Woody Allen once dubbed them “rats with wings”, but the humble pigeon has always occupied more of a treasured place in the hearts of the British.
Of course, they’re a nuisance, they spread disease and you’re never safe from the risk of a dropping incident, but there’s something about them that chimes with us as a nation. Plain-looking and unshowy, living a tough old life as they exist on the crumbs from your sandwiches, soldiering on regardless, even if they’ve lost a foot from some pigeon-on-pigeon violence. If there was one word we’d use to describe the pigeon, it’s stoic.
But one man decided to take the human-pigeon relationship futher. One man dared to dream.
While humans and pigeons treat each other with a begrudged, mutually-earned respect, it would be a stretch to call them friends. But this man didn’t listen to ‘convention’ – he took in a bellyfull of booze, headed down to Waterloo station at 4am, and stumbled into a love story worthy of Richard Curtis.
One thing we learn early on is that our unnamed hero has ‘found a pigeon’. Of that we are sure as it is repeated, over and over. It looks like a stuffed toy, until it becomes clear that it actually is a real pigeon.
“I don’t know what’s going on. I’m not a pigeon,” says, with 100% accuracy, our man.
“It’s not messing about”. No it is not.
“Pigeon, what are you doing? Excuse me mate?” The pigeon is, in a metaphorical and literal sense, very much unruffled.
Our man sits, mesmerised.
“What the fuck’s going on?” he asks.
He does what any sane person would do, and takes a selfie with his new buddy.
We trust that, when he shared it on Twitter, he captioned it with ‘going home with this top bird tonight’. Or else all banter is now dead.
The cut to the ‘little update’ in Waterloo station is just classic comic timing, with the bird now resting, the wrong way, on the guy’s shoulder like an extremely, seriously, unimaginably low-budget version of Pirates of the Caribbean, with Johnny Depp replaced by a northern bloke smashed out of his mind and a parrot replaced by an extremely chilled-out pigeon.
Why is the pigeon so docile? Has it been tamed, lowering its defences after learning that human beings, the kind commuters who travel in and out of Waterloo every day, are actually gentle souls who wish it no harm? Possibly, but commuters are, in general, miserable bastards who would probably try and kick our silent hero out of the way in order to get to whatever unimportant meeting they’ve convinced themselves is essential for them to get to in order that the city of London may continue functioning.
Maybe it’s seen things. Bad things. Things you can only imagine. Maybe it was one of those military pigeons you hear about. He did his time, but he can never forget what he went through.
Hard to tell. He doesn’t give much away. He was probably very well trained.
Another selfie (Caption: “He’s got a pigeon on his head!!1!!!!”).
A man walks by.
He is questioned: “You seen this? What’s this pigeon doing mate??” and for some unfathomable reason does not seem in the slightest bit interested in this amazing event taking place just yards away from him.
Like we said. Londoners: a miserable bunch.
It ends as only a true love story can: with our heroes walking off into the distance, as the man enacts the ultimate seal of bromance: his new homescreen is the selfie of him and the pigeon.
Shakespeare himself could not better it.