In memory of John Cleary
Kilburn: So I’m stuck outside a house for an hour waiting for someone to turn up for an appointment and I gaze up idly to the first floor windowsill of one of the flats. A truly enormous and weird looking bird looks down at me with a look of complete contempt. This bird looks as close as it is possible to look, like an avian version of an obese Las Vegas period Elvis. He has rather filthy white plumage on his chest and back and what looks like a black quiff of feathers on his head. He can barely move he is so fat. His feet I notice are webbed and very dirty. Beside him there is a metal tray which he lazily pecks at. He scowls at me with a look of arrogant boredom, spreads his filthy tail feathers and craps extravagantly over the parapet of the front door porch.
An elderly lady walks past and notices me looking at this debauched avian Elvis:
‘Ah, so you’ve met my friend. Nobody knows where he came from but he’s been here years. He’s some sort of foreign sea bird who got lost in Kilburn years ago. He used to perch on the church opposite but he has moved over to this house as the people in that flat feed him and sometimes let him in to their flat’.
‘Everyone on this street knows of this bird, he’s been here years’.
And with that she slowly walks off. And I’m left looking up at this sickly Falstaffian feathered celebrity who scowls back at me and unleashes another showering torrent of crap.