Avatar Quennell

Most days I drive to the station and go to work.

Like Ian, I use my eyes while driving, both to look at things, but also to observe them. Sometimes my looking and observing is simultaneous and sometimes both have to take it in turns.

There is one thing that sticks out when I drive to the station, and it’s this:

If it was called Clennel Hill I’d know exactly where I was. We all know that Clennel is a small village and a former civil parish in the parish of Alwinton, in Northumberland, England. We also all know that a clennel is a genteel way to refer to a kind of arse flannel. But it’s not called that, it has a name that’s far more obscure and meaningless. A quennell? Nobody knows what that is.

I’m posting this here in the hopes that, having declared that this is a meaningless word and that nobody knows what it is, I’ve created the right circumstances for Kev to put the word into Google and immediately tell me what it means.

Quennell.

Avatar Clennel

Every day I drive to work.

Shocking I know, right? When I’m driving I use my eyes to see things like a lot of other drivers. I tend to use my regular eyes instead of all the other pairs that I have lying around. They only have a finite lifespan after all and who am I to liberally chunter off an expensive set of peepers for my own benefit?

There is always one thing that sticks out when I drive to work and that is this:

Everything else looks and behaves fine. If there’s a zebra crossing it behaves like a zebra crossing. The roundabouts are standard, the kind that you would see anywhere else. See that junction over there? It’s functions as a junction. It’s a functional junctional. The clennel though, I’m not buying it.

Firstly it’s not a word. I’ve tried looking it up and there’s nothing there. It’s definitely not a name or a surname. It’s as though someone misspelt the word ‘kennel’ and nobody bothered to correct it. I’m pretty sure it’s not a breed of dog or a type of salmon or the spoon on the table when you go out for a fancy meal that you never use. It’s not an illness; you can’t be off work with a spot of clennel. It’s not a film by Federico Fellini. It’s not a perfume or aftershave by Jean Paul Gautier.

What were they thinking? Does anyone else know about this and can they see it? It’s a clear indication that something isn’t right and I am convinced that there’s something or someone hiding down Clennel Avenue, a hidden thing that might be sinister and otherworldly like a sock that can tell the time or a bee that hums French fancies. I want to know the secrets hiding in plain sight and yet I know that some things man was not supposed to know. It eats away at me, day after day, the chewing on my elbows is unbearable. Don’t listen to your gut. Don’t go down the Clennel. Leave it alone and you’ll be fine. Wipe the sweat from your brow and go back to thinking about whistle pops and candy whistles.

There it stands as a monument to things that do exist but probably shouldn’t. I hope to God that I never find out the truth.

Avatar English Wine

What do dogs know that we don’t?

Spend any time with a dog, as I sometimes am privileged to do, and it’s immediately clear that there is some deeper mystery behind their eyes. There’s something else going on that you just can’t quite name.

Kev used to say the same, I’m sure: after a long day grooming one poodle after another, looking into those glassy eyes at the ever-present enigma of the dog conspiracy would wear him down, piece by piece, paw manicure by paw manicure, and he’d return home a shadow of himself to drink himself to sleep.

I think I’ve found a clue. A few days ago I met Digby while I was heading to the shops. Digby is a small dog. Digby was friendly enough, and he was also wearing a striking fluorescent waistcoat that said “follow me for English Wine”.

I feel like Digby’s indiscreet attire might give us all a clue about what exactly dogs are up to.

Are they operating vineyards? Do they press grapes when nobody is looking? Are they all perhaps members of elite wine clubs, secretly laughing at the unbelievable tastelessness of their owners who they see pairing a Beaujolais with fish? Or perhaps they are ruthless sales hounds, hustling for money here and there, tirelessly shifting units to make a secret doggy living?

Digby went in to a sort of shed, and I didn’t want any English Wine, so I didn’t follow him. I suppose that means we’ll never know.

Avatar Take a seat

It’s been a long day. Would you like a little sit down? Of course you would.

Lucky for you, while walking around at work, I’ve found a wide range of places to sit, offering delightful opportunities to rest in relaxing surroundings.

Where would you like to be seated?

Avatar Pirate alert

He’s going to shiver your timbers
He’s likely to buckle your swash
His pieces of eight count big numbers
His galleon’s full of his dosh

A roistering-doistering fighter
His enemies all have been sank
He’ll make your pockets feel lighter
Just before you walk the plank

It’s not like he wants to be Bluebeard
It’s a lifestyle that he just got trapped in
His parrot got fed up, his crew’s weird
He’s Ian the daft Pirate Captain

Avatar Four Word Reviews: ‘Til Their Eyes Shine

I started these reviews when I got sent a Wang Chung album as a joke, and Kev and Sarah had just reviewed a Papples album in this format, and I thought it was a fun thing to do with a CD I’d been sent. Then more CDs started arriving. But I never thought we’d end up here. The CDs that arrived were just crap albums, and I would write reviews of how amusingly bad they were. Until now. Now I’ve been sent… I mean, what is this? It’s called “‘Til Their Eyes Shine: The Lullaby Album”. It’s a 1992 charity compilation of slow, snoozy numbers by female artists that will supposedly put a child to sleep, though for my taste half are too lively for that and the rest are too disturbing.

Am I being punished, somehow? Is this horrendous mush the price I pay for some indiscretion I committed? I don’t know. I just know it was awful.

Read More: Four Word Reviews: ‘Til Their Eyes Shine »

Avatar Not What You Think

Look at this:

DSC_0213

What you’re looking at is a blackboard located at my local IKEA which I recently visited. Now I am mostly an open-minded person but I am quite averse to worshiping characters of any kind, whether religious, fictional, good or evil, when I am browsing home furnishings.

I can only imagine the kind of chaos that would ensue if someone got down on their knees and started to worship a fallen angel near the sofa department. That I do not want. If I am going to spend two hours of my life on a Saturday afternoon slowly walking around the various sections of IKEA I would rather try to avoid a small group of people clustered around a statue or photo, with fire in their eyes, bowing up and down.

Luckily for me, they were done by the time I passed.

Do yourself a favour; steer clear of furniture-loving Satanists.

Avatar Things! Ep. 2 – Poodle Euthanasia

After we premiered the first episode of Things! last month, it’s starting to look like this series might be the hot new TV property for 2016. Already we’ve had enquiries from prestigious TV stations in Yemen and Herzegovina about buying this lucrative format.

For those of you wishing to see the series in English, here’s episode 2, in which Dougie McLaughten meets a shy and retiring man who has solved a very particular problem.