After a almost a year of trading, I have finally got around to attaching an avatar image to my contributions to an online forum which discusses the day-to-day issues concerning the running of our local pub which - as you may know - is currently owned by 536 people, the most famous of whom is Robert Plant.
Someone whinged that he didn't know what any of the Board members looked like, and a couple of them obligingly put up a photo of themselves, so he knew who he was slagging off or praising in equal measure.
After about eight months, I have come to the conclusion that nobody hardly ever looks at it anyway (is that a double negative?) and became bored with the whole thing. It seems that it's just me and about five of the Board (I think there are twelve in total), plus one 'interesting' looking bloke with a flower-pot on his head, drinking a mug of tea. I have already fulfilled my duties as the Linda Snell of Walcot Street, and now I can relax and try to enjoy myself. It's not as if I have any ambition to stand for the Board at the first AGM, so I have nothing to lose.
So, first things first - choose an avatar image. I rather liked the one above, as it reflects the single-minded dedication and particular (or peculiar) intelligence that all of us blog and forum dwellers possess in abundance.
As soon as I had successfully attached it to every post I had ever put up, I began to think it was a bit too American (note T-shirt beneath shirt) and anyone who didn't already know me might have a bit of difficulty associating my rants with the subject, so I tried to replace it with this one:
Now come on, admit it. Father Jack suits me so much better than the geek above, and even if you have never met me or seen my photo, I would be instantly recognisable just through the content of my late-night contributions.
Try as I might (and did) to completely replace the avatar, you now have two images to choose from, depending on how and where you first enter into the site. This will probably completely defeat the purpose of having any image at all, and it would probably have been less confusing if I had stuck to the grey, Disney silhouette like everyone else.
It is a dummy or mannequin that has been standing outside a sea-themed bar in Bremerhaven for years and in all weathers, to attract customers. I was sad to see that the owners had given it a make-over when I last visited, maybe because they finally realised that it was attracting the wrong sort of customers.
Now - completely off-topic, if that is possible - I have just stumbled upon the book-cover I designed for my children's ghost story, 'The Haunted Toilet'', and I thought I would show you:
The image was created using an amalgam of a wooden toilet seat on sale in a reclamation yard, and the illustration from a Japanese horror story.
I quite like it, but it would probably contravene a load of copyright laws, so when the time comes I will just have to find my own young girl to photograph in a nightdress through a toilet seat, looking scary.
It might take some explaining to the parents, mind you.