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 Frothies

I recently discovered something I didn’t know, which is that there is a word in the English language that breaks my brain. I can’t process it. Something about it just doesn’t fit inside my head.

The word is “froths”.

This came up the other day when I needed to describe something frothy to someone. I attempted to say that it “froths up”, but every time I tried to say it, my head got stuck and the word that came out was “frothies”. I made four attempts to say “froths”, all of which were “frothies”, and then I gave up and started a new sentence that avoided using the word altogether.

I don’t know why this is. I don’t know how long this has afflicted me. I know the word “froths” exists, of course. I can sit here and type it. But each time I’m approaching the point of typing it, my brain first suggests “frothies”, and even now – even knowing that this is a problem, and that the word is coming up, and being conscious that I might get it wrong, I still can’t say it right on the first attempt.

I have decided that, from now on, I’m just going to stay away from any bubbly, foamy or otherwise aereated liquids as a way of avoiding the problem completely. That’s definitely the answer.

Avatar REM Covers Album

What was that? It was a bad idea to begin with and now you’re going to run it into the ground like you always do? You clearly know me so well.

Hi, I’m Ian, I recently turned 37 and I still retain the intelligence of someone a quarter of my age. I used to take song lyrics, change them into something else and then hand them to my friend to upload onto our website because that was “funny” even though most of the time it really wasn’t.

Do you remember ‘Slut Call Girl’, a “hilarious” reinterpretation of Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’? Probably not. It was one of my better efforts. The others are better best forgotten.

In the spirit of this though I have decided to drag all of my showbiz mates out to record a covers album to end 2020 the way it began; awfully. It’s even worse, it’s a funny covers album. I will be taking some of the moved beloved rock songs from the last 30-40 years by one of the most amazing bands from within our very own lifetime and I will be turning them into a one joke joke about curling one off.

(I can hear you groaning already)

Let’s take a look at the track listing:

Everybody Poos
The One I Shove
Shiny Happy Faeces
Nightshitting
It’s The End of The Roll As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
The Sidewinder Shits Tonight
Strained Currencies
What’s The Excretion, Kenneth?
The Great Pee-Pond
Imitation of Shite

I feel as though I may have crossed a line that I can never recover from; please forgive me Buck, Berry, Mills and Stipe.

Avatar The tragedy of gimmicks

This is Bri4n.

Bri4n is a gimmick with only one main purpose in life, to sell insurance. He was created by some person, probably in a suit or a skirt, to steal people away from their insurance providers and their price-comparison websites, and lure them into the domain of the “look at this” and “you can get a free pen with this one, Nigel”.

When I found Bri4n he was hiding in a bag of charity shop clothes, right at the bottom in the hope that nobody would find him. At first I wasn’t sure if he was aware of everything so, cradled in my arms, I took him from the bag and placed him back in the real world. The light was bright in his tiny, robotic eyes, and his gaze shifted away towards the dark corners of the room.

Within a few days his temperament was more stable or, at least, stable enough to carry on with the conversation that had been dangling from my tongue. I told Bri4n that he was a gimmick and that the days of being a fixtures on television were long gone. I even told him that he was no longer a collectable and his brothers and sisters were being sold for nothing more than the price of a toaster on Ebay. This upset him greatly, I knew it would, but I needed to tell him the truth. It would sting like a bee in a hipster jacket, trying to convince his friends that baked potatoes smothered in strawberry jelly tasted better than it sounded. It was the only way he could move past this though and onto the next part of his life. I wanted a new start for Bri4n as it is something we all deserve when staring down the barrel of a downward spiral.

His recovery was carefully monitored over the next week. Bri4n remained silent for most of it, humming to himself in his lighter moments. I don’t believe that he will ever truly get past the facts that haunt his existence. I can see a great despair in his eyes that all the robot pornography and robo “road juice” can’t wash away. He is a great companion and, as a flat mate, other than not contributing anything towards the rent, nor attempting any of the various cleaning and cooking chores, he is ideal.

If you’re passing by my way you may see him, arms aloft, pupils blazing like the astro moons of Jupiter, cursing the world, lamenting his life, asking all of the important questions at the same time like a crazy old man shouting at a cloud.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: King of Stage

After four long months – that’s over nineteen weeks, if you’re counting, or more than a third of a year – I have finally returned home. Just temporarily, for now, you understand: Steve Stevingtons has an important three week “Malcolm in the Middle” conference to attend, so the place is empty. But temporarily or not, here I am. And if I am back at my desk again, you know what that means: it’s time to grit my teeth and endure another dreadful album of unknown provenance. Today, we subject ourselves to Bobby Brown’s 1986 debut album, King of Stage, released when he was just 17.

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