One thought on “A Warm Hearth in the Bleak Midwinter”

  1. I was a little self conscious about this comment on the ecological synchronicities of skateboarders and predatory birds and wanted to avoid creating any sort of web argument with an avid blog watcher with more formulated and focused opinions than mine at any cost.

    As a result I decided to comment it on and virgin blog post, although I am aware that it may not be watch even by you… Hopefully you get this message (it is quite long but well thought of I promise).

    After reading you post entitled ‘WTF is The Predatory Bird?’ I have been thinking about my own perceptions on the similarities in gull and skate culture, but from the ecological point of view. I have just graduated from university and have moved back into my mothers’ house in the New Forest (Hampshire, UK), to gather funds and mentally prepare myself for my perilous journey into adulthood. To curb a sudden spout of cabin fever I decided to visit my birthplace, the seaside town of Poole, Dorset.

    As I skateboarded along the promenade, my wheels tore along the bumping British concrete. I began to notice that eyes had begun to fixate on me and I had the sudden feeling that many (if not all) skateboarders have experienced before, the feeling of being judged. At the risk of being tutted at I decided to by a nostalgic 99 ice cream (cost approx. £2.10) and sat down to absorb a rare spout of British sunshine. At that moment a child dropped a £1.20 bag of crisps only meters away from the shop where they had just been purchased. A group premonition passed over the relaxing sunbathers. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, all swooping and screeching, and the sky was full of huge gulls, consuming every last scrap. In that second I saw the same look in the eyes of the sunbathers, a look I had seen only moments earlier. The displeasure of being awoken on the sunny afternoon by a vermin urban pest (my self and the gulls respectively).

    This made me think about my studies in ecology and think over my experience as a skateboarder and ponder over your concept of ‘ A Predatory Bird’. In ecology Seagulls are considered to be a synanthropic species, defined as a species adapted to man and man made spaces. They are, like skateboarders often looked upon as disgusting and horrible creatures, an annoyance to people. Just as you mentioned ‘reviled and misunderstood by mainstream society’.

    But are skateboards and gulls not a product of modern society? Aren’t they just as bad as society makes them? They are adapted to living in the messy metropolises we have created; they eat the food that we wastefully discard on street corners, live in our rubish filled alleyways. Just like any synanthropic species, skateboarders adapt to the concrete and steel world that we live in nowadays that humans often forget about (just like he said Just like skateboarders use old warehoused, disused pools and abandoned underpasses as skateable landscapes. Are gulls and skateboarders really pest and vermin or actually resilient organisms? Adapting to the modern human urban environment around them?

    This all reminded me of a painting I saw a few years ago by a artist documenting the perceptions of South Africans on street children … and city birds. They were both viewed upon as an annoyance to society, called ‘Urban Vermin’ the painting depicted a child formed of lots of pigeon silhouettes. I liked the painting at the time and luckily found a picture I took of it and thought it would be apt good you recent Loud Headphones/Predatory Bird competition, although as the work was not my own I though it would be cheating to submit it as my own.

    But I have linked it here none the less, just incase you wanted some more bird based art.….

    Hopefully you enjoy it.

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