When you live by the sea, gulls become a constant source of frustration. Here’s a column I wrote for West magazine:
As a child, ‘Jaws’ was one of those films I hid behind the sofa to watch. I’d dare myself to snatch glimpses of the scary (and simultaneously ridiculous) monster shark. Yet, as the increasingly leaden sequels piled up – like karaoke versions of the original – one thing began to grate with me.
Was the villain of the piece actually evil?
Surely the shark just did what came naturally? Even if ‘what came naturally’ included eating unsuspecting swimmers? I concluded that no animal, including sharks, is evil. They just occasionally do antisocial things, like eat people when they’re hungry.
I reached this conclusion long before I lived by the sea. Yet since my move West, I’ve discovered there’s an exception to every rule: in this case it’s the seagull. Seagulls aren’t like other animals. They are malignant, plotting, conniving, nasty creatures. Seagulls are a thumping headache in bird form, serving no purpose other than causing chaos – which they love.
By the 2nd ‘Jaws’ sequel, I felt sorry for the shark. I’ve never felt sorry for a seagull.”
One of my favourite interviews was for West Magazine – the Western Morning News’ weekend supplement – with Michelin starred chef John Burton Race. John has a reputation for being a little fiery, to say the least. But when we sat down for a chat he was an absolute pussy cat.