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Pigeons

AE, Marlborough: protected

AE "AE" burglar alarm, Marlborough • I'm assuming this is a triangular monogram saying AE, which would be a clever piece of typography. Alternately it could represent a 3D letter "A" with stripey sides. Either way, like yesterday's AAI, it's clearly designed to fill the whole delta – and unlike this wonky ASG, is protected from pigeons / seagulls, too. • Spotted: Town centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Devizes
AE, Marlborough: protected

“MR”, Islington: ultimate deterrent

"MR Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, the ultimate nightmare – when pigeon spikes stop working. This row of shops was encrusted with spikes, but also with bird poo. Time to call in the hawks...  • Spotted: Stroud Green Road, Islington, London, N4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North Above: a hawk – the ultimate pigeon deterrent
“MR”, Islington: ultimate deterrent

“Fox”, York: screeching stalker

"Fox Systems" burglar alarm, York • This alarm just looks like someone stuck a load of giant hatpins on it, though the stalking fox lends an air of surrealism. (The fox is a popular burglar alarm beast, as I shall illustrate soon.) My local area is aswarm with both foxes and pigeons, whose habits of night time screeching and daytime shitting are not a great combination. I blame Ken Livingstone, who had the pigeons chased away from Trafalgar Square with hawks. They all ended up on my balcony, and presumably the foxes followed. • Spotted: Swinegate Court East, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Fox”, York: screeching stalker

“Krypton”, Nottingham: noble gas

"Krypton Security" burglar alarm, Nottingham • Blimey – even Krypton can't keep the evil pigeons at bay! OK, I know it's Krypronite that can nobble Superman; Krypton, apart from being the fictional planet he came from, is in real life a rare but slightly dull "noble gas", shown bottled below. • Spotted: Forman Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham East Above: a vial of glowing ultrapure krypton (from Images of Elements)
“Krypton”, Nottingham: noble gas

“Direct”, Beckenham: terror eyes

"Direct Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Aha, there's room on top of this burglar alarm for a really avant-garde pigeon deterrent. Nothing as mundane as spikes, though: how about a pretend owl with a rotating head at £16.99 (below), an ultrasonic sound system for just £880.55, or – barmiest of all – a giant orange balloon with animated "terror eyes", only £70.90? No? Kind of shows why pigeon spikes are so popular. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham Above, barmy so-called bird scarers: swivelly-headed owl, ultrasonic sound system and giant orange "terror eyes" ball
“Direct”, Beckenham: terror eyes

“3D”, Winchester: WWII spike machine

"3D Security Systems Defend Deter Detect" burglar alarm, Winchester • Defend, Deter, Detect – an ambitious claim which unwittingly sugests this firm is third, rather than first, choice for defence. It clearly needs help with pigeons though: perhaps they use the eponymous "Defender" pigeon spikes from Jones & Son, who sport a brilliant logo with a pigeon standing on it, and seem to have cornered the market. Much as I dislike the look of bird spikes, saving the nation from disappearing beneath piles of guano seems a noble enough cause, especially as the firm offers – perhaps rashly – a large bar of chocolate if they don't answer pigeon control email queries within two hours. They also have a crazy reconditioned WWII wire-bending machine on which they make the spikes – perfect cover for a Blitz alarm! • Spotted: Town centre, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Winchester
“3D”, Winchester: WWII spike machine

“GCD”, Windsor: punk haircut

"GCD Security" burglar alarm, Windsor • This sounder looks like it's got a punk haircut, and I like the way Thunderbirds-modern Eurostile font logo matches the cobalt sky. You don't often get days like this in England – apart from the burglar alarm, the scene looks more like Florida than Windsor. The photo was taken by a very patient burglar alarm-hunting companion, who's actually more interested in Neanderthals than burglars, and tweets about our ancient ancestors here.• Spotted: Town centre, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Windsor
“GCD”, Windsor: punk haircut

“Banham”, Westminster: rockabilly quiff

"Banham" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is the first time I ever noticed a burglar alarm adorned with pigeon spikes: it struck me as quite amusing, especially as Banham's shield shape looks like a head with a rockabilly quiff. It's in Goodwins Court, a really old-fashioned gas-lit alley full of bow-fronted shops – built around 1690 and little changed today – tucked away between the Strand and Covent Garden (there's a good article about it here). Predictably, it's now part of a Harry Potter tour, though it's not the original "Diagon Alley" – that's thought to be nearby Cecil Court, famed for its quaint non-virtual shops selling weird and wonderful (and stupidly expensive) old books. • Spotted: Goodwins Court, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2003 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Banham”, Westminster: rockabilly quiff

“Globe”, Lewisham: wonkily cowering

"Globe Security" burglar alarm, Lewisham • What I like about this is the contrast between aspiration and reality (one of the driving factors behind my entire burglar alarm collection, in fact). The sounder belongs to proudly-named Globe Security, suggesting megalomaniacal international reach with its image of an entire hemisphere. And yet here it is, wonkily cowering in a back alley of Deptford, South London – not even armed with its own guano deterrent but lurking behind a filthy pigeon-spiked security light, and semi-obscuring a ventilation grille. Aah, Deptford: home to half the world's races, quite possibly, but hardly a glamorous hub of global domination. • Spotted: Resolution Way, Lewisham, London, SE8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford
“Globe”, Lewisham: wonkily cowering

“AFA”, Birmingham: poo-brown paint

"AFA Security Systems" burglar alarm, Birmingham • A mournful corner of one of Birmingham's many surviving brutalist quarters, housing a poor old AFA alarm that's not only rusty, but effaced with poo-brown paint. Hardly worth protecting with pigeon spikes you'd think, but there they are in all their grimy glory, adding yet another layer of dolour to the scene. • Spotted: Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood
“AFA”, Birmingham: poo-brown paint

“Rely-a-Bell” and “Essex”, Tower Hamlets: crowned

"Rely-a-Bell" and "Essex Security Services" burglar alarms, Tower Hamlets • Another striking composition from the endlessly-picturesque Petticoat Lane area, which is studded with vintage alarms. These have got two lines of defence: a communal half-veil of pigeon netting, and individual mini-crowns of pigeon spikes protecting their exposed heads. They're very well preserved, so it seems to have worked. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Rely-a-Bell” and “Essex”, Tower Hamlets: crowned

“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

"Essex Security Services" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This seasidey sunbleached sounder looks like it's been caught in a fishing net. In fact it's another example of pigeon netting, necessary because the alarm resides in the same torrential guano zone as these revolting ADTs. The lovely old Essex logo looks like it pre-dates the chain-link example of a few days ago, but as you can see from the comment below I'm wrong: one of the company's head honchos tells me it's a later design. It's more attractive, but it's also a lot more violent: three immense curved sabres, enough to see off burglars and arial arse bombers alike. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

“Colt”, Westminster: dark horse

"Colt Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, how to protect one's burglar alarm from a tsunami of avian arse emissions? One solution is a veil of pigeon netting, here enveloping a Colt alarm in such full-on burqua mode you can barely see it. A dark horse indeed, ha ha. • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Colt”, Westminster: dark horse

“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: yellow peril

"Wilkin Alarms Sheffield" burglar alarm, Sheffield • The common theme of all these poo-struck alarms is the colour yellow, which perhaps in some mysterious way loosens birdy bowels. This virulent lemon example really does look like a piece of contemporary art. Which I realise isn't a great advertisement for contemporary art. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: yellow peril

“Initial Shorrock”, Herne Bay: seaside smear

"Initial Shorrock" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • This nasty little smear was found in the seaside town of Herne Bay, so it may have emanated from the rear of a seagull rather than a pigeon – it does look like it was dropped at speed from a great height. Not the world's most exciting piece of birdshit, but one with a smidgeon of irony, as Initial are a vast industrial cleaning company. • Spotted: Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Initial Shorrock”, Herne Bay: seaside smear

“Co-op Sunwin”, Stoke-On-Trent: brutalist tears

"United Co-op Sunwin Security" burglar alarm, Stoke-On-Trent • My family are from the Midlands, so I know that despite spawning heavy metal and Robbie Williams, the locals are decent people. But the sad fact is that a lot of the area is visually pretty dispiriting, and nowhere more so than the brutalist townscapes of the Potteries (except they don't make much pottery there any more, which is part of the problem). This about sums it up: a vast expanse of grey wall punctuated by a worn-out Co-op burglar alarm, rain-streaked with a white substance that could be pigeon shit, leached-out concrete, or the tears of a decommissioned lime kiln. • Spotted: Hanley town centre, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Stoke on Trent Central
“Co-op Sunwin”, Stoke-On-Trent: brutalist tears

“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

"Intruder Alert" and "ADT" burglar alarms, Tower Hamlets • This colourfully crusty corner is the sort of architectural detail that got me interested in photographing burglar alarms in the first place. There's only one kind of intruder causing problems here, and it's got feathers rather than a swag bag. Not to mention a very runny arse. • Spotted: White Church Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

“Britannia”, Tower Hamlets: pigeon problems

"Britannia Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Birds are an extremely popular motif on burglar alarms, but there's one that never features: the pigeon (unless you include “Small Non-Feral Pigeon Security Systems”, aka Dove). Which is odd, because in real life pigeons adore bell boxes – the unsalubrious consequences of which we shall discover tomorrow. • Spotted: Bethnal Green Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency
“Britannia”, Tower Hamlets: pigeon problems