Avatar The Past – Simple and Chunky

Look at you with your big shoes and your empty wallet. How do you pay for things? With your phone? Your watch? Don’t talk to me about witchcraft, sonny, I was around when Timmy Mallet had a music career.

Recycling; you take something old and you turn it into something new. It’s how the world works now and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would much rather take the rambling notes of a semi-drunk Ian trying to remember an idea from over ten years ago (vanillla scapegoat, shoulder frog bags, ultra finger groups?) and turn it into a leaflet advertising the many talents of a local spiritual healer. Think of the tens of people who would benefit from my sacrifice. It’s a win win for the world.

When I was back visiting my family for belated birthday proceedings I took to the loft in her house to dig out the last of my junk that is cluttering the place up in the hope of either getting rid of it or taking it with me back to Newcastle. What I unearthed will probably form the majority of my posts for next month because December is a busy month. It’s time to phone it in (no pun intended).

I present to you Bob, my very first mobile phone:

Phhhhhhhhwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwooooooar!

Purchased for a mere £30.00 from (I think) an O2 store at the White Rose Shopping Centre circa 1999/2000, I initially refused to get one on the grounds that everyone else was and I didn’t want to be lumped in with the zeitgeist. Whatever it was that made me change my mind is lost to time. Perhaps it was the whopping ten (count ’em) text messages the internal battery of the phone could hold or the two lines of text visible on the 3cm by 1cm screen. Maybe it was the robust handset that, even in my tiny hands, feels as though you could crack open a tin of beans with it.

I am confident that this little wild cherry will be worth a lot of money in the future as over twenty years later it is still dripping with sex and style, much like yours truly. Once I start strutting my stuff down at da club, when I be all up at da club, waving this honey sausage around like a pair of electrics socks (?) I’ll be a local celebrity.

I am Future Retro.

Avatar Guinea Pigs – underrated?

Pigs come in all shapes and sizes. They are natures gift that keeps on giving because no matter what happens to a pig, the results are always tasty. The pig is clearly held in such high regard because there are other animals who want to be a pig so badly that they’ve even changed their name to pig.

I bring you to the furry slice of nonsense that is the common guinea pig.

Look at it. That’s not a pig, but it’s called a pig. It’s a rodent with pig ambitions. You have to give it credit for trying because they’ve gone the whole hog (ding!) in getting to this point. Guinea pigs used to look like voles with a bad haircuts, now they’re domesticated and in addition to being a fine way of trapping Dr Zoidberg, they’re a firm favourite with small children.

I recently visited a farm near Skipton that had a fuck-tonne of the little buggers. The guinea pigs I’ve been used to in the past were squealing nervous things that wouldn’t touch you to scratch you and if you tried to get close to them they’d have a heart attack or run away. These farm guinea pigs were so desperate for attention that they were climbing over themselves to get to me. I’m a fairly popular person with both people and animals yet this level of appreciation is almost unheard of.

I spent a good deal of time petting these pigs and wondering if perhaps I have been wrong about guinea pigs all this time. They’re cute and absolutely no threat to me or my family. I could crush them all but would I really want to with cute little faces and lovely eyes like our chap above?

I’m not going to start eating them (I’m looking at you, South America) nor will I be purchasing any in the near future. Consider me a changed man though, one who would be happy to shake a guinea pig’s paw and offer him in for a cuppa and maybe some bacon (or ham) sandwiches.

Avatar Happy times in a sad seaside town

Recently, three extremely silly people went to Bridlington, and spent most of their time avoiding Bridlington itself by sitting in a small caravan and taking it in turns to play a racing game. However, for some brief periods, they did do a limited number of other activities, where those activities hadn’t been closed down for the winter.

You can now look through a photo album recording their escapades in full. Please feel free to add to it if you have your own pictures and/or memories of this very silly time. Here it is!

Avatar Birdworld

In the fourth episode of Go There and Do Things, in which Kev and I went to South Yorkshire in order to do things, one of the places we visited was called Birdwell. At the start of our visit, Kev, or possibly me, I can’t remember who, stands in front of the sign for the town and says “BIRDWELL” in the rasping voice of an upper class villain. That one word has stayed with me, along with the stupid way we say “THURGOLAND” in the same episode.

A couple of miles from my new house is a tourist attraction where you can look at lots of birds. I pass it almost every day. It’s called Birdworld.

And obviously, every single time I pass it, I say “BIRDWORLD” out loud in that same voice.

Avatar Dave Lister Egg

Sad sack egg

I know what you’re going to say so let me get my excuses out the way first.

Some time ago, in some post or re-post by Chris, I was given the task of trying to draw Craig Charles’ lovely viso/volto on an egg. How did this come about? Who can remember. I decided that now, on the last day of the month, was the time to act.

Perhaps the time wasn’t the best though. The actual time as in half past ten at night. I stupidly didn’t take the egg out of the fridge so that it could acclimatise to the temperature in the living room. It was an ice cold egg in a mostly tepid part of the flat. So, with pen in hand, I watched in horror as many efforts turned into one big fish face smudge fest.

The poor lad looks like fetid potato. Do you remember ‘Biker Mice from Mars’? Kind of like the main villain, Lawrence Limburger.

I have socially soiled myself so I’m going to wince away solemnly…

Avatar Further travels with the Pernickety Dickhead

We’ve already discussed, back in February, that I spent a number of years in the early 2000s where my single most prominent personality trait was that I was absolutely insufferable.

It’s not really necessary to go any further to prove that point, but flogging a dead horse is one of the pillars of this blog and its rampant popularity, so flog a dead horse we will. Please enjoy this further example of my absolute arseholery towards innocent people working in customer service jobs, and please also believe me when I say that I am truly sorry for everything I’ve ever done.

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Avatar Trips Outside – Jarrow

Out in Covid Town, they still don’t like you moving around too much. If you ever think of crossing county lines or hopping on a plane to go and record an album with Jimmy Buffett, because he wants to write a follow-up to his wonderful ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ song, then eyes are most certainly raised. Thankfully, having recently changed jobs, I now have a brand new section of the North-East to explore on my lunch breaks.

I would like to welcome everyone to the breath of fresh air that is Jarrow.

I have only been within the vicinity for approximately two weeks and yet since then I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that would put some locals to shame. Some may call that pitiful boasting, some may call it an outright lie and to those people I ignore anything they say and hand them a banana in the hope that they drop their line of questioning.

There are lots of things to know but given the time and my limited word count there are only four things you (that’s YOU) need to know about Jarrow in case you ever want to take a trip there:

  • Vikings – when the world was young and wireless abbabs were but the stuff of dreams, a large collective of Norse warriors decided they wanted a piece of Britain, hopped on some boats and decimated the coastline of North England for several years. Their only opposition was effeminate priests using gold crosses for weapons. These murderous heroes have been encapsulated in a statue displayed proudly in the town centre. They also got a shopping centre named after them to commemorate all the blood spilled.
  • Shopping – if you want shops, you’re going to get them. There’s a Viking centre full of them and, boy, are you going to be spoilt for choice. There’s a Wilko, a Morrisons, a B & M, a Home Bargains, Greggs, Boots, charity shops, butchers, more bakers, some kind of cafe I haven’t gone in yet but takes up a lot of space, I think a shop that fixes phones or laptops or maybe both and hiding towards the back a Dominos. They have a lovely PA system that forces you to listen to music as you shop so whether or not you want to listen to ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin is not up for debate, it’s happening baby.
  • Pronunciation – look at the name, it all looks so very simple, doesn’t it? Don’t be wandering into Jarrow thinking that it’s pronounced, “JAR-ROW” though, that’s wrong. Grit your teeth. From the back of your throat, it’s, “JAR-RAH”. If you get it wrong, you’ll be thrown out and never allowed back in. I once worked with a posh lash who said, “PRUD-HOE” instead of, “PRUDDA” and where is she now? I’ve no idea, probably sitting on a throne barking orders at lowly cronies. Or in jail.
  • Walking – there are several monuments around the town explaining about the contribution to the war effort back in 1917. The most famous thing Jarrow is famous for though is when, famously, 200 men marched from Jarrow to London to protest against unemployment and poverty because The Man had closed down the primary place of employment, Palmer’s Shipyard, and things were all bad. This is almost a three hundred mile trek. They would have had to trundle down the A1 which would have been very hazardous given all the long haul lorries driving down to London to drop off soaps or whatever it is people down South eat. There wasn’t even a Little Chef on the way that they could stop in for drinks and snacks. It’s bravery like this that makes me feel inspired.

Even though you may have never, and possibly may never, visit the sacred grounds betwixt the Tyne Tunnel, Hebburn and the tunnel under the Tyne that leads back to Willington Quay where I used to live, I hope this very brief tour is enough to explain and display the majesty of the South Tyneside town.