Friday, July 13, 2007


I know for a fact that God doesn’t have a tin ear when it comes to music, including bird song. But on the day he made pigeons he seems to have been thinking of something else. The pigeons (I’m told they’re pigeons, not doves) that hang around the garden of the house I’m staying in, or the homing pigeons that lived next door (when they were home) to the last house we stayed in, have a monotony of melody that would make the minimalist composer Steve Reich sound good.

The constant ooh ooooooh ooh that’s been going on in the garden for the last couple of hours is not just plaintive, it’s painful. Occasionally one of the two that’s making the noise gets a little more excited and adds a more scrawny note to the middle of the three, rather as though he was choking on something. Or else they tack a shorter note on the beginning or the end of the phrase. But beyond that, it’s back to the ooh oooooh ooh as the norm.

Sorry, God, but give me blackbirds any day.

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