Avatar Mysterious debris

A few years ago I moved to a new location and reported to you on the mysterious lumps in a park not far from where I lived. Well, I now live fairly close to France, where the mysterious objects in local parks are of a different nature.

Until about 2015, if you happened to join the army and they decided you looked like the right sort of person to drive a tank, they would take you to a place called Hogmoor which was some woods with lots of muddy tracks and water traps to drive tanks around. Presumably you then did a tank driving test or something to prove you’d learned all their was to know about piloting big metal boxes around Hampshire woodland.

Anyway, after that the army decided they didn’t want to be involved in this part of Hampshire any more, so they went away, leaving behind large areas of a town that are being redeveloped into housing estates. They also left behind Hogmoor, which has been turned into the town’s equivalent of a park – except it doesn’t have big grassy lawns and flowerbeds, it’s just a big woodland with park-type things in it like an adventure playground and a cafe and stuff. I’m very happy with that because walking around in the woods is far nicer than walking around a manicured park.

The other thing Hogmoor has are all the bits of rusty debris the army didn’t take away when they left. I now walk the dog around here more or less every day, so I thought I’d share with you some of the mysterious military debris I keep finding lying around the place.

Avatar Newsboost – no end in sight

Devastating news for Chris Crimz aka Chris Marshall solo fans as artist claims he is still no closer to finishing his epic trilogy of songs.

Crimz rose to fame with the now stone cold classic ‘Wasting your life!” which was written prior to but only saw a formal release through the Papples debut album of the same name. He then cemented the popular but not quite as good, ‘That’s your life!’ which despite constant demands from the fans is still waiting for a formal release. Tapes of the demo have been trading hands for astronomical amounts of money on Ebay, sometimes reaching up to ten whole English pounds. There was a recent bidding war between two diehard fans, Polin Clodbrook and Rolio Chaffinch, for a very rare tape which, if the rumours are to be true, claimed to be a duet between Crimz and Kelly Clarkson during their short-lived romance at the tail end of 2009.

Newsboost reached out to Mr Marshall for an exclusive interview and eventually, once he stopped repeatedly slamming the door into my foot, we were granted one.

“I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” said Crimz, partially through a crack in the door between his dining room and kitchen, “I seem to remember I once attempted a third part but it wasn’t very successful. The lesson is that you can’t rush genius.”

When asked what the composition was like and what kind of arrangement it was (joyous possibly or further leaning into the sad melody of the second part), Mr. Marshall changed the subject to a future release in 2024. “I’ll be putting out another greatest hits album shortly. I want the fans to know that I am listening and that I do care. It’ll be jam-packed with exclusive b-sides, live tracks and the odd Pet Shop Boys remix. Guaranteed to put a smile on their faces. The CD edition will come in a gold coloured cardboard sleeve with a commemorative booklet. A premium product.”

That sounds like something we can all enjoy. At least if the epic closer of his musical journey isn’t coming any time soon then we’ll all have a piece of the pie to chew on. You really can’t rush genius.

Avatar Loyalty update

Many, many years ago I wrote a post here on the Beans about my porridge loyalty card. I seem to remember it was not deemed as impressive as I had hoped and nobody else really seemed very invested in the level of loyalty I was showing to a simple breakfast food.

Anyway, a lot of time has passed since then, so I thought it would be a good time to look through my wallet and take stock of all the loyalty cards I now possess. By doing so we will learn something about where my allegiences lie in 2024.

I found seven loyalty cards. Here they all are.

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Avatar Did a win. Did I win?

How lucky are you? I’d say that my luck varies as I’m more likely to get to work through a series of green lights than win a million quid on the lottery. You have to take it as it comes and be patient, luck will eventually come your way.

I was idling through Twitter a few days ago and came across the usual shit post of ‘like this post and you could win a something’ and normally I would scroll past it without giving it a second thought but this time I figured I would give it a go. Click. Done. I look forward to be 57,987th in line to win. More chance of being hit by a falling cow? Great stuff.

A few hours later my phone blips and I’m faced with this:

I have a single moment of elation. One of those, “No way! Me?” moments where you believe all the stars are in alignment and it’s finally happened. Click my heels, oh me oh my, and so on. Then I take a closer look at the message.

It could be a scam. The company has over 86 thousand followers on Twitter. They surely couldn’t get away with doing this every week without someone dragging their name through the mud and kicking them off the platform. Send them 60 bucks and get a free PS5? Sure. It sounds too good to be true. Are they generous? What does it all mean?!?

If I was in the US then I may have considered it, however due to the geographical limitations of being 3000 miles away I had to message them to decline their generous offer. A day or so later I’m scrolling again and they’re at it again; more messages about free PS5s. There’s another the following day. I feel as though I did win, I was the winner, it’s my win and nobody can take it away from me. That said, I am also glad I didn’t send anyone any money. I don’t even need a PS5.

Avatar Important dates in history – 4 August 2022

Where were you on 4 August 2022? It was a Thursday so you were probably doing nothing. Nobody does anything on a Thursday except wait for the incoming Friday so they can start planning how many Jägerbombs they’re planning to neck before starting on the pints.

I do not remember what I was doing on this very important date. A Thursday? Probably playing some video game nonsense, eating a soufflé and had a shower before going to bed. I do love a soufflé on a Thursday. The Thursday soufflé I call it. Sometimes I eat it in the shower to feel like a king. I think we’re getting off the point here though.

This is a very important date in history and I know this not just because I’m writing this post and it’s my idea to do so. A legion of children, both young and old, cried into the stars on this day because after forty-four years the children’s animated film ‘Watership Down’ was finally reclassified as a PG.

You might think this is not a big deal, especially if you’ve never seen it. Last year I read the book and I can tell you that it is just as harrowing as the film. When I was a kid I taped a copy off the TV because that’s what you did. “This sounds interesting,” I told myself as I loaded the VHS in and pressed record. Back in 1978 when it was originally made, it was classed as a ‘U’ for universal meaning anyone with two eyes and a pair of legs could watch it. You could watch it as much as you wanted. For those not in the know, ‘Watership Down’ tells the story of a group of rabbits who move away from their home just as the evil humans destroy it to make space to build more houses. They then go on an adventure to find a safe place to live out in the wilderness of the English countryside. What could be so scary about that? The author, Richard Adams, did not shy away from presenting nature in its original format i.e. brutal as fuck.

A sunset depicting Bigwig in a snare, with the title in fancy font and the credits below.

One rabbit gets caught in a trap and almost chokes to death on its own vomit and blood. They are hunted by all manner of predators, get shot at by humans and ripped apart from other rabbits. The main antagonist is called General Woundwort who treats his burrow as a dictatorship and kills anyone or anything that gets in his way. One of the main characters has terrifying visions of the future and goes into a kind of seizure whenever this happens; the reason the rabbits escape at the start is because of him and his nightmarish precognitive abilities. Towards the end of the film a dog gets loose and… well, you get the picture.

Tiny baby Ian watched all of this and always wondered why it was that the BBFC would let anyone see this when it was clearly meant for older audiences. I found a copy in the charity shop recently and I am going to force Reuben to watch it because it’s important. Is it a timeless story of heroism, adventure, friendship and not giving up despite the odds? Yes. Does it look a bit ropey but still have a lot of nicely animated bits? Yes. Does it have the voices of John Hurt and Richard Briers? Yes. These, however, are not the reasons why I’m making him watch it. He has to know the trauma that I felt because then he will thank me for not subjecting it to him as a child. I think it’s about time I got some recognition.

Avatar Expert analysis

… and in the end we had to chuck the fridge and finish the race in second place. I think it was worth it overall, especially considering the state of the floor.

Well, I can’t you lovely people here all night. I would like to thank you all for coming and listening. It’s not often that I get to speak on such a specialised topic, especially for a large group of people. We all need to remember that being an expert doesn’t always required three degrees and ten thousand hours of practise, sometimes it can be done without knowing, unwittingly even.

I trust you will take my words to heart and carry forth the message to those who couldn’t make it. There’s a plain black joggers wearing people in all of us. Thank you and goodnight!

Avatar A slice of 2011

A couple of months ago we took a trip to the ancient world of 2010, when Ian and I were hard at work recording our second album, Masterpiece. Now we’re firing up our time machine again to pay a visit to November 2011, and a series of photos taken during the recording sessions for our third album Pop Squared.

There are three acts to this extremely dramatic album. The first pictures are taken in my old flat in Crystal Palace, as we recorded our brilliant and ground-breaking music. There’s only a few of those. Then we quickly get into a second group, which are pictures we took of ourselves while the other one was getting ready in the bathroom. I think the idea was to get potential album pictures while saving precious time, so I would capture the essence of my music while Ian was brushing his teeth, then we’d swap over so Ian could attempt to photograph the ineffable nature of his muse while I was having a wee. Then after that we went out to Keston Common, where it was very cold and misty, to take some moody outdoor shots, some of which turned up on the album cover.

We took eighty-odd pictures, but nobody needs that, so I’ve slimmed them down to about 50 and stuck them in a new picture album.

I urge you – in fact, I implore you – to take a look at them for yourself, but if you want a taster, there are moments of great joy to be found in there, like these highlights.

Ian really loved his dinosaur hoodie. This was the album of “Dinosaur Gal”, of course, so it was completely appropriate that Ian appears in a dinosaur-themed garment.

We really wanted a picture where I was on the phone and Ian was a dinosaur. We took lots of them. Most of the ones I deleted were like this.

2011 was a long time ago. A long time ago. And we both look so unbelievably young. Look at that hair. Look at that wrinkle-free face. Look at those terrible, terrible shoes. Unbelievable.

Anyway, that’s as much 2011 as we have time for. If I can find any photos from the time we recorded The Eponymous Album, you will be the first to know.