"Happiness won't leave me alone," says the bird in his nest.

I have a little space heater that I keep in my kitchen because the kitchen is where it's coldest. The wind whips against our old apartment building and rattles the old windows and sets the sparrows and the starlings fluttering into my thin walls where they've made their nests. If there was ever any insulation in those thin walls, it must be long gone.

I don't know what to do about these birds. I knock on the walls where I hear their noise, hoping to scare them away. Sometimes I bark like a dog. They are like Newark Avenue's homeless, curling themselves up into dark shadows at the doorsteps of bodegas and newsstands. They are treeless beggars and I feel sorry for them, I do, but I don't want them in my walls. While I'm at work, I'm sure they squirm and tunnel and hop their way into the apartment, drink my beer, steal my change, listen to my records. I can see them there now, squawking around on the orange couch, spinning my new Miles records.

This is true: Upon arriving home after a weekend attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I found smatterings of bird poop decorating my apartment—a speck here, a streak there. To this day, I'm still discovering little birdie love letters deposited in the secret reaches of my apartment. I have not found the bird(s).

On days like this after nights like last, my old, crooked apartment is particularly cold. It's difficult to bear, and I prepare and dress especially fast. Before leaving for the office, I smile at my hi-fi, knock on the walls, bark three times, and hold my face in front of the little space heater until I remember what summer feels like. In my mind, I hear Belle & Sebastian's "Piazza, New York Catcher."

Trey's picture

Those pointey toed bastards will scratch the hell out of your vinyl if you let them.I lost a first pressing import copy of The White Album to them under similar circumstances. They tried to steal it, I came home to find it beside the barely cracked window. The feathered fiends were unable to maneuver the discs through the door, so they then did the Mexican Hat Dance all over my pristine vinyl. Just for spite.Now Paul sings "Why don't we do-do, Why don't we do-do."While I grudgingly respect their sense of humor, the birdie vandalism infuriates me.Be warned.Trey

mrlowry's picture

I love Belle & Sebastian, but "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" is their worst album. Not bad necessarily, but certainly a bit of a misstep. "If You're Feeling Sinister" and "The Boy With The Arab Strap" are my favorites

leonard's picture

unlike mrlowry, love DCW and "Piazza, New York Catcher" in particular (although Sinister is their best work). In any event, nice imagery.

Jim Teacher's picture

Agree with leonard. Hated the record when I first heard it, but I find it improves on repeated listening. Ones of those records that seems to get better towards the end, in my view--love "Stay Loose," which is all, like, Madness or Joe Jackson or something.

My dad would eat those pigeons. "In Italy, they eat them."

mrlowry's picture

They eat pigeons almost everywhere in the world. They were originally imported to the United States AS food.

Robert Helms's picture

I really enjoy "Dear Catastrophe Waitress". It is one of my favorite albums of theirs. I find it funny that I run into this post just as I was putting the vinyl on. It was probably one of my best purchases. Some record shop in Nashville had it brand new for $9.99, cheaper than the CD. Wish I could find new vinyl for that now :(