Three Things: Christmas Songs

This is Three Things, an occasional series on whatever I want to write about. It might be seasonal, it might be topical, or it might be apropos of absolutely nothing. So sit down, and for this installment, plug in your headphones or turn up your speakers, it’s time to talk songs. Christmas songs. More specifically, Christmas songs you might not have heard of,they just happen to be my favourites…

1. The Cover: Relient K – Sleigh Ride


The music to Sleigh Ride has been around for aaaages, and as with a lot of old Christmas music, it’s been borrowed and bastardised by a whole heap of musicians and bands over the years.  However, this version by Relient K, from the pun-derfully titled “Let It Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer” album is my definite favourite (definitely go check the rest of the album out) and SUPER Christmassy. Go watch!


2. The Original: New Found Glory – Nothing For Christmas


New Found Glory are one of my favourite bands ever ever, so I guess I’m a bit of a sucker for a bit of festive awesomeness from them, but this one totally knocked my (obligatory Christmas) socks off when I first heard it. Having spent the last few Decembers blasting NFG’s wonderfully bitter and cold “Ex-Miss” as loud as possible, this is a chance of pace to say the least…

If you’re a fan of acoustic guitar, gang vocals, or even if this time of year just makes you feel uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy, “Nothing For Christmas” is the jam for you and whoever you’re sharing the holidays with!


3. The Classic : Mariah Carey/The Roots/Jimmy Fallon – All I Want For Christmas Is You


Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock since EVER, you’ve definitely heard this song in its original form. Played relentlessly on radio, TV, shops and everywhere else around this time of year, whether you love this song or not, it’s probably sort of become festive white noise to you by now. No longer. Add The Roots and classroom instruments, and then just try to resist hitting play again once it’s over. Christmas, upgraded.

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If you know me, you’ll know that I love the cold. As awesome as summer is, I’d take a cold, dry winter day over a hot, sweaty summer day every single time. So when I woke up this morning with nothing in the diary and saw it was both freezing cold and super bright outside, I decided to wrap up warm and take the camera out to explore Bath, a beautiful place that I’m super stoked to now be able to call home…









Walking around this awesome city with a camera in hand led me to explore and go to places I wouldn’t normally do, just so I could see what a certain building or view looked like from a different perspective, and I found some really neat spots which I hadn’t seen in the 5 months I’ve been here. If you happen to be in the area for a day or two, get in touch and we can go explore some more!

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“We Fear Change.”

Less Average - We Fear Change

As you may be aware, at the end of last year I made the decision to take a chance on myself by quitting the day job and drawing a line under a chapter in my life. I’d become bored, restless, and generally a pain in the ass to be around. With nothing more than a plan to spend 3 months out in Canada, I wasn’t sure what was on the horizon for me…

Fast forward to now (you can see exactly what I got up to in Canada if you scroll down!) and I find myself living back in the UK working with Nonstop Snow, the company I went out to Canada with; for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’ve got a day job that I actually enjoy going to every morning. In some ways it feels like I’ve come full circle, as I spend a good part of my days talking with other people who are in the same place as I was last year, and it’s awesome being able to tell them from personal experience that taking time out and making major changes can give you a whole new lease of life!

It’s crazy to think that we’re getting towards the tail end of 2013, and I could never have imagined 12 months ago that right now I’d be living in a brand new city, with a whole host of awesome new friends to add to the group of legends I’ve known for years; I’m loving life and it now feels like Less Average is a complement to this, rather than the protest against my general bummedoutedness that it was to begin with…

So take it from me – change needn’t be scary. Sometimes it’s the best way to stay positive.

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It’s that time of year I guess. Spring. While the rest of the northern hemisphere cheerily waves goodbye to the cold and snow, it’s a different story for those of us in the mountains. You see, if you get your kicks sliding down the mountain with planks of wood strapped to your feet, the end of the winter can be a total buzzkill if you let it….

Continue reading

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Meet Mark Rushmore. He’s one of the many awesome people I’ve met out here in Canada, and I’d like you to take 2 minutes to help him out with his next adventure. How? Here’s how:

Mark has entered an international competition to be a part of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, where the person with the most votes will win the experience of a lifetime working as a crew member on one leg of the race. Mark is currently flying high at #7 in the voting, and I’d love it if you could help him get to #1 by the time voting closes at the end of next week….

To vote for Mark, follow this link and click the “Vote” button. Simply enter your email address and click on the link you get sent to confirm your vote for Mark. If you’re worried about spam email, don’t be: I placed my vote weeks ago, and I’ve had no problems on that front.

So GO AND VOTE. It’ll take you 2 minutes and will go a long way towards helping a good friend carry on living a life less average! GO!

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It’s been a while since I gave you the chance to get your eyes and hands on a new Less Average design, so today I’m delighted to announce not one, but TWO new t-shirts!


Ten Pounds Of GoldFirstly, this is the “Ten Pounds Of Gold” shirt. Anyone who knows me knows that I love pro wrestling, so with Wrestlemania being just around the corner, I wanted to create a design inspired by a classic championship belt. So whether you fancy yourself as a modern day Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior or Mr. Perfect, show everyone that you’re “Better Than The World”!



Six simple letters, one message: Positive Mental Attitude For The Win.

The concept of PMA (positive mental attitude) was first introduced by a dude called Napoleon Hill in  his 1937 book, “Think And Grow Rich”, which had an enormous impact on me and was one of the main catalysts for me starting Less Average. Some 45 years later, the seminal punk band Bad Brains adopted this concept for a new generation in the classic song “Attitude”, with the line “Hey, we got that PMA, we got that attitude”.

In my opinion, one of the most important things to have in life is a positive mental attitude. So many people go from day to day looking for things in their lives to be negative about, and I believe that to achieve anything out of the ordinary, the first step is to believe that it’s possible for you to realise your goals. So wear this attitude with pride and get that PMA!

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Having headlined Wembley Arena and played at the freaking Olympics in 2012, Frank Turner has the world at his feet. He’s spent the last few years touring the world like an absolute savage and putting out album after awesome album; “Tape Deck Heart”, his newest LP, drops on April 22nd. Here’s the video for the lead single, “Recovery”, which you’ll be hearing everywhere soon enough, so why not check it out NOW!

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Cool For Cats.

Chairlifts? T-Bars? Skiing with the general public?! Come on now, that’s just so…..normal. Sometimes in life you need a challenge, and Cat-Skiing seemed to fit the bill for a group of us recently. Promises of deep fresh powder and the freedom to ski wherever our legs could take us sounded awesome until Mother Nature decided to have her say; a mix of pouring rain and shockingly poor visibility raised the stakes of the challenge and put us all in survival mode getting down the mountain.

Admittedly, this wasn’t the perfect showcase of our skiing ability, but when your friends are falling over at every turn, it’s pretty hard not to have a massive smile on your face! After all, a tough day on the mountain is better than a good day in the office…..









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What If Money Was No Object?

A friend out here in Fernie showed me this mega video today, which asks the question, “what would you do if money was no object?”. It really hit home for me and explains better than I can why you should get that PMA and INSIST ON A LIFE LESS AVERAGE. Check it out:

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Kings Of The Castle

20130226-204809.jpgIt’s been a big week for the Nonstop gang here in Fernie; after a heavy few days of assessment, there’s now a brand new batch of qualified ski/snowboard instructors! Once the celebrations and hangovers subsided, a bunch of us headed a couple of hours down the road to shred the 40 centimetres (yes, really!) of fresh powder at Castle Mountain in Alberta. To say that this made all the hard work of the previous week worth it would be an understatement, the phrase “BEST DAY EVER!” was heard being wailed more than once on the mountain that day…

Most of the day was spent with the new “pros” ripping up the powder in style:

However, the snow got the better of us all on a few occasions:

We even helped a dude find his skis from deep in the snow (well, some of us did):

Smug faces everywhere at the end of the last run:

On the drive home we drove past the most photographed tree in Canada. Added to the stats:20130226-204817.jpg
The whole gang walking on (frozen) water. Best Day Ever!


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Fernie Meal Time!

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. That’s how the saying goes, right? So after spending a few weeks in Canada, the urge to do as Epic Meal Time do finally got too great for a group of us this weekend; here’s what happened….. (Note: vegetarians and those of a hungry disposition may wish to look away now.)

Ingredients needed to create a maple bacon cheeseburger capable of serving 4 people, along with beer bratwurst, cinnamon candied bacon, chipotle mac & cheese & spicy wedges:

When you’re buying mince for a burger this size, nothing less than a forearm’s worth of beef will do:

After the addition of a selection of secret ingredients, get that meaty treat on the BBQ. Yes, that’s a 2 dollar coin…..this burger is BIG!:

To go on top of a patty this size, simply laying bacon like an amateur will just not cut it, you need to get a bacon weave going on, for structural integrity reasons, of course. You may need a professional to help with this:

Nothing less than a weave of this quality will do. Pride comes before a bloody good meal:

Cook those pig bits real good and lay on top of your expertly grilled cow. You’ll be looking at something like this, unless you screw it up:

Next level Sunday dinner manoeuvre. May induce smug-face.


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In the first “Have You Heard” of 2013, here’s the video for “Closer”, the lead single from Tegan & Sara’s new album, “Heartthrob”. If you’ve never heard anything from these Calgary twins before, prepare to be converted, and good luck getting the chorus out of your head!

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The 20cm Rule.

Here in Fernie, there’s an unofficial rule that says that if there’s more than 20cm of fresh snow, work can be put on the back burner and you can head for the hills. This week, my friend Dave Richards from Nonstop did just that and captured the results of a quite magnificent powder day. Check it out!

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Special Offer: Free Shipping!

As an end-of-month treat/early Valentine’s gift to all of you, you can now get free shipping to anywhere in the EU or North America until the end of January 30th, that’s this Wednesday! To take advantage of this offer, simply use the code ‘FREELOVE’ at the checkout and save yourself a few pounds/dollars/euros.

Happy Shopping!

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The Great White North

I’ve been in Canada for nearly two weeks now, and it’s fair to say that I’m already in love with this place. Fernie, BC is home to some of the friendliest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (more on them another time), but the most startling thing about this town is just how incredible the scenery is. As someone who has spent the majority of my life sat behind a desk at school or at work, being able to look around and see some of the sights below is straight up awesome!

Before you reach the mountains, the drive from Calgary is just white flatland as far as the eye can see.


It’s pretty hard to be in a bad mood when you walk out of the front door and see this.


Fernie from the ground.


Fernie from the sky.


Cloudy days aren’t always so bad!


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Take Chances

As I promised last week, it’s time to unveil the first new Less Average design of 2013, the limited edition “Take Chances” tee. It’s a design I’m really happy with, and something which represents the message behind the Less Average brand: Take chances on yourself, because you never know the adventures that you could find yourself enjoying if you just throw caution to the wind once in a while!

As I’m writing this, the snow is falling all around me in Canada, and I’m starting to get the feeling that the chances I’ve taken to get myself here have been well worth it, because this place is INCREDIBLE. I’ll make sure to get some photos up here really soon, but for now, go get your hands on one of the new shirts. There’s only 50 girls and 50 guys being printed, so be quick!

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New Year, New Beginnings.


We’re 7 days into 2013, so Happy New Year! For many people, including myself in past years, today represents the “dreaded” first day back at work after the Christmas & New Year break, so if this is you, I hope it’s been a great first day back!

For me, this year is starting much differently from usual; let me explain. Towards the middle of last year, I decided that I wanted to do something different with my life, and that I needed a change from the 40 hour week. One of the changes you already know about; I started Less Average, which I something I’m super happy with and proud of…….but I also felt like I also needed to do something else, something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious. Something cajunga!

Which leads me to today. Instead of going back to work, I’m finding myself making the final preparations towards a new chapter in my life; On Saturday morning, I fly out to the land of maple syrup, the Hart Foundation, Terrance & Phillip and, erm, Nickelback. That’s right, I’m going to Canada, or more specifically Fernie in British Columbia, to start training as a Ski Instructor, something which I still can’t believe is actually happening!! I’m going out there initially for 3 months, and after that, I quite honestly don’t know what life is going to bring me; I’m super excited about meeting a truckload of new people and experiencing life in the mountains again, but I’m also sure I’m going to miss my awesome family and friends here in the UK. I just figure that I want to take a chance on myself, put my money where my mouth is, and see what happens when I insist on a life less average (I know, cheap plug).

So what of Less Average, I hear you ask? Well it’s all systems go here…I’ve been working hard over the last few months on creating some new designs for you, the first of which will be available later this week, and I’ll have more dropping in the coming months. The good folks at Spreadshirt will be continuing to print the shirts for me and handle all the shipping and that sort of stuff, so you’ll be able to get your hands on the new (and older) designs just as easily as before! I’ve also been working on some other exciting things which I’ll be letting you know about over the next few months, so stay tuned! I’ll be keeping the blog updated with my adventures over in Canada, and I’m really excited about putting my photography skills to the test while I’m out there, so make sure you keep coming back to check out what I’m up to!

Finally, I’m sure you’ve all got mega plans for 2013, and I love to hear about the exciting stuff that you’re up to; so if you’ve got any projects that you’re starting or continuing to build this year, tell me about them on Twitter (@lessaveragepaul) or email me at, I’ll make sure to spread the word!



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THE 12 OF 2012 : THE TOP TWO

#1: Enter Shikari – “A Flash Flood Of Colour”

#2: P.O.S. – “We Don’t Even Live Here”

So here we are. The top two. My favourite albums of the year. Get ready.

“A Flash Flood Of Colour” and “We Don’t Even Live Here” were the first two albums that came to mind when making this list, and throughout the process, I’ve changed my mind several times as to their placement in the top two; you can consider these as equals, as #1A and #1B, rather than #1 and #2.

Enter Shikari and P.O.S have created two very different albums sonically, but with common threads running through them both, which is the reason I’m grouping them together at the top of the tree. On both “A Flash Flood Of Colour” and “We Don’t Even Live Here”, genres are bent to the point of being scarcely recognisable, there’s anger and disenchantment pulsing throughout, all of which is delivered with such swagger and energy that makes both albums impossible to ignore.

With “A Flash Flood Of Colour”, Enter Shikari have maintained their ability to mesh rock and metal with a variety of electronic and dance sounds, with a leaning towards drum and bass and a few massive dubstep drops (“Sssnakepit”, “Arguing With Thermometers”); only this time, the songwriting has been elevated to a whole new level. The melodies, hooks and lyrical content make this an album worth revisiting over and over again. That’s not to say that the fun quirkiness of the Enter Shikari of old has disappeared. On “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi”, you’re taken on a preposterous journey from a spoken word rant into dance beats, crashing guitars and what seems like a mid-song nervous breakdown from Rou Reynolds, before moving into a ridiculously energetic bouncing rave section which finally crashes in on itself in explosive fashion.

Elsewhere, with “Pack Of Thieves”, Enter Shikari have written maybe their best song to date, encapsulating everything that makes this album shine so bright, complete with a lyrical statement of intent which represents this band perfectly: “Don’t be fooled into thinking that a small group of friends cannot change the world/That’s the only thing that ever has/Stand up!”

Similar themes are addressed by P.O.S. on his latest full-length, “We Don’t Even Live Here”. Venting his anger in any direction he sees fit, P.O.S. attacks materialism and conventional hip-hop on “Fuck Your Stuff”. A case of biting the hand that feeds? Not a bit of it. “We Don’t Even Live Here” isn’t the sort of hip-hop you’ll hear on the radio; this time around, P.O.S. has supplemented his signature hard hitting, drum led style with an array of electronic beats and synth work. He’s at his glitchy best on the pseudo-club track “Get Down” and “Weird Friends”, where he revels in his outsider punk roots with lines such as “Picked through the norm didn’t fit didn’t stick to the script didn’t care/We don’t even live here”.

P.O.S invites some of his ‘weird’ friends to join him throughout the album, with Astronautalis and fellow Doomtree member Sims both delivering superb verses on the piano-led “Wanted/Wasted” and “They Can’t Come” respectively. The highlight of the guest appearances, however, is the seemingly unlikely involvement from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on the “How We Land”. This track represents a rare instance of the tempo being dropped slightly on the album, and the restraint shown on this track, both musically and lyrically, provides a much needed balance to “We Don’t Even Live Here”. Like “A Flash Flood Of Colour”, it is this balances that elevates “We Don’t Even Live Here” to a stratosphere that not many others can reach.

Never has anger and disenchantment sounded so vital. 2013 has a lot to live up to.

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THE 12 OF 2012 : #3

#3: The Menzingers – “On The Impossible Past”

“I will fuck this up/I fucking know it”. Those words from “The Obituaries” exactly what’s going through my head as I’m sat here trying to do justice to “On The Impossible Past”. Usually, whilst writing the words to accompany each record in this list, I have the music playing in the background. Only with The Menzingers’ latest, I just want to listen. I want to sit on my bed, pore over the lyrics, sing along, and listen. And then when it’s over, I want to do the exact same thing again. That’s how good “On The Impossible Past” is.

This is an achingly honest and passionate punk record about the anxiety of growing up, American muscle cars, late night drives, and both the good things & horrible times of everyday living. Through the 13 tracks, you’ll be told tales of lost friendships, drunken adventures, and the boredom of living in a dead-end town; stories told with such picture perfect imagery that they surely can’t fail to resonate with you on some level.

When I first got hold of this album, I must have listened to it about 5 times daily for about a month straight; the last record that I did this with was “The ’59 Sound” by The Gaslight Anthem, and like that, “On The Impossible Past” still manages to feel new with each listen. On the strength of this album, The Menzingers have the potential to be HUGE; do yourself a favour and check out “On The Impossible Past” now, because if you do it later, you’ll be kicking yourself for sleeping on it.


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