User avatar Four Word Reviews: Voice of the Violin

Plan A for this month’s Four Word Review was Cher Lloyd, obviously. But there is no Cher Lloyd on the CD in that box. So, with some reluctance, I have had to change my plan. I couldn’t face Kavana. Not yet. So where else is there to turn? What might soothe my frayed nerves and calm me after this disconcerting change of plan? I turn back to the pile of dreadful CDs, once again growing at an alarming rate. I pass on Pete Waterman’s Motown collection. Ah yes, here we go. This guy. This guy will do nicely.

Continue reading Four Word Reviews: Voice of the Violin

User avatar Cher Lloyd vs Coldplay

Awful CDs continue to land on my doormat with depressing regularity. Currently queued up for your Four Word Review enjoyment are “Voice of the Violin” by Joshua Bell, a collection of Motown covers produced by Pete Waterman, and the 1997 self-titled album by Kavana.

Lined up for this month’s review was “Sticks + Stones” by Cher Lloyd, a 2011 slice of Simon Cowell pop. But when I put the CD in and pressed play, something was wrong.

Can you see it? Yes, that’s right. The case says “Sticks + Stones” by Cher Lloyd, but the CD itself is actually another album from the same year, Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto”.

Obviously at that point I had to call a halt to the whole business. This is too much. Two albums I don’t want to hear in one.

Now I don’t know what to do. I might just have to listen to Kavana instead.

That might be the bleakest sentence I’ve ever written. If the best available course of action is listening to a whole album by Kavana, you know you’ve hit rock bottom.

User avatar Yes sir, we have no porno-no today

I feel like a bitter disappointment.

BITTER.

At the end of 2018 I was bragging about how we were going to jump on-board that sweet, sweet dusty bandwagon trail and start throwing about porn like it was going out of fashion. Since then despite a few notable graphic and rather explicit efforts it has mostly been a big nen for the last month or so.

I tried to look for some horrible images with which to draw the crowds in. I checked all over the internet and there’s nothing there. All the porn has run away. Unless it is hiding in the shadows I can only presume that there’s none left. Clearly the world was done with the sight of naked flesh on flesh on possibly animal on flesh.

All I can do is offer up this very small picture as compensation. All you filth hounds out there watching, I hope it is enough.

User avatar Once upon a Time

Once there was a man who lived in his house with his wife and two kids.

It was a happy home, mainly because of the love shared between everyone but also because it had about five thousand rooms and was kept constantly up-to-date because of the man’s obsession with DIY. It had more bathrooms than your average B & Q megastore.

One day the man went to work and when he came home there were some unwanted visitors. It was a flock of bees, wanting to come and stay in the mansion because there were no rooms left in the Travelodge up the road. The man considered their proposal but ultimately had to turn it down as he had heard that bees have a bad reputation and sometimes leave wet towels on the floor rather than putting them over the side of the bath or on a radiator.

The next day the bees were still there, refusing to leave from the garden. Everyone stayed inside the house to keep away from the bees. They built their own bee house in a tree and laughed at anyone who dared come near their keep. The man ran to his car so he could still go to work, putting together dib-dabs in a computer. When he came back in the evening he discovered that the bees had bought a crowbar and forced their way into the house. As he dialled 999 he heard them upstairs, possibly nibbling crackers and spraying the crumbs all over the carpet. He called a bee man, Mr Bee as he is known to his fans, who drilled a hole in the wall and threw BBQ sauce in to drive the bees out. Everyone knows that bees hate barbecues due to their jealously over not being able to use metal prongs.

Prongs.

The bees left the house yet decided to hang around so they formed the shape of a strawberry and hung on the corner of the house. It did look pretty, from a distance. Mr Bee also dropped some crates in the garden with the intention of scooping all the bees up and putting them in ice cream to sell to pensioners down on the South coast of England. One by one, the bees formed an orderly queue and went into the box as the film ‘Cocoon’ was being shown. Popcorn was passed around. A jolly time was had by all. When all the bees were sleeping off their sugar bender the bee man snuck up, took the box and disappeared into the night, and was never seen again. Some believe that he knew so much about bees as he was actually a flock of bees taped together, using some sort of pulley system and intense paper mache skills.

The End.

(Picture supplied by the very generous Emily McIver)

User avatar Stickless

Well, we knew it would happen, but we didn’t think it would be this soon.

The Stick is gone.

We knew, of course, that The Stick had got itself a taste for adventure. We knew also that it had been deposited at the foot of the wrong kind of tree. So perhaps it’s no surprise that it has already started its next adventure. But we are, nonetheless, sad to see it go.

(By “we”, I mean anyone who agrees with me. You may wish to clarify your own position in the comments.)

It is my hope that The Stick has gone on to a new life playing fetch with an enthusiastic collie dog, or perhaps is now propping open a garage door somewhere. We can hope.

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.