Avatar A Breath of Fresh Beans: The hot deets.

The three of us have a podcast, it has a massive regular listenership of probably 4 people, us and Madge. But what do the stats say? Lets dig in and get all the important info on the podcasts thats literally taking up space on the internet…

How are people listening?

It seems that the most popular way people are enjoying the podcast is “Other”, with 5 listens in October, with the big hitters of ‘iTunes’, ‘Pocket Casts’ and ‘Overcast’ bringing up the rear. The ones that really stands out though are those people out there using all the modern tech to listen via ‘played in a new window’. Exciting stuff.

What are they listening to?

Well it appears that there are some classics in the line up that someone out there just cant get enough of. The run down of our “Top 10 Episodes of all time” reveals that our earlier (pre-Chris) episodes are the most popular, as are the last two ‘This way Ups’, which probably do feature Chris…

EpisodeListens
Episode 5: Bananarama Diorama136
Episode 3: The Crystal Skulls135
Episode 10: The trouble with wasps130
Episode 11: Celebration Days118
Episode 4: King William’s War117
Episode 1: Your Mum Loves a Sexy Pony116
Episode 2: Cheery Polar Bears113
This Way Up: Episode 699
Episode 12: Queens98
This Way Up: Episode 594

What else?

In other podcast news, I freshened up the feeds, with proper graphics and new names… names you say? Yes, because ‘This Way Up’ now has its own feed and graphic, at least on iTunes. You can find it be searching for… yes, you guessed it ‘This way up’. I know nobody will, and even we have already heard them all, but you know neatness and all that.

Avatar New Job: Font Specialist

A little birdy, or a small nest of birdies, told me that a good way to make money was not to embrace pyramid and get rich quick schemes but to design things called fonts and sell them for big bucks.

What are fonts though you may ask? It’s a good job I looked it up so you don’t have to because otherwise we’d both be here all day.

‘Fonts’ are the things that people use to show words on computers so when you’re reading it doesn’t look like a book and smell like an old person. Your eyes need books on a screen (i.e. the world net web) in order to cope with the modern world. Fonts are futuristic and sexy, they’re everywhere too. Look around you: check that shampoo bottle, whip out that business card from the tramp you met on the Underground, peruse the label of those trousers that don’t fit well and make you sit like Buster Keaton. They’re all there staring back at you. In fact by reading this post you have some font looking through your eyes and deep into your soul. This font is… *checks* bouncy. I’m not sure what it’s called. Arthur maybe?

So who makes these fonts then? You can’t make them in a factory like biscuits. It would be handy if you could ask some eggheads to whip up a fresh batch in a laboratory yet that still isn’t right. The only way you can create them is with a pen and paper.

I have been working all five minutes and have come up with three excellent examples of new fonts that will be available to purchase shortly after the unveiling of this post for the rather princely sum of £50,000.00 each. Let’s see what will be up for grabs:

  1. Old Man Jones – have you ever wanted to write like an old giffer? Does your handwriting look too neat and young? What you need is Old Man Jones. It turns your typing into a lower-case, simplified version that practically everybody can read.
  2. Doctor Scrawl – I was once told that my writing looked like a long squiggly line with some dots above it. With this in mind, and the notoriety of illegible words on doctor’s prescriptions, it was easy to mash the two together to make everything you write one long line of, “Eh?”
  3. Future Robot Blim – the future is coming and it wants your fonts. Blast off into the distant year 2022 with this highly effective and high-tech biro-stolen-from-the-branch-of-your-local-bank look with a dash of pomposity and a sprinkle of cyberpunk finesse.

Thank you tiny avian friends for dropping this idea into my brain tub and filling my bank with delicious money.

Avatar Dear John

Good morning to you wherever you currently are in the world.

It is a shame when things have to move on. Times change for all of us and I don’t know about you but I always struggle to cope in some way, shape or form. You have been the presenter of Newsround, the presenter of Countryfile, you’re a household name and you never once seem to have given in to the excesses of wealth and fame. That is a shame because everyone needs to let off steam every now and then. Have you never felt as though you had more to give the world, like there was a career waiting in the shadows for you to do something about it?

Have you ever given any thought to a career in rap music?

I believe that you have the raw talent to succeed as Britain’s newest / oldest rapper. You may not have had any experience whatsoever which is fine. Did you ever seen that episode of Louis Theroux where he went to America and tried his hand at rapping? Anyone can do it. I put my hand firmly in the air to be your second in command, your “hype man” as they call it. What this means is what I will start every song by telling everyone how great you are at what you do, setting the stage for what rhymes you start spitting. I reckon that you have a viewpoint which is unique in the world of rap. We can rap about whatever you want: countries, files, antiques, rounds, news, ravens, whatever you like.

I’ve even been thinking about names and even though it could be a cartoon character desperate for a cigarette, how about Craver Crave? Or even Kraver Krave if you really want to knock it out of the park? I will be MC I because everything is a play on words, and it’s kind of like my name but not. It doesn’t have to make sense, nothing makes sense anymore when your’re in a world of giant clocks, money and lurid sex.

If it would help, because I know that you are a happily married man, I can take all the excess that you’d rather not deal with (mainly the groupies, I suppose) and put it in a box away from you. This means you can focus on the important part; the words. I bet you know all the words, I do mean ALL the words, and you’re going to hammer them down like concrete hailstones. This is going to be the best thing you ever did and it would be a supreme honour if you let me help you achieve your goals.

If you are happy to jump right into this I shall include a stamp addressed envelope with this letter so you can write back straight away. You may be a little nervous about this, you may have doubts about your rapping prowess but trust me, you were born for this. You are ready for this. We are ready for this. Now, more than ever, the world needs heroes to shoulder the burdens the others are not prepared for. You’re a good man, John Craven, and I know you’ll make the right decision.

Avatar Calendar Conversion

Way back at the start of the year, when we all excitedly built our, now legendary, lego pouring beans calendars, we all deiscovered the small but important flaw that not all the pages actually fit inside.

At the time I shoved in all those that fit, and the rest went in the luxurious golden box it was delivered in. (Which incidentally, still smells of whatever magic they put into laser printers to make colours stick to paper).

Well at the start of the month, the time came when that initial tranche of pages ran out. Giddy, I opened the gold box and wanged in the rest of the year, only to discover it was too baggy and they all fell out every time I moved the thing.

Modifications were needed, and modifications were made…

The holey-bit was trimmed down by removing two layers of the thin bits, and thus a perfect fit was once again achieved.

Don’t worry though, this being Lego, all the spare bits are safely stored on the back.

They’re all ready to be re-fitted when next years calendar refill-block duly arrives from Chris at Christmas.

Avatar Scommuting

So, all the rules change. Your carefully ordered plan no longer works. You must adapt. You must find a new way. What do you do?

In my case, the rules meant that a half-hour walk had to be inserted into my commute to work. So I adapted in the only way I knew how, the only way that made sense to me.

I bought a scooter. I’m a scooter commuter!

Now, my life is brilliant (see picture). The drudgery of a 30 minute walk twice a day has been turned into a fun 15 minute scooting adventure.

If you have a problem, I suggest you buy a scooter. Doesn’t matter what the problem is. Just get a scooter. You won’t regret it.

Avatar Dear Beans… Trippin’ over Trouser Tribulations

Dear Beans,

It has recently come to my attention that I may have been a little hard on something that has always caused trouble in my life. I have my reasons, believe me, this isn’t something that I have plucked out of thin air. Looking back on my behaviour I am a little ashamed; I suppose everyone makes mistakes and the only way to learn is by making them. That said, how can anyone like 3/4 length trousers?

They’re ridiculous. They look like you tried cutting the trousers to make a pair of shorts and gave up halfway through. They look as though you’re wearing ill-fitting clothes. Who’s bright idea was to sell someone an item of clothing that is missing a part of it? What kind of person does this appeal to?

That was how I used to think, the malice lurking underneath the top soil, the brazen hatred seething through the pork vestibule. It’s not as though my wife ran away with some trousers and I have spent the rest of my life resenting the whole lot of them. Whole lot of them, wow, it’s talk like that that made me sound like a trouser racist.

I am doing my best to move on. This is less a plea for help and more an admission of guilt in the hope that by doing so I can exorcise some of the more harsher criticisms that I have levelled at those so-called “missing trousers”. Human nature is so broad that it can cover a wealth of topics. The only explanation why I shied away from them for so long, that I ranted until hot steam poured out of my ears, is because if I did try to wear them it would expose the tattoo of Pam St Clement (aka Pat Butcher from ‘Eastenders’) at the base of my leg. I don’t want people knowing that I have it; my love is a secret kind of love.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I’m going to omit parts of my name so you don’t know who I am.

Yours faithfully

*evin *ill

Avatar 14 today

It’s 14 years ago today that the very first post was made on the Old Beans. That’s 14 solid years of stupid blog posts, half-baked comic strips and comment threads laden with impenetrable in-jokes. Hooray for us!

I will admit to being both surprised and vaguely horrified that we have clocked up a full decade and a half on this silly website. It seems a bit over the top to regard this as an achievement, especially since we have achieved literally nothing: 14 years in, we still have no audience beyond ourselves.

But I will allow a moment of pride and back-patting for the minor achievement that, 14 years in, we are posting far better and more interesting stuff than we did at the beginning. This is not a project that ran out of steam, it’s one that has developed and grown. Well done us.

I was hoping, at this point, to see how close we are to overtaking the Old Beans with the New Beans, because in my head the Old Beans ran for millions of years and the New Beans is some cheeky young upstart that’s barely old enough to be in long trousers. But that’s not true.

The Old Beans ran from 17 May 2006 to 23 January 2012, a total of 2,078 days.

We will ignore the comic strip era and step ahead to the New Beans, which began on 6 January 2014. As of today, it has been running for 2,324 days.

The New Beans actually overtook the (Duration? Longitude? Lengthiness? Vastness?) length of time the Old Beans had been running back on 15 September last year, a day on which we celebrated this milestone by making no new posts at all.

Anyway, the point is: the Beans has now been running for 14 years, making it one of the longest-running and greatest achievements of my, or anyone else’s, life. And for that we should be thankful. Let’s all raise a glass, or at least an eyebrow, on this momentous occasion.

Avatar Bells

You know what’s working bells? The phrase “that’s working bells, that is”. These days, it’s actually hard to find a phrase or idiom that hasn’t had the word “bells” inserted somewhere to get it right on the fashions.

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, here’s some of the most commonly-belled phrases around.

SituationWhat to say
Not wanting to talk about something“We’ll ring that bell when we come to it.”
Something has happened suddenly“That’s like a bell from the blue!”
Taking risks“Fortune favours the bells.”
Blaming poor work on others“It’s a poor workman who blames his bells.”
Understand the situation“I know which way the wind is belling.”
A good thing that seemed bad at first“That’s a belling in disguise.”
There’s a cost to doing something“You can’t make an omelette without going bells.”
It’s up to you to take the next step“The bell’s in your court!”
Something is unexpectedly positive“That’s a belling in disguise.”
Not noticing how long something has lasted because you’re enjoying yourself“Time flies when you’re going bells!”