With literally everyone in the world carping on with interminable incredulity about how a pair of cockatiel-lookalikes are still managing to peddle their prancing karaoke on X-Factor week in, week out, I decided it was time for me to stick my oar in.
Luckily, though, when I was double-checking the correct spelling of the word cockatiel on the internet, I stumbled across a website that jolted me out of my banality-induced stupor and reminded me there’s a vast universe stuffed with more interesting things to write about than a couple of wannabe twats trying to impress a giant erection on a TV talent show.
The website was called The Definitive Guide to Cockatiels. I was immediately reassured that any world where a person as fantastically loopy as its author, Jessica Harrison (The Cockatiel Girl), can exist is indeed a truly wonderful place.
I clicked through to the site and, wow, what an absolute, stark-raving bonkers joy it is.
“Learn amazing cockatiel secrets you can’t find anywhere else on the internet,” the homepage coos. The site is ostensibly an advert for Harrison’s cockatiel-flavoured e-book, ‘The Definitive Guide to Cockatiels and other Cockatoos: A Comprehensive Guide to Cockatiels and other Cockatoos’.
It goes into quite some detail.
By far the best section is the ridiculously detailed breakdown of what you can learn if you buy the book, the snappily titled ‘Here Is A Summary of all the Gold Nuggets You Will Discover in ‘Definitive Guide to Cockatiels’ (but be Warned… Your Friends Might Start Calling You the ‘Cockatiel BUFF’, Just Like Me’).
There’s so much undiluted madness here that you really need to see it for yourself, but as we’re all pushed for time between sounding off on Facebook and frantically scribbling tear-stained complaints to ITV about the continuing success of X-Factor’s bloody Grimes twins (which, by the way, is quite patently a ratings-boosting stunt), I’ve hand-picked a few gleaming gems of cockatiel advice from the list for your delectation and annotated them with a small selection of my own incisive musings. Here we go:
1. How to Understand What Your Cockatiel Wants, Needs, or What its Funky Behaviour Means.
Funky behaviour. I’m not sure what this could be, but I’m presuming it’s caused when the bird gets jacked up on cocaine while listening to too much Jamiroquai. Don’t worry, though: the next chapter appears to contain advice on how to get your little feathery addict back on the straight and narrow…
2. How to Keep Your Cockatiel Clean and Powder-free
And if you don’t succeed in getting the bird to go cold turkey, at the very least try to make sure it doesn’t fall victim to any of these nasty afflictions…
3. Find out the Causes of Scaly Leg and Face Mite in Cockatiels.
Face mite – nice. Next…
4. How to Stop a Cockatiel from Screaming.
Er, how to do what now? Apparently, this is something of a prevailing issue for cockatiel owners, as the topic is also covered in the similarly monikered sections: ‘Find Out if You Can Teach Your Bird Not to Scream’; ‘Discover Why a Cockatiel Screams’; and ‘See How Long You Can Let Your Bird Scream Every Day’. Crikey.
Well, if you had scaly leg or face mites you’d be screaming, too, but the necessity of this chapter’s presence in the book becomes even more apparent when you move on to…
5. See Whether You Should Punish Your Bird if it Doesn’t Obey You.
Hmmm. Probably not – IT’S A FUCKING BIRD! And what the hell are cockatiel fans trying to make them do apart from sit in a cage and chirp anyway? Oh hang on, I get it…
6. See if Cockatiels Enjoy Dancing, Roller-skating, Climbing etc.
And if they don’t, you know how to punish them because you’ve bought this barking mad book. And presumably, if that doesn’t work and you’re getting a bit bored of the little bird, the next chapter will offer advice on what to do next…
7. Learn Whether it is Okay to Keep Them in a Cage All of the Time.
In a cage. ALL of the time. Once you’ve got it where you want it, move on to the next chapter. But be warned, things get a bit salacious, a bit wrong, from here on…
8. Discover How to Tell When a Female Cockatiel is Sexually Mature and Find Out Whether Two Males Can Be Together.
Erm, okay. It goes on…
9. 1 Male 1 Female?
Interesting, but my personal favourite is…
10. 2 Males 1 Female.
Or One Filthy Chick Takes Two Giant Cock(atiel)s.
Now, you might think I’m twisting this a little bit. Of course I am, it’s all innocent, above-board advice for the loving, caring fans of cockatiels and other cockatoos. But I’ll leave the final word to the Cockatiel Girl herself, Jessica Harrison:
“If our very special report on cockatiels doesn’t help you have a truly ecstatic experience with your very own cockatiel – I’ll give you your money back, no questions asked.”
Brilliant. Just brilliant.