seagulls: a users guide

First-time visitors to Brighton – and, as a matter of fact, those who might have moved there on a whim – can often be confused and upset by the sight of large winged dogs swooping at them out of the sky.

The seagull, theoretically a member of the bird family, is likely to unsettle the hardiest traveller and resident alike. However, armed with the proper information and tools to deal with the problem, there is no reason why man and enormous angry beast-bird-that-shits-like-a-badun should not peacefully coexist.

Apart from the fact that the seagulls dont seem to feel like it.


It is thought that the original prehistoric settlement of Brighton was made by a happy, if simple, pierced people with a diet entirely composed of blended fruit and yoghurt and a primitive layered form of food group layering known as the nachomountin, who both worshipped and feared the direct pterodactyl descendents with whom they shared their land. Um, air. You know, space.

The people settled in the Land of the Yellow-Beaked Pterodactyl hoping that the mighty beast would in time come to love and protect them, and they, in turn, could come to know their ways, and perhaps sometimes cook and eat them, although in an entirely loving and respectful way.

Unfortunately, this didnt happen. The Yellow-beaked pterodactyl very quickly learned the ways of the simple tribe, conspiring to keep them awake to make them weak, pooing on all they loved best, and stealing from their precious nachomountins when they werent looking. The soft, huddled, disco-loving masses were genuinely, and understandably, afeared of their giant, angry, winged neighbours.

In fact, the name Brighton is thought to be a corruption of the word Frighton. According to the Magna Carta, Frightoned was the sign the newly-literate and scared-shitless tribe put at the edge of their encampment to try and attract help from the outside world. Sadly, the Yellow-beaked pterodactyls shat on the sign, rendering it Frighton. Curious, neighbouring tribes wandered in in packs, and discovering the Frightoneans frightoned no one, they ate from their nachomountin, weed on their promenade and left, satisfied. The Frightoneans grew bored of this, and in time adjusted the sign again, becoming Brighton. A name they believed would attract a better class of visitor. Sadly, this turned out not to be the case.

Meanwhile, while the Yellow-beaked pterodactyls soon learned to live off the Brightoneans, the Brightoneans, unfortunately, never learned to live off the seagull – as it became known (a corruption of Beagle, the family it was presumed to belong to for a while during the enlightenment) – and have been mainly vegetarian ever since.


The seagull can be anywhere between one metre and nine metres tall, and has a corresponding wingspan of between 9 and 47 metres. Up close, they can be discovered to be as large as 79m big.

While not strictly accurate, this does, at least, represent the essence of the beast, which is, simply, Essence du Fucking Large (Pour Hommeseagull et Femmeseagull) TIt should be noted that there is, incidentally, no discernable difference whatsoever between Les Hommeseagulll et les Femmeseagull except that one is more likely to peck you to death if you approach a nest during chicking season, and the other is more likely to peck you to death for absolutely no reason whatsoever. By the time you have discovered the gender of the psychopath, then, it is usually too late. It is useless anyway. What are you going to do, ask them out for drinks-and-perhaps-a-little-dancing-lets-see-what-happens?

Almost all of their gargantuan height, width and girth is constructed of solid reinforced steel, with a thin covering of white, grey and black fur over the top and the business end of and ice-pick stuck to the front, painted yellow and known as the beak.

Baby seagulls are easily identified by their adorable fluffiness. They are brown-grey, and thought to be very soft, though no hard evidence exists to confirm this, as anyone who ever got close enough to find out was immediately pecked to death. While exceptionally cute from a distance, a close encounter with an infant seagull is like watching the old lady in the park call forlornly for her darling dog Flupster, and joining in to help, before turning around and realising you have summoned satan, and have him – in Flupster the Giant Slavering Rottweiler form – running toward you full pelt. And with his mouth open. And that mean nasty look in his eye.


Big seafood fans, it was once widely touted that seagulls spend much of their leisure time following trailers, in the knowledge that sardines will be thrown into the sea. Unfortunately, while this poetic behaviour may continue in the more wistful areas of international coastline, where EU fishery laws stretch to whimsy, in Brighton the trawler/sardine theory has long since collapsed under the weight of the more practical time- and energy-saving Oh screw it why dont we just rip open rubbish bags seagull conjecture.

By start of the business day, the centre of town may have been buffed into loveliness by crack street-cleaning squads, but little hours earlier I pick my way through piles of eggshells or crusted milk cartons and yesterdays tampons, feeling like the pale orphan in a Victorian novel and hoping against hope that I dont die of cholera anytime soon. If I do die of cholera, you will think of Little Anna fondly from time to time, wont you, kind sir? Box of matches for your trouble? Only a hapenny? *Cough*.

They also eat battered things. And chips. And candyfloss, and donuts, and lollypops and ice cream and anything else they can garner from dive-bombing raids on small seafront children.

Like the evil nemisissies in superhero comics, the seagulls are given special powers by eating toxic and tapas waste – powers that they refuse to use for good.


The main language of the seagull is a hooligan cry of RWAAAAAAAK! This is not to be confused with the hooligan cry of mid-eighties big-hair metal bands(RAAAWK!), although it can sound quite similar. Other common noises include Booiiiii, Boooiiiii, Boooiii and NakNakNakNakNAk

RWAAAAAAK is translatable into english, although is too coarse for this family publication.
Boooiiii, Boooiii, Boooiiii is a warning cry to anyone who might be thinking of fucking with one seagulls right to ravish rubbish repositories in the privacy of his own main road, while
NakNakNakNakNak is thought to simply mean WhatEver, in a very dismissive tone indeed.

Toilet habits

The area covered by the arial release of liquidised-bin-matter from 200ft in the air is a remarkable thing to behold. Bearing in mind that the expellation is from the pressure cabin of a 79-foot-big bird, it is incredible that the area covered is usually only one square half-kilometre. But thats about the size it is. And fall it does like rain, but stickier, and more stainy.


The Brighton branch of Habitat did for a while produce a range of designer nest-furniture, thinking that there was a huge market waiting to take off, but there were several things they neglected to take into consideration. Like high-volume-pooing window shoppers. And the fact that seagulls dont have any money. Unfortunately, the Habitat Gull-range folded within oh! Oh do you mean where do they live?

Oh I dont know. Roofs. Cliffs. Oh, NakNakNakNakNak.

Positive gull points

A strong protective family instinct is surely something to be commended in anyone or anything, even if it does lead to excessive detrimental physical injury to others. As a wise Brightonean once said to me: Walk close to the wall in chicking season this is true. One never knows when you might get accused of looking at someones nest funny.

It is rumoured they might keep the local mouse-population very low indeed. I say rumoured. I mean one part of my phobic-neurotic brain made up and whispered to the slightly more neurotic-phobic part that

Also, it is often said that the sight of the gulls circling over the sea at sunset is a beautiful sight. This is true for two reasons.
1) Swirly things are nice
2) It means they are reassuringly far away. Look! Theyre all the way over THERE! Oh, Thank Jings for that.

How to recognise a seagull: A five point guide

1) Is it big?
2) Is it terrifying?
3) Is it attacking you?
4) Is it speaking in a garbled, unintelligable tongue?
3) Is it hacking at your rubbish bags?

If yes to all five, it is probably a seagull.
Or a monster.
Or an angry tramp.

Or a pig/pittbull-cross.

Or perhaps your ex-girlfriend. I dont know.


Methods of survival, avoidance, and protection: what you as one human being can do in the face of a seagull onslaught

Nothing. There is nothing you can do.