Avatar Four Word Reviews: Tenor at the Movies

I cannot explain how Four Word Reviews work. The CDs just arrive, I don’t choose them, and they arrive by their own mysterious schedule. Right now I have a lot of them stacked up. Being in a position where I had a lot to choose from, I took a punt on Jonathan Ansell’s Tenor at the Movies, basically because I’d never heard of him. Here he is, look.

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Avatar Four Word Reviews: Voice of the Violin

Plan A for this month’s Four Word Review was Cher Lloyd, obviously. But there is no Cher Lloyd on the CD in that box. So, with some reluctance, I have had to change my plan. I couldn’t face Kavana. Not yet. So where else is there to turn? What might soothe my frayed nerves and calm me after this disconcerting change of plan? I turn back to the pile of dreadful CDs, once again growing at an alarming rate. I pass on Pete Waterman’s Motown collection. Ah yes, here we go. This guy. This guy will do nicely.

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Avatar King for a Day

Early. Bleary-eyed. Rummaging through emails before work and there it is.

Now I have my fair share of luck like everyone else. I’m not swimming in lottery wins yet occasionally the cosmos chucks me a bone and a I manage a few numbers in the Chunderball. It’s a balancing act no doubt due to my years of annoying people and general sanctimonious behaviour. Yes, me.  Look at me.

“Congratulations! You’re our Mastercard Competition WINNER!”

I’m your what the what now? This email sat in my inbox is telling me I’m a winner. It is praising me for winning more than anyone else. I am a winner. I have won a VIP trip for two adults to attend the UEFA Champions League Final Madrid 2019. I would rather stick my eye sockets in a paste of pepper and lemon juice than have anything to do with fucking football but even so, it does come with hotel accommodation and a £250.00 prepaid card so I can stick twos up at the final and go off to get hammered in some squalid Spanish bar, where the locals can pick my pocket when I am stumbling back to my hotel room around 7pm or however long it takes for me to get wasted these days.

This is pushed to one side by my acute distinct overwhelming sense of pessimism. “What do you think you’re doing? You actually believe you’ve won a competition? When did you enter this competition”

“I… I erm I don’t er… I didn’t?”

“Well done, genius! You didn’t. Why on earth would you have entered a competition to win tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final? It’s clearly a sham. It’s a fake. They’re trying to scam your sorry ass for a quick buck.”

Having checked the details, even though it looked like a genuine email I was inclined to agree with my pessimism that it was some hoodlums attempting swindle the last few pennies from my account. Like with all great phishing scandals, I sent a message to Zavvi saying that I had received an email that looked about as legitimate as a Smidge Manly Coco Loco advertisement from Spain, and asked them to verify if this was the case. I received a response a few hours later, two responses in fact. It seems as though a lot of people had received the same email I had because the first reply was a mass-produced email from Zavvi apologising for their error. This was further confirmed by the poor customer service adviser who had to message me back to say that I had not won the tickets, as well as several tweets from people on Twitter who had gone through the same highs and lows as I had.

So in one sense I have missed out on the chance of flying to Spain to live out a brief fantasy of downing alcohol in a foreign country. On the other hand though I have avoided a poxy holiday based around a shit game of football.

Hotter Otter out.

Avatar Interlude

Ladies and gentlemen, we have now reached approximately the mid point of this website, so this is a suitable time to take a short break. Please feel free to take this opportunity to visit the bathroom or step out into the foyer to avail yourself of our wide range of beers, wines, spirits and snacks.

Part two of Pouring Beans will begin in a few minutes. In the meantime, please enjoy five minutes of gleeful silliness that everyone of sound mind ought to have in their lives.

Avatar Trekkin’ Abroad: Norman D.

So many posts in so few days. It’s almost like it’s the end of the month and people have one eye on the Bean Counter.

No matter. This isn’t just any post, this is important. Listen carefully.

I am posting to the Beans from a foreign location. I am, literally, Trekkin’ Abroad at this exact moment. I am within a country apparently called Norman D., though as yet I have been unable to ascertain its surname. However, armed only with this rudimentary information, I’ve narrowed down some likely suspects.

Norman Dodgin

An English footballer, who mainly played defensive positions, Norman Dodgin’s professional career lasted from the late 1940s to the early 1950s and he died in 2000.

Norman Douglas

An author, most famous for his 1915 book South Wind, Norman Douglas died in 1952 – interestingly, at a time when Norman Dodgin was at the height of his professional football career. A coincidence? Unlikely.

Norman Dyhrenfurth

Confusingly born in Breslau, a German city that no longer exists because it’s now called Wroclaw and in Poland, Norman Dyhrenfurth was a cinematographer who produced movies for National Geographic in the 1960s and is apparently also known for a film released in 2007, which is two years after his death. He was born on May 7th, the same as me. Another coincidence? Unlikely.

Clearly these are the three most eminent Norman D.’s in the world, and so logically if I am in a place called Norman D. then I must be in one of them. All three are dead, which brings the unsettling but inevitable conclusion that I have gone on holiday to a corpse. However, it seems to be a reasonably nice corpse, with a pleasant apartment that has a balcony and a short walk to shops and bars around an attractive harbour front setting, so if this is life inside a dead body it’s not all bad.

I am due to leave this place on Sunday and if any further information about the location or identity of Norman D. comes to light, I will share it here.

Avatar Kitty Chang

Last night I met this kitty.


(The photo shows the cat in motion because it didn’t stay still for long.)

I wanted to share this cat with you because it is the first time I have ever met a Chinese cat and what with one of our members being Chinese I thought they might know each other. 

This particular cat lived for the first six years of its life in Beijing, and its owners brought it to London when they moved here. About a year later they moved to a new flat where kitties are not allowed and the Chinese cat was rehomed with my friend Andy.

The cat has a Mandarin name that means “Little Black” and which is very hard to pronounce so these days it is generally addressed as “mate”.

Avatar Trekkin’ Abroad: More France

I went to France again, this time for two actual weeks. I made a number of important discoveries to supplement the important knowledge I gained on my last visit.

  1. France has almost no vegetables. Eating green things is considered suspicious and even ordering a “salad” in a restaurant will cause you to be served with a steak, a large portion of chips, a thick peppercorn sauce and a single leaf of curly lettuce. This is not a bad thing in itself, but I am concerned that the majority of the French population may be permanently constipated.
  2. My skin, especially the skin on the top of my head which has only really been able to see daylight for the last year or two, is liable to burn even when protected by a hat and a layer of factor 30 suncream thick enough to dip crisps in.
  3. I am suffering pastry withdrawal symptoms.
  4. French kitties who live in flowerbeds in the street do not want to be your friend.
  5. Forgetting to post to the Beans while away will cause you to lose one bean on the Bean Counter. The Bean Counter is unforgiving of holiday time.

I was hoping to gather more information over a two week period, but the French are a crafty people, and ensured I was plied with excellent beers, wines and artisanal ciders, so to be honest I don’t really remember much of it and the four points above are all I came away with.