User avatar The Best of the Papples

Minutes of the initial scoping meeting for the recently proposed “Best of the Papples” album project, held at Pouring Beans Records Inc. head office, as recorded on a tiny piece of kitchen roll.

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User avatar Scathing Reviews – Personal Dater

I am being hounded at the moment.

Having recently discovered that one of the best ever sitcoms, ‘Community’, is currently being streamed for free via All4’s beautiful service (I know you’re not keen because of the shambles with ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’, Chris) I have been stuffing my face into it as much as I can. I don’t remember when I started but I am now three seasons in and ready to start the fourth. The only problem with a free service though is that you are repeatedly beaten about the head by adverts, noticeably the same four or five adverts over and over again. In particular you get one advert with some berky babies twatting about in a field, one advert about some airline that sponsors the channel and one for the new dating program ‘Personal Dater’. Every 12 to 15 minutes these sonic pieces of filth are thrust direct through your eyes into your brain and there is nothing you can do about it because you’re poor and can’t afford to buy the boxsets yourself.

‘Personal Dater” in particular looks, on the surface, completely revolting. The premise is that society has broken down and people can’t think for themselves anymore, so a new dating program appears on the horizon. Two friends are tasked with picking between nine candidates as a potential date for their lovelorn mate who is struggling with life. As well as this, a computer picks the best person using complex algorithms and other such spindly IT nonsense. The person then goes on both dates and has to choose which they like the best, whilst their mates hide under a shoe and watch everything like the perves that they really are.

The individuals in question you barely see on the advert; all the focus is on the friends who, based on the thirty seconds you see of them, look and sound like morons. I was sorely tempted to put my fist through the television on more times that I can count on a standard pair of hands. Perma-tanned, muscle-bound, millennial dimwits in one episode and some brightly illustrated, shocked-at-every-instance gurning woman with her tiny male friend, who never gets a chance to say anything in the advert. I lost a full pair of teeth grinning in loathing thinking about it.

In order to offer a balanced review though, and against my usual process, I watched both episodes. Each is only about 25 minutes long so easy enough to fit in between my high octane lifestyle. What you realise pretty quickly is that, like with most adverts, it pulls the absolutely worst in the hope of squeezing your attention so that you do watch them. The two male dimwits, searching for a partner for their best mate, are actually really nice. They do spend a lot of the time grooming the potential dates for leftovers for themselves (nice) however you do warm to them. They have a kind of cheeky charm, normally reserved in advance for the next decade by permanently attached comedy duo presenting mega team Ant and Dec. They’re not dimwits, they’re only made to look like dimwits in a half a minute slot between scheduled programming. The too bright for my eyes girl who gasped her way onto my screen, again eyeing up male bits for any that wouldn’t suit her globe-trotting friend, was actually less annoying with a bit of screen time. They genuinely cared about finding the right person and despite some heavy exposure for Citroen at the beginning (are the candidates chosen on the basis that their mates drive the right car?) all in all it was a light and fluffy affair.

It shows how wrong you can be with first impressions. I had my feet up, pen in hand, ready to tear the whole set up a new hole only to sit, watch, shrug and leave with a blank set of notes. It’s not the most original concept yet it’s nothing to get worked up about. Judging people, I know, is so much fun but I don’t want to judge these people and this program. I don’t think I’m going to watch any more so I will safely leave it as a ‘good for you, not for me’ concept and move on. Hopefully the next time I see the advert (no doubt they’ll stop bloody showing it now I’ve written this) I’ll allow a little smile and try not to get as irate over nothing. Maybe I could do with more fresh air, a little less caffeine?

Ian McIver (writing as a diluted version of Charlie Brooker)

User avatar What kind of alpaca are you?

Here at The Beans, we get a lot of questions and enquiries from our adoring fans, but there’s one issue that comes up more than any other: what kind of alpaca you are. It’s obviously impossible for us to investigate each person in full and answer each letter individually to let people know what kind of alpaca they are. Instead, we’ve produced this handy quiz that you can score for yourself and find out approximately what kind of alpaca you are.

Record your score for each question and then scroll down to find your match.

Continue reading What kind of alpaca are you?

User avatar Blockbuster Gold 2019/20

I often start my posts with a question and this one is no different. What makes a brilliant film? Chris won’t know this, because any sight of cinema will cause him to explode so really the question goes out to… everyone else? At the very core you need a great idea, a smashing premise that you can hang 90 minutes of dialogue off and then charge people ten quid to watch it. Film companies have been doing this for almost a hundred years.

As it happens I came across the beginning of what could be a billion dollar franchise sitting right behind me. The story goes like this:

A very kind colleague in the office decided to make some cheesecake and give it out… FOR FREE! Offices are great for this kind of altruistic behaviour. Not just any cheesecake though, we’re talking Orio Nutella cheesecake. Sarah, who does bake but didn’t make this, sits behind me and occasionally comes out with delightful utterances such as, “Ghosts have names too you know!” She’s a gem. So after being given a lovely slice of sugary goodness she put her fork down and said, “I don’t like Orios, I don’t like Nutella and I don’t like cheesecake but that I liked!”

Boy, what to do with this? I jumped on the chance and immediately offered to buy the film rights. Which I did. For one Kitkat Chunky. I did also try to orchestrate a book and theatre deal however she shot me down. Clearly she’s been talking to other people…

So there we have it. I’m gonna have my people talk to some other people and very soon a script will be hitting my desk, possibly written by me.

Cheesecake Dilemma. Add it up: Mix and Snatch. And my personal favourite, Yes please cake.

User avatar The Petition

Some time ago now, it became clear that Monty Don was a famous ex-rapper who we all wanted to see back in the game.

I was proud to play my part in collecting signatures for a petition to get him back behind the mic, and I’m prouder than proud – keen, even – to share the petition I collected here.

It’s got its own page in the Things section, or you can just click on the big Monty Dons here.

User avatar Pie Shaver

Don’t you sometimes want to do something a little unorthodox? Don’t you want to live life on the edge? When someone points the finger at you, accusing you of being a boring old fart, don’t you want to hold something up and tell them that they’re wrong?

Don’t you sometimes want to shave a pie?


Reuben and I did. It was a marvellous occasion for all, except the pie, which everyone forgot about and had to be thrown out.

User avatar Smidge on Science: Time

What is time? I don’t know. I mean, I know what It’s Time is – it’s a horrendous album – but I don’t know what time is. And you don’t either. If you think you do, try explaining it to someone, and you’ll immediately hear the ignorance falling stupidly out of your mouth.

Not to worry. Smidge Manly, renowned world expert on railways and Essex, returns once again to the world of science to answer all your questions.

That’s the last in the present series of Smidge on Science. Will he be back? We simply don’t know. Only time will tell.

User avatar Time Hole

Welcome to the Time Hole. Do you want to see the past? Do you want an insight into how things once were? Could you handle how much a time share in London was in 1982?

Regardless of how you answer these questions, it doesn’t matter. Let me present you with a recent find of mine. I “stumbled” across a copy of the Women’s Journal from 1982 (as you do) and inside was a bounty of adverts. And I do mean a bounty, because half the magazine was adverts. I don’t think I would have minded paying the 60p for it 36 years ago but my eyes would have screamed over from the sheer volume of glossy makeup, perfume, skincare, appliances and cooking apparel pornography thrust directly into my brain.

Luckily things are a little (little, I’m not referring to you, Little Miss Internet) bit more toned down for 2018. Let’s open the Time Hole for a bit. You like butters and spreads, right? So did people in 1982:

I was planning on scanning the whole thing but, as Emma quite rightly pointed out, every time you turned the page it creaked as though the glue was about to give up and run away to Greece to open a juice bar down on the beach.

I’ve never heard of this brand. I can only presume it doesn’t exist anymore, meaning that that the high demand referred to in the advertisement was actually baloney. Still, I’m sure 95% of the industry is baloney and the “butter mountain” was a real thing seen HERE in all its glory courtesy of our good friends at popular online wank-filtered encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

I wasn’t alive then but it sounds as though it was a good time for all.