Thursday, 31 March 2016

Pigeon carnage

I dreamed last night that one of my teeth fell out! I looked into a mirror and noticed that my bottom teeth looked a crooked and, for some reason thought I might be able to apply enough pressure to one of them to bring it back in line. Sadly it wasn't to be and the tooth simply came away in my hand. It wasn't a cool look. I looked like an old crone!

I worked at Jackson's Lane Community Centre this morning. Nathan came to find me and encouraged me to go to Highbury with him where he was meeting a knitting friend for lunch. We travelled the length of the Holloway Road on a 43 bus and crawled along at a ludicrously slow pace which enabled us to get a sense of what the road has become in the last few years. The bottom end has plainly gone up in the world. There are loads of fancy eateries masquerading as pie and mash shops which are plainly being aimed at young city professionals who want to be seen to be keeping it real.

The top end of Holloway Road, by contrast, remains the insane place it always has been, full of curios, care-in-communities, lunatics, fanatics and throw-backs. We passed a woman who had an enormous star tattooed onto her forehead, and a young bloke with such awful posture you might have been forgiven for thinking he was 90.

There are always two buildings that I look out for when heading down that road. The first is a flat above a shop just shy of Holloway Road tube where the great Joe Meek (of Telstar fame) lived and died. It's where he killed his landlady after the mother of all mental breakdowns which was partially brought about because he was being blackmailed for being gay. It must be very odd to live in a building which has witnessed that much violence and tragedy. Ever since working as a stage door keeper at the New Ambassadors Theatre, I've subscribed to the notion that energies hang about in buildings. When locking up the auditorium at the end of a night, I could always tell whether the show was a happy or a sad one, or, oddly how large the audience had been. A sell-out show always seemed to generate more energy. When The Weir was running - a show so tragic that, on the first performance, one of the ushers was so distraught she had to be carried out of the theatre by audience members - the auditorium always used to feel very bleak.

The other building I watch out for on the Holloway Road is Islington Library which is, of course, where that other great gay Joe, namely Joe Orton, used to steel and deface library books. Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell both went to prison for vandalising council property but the books they so carefully and wittily ruined are now worth a fortune and are amongst the most valued possessions of the library. Or at least they were when I last read up about them. They've probably subsequently been sold to private collectors to plug gaps in council spending!

I got a message from Little Welsh Nathalie downstairs earlier on. It appears a pigeon has been macerated in our garden. She describes nonchalantly exiting the house and finding a scene of carnage which involved another pigeon merrily pecking away at the guts of his erstwhile friend. We assume the pigeon was "got" by a cat or fox in broad daylight. It wasn't there when I returned from my run at about 3pm (incidentally there are now five pieces of blossom on my favourite little tree...) I'm not sure I'm particularly into the idea of a cannibal pigeon sharing my home, and if the dead pigeon is one of my friends who sits up in the tree every day, I'm even more upset. Most upsetting of all, however, is the thought that the pigeon "eating" his friend was actually the friend's mate (pigeons mate for life) and that rather than eating, he was trying to revive his companion. It's even sadder if the pigeons were a gay couple, but maybe I'm writing a little bit too much into this story!! I've no doubt Nathan will want to bury the body.

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