Avatar Three Men in a Tin Shed

After a suitable gap, long enough for us all to forget most of what’s in it, I’m delighted to announce the online publication of Three Men in a Tin Shed, the commemorative book of Bridlington 2021.

If you care to flick through its lemon cake tinged pages, you’ll find:

  • Ian’s Love Pipe
  • Kev’s fizzy pizza
  • Chris showering in jeans
  • Ludwig von Slugwig
  • Ian “taking the weight”
  • Chris’s cockney French
  • Kev stepping over Wom
  • The “ramming it home” flowchart

You can read it, and all our other literary masterpieces, in the Books section.

Avatar My new hobby

Last week I was having a nose around a shop full of old bits and pieces when this absolute gem of a book caught my eye. And it was only a fiver! I couldn’t believe nobody had snapped it up.

I’ve never been particularly fashionable, but believe me I am now. My new all-knitted wardrobe of highly fashionable black clothes with brightly coloured puffed up armbands and collars is turning heads wherever I go.

If you’d like me to knit you something beautiful to wear, just say the word and I’ll pick you a pattern out of the book.

Avatar Younger Schmelves

Young Ian was an enigma and when I say enigma I actually mean ‘wrong in all the wrong places’. If I was to ever write a biography, to accompany my award-winning series of books, people wouldn’t believe it because of just how absurd it would all sound.

“What do you mean you were too lazy to make toast in the kitchen so you used the gas fire next to the TV in the living room so you could do both at the same time? What do you mean you broke into a building site just to start fires with some kids from school? You did a what on the side of the road on the way to pick up a parcel?”

I know, right? Truth is stranger than fiction.

Recently I have been remembering a lot of things Young Ian used to do. I expect this is a side effect to approaching middle age. Next thing you know I’ll come across an old advert for Radio Rentals and start weeping about all the electrical goods my parents used to rent from them. “Oh, the TV with the buttons missing on the front,” I’ll gush, “they would pop off if you pressed them too hard and they’d disappear under the sofa and you’d have to push them out using a ruler.” Nostalgia makes a fool out of everyone.

A strange fact about Young Ian is that he was amazed by the idea of convenience food. Not takeaways but those dinners you could put in the microwave and three minutes later you’d have a Sunday dinner (if your eyesight was impaired and you considered three painfully thin slices of beef and a few soggy potatoes to be a Sunday dinner). He wound marvel at the freezers in Tesco and Jack Fultons at the choice available to those with money to spare. I wasn’t very convincing so my mum would only ever buy one or two because children are fickle and she knew that the pictures on the front of the boxes were tarted up and would never resemble whatever came out of the microwave at the end.

That was the dream. Not to go to through the painstaking process of actually cooking a roast beef dinner but to get someone else to do it, freeze it and then buy it from somewhere down the street. The idea of doing this now makes my insides wince like watching anything on Tik Tok. Young Ian didn’t really know what he wanted but he wanted it all the same and thank baby cheeses he stopped before he turned into the white trash he could have been, sofa on the front lawn and everything.

Avatar Another lost classic

You know what I’m like. Always losing things, and then finding them 14 or more years later.

First it was Big Day Out. Then my long-lost footstool turned up on eBay. (Have I told you about the footstool? Remind me and I’ll take you through it all in exhausting detail later.) Now something else has arrived.

Back in 2002, Al had just got a camera and we excitedly made a series of five admittedly mediocre films with the title “AlCam”. The most ambitious, and possibly least terrible, was AlCam 4, where our theme was “culture” and we attempted to cover art, fine dining, foreign travel and music, among other things.

The finished movie was transferred to Super 8 tape on the camcorder, and then all the files were deleted because they took up lots of space and in 2002 disk space was expensive. Then Al, er, misplaced the tape. I had big plans to put all the AlCam movies on DVD, and in 2003 I did just that. In order to get the movie into a digital format, I gave Al my copy of the film, which was on VHS. Al then also lost that.

The result was that AlCam 1, 2, 3 and 5 have all safely been stored on DVD ever since. AlCam 4 was never seen again.

Until, that is, Al started going through old tapes when he had a clear-out over Christmas, and sent me this picture from the little screen on his old camcorder.

In it, we see a youthful Al and Chris introducing AlCam4, complete with branded t-shirts, in front of a very hi-tech bluescreen background. It’s been found. And when I get the time, I’m going to put it on DVD. Not because anyone wants to watch it – I don’t particularly want to watch it. But because it’s been an unfinished project for 20 years and finishing things is important. Especially to me. I’ve had an empty DVD box on my shelf for two decades and I’m damned if I’m not going to take this opportunity to finish the job.

To answer Kev’s next question in advance… no, Al still hasn’t found “An Evening with Kev and Chris”, now missing in action since 2003. Sorry.

Avatar The history of Christmas

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s nearly Christmas. There are very few signs to warn you of its approach – it would be handy, for example, if everything you saw and heard in the media for the last two months had involved a Christmas related song, perhaps – but I have checked and it’s coming at the end of this week.

We all know what that means. There will be trees and presents and cake, and the law will turn a blind eye to breaking-and-entering offences committed by overweight bearded pensioners in unlikely red outfits. But where does Christmas come from? You don’t know, so prepare your thanks because I’m about to tell you.

Time for an unforgettable Christmas feast

Christmas is the eldest child of Father Christmas, born in December 1955 in Lapland. Father Christmas himself is, of course, the nephew of Zeus. After spending a happy childhood in the snowy reindeer-filled northern reaches of Finland, young Christmas left home and travelled to Liverpool in the hope of landing a role in Brookside.

The lack of an authentic scouse accent prevented that dream from becoming a reality, and a few years later Christmas was working in a branch of M&S where a toy sale coincided with the accidental delivery of too many frozen turkeys. The marketing opportunity was obvious. Parents were persuaded to get their kids some knock-off toys and treat themselves to a slap-up turkey lunch (pictured) by Christmas’s dad, whose booming voice and hypnotic catchphrase “ho” entranced the crowds at the Uttoxeter department store.

Today those traditions have spread far beyond Uttoxeter and the surrounding villages of Willslock, Dagdale and Spath. Now we can all enjoy the warm glow of buying some knock-off presents for each other and eating a type of meat that, at any other time of year, we’d avoid in favour of something that didn’t have the flavour and texture of teatowels. Hurrah.

In celebration of the big day, which is definitely some time this week but I’m not 100% sure when, please enjoy this Twitter thread of dreadful Christmas dinners. Thank you.

Avatar Enter the Collector – Part 2

Sarby Pluto (?) here comes ma surly choke guts for another round of preening.

Yes, you heard, the Collector has returned to make you all jealous for another eight billion years. How do I do it? Where do I find the time and money to hoard things nobody cares about? Are you saying that you wouldn’t want a mint condition copy of ‘Vampire Dog’ on DVD, the greatest family film ever made? I don’t think you’re in your right mind, brother.

Into the vault we go, crimsonly like a chick stepping between some other sleeping chicks that aren’t early risers. What delights await us? Avert your eyes, puny human, you’re not ready for the sheer wonders in hand. For now, to wet your whistle (or shistle as I wanted to type) wash your ojos over these:

The wonder of the written word

It’s another limited edition one of one set of Pouring Beans postcards that not only detail the exploits of leading science master and window enthusiast Kevin Hill and horse botherer and French dweller Christopher Marshall but when placed in the right position they depict a map. It must be a map to a magical item, like a wireless abbab with theoretical babs. Perhaps it’s a humongous drinks cabinet that you can climb inside when you get too wasted. Given how awful the weather is at the moment I guess we’ll never know; I’m not going outside.

Avatar Enter the Collector

Look at me and weep, mere mortals, for I am the Collector and I have the THINGS you can only dream of.

I can see you eyeing up my two copies of ‘Winback’ for the PS2 and, no, you can’t borrow them. What was that? You’ve been looking for ‘Milo and Otis’ on DVD for years now and you’re desperate to watch it again? Well think on, chumperino, because that case isn’t going anywhere.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, life is good.

Delve deeper into my collection and you come across the real deal. The top dogs. David Dickinson’s eyes would pop out if he saw the things of things I’ve got hiding in the back.

Take a look at these nuggets of joy:

Back in 2010 I had the privilege of receiving a dozen postcards from Messrs Hill and Marshall from their antics of romping through the fields of whatever it was they were doing at the time (I don’t know, I’m too important to read any of them). Something involving cows? Driving? I guess we’ll never know.

I therefore present to you a one of a kind set of official Pouring Beans postcards. Best throw these into the mausoleum, I mean museum of delights we call a website.