PIGEON ENGLISH PDF
STEPHEN KELMAN For the traveller I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing dance than teach ten thousand stars how n. Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman - extract. Document. Pages. Notes. Text. Zoom. CLOSE. Previous for “” Next. p. 1. Loading Loading. p. 2. Loading Loading . Full text of "Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman - extract". See other formats. You could see the blood. It was darker than you thought. It was all on the ground.
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PDF - Pigeon English. Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on an. Reader's Guide. Pigeon English. Stephen Kelman. Bloomsbury. Price £ Pigeon English is. Stephen Kelman's first novel. By: Stephen Kelman Adapted: Gbolahan Obisesan Media of Pigeon English. See larger image. Published: Format: PDF eBook (Watermarked).
Asbo attacks Killa, which makes Harri think their training has worked. Harri collects the fingerprints of innocent people so he can compare them to those of the suspects. He then attempts to freeze off his own fingertips by holding them in the freezer. After school, X-Fire and Dizzy chase Harri and threaten to kill him, but they eventually walk away. Chanelle and Miquita get into a fight at school one day. Right as Miquita is about to push Chanelle through the window, teachers come over and break up the fight.
Agnes has a fever, and Harri worries that she is going to die. When her fever goes away, Mamma and Lydia both cry with happiness. Auntie Sonia and her abusive boyfriend Julius buy presents for Lydia and Harri.
As a birthday surprise for his sister, Harri takes Lydia to some wet cement, where they both leave footprints and write their names. While Dean and Harri are playing football, Dean finds a wallet, inside of which is a photo of the dead boy smiling with a white girl. The boys discover that the photo has blood on it. Miquita and Lydia get into an argument, during which Lydia implies that Killa is a murderer. Killa is visibly upset, and X-Fire burns the picture with a lighter. Just as X-Fire reaches for his knife and is about to pounce on Dean and Harri, Lydia shouts, and the three of them escape to the library together.
Lydia explains that she filmed the whole scene, including X-Fire burning the picture. Someone sets the local playground on fire, but firemen arrive and put the fire out. He showed me how to take the tie off without un- tying it.
You just make a hole big enough to get your head through then you take the tie off over your head. That way you don't have to tie the tie every day. It even works. Now I'll never have to tie my tie my whole life.
I beat the tie at his own game!
There's no songs in my new school. The best bit about my old school was when Kofi Allotey made up his own words: Please don't burn me on the stove Or push me down the stairs' Asweh, he caught so many blows we called it the Kofi Stick! At first me and Lydia stayed together at breaktime. Now we stay with our friends. If we see each other we have to pretend we don't know each other.
The first one to say hello is the loser. At breaktime I just play suicide bomber or zombies. Suicide bomber is when you run at the other person and crash them as hard as you can. If the other person falls over you get a hundred points. If they just move but don't fall over it's ten points. One person is always the lookout because suicide bomber is banned. If the teacher catches you playing you'll get a detention.
Zombies is just acting like a zombie.
You get extra points for accuracy. When you're not playing games you can swap things instead. The most wanted things to swap are football stickers and sweets but you can swap anything if some- body wants it.
Chevon Brown and Saleem Khan swapped watches. Saleem Khan's watch tells the time on the moon, but Chevon Brown's is chunkier and it's made of real titan- ium.
They're both bo-styles. Everybody was happy with the deal but then Saleem Khan wanted to swap back. Saleem Khan: Two punches. It was his fault for going back on the deal. He was only scared for if his mamma got red-eyes. I don't have a watch yet, I don't even need one. The bell tells you where to be and there's a clock in the classroom. When you're outside school you don't need to know the hour, your belly tells you when it's chop time. You just go home when you're hungry enough, that way you never forget.
I was the dead boy. X-Fire was teaching us about chook- ing. He didn't use a real knife, just his fingers. They still felt quite sharp. X-Fire says when you chook somebody you have to do it proper quick because you feel it as well. If it hits a bone or something it feels disgusting, man. You're best going for somewhere soft like the belly so it goes in nice and easy, then you don't feel nothing.
The first time I shanked someone was the worst, man. All his guts fell out.
The North School
It was well sick. I didn't know where to aim yet, I got him too low down, innit. That's why I go for the side now, near the love handles. Then you don't get no nasty stuff falling out. I hit a rib or something. I had to pull like f — to get it out. I was like, give me my blade back, bitch! You just wanna stick him and get the f — outta there. No messing around. He was just quiet. Maybe he hasn't chooked anybody yet. Or maybe he's chooked so many people that he's bored by now. That must be why he's called Killa.
I was the dead boy because X-Fire picked me. I just had to stand still. X-Fire didn't like it when I moved. He kept 14 pulling me. I felt quite sick but I had to keep listening. I even wanted to listen. It was like when I first tasted mushy peas: I could still feel his fingers in my ribs even after he was gone.
It felt very crazy. X-Fire's breath smells like cigarettes and chocolate milk. I wasn't even scared. We always go to the market on Saturday. It's all outside so you get proper cold waiting for Mamma to pay, you have to keep your mouth closed to stop your teeth escaping. It's only even worth it for all the dope-fine things you can look at like a remote-control car or a samurai sword it's only made from wood but it's still proper hutious.
If I had the means I'd buy it like that, I'd use it to chase the invaders away. My favourite shop is the sweets shop. It sells every kind of Haribo you can think of. It's my ambition to try every style there is.
So far I've tried about half. Haribo comes in a million different shapes. Whatever there is in the world, there's a chewy Haribo version of it. Asweh, it's true. They make cola bottles, worms, milkshakes, teddy bears, crocodiles, fried eggs, dummies, fangs, cherries, frogs, and millions more.
Cola bottles are the best. I only don't like the jelly babies. They're cruel. Mamma has seen a dead baby for real. She sees them every day at work. I never buy the jelly babies for if it would remind her. Mamma was looking all over for a pigeon net. I said a prayer to myself that she never found one. Just because Lydia's scared of them. I'm not scared! He was hungry, that's all.
I don't even agree with it, they're not hurting anybody. I want my pigeon to come back. I even hid some fufu flour in my pant drawer specially for him. I don't want to eat him, I want to make him tame so he'll go on my shoulder.
In the end my prayer was answered: Asweh, it was a mighty relief!
If he comes back I'll tell him to find another home. Don't think I haven't seen the flour all over the balcony, I'm not stupid. From today onward going I'll just wait till she's asleep. I pretended like I didn't see when Jordan stole the lady's phone. I didn't want Mamma to think I agreed with it, she already hates Jordan because he spits on the stairs. I was at Noddy's clothes stall.
I saw the whole thing while Mamma was paying for my Chelsea shirt. It was X-Fire and Dizzy who actually got the lady's phone. They were very tricky: They made it look like an accident. The phone fell on the ground, then Jordan came from nowhere, picked the phone up and ran off with it. He squeezed into the crowd and was gone in one second. The day drew on and the sky began to darken. The pigeon was ready to go home.
It started to fly, forgetting that its wing was damaged — and fell on to the roof. But the darkening sky and the evening breeze made it long to go home. It took off again, and this time managed to fly to the roof of another house. Qiuhu followed it. He forgot about everything else and followed the pigeon. He wanted that pigeon with all his heart.
It was a struggle for the pigeon, with its injured wing, to fly from roof to roof. When the street lights came on, it had already flown to the edge of the small town, and as the houses thinned out, the roofs were getting further apart.
Although it was night-time, the sky had been clear all day, and the moon had come out early, and in the light of the moon and the streetlamps, it could still see quite clearly. There was a large graveyard ahead. The pigeon stood on the roof of a house, and hesitated.
Should it fly? Qiuhu was wondering if it would too. Qiuhu charged into the graveyard. In the grey dusk, he searched high and low, and eventually saw the pigeon, perching on a headstone.
He was careful not to startle it. If it flew off in this dim light, he might never be able to find it again. He hid behind a headstone, and watched in complete silence.
By now it was just a black shape. There were tombstones everywhere, of all different sizes. There was a light in the distance, but the graveyard itself was in darkness.
There is something particularly eerie about graveyards, and Qiuhu felt scared.
He was right. The pigeon had no intention of flying off. It stood on the headstone for a while, and then slowly settled into a squat.
He was tired, so he sat down and leaned against a headstone. Finally, he made a decision: he would catch it in a net! He thought this would be the most reliable way. Having made his decision, he quietly left the graveyard, went back to the lamplit street, and ran all the way home. There was a fishing net at home. He took it, and ran back to the graveyard so fast that his feet barely touched the ground.
He worried all the way: would it still be there on the headstone? Quietly, he laid the net on the grass, and sat down. He told himself not to be impulsive, but to sit tight and wait until he was absolutely sure before casting the net. He had to be patient. He had to wait quietly — for the pigeon to lower its guard, and fall asleep.
The small town became stiller and stiller. The autumn wind rustled the dry leaves and grass in the graveyard. He forgot about the pigeon and what he was doing in the graveyard.
His mind was miles away, thinking about things that were totally unrelated. His father was a hopeless gambler, and for all he knew was sitting at a gambling table, in some other dark place. Qiuhu thought about his mother. His father had been to jail because of his gambling, but what good did it do him?
The very next day he was back at the gambling table. His mother walked out. What else could she do? She left Qiuhu with his father, and took his little sister with her. The graveyard was no worse than home, thought Qiuhu. And, of course, he thought about Xiawang, his pigeon cote, and his pigeons. He looked up at the sky: it was a nightsky such as is only seen in autumn — high and clear, with the moon and stars especially bright.
He huddled up, then wrapped the fishing net around him. The night grew deeper. Qiuhu watched in the light of the moon — by this time the moon was already in the west — and he could see the pigeon resting perfectly still on the headstone.
The time had come. He began, slowly and with the utmost care, to gather the edges of the fishing net in his hands, then he waited until he could throw it exactly as he wanted. He wrapped it like a scarf around his neck, and crept through the bushes, inching his way towards the headstone. When he reached the ideal distance, he held his breath and moved forward very slowly, gradually removing the net from around his neck. He took a long time — it seemed like a century before he stood up in the bushes.
The pigeon was right there in front of him, its tail pointing straight at him. He could even hear the breaths coming from its body. He glanced at the moon, then roared and flung the net in front of him.
It opened out beautifully, like a giant mushroom in the moonlight. As soon as it landed, Qiuhu heard the gu-gu-gu of the pigeon and felt the net trembling feverishly. It reminded him of the time they netted a big fish, weighing over ten jin, in the river outside town — it was the same kind of trembling.
There could be no doubt, he had the pigeon in the net. The pigeon cried and struggled all the way. When he reached the street, and turned on to the road that would take him home, there was no one else in sight.
It was so quiet and empty! His body rocked from side to side as he started to sing, in an exaggerated and distorted accent, which sounded more like a howl: One two, three off to market — A man goes to buy rice. Four, five chimneys smoking — He brings the rice home. Seven, eight bowls on the table — His rice goes in the pan.
Nine, ten sprays of flowers — He scrapes out the last spoonful. Stop shouting! He would wrap it in a handkerchief, snugly enough for it to be comfortable, but without being able to move about. It looked easy, but it was not something that everyone could do. This man had spent a lifetime looking after pigeons, and was an expert. When Xiawang wrapped a pigeon in a handkerchief, he was using a simple technique that the man had taught him.
Before going into the classroom, Xiawang would unwrap the handkerchief, hold the pigeon in both hands, and gently release it into the sky. The pigeon, who had been used to this routine for a long time, would immediately spread its wings and fly off. Once in the sky, it would flap its wings noisily — flap! Before raising the pigeon to the sky, Xiawang would make a show of tucking a letter inside its leg ring.
Some of the other children had pigeons, and some did not, but all of them envied Xiawang. Immediately, every face turned in surprise, and looked in disbelief at Qiuhu. The children looked at Qiuhu for a while.
No one said a word. Qiuhu thought the children were ridiculous, but if they were ridiculous, then he was even more so. He kept this pose for a long time, as though fixed to the spot. And while everyone was looking dubiously at Qiuhu, there was a loud flapping of wings in the sky. It was a loud, crisp sound, like someone clapping their hands in the open air. The children turned to look at the sky.
The pigeon flew two loops in the sky above the school, then headed off to the south of the town. Do you know how much one of those pigeons costs? The next day, Qiuhu found a piece of cloth the size of a handkerchief, wrapped the pigeon in it and took it school. He wrapped it up, nice and neat, and very securely.
Qiuhu waited until there was a large crowd of children around him, then lifted the pigeon up high. Qiuhu quietly held it up, and slowly turned around. He wanted all the children to get a look at his pigeon.
Written on his face was: Did I cheat you? Can you see now that I have one of those pigeons? One glance was enough to know what kind of pigeon it was. Then he walked away, out of the school gate. He wanted to take the pigeon home. On the way, he felt so guilty. When he had found the pigeon it could still fly, but when he caught it in the net, it had struggled so hard that its wing had broken badly. Would it ever be able to fly again? But, at that moment, the sound of a pigeon came from inside the house.
He only had to hear a pigeon to know what breed it was. Qiu Shu patted Qiuhu on the head, smiled, and walked off. His head hung low. Qiu Shu went back inside. Maybe I can help. Qiuhu lifted the cage from the ground and handed it to him.
He stared at the pigeon for ages, then opened the cage door, and pulled it out. He examined its eyes and nostrils, then opened out its wings and tail. He looked at Qiu Shu and shook his head. Can you see? From then on, Qiu Shu went to see the pigeon every few days, with admiration and sadness in his eyes. I know you want to have a pigeon like this one, but do you really think this is a good way?
This is a male pigeon, and I happen to have a female pigeon without a mate. But this male of yours would be perfect! What do you think? When you have two of those pigeons, who knows, you could carry on breeding, one nest after another, and after a few years, who knows, you could be the pigeon king of this town. Qiuhu agreed immediately. Here are the eggs I promised you. Qiuhu had a pair of pigeons with two eggs that were due to hatch soon — the second egg had been laid two earlier.
After swapping the eggs, Qiuhu watched that pair of pigeons and the eggs with great interest. The pigeons behaved completely as expected. They took it in turns to mind the eggs and go out for food. The male went out early to search for food, and when he came back at about ten in the morning, he swapped places with the female, who had been sitting on the eggs all night. Then, while he sat on the eggs, the female went out for food.
When she came back at about five in the afternoon, she took over from him. He went out again to, and came back when it started to get dark. Then he stood on the pigeon cage and kept watch over the female in the cage all night. Qiuhu counted the days, and right on time, the eggs cracked and two baby pigeons emerged.
Qiuhu was so excited.Nine, ten sprays of flowers — He scrapes out the last spoonful. She was a female pigeon, and was the spitting image of her father. His football boots were on the railings tied up by their laces.
Who'd chook a boy just to get his Chicken Joe's? Besides knife crime, Pigeon English also addresses issues related to immigration. She wanted it to stay, you could tell. If it was me I'd want a tenner every time. Mamma was looking all over for a pigeon net. Seven, eight bowls on the table — His rice goes in the pan.