User avatar Dear Beans… Sandi Shandy Shocking Shenanigans

Dear Beans,

It has been several years now, what feels like decades, since I first encountered the love of my life. I met him quite by accident on a train and he captivated me from the beginning. At first I could not believe that I could fall for such a shambolic, messy, misanthropic miser yet how that changed. Through each encounter the more and more I fell until he was all I could think about.

We met up as often as possible. There was a fair amount of ramping, of course, however it was more than that. The ramping led to so much more, more than can be recounted on a half-baked blogging website such as this.

It ended as most things do, with one of us in tears and the other of stout and firm approach. I just wish he hadn’t wept into my purple tweed suit and blown his nose on my antique blanket. I had to end it because, well, when you’re a well-respected Danish lesbian you cannot be seen frolicking with a member of the opposite sex.

Recently I have been reminiscing about the good times and thoughts of him just keep coming back. Do you have any advice? Any coping mechanisms?

Yours uncannily

Sandi Toksvig

User avatar Trekkin’ Abroad: More France

I went to France again, this time for two actual weeks. I made a number of important discoveries to supplement the important knowledge I gained on my last visit.

  1. France has almost no vegetables. Eating green things is considered suspicious and even ordering a “salad” in a restaurant will cause you to be served with a steak, a large portion of chips, a thick peppercorn sauce and a single leaf of curly lettuce. This is not a bad thing in itself, but I am concerned that the majority of the French population may be permanently constipated.
  2. My skin, especially the skin on the top of my head which has only really been able to see daylight for the last year or two, is liable to burn even when protected by a hat and a layer of factor 30 suncream thick enough to dip crisps in.
  3. I am suffering pastry withdrawal symptoms.
  4. French kitties who live in flowerbeds in the street do not want to be your friend.
  5. Forgetting to post to the Beans while away will cause you to lose one bean on the Bean Counter. The Bean Counter is unforgiving of holiday time.

I was hoping to gather more information over a two week period, but the French are a crafty people, and ensured I was plied with excellent beers, wines and artisanal ciders, so to be honest I don’t really remember much of it and the four points above are all I came away with.

User avatar Roll on with the Roll-On

Hey you, yes you, what’s up with you? Why do you smell so bad? It’s summer and you’ve got the sweats real bad. I could smell you from the other side of the room. So could all those other people who have now left because they couldn’t stand the smell.

I don’t mean to be completely judgemental but you need to sort yourself out and pretty quick. What you need is one of Kevindo Menendez’s new roll-ons:

Collage 2017-07-27 09_44_33

The new range of roll-ons features fragrances and flavours not available on the current market, until now! You could very easily get one that smells like a dirty beach or a dank shower curtain but haven’t you always wanted to smell like a sausage roll? Or a spring roll? Or, for those with a sweet tooth, the confusingly titled roll-on jam roly-on poly-on? Kevindo Menendez has raised the bar when it comes to personal hygiene and you can be part of his roll-on revolution!

Get one now!

The Kevindo Menendez range features the following:

  • Sausage roll
  • Spring roll
  • Salmon spring roll
  • Jam roly poly
  • Bread rolls
  • And many more still to come…

In stores now. Kevindo Menendez; a family company.

User avatar Vincent “Hangman” Price

On a recent sojourn in Carlisle, I was browsing the shops like the pavement-walking, job-dodging, gum-chewing cad that I am. In one particularly well-known charity shop I came across this little curio:


I did an actual double take. I looked then had to look again. Is that… was that… THE Vincent Price on the front of a board game?

As it happens it is and I wasn’t just having a fever dream, although the fever dreams I have had never involved old horror movie stars.

This was the 1970’s and it seems as though someone thought it a good idea of turning a game you can play with a piece of paper and a pen for free into a game involving an elaborate piece of plastic and trying to charge punters for the benefit.

I couldn’t bring myself to part with the money just to own this tiny piece of history. Did Vincent Price love Hangman that much or was it all for the big, big, shiny cheque handed to him by MB Games? Who knows. The next time you’re trying to guess what the nine letter word is that has four s’s in, think about Vincent and his “classic American game for two”.

User avatar Kitty ownership question

The other day, I found a kitty on the street near my flat and stopped to stroke it. The kitty then followed me all the way home and was quite insistent that the stroking should continue. It was all set to follow me right into the flat and the only way I could stop it coming into the building with me was to distract it temporarily while I ran inside.

This is the kitty.

I have seen the kitty on one other occasion, when my family were visiting, and it seemed equally keen to spend time with all of them. We decided to name her Kevinetta.

My question is this. The kitty appeared to want to come and live with me, but I suspect someone else thinks the kitty lives with them. If I see the kitty again, can I keep it?

User avatar Northwards

We all knew it would happen one day, and now it has. I am moving to the North.

Not the North of England, of course. No. Don’t be silly. The commute would be interminable. No, “the North” clearly means “North London”, as anyone safely cushioned within London’s self-obsessed bubble will tell you.

This important change will bring a number of new and exciting features to my life.

  1. I will be commuting to work on a London Tubular Train (described previously on the Beans here, in case you are not familiar with this novel mode of transport).
  2. I will be living in a district of London known as “Ruislip”, which is a complete mystery to me apart from being the setting of every single domestic sitcom of the 1970s. I will therefore be mostly wearing beige flares and a pudding bowl haircut upon moving, and will likely make borderline racist double entendres towards my neighbours to a soundtrack of slide whistles and canned laughter.
  3. I will be closer to the actual North of England than before and reaching me from the outside world will involve significantly less time hacking through the impenetrable jungle of London.
  4. I will no longer have a toilet in every room. (This will be inconvenient but I will have to get used to it.)

I await your warm congratulations on this momentous news, but am realistic about the fact that the state of the Beans lately means I’m basically talking to myself here.

User avatar Licenced

What do you do when life makes you weary? How do you lift your spirits from a state of malaise? Well, I don’t know what you do, but I get myself down to the Lego Store with my VIP card on double points day.

On Monday I bought this.


I haven’t actually built it yet because I’m, you know, preparing to move house and everything, but it’s sitting there in its box just waiting for me. The anticipation alone is enjoyable. Anyway, this particular set is only available from the five Lego Stores in London at the moment – nowhere else and not online – and if you took the trouble to go down there and get one, and you flash them your VIP card like I did, you get handsomely rewarded with extra qualifications. My new set came with this.

Yes, you saw right. I am now the proud holder of documentation that proves I am qualified to build and drive this bus. (The cards are individually numbered so I think I’m only the 209th person to get it as well.)

So in future, if you want to build some Lego, that’s fine, but you won’t be getting anywhere near this one unless you’re the holder of a driving licence like I am.

User avatar Four Word Reviews: Bugs & Friends Sing the Beatles

1995 is a fertile year for the albums that randomly arrive in the post without any indication of their provenance. That year has already brought us The Lone Ranger and It’s Time. Now it brings us a third forgotten horror, Bugs & Friends Sing the Beatles, subtitled “The Furry Four Sing Their Fab Four Favourites!”.

Bugs & Friends Sing the Beatles

I have to be honest, I don’t really know where to start. I loved Looney Tunes cartoons when I was a kid. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were my favourites, and Disney could absolutely do one. So I had a small glimmer of hope that there might be something entertaining about this. Then I put the CD in and – in a Four Word Reviews first – I genuinely had to pause it at the end of the first track to try and gather my thoughts and steel my nerves to get through the rest.

I don’t even know what’s worst. Is it that they’ve taken on brilliant, beautiful songs and wilfully converted them into vehicles for terrible puns on other Beatles song names and cartoon fights with lots of sound effects? Is it the fact that almost every song breaks down in the middle into a spoken-word sketch of some kind? Is it that even when they’re not talking, they mostly speak the lyrics in “funny” voices or respond to them in some way? Is it the patronising Indian accent in “Fool on the Hill” when Elmer Fudd is asking his swami for spiritual guidance?

Actually, no, I do know what’s the worst and it’s none of those. It’s that you’re not even listening to Bugs, Daffy, Elmer and Taz. You’re listening to four bad impressions of Bugs, Daffy, Elmer and Taz and they are slowly battering eleven Beatles songs into an early grave. Taz doesn’t really matter because he’s not in it much, but his character isn’t really meant to speak. Elmer’s voice is wobbly and cracked and sounds awful when singing. Daffy is vaguely convincing until he does his catchphrase “woohoo!” and then the actor loses the character a bit. And Bugs is… well, I don’t know who Bugs is, but he’s not Bugs Bunny. It’s not convincing at all. He doesn’t even speak in the right register. I have never missed Mel Blanc so badly.

Track Title Word 1 Word 2 Word 3 Word 4
1 She Loves You She wouldn’t love this
2 The Fool on the Hill Elmer Fudd’s harrowing vocal
3 Birthday Includes reference to Laserdiscs
4 Hello Goodbye Joyless Bugs/ Daffy argument
5 With a Little Help From My Friends Elmer bludgeons another classic
6 It Won’t Be Long It was too long
7 Yesterday Daffy Duck singing “suddenly”
8 Penny Lane Oh god I can’t
9 Help! Yosemite Sam’s unwelcome debut
10 Can’t Buy Me Love No no no no
11 The Long and Winding Road Featuring Roadrunner “meep meeps”

The jokes are bad. The sketches are bad. The scripted-to-death ad libs are bad. The changes to the lyrics are bad. The way they shoehorn other Beatles song titles into their jokes is beyond bad. The instrumental version of “The Long and Winding Road” that featured only backing vocals and Roadrunner – “the long and winding road MEEP MEEP that leads to your door” – was painful. But I think worst of all is that I listened to the album and it made me realise what brilliantly written songs these are and how sad it was to hear them being taken for granted and pillaged for cheap laughs that mostly don’t land by people without even half the talent of the original songwriters. It’s a horrible parody of brilliant music by people doing a horrible pastiche of a brilliant voiceover artist. There’s no joke at the end of this paragraph. It’s just really sad.

In all, this was among the worst things I’ve ever listened to, though still not as bad as “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice which is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and will never be matched. My favourite thing about this album was Daffy Duck singing “suddenly!” in Yesterday. My least favourite thing was basically everything else.