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The Pied Marksman of Surrey
December 6, 2006 11:27 PM   Subscribe

The Memorial Gardens in Surrey has a pigeon problem, and has hired a marksman to come to town & conduct a three year program of pigeon sniping to resolve the issue. The people of Surrey respond, via some of the funniest letters to the newspaper I've ever read (letters published at the bottom of the article).
posted by jonson (33 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Londonist:
They are noisy, messy and often indulge in large-scale vandalism, defacing monuments and blocking drains; sometimes they die and leave their corpses to rot in hard to reach places, they can carry up to 60 different diseases which isn't a pleasant thought and they have a tendency to gather in huge, intimidating groups in public spaces and have been known to scare small children and nervous Far Eastern tourists. If pigeons were people, they would have have ASBOs coming out of their ears but sadly, the only time they get close to sentencing is when they decide to offload a particularly dribbly streak of poo on the pillars of the local magistrate's court. [...]

Choosing sides seems necessary as this extermination programme divides the public between "let them live!" and "Kill them all!" but before picking which side of the fence you want to stand, have a good look at the fence. If it is covered in matted, rotting pigeon feathers and layers of reeking, diseased pigeon shit, you know which side to go to.
posted by pracowity at 11:39 PM on December 6, 2006


I wish more letters to the editor were of this calibre. There, I said it.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:47 PM on December 6, 2006


Get pelicans.
posted by Phanx at 11:49 PM on December 6, 2006


"...Satan's flying wizards. There, I said it." was the funniest thing I read on the letters page, until I got to the very last letter, which almost made me choke to death from a laughing fit that devolved into a coughing fit. Stupid cough!
posted by jonson at 11:49 PM on December 6, 2006


The New Yorker used to publish such letters to the editor as filler items at the end of articles, under the common header There'll Always Be an England.
posted by dhartung at 11:52 PM on December 6, 2006


Oh, man. Just as I got to the last letter, my boss was walking past. He gave me a strange look while I tried to stifle the laughter.

That was great.
posted by robcorr at 11:55 PM on December 6, 2006


Well said!

By the way, did I ever tell you about the time I went pigeon hunting? We decides we're going to hunt down all four of the Banana Splits. I stalked and killed every one of them with a machete. They all begged for their lives...except Fleagle
posted by growabrain at 12:20 AM on December 7, 2006


One time, about 15 years ago, the Boston Globe ran a story about Smokey the Bear.

A few days later they ran a letter than read, "Everyone always wants to praise Smokey the Bear for his fire prevention efforts. But no one ever mentions the Boy Scouts he kills for their hats."

Hey, it's up on the internet! How about that.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:41 AM on December 7, 2006


Oh boy. I'm actually going to go Christmas shopping in Kingston-upon-Thames today. I will look at the pigeon situation and report back to this thread.

(Not a pigeon fan)
posted by randomination at 3:20 AM on December 7, 2006


Gas them like badgers!
Posted by: Nicholas Cartwheels on 1:57pm Dec 1


Genuis, thanks for the link.
posted by patricio at 3:36 AM on December 7, 2006


Can I just say that this letter column is rapidly degenerating into a farce, a French one with bedroom doors opening and closing and men running around with their trousers round their ankles and fancy women pottering about in high heels.

Sound familiar, MeFites?
posted by sidereal at 4:03 AM on December 7, 2006


Oh lord that was funny.

You've got to feel sorry for Tonia though - not only does she think that the flying rats deserve to destroy the place, but she can't understand why no-one is being sensible in this tragic tale.

The mental health service is in a terrible state nowadays...
posted by twine42 at 4:40 AM on December 7, 2006


These people are idiots ensnared in a dangerously vicarious state of denial. Everything they positively attribute to pigeons is actually the work of giant parasitic cats from Japan. The overwhelming ignorance of these primitive villagers has led them to believe the bords are harmless, when the real truth is, the true fiends are stalking humans now, leaving the birds to overpopulate in large numbers. As most of the large felines have adopted human guise, I wouldn't be suprised if they wrote some of the letters to the Surrey Comet.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:41 AM on December 7, 2006


Kill them with axes.
posted by OmieWise at 5:14 AM on December 7, 2006


I smell a rat. A flying one.
posted by Joeforking at 5:25 AM on December 7, 2006


You Brits do know how to write a funny letter. For a sustained exercise in funny prose + pigeons, cf. the story "Two Disagreeable Pigeons" in Patricia Highsmith's Uncollected Stories. Hilarious.
posted by scratch at 6:00 AM on December 7, 2006


Hmm.. Surrey, eh? I strongly suspect the work of Chris Shaw (ccc) and other B3tans at work here..
posted by salmacis at 7:33 AM on December 7, 2006


I'm horrified at the very idea anyone might want to harm these gentle creatures. I myself was raised by pigeons after being abandoned in Trafalgar Square as a young nipper.

::: sob ::: Brother?!?!???
posted by The Deej at 7:43 AM on December 7, 2006


I love it.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:46 AM on December 7, 2006


The brits completely own letters to the editor, from now until the end of days. Never have I felt more like the resident of a second-rate backwater colony than after reading those letters. And that's just metafilter.
posted by mecran01 at 7:55 AM on December 7, 2006


something very fishy about the whole thing I'd say.
posted by johnny novak at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2006


O.K., having checked a little further it seems you can comment freely on any story and the results are posted straight to the site without moderation. Which is fun.
Try some of the other stories.

posted by johnny novak at 8:41 AM on December 7, 2006


My gods, I've never wanted to move to England more than now. Bloody superior edumacation and everything...
posted by eurasian at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2006


"I likes pigeons I do."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:21 AM on December 7, 2006


Try some of the other stories.
Yes, Mrs Dallinger's been really quite busy.
posted by penguin pie at 9:21 AM on December 7, 2006


Someone needs to write a Greasemonkey script that automatically favorites posts by jonson.
posted by Kwine at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Kwine - that's really nice of you to say!
posted by jonson at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2006


I have returned from my late-night shopping trip to Kingston-upon-Thames and would like to report that I did not see a single pigeon the whole time I was there.

The Memorial Gardens instead contained a large tent of tat Christmas crafts (eg. santa snowglobes, tinsel made of tissue, etc).

I assume all the pigeons were eight miles north-east causing havoc in Harlesden.
posted by randomination at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2006


Poor Mr. Roger who lost all the muscles that enabled him to laugh: 'I said "There goes the neighbourhood" I said to my cat which subsequentially lost its 10th life.'
posted by of strange foe at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2006


Those letter writers must spend their lives scanning the pages of the Surrey Comet, eagerly hoping for an opportunity to post some frivolous witticism or irony. What a sad and pathetic way to waste one's time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2006


I can't read these letters without hearing Monty Python in my head.

Sincerely,

Major General Arthur P Simpson (Mrs)
posted by SPrintF at 8:46 PM on December 7, 2006


Ah, jonson. Ah, humanity.
posted by cgc373 at 2:42 PM on December 8, 2006


Those letter writers must spend their lives scanning the pages of the Surrey Comet, eagerly hoping for an opportunity to post some frivolous witticism or irony. What a sad and pathetic way to waste one's time.

Yes, thankfully mefi is searchable. Wasting one's life becomes slightly more efficient at the speed of electrons.
posted by IronLizard at 3:09 PM on December 8, 2006


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