This is my ipod. Or rather this was my ipod, until recently.
Since this picture was taken, it has had a catastrophic nervous breakdown and worse, and I have spent the last week nursing it.
Because of you.
You see, I haven't entered the cup for a few years because I tired of the acrimony and vituperative bullying of the BCB canon drones.
Worse even than them are the BCB anti-canon militia, who submit, praise and vote for rubbish they would never actually listen to because it is "brave" or "different".
Ephemeral pop fluff – "Ooh Britney, love that song" – a statement of individuality on a par with wearing Simpsons socks or a wacky tie. Sad sad deluded wankers whose priority should't really be planning their caustic cup put-downs, but getting a life.
Consider that there are upwards of 50 votes in each tie, and wonder for a moment how many of them are true, and wise, and sage selections. Maybe a handful at best. The rest are simply a pathetic bunch of desolate losers trying to increase their own cred through their voting and comments. Their sense of displacement is rivalled only by their misplaced sense of entitlement.
I explained all this to my ipod, but my ipod is young, an innocent. It may look as if it has served in the trenches a long time, had a long hard life for a mechanical gizmo that merits some decency and respect, but in reality it isn't yet even a teenager. It is full of joy and hope for the world and doesn't understand the cynicism or the jaundiced belligerence of the average bedsit-bound BCBer.
So when it looked like the entire competition might be derailed by some people who considered themselves too frickin cool to even submit their lists for the cup, my ipod begged to step in and save the day.
I pleaded with the ipod not to get involved with a competition with as much inhumane bloodletting as a Sven Hassel book, but how could I crush a youngsters dreams and aspirations?
It wanted to be one of the gang, to dip a toe in the piranha-infested cesspool of BCB; thinking, naively, that new blood would be welcomed, its youthful exuberance appreciated and encouraged.
So, reluctantly, I allowed my ipod to play. It excitedly put itself in shuffle mode while I wrote down the first 10 tracks it came up with.
Tracks it must genuinely love, not infantile dross or obscurist drek designed solely to win a cup, or failing that to say "Hey, I am one cool and knowledgeable motherfucker," but music that for whatever reason touches my ipod's soul.
The shuffle list was submitted and the ipod and I sat back, both now being naive, awaiting any chinks of light in the despondent gloom of BCB bile.
Instead, predictably, it drove straight into a wall of mannered apathy and certifiable hatred, receiving the typical BCB reaction: a barrage of abuse mixed with carefully picked long-range sniper shots, uppercuts, body blows and kidney punches from the self-appointed cognoscenti of cool.
A few (so very few) souls showed their humanity.
It was those few I think, and the hope that they represent, who can take the credit for my ipod even making it through the terrible events that would then unfold.
As you would expect, such a callow youth took its devastating defeat badly.
At first little messages flashed on to the screen, the likes of "but list B is shite," and "I can't believe I'm losing to fucking Honey Cone", and "what does 'abomination' mean?"
Within hours my ipod's health had drastically worsened. These messages were replaced with other, more sinister ones such as "operational failure". I plugged it in and it turned to drink, hoovering up electricity to no effect. "Battery still has no charge" was followed by "battery cannot retain charge" and finally "for you the ipodding is over Tommy".
I rushed it to hospital (the Genius Bar) and they diagnosed a massive heart attack that only an immediate battery transplant could save.
It could all be coincidence that this meltdown and cup defeat happened simultaneously, of course, but Aidan in the Apple Store (and they are omniscient spotty Gods even if they are earning £15,000 a year and living with their mums and dads) particularly asked if the ipod had suffered any recent stress or blows. "Yes," I said with a tear in my eye, "it offered up its innocence to a mob of sadists."
After the transplant, my ipod was sent home with me to recuperate and a tense week followed as its health ebbed and flowed, it lapsed in and out of consciousness and over and over again it forlornly flashed on to the screen what would have been its next five. Susan vs Youthclub by The Fall, Mussorgsky's Das alte Schloss etc etc.
They tell me the ipod will pull through, but it is still a broken man/MP3 player and I think it might never fully recover.
It has lost its home and now spends its days moping around a caravan, weeping (see below).
BCB has opened Pandora's box and tipped the contents into a bin-bag of shame.
So, when you sit back this evening with your Aldi riesling and ready meal Shergar lasagne for one, listening to The Smiths - through headphones even though there is no one in your life for you to disturb – you can be very proud that, though always protesting to look to the future, you have yet again held it back and kept civilisation in the same tawdry stasis that so reflects your own empty life.
But hear this, you may crushed the dreams of children on this occasion, but they will never stop dreaming. And one day you will die, sad and alone and no longer able to entrap and stifle others' happiness in your web of jealous misanthropy.
BCB, destroyer of dreams, RIP.