Avatar Orange / Lemon

Here’s a little story that will lift your spirits in these dark times.

At work I’ve been snacking on fruit to try and be healthier. Yes, I want nothing more than to tear into a bag of M & Ms every day, but we all know that that is wrong and is the start of the slippery slope to fat bastardom, something I am keen to avoid at all costs. The human body and its relationship with metabolism, which has been well documented, starts to get worse the older you get. Whereas previously I could eat somewhere close to a pound of mince in one sitting and be perfectly fine, if I tried that now I would spend the rest of the week locked in a toilet.

I bought a pack of oranges for the vitamin C. They’re always described as easy peelers but they’re a shit and a half to get into. Unless the definition of easy peelers is, “something that requires a sharp knife to get into” then you’re not getting into one without, well, a sharp knife that is unless you want your hands covered in juice and pith. The last one in the pack was weird looking, it was paler than the others and kind of resembled a lemon in a certain light. It also had strange green spots that looked like mould, but they were there when I first bought them.

The more I looked at the orange the less I wanted to eat it. I started asking people at work of they wanted it to which I was greeted with a resounding “no!” for some reason. A few days went by and still there was no desire to eat it. You know me, I’d eat a sewer grate if it was coated in jam. Was it the fact that it took several minutes to get into it that was putting me off? That oranges are a pretty weak fruit overall? Who knows but whatever it was it permeated in my mind and caused a few more days to slip past.

Eventually I stopped being silly and I ate it. By now people were sick of me asking if I wanted to have the orange. I left it on my boss’ desk when she was in a meeting and, when she returned, responded with, “WHAT’S THAT DOING THERE? I don’t want your bloody orange, Ian!” I, in turn, thought this was hilarious (#fittingin). On a quiet day when nobody was looking, I stripped it of its skin and chomped it in three bites. The unusual green spots weren’t mould, so I presume they were some sort of birthmark.

A joke is only worth doing if you’re willing to run it right into the ground. I took a photo before I ate the orange so I could eventually send this to everyone in my team.

They are gonna love me so god damn much.

Avatar Car sweets

I don’t know what the weather’s been like up in the frozen north lately. Maybe you’ve had a bit less snow and a few days’ break from clearing the ice off your windscreen on a morning. But down here on the tropical borders between Hampshire and France, we’ve been having some fairly warm days.

On Monday it reached about 32 degrees here, which is jolly warm, I can tell you. I went shopping to the big Sainsbury’s, partly to stock up but also partly to spend half an hour in the air conditioning, and while I was in there I bought myself a little treat. I like to have some sweets in the car sometimes, and I am very partial to jelly babies. I got myself a bag of Bassett’s finest, and when I got back to the car I pulled them out of the shopping bag and dropped them in the driver’s side door pocket so I could reach in for some tasty goodness while on the road.

Here are some things I didn’t think about when I got home. I didn’t think about the fact that, if you park your car in the sun, the inside temperature quickly reaches a point about 30ºC higher than outside, so by mid afternoon the inside of my car would have reached a nice cosy 62 degrees. I also didn’t think about the fact that the melting point of gelatin is below 40ºC.

Anyway, the point of this is that on Tuesday I got in my car to go somewhere, and mid-journey, reached into the door pocket to find some delicious jelly baby treats. My hand unexpectedly entered a large gooey mass of melted jelly baby remains. I then got it all over the steering wheel too.

The jelly babies are irretrievable and could not remain in the car. They are entirely unsuitable for mobile snacking. So I’ve brought them inside and used a sharp knife to carve the jelly morass into bite-size chunks, which have an appearance somewhere between colourful jewels and gross melted sludge.

The moral of the story is: in the summer, have non-melting car sweets, such as extra strong mints or digestive biscuits.

Avatar Half way through 2021

It’s been doing its best to match the appalling failure that was 2020, but we’re not letting it. No, 2021 will be the year things got better, not the year things got worse.

Still – it’s been a bit of a slog so far. Now, to celebrate the fact that half of it has gone and the other half is probably going to be a bit more enjoyable than the first one was, let’s all sit down and have a slice of cake.

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 Newsboost – Zany Zoo Zig-Zag

Thailand has opened a brand new zoo and it is one that has garnered the attention of the world’s media for offering a different kind of experience.

The ‘Khop Khun Animal Sanctuary’ based outside of the city of Phuket is revolutionary in its approach to animal captivity, if you can even call that. The entire park is open with no walls or barriers keeping the animals in one singular place. Instead, in order to keep visitors safe, every member must wear their very own human cage, placed around their head, body and legs to prevent any unwanted attention from the most rambunctious of residents.

Originally the idea of billionaire John Cho, it was fully realised, albeit with the help of Cho’s money, by Anastasia and Lloyd Botham, a couple originally from Milton Keynes. It was these forward-thinking biologists who designed the layout of the attraction with the animals in mind, more than the people.

“We wanted it to be outside inside, or more appropriately, we didn’t want the animals to know they were being kept inside something,” wittered Lloyd, “Their sense of freedom is much more important than anything else. They need to believe that nothing is stopping them from living their best life and though it may not be the habitat they are normally used to, it is much more humane than tiny cages in dingy corners of draughty warehouses.”

Anastasia was the one who crafted the “human cages” as they have come to be known as. “I was inspired by robots. I love the movement of robots, the style and look of robots. It then occurred to me that when people get close to sharks they lower themselves into the water in a giant cage for protection. Why not do the same thing on land? Not with sharks though because they’d die, unless they were put in a giant tank. I reckon it wouldn’t be the same though.”

After ten minutes of waffling she returned to the point. “We have several cages available for use. The family cage (AKA the “Bernard Manning”) is our most popular, allowing two adults and two children to wander through the park in tandem. The couple cage (AKA the “Howard and Marina”) is another favourite, for those who don’t want to chance it on their own. The solo cages (the “Katie Hopkins”) are also available although you’d be surprised at how often they are not used. People would prefer to travel in groups.

The controversy surrounding the sanctuary was deepened when several of the animals took it upon themselves to try and eat the paying patrons by pushing the cages over and clawing at the people like they were trying to scoop the last of the Pringles from the very bottom of the tube. Mike Sore and his fiancee, Klara Onspott, barely made it out alive.

“It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” rustled Mike, his wife-to-be shaking nervously at his side, “you never expect it to happen to you. There we were, laughing at the marmots when these two gorillas pushed over our cage and viciously swiping at us. Had we not flattened ourselves at the very bottom and called for help we wouldn’t be here today. Thank God gorillas have never had a box of Tic-Tacs.”

It’s fair to say that once the animal kingdom does learn about shaking that last chocolate-covered raisin from the bottom of the packet into the mouth in one seamless movement, the human race is doomed.

Avatar A Tunnock’s tragedy

As you almost certainly know, last year I made the fatal error of joking to Ian that what I wanted for Christmas was a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes. For Christmas he got me a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes.

Despite eating a lot of Tunnock’s Teacakes – including, on more than one occasion, eating three of them as “breakfast dessert” – there were still some sitting in the bucket at the end of March.

At the end of March, of course, I was forced to abandon my usual residence on top of the exploding mattress emporium, and among the many belongings I left behind, I foolishly failed to cram a bucket of teacakes into my suitcase.

A couple of weeks ago my flatmate Steve “Stevey” Stevingtons was kind enough to fly overhead in a sort of psychedelic biplane and airdrop some of my belongings, including several t-shirts, a few bits of post that I would have been happy never to receive, and a bucket containing precisely five Tunnock’s Teacakes.

I ate one and I won’t be eating any more.

The passage of a further four months has caused them to deflate. Inside, the chocolate is now strange with white bits in it, and the marshmallow has turned sort of hard and chewy. The biscuit is virtually inedible.

The last four teacakes from that epic gift are now, as a result, in the bin. A sad end to a brilliant Christmas gift.

Avatar Random Sandwiches

Let us address the elephant in the room. You are so predictable. You are so absolutely boring when it comes to food and you know it; each and every time you wander into a supermarket, a corner shop, a Subway you purchase / order the same thing. They have a full menu of sandwich fillings and all of them are ignored so you can eat the same dull slice of nourishment.

You need to buck your ‘chude up, sunshine. You think your good lady wife is going to stay with you and your sluggish Ham ‘n’ Cheese forever? No way. Both of you are teetering on the edge of a marital precipice and the only way to tip it in the direction of the future is to fill your plate with something different. Grab your raincoat and follow me.

Nestled in the wonderful corner of the world that is somewhere nearby, Random Sandwiches offers a world of culinary perfection unseen in the rest of the country. Their list of fillings would blow your mind if you saw it in person and so everyone who wanders into the shop must wear a blindfold, and have it read to them by a woman with a posh voice.

The most popular flavours at the moment are as follows:

  • Jagged glass and American irony;
  • Rubber dingy, yeast and sun-bleached afternoons;
  • Heron and scotch egg;
  • Two lemons encased in a pagoda of dreams;
  • Swordfish eczema on naan bread, smothered in forgotten dances from the 1920’s’;
  • A fresh pair of stressed socks under a splodge of elk light bulbs and mayonnaise.

I don’t know about you but my mouth is already watering as I finished typing this. I can’t wait for them to re-open after the lockdown so I can grab a patronising handshake on rye and crisps for lunch.