Mavis's Dream Five


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Mavis knows best. So please write to her with all your music-related problems, and she shall attempt to answer in a most condescending manner.

mavis i have a problem my friend cleo cards says that my favorite band, hanson sucks but i love them i love zac so much that i want to marry him please tell me what i should tell cleo??
, via email


Dear Melissa,

Thanks for taking time out of your undoubtedly hectic school schedule to write us this slightly alarming letter, my dear girl. It’s nice to hear from a good old-fashioned chaste God-fearing young whipper-snapper for a change instead of one of those horrid phone-box vandalising hooligan types who want to ask me daft questions about Papa Roach. Hanson seem like nice young fellows to me, you could certainly take one of them home to meet your grandmother, unlike Papa Roach, who would probably eat your grandmother raw. As for Hanson’s music…. well, OK, I’m surprised that a certain young Mr M. Jackson and his four brothers haven’t been taking legal action by now, but they float the youngsters’ boats, or so I hear! And ‘Man from Milwaukee’ is a favourite singalong of mine, especially while I’m knitting my world-famous Bob Pollard commemorative blankets.

You mustn’t worry about your feelings towards this charming young chap my dear, every teenager has crushes, and some of them even get over them, in time… or else they turn into mad psycho stalkers and send their idols bits of their own toes. Or something. I mean, look at me, I’ve had a crush on Bob Pollard for 9 years and I’m certainly not Bobsessed with him! Er, um, I meant to type ‘obsessed’. Ahem! But very soon Zac won’t be a nice young lad anymore, oh no, you mark my words missy. He will have to start shaving and his armpits will get all smelly and hairy and he will stop taking baths, just like every other pubescent dirtbag boy before him. Don’t say your Auntie Mave never warned you!!!

As for your chum Cleo Cards, there are only two options available to you, namely (a) tie her down, make her drink a crate of beer and force her to listen to non-stop ‘MmmmmBop’ until she claws her own ears off, or (b) don’t be her friend any more until she gives in and pretends to like them. Myself, I’d go for the (a) option, just because it’d be funny to watch her wailing for mercy and blind drunk.

Hope that’s calmed your anxieties my dear,

Love Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Michael Jackson, yesterday

Dear Mavis,
Is it me or have the crosswords in the NME got more difficult recently? I'm having trouble filling in more than 3 answers every week, particularly since I don't have a working knowledge of Turin Brakes's preferred breakfast cereals or the entire back catalogue of Sparks. (I prefer big band music myself, I suppose I'm a little behind the times!!!) I'm beginning to become very depressed and my hip and groovy friends won't talk to me anymore. They think I am too stupid to hang out with because of my crossword crisis.

Yours as always,

Doris Squid (Mrs.), Berwick-on-Tweed

Dear Doris,
Well, well, we are in a right pickle, aren't we. Apart from anything else, I think your friends are quite right not to hang out with you any more. Get a grip!!!!! Big band music indeed!!! Who do you think you are, Captain Caveman? Move boldly into the 17th century and listen to the Strokes instead, just like all the NME-worshipping sheep! Pah!

That said, I have my own solution to finish the NME crossword every week. It's quite simple: just fill in any old letters. Who cares if they're not the right ones? And it makes it more fun - you can try to convince your friends and family that the name of the first-ever S Club 7 single really was 'Kwsebhgjdbexz' (vis. "It was during their avant-garde period!" or "It's a cover of a Brian Eno song!" - those often work). It's your fast-track route to popularity again! Way forward!

Love, Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dar Missis Tricckle,
Mi name is Little Ferd Durt I m 36 years olld and I m sing in nu-mettal band call Limm Crackerz. Or somefing like that I cant rember. I have drone this picctur off yu and Bobb Pollrd out off Gided bi Voises woo yu love verry much.

Doo I win prize?

Love Ferd.

Dear Ferd,
I think I've heard of your band before - aren't they quite popular on the Bingo Hall circuit in Skegness? However, it would appear that you are a much better artist than you are a musician. Therefore I am sending you a box of crayons so you can develop your real talent, since I don't think you have much future in the fast-lane world of the music biz.

(See, Jimmy Savile ain't got nothin' on old Mave!)

Love, Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

My darling Mavisy-poo,
I wish you would reply to my letters. We both know you're as in love with me with me as I am with you. I know because the magic talking rats under my bunkbed tell me so at night. So I am sending you a big bottle of my love in a special padded envelope so the washed-out milk bottle won't break in the post. Sorry I could only afford to send it second-class.

Loving you always from afar, your ickle Nempers X X X X X X X X X X X X X

Dear Nempnett,
Dear oh dear oh dear. I suppose I should have learned not to open the ultra-sticky padded envelopes with my name written on it in something faintly… nasty-smelling… by now. I thought it was just covered in PVA glue. Haven't they locked you up yet, you dirty, horrid, stinking little man?As to the contents of that disgusting bottle - well, you know the routine by now. Sergeant Grover down at the lovely police-station will be dropping in for a little chat with you sometime soon, with a whole lot of his uniformed friends and a big black van for you to go for a nice ride in.

Love, Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Mavis,
I apologise for seeking out your greater knowledge again
(oh, good start, good start! - MT) but I really am flummoxed. I just bought a new digitally-remastered CD copy of the first Neu! album and I noticed something I hadn't picked up before on my previous rubbish old third-generation tape copy - a very strange droning, buzzing sound in the background of 'Hallogallo'. I just can't figure out what this instrument is, whether it's a Moog ASX74 or a Mellotron, or a Theremin, or what! Please help me out again!

Love, Alex

Dear Alex,
My oh my oh my, you really do have a lot of problems, don't you, my dear boy - that's two issues in a row that you've asked for my help and guidance! (Mind you, having met your lady wife, I can understand why you have so many problems.) This is an easy puzzle for me to solve though - we never had analogue synths back in my day, we made our own entertainment with the spoons! (That became illegal in 1973 due to many spoons-playing-related accidents and diseases, including Spoon Knee, Put-Out Eyeball, and the scourge of many a spoons-player whose speciality was knocking out tunes on their head with a spoon, VTS or Vibrating Teeth Syndrome.) The instrument in question is a jolly old comb-and-paper! Gosh, I haven't heard one of those being played since 1943 in an old Andersen Shelter during an air-raid!
Whoever thought the comb-and-paper would become such an essential creative tool in the history of avant-art Krautrock? Not me, that's for sure!
Hope that clears up your quandary my dear lad,

Love, Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dearest Mavis,
…. I can see you. At night. Through your bedroom window. While I'm watching the Blue Tits. Which gather round your windowsill. Looking for….mmmmm…mmmilk.

Lots of love, Norton Malreward xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Norton,

Love, Auntie Mavis xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx