Microstyle was a UK hardware company run by Phil Craven, based in a private house in Low Moor, Bradford.
The company traded for many years and, along with Siren Software, was the largest supplier of 3.5in B-drives. It advertised in Amstrad Action and other magazines every month without fail. However, among CPC users, it had a reputation for abysmal order fulfilment, cashing customers' cheques and not sending their goods.
Avatar and GVL Microform
When Microstyle's reputation had been sufficiently besmirched and orders had begun to fall, Phil Craven closed the company and started up under a new name, 'Avatar'. (The word means "a new personification of a familiar idea" - a fairly obvious reference to the fact that Avatar was simply Microstyle reincarnated.)
Avatar was originally based in St Albans, as if to hide its origins, but soon moved back to Phil Craven's house in Bradford. The monthly magazine adverts were almost identical to the Microstyle ones.
Microstyle/Avatar software was also sold by a company called GVL Bagsform (a betting term), which soon changed its name to GVL Microform. This was run by Phil Craven's brother John, but had a much better reputation for delivery.
- 'Style ROM' (includes Auntie John's Space Invaders and some printer utilities)
- Cirkit twin-port serial interface (resold)
- 3.5in disc drives
- ABBA switch
- EPROM programmer
- Plus-to-CPC expansion port adapter
A song that circulated among British CPC users at the time was called "Phil Craven's Avatar", to the tune of "Radio Gaga" by Queen. The words were "All I need is / Phil Craven's Avatar / Phil Craven's Avatar / Phil Craven's Avatar / Where's my disc drive gone? / Should have gone to John".