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B3ta Review of the Year 2010 A to Z

We weren't going to bother writing a newsletter the day before Xmas as we quite fancied the day off. Then an email came through offering to buy some last minute advertising and a thought occurred to us: this is the best job in the world. Someone is offering money to sponsor the newsletter and we can write what the hell we want.

So let's pretend some fancy newspaper has been stupid enough to commission us to write a review of the year. Think of us as some kind of "Cyber Clarkson" (on a 100th of the pay) and you're halfway there already.

A is for Apps

Image credit: 2 Can Chunder

People keep asking us, "B3ta, what are your favourite iPhone apps of 2010?" Actually, they don't, but here's a quick list, just in case they might:

  1. Official Twitter app.
    Addicted to this until our eyes are melting. Official B3ta Wife says, "put down that bloody phone, it's 12:30am and you're worse than our eldest child and his DS."

  2. Scrabble.
    We played so much scrabble this year that on seeing an Esso garage we thought, "what a waste of S's"

  3. Spotify.
    Yeah it's £10 per month but having billions of random tunes in your pocket is worth it.

  4. Air Video.
    Stream your DIVX collection (legally sourced of course, officer) to your phone or iPad. Top fucking notch.

  5. Hipstamatic.
    Yeah, like every other tosser on the internet we went through the phase of making our crappy phone snaps look like they were taken in the 70s. Despite basically loving it, we finally knocked it on the head upon realising how naff we'd think our parents were if all our childhood pics had been specially treated to look like old, brown sepia prints.

  6. Maps.
    Yeah this is built into the iPhone, but for the first time in our sad lives we've been able to get around London without doing the "walk in a random direction and hope to hit a Tube stop" method that we first developed when moving here in 1997 and never bothered improving on.

  7. Kindle.
    Fuck buying an actual Kindle. They are shit and the buttons fall off. But the Kindle app on the phone? Great! Catch 10 minutes bonus reading time on the bog / tube / whatever without having to remember to lug a book / extra device with you. Because, if you're like us, your phone is always in your pocket, giving brain cancer to your right ball bag.

  8. Fuck this list.
    Screw the tyranny of lists having to have 10 items. We're stopping here, as we'd start having to write absolute horsewank about loving Cut The Rope when we only played it a couple of times and got bored. We were shit at Angry Birds too. Sorry.

B is for Brian Blessed-enabled satnav

Image credit: The Yak Shack

Brian Blessed is one of those B3ta memes that never die. His image is never off the board, Jonti booked him for real on his Weebl & Bob DVD, and we once fantasised about getting him to do the audiobook version of the Sick Joke Book.

But B3tan Richard Gardner managed to do the impossible. He turned a whimsical idea from a Facebook campaign into a real product. You can now buy this bloody thing, in the shops.

Richard then got in touch asking whether we wanted Mr Blessed to do something for B3ta - and although "The Brian Blessed Swearing Keyboard" would have probably been the iPhone app hit to make us all rich beyond the dreams of Rupert Murdoch, we forgot to suggest that and instead did a phone interview.

If you've got a spare half an hour, copy this to your MP3 player and listen us chatting with Brian. We burst into manic giggles after putting the phone down as the whole experience was so very very peculiar. "WE'RE ON THE PHONE TO BRIAN BLESSED!"

C is 4 Chan

Very, very much loved the campaign this year to send Josef Fritzl Christmas cards.

Image credit: 4Chan

BTW: We've stopped calling B3tans B3tards because people were getting confused with B/tards.

D is for Dan Bull

2010 was Dan Bull's year, we just lived in it. We couldn't decide which song to pick so watch his whole YouTube channel. EVERY LAST BASTARD ONE. Then listen to his album on Spotify. He's ace.

BTW: Dan is known on our boards as B3tanhousewife, and on YouTube as Douglby. It's confusing innit?

E is for Ed Vaizey

Image credit: herman:D

Being old men of the internet, we've taken to writing crank letters to government ministers about their frankly dreadful proposals to fuck up our internet. In this case it's Ed Vaizey who wants an "anti porn lock" on all web content, a concept that would likely categorise B3ta and lots of forums as porn, as it's based on a shitty thing they already do on mobile phones and it doesn't work there either. We even managed to get The Telegraph to quote our letter, which was fun:

F is for Fotoshopping (saving P for something else)

Image credit: Mighty Nibus

After nearly 10 years of furious keyboard pounding the B3tans have lost none of their enthusiasm for imagefwapping.

Here's the top 10 photoshops this year (by your votes)

  1. Advertising in the Science Fiction Universe - Tart cards A herculean effort from An Eagle in Your Mind.

  2. Parallel Universe - a b3ta in-joke. (McPete)

  3. Big Ben on the pull (Bad Horsey)

  4. Infographics and Flowcharts: how to vote. In retrospect it's amusingly Lib Dem. How things have changed. (benito vaselini)

  5. A periodic table of memes - something to print out for your wall if, like us, you do webby shit for a living. (Mighty Nibus)

  6. Inappropriate Memorabilia The second appearance of the twin towers in our chart. B3tans love those towers.

  7. Make Art More Awesome: Pong vs Mondrian (custurd)

  8. Remaking Films With Animals: The Shinning. (Faceburger)

  9. Opposite Films: Downs. OUCH - this makes us cringe more than any 9/11 gag. (Mystery Bob)

  10. Animated Albums - Beatles Get Back. Actually this looks like a great challenge that we'd totally forgotten about, make sure you check out the others. (E Dubya)

G is for GODS of B3TA

Image credit: prodigy69

There's a big list of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes at B3ta, and here's us saying thanks and suggesting you follow them on twitter just to make them paranoid.

H is for Hexachordal

Image credit: Tumblr

Good old Tom Milsom, he posted about 16,000 messages on our site, wrote some songs that we stuck in the newsletter then actually became a proper pop star with bright blue hair, billions of followers on Twitter and really selling records and stuff. Go Hexy, Go!

I is for "I Made This"

On our links board, dreadfully creative people make the most amazing shit then click "I made this" to make it clear, well, that they've made it and it's not just some another crappy thing off the web.

Thought we'd do a little top three of the best stuff from 2010 as made by B3tans and as voted for by B3tans.

  1. LEGO PRINTER - so ingenious that we got media enquiries FROM THE MEDIA asking us help hunt 'squirrelfantasy' down so he could do awesome shit for telly too.

  2. CYCLES - Cyriak has pegged out a corner of animation that's entirely his own - take a loop and see how far you can push it. We wish he'd do us a video for one of our poxy tunes so it would get a bazillion hits on YouTube.

  3. CAT VS PRINTER - Slurpy J proving the best stuff on B3ta isn't always about showing off your crazy tech skills, but a nice bit of V/O work on an already great YouTube vid can do the job very nicely indeed.

    Actually, let's make this a top ten. But we're fucked if we're going to write this up properly. Just click-a-the-links knowing they are good. Because they are.

  4. http://b3ta.com/links/cows_and_cows_and_cows (mutated monty)
  5. http://b3ta.com/links/Cassetteboy_vs_Dragons_Den (Cassetteboy)
  6. http://b3ta.com/links/GIF_Anim_Compilation (Sheep)
  7. http://b3ta.com/links/Deck_Chair (Sheep)
  8. http://b3ta.com/links/Election_debate_rap_battle (B3tan Housewife)
  9. http://b3ta.com/links/Elemental_Cup_Of_Brown_Joy_Dir_Moog (iammoog)
  10. http://b3ta.com/links/Cassetteboy_vs_The_One_Show (Casetteboy)

BTW: Interesting to note the chart domination of Cyriak, Cassetteboy, Sheep and B3tan Housewife.

J is for Julian Assange

Image credit: HappyToast

We loved Assange this year...

[*1 We changed the name to protect the innocent.]

K is for Kunt and the Gang

Image credit: TechnoTeacher

We've been the main supporters of Kunt in his obviously doomed attempt to drive his song "Use my Arsehole as a Cunt" to be UK Christmas number 1. Here are our campaign highlights:

  1. Getting Kunt to re-record his song to make it about Nick Clegg - as the official B3ta wife reckoned the chorus was a perfect fit for Clegg's political compromise. Watch the video.

  2. The track charting at number 66. Kunt writes, "It's official - we have a hit on our hands! Use My Arsehole As A Cunt is no. 66 in the Official UK Chart! I know it wasn't top 40 but because we finished in top 75 it is registered as a hit and will appear in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles!"

  3. Seeing the #66 news spread like crazy across Twitter and forums with messages like, "Have you seen what's at number 66? WTF?"

  4. Backing Kunt's new campaign to get a top 40 entry by Boxing Day. Suddenly everyone is talking about Kunt and this seems possible.

  5. Organising 20 or so people off Twitter to do a letter-writing campaign to various newspapers to complain about Kunt. "My daughter was on iTunes and was disgusted to find..." etc. This worked for Joe Orton in the past and it might have worked for us. As far as we know nobody actually printed these mental, but oh wonderful letters, but if you hear differently please let us know. (BTW: Thanks to the legend that is CCC for this idea.)

  6. Recording a podcast (ok just a phone call) with Kunt. Best line? Kunt saying, "You make a deal with the devil and you end up fucking yourself up the arse."

  7. THEN BOO HISS. iTunes booted off the best-selling Nick Clegg mix without giving a reason, probably dooming our chances for a higher placement. Kunt believes there are dark political forces at work.

  8. Anyway - for Boxing Day placement please buy the single (any of the 7 mixes) from Amazon.

  9. And we've been overtaken by events, Kunt writes, "There's been a slide down the charts since midweek so it's gonna be nowhere near. It was a valiant effort and I feel we were only one piece of the jigsaw away from being that big 'ban this filth' frankie Boyle story!! It's a shame because with the news surrounding the clegg version if we'd have made the top 40 theres a chance the prime minister would have had to say something which would have been a proper landmark moment! Just wanted to say thanks again for all your help, and maybe do it again next year when hopefully everyone has forgotten how much I've pestered them this time..."

L is for LOL SLANG

Image credit: Tom O'Bedlam

Our favourite bits of new slang we heard in 2010 include

KMT - meaning 'kiss my teeth' as in 'Nick Clegg is a twat. KMT'
ENDZ - meaning where you live. "I'm getting me bus to me endz"
REFUGEE PHONE - meaning a Nokia, as favoured by, well, refugees.
MEGALOLZ - sometimes just saying lol isn't enough.

And our favourite playground joke:

"Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn't"

M is for Mutated Monty AKA Cyriak

Image credit: Cyriak

Prodigy69 writes, "Respect to Mutated Monty for still making things for b3ta and for the TV and for not fucking off and leaving us as soon as he found a bit of fame."

Mutated Monty is better-known to the world under his real name Cyriak, and his latest gig is an animation for the American TV company Showtime - who make everyone's favourite serial killer rom com Dexter. Watch it.

N is for Nina (aka Jessie)

Nina the snow leopard as cuddled by Hazel Carter.
Image credit: Telegraph / James Godwin

Barryheadwound writes - "The massively-loved b3tan and Derby Bash supremo was tragically taken from us in May of this year, and Prof Kenny Martin now faces the daily bummer of life without her. Big thanks to Mrs. Trellis for sorting out the whip round that realised over 2 grand in her memory. And to Jahled for christening a baby snow leopard after her."

O is for One Joke Tumblr sites

Image credit: Bread people

2010 was truly the year that Tumblr stopped being whatever it was designed for and became the home of single gag photo memes. We're sure the owners are so proud.

Here's 8 of the best:

P is for Person of the Year 2010

Image credit: Lord Kronos

Your nominations are a little eccentric and occasionally in-jokey but it's what you voted for and we didn't flush them all down the bog like Time magazine:

  1. Julian Assange - internet "terrorist"

  2. Some guy who robbed a Range Rover off a dangerous driver who'd nearly mowed down a cyclist

  3. Jessie - sadly-missed B3tan

  4. Terry Pratchett - novelist and alzheimer's patient.

  5. Cr3 who does codey stuff for our lovely site

  6. YOU, yes you dear B3tan.

  7. Jahled for naming Nina, the snow leopard, Nina.

  8. Beekeepers who set bees on hippies

  9. Aung Sung Suu Kyi for showing us all that incredible things can be achieved by staying at home and not speaking to anyone.

  10. A German student who mooned a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer.

Read it all in more detail.

Q is for QED: Question.Explore.Discover

Image credit: WiL

QED is a weekend celebration of science, reason and critical thinking. Featuring top speakers like Jon Ronson, Jim Al-Khalili and Robin Ince.

QED will be held in Manchester on Feb 5th-6th 2011. Because science is awesome.

Buy your tickets now.

BTW: This is our sponsored link. And it's very handy that it's filled up our Q for us as what the hell could we have stuck here? Quims? Anyway, this QED thing sounds like something we'd have happily linked to without sponsorship, so yay for good people supporting B3ta and bunging us money. AH FUCKING HELL. Obviously Q should be Question of the Week. Let's have TWO Qs. No one will notice.

Q is also for Question of the Week

The best story on QOTW in 2010 as voted for by YOU was for "The Tale of the Cornflake" by frightfullybored and, for those who didn't read it, here's your chance.

"Many years ago, my aunt had a friend who was a serial complainer/consumer terrorist. She used to fire letters of complaint off to all manner of unsuspecting companies regarding their shoddy wares or, in this case, food. The usual response was a fistful of money off vouchers or a cheque from the unsuspecting company to calm the rabid bitch's fevered brow.

"Anyway, one day, Kelloggs appeared on her radar because they'd committed the heinous crime of palming a large box of cornflakes off on the unsuspecting masses (in this case her) with a burnt cornflake in it.

"The sternly-worded letter of complaint was duly written and dispatched post-haste to those fine people at Kelloggs. She really went to town on them over how outrageous it was that such a fine upstanding company should be peddling this sub standard filth on the general public and what were they going to do about it regarding compensating her for this impurity in her breakfast cereal.

"Their response?

"A 'With Compliments' slip with a single replacement cornflake taped to the top right-hand corner..."

If you fancy reading the best ever QOTW answers, this link is your friend: every single answer, of all time, in order of votes. Print it out and stick it in your toilet. It would make a great book.

R is for Rim Jobs

No, nothing to do with licking your lover's anus with your tongue, but a bizarre bit of marketing from Blackberry phones - how can they not know?

S is for Sodding it up

Image credit: M_T_Knutsack

Here's a story about when one of our sponsored links went wrong.

Someone approached us to buy unused ad space in the newsletter by suggesting that we stick in a link to their video chart for viral ads and we'd get pennies for each click.

Anyway - one week we didn't get an ad and linked them up and we thought to maximize click-throughs we'd take the piss out of an advert. "Look at this worst ad ever. It's just embarrassing shit" being a much more compelling phrase than "woo hoo!"

It was an ad for some Barclays thing at the height of the banking crisis and we threw in a few extra digs about spending money on rotten advertising being probably part of the reason we were all so fucked.

Barclays saw it and got very angry that they were paying to have their brand rubbished. Oops! And that was the end for us and the viral chart.

BTW: The newsletter is funded by advertising. This year has not been easy due to both the recession and increased competition. However we've survived in no small part to our wonderful readers, who keep suggesting us to their clients and also the even more wonderful W00tmedia who make special efforts to ensure we don't wither away and die. Thank you. Especially Bex and Austen. We love you.

T is for Twitter Hate Mobs

Image credit: magictoast

"Twitter is like uploading a collective liberal super ego to the cloud - a critical and moralising voice with the amplifying power of retweeting", we said pompously.

In 2010 twitter hate mobs came for

In 2011 they're coming for you.

U is for unused A-Z suggestions

A is for Anonymous calling us an "internet cunt"
B is also for Baldmonkey. King of /talk.
C is for Hunt as in Jeremy Hunt
F is for Fwapping.
J is for JMG. King of /talk.
K is for Kate Middleton's lovely norks.
P is for Paywalls.

V for Vuvuzela

Apparently there was some kind of World Cup going on but we didn't know because we're sad internet cunts who got picked last at games.

W is for Wanking

Image credit: Cockweasle

Keen internet masturbators tell us that in 2010 they've mostly been tugging off to the porn tubes that have sprung up. Still, it beats waiting for 30 minutes for some GIF of Pamela Anderson to download, like what we had to in the 90s. Or, like we did in the 80s, the fashion pages in Cosmo.

X is for X Factor

We didn't watch it. Sorry. If you want shit like that try a different internet newsletter.

Y is for Yazz and the Plastic Population

2010 was another heartbreakingly poor year for Yazz in the pop charts. The only way isn't up, is it Yazz? Where's your plastic population now, Yazz? Melted, Yazz, like your chart dreams.

Z is for zebra bastard zebra zebra zebra zebra fucker

Image credit: boltneck

Despite nearly 10 years of B3ta history, we're probably still known best for the swearing keyboard. Here's some facts about it we'll be able to stick in our memoirs one day:

  1. Somebody once sent us a photo of a bit of graffiti they'd spied with a drawing of a Xylophone and a cock with the label "Xylophone buggery". This still makes us proud.

  2. Xylophone buggery was the official B3ta wife's idea. We'd previously tried 'Xylo cock"

  3. Rectum is Joel Veitch and me, Rob Manuel, singing in harmony together. Joel did the lower note and me the higher. Which is probably how we'd have sex too.

  4. Why Buffy? We knew Popbitch founder Neil loved Buffy and we were trying to make things he would link to, so people would notice our site.

  5. We've got less compressed versions of the audio kicking around somewhere, and outtakes too, so should anybody want to pay us about a billion pounds to release DVD extra special director's HD cut or something - send the cash to the usual address:
Play Buffy's Swearing Keyboard, it's modern nostalgia.


A to Z written in one manic burst starting at 3pm and finishing at 9:30pm by Rob Manuel and it's currently got a word count of 3,800 words which is about 10 words per minute, so... not so impressive when we put it like that.

But then the formatting took about the same time again. This is why we don't do imagey / html emails. It take bloody ages.

Proofed by Lucy Reese, David Stevenson and Fraser Lewry. The poor sods.

And specific thanks for help on this newsletter to @JonathanEx, @piersroberts, @mattmcd, @SSTRareFM, @defrost, @twiceydrinker, @Mme_G, @matthewgardner, @jamesmcgraw, @jetpackmedia, @sh4r0ng, Whato_Jeeves and The Great Architect.

Also thanks to Pep, Cal, Mystery Bob, Tomsk, Spacefish, Fnord and Stallion_Explosion. Forever B4ta.

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