Avatar An Admission of Sorts

As I pulled into the car park, locked the car and headed into Asda I knew I was in a rush. I grabbed the beer I was looking for, paid and made my way back to the car. Asda Radio has a habit of playing a bizarre mix of music no matter what time of day you are there. Running late to a friend’s house the unmistakable tune of ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’ by Gina G was audible over the hubbub of other patrons of the supermarket. It took me back to 1996 when this was our entry in the Eurovision Song Contest…

Now we’ve all seen how much of a shambles Eurovision is, perhaps some more than others. As a young impressionable 13 year old I had a lot of free time on my hands. I do remember watching the whole thing because I was convinced that this song, this catchy piece of fluff, created in someone’s studio by faceless music executives and sung by an Australian, not even a native Brit, was going to win. I had a lot of faith at 13; I wonder where it went? I expect it also had a lot to do with the fact that I found Gina G insanely attractive (I was going through a red-head phase, something that has continued to this day). Still, it wasn’t enough for me to actually go out and buy the damn single when it was released, not that it mattered because it went straight to #1 anyway.

Does anyone remember what position the UK got in the 1996 Eurovision song contest? Nope, me neither. I had to look it up but I did know that we didn’t win. The lovely Ireland claimed the crown that year. In my confused teenage rage I drew a picture of a person, possibly me (?), kicking an Irish elephant in the groin. Now this does raise a few questions, the main ones for me are:

  1. Why didn’t I draw an animal that was native to Ireland in the first place?
  2. Was I convinced that elephants came from Ireland or was it the first animal that came to mind?
  3. I can’t draw elephants now; how on earth did I manage to draw one from memory without the aid of Google?

I can still see that elephant now, hands clutching where it’s penis should be, in extreme pain because of my kick to the cohonies. It is as if it’s been etched to the back of my mind, ready to haunt me when the time is right. Yes, I believe the elephant also had hands. Perhaps this is a rare instance of British pride where I wanted to believe that we were good at something and to share that with the rest of Europe.

By the way, have you ever read the lyrics to ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’? My favourite line is:

“I’ll give you love you can’t ignore.”

What kind of love is that? The one where you send bits of yourself through the post? The one where you set yourself on fire and jump off a building? It seems a bit full on for what is essentially a song about having a shag with someone.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Sticks + Stones

It was inevitable, wasn’t it? I should have known. It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about the arrival of a CD box claiming to be Cher Lloyd and finding that the disc inside was actually Coldplay. Well, whoever it is that sends me these awful CDs to review (Gary Wilmot? Ian? God himself?) evidently reads the Beans, because this week another little parcel arrived in the post. Inside it, a box for a Coldplay album, and the CD “Sticks+Stones” by Cher Lloyd. I now have a complete set. Hooray.

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Avatar Cher Lloyd vs Coldplay

Awful CDs continue to land on my doormat with depressing regularity. Currently queued up for your Four Word Review enjoyment are “Voice of the Violin” by Joshua Bell, a collection of Motown covers produced by Pete Waterman, and the 1997 self-titled album by Kavana.

Lined up for this month’s review was “Sticks + Stones” by Cher Lloyd, a 2011 slice of Simon Cowell pop. But when I put the CD in and pressed play, something was wrong.

Can you see it? Yes, that’s right. The case says “Sticks + Stones” by Cher Lloyd, but the CD itself is actually another album from the same year, Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto”.

Obviously at that point I had to call a halt to the whole business. This is too much. Two albums I don’t want to hear in one.

Now I don’t know what to do. I might just have to listen to Kavana instead.

That might be the bleakest sentence I’ve ever written. If the best available course of action is listening to a whole album by Kavana, you know you’ve hit rock bottom.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: A Christmas Album

April is truly the most Christmassy month. There are several reasons for that. The first is that it just is. I mean, Christmas happens in December, obviously, but that really just makes the idea of December being the most Christmassy month a bit bourgeois and low-brow. No, April’s right on the fashions. The second reason is the weather – all that blazing hot sunshine that’s turned up in the last few days can’t help but make you feel festive. And the third reason is that it was in April last year that we listened to Mahalia’s Christmas album. (You did listen to it, didn’t you?)

Needless to say, then, this April we’re spinning another yuletide disc. This one is A Christmas Album, recorded in 1967 by Barbra Streisand.

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Avatar Four Word Reviews: State of Mind

Ah, Holly Valance. We meet again. We’ve already reviewed the living daylights out of Holly’s first album, Footprints, just a few short months ago. Now, she’s back with her second (2003) album, State of Mind, in a Four Word Reviews first. I cannot even begin to imagine how this came to land on my doorstep so soon after the first.

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Avatar Chris and Ian’s Rap Battle

So here we have it.

These two giants of the rapping world have been teasing this for the last couple of weeks and the hype has reached unobtainable levels. Ian “Flashback” McBugle and Sheriff Rockingham aka Chris Marshall, both ex members of pioneering genre-bending super group ‘The Rapples’, are gearing up for what is expected to be THE rap battle of the week, maybe even the day.

If you’ve been monitoring their comments you’ll know the frenzy that surrounds this encounter. Tickets have been sold out for ages but you lucky, lucky people get to hear the whole thing as it happens right here on Beans FM.

Both competitors are still at the top of their. Sheriff Rockingham has been flexing his vocal muscles on a recent jaunt abroad, amazing the locals with his keen observations and spilt-second timing. Flashback, however, has been trawling the mean streets of the North East, picking lyrical fights with pensioners trying to buy stamps at the post office.

Take a seat, ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a bumpy ride. Over to you, boys…

Avatar Mandolin – A Song

Let’s crack off 2019 with something that I should have done in 2018.

I set myself a challenge whereby I was to write and record a song about a Mandolin (the chocolate bar, not the musical instrument) using a Mandolin. I wrote the song words, or lyrics as they are commonly known, and even worked out a basic rhythm with which to astound the listeners with. Sadly, when I tried to record it all on my very primitive phone, it was not good enough. I did expect this to happen, as I don’t own any proper recording equipment like everyone else does, so the project was duly shelved. That said, I do not want to deny the public what is a very beautiful song. Here we are then. Make up your own tune. It’s yours for the taking:

“Hit me, mandolin,
You don’t think that I can handle him so
Hit me, mandolin.
My arms bent over like a pangolin so
Hit me, mandolin.
You see that growing? It’s a dorsal fin!
That’s right, yeah, mandolin,
It’s much, much bigger than a phantom limb.

Oh, trick me, mandolin,
Writing my way to the loony bin.
So strict, yeah, mandolin,
The nurse on hold for my next of kin.
I left my mandolin,
Picking up pieces of a mandarin.
You’re on me, mandolin,
Hiding in shadows like a mannequin.
So leave me, mandolin,
I’m sick an’ tired of ya panderin’.
You heard me, mandolin,
I’m done, it’s over, time fo’ finishin'”

If Pharrell Williams or Dr. Dre are listening, I am free in March to collaborate on any future projects you may have.



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.

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