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.

Avatar Late Night Beans with Tad Kensington

WHOOSH!

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another edition of Late Night Beans. Now I know what you’re all thinking, “what are you still doing here, Tad Kensington, when your Netflix special is still in the number one spot and you’ve got business talks planned through most of the UK for the rest of the year?” Firstly, that’s a long thought, and secondly, you need to get out more!

(Audience laughs)

I say it, but I don’t mean it!

(Audience laughs a little louder)

Nah, I love being here with all of you. I really look forward to getting up each day and getting out to where the heart of the people is; every evening right here in front of all of you, unlike where the heart of the people is around 4pm which is everyone counting down the last hour before going home, am I right?

(Cheers and laughter from the audience)

The news has been awful this week, just plain awful. I woke up on Tuesday morning and apparently there are far too many lampposts in the UK. Local authorities are making plans to tear down at least 30% of them in order to cutback on energy costs. This of course follows the recent court case where Jacob Brantford sued Brentford Council because he walked into a lamppost when stumbling home after a night on the lash and claimed it violated his civil rights. I don’t think we can say the future looks brighter with idiots like this in charge.

(A few loud, “yeahs!” and a ripple of applause from the audience)

We have a lot to get through today. This evening is well stacked like the start of a game of Jenga. We have lifestyle specialist and all round good egg Jemima Armspace to tell you where you might be going wrong with your diet and why eating figs may prove to be the key to success. Joseph Puccini is out promoting his latest blockbuster film, ‘Lazerblade 2: the reprisal’, which has already received rave reviews despite filming only starting last week. Margot Linchpin wants you to get involved with her social media awareness campaign about the dangers of chin biscuits and we have local band The Brainfillers to end the show with their new single ‘I want your kidneys’.

(Audience applauds)

I know, I know, I told you we had a lot to get through! I wasn’t lying! You love it though and I love bringing it here for you which is why this is the perfect relationship but buy me dinner first before we get too intimate.

(Audience laughs)

Right onto our first guest!

Avatar Newsboost – no end in sight

Devastating news for Chris Crimz aka Chris Marshall solo fans as artist claims he is still no closer to finishing his epic trilogy of songs.

Crimz rose to fame with the now stone cold classic ‘Wasting your life!” which was written prior to but only saw a formal release through the Papples debut album of the same name. He then cemented the popular but not quite as good, ‘That’s your life!’ which despite constant demands from the fans is still waiting for a formal release. Tapes of the demo have been trading hands for astronomical amounts of money on Ebay, sometimes reaching up to ten whole English pounds. There was a recent bidding war between two diehard fans, Polin Clodbrook and Rolio Chaffinch, for a very rare tape which, if the rumours are to be true, claimed to be a duet between Crimz and Kelly Clarkson during their short-lived romance at the tail end of 2009.

Newsboost reached out to Mr Marshall for an exclusive interview and eventually, once he stopped repeatedly slamming the door into my foot, we were granted one.

“I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” said Crimz, partially through a crack in the door between his dining room and kitchen, “I seem to remember I once attempted a third part but it wasn’t very successful. The lesson is that you can’t rush genius.”

When asked what the composition was like and what kind of arrangement it was (joyous possibly or further leaning into the sad melody of the second part), Mr. Marshall changed the subject to a future release in 2024. “I’ll be putting out another greatest hits album shortly. I want the fans to know that I am listening and that I do care. It’ll be jam-packed with exclusive b-sides, live tracks and the odd Pet Shop Boys remix. Guaranteed to put a smile on their faces. The CD edition will come in a gold coloured cardboard sleeve with a commemorative booklet. A premium product.”

That sounds like something we can all enjoy. At least if the epic closer of his musical journey isn’t coming any time soon then we’ll all have a piece of the pie to chew on. You really can’t rush genius.

Avatar ‘Lord Winklebottom Investigates’ – mini review

Pip pip! Tip top! Absolutely, old boy. Bally tally ho!

After playing ‘Lord Winklebottom Investigates’ I can safely say that whilst I will never be a posho, I can talk like them if I need to. You may remember that back in May of last year I made a post here explaining how excited I was to play an adventure game featuring a Sherlock Holmes-esque giraffe detective. I have since purchased the game and played through it so here is my review in case you were still sitting on the fence.

It’s a great game. If you’ve ever played a point and click game then you will be very familiar with the user interface. You move the curser around the screen and it will show items of interest. You can look at the item and some you are able to pick up to place in your inventory, which appears at the bottom of the screen when the curser gets near it. Your job is to use the things around you to solve the puzzles you come across. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting two items together and sometimes it requires listening carefully to what the characters are telling you and using a bit of the ole’ imagination pipes.

The story, without spoiling too much, takes you away as Lord Winklebottom to a mysterious island to meet up with an old friend and along for the ride is his good colleague, Dr Frumple. When you arrive you unfortunately discover said friend has died under mysterious circumstances and it’s up to you to work out which of the colourful characters inhabiting his mansion were responsible. You’ll need to speak to everyone to make notes of their relationship to the deceased and their reasons for being there. There is a handy notebook which automatically records certain things that comes up in conversation so you can look back on them if needs be.

Everything about this game is ridiculous and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The dialogue is very funny at times, mainly due to Dr Frumple who is the best character in the entire thing. His innate Britishness seeps into every conversation and he never NEVER puts his cup of tea down. At one point I tried to take the toilet paper and he refused to do so on the grounds that it just wasn’t on. The graphics fit the narrative and atmosphere as you’d expect them to. You can’t half arse this kind of thing, it’s balls deep or nothing. The only part that was a little disatisfying was the music which lingered in the background not really doing much. Perhaps it was doing something however I can’t remember any of it.

It’s not the hardest game in the world. You won’t come across anything as difficult as the ‘goat puzzle’ from Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars or practically everything from Grim Fandango. There was only one part where I needed to soak up some grease from a pan (don’t ask, no spoilers) that took me a little longer than expected and even then the answer was staring me in the face the entire time. I managed to finish it in under five hours and what a five hours they were. I had to wait for a price reduction as thirty squids for a game this short wouldn’t sit well with me. If you can find it for anything under a tenner then I would say go for it, old bean!

Avatar ABOFB 33: Disappointing Things

After only 9 months since the last episode, and because Ian made me feel bad for that fact, here comes episode 33!
I’ve dredged out from the lockdown archives this gem, where we discuss:

  • Gigs
  • Gruff Rhys
  • Ignoring the question
  • Food

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Tubthumper

We’ve visited the nineties before, in our Four Word Reviewing Time Machine, and found it a strange place. Suggs was there, of course, which wasn’t so bad, but on other visits we were left traumatised by Clock and Vanilla Ice. So it was with some understandable trepidation that I opened the CD case for “Tubthumper” by Chumbawamba. Released in 1997, this might be the most nineties album ever made – the first single, Tubthumping, was a massive worldwide hit, but nowadays it doesn’t get the nostalgic airplay that, say, Oasis or the Spice Girls or Dee-Lite do. It belonged so much to its own era that it seems to have stayed there.

By Scanned by User:Markaci, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2238867

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Avatar The Rapples ride again

Do you remember eight and a half years ago, when we were rap stars? What did we do with all the fur and gold chains when that all ended? And how did three thirtysomething white northerners ever get away with recording four terrible, terrible rap songs?

The EP Space for an Ace might not be something you revisit on a regular basis (though I still think Turd Picnic is pretty catchy), but a far more appealing prospect is the video footage we recorded over the course of the weekend while we were making it. I’d just got a new camera and wanted to try it out, so we filled a tape with more than an hour of nonsense. A few bits have leaked out over the years (like this and this and this), but now I’ve finally edited the rest to make a pretty watchable 18 minutes of new stuff.

A lot of material was trimmed because it was rubbish. Other parts have been lost forever: a fair slice of the creative process for “Crash and Burn” exists only as silent pictures, because of a microphone mishap that Kev kindly makes me explain in the film. There was also a five-minute sequence with the three of us sitting on the sofa, talking to the camera and to each other. It looked hilarious, but we’ll never know what we were talking about now. Never mind.

Still, lots of stupid stuff survived, so I’m delighted to present – at last, eight years late – the Rapples in action, live from 2015. It’s pretty good.