User avatar Tenniversary

It’s been ten years since one of the most important cultural events of our, or anyone else’s, lifetimes. The Papples’ debut album, Wasting my Life, was released in May 2009 to a largely indifferent public.

To celebrate this milestone, Ian and myself made a pilgrimage to a number of sites on the south coast where the photos for the album sleeve were taken. We then recreated as many as we could find to mark this seminal tenniversary event. Join us, now, as we take you through all of the photos we recreated, slowly, one by one, whether you want to see them or not, like a distant relative showing you some old holiday photos.

Continue reading Tenniversary

User avatar The Anatomy of the Pig

How many legs does a pig have?

If you answered ‘four’ you are wrong.

How many arms does a pig have?

If you answered ‘none’ you are wrong.

After a recent night of board game fun with my fake adopted family, Reuben took some time out between rounds to draw another of his award-winning designs. The fact that he can crank these out for fun whenever he wants emits equal levels of pride and jealously from my insides. He originally drew the pig with no legs. After a discussion with the rest of the table, it was decided that pigs do not have four legs in total. They have two upper legs and two bottom arms. That is how it is now and will forever continue to be, and anyone who says otherwise does not have the same high level of anatomical knowledge that we do.

User avatar Pouring beans

If you Google “pouring beans”, we are number 3 in the listings. And rightly so. Bronze is a fitting medal considering the effort we put in here.

The top two results are both websites describing an activity called “pouring beans” which is a lesson used at Montessori day nurseries. Since we do very little bean pouring here, and the pouring of Montessori beans is clearly more popular than we are, I think it’s time we examined this practice. I also think that if we put the pouring beans activity on our Pouring Beans website we might get bumped up the listings.

Here is the full guide for you to try at home.

Age 2½ to 3 years
Materials Two identical jugs, beans, tray, mat
AimTo pour the beans from one jug to the other and then back
Learning outcomesConcentration! Patience! Hand-eye co-ordination! Hand control! Eyes! Beans! Pouring the beans!
InstructionsYou… I mean, you get the kid to pour beans from one jug to another. If you want to make it more complicated than that, there’s some more detailed instructions here, but I expect the kid will lose interest before you finish explaining it and go and run around for a bit instead.
Extending the activityUse smaller grains. Use bigger grains. Use smaller jugs. Use bigger jugs. Do it without jugs. Do it without beans or jugs and just imagine it. Sit in silence and think about beans. Just sit in silence. Just be quiet. Why can’t you be quiet. Now go back to pouring beans.
VariationsUse different beans or rice or dice or something else.

I’ve spent the evening doing this and I can confirm three things.

  • It’s relaxing for the first two or three minutes.
  • After the first few minutes you start to get very bored, and then shortly after that you begin to lose your mind. After an hour I had named all the individual beans and was taking register while they tipped from one jug to the other.
  • The version of Pouring Beans that we’ve been doing, that is less directly bean-related and more about blogging, is far more enjoyable and deserves to be first in the Google search ranking.

User avatar Stick

It must be really boring to be a stick.

You spend decades pushing your way slowly out of the side of a tree, looking at the same view every day, sharing your life with the same branches and twigs.

Years later, a bit of wind dislodges you. For a few moments you enjoy the most thrilling episode of your life, as you fall to earth, but soon realise that you’ve ended up lying on the floor with much the same surroundings, only now you’re no longer growing, you’re just waiting to rot down into the ground.

We can’t save all sticks from the monotony of their existence, but we can make a difference to one stick. Ian chose The Stick. This is it.

The Stick spent its whole life on a tree near Royksopp Lido before falling off and lying on the ground for a bit. Thanks to us, though, it’s had a new lease of life.

  • A walk to a pub and then a night on the floor near the pub
  • A trip in a car to Brighton
  • Being thrown onto the bark chippings under the tree outside my flat

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of The Stick and its amazing new life. For now, though: you’re welcome.

User avatar My Chair Story

So here is a story I have been meaning to tell for a while. It is a story about my chair, a chair story if you will. The entire story is about a chair so if you’re looking for a tale about something else then I would advise you to jog on, like a couple of sea lions, because it ain’t happening sunshine.

Once I was a person without a chair and without some level of warning I became a one people with a chair. How chairs come into your life I cannot say. Sometimes you get given them, sometimes you find them in shops and they’re the right kind of sitting device, that perfectly compliment your own particular exterior, that you have to buy them or regret it for the rest of your life. So there I was, a young man with a chair, sitting like a sitting person should. It dawned on me though that despite the right level of comfort and chair-intensity that there was something missing.

Typical, right? “Oh the problem with your generation is that you are never satisfied. Look at everything you have and it is still not enough.” Whilst that is true, no matter what I did there was something gnawing at the back of my ears that I could not put my finger on. What was it that I needed? A god damn foot stool, that is what I needed. This chair needed the perfect companion though, I could not settle for any old Johnny two foot-putter.

Fast forward eight hundred years later. After developing the ability to not only halt my ageing process but also travel to the far reaches of space in my custom-built Grimmy 101 Space Hulk Meat Vestibule, I stopped getting older and flew to the end of the galaxy. It took a while, hence the 800 years. When I got there though I was vastly disappointed. Despite plenty of signs boasting about this and that there were absolutely no furniture shops, not even a charity shop with thirty copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ stacked up in the corner. My chair looked even more glum that my poor viso/volto did. I was about to flip the spinsh retractor into reverse when I noticed a rubbish tip at the end of the street. I had nothing to lose so I walked over, fearing the worst yet secretly hoping for the best.

There it was. It was staring me in the eyes (which pair of eyes I cannot recall), a footstool I could not recall every seeing in my extended life. Sure, it had taken 834 years to find it and it was worth waiting for. This the story of me and my chair, my chair story, and it’s also a little bit about a footstool. It’s my chair footstool science-fiction search story. I hope you enjoyed it.

User avatar Quiet Beans

It’s all gone a little bit quiet, hasn’t it?

Since the smash at the end of May there’s been nothing (nothing) to start clogging up the arteries of June. In fact, it is as if everyone has forgotten about June. Why is it so quiet? What is everybody doing that is preventing them from “living it up” right here?

Luckily I am still here to be VERY LOUD and QUITE CLOSE TO YOUR FACE to carry on the tradition of nonsense posts that help to pass the time. I am currently exhausted after my recent jaunt as trendsetter. Trying to keep up with everything that’s cool is an overwhelming and mostly unfulfilling way to live your life. I have therefore decided to return to my sheltered, nerdy existence because that’s how things are. It also means that I can focus my attention on my (recent) life goal of writing a thing. We have all written things in the past (see ‘The Magic Star’ for physical proof of that) although this time it will be a solo flight.

I am going to write a book, using my psychic powers, about the marvels of Middlesex. Yes, you read that right; I am going to channel all of my energy into digging up the real story about the county that apparently does not exist anymore yet that I still know about. Is it only talking to me? Have I somehow managed to create a psychokinetic link to the past? Only time, and around £19.99 when it is eventually pusblished, will tell.

I WILL KEEP ALL OF YOU LOVELY PEOPLE posted on my progress.

User avatar Pay the Toll

You have to pay the toll. That’s the way it works.

In order to get past you have to stump up the money or whatever is needed. You have to satisfy the teller to avoid salmonella. You must grease the wheels to sort out your shady deals.

I am about to venture down South towards the magical, Icelandic borough of Royskopp in order to meet Sheriff Rockingham himself. I have heard terrible, terrible rumours of the gentleman who he currently lives with though. Hushed tones have informed me that Steve Steveingtons is a violent wretch. I once sent him a Superman t-shirt which he loved with all his heart. One day he wore it to the pub, somebody accidentally spilled some lager on it and the authorities are still finding bits of people weeks later, scattered around the neighbourhood. A man with a temper like this needs to be appeased.

So what do you do? I understand that Steve Steveingtons is a big fan of the Trek through the Stars, something from television. Biggles maybe? I have been daydreaming about weird things mashed together and this keeps popping into my head at work. I don’t think my pedestrian drawing skills have done it much justice, and it doesn’t look anything at all like the one in my mind, but I hope that it is enough to stop him knocking me literally into next week.

If this should be my last post let it be known that I regret nothing, not even all the Beans comics I wrote.

User avatar Ian’s Otter Answers

Back in mid April I asked the Beans community to answer five simple questions about otters. It was extremely important.

One of our number, Ian “Hotter Otter” McIver, kept stalling until eventually a month later he asked to post his answers to me because “I don’t want anyone else to know”. I told him that if he posted them to me I would post them to the Beans. Kev pointed out that even if they appeared on the Beans there was a decent chance that nobody would look at them.

Ian’s answers have now arrived, handwritten, by post. I am now, therefore, posting them here, but I am doing so in as conspicuous a way as possible in the hope that at least some people will see them.

Here are Ian’s otter answers

How do you feel about otters?

I have always liked otters. They are very cheery and bring a smile to my viso/volto. My brother, John, is also obsessed with otttttttters. He has a weird statue thing outside his front door with three otters, possibly having a tea party (?)

Baby otters?

They’re very cute although they do have “Desperate Dan” chins and could easily be extras in a low budget British gangster film. Cockney otters? Yes please.

How about this otter, specifically?
What a chirpy little lad or lass! That’s the kind of picture you’d put in your bathroom, possibly framed with tiny flowers, and it would make any house guest tilt their head and squint with delight. It should be a famous otter; here, take my money!

Does this otter change how you feel?

No. I still love all the otters. It does scarily resemble the face I pull at work when the phone starts ringing(and when I recognise the number).

How many of these otters would you like? Note that I will fight you for the otters. I want the otters. How bad do you want them? I will fight you. You can’t have them.

I believe that the kind of person who creates a survey about how much they love otters has a love that cannot be beaten, whether physically of (of?) or emotionally. You win, sir. All the otters are yours.