Avatar A Question of Biology – what exactly is Ian?

The burning question that has been on all your lips since the beginning of the series is about to be answered. You know all Ian, you’ve seen him, smelt him (sadly, usually against your wishes), shook his hand and then wiped it on a towel afterwards for fear of what you may have picked up. He is a thing that exists, and you know this because he’s persistently annoyed you with stretchy pyjama trouser and fish mystery-based shenanigans for over half of your adult lives.

What is he though? What makes up an ‘Ian’ and how can we stop it happening again?

With the help of a team of scientists and through furious, various and meticulous scientific study, with the approval of the man himself, we finally have an answer. It would have been nice to display everything in a pie chart however that wasn’t in the budget (we blew the last of the money on a dash cam for Derek’s mother-in-law) so here’s a lovely list instead:

Components of the being known as ‘Ian’

43% – Castoreum
15% – Bells
12% – Sawdust
9% – Blood
6% – Laughter
5% – An inability to balance a spoon on his nose
3% – Teeth
3% – Beanbags
2% – Figs
1% – Jazz hands
1% – Cochineal Beetles

As you can see, here is conclusive proof that a lot of Ian is mostly filled with bits and bobs. His biology is a marvel to behold because, really, he shouldn’t still be alive given that the majority of his body is beaver sac excretions, wood remnants and hollow metal objects typically in the shape of a deep inverted cup widening at the lip that sounds a clear musical note when struck.

Further studies are encouraged and once we raise the funding via Stefan’s onlyfans page we should be set. His ‘NSFW Autumnal’ photo set is providing very popular with the usual internet weirdoes.

Avatar A Question of Geography – how French is Chris?

When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar. This riddle has nothing to do with today’s topic but I wanted to open with something a little different.

Chris moved down South ages ago, decades even. People cannot place exactly when he disappeared to be a Big Man in a Big Pond yet there is irrefutable evidence that it did happen because he’s not here anymore. When faced with the facts, everything becomes facts. He then decided to move even further South, something that nobody expected was possible. In fact he moved so far South that there are now reports that he’s no longer in this country. So exactly how French is Chris?

We all know that Chris can speak the language and has been to France several times in his life. On more than one occasion I have witnessed him holding an onion, not necessarily a string of onions around his neck but still it’s a layer of proof. Even though he was playing a character there is a section of ‘Newsboost’ where he dons a beret and speaks in a French account (whilst holding a pipe, probably a French pipe) gesturing wildly with his hands between shots. An eye witness has confirmed that this was entirely Chris’ idea during the planning stages of the production.

All this is pointing to the fact that prior to his move, Chris was already French or in the process of turning into French. The move to Bordon (which sounds suspiciously similar to Bordeaux) merely accelerated this, increasing his love for cheese and wine.

You may argue that this is no longer a case of geography and is more to do with psychology; the psychological changes that Chris is undertaking should be the topic of this post. I would argue back (in a louder voice, preferably looking at you with one stern eye) that there was the possibility of Chris returning to normal had he remained in his hole in London. The Frenchness of a person is immediately halted when placed around the most English of places and we all know how English London is. All that Cockney was keeping it at bay and would have continued to do so.

Whatever you choose to believe, the latest statistics from scientists have suggested that a whopping 79% of Chris is French and we all know that once you cross that risky 70% mark there is no going back. You may as well hop on a bicycle and precariously carry some baguettes down a cobbled street whilst mumbling under your breath. We may no longer have the same Chris as we once did so we can only make do with the one we have now. Remember the Plymouth lady who suffered a stroke and afterwards could only speak in Chinese? It’s nothing like that.

Avatar Four faces

The human face is capable of showing a huge variety of emotions. Some of them are obvious, so plain that even children and dogs can recognise them: smiling means happiness, for example, while a furrowed brow often means consternation or constipation. You may know of others.

Today we are going to look at four of the lesser-known emotions and the facial expressions that go with them. I hope you find this guide instructive.

Pudding shop

The pudding shop face should show a mixture of delight and surprise. Some people choose to include a measure of snootiness but this is optional.

Crescent in disrepair

When faced with a grand Regency Crescent in disrepair, perhaps while visiting a spa town that has fallen on hard times, most people extend the tongue slightly, making a face that is close to some expressions of unbridled silliness, but which is actually a sign of great concern for the preservation of listed buildings. A minority of people make a face that is virtually indistinguishable from the pudding shop face, Ian.

Very exciting

Excitement usually produces wide eyes and an open mouth, but in extreme cases – where the excitement being felt is beyond the highest reaches of the Alton Towers Excitement Scale – a common human reaction is to close the mouth, move the hand protectively to the chin or sideface, and look sideways on at the exciting phenomena.

Terrible man

A terrible man will arouse strong feelings in anyone of adult age. Many people find themselves involuntarily contracting their neck and tightening their lips. Some also experience gastric bloating and wind.

Avatar The Doctor will see you now

What do you mean you didn’t know I was a doctor?

What do you mean you didn’t know I spent seven years plus training? Do you mean all those times I was prescribing medication you weren’t paying attention?

Are you saying that every single time I swore the Hippocratic oath you didn’t listen? Every time I tore off someone’s leg and saved their life you didn’t notice?

Do you people even know anything about me?

Avatar Bad Ears

My hearing has been compromised for as long as I can remember.

We all know how questionable it is at times because if anyone is going to mishear something it’s going to be me. Matters took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago when the hearing in my right ear went a little bit six-wide.

As I was driving down to Leeds for Christmas I experienced what can only be described as “bad ear” when I could feel something wrong and part of my hearing just disappeared. I could still hear everything although it felt as though some kind of substance was blocking my ear canal. It was a big muffled as though I was doing that thing crappy singers do when they close their eyes and hold their ear to hear their pitch and reach the high notes only Mariah Carey and dogs can reach.

Over Christmas I gently started scooping out the contents and as disgusting as this is to write it’s another thing entirely when experiencing it first hand. Normally I’m quite adept as keeping on top of personal hygiene; during the month of December this must have taken a flight abroad and forgot to leave a note. Waves of wax came out in all shapes and colours. I cleaned my ear with a delicate hand and with no proper medical help until January when doctors returned from their Christmas-shaped holes (I was resolute that I was not going to A & E or calling III because of earwax) I put up with my folly.

There was a ringing too, a constant ringing that wouldn’t go away. Looking back now I think it may have been before all of this, meaning it may be two problems or one problem in two halves.

I did a grown up thing and called the doctors. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t syringe ears on the NHS anymore,” said the receptionist, “it’s not considered to be safe. You’ll have to try elsewhere.” Hmmmm, said a sarcastic voice in my head, you won’t help me but encourage me to look into it myself? Go private? Okay, sure, I’ve got this, leave it to me.

I went to Boots for a free hearing test where they told me both my ears needed to be sorted out. I made an appointment for less than a week later to use a futuristic sucking device to clear out the mess and afterwards it was like that fresh minty feeling you get after you have your teeth cleaned at the doctors… only in my ears.

“Do you want the bad news first?” said the Boots employee, shortly after vacuuming my inner sanctum. Apparently my ears are now free of wax because she can see my eardrums when looking in my ear. The bad news is that some of the wax went so balls deep into my ear that some of it is lying on my eardrum and it’s too dangerous to try and suck it out. The solution? Olive oil ear drops. I’ve been squirting this stuff now for about a week in the hope that it’ll shake loose the wax, stop the ringing and give me my hearing back. If this doesn’t work, I may have tinnitus.

All in all January could have been a lot worse but then again it could have been a lot better.

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 Newsboost – Withering Wasps now Wanted Windfall

New shock discovery by scientists set to change the world’s opinion of one of the most hated animals in existence; the wasp.

Wasps have somewhat of a reputation as a bit of a bad thing. What do they do? They get in your way, they sting you, steal your jam sandwich and run away laughing (or presumably, they don’t make a lot of noise). Now it seems as though the tide may be turning and their time in the sun is coming.

Scientists studying the animals in Bulgaria, in conjunction with ancient medical texts from Greece, have come across a startling revelation. It would appear as though the ancient Greeks actively used them in their daily routine and ‘face wasps’ were used to cleanse and tone. The book in question, ‘To anthrópino sóma: énas éfchristos odigós’ (or ‘The human body: a handy guide’) by Tony Agafya, details a recipe of clay, sand, ash and wasps which was apparently utilised to refresh on a daily basis. The user would cover a nest of yet more wasps in the concoction, transfer it to a small room (such as a cupboard), cover their face in honey and wait for the wasps to descend on them. Later advances in technology resulted in the ‘voúrtsa sfíkas’ or ‘wasp brush’, a small brush with around fifty wasps glued to it. The user would dip the brush in the mixture and apply directly to the face.

Originally when the text was translated in the 19th century it was thought to refer to ‘face wash’. This egregious error has put the human-wasp relations back several hundred years.

“It is quite an eye-opener,” said Melody Humbunkle, chief scientist at the Klonditch Klinger institute in Sofia, Bulgaria. “All this time we were using natural products to clean our faces when one of the main ingredients was missing. This will change everything.”

Since the report was issued, the major skincare companies have been scrambling to develop the first product to incorporate wasps as an active ingredient. Representatives from Lancome, Garnier and even Johnson and Johnson were seen desperately bidding for wasp farms on the open market, a market which was once seen as lucrative and pointless.

“The ancient practises of the Greeks are merely a starting point; we do not advise the public to start smothering their chops in sticky substances in the hope of attracting wasps,” remarked John Disspale, regional secretary for the department of Health and Social Care in the UK. “It would be best to wait for a safe product made by a professional company.”

Specialists predict that even with the lockdown in place, the first wasp face wash will be available on the high street within a month’s time.