Avatar One from the Archives – “Lyrics”

What do you do when you have a habit of keeping almost every scrap of paper that either someone wrote something on or drew a silly picture on? Eventually you have no choice but to sift through that paper and determine what stays and what goes.

As a parent, I was duty bound to keep a lot of Reuben’s pictures. Some were merely because they were cute and reminded me of simpler times, others were because they were downright weird and prompted referring to a psychiatrist for confirmation as to whether it was time to call the men in white coats. Shame you can’t call it a looney bin anymore because it’s not politically correct. It’s not a real bin full of loonies, how would anyone ever confuse a large building full of crazy people with a bin? Silly. I suppose looney building doesn’t have the same ring to it. “I’m going to put you in a looney office,”

Mixed in with some frightening scribbles of monsters ripping people in two and an invention of mine called the ‘Scuba Umbrella’, I found some hand-written lyrics for two of the Papples most played / most requested / best loved songs of all times: ‘Mincey Beef’ and ‘(Do it)’, the latter of which is a lot harder to type at 11pm at night.

Does it offer an insight into the collective minds at work? Does it share the rare genius hammering out the hits during a prolific time in their career? Not really. The top left-hand corner reveals what I think I was trying to crowbar into the song: mince, beef (obviously), nen tosh, Shergar (?), Aberdeen angus and no neddy beef. The rest is pretty much the lyrics of the song verbatim with the odd tweak here and there, no doubt as a result of hours of sweat and toil in the recording studio working out the best arrangement.

Let us not forget the immortal words: “Beef is back, meat attack.”

‘(Do it)’ is less interesting because there was only two strips of lyrics and nothing on the back. These were probably used as the starting blocks of the songs because they were transferred to somewhere more permanent, a larger piece of paper or a notebook, or maybe even a word document. It’s hard to remember the long ago times as we all know.

Avatar Dangle a dongle

A dongle is a gay wooden jigsaw puzzle designed to hang on the wall.

It comes with your own initials carved out of it.

And you can choose whether you have a bird, cat, dog, Christmas tree, train or flower motif at the bottom.

Directions: use paper and an envelope. Enclose 80p for each letter of your initial or name.

Ask for: a dongle. State the initials and motif that you want.

Write to: Dept FSFK, Puzzleplex, Stubbs Walden, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN6 9BY

Avatar Election puffins?

Kev’s done the traditional Puffins? post this year, but I had this saved up already, and next year Puffin Day won’t be an election day, so I’m not wasting it.

That makes it… DOUBLE PUFFIN DAY!

Avatar Puffins?

Ian and Chris have both had multiple shots at this… so this year its my turn. Its a huge honour, I know, but I’m ready. I can do this. I’ve got it. Leave it to me.

Recently we did a trip ‘ooop norrrth’ to Amble, which confusingly isn’t Ambleside where I’m heading in another few weeks time. Anyway, this Amble is on the Northumberland coast, and just a bit further up is Seahouses. In Seahouses you can get on a boat. The boat will take you to an island. The island is called Inner Farne. Inner Farne is full of… PUFFINS!

Here are some actual pictures of actual puffins I took with my own camera-phone…

Avatar Where are the Marcus Rashfords of British tennis? The truth is they’re still not welcome

I expect you’ve seen it by now, but my article was finally published in today’s Guardian.

As you know, I’m a coach supporting talented, underprivileged young players – and it’s no surprise so few of them make it to Wimbledon. But you’ll know that because I talk about it a lot.

Anyway, it would be great if you could read my article and let me know what you think. I spent ages on it.

Avatar Culture in the workplace: newsflash

Almost two years ago, in July 2022, you might remember that I blessed the toilets at work with a second piece of artwork. Thanks to my efforts to improve the lives of my colleagues, Piet Mondrian’s Composition London 1940-42 has been gracing the gents for the last 23 months.

I now need to report to you an important development. Since 2021 I have been placing beautiful artworks in the toilets, but now it appears I am not alone. Last week, Mondrian made way for a new image, placed there by an unknown hand.

It’s undeniable that the new artwork is a little less highbrow than my choices, but art is for the people, and I am not going to stand in the way of a more populist approach if it increases the appeal of the men’s toilets.

We’ll see how long Werther’s Original Man lasts. When he disappears I’ll collect your suggestions for a replacement with mass appeal, if the mystery curator doesn’t get there first.