Scary shit I tell you. Friday night on the tube. Jesus.
More than not tho, getting the tube is a pain in the arse mainly coz it’s never working properly, esp the green line. A pigeon’s idea of hell is to get stuck on the tube with a bunch of angry commuters. Mind you, we tend not to travel at rush hour if we can help it.
The reason why we get the green line more than the others is it’s easier to get on and off being outdoors. Escalators can be a nightmare as a pigeon, unless you get to stand on the hand rail. That can be a right laugh.
Are you going do any more movie work?
Yeah – I totally plan to. Putting it together was a struggle, but worth it. Thinking of doing a series called ‘A Pigeon’s Guide To…’ Cover stuff like the best throwaway, the best places for playing ‘Shit or Miss’, best Places To pull etc. Basically a guide for any pigeon travelling to London. No-ones done it yet and I think all pigeons coming to London would find it really useful.
Doing it on vid rather than in bookform makes sense too - means they don’t have to look a twat and carry it round in a bag – they can just watch it online.
Londoners sardonically refer to you and your kind as ‘flying rats’. Do the pigeons have a similar derogatory nickname for us humans?
The flying rats tag really pisses us off – so much so that I got a mate to stick some wings on a rat in photoshop – took ages - think you’ll find it proves we look nothing like rats with wings, not even slightly.
Mainly, although I’m sure you can’t post this, the nickname we use most is ‘wankers’ or - in front of the kids – ‘ankers’.
Ever pooed on someone famous?
Pete Doherty. Pissed myself. We ran a competition recently – it was either him or Jim Davidson. I won. Got to Pete first. Bullseye –straight in the middle of the head. Hilarious too coz he was a bit out of it at the time and didn’t realize for ages that he had pigeon shit all over his hair.
A pal, George, got Jim Davidson’s car though, which was quite cool.
Was Pigeon Street an accurate portrayal of avian life in Thatcher’s Britain, or just a marginal TV show for kids?
It was a load of old crap made for kids. We liked the theme tune, that was about it.
Bit like Valiance – or whatever that cartoon was came out a couple of years ago – people just don’t get it. We’re either evil or cute – nothing in between. In reality, there’s all sorts – esp in London. Funny pigeons, boring pigeons, sexy pigeons, pisshead pigeons, pigeons who like to act, pigeons who like to shag – a lot – pigeons who are great with their toes, pigeons who are better at sums, snobby pigeons, up their arse pigeons. Endless. Loads. Different even in different parts of London.
Maybe next time they’ll ask us for some help when it comes to the scriptwriting – especially if they want it to appeal to pigeons!
The London Questions:
Favourite bar or restaurant?-
Chinese or Indian throwaway. The best is Brick Lane on a Friday night.
What advice would you give Ken Livingstone?
- Watch out for the pigeons. There’s loads more of us than you think.
What unusual London place or thing would you declare a landmark?
- Beak Street! Love it. The roof of No. 5 Bistro.
The world is ending in 24 hours. How would you spend your last day in London?
- Probably invite as many mates as possible to spend one last time partying in Trafalgar Square. One big huge pigeon rave up. It’s been a while.
Have you ever been sick on the Tube?- Thankfully not. When I get the tube I try and keep a low profile. Trod in some once tho. Not pleasant when it comes up to your knees. Btw – just to get rid of another pigeon myth – we only eat sick when absolutely necessary and DO NOT eat the carrot bits. We don’t like carrots.