|Offerings of a bird man. Mixed media 251mm tall|
Jock Orr, the Birdman of Cathedral Square in Christchurch New Zealand died in 1988. I was 12. I remember him very well considering my age and the fact I've forgotten so many other things during that time. I remember nobody seemed to like him. He was thought of as very strange and frighting and maybe even dangerous. I remember the first time I saw him being ushered to the opposite side of my mother as we neared. I wonder now whether this is the basis of the opinions of him that have stuck with me. It was never hard to find him in the square. You just looked for a blur of chaotic white and grey billowing with the cries of seagulls and pigeons surrounded by a large gap in the crowd. I remember this as shameful. A stain on the tourist friendly image of my home town. A dirty singularity.
I've always been aware of the birds. They're everywhere. Fleeting in some way but steady in reserve. Mocking with flight. Closer to both reptiles and the heavens and never letting us forget it. I've seen them watching me with weary disregard. I feel the same, just with a healthy dose of jealously.
According to the Christchurch City Council website the remembrance plaque of Jock Orr is on north facing wall of the old Chief Post Office Building in Cathedral Square.