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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 fulfillment, cashing customers' cheques and not sending their goods.

Advertisement in 1990

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, GVL was run by Phil's brother John Craven, but had a much better reputation for delivery.



3.5" drive from Microstyle


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".