Avatar Not number one

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve found myself in a conversation about what was at number one in the charts when I was born. These conversations come up from time to time, probably more often than they deserve to, usually prompted by a DJ on the radio talking about it.

For a long time my answer has been “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie, number one in the UK charts in early May 1984. That’s quite a fun song to be at the top when I was born and usually gets a laugh. Great. Everyone’s happy.

Yesterday I looked it up to see what else was in the charts that week, and was dismayed to find that I had somehow got it wrong.

“Hello” was a UK number one single, and Lionel Ritchie with his blind student making a creepy clay head had a run of six weeks at the top of the charts in spring 1984. But that run ended in April, and by Sunday 5 May Lionel’s informal greeting based ballad was only just in the top ten. The number one single when I was born was actually “The Reflex” by Duran Duran, which is nowhere near as much fun. As you can imagine, I was distraught.

To cheer myself up, I decided to see if my birthday number one was better than yours.

Kev

Let’s hope Kev is a fan of Frankie Goes to Hollywood because they were apparently everywhere in late July 1984. They were at number one with “Two Tribes”, and also at number three with the famously banned orgasm themed classic “Relax”. The rest of the top ten is mostly forgettable; at number two is a novelty single spin-off from The Young Ones, and the rest include Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper and Shakatak. I feel like I’m on safe ground here.

Ian

Well, this is disappointing. Number one in mid-November 1983 was “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel, a massive singalong smash hit. Adding insult to injury is the rest of the top ten, which contains at least another five stone cold hits: “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney (and Jacko, but we’ll skim over that); “Love Cats” by the Cure; Men Without Hats’ ridiculous “Safety Dance”; “Karma Chameleon”; and even “All Night Long” by the very same Lionel Ritchie who callously abandoned me on my birthday.

In summary, then, I am disappointed that my birthday number one turns out to be a Duran Duran single, and not a very good one at that, and thanks to the fact that he basically cheated by being born in 1983, Ian wins.

Avatar Ruining Kev’s future posts

I recently learned that I have been inadvertently spoiling all Kev’s plans to post things to the Beans because every time he has an idea he logs on to the website and finds that I’ve already done it.

It started not so long ago with the slippers, and then I hit him with a double whammy of tyre trouble that took the wind right out of his tyres.

I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to try and expand on this promising new hobby, so in this blog post I am going to try and anticipate some of the things Kev might want to write blog posts about in the near future and get there before him.

Owls

Very large worktops

Sausages

There. I think those three things pretty much cover all bases.

Avatar Pig news

I know you’ve been waiting for it, so here is the latest news from this month’s Bordon and Whitehill Parish Council Newsletter.

‘The Bordon Pig’, who is called Holly, escaped from Hollybrook Mobile Farm on 3 January 2021. 100s of hours have been spent by a small dedicated team from the community, led by Cllr. Tina Strickland and William Dadley, to ensure her safe return to her family and friends. After 52 days being at large she is now home safe and sound. Thank you to all those who assisted in returning her home.

Unfortunately we still don’t know how a “mobile farm” can possibly exist, but we’ll bring you more news on that when we have it.

Avatar The trouble with tyres

What you sometimes forget about your car is that, as well as a whole universe of complicated machinery and electronics, one of the things it needs in order to work properly is air. Your tyres are designed to imprison the right amount of air in exactly the place it’s required. I advise you to do your best to keep it there, and I will tell you why.

Read More: The trouble with tyres »

Avatar Crossword

Time to sit down with a nice cup of tea, and perhaps pull a rug across your knee to keep you warm like an old person, while you have a go at the Pouring Beans Crossword Puzzle. There’s no prizes, it’s just for fun, and possibly not even that.

Answers in a few weeks. Good luck.

Across

1: Morrissey’s typical remark on seeing some birds (8)
5: Fair description of former regular commenter Pete Doherty (4)
8: The Beans Massive wrote a book about a Magic one (4)
11: A Lego car of the right size (8)

Down

1: A Montessori school activity requires children to pour these (5)
2: Chris’s favourite brand of pesto. Making crosswords is difficult and sometimes you just have to go with whatever fits (5)
3: The location of Dr Rombobulous Combobulation’s hat in relation to his head (4)
4: What we store on the Magical Computers (4)
6: A Jewish priest. It has nothing to do with the Beans but, again, it fits, and beggars can’t be choosers (5)
7: The number we need and are (5)
9: A Smidge Manly impersonator stole this from the real Smidge (4)
10: Noise made by lions and also former regular commenter Brian Blessed (4)

Avatar Travels with the Pernickety Dickhead

It is unfortunate but true that, for about two years between the ages of 21 and 23, I was an absolutely insufferable tool who would send snotty, condescending letters of complaint at the slightest provocation. This fact was recently brought to light when I raided my correspondence folder for material for a Virtual Winston Pub Quiz and found that almost everything in there was a shameful tirade to one company or another dating from the years 2005 to 2007.

Due to popular demand, I will now open up this archive of horrendous antisocial behaviour to the public for your enjoyment.

Read More: Travels with the Pernickety Dickhead »

Avatar New slippers

Before I was about 22, I never wore slippers at all. Our house was a socks house. You took your shoes off and then you just went around in your socks until it was time to put your shoes back on and go outside somewhere. Just one pair of socks, though, not two at once. We weren’t savages.

But my student house was cold, and my housemates all wore slippers, and eventually the peer pressure got to me. On a trip to Next at the Trafford Centre I gave in and bought myself some suede slippers with a very jaunty orange liner. They were amazing, and I was an immediate convert. Now I’m a slipper person.

Since then I’ve spent many years working my way through successive pairs of black suede-effect slippers from Debenhams, but they don’t make them any more, and Debenhams is on its way to the wheely bin of corporate catastrophe, so they aren’t coming back. So now I don’t just need new slippers, I need to choose a whole new slipper type. Nightmare.

I spent several weeks not doing anything about it, because whenever I looked I wouldn’t find anything I liked. But my hand has been forced by the very cold floors in the new house and I made an emergency purchase of some fairly cheap ones that have stripes on the inside, just to keep my feet warm.

You can probably guess the punchline. My stripey slipper snobbery was ill-founded. The new slippers are warm, snug and everything I require. There’s no looking back now. It’s these bad boys all the way.

Please do share your own slipper stories here, unless they’re about wearing two pairs of socks at once. Nobody wants that.

Avatar Water faff

Where is your water meter?

In this post, likely to be the first of many where I talk about things to do with my new house, because that’s what my life is like these days, we’re going on a journey of discovery to find the water meter.

The electricity meter is easy. That has a special meter hutch in the hallway, so you can see it as soon as you walk in the door.

The gas meter is also not too difficult. Look under the stairs, where the boiler lives, and there’s the gas meter, sheltering underneath it. Excellent.

The water meter? Last time I had to find one it lived on the outside of the building, mounted quite low on the wall. Must be around here somewhere. The water company tell me it’s electronic so it can be read by a water meter detecting robot passing within fifty metres or some such futuristic nonsense.

One place it definitely can’t be is underground, because I’ve checked all the manhole covers and other gratings and none of them are either watery or metery. One is a big inspection hatch for the drains. Another is a smaller inspection chamber where a drain turns a corner. Some are gratings into the drains. And the other is labelled SEW, presumably short for SEWER, and I’m damned if I’m going in there. It sounds gross. So that stuff is all drains.

Lucky for me, after making further inquiries it turns out SEW doesn’t stand for sewer, even though that is completely logical. No, SEW stands for South East Water. Underneath the SEW manhole cover is a foam block covered in mud, and under the foam block is four inches of freezing cold stagnant water, and under the four inches of freezing cold stagnant water is my electronic bluetooth enabled water meter.

Let’s hope it’s waterproof.