Good afternoon, everybody. Please leave the donkeys alone for a moment. My name is The Honourable Sergeant-Major Professor Lord Sir Elbert Louche, KBE, QC (Junior). Thank you for joining me here in the stables at the Temple Newsam petting farm for the ninth annual State of the Beans Address.
It has been a busy year for everyone, with new jobs, new academic endeavours and new kitchens all providing flimsy excuses for layabout members of the Beans to try to slack off their duties. As we stand here in ankle-deep straw, trying to avoid stepping in the copious heaps of manure that dot the floor like an obstacle course for the unwary, it feels like the right moment to remind you all of the solemn oath you took back in 2014 when the New Beans was founded: namely, that the Beans is now the single most important thing in your life.
My colleagues and I have spent the last twelve months in orbit around the Earth in the University of the Internet’s new Space Laboratory. The internet connection up there is terrible, but the view is very cool, and we have been able to access all sorts of government science grants that would have gone unclaimed if we’d just looked at the Beans while sitting on the ground like you lot.
The results of our work reveal the Beans to be in a precarious state. There is difficult news as we turn to the post count. In 2022, this fell for the second year in a row, as 101 new posts were made over the course of the year. This is a year-on-year reduction of seven, and is 17 fewer than in 2020. But there are grounds for optimism too, since this is still the third highest post count since records began, and the trend of higher posting counts that began in 2020 is only declining very slowly. It should be possible to maintain this level in 2023.
You can see this for yourself in the following graph, which I have had manufactured at enormous expense from a slab of brushed copper. At the end of this talk the graph will be donated to the New York Museum of Modern Art.
The precariously balanced situation is also evident in the comments section. In 2022, there were 1,114 new comments, an improvement of more than a hundred over the 2021 total. The increase is modest, and to be applauded; however, for a second year we have fallen far below the numbers seen during the 2018-2020 era of extraordinarily prolific shitposting, and 2022 remains in the bottom half of all time comment counts. This middling performance is illustrated by the following graph, which I whittled out of Crayola crayons.
There is, thankfully, a little more to celebrate as we turn to the performance of individual members.
|Ian||Ian produced 46 new posts in 2022, a reduction on his previous total of just one. According to the rules of the Bean Counter this qualifies him for a full 12 beans for the fifth consecutive year. The Pope has been in touch to mention how impressed he is with Ian’s dedication.|
|Chris||Chris did a little better, improving on his previous year’s count to publish a full 48 new posts. This earned him 12 beans as well, an improvement on last year’s 11. The German Chancellor Olaf Schölz was overheard mentioning to his wife that he was pleased about this.|
|Kev||Kev’s year, in contrast, was not quite so successful. He made a total of 6 posts, eight fewer than in 2021 and his joint second worst year ever. He targeted those posts well to earn himself three beans. I received a postcard from Roy Walker off Catchphrase who had just heard about this. I cannot repeat any of it here.|
My full report on the Beans in 2022 runs, of course, to three hardback volumes of several thousand pages each. However, broadly speaking, my conclusion is that 2022 saw posting and comment levels from 2021 largely maintained, meaning that the high point achieved and sustained several years ago remains out of reach, but we are holding steady at what may turn out to be a post-pandemic new normal. This is not the best news we could have hoped for, but nor is it the worst. As a result I have given approval for the Beans central heating to be turned back on for the first time this winter.
In light of his perfect Bean score and his improved post count, Chris has been declared the winner of the Beans in 2022. His prize is a lifetime supply of Panda Pops cola.
While Ian made one fewer new post than last year, his performance has remained essentially steady, and for that he has been awarded a Special Judge’s Commendation, which comes in the form of one bottle of Panda Pops orangeade. Kev, meanwhile, has been officially declared a Terrible Shame, and will have his very low post count announced every Saturday morning in the market square at Shrewsbury by the Town Crier.
I would like to wish you a productive New Year on the Beans. Please feel free to resume petting the donkeys, they appear to be getting restless. Thank you.