Avatar Guinea Pigs – underrated?

Pigs come in all shapes and sizes. They are natures gift that keeps on giving because no matter what happens to a pig, the results are always tasty. The pig is clearly held in such high regard because there are other animals who want to be a pig so badly that they’ve even changed their name to pig.

I bring you to the furry slice of nonsense that is the common guinea pig.

Look at it. That’s not a pig, but it’s called a pig. It’s a rodent with pig ambitions. You have to give it credit for trying because they’ve gone the whole hog (ding!) in getting to this point. Guinea pigs used to look like voles with a bad haircuts, now they’re domesticated and in addition to being a fine way of trapping Dr Zoidberg, they’re a firm favourite with small children.

I recently visited a farm near Skipton that had a fuck-tonne of the little buggers. The guinea pigs I’ve been used to in the past were squealing nervous things that wouldn’t touch you to scratch you and if you tried to get close to them they’d have a heart attack or run away. These farm guinea pigs were so desperate for attention that they were climbing over themselves to get to me. I’m a fairly popular person with both people and animals yet this level of appreciation is almost unheard of.

I spent a good deal of time petting these pigs and wondering if perhaps I have been wrong about guinea pigs all this time. They’re cute and absolutely no threat to me or my family. I could crush them all but would I really want to with cute little faces and lovely eyes like our chap above?

I’m not going to start eating them (I’m looking at you, South America) nor will I be purchasing any in the near future. Consider me a changed man though, one who would be happy to shake a guinea pig’s paw and offer him in for a cuppa and maybe some bacon (or ham) sandwiches.

Avatar Episode 20: The Face of…

In this, the final episode of Series 2, we talk about the things we’d be the face of. In the process we discuss:

  • Cushions
  • Crossing the Road
  • Glitter
  • Cigars
A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
Episode 20: The Face of...

Avatar Announcements

Even with all this time, or well now that I’m back at work this time where I’m not out running rampant like I normally would pre-lockdown, I still seem to find myself in this position most months of being on the cusp of four posts and not quite being able to find the last one.

I had several ideas which will no doubt appear next month once I have had a chance to actually do some research or, at least, download the pictures so it’s not one massive block of text with me pointing at things that aren’t there. I suppose that could work though, slightly less absorbing than an empty space where a post should be.

I was even going to drum up some thrills for a new caption completion. Alas, by not going anywhere or doing anything there are no strange photos in my phone for me to pass off as my own efforts. So let me fill up this with a couple of shout outs:

  • Happy Birthday, Kev. I hope you realise that we have now known each other for 24 years. Once our friendship reaches the big 25 we may have to do something special like flying into space or getting drunk on a park at 11pm. Your choice.
  • We’re smooshing into the second half of the year and my work colleague is already talking about Christmas, mainly because there’s cock all else to look forward to at the moment. It also means there’s only five more months of lovely PB calendar action before we must all return to boring, humdrum calendars that don’t have owls in coffee shops, notebook selfies or any of my book covers.
  • I still need a haircut. I have to get it sorted next week because I’m fast approaching Cousin It from ‘The Addams Family’ level of hair proportions without one. You know how hairy on the go I normally am, this is more like hairy through the window on a jetpack.

If anyone else would like to announce anything please feel free to do so.

Avatar In one vole and out the other

In a move that Kev will find outright baffling, I’ve just published another Book of nonsense generated earlier this year. This one is titled I Bought this from Steve for a Double High Five, mainly because that’s the first thing written in it.

It was written (ha! “Written”!) in June this year by just Chris and Ian, on a weekend where Kev was not present. That’s a break with tradition, to be sure, but it’s still a valuable record of many insightful conversations and groundbreaking ideas, and deserves to be placed online where the whole world can read it and learn from it.

Among other things, it includes:

  • MC Jellybowl spittin’ rhymes
  • Potential titles for Ian’s forthcoming book on the history of Middlesex
  • Nicky Campbell spinning the Wheel of Vittles
  • All the Tenniversary nostalgia, including the Poignancyometer

Heaven only knows what it looks like to someone who wasn’t there. Maybe Kev can tell us.

You’ll find it on the Books page.

Avatar You a voley mother f… intervention

Christopher. I’m talking to you as both your friend and your alien overlord.

It has recently come to my attention, well, to the attention of all of us that you seem to be showing signs of unwanted behaviour. There have been times over the last few months where doubt has been creeping into our collective consciousness as to whether you are able to cope. Cope with what, you ask? I’d like you to take a deep breath and read your comments under Kevin’s eleventh (what a hard-working trooper he is) podcast, Celebration Days.

I need you to understand our reasons. If you’re allowed to carry on like this then it can only lead to worse things. Your love of roads will turn to a love of voles. You’ll spend your weekends scurrying along riverbanks with blades of grass between your teeth. You’ll open a bowling alley called ‘Hollywood Vole’ where all the balls have vole faces on them, all the items on the evening menu have titles with voles in and when you press the soap dispenser in the gents it makes the sound of a vole chewing on a dandelion.

You have to remember that what we do is out of love and kindness, even now as we’ve strapped you to a chair and put a roll of newspaper in your mouth, soaked in petrol. We know that you’ve been under a lot of pressure recently, which is fine, and we don’t expect you to change immediately overnight. This is a process which will require you to change significantly. Your view of the world will need to be distorted, then broken, then fixed back together with PVA glue before you can set foot outside again.

All this talk of voles just isn’t healthy. It was okay once or twice but you repeatedly brought it up. After the first few days it was all you could say and then Zoe took a photo of you in Hampstead Heath. It was the most shocking thing any of us had ever seen, and I’ve seen the film ‘Grease 2’.

When I’m done talking, Steve Steveingtons is going to loosen the shackles around your ankles so that you can move a little more freely. We’re going to watch a short film about the horrors of voles and then, after a light lunch with a little Q & A, we’re going to let you loose into the kitchen so you can make everyone a nice hot beverage.

Avatar ‘Janu-Hairy’

What does winter bring you? Christmas? Inner peace? Chilblains and a bad case of the sniffles? Whatever it does bring you, you can guarantee it doesn’t bring you respect.

Winter does not respect you. It will blow you over, blow you down, freeze your chinchillas off and then demand a thousand pounds. Try as you might, there is no easy way to appease winter unless you’re hiding indoors under a blanket hoping it goes away. Wouldn’t you like to give the harshest of seasons what for? Don’t you want to stick twos up at winter and laugh in its cold, dank face?

Look at you; you’re covered in hair. What you need to do is get more of it. ‘Janu-Hairy’ is the newest thing to ever be a thing. In line with other charity-based events, such as ‘Movember’ and ‘Decembeard’, ‘Janu-Hairy’ plans to raise money for people who don’t have hair. Wigs and hairpieces will be distributed amongst those in need, like a wiggy Santa Claus.

How does one help then? By being sponsored to grow as much hair as possible between 1st and 31st January. It’s the easiest thing to do because your body does it anyway, and the more unnecessary hair growth in all your sick and disturbing places the better. That means more cha ching for worthy causes.

Being Hairy on the go, of course I will be participating because I’ve got more hair than all three of the Beans Team put together. I will grow the shit out of my hair for thirty one days in the name of good will toward men and women, whomever needs my hair.

It would be nice if we could use seminal Papples classic ‘January’ as the theme for the event, possibly changing some of the words to fit the occasion. It’s playing in my head now and it’s still lovely.

If you would like to participate then do let me know.

Avatar How to name a company

You will probably remember that, some years ago now, Ian and myself decided that the best way to name a company was to use the name of the person followed by the thing their company did. That way, everyone knew where they stood and there could be no uncertainty. “Peter’s Window Cleaning” is a good company name. “Lucy’s Cafe” is another.

You can see the problem of badly named companies everywhere. “Boots”, for example, is a bad company name because it’s actually a chemist and doesn’t sell any kind of footwear. Having been founded by a man called John Boot, its name should obviously be “John’s Medicines”.

I bring this up because I would like to share with you the worst company name in the world. It’s a hair salon I pass every day on the way to the station. It’s called “www.comb”.

I find it hard to understand how anyone thought this was a good idea. “www.comb” sounds stupid when you try to say it out loud. It’s not actually the web address for the company (that’s www.comb.org.uk, itself pretty misguided because “.org.uk” is meant for non-profit organisations, but whatever). The name is, however, specifically designed to look like a web address, so for some reason the company has deliberately been given a name that is formatted as a web address but which isn’t the web address of the company. The only way you can use the company’s services is by physically going into a shop, and there is no sense in which this is an online company, so having the abbreviation for “world wide web” in its name is meaningless. And of course if you go into a hair salon, you would hope that using a comb is not the pinnacle of their skills. You’d hope they’re good at scissors, and hairdryers, and styling tongs, and that sort of thing. Being good at combs shouldn’t be their big sell.

Let’s be clear: the name of this business should probably be “Helen and Lisa’s Hair Salon”. Choosing a different name would be sub-optimal but acceptable. Choosing the name “www.comb”, though,  is madness and must be stopped.

Avatar Unconfirmed individual on nondescript greeting card

I like making cards. Making cards is fairly easy and fun providing you know what to draw or write on the front. If you don’t then it’s a painful and frustrating experience. Thankfully, most of the time I know what I’m doing, which makes a change (ba dum chish!)

It was recently my sisters’ birthday. Sisters plural, as in they both had their birthdays, in that despite being three years between them their birthday is on the same day. Which is weird. I decided to crack off a couple of cards in my usual manner.



Now I know what you’re thinking. This card seems like it was destined to be for one particular sister, but you would be wrong. Without looking in the top-right corner that is.

This card was for Sarah and despite the uncanny resemblance to a certain intepretation of a Christian deity that is not a drawing of Jesus Christ.

I now open up the floor to see if anyone can guess who it is supposed to be.

No clues now.