The Avatars v Wigan Warriors

From 2002-2004 I was the frontman of The Avatars; the most incendiary punk-rock act this side of Billinge. Our gigs were 100MPH affairs with songs about Darth Vader, and the set was often littered with bad jokes about one-legged trampolining midgets smeared in custard.

Basically, we were sonic diarrhoea.

The thing that set us apart from our peers was my propensity to wear my Latics jersey on-stage, in order to antagonise the locals when we played in far flung places such as Preston, Blackpool and Bolton.

The umbrage people seemed to take to me wearing a Wigan Athletic jersey was astounding, and many has been the time that dodging verbal insults was merely a pre-cursor to dodging empty beer-bottles and crushed cans with razor-like serrated edges. I like to think that we won them over in the end with our revolutionary sound and Bon Jovi bouffant hairdos.

We never did care whether people liked us though, if they did it was a bonus, but we were just there to have fun, and wear our Wigan Athletic jerseys.

Our ne plus ultra came in the summer of 2003 when we played at Wigan’s famous Haigh Hall festival. Our reputation preceded us, and as soon as the first chord was struck, the stage began to be bombarded with clods of earth, branches, footballs, beer-cans, umbrellas, butties and anything else the crowd could get their hands on. This was merely the start of what would become the embodiment of the true punk rock gig.

About halfway through our set, I decided to alienate half of the people in attendance by exclaiming; “I’d like to dedicate this next song to the second division champions, Wigan Athletic!” which was predictably met with a chorus of cheers (from the enlightened half of the crowd), mixed with: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” from the cerebrally challenged quarter.

So we started to grind out the song, which halfway through had a drum/bass section in which I had no part. This normally allowed me to have a rest/read the paper/go for a pint or whatever I found most pressing. On this occasion I had pre-loaded a pump-action water bazooka, and armed to the teeth with this liquid weaponry, I vaulted from the stage and hurtled over to some grossly overweight kid in a Wigan Rugby shirt. He looked like he needed a wash, so I blasted him full in the face with a gallon of ice-cold H2O. I can still see (with a great deal of satisfaction) in my minds-eye, the look of outrage on his face turn to horror, as he filled his trousers with piddle. The dirty little beast.

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