The cold, hard reality of Twitter is that it's an incredibly dull social medium populated in the main by humans, but salvaged by the occasional interesting animal. Take Gus The Fox, for example. Gus is an unfathomably cruel beast who can oft be found tweeting about physical assault he's committed on other animals ("I just punched a hen so hard that the little red bit on top of its head - mohawk/glove? - exploded.") and eating others ("Just met a stoat called Robert Towel who told a wonderfully charming story about the time he visited The Dordogne. I'm going to eat him now.")
Indeed, he's a troubled soul and we had the displeasure of speaking to him on the phone for 15 of the worst minutes in this website's existence. Read, pretend it's not happening, go about your daily routine like he doesn't exist.
Sounds like you're eating. What's for lunch, Gus?
I'm eating porridge out of a shoe, in a church.
Where do you live?
I live in a bin - rusting, wheels, disgusting - in North East London. It stinks.
Sounds horrendous. But you are quite horrendous. Is that a fair assessment?
I'm not everyone's cup of tea, that's for sure. People are quite often hurling things at me and calling me a ****.
You can't say that word on ShortList.com, Gus...
Sorry, I'm a fox. I suppose this is what you call the cultural divide.
You’re quite an angry animal. Why is that?
I guess I've had a pretty rough upbringing. My mum ate most of my brothers and sisters when I was young, so it wasn't exactly a very happy home life. When I was six my dad was shot and stuffed. You can find him in the Coach And Horses pub, in Tooting. It's difficult staying chipper when you're licking fungus off a chimney every night for dinner. Yesterday a vicar kicked me in the ribs for no reason at all. Life's just a day-to-day struggle.
But you then treat others appallingly, don't you? Yesterday you tweeted that you were trying to convince a wasp to commit suicide.
I don't want to sound racist but I've never met a wasp who I didn't think was a complete ****.
Please Gus, you...
[Talking over us] I've just finished reading an autobiography by a wasp called Gavin Hogg and I found the whole book very... contrived. It certainly wasn't a page turner. I bumped into the guy and told him he should do everyone a favour and hang himself. I don't know if he did. I don't even know if it's possible for a wasp to hang himself.
You keep your Twitter followers well abreast of your daily consumption (slugs, swans etcetera). What’s the foulest tasting thing you’ve ever eaten?
I'm quite open-minded when it comes to cuisine. Like you say, slugs and swans are both delicious but sometimes needs must. I've tried eating soil, that's not great. And those bins you get which are just full of grit and salt, I don't like eating that sh*t. I suppose the worst thing I ever ate was granddad, but more because it just felt... sort of... wrong.
[SILENCE. FOR AGES.]
[LONGER THAN THAT]
Where do you stand on fox hunting?
It's certainly a hot potato. I'm not a massive fan to be honest with you. My only real problem with it is the part where foxes get torn to shreds by dogs. I mean, I like pottering about with a trumpet as much as anyone else.
Finish this line: "Heeeeeeey, hey baby, ooh ahh, I wanna knooo-oooow…
Will you be my lunch? (Assuming we're talking about an actual baby)
Have you got any friends, Gus?
Being a fox makes you something of a lone wolf. There's a couple of people I knock about with who I refuse to kill because they're a laugh. I know an owl called Sexy Chris who's good value for money and my mate Double Denim David [fox] has me in stitches. The other day he attacked an old woman. She was crying and screaming. It was great.
Any celebrity followers?
Rizzle Kicks, Lauren Laverne and Billy Elliott are all friends. They'll quite often come over to my bin now and again, and eat rats with me. Cwis Packham from Country File is always stroking me and kissing me which is nice. I'm more concerned about Martin Clunes at the moment. I think he's trying to kill me for some reason. Last week he had me in a headlock and I almost died.
Have you ever met Rizzle Kicks?
It's funny because 'Rizzle Kicks' is fox slang for when you drink petrol and go into a sort of convulsive fit, so I was surprised to find out that humans even knew the phrase. But yeah, I met the lads on tour not long ago. We played poker in the back of James Corden's van and they all fed me biscuits. It was nice. I had the Rizzle Kicks last week when I drank Castrol GTX in someone's garage.
What's Lauren Laverne like?
She's great. She keeps inviting me to ten pin bowling with her and Jeremy Paxman. I keep explaining that there are millions of reasons why it wouldn't work, not least because you can't get bowling shoes that fit a fox. She's sweet. She's not the full ticket though. Hang on...
[We hear commotion on the line. Gus has his paw over the mouthpiece and someone's shouting] Shall I call back?
No you're alright. It's just a farmer. He's just noticed I've murdered all his hens. I think he's crying. What a w*****.
Your friend Rufus Beard died recently [Rufus, a fox, was hit by a car on the M6]. That must have been hard...
It's always hard when someone from the neighbourhood gets run over. We try and warn the younger foxes that it's dangerous eating squashed magpies in the middle of motorways but when you're that age you don't listen. We quite often scratch 'T.W.A.T' into the paint work of the cars to try get a bit of closure.
[More muffled shouting and swearing. It sounds like chaos] We should let you go, Gus. If you can hear this, please send a photo that you're particularly proud of and tell us why, so we can run it with the interview. Gus?
[THE LINE GOES DEAD]
Three days later we received this from him: "I can go a step better than a picture," he writes. "Here's a good video of me licking bacon off Martin Clunes's window..."
"And here's a snap of my old man. Everyone used to say he looked like a young Charlton Heston. He was certainly as much of a **** as Charlton Heston, that's for sure..."
And for any readers who haven't reeled away in disgust, here's ShortList's 10 favourite (publishable) Gus The Fox tweets:
I just ruined a family barbecue with a little help from my arse (my penis probably deserves a cursory mention as well)— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) April 1, 2012
I'm wearing a bra. Jake Plumb's in fits. He just laughed so much that he sicked up a pheasant's legs.— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) April 9, 2012
Bunty Hoven (fit as arseholes) just looked at my penis and sort of sniggered and trotted off. Cheers then. Nice little morale boost there.— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) April 13, 2012
I just saw a pig run into an electric fence and soil itself. Magical stuff.— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) March 15, 2012
My mate Rufus Beard's eating a peach. He's wearing a pair of 3D glasses and tucking into a great big peach. Top lad.— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) March 22, 2012
I'm boring myself to tears staring at this ice cream tub full of pegs.— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) March 12, 2012
My mate Chris Hong has this annoying habit of sort of sucking his own tail. Drives me up the wall. He's doing it now next to a Renault Clio— GusTheFox (@GusTheFox) March 14, 2012
Main image: Rex