Avatar The Cheek of It

This completely took me by surprise!




Now I am used to receiving abuse from family members, close friends, clients, the general public and the occasional letters through the post, but this is a new low. I was recently walking past a new development of houses and what did greet me upon turning my viewing eyes to the right? A sign in the window as above.

It would appear as though property is now turning its attention to me. I do not know what in particular it had against me and my award-winning personality and, quite frankly, I do not care either. I just wanted to make sure that this issue is brought to light so that others do not suffer in silence.

Thank you.

Avatar Broken

In the last two weeks, the following things have broken.

  • My central heating boiler, which was broken for a week
  • My phone, which had to be sent off for a week and a half
  • My coffee pot, which still isn’t fixed
  • My watch, which still isn’t fixed
  • My iPod, which I had buy parts to fix myself

This has been dispiriting and distressing, and has severely tested my fortitude.

If you are thinking of breaking any of my possessions, or in any way modifying them so that they break in a seemingly accidental way, or if you become aware that one of my possessions may break or suffer a breakage-like incident, please inform me in writing at least two days beforehand so that I can prepare myself mentally and physically.

Thank you.

Avatar My Four Pounds

I bought a thing off eBay for a Christmas present. It cost me some money, plus £4 post and packaging. That’s reasonable enough. I paid the money and entered my work address for delivery so that it wouldn’t be sent back if I was out.

What I didn’t expect – what nobody expected – was that it turned up at work the next day. The next day. In the morning. No postman is that fast. No courier couries that quickly. No delivery man deliveries so rapidly.

It turns out that the seller’s girlfriend works in the same building as me, on the fourth floor. The day after I’d bought the thing, he put it in an envelope and gave it to her. She brought it in and, first thing in the morning, handed it to my colleague. The packaging cost him a fraction of £4 and the postage cost him the square root of nen.

So naturally, of course, my Christmas is ruined. The spirit of Christmas is charity and giving, and this shyster’s used his unfair advantage to wangle me out of £4 for a service that was not required. The spirit of Christmas is dead. My festive joy and cheer have been used up. I’ve torn my decorations down and burnt my Christmas cards. I dumped the tree out of the window onto the roof of a passing van. I put my fist through the TV screen when the John Lewis advert came on. If Santa shows up at my place I’ll give him a thick ear.

The moral of this story? Don’t buy things off eBay. It will indirectly cause your landlord to charge you for repainting the smoke-stained ceiling.

Avatar Ian vs Crush Songs

Ian: Hello?
Crush Songs: Hello Ian.
Ian: Hello Crush Songs by Karen O. I’ve wanted to listen to you for a while; sorry it’s taken me so long.
Crush Songs: Oh think nothing of it. Now, are you ready?
Ian: I am, yes.
Crush Songs: Are you ready for fourteen songs that all sound the same with the same wibbly wobbly vocals that have been fed through a cereal box and sound as though they were written in five minutes?
Ian: Erm no, I was hoping for a bit of variety.
Crush Songs: Oh.
Ian: Is there something the matter?
Crush Songs: Nothing! Nothing! No it doesn’t matter.
Ian: What is it you’re hiding there?
Crush Songs: Well it’s nothing really…
Ian: So you are fourteen songs that all sound the same with the same wibby wobbly vocals that have been fed through a cereal box and sound as though they were written in five minutes.
Crush Songs: In short, yes.
Ian: I feel as though I should be brutally honest here. That’s very disappointing.
Crush Songs: Would it help if I told you I’m only 25 minutes long?
Ian: No it wouldn’t.
Crush Songs: Would it help if I told you there was a Doors cover on me?
Ian: That just makes it worse.
Crush Songs: Actually ACTUALLY I’ve got fifteen songs on me. The last one is hidden right at the very end like a lyrical treat…
Ian: Right.
Crush Songs: … actually that might still be the last song with a bit of a gap in the middle…
Ian: Look I can see we’re not really getting anywhere here. You’ve not really thought this through. I think you should go back and have a big long ponder about what to do.
Crush Songs: If you insist, okay. I’ll come back shortly with some much better ideas. You watch; I will blow your mind!
Ian: I’m sure you will. I’m just going to put you in this pile with that Good Charlotte CD I found in the street and those duplicate DVDs I don’t need anymore.
Crush Songs: Is it a special pile?
Ian: … sure it is!

Avatar What? Eh? What?

What the hell is this?

Just… can someone give me a hand here? I can see something, there’s definitely something there right in front of my eyes, because my eyes register that there is something on the screen. But what is it?

I think it’s a picture of some description. There are some people on it but none of them are really looking at each other.

My brain cannot process it. To me it resembles a really poor attempt at trying to cobble together an idea for an album. It’s as if some people decided to release an album but couldn’t be bothered writing any songs so they just stole a bunch from other, more successful, more talented artists.

Can anyone help?

Avatar Mild Frustration (a short play)

A young man, not feeling too great, has a nice face, decides to try to attend to his illness by calling his doctors. It’s Monday morning.

Man: Hello, I’d like to make an appointment.
Receptionist: Right what we normally do is not make an appointment but ask the doctor to call you instead.
Man: Oh right.
Receptionist: I’ve got your details so let me see when the next telephone appointment is instead… there’s one free at 9.10am on Wednesday.
Man: Wednesday. In two days time.
Receptionist: Do you need to see anyone as a matter of urgency?
Man: No, I guess it can wait another two days.
Receptionist: Great well the doctor will call you at 9.10am on Wednesday.
Man: Great. Thanks.

Cut to Wednesday morning. The young man leaves his desk and goes to a quiet room to await the doctor’s call. The times is around 9:09am.

Man (thinks): Let’s give him a window of five minutes. I can’t leave my desk for too long, so five minutes is sufficient waiting time before dismissing this as the joke that it seems to be turning into.

The time ticks away. 9:10am. 9:11am. 9:12am. 9:13am. 9:14am.

Man (thinks): I’m sure he’s just about to call.


Man (thinks): Well that was a waste of time. I better haul ass back to work.

The young man returns to his desk. The work phones are busy so he carries on answering the various enquiries and assisting where necessary. at 9:21am, in the middle of a conversation with a client, his phone starts to vibrate.

Man (thinks): Ah great. Great timing. Wonderful. If only I could express my dissatisfaction with this level of service with the client I’m currently talking to. I wonder if their surgery is an inept as this.

Voicemail. When work gets quiet the young man listens to the message.

Doctor: Hi Mr McIver, I’m sorry I’m a little later than arranged, if you still need to speak to me give me a call at the surgery.

Man (thinks): What? He didn’t even leave a direct number? I have to call the general number? Of course I still need to speak to him; I would’ve cancelled the appointment if I was flippin’ better!

Work gets busy again. There is not a time to return the call. Around 10:25 his mobile starts to vibrate again, same number, clearly the doctor trying again but he can’t stop to answer it due to work commitments. Ten minutes later, with a small break to his name, he steals away into a room and calls the general number. No voicemail the second time around.

Receptionist: Hello.
Man: Hi, could I speak to Dr *******? I think I just missed a call from him.
Receptionist: Oh right. Let me see if he’s available… (brief pause) I’m sorry he doesn’t appear to be in his room. The only thing I can do is arrange another telephone appointment for him to try to call you again.
Man: You know what, I’m feeling so much better, so much much better I don’t know why I bothered calling…

Cue a series of head shakes and excessive tutting. The young man decides to visit the walk-in centre at the end of the week, because even though it will mean sitting in a room for two hours or more waiting to be seen this process makes more sense than the series of hoops he has to try to jump through just to speak to a doctor at his own surgery.

The End.

Avatar Words I Hate, Part 4

Words are the foundation of our language, the tools of our communication. As well as being useful to us, they can also be beautiful: the sounds they make and the feelings they evoke are all a fundamental part of the experience of human interaction.

Not all words are like this. Some words are stupid. Like this one.


I like Christmas. I like it an awful lot. I like presents and Christmas dinner and having a tree in the house. Given the warm, pleasant weather we’ve been having lately, with the sun high in the sky and the gentle breeze just keeping it cool enough to go out and enjoy yourself (or, conversely, to stay in and suffer sun guilt), my thoughts have naturally been turning to Christmas lately, and all these things I like about it.

I even like the shiny spangly ropes of gaudy plastic frill that get draped everywhere. I just hate their name. Tinsel. Written down it’s fine, but said out loud it has an unfortunate pairing of a T and an S that give the whole word the irritating sound of someone whispering nearby, or possibly a high-pitched whistling noise made by air escaping from a perished rubber seal on the back of an old fridge. For example. That’s not Christmassy at all. That’s just stupid. And that’s why we need to rename this delightful substance to something better. My suggestion is “spanglestrands”, a word that describes the article in question without making me want to scratch my ears. Perfect.

Avatar Words I Hate, part 3

It’s becoming traditional (come on, we’ve been up and running for three months, so anything that’s been running this long definitely counts as a tradition) for me to wheel out another canister of literary vitriol around the start of the month. And seeing as April is looming up ahead of us I’d better get cracking with… another Word I Hate.

This one is short, because the case can be made very quickly and nobody can argue against it.


This word doesn’t even need to exist. We have all the words with this sound and this meaning already: we have fair, meaning an outdoor event or celebration, and we have fare, meaning food and drink and perhaps generous hospitality. Fayre is sometimes used in place of both these perfectly good word by idiots who think it lends their temporary Christmas market or their roast beef serving pub some kind of charming air of tradition and jollity. But it doesn’t do that, any more than calling your newsagent Ye Olde Shoppe gives it medieval heritage. It just makes you an idiot who has called your venture a stupid name for misguided reasons. So stop it. You cretin.