For some months after its unveiling Tempest Pigeon was interpreted by many as a minimalist exercise in the exploration of hubris. Others made the connection with the song Skyline Pigeon by Elton John, a poignant evocation of a yearning yet trapped soul, reflected in the picture of the ‘pigeon’ reaching for the sky with but a single wing (the other being symbolically ‘clipped’ by the artist). What could the ‘Parade’ refer to? Most assumed that it was an oblique reference to the ‘parade of life’, and our journey through it. Tempest was obviously a storm reference as well as being the name of the main stand. So most critics were in broad agreement that what we were presented with was a profound message in the form of a warning - an unfulfilled life, trapped, frustrated and symbolically ‘clipped’ can only lead to a ‘storm’ of repressed emotion which can in turn ruin the smooth passage through life. Sombre, yet touching.
“It’s a nice interpretation, I like it a lot. Very poetic... but to be honest, not quite what inspired me. What actually happened was that one of the Main Stand pigeons flew overhead before the Horsham game. I was making my way back to my ‘special place’ with a cup of tea and a tray of chips when the cursed beast dumped its load on me, much to the amusement of those around. ‘Mayo on the chips!’ was one of the cry’s that went up, I recall. After cleaning myself up as best as I could, I quickly painted the flag from scraps of material in the back of the car as a warning to my friends still queuing and I put it up at half time to dry.
We won with a last minute goal and an icon was born!”
Fleydon smiled quietly “But let’s keep that quiet shall we? I think I prefer the ‘official’ version…”
Composition in Black and Red (The Tempest Pigeon) is owned by AFC Wimbledon and is flown at times of increased pigeon activity