Sunday, 14 October 2018

Catch the Pigeon

Groovy
When I posted recently this photograph of my mother feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square in the 1950s it prompted a number of people to get in touch - they shared similar photos (mainly of parents) from a similar time. Probably even taken by the same photographer.

Image result for stop the pigeon
Grab him, nab him
However, the snap above is a tad more contemporary. Well, by tad, I mean it was actually taken in 1970, but it's in colour and, dare I say, groovy. And there's not a single collar and tie to be seen. The times they were a-changing.
I don't know if it was choreographed or not. Either way, the scaffolders working on St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in the background would almost certainly have whistled at the girls 'approvingly' when they walked past: it was written into every builders contract at the time; don't tell me it wasn't.

Westminster City Council prohibited the feeding of the birds in 2003 (wolf whistling at pretty girls probably around the same time) when their numbers reached 35,000 (who was counting them?*) and everywhere in the WC2 postcode was knee deep in guano.

Me & James
The photograph on the right was taken a few years before the ban. James looks to be around three or four so, I'd say, 1993/4. We'd been to the Natural History Museum that day, if memory serves, and afterwards we seemed to gravitate towards Trafalgar Square (in true pigeon style). He loved it. I think that comes through loud and clear. But, as with any rite of passage, he just did it the once.

I don't know where the birds went for bush tucker after 2003. One day they were everywhere, sh*tting on your head, next thing you know they'd buggered off. All things must pass. But not before I leave you with this exquisite slice of Vaudevillian glam from 1972. It was never hip, granted, but this is the missing link between Mrs. Mills and Gary Glitter. And you can quote me on that.

Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough (1972)



* The pigeons, not pretty girls

14 comments:

  1. John, for some reason, the photograph "on the right" is just a solid grey box so I can't view it. Is it .jpeg?

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    1. Hi Marie, try it now. I blame it on the gremlins. And/or Brexit. And Trump!

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  2. Ah, there it is! What a wonderful shot of the sheer delight on his wee face.

    I'm blaming everything on that fool in the oval office these days.

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  3. Lovely pics. And there's a look I had forgotten - in the top one, the white socks over black tights! Something I'm sure my big sister combined with her purple hotpants too at the time.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. It's like the Liver Birds had come down to the 'big smoke' for the day.

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  4. I have a memory of my primary 7 trip to London in 1973 and getting blood on my new purple platforms from the pigeons pecking each other in the rush to get to the food!

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  5. Purple plaforms, guano and blood. Jeez!

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  6. Lovely pictures - I didn't realise the feeding of lieutenant (tricky word to spell) pigeon had been banned - Guano, great word.

    I too remember the socks over the tights, American tan in our case. Sadly if your socks didn't have very good elastic they tended to fall down and dragged your American tan tights with them!

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    1. I'll take your word for it Alyson; though tights falling down couldn't have been all bad, could it?
      I'll get my (grubby) coat.

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    2. I realised after leaving that comment that I explained it all a bit badly and had set myself for a grubby comment (and you didn't disappoint)!

      More of a Nora Batty ankle situation I should have said - I will go now before I get myself in more trouble.

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