Two pigeons, pecking around a copy of The Evening Standard outside Bethnal Green station
Gordon: Sparrows. Loads of them. Taking all our bird feed. This is our borough. This is our place. Bloody cheek.
Brenda: Says here their number has dropped 70 per cent since 1994. And they need saving, so [reading from the newspaper] “The London Wildlife Trust is working with the Peabody Estate to make Whitechapel, Hackney and King's Cross sparrow-friendly, with the help of Lottery funding.”
Gordon: They’re only chucking Lottery money at it!
Brenda: Well, look at what the project is called: ‘Operation Cockney Sparrow’. They’re Cockneys. This is their home, I suppose.
Gordon: It’s our home too. Can’t see anyone growing effing hawthorn and blackthorn for us.
Brenda: You wouldn’t like it. Scratchy things; I’d prefer a nice ledge, clean edges, not hedges.
Gordon: I swear, I’m gonna take off to Kenley, live with the parakeets. They know their place. Not sure I could stick Croydon though.
Brenda: Breeding like rabbits, them parakeets. Better get down there quick and nab yourself a rooftop before they get all Hitchcock on the council and swarm the place. Live for ages too, those exotic ones really know how to hold on, so even if you get on the waiting list, you’ll still be here in Bethnal Green with the chirpy-chirpy sparrowboys waiting and waiting for one of ‘em to shuffle off their perch.
Gordon: And Lord knows, no one ain’t gonna put poison down on them pretty birds. Bright green, they are. Beautiful birds beautiful.
Brenda: I hear they’re noisy though.
Gordon: Ooh, can’t stand noisy neighbours. Sparrows chirping their little heads off - that’s got a London charm. But those parakeets who knows what they’re saying?
Brenda: Still won’t get ‘em exterminated though. Not like us. One poorly aimed crap and the whole lot of us are persecuted. Persecuted!
Gordon: No, no hedges for us. Nobody loves us. Don’t know why. [Pause]
Gordon: Come on, Benny says he saw a big puddle of vomit near the pub.
Brenda: Quick, before the lunch crowd gets in before us!
They swoop off low through the crowds towards the pub.
Image author's own