Avatar Proto-Papples

I’ve been digging around my old boxes of nonsense again because new content doesn’t find itself and bringing old things you’ve forgotten about back into the light is a good process. Right?

FYI, expect more of this over the next month or two.

This page was lurking at the front of one of the many notebooks I used to keep. It definitely wasn’t the genesis of the name ‘Papples’ because Chris and I definitely came up with that when I was visiting and we tossed off the idea of continuing the music making antics of The Office and recording an album. I must have been musing on the mythos, considering the chumblies and trying to develop a chart for people who didn’t quite understand.

It takes a while to comprehend both the genius of the name and the music of The Papples.

I’m not entirely sure why I was developing a gun of sorts to turn good apples to pap apples, then again I am an inventor so it must have come naturally (?). Let’s go with that.

Avatar 40 things

I am now 40. That’s fine. The joke is that everyone has a mid life crisis when they reach 40, that it means you’re “over the hill” and all that. I think 30 bothered me way more than 40 did. What I can’t deny, though, is that I am noticing the effects of getting that little bit older. 

Here are 40 things about being 40 that weren’t the case when I was 30.

  1. There’s several grey hairs on my chin. I suppose I’m old enough now to call these “whiskers”.
  2. There are also about five grey hairs on my temples. 
  3. When I trim my beard I also have to trim some small hairs growing out of my ears.
  4. I appreciate Redbush tea now.
  5. If I put my feet up, and leave them in the same position for too long, my heels hurt and I have to shift them around. 
  6. I can pull a muscle in my shoulder just by tying my shoelaces in a reckless position. 
  7. I can sense a cold coming on days in advance. 
  8. The level of mental arithmetic that my grandparents wanted me to have aged about 8 is very nearly mine. I reckon I could probably have a stab at my times tables now if I had to. 
  9. I can no longer run up three flights of stairs and then immediately hold a conversation. 
  10. The cleanliness of my car’s interior bothers me less, though that might be to do with owning a dog. 
  11. I listen to quite a lot of Radio 2. 
  12. I don’t mind hearing music I don’t like. I used to be very tribal about music and hate songs and bands that weren’t my taste. Now I don’t really care. 
  13. Eating an egg will have a noticeable effect on the speed of my digestive system for up to 24 hours. 
  14. I have moments of nostalgia for very ordinary things from my past, which sometimes are quite unexpected. 
  15. There are things I saw my dad doing when I was a child and he was 40, which I now involuntarily do myself.
  16. If I have to get up off the floor I need to put my hands on my knees to brace myself on the way up. 
  17. I give much less of a toss about whether or not people like me. 
  18. I feel much less need to make jokes about everything. 
  19. All my friends live a long way away. The nearest ones are an hour’s drive.
  20. I’m quite good at DIY now. I thought I was before, and would have said I was when I was 30. But now I actually am. 
  21. I appreciate early mornings more. I’m rarely awake for them, but when I am I like them.
  22. The fact that the lawn is mostly moss and buttercups genuinely annoys me. 
  23. I don’t care any more who knows about my hobbies and geeky interests. 
  24. If I don’t want to wake up stiff in every muscle in my body, I now need to consider warm up exercises before doing jobs in the house or garden. 
  25. I am working with people who were born when I was doing my A-levels. Some of our apprentices were born while I was at university. 
  26. I need to moisturise my hands every now and then to prevent them taking on the texture of sandpaper all over. 
  27. I own a pair of Birkenstocks. 
  28. Old people moving slowly are much less frustrating to me.
  29. The type of chair I sit on matters much more, and if I have a choice of chair I will give it careful thought.
  30. I can see the appeal of cricket. However, I don’t understand it or watch it any more than I did before.
  31. If I find an item of clothing or a pair of shoes I particularly like I’m quite likely to buy several of them, because finding something that suits you and fits well is not to be taken lightly, and you’ll be sad when it wears out.
  32. I prefer a regular hoodie to a zip-up one now. 
  33. I have developed better coping strategies for making small talk with other men who expect me to have a grasp of either football or sports cars.
  34. It’s no longer possible to switch to cider when I decide I’ve had enough of beer at the end of an evening, because the sugar will keep me awake all night.
  35. I’m more willing to have a go at new stuff. 
  36. I like Motown music.
  37. One very big meal will fill me up for the whole day, regardless what time I eat it.
  38. I’m much better at remembering to wear a hat when in the sun. 
  39. I have a dog now. 
  40. When I trim my beard and my ears I also have to do my nose hairs. 

Unchanged since I was 30:

  1. The 2012 Olympics were, I’m pretty sure, about two years ago.

Avatar Bringing order to the chaos

What do you mean you don’t want more boring, mundane posts about things done in and around my flat? Cheeky scamp! Wind your neck in.

For a very long time, my cutlery drawer was like the wild West: unruly, brutal, unfeeling and packed full of horses. I threw everything back in when it was clean and dry, not caring where it went. You would need to rummage round to find what you were looking for and there was no guarantee you’d find it / that it was hiding in there. I even still had teaspoons Reuben had individually wrapped up for a laugh a few Christmases ago lurking about, the red, white and green paper mocking me from the back of the drawer. What a shambles.

These days I’m a new man. I’ve got a fresh ‘chude. The organiser serves as both a solution to and a continuation of the same problem; everything is neatly organised… IF it can fit in the cutlery holder. Some of the longer knives don’t and have to loosely spam about in a second drawer on the other side of the kitchen.

I also still have a lot of spoons.

Avatar 1000

This is the thousandth post on the New Beans.

Here are some other things where I have racked up achievements in the thousands.

1000 days

I notched up my thousandth day on Sunday 1 February 1987. On the same day, Danielle Steele published her 21st novel, “Fine Things”, and the song I Knew You Were Waiting for Me by George Michael and Aretha Franklin was number 1 in the charts.

1000 weeks

My thousandth week began on Monday 7 July 2003, a day when I would almost certainly have been in a stuffy office on the top floor of the EC Stoner Building at the University of Leeds, filing away human resources files on staff pay adjustments. On my desk would have been a glass of squash, because I didn’t do hot drinks in those days, so I’d keep a bottle of squash in my desk drawer, and I had a red stripey glass to drink it from. Since I moved to university later that year the red stripey glass became my pen pot, and it still is now.

1000 geeky forum posts

I’ve been part of SABRE, the society for people who share my problem, for more than 23 years, and have made nearly 16,000 forum posts there.

My thousandth post was made on 17 August 2003. It says:

I fell today and may have sprained my right hand – suffice to say I’m typing this left handed, very slowly.

I’ll reply as soon as I can!


It took me two and a half years to clock up 1000 comments on the New Beans. My thousandth is this one from May 2016.

Is the Cromulet in north London? I don’t understand.

Chris5156, 13/05/2016 at 13:47

Avatar Growing on

Guys, there comes a time when it’s time to move on. It’s time to grow up. You have a choice: you can grow up, move on, move up or you can grow on. I have chosen to grow on.

During lockdown 1.0, to keep my spirits up and add a little structure to the meaningless days of worrying where i would buy rice, pasta and toilet paper from, I drew a drawing of something every day. It was usually some cartoon from my childhood or things Reuben and I would watch when he was younger. It was fun to begin with, I would put some music on and spend an hour drafting whatever that came to mind.

Four years have now passed. Whilst I am proud of my graphical efforts, some of the corners have started curling and the ones closest to the windows have faded due to sun damage. They’re not the vibrant illustrations they once were. I keep noticing the errors I made too, such as the extra line on the side of Dangermouse’s face, the awful hands of Steven Universe’s dad and the terrible pencil effects for Kermit the Frog. It is time to take them down and send them to the great recycling unit in the sky.

I will be keeping some of my favourites. The rest will be on sale at Sotheby’s in May. Bidding for each starts at £30,000 and plenty of interest has already been noted so you may want to register your own as soon as you can. Each one will be personally signed and framed by myself, and come with a free signed first edition of my new book, ‘Mind sorting: are you the you-est you that ever was?’ Available in stores now.

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.

Avatar A Brave Old Beans

This scarcely seems believable, but it’s true: the first post on this incarnation of the Beans was made ten years ago today when Kev published A Brave New Beans. I still think of this as the “new” Pouring Beans, but it’s been running nearly twice as long as the original. This blog, and all it contains, now forms a record of the whole of our thirties.

Anyway, I wanted to make a post marking this slightly unbelievable milestone, so I have taken my inspiration from Kev’s original post. His “A Brave New Beans” was just a test to make sure everything was set up, and it just contains the word “words” repeated 127 times (I counted). So let’s see how many words we have produced in ten years.

Read More: A Brave Old Beans »