There's a man here feeding the pigeons. He's about thirty two years
old, can just remember the moon landing, and he keeps flexing his jaw.
You can see it going just above the temples.
He's been doing this for years. Coming here to feed the pigeons. He
used to come with his parents, then some friends, then a girl called
Alice, but he's not very good with other people these days. There's a
layer of loathing growing somehow, just beneath his skin, a couple of
He bends down towards a pigeon and works with his eyes, as though his
brain is trying to decode the information it is receiving, to break it
down into smaller and smaller bits. Maybe if he pushes hard enough it
will shatter into rows of 0's and 1's. That would be better. Knowing
that all of this was a fiction; a creation that could be turned off by
reaching around the back of something and beginning all over
But you can't. It's going to carry on. The grasping. Sticking noses in
where they're not wanted.
This pigeon has a pair of ears. A pair of human ears. They're about the
size of those you'd find on a two year old. These are white Caucasian
ears and look masculine maybe rather than feminine. They've got fleshy
There are a lot of pigeons. And they've all got ears. Some are bigger
than others, some more aesthetically pleasing, as you'd expect. But the
pigeons do not appear in the least concerned by this additional and
unconventional appendage. They carry on jerking their heads
frenetically and pootling around and only every now and again will you
see one suddenly lift it's head and angle one of it's ears towards a
conversing couple for a moment or two before carrying on again as
When they fly the added weight of the ears seems to require an
additional flapping effort, although nothing too frantic, and the odd
pigeon has problems and bumps into other ones - which could of course
be some kind of inner ear infection affecting it's balance.
When the ears appear he closes his eyes and recalls the voice of David
Attenborough. Those were the times when he was happiest. Sitting around
the Television Set with his mother and father, having had Toad in the
Hole or Shepherds Pie, his finished homework neatly stacked on the desk
his grandpa had made him.
Everybody in his house adored nature programmes. Chuckling when some
tree creature did something acrobatic and sharing little gasps of
astonishment at the antics of fish. Once, as a sperm whale leapt
through the waters, his father had jumped to his feet before sitting
back down again, a little sheepishly.
But they were in the inner city, not on the plains of Africa being
jiggled around on the back of a jeep. And so they had to make do with
David and his programmes and rely on him to show them that the world
was a swarming mass of beauty and miracle in contrast to the fetid
desires and dull frustrations of the landscape around them.
And they loved him for that.
He had wanted to be a vet - but his brain wasn't really up to it,
couldn't really stretch out enough. There's a lot to learn, a lot to
know. The insides of a guinea pig aren't to be taken lightly. And so
he'd had to make do with other activities that brought him into closer
contact with the Animal Kingdom, the Natural World. He watches badgers.
He paints cows. His bedroom is full of half finished canvasses. It's
the udders that give him the most problem.
He tends not to bother too much with people anymore. At times they make
him dog sick. Did you ever hear David Attenborough swear? Did you ever
hear David Attenborough say 'Look at that fucking porcupine?'.
Some mornings he looks down at his naked body and wishes he could see
fur, or hooves, or something that would disassociate him from this
species. There are a pile of little scales, waiting in his bottom
drawer, made from silver foil. He just needs to get the right sort of
He stares at those around him eating their lunchtime sandwiches, the
pigeons waiting hopefully. They do not see what is happening as they
munch and swallow. The tampering with the tomatoes. The fiddling with
the wheat. Laboratories at the end of long, hidden paths. Fat, sweaty
fingers trying to get inside of everything. The stone that lies not in
your grate breaks not your toes.
One day they'll realise. When their kidneys are sprouting hairs and
their cheeks are squishy. Oh yes, they'll realise then.
This man can no longer look at these birds with any joy. He cannot hear
David Attenboroughs perambulating voice attending to their world of
pigeonness. They have become tainted you see. They have spent too long
a time amongst the city dwellers and have become sooted with their
We are despicable he finds himself saying, spittle flying from his
mouth with unexpected force. We are ripping up everything. Jesus is
riding into Bethlehem on a donkey that has a neck of an ostrich and is
belching like a frog.
Here they are. Able to fly away and yet too stupid to escape. They've
lost it. They've lost the right to ever be on a David Attenborough
He slopped Paraquat all over the bread before he came out today. He
doesn't know how long it will take to work.
Perhaps they'll drop out of the sky and land on children and taxi
I mean it's not right is it? Pigeons with ears.