Avatar Not number one

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve found myself in a conversation about what was at number one in the charts when I was born. These conversations come up from time to time, probably more often than they deserve to, usually prompted by a DJ on the radio talking about it.

For a long time my answer has been “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie, number one in the UK charts in early May 1984. That’s quite a fun song to be at the top when I was born and usually gets a laugh. Great. Everyone’s happy.

Yesterday I looked it up to see what else was in the charts that week, and was dismayed to find that I had somehow got it wrong.

“Hello” was a UK number one single, and Lionel Ritchie with his blind student making a creepy clay head had a run of six weeks at the top of the charts in spring 1984. But that run ended in April, and by Sunday 5 May Lionel’s informal greeting based ballad was only just in the top ten. The number one single when I was born was actually “The Reflex” by Duran Duran, which is nowhere near as much fun. As you can imagine, I was distraught.

To cheer myself up, I decided to see if my birthday number one was better than yours.

Kev

Let’s hope Kev is a fan of Frankie Goes to Hollywood because they were apparently everywhere in late July 1984. They were at number one with “Two Tribes”, and also at number three with the famously banned orgasm themed classic “Relax”. The rest of the top ten is mostly forgettable; at number two is a novelty single spin-off from The Young Ones, and the rest include Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper and Shakatak. I feel like I’m on safe ground here.

Ian

Well, this is disappointing. Number one in mid-November 1983 was “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel, a massive singalong smash hit. Adding insult to injury is the rest of the top ten, which contains at least another five stone cold hits: “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney (and Jacko, but we’ll skim over that); “Love Cats” by the Cure; Men Without Hats’ ridiculous “Safety Dance”; “Karma Chameleon”; and even “All Night Long” by the very same Lionel Ritchie who callously abandoned me on my birthday.

In summary, then, I am disappointed that my birthday number one turns out to be a Duran Duran single, and not a very good one at that, and thanks to the fact that he basically cheated by being born in 1983, Ian wins.

Avatar The trouble with tyres

What you sometimes forget about your car is that, as well as a whole universe of complicated machinery and electronics, one of the things it needs in order to work properly is air. Your tyres are designed to imprison the right amount of air in exactly the place it’s required. I advise you to do your best to keep it there, and I will tell you why.

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Avatar Episode 23: Hiding Things

A Breath of Fresh Beans returns for season 4: The Skype Year(s).
In this glorious return the three of us discuss:

  • Secret blankets
  • Blanket mockery
  • Schrodinger’s Picture
  • Bed porn
PouringBeans
Episode 23: Hiding Things
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Avatar Travels with the Pernickety Dickhead

It is unfortunate but true that, for about two years between the ages of 21 and 23, I was an absolutely insufferable tool who would send snotty, condescending letters of complaint at the slightest provocation. This fact was recently brought to light when I raided my correspondence folder for material for a Virtual Winston Pub Quiz and found that almost everything in there was a shameful tirade to one company or another dating from the years 2005 to 2007.

Due to popular demand, I will now open up this archive of horrendous antisocial behaviour to the public for your enjoyment.

Read More: Travels with the Pernickety Dickhead »

Avatar Thank you

So, what was 2020 to you? Was it a unique opportunity to develop your skills in a new working environment? Was it a chance to take some time off, away from the humdrum 9 to 5, by sitting at home and scratching yourself in places you forgot were there whilst being paid 80% of your usual wage? Could you remember a time before this when standing in line at the cinema or your train being ten minutes late was the biggest inconvenience in your life (or 30 seconds late for some people given that they don’t exist in the real world)?

Let me pull back the blistering skin burn that we call this year to highlight the people and mostly inanimate objects that have helped this bag of meat and bones get through the last twelve months:

  1. Wappy the robo puppy – if bowing and slightly turning your head to the right was a skill then Wappy would win 2020 paws down. With his sleek futuristic blue and white design, his blank expression and limited move set have seen me through some difficult times.
  2. Flat (Tiger) Kitty – the fun-loving prankster has been up to all kinds of hijinks. For the last few months he has remained perfectly still wearing a baseball cap and pointing his Nerf gun at the door to the living room, ready to protect my flat at any costs. That crazy orange and black stuffed animal.
  3. Mr R. Brek – despite expiring four years ago (wait, no, five years ago… ten years ago?!), Mr Brek still continues to fill my life with warmth and love. He’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and last thing before the lights go out at night. A constant inspiration to prolonging a joke that was never funny in the first place, there will always be a place for him in my heart.
  4. Bri4n – a recent addition to the crew, the novelty robot has spent his time staring out the window at various passers-by. Whether raising his hand to salute dog walkers or keeping his arms aloft like a raging looney, there is still a lot of mileage left for this gimmick of gimmicks.
  5. Ted – though his physical presence was a hundred miles away, Ted was the only person (from memory) who actually sent me a letter this year. I also got some socks which was a cheeky bonus. I may still be puzzled as to whom Messy Monster is, and why I should share my socks with them, nonetheless his heartfelt message was one of the best things this year. Hopefully 2021 will provide the means of sending sausage rolls though the post safely.

Runners Up: Daisy the cow, the small collection of toys in the corner of my kitchen (who may have been acquiesced by a spider now they’re covered in webs), my tattoo of Archie the Badger from ‘Grandville’, my Pop Vinyl of Bob Ross and a tiny raccoon.

Oh and some other guys whose names I forget, Keith Harrup and Chas Millington maybe? You know who I mean.

Avatar Bank holidays

There’s a serious problem that we have all been completely failing to address, and it’s been going on for too long now. I have decided to fix it. The arrangement of bank holidays across the year is inconsistent, unfair and stupid.

Just look at this chart showing where all the bank holidays fell in 2020. What a mess.

Just spacing them out evenly wouldn’t bring an end to this madness, because there’s only seven of them. That would mean a wait of 52 days between free days off work, a barely acceptable waiting time.

The solution is obvious. More bank holidays, sprinkled evenly throughout the year, so we get one about every two weeks. That’s a massive win. Here’s my suggested list.

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Blue Monday
  3. Pancake Day
  4. Box Set Thursday
  5. Spring Cleaning Day
  6. St Patrick’s Heavy Drinking Day
  7. Good Friday
  8. Easter Monday
  9. First T-Shirt Day of the Year
  10. Eurovision Day
  11. The Other May Bank Holiday
  12. Boxing Day (relocated)
  13. Wimbledon Finals Day
  14. Beer Garden Friday
  15. Barbecue Day
  16. Holiday Packing Day
  17. Summer Bank Holiday
  18. DFS Sale Day
  19. Steak Pie and Mash Day
  20. Winter Coat Day
  21. Wellies and Leaf Crunching Day
  22. Bonfire Night
  23. Pyjama Wednesday
  24. Christmas Shopping Day
  25. Christmas Day
  26. New Year’s Eve

This results in a much better spread of bank holidays through the year, as shown below.

Please consider this the start of my campaign to enshrine these new bank holidays in law, and also the start of my campaign to be Prime Minister. Thank you.

Avatar Posh Outrage

You can imagine the scene, can’t you?

There I was, minding my own business, asking for a very simple birthday present when I was told, of all people, me, yes I know, that I wasn’t posh enough. The present in question was an afternoon with the very lovely Jeany Spark, an actress so lovely that I lost several pairs of eyes when watching her on my recent re-run of hilarious chortle-fest ‘Man Down’ because the loveliness overwhelmingly blinded me. I take eyes very seriously but I was willing to lose them for her.

So you can imagine my predicament, mainly because I have just explained the whole thing. I am not the kind of person who will take a glove slap in the face and walk away from it. With my trusty photographer in tow (that’ll be Master Reuben), I set out to show the world how posh I really am and when you see the results I expect you will know exactly what I mean.

Rather than clog the whole post up, I’ve used the modern facilities and supped the photos into an album which you should (should!) be able to view whenever you want.