In my debut blog I expressed my animosity towards the ‘Pigeon Detectives’ for the origins of their name but there was a deeper element to my aggression. I absolutely detest pigeons, oh my lord they’re disgusting; they carry diseases, they crap everywhere (damaging buildings in the process) they have no regard for personal space and you can’t sit down and eat a sausage roll in public without them circling you and cackling away like a pack of hyenas.
As I used to be a vegetarian there are still a number of animals I haven’t eaten yet, pigeon being one of them. One day I was chatting to someone from the country (might have been my dad actually) and he suggested I give pigeon a try. I was utterly disgusted by the proposal for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above but he responded with “Ah but those are city pigeons, what you want is a nice country pigeon.”
I’ve had a few people from the country say this to me and my response has always been the same “What? Are you out of your flipping mind? They’re the same species, they come from the same revolting, anti-social, disease ridden family and share the same D.N.A – you’re eating the same animal.
The next counter to my argument would then be “They don’t have the same diseases because country pigeons and city pigeons don’t ever come across each other, they have different homes.” What? Are you completely and utterly bonkers? Do you know how far pigeons can travel? Didn’t you ever watch Geordie Racer at school?
Racing pigeons (which are exactly the same as city pigeons but faster) can travel hundreds of miles in one foul swoop. Are you telling me that there’s no possibility whatsoever that a city-racer pigeon that travels the length and breadth of the land will never come into contact with a country pigeon? Do me a favour.
I can just see it now; a bored, lonely country pigeon sits alone in her nest quietly dreaming of bright lights and one day being narrated over by David Attenborough when suddenly a filthy, city-racer pigeon swoops down with one thing on his mind – “Alright treacle – mind if I squeeze into your nest?” She’s giggles flirtatiously; she’s aroused by his rugged Cockney accent, seedy euphemism and impressive wing span, she craves excitement, she craves danger.
Do you think for one minute she’s gonna stop and go “oh hang on a sec, I can’t be having it off with him, he’s a city pigeon! What about those poor sods who will one day catch our offspring and bake them in a pie assuming they are just good old, wholesome country pigeons, unaware that in fact they are actually eating the love child of a dirty, bench lurking, Trafalgar Square ruining city pigeon.”
No she will not and once the sinister city slicker’s had his wicked way and made a dash back home, the country pigeon will be left to look after the kids all by herself. She’ll be very embarrassed and determined to never allow anyone to find out about her moment of weakness but please don’t feel sorry for her because she’s a pigeon!
I do apologise for the apparent irrelevance of my rant but this has been bothering me for a while now and I’ve been dying to get it off my chest. I suppose my witty, articulate and thought provoking conclusion is…Pigeons are rank!
On a lighter note, please enjoy the theme tune to Geordie Racer.
During the Europa League final between Athletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao two fans broke out of the stands and ran onto the pitch, quickly bringing the game to a halt. Such interference is dealt with strictly; the cameras immediately switch to a birds-eye view of the stadium, denying the intruders the publicity they crave (and giving the poor lonely soul in the commercial blimp something to do!) the players ignore them (or intercept them in serious cases) the commentators insult them and the stewards use the public disturbance as a chance to try out moves they’ve just seen in The Expendables. The pitch invaders are likely to receive hefty fines and lengthy bans from attending football matches.
Now let’s flip the goal posts round; when Southampton and Reading recently won promotion to the Premier League, thousands of their fans raced onto the pitch. The cameras captured all the drama positively, the commentators giggled and rejoiced, the players and staff embraced the pitch invaders and gladly indulged in a bit of crowd surfing and the stewards didn’t try to prevent them with spinning bird kicks (ok that’s from Street Fighter) in fact some of the luminous guard clapped the supporters onto the pitch and made films on their phones.
Now I’m aware that there is a contrast of context in these two scenarios; mass pitch invasions usually occur at the end of the game, are often celebratory and it is difficult to prevent mob mentality. Individual skirmishes typically happen during a match, have a disruptive purpose and appear to be utterly pointless.
All that said, I can’t help worrying that there is a slightly disturbing message at the core of these incidents; if one or two of you cause trouble they’ll be hell to pay but if you all wanna do it – sure go ahead we don’t mind, in fact we’ll tag you on FB and make a YouTube video.
Call me a worrier but just think what would happen if this interpretation was experienced by the same sort of people who’ve been kicked out of Aldi for nicking chicken nuggets straight from the packaging (yes I have genuinely seen the aftermath of these ambushes). They might have an epiphany and decide to summon a small army of mates to raise Aldi to the ground, then I wouldn’t have anything to eat (apart from beetroot, I doubt they would go for the fruit and veg section).
I know I’m being a bit overdramatic here but I can’t help thinking that if the contradiction of these attitudes towards pitch invasions was realised on a mass scale, all hell could break loose!
I would like to stress that this is not an analytical film review of the Avengers Assemble! I’ve written in-depth critiques in the past and will do so in the future but what I’m looking at here is the uncontrollable hype that has surrounded the blockbuster since its release into the UK box office. Although swarms of Marvel fans and many of my friends have been infected by ‘Avenger Mania’ I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.
I’ve enjoyed the occasional Marvel film in the past but am by no means an avid follower of the comic series and didn’t share the same level of excitement that was consuming the British film press or the eager audience I quietly sat amongst at a screening last weekend.
This was partly because there’s nothing like the initial blinding lights and irritating, popcorn filled excitable chit-chatter of a packed Sunday cinema screening to make you realise just how hung-over you truly are. I felt like a librarian in a Norwegian heavy metal concert; desperately seeking silence without a flipping clue what the hell people were going on about. I was given a small lift before the film started; Orange actually created an advert that made me laugh as well as switch my phone off, a good omen perhaps? As we finally got underway I sat back with my arms folded and dared the film to entertain me.
It didn’t take long for the movie to call my bluff because within minutes I was absolutely pumped! The story erupts with a bang; lead villain Loki (brilliantly played by Tom Hiddleston) attacks the headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D, turns Hawk Eye to his evil cause and captures the Cosmic Cube – a dangerously powerful blue energy source. Having not seen Thor I had no idea who Loki was (or that Hawk Eye was an Avenger!) or how a flashy Rubik’s cube could be so devastating but the pace of this opening had my feeling like I’d just necked a triple Cosmic-Politian and Red Bull.
My excitement levels would build progressively higher with the arrival of each super hero. A huge amount of credit must be given to Joss Whedon for how this process is expertly carried out; although each Avenger has their big introduction the show never came to a halt so one character could steal the limelight and every new arrival simply built the magnitude of the film whilst moving the plot along. This can be said of the movie as a whole; the individual screen time and story influence is balanced incredibly given the star-studded cast that Whedon was managing. (All right I’m including a little bit of analysis here!)
That’s not to say the Avengers themselves weren’t competing with each other; their rivalry creates some hilarious dialogue (or grunts in the case of the Hulk) and every character adds to the overall comedy of the film, although I did particularly enjoy the sarcastic remarks of Iron Man. At times I was literally in stitches and pleasantly surprised; I wasn’t expecting the film to have such a high level of humour. The competition also boils over into some titanic clashes amongst the Avengers before they even get to dealing with their adversaries.
This was a proper cinema experience; an action-packed block buster that was full of epic characters, side-splitting and very quotable dialogue, grand battle scenes and intense visual engagement (Scarlett Johansson oh Sweet Jesus). Suddenly I felt like the nerd in the room for my initial lack of enthusiasm and my distinct lack of knowledge on the series as a whole.
The sheer power of the Avengers had transformed me from a subdued and somewhat reluctant viewer to an eager participant, fully engaged in the mind bowing spectacle. Never before has a film which I approached so cautiously been able to shake me to my core, smack away my pessimistic titanium shield, send a bolt of Norse lightning thundering through my veins and blow me out of the sky all the way to Asgard quite so emphatically. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I am what you might call a “five minute fan” because the movie is just so uncontrollably infectious.
I had finally succumb to Avenger Mania and when leaving the cinema with a spring in my step I unashamedly quoted lines and imitated action moves just like the Marvel diehards around me. Whether you’re a Comic Con regular or you thought Hawk Eye was merely a sensor system at Wimbledon (I think I might need to invest in some prequels) you must go to see The Avengers Assemble – it is simply a Marvelous movie.
In November of last year I was lucky enough to be selected for the 4Talent competition ‘For 3 Mins’ part of Global Entrepreneurs Week. The yearly contest brings together aspiring Directors, Producers, Presenter, Editors, Production Assistants, Camera-Operatives and Writers (me). Something I’ve not made publically clear till now is that I actually didn’t get into the original selection; I made it into the final six with the chance of being called up should one of the four chosen Writers drop out.
I always think this is a strange predicament that we experience in life, similar to a substitute goalkeeper in a football team; you don’t necessarily want to see your team mate in any serious pain but if the first choice stopper suddenly broke their shoulder and was ruled out for the season, a very vindictive part of you would be over the moon.
After deciding not to purchase Voodoo dolls and dark magic for beginners I tried to keep myself busy and simply hoped for the best. Low and behold a week later I received the golden email from Channel 4 which went something along the lines of “Channel 4 offers you a place as one of the 4 writers in the 4talent completion For 3 mins.” After getting over how many for/4s you could fit into one sentence (a discovery I’m celebrating in the title of these 2 blogs) I clenched my fists and shouted “F…ing Get In!” an annoying trait which would embarrass me at a later date.
I sent an immediate response “count me in” and hastily made preparations for a trip back home but the drama was far from over. Assuming I did not get a notification email because C4 are a seriously busy organisation, I happily tweeted away and shared my excitement about For 3 Mins with the social media community. I logged back in later to find a new follower in the shape of 4Talent boss Colin Campbell-Austin accompanied by a direct message from him. The initial vanity of my new found celebrity status was quickly smashed by horrifying ice cold shiver down my spine. C4 hadn’t received my response and didn’t know I was coming.
After initial screams of furious embarrassment and some intense shadow boxing (I mean actually punching my shadow on the wall not pretending too!) I quickly reasserted my desire to be part of Global Entrepreneurs Week and Colin very kindly allowed me to attend. Neither of us were sure where the missing email had got to but let’s not dwell on that, the most important thing was that I had now made it into a momentous 4Talent competition and had the chance to take a huge step in my writing career.
(4Talent ‘For 3 Mins’ part 2 including our finished film coming soon)
Some of you may be wondering why in God’s name I’ve called my debut blog Bullet Proof Hippo? I wouldn’t blame you; in the past I have been very sceptical of organisations which I believed to have just thrown a random word against an obscure animal in order to sound quirky.
I ranted ferociously about the Pigeon Detectives claim that they invented their band name whilst bantering with a drunken Australian; my conclusion being that they merely tried to jump on the Arctic Monkeys hype with a juxtaposing animal-themed title.
Before you start shouting “double standards” let me assure you that I’m not being a hippocrite (wa-hey first of many puns) because my title is no random concoction; it is an incredible fact of nature. Hippos are indeed bullet proof as I discovered whilst watching a repeated episode of Q.I on the home of witty banter.
I’m always impressed by unique creatures and swiftly shared my new found wisdom with my work mates. Although many were as amazed as I was by the power of the hippo, my boss Pat wasn’t having any of it and disregarded my comments.
Determined to make him a believer I attempted to swing Pat’s opinion by means of repetition. Every time someone new entered the room I’d speak with an annoying tone and say ‘Ere Dave, did you know that Hippos were bullet proof’ drawing a new follower to my cause and a very animated and very northern “shut-up” from Pat, it became a running joke.
I pushed this attempt to wind my boss up a little too far by inventing the fictional ‘Antarctic Falcon’ which could breathe underwater longer than a shark. Pat quickly caught me off guard when I stupidly claimed that the falcon was able to achieve this record because it had gills, with that exaggeration the joke had finally ran its course.
I never did get Pat to believe in Bullet Proof Hippos but I suppose that wasn’t the point. The debate inspired imagination, playful banter and made elements of everyday life more enjoyable, everything I hope to achieve with this blog