Avatar You can spell that word…

For years now the scholars behind the scenes at beans HQ have been trying to work out how to spell two of the English languages’ favourite spoken words but without success. We are talking of course about casj/cazsh/caj and the ever lovely (to quote Ian)  “jush… juxch… jgusssh”.

Well the time has come to make an announcement, this has been researched, checked and casually googled at least twice, and we can now confidently write down those two words correctly for the first time in history…..

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Avatar Shatwell

Look at you with your eyes, your face and your hair. All of that came from someone else, passed onto you like a terrible family heirloom. What you see when you look in the mirror is the equivalent of one of those badly designed porcelain figures that nobody has had the heart to throw away because it’s been in the family for generations. We’re so glad you’re here.

Good news though. The way family trees are these days they stretch far and wide; you may be fortunate enough to have a ‘Shatwell’ in your family.

What is a ‘Shatwell’? I’ve been doing a bit of research because I knew you’d be full of questions:

Belonging to Shatwell [Old English w(i)ella, a spring, the first element may be either old English sceat, a corner, projection or Old English sceatt, a payment, a penny.

I’m none the wiser either.

What if you were walking around the turn of the previous century and you wanted to find a Shatwell? Where would it be best to go? Around this time, you’d be likely to bump into a Shatwell in Cheshire. Remember that the next time you’re time-travelling. Watch out though as according to documentation, 20 of them were found to have criminal records. Make sure you keep a close eye on your pocket watch.

You came here for cold hard facts. Let me hit you with these:

  • In the United States, it was the 108,734th most popular name in *checks records* 2010. Wow.
  • It is the 544,093rd most common surname in the world.
  • Shatwell is also one of the most unique last names recorded. That feels a bit like hyperbole though, must be some Shatwells trying to drum up support for themselves.
  • (this is an actual “fun fact” on a website) The name spelled backwards is ‘Llewtahs’. A random rearrangement of the letters in the name (anagram) will give Leatslwh. How do you pronounce that?

????????????

Exactly. If you are lucky enough to have a ‘Shatwell’ in your family then please ask them to start their own website and collate proper and up-to-date information about their name because it seems as though the internet is quite a ways behind.  

Avatar Twenty one years on

A year ago, when it was twenty years on from the founding of Zyurisizia, I wrote a post about the fledgling nation that Ian and I helped to birth, and we had a short conversation about what its flag looked like.

My contribution was only that I had “a feeling it involved triangles”. Ian dredged up slightly more detail, recalling “triangles and a red circle, a bit like the Chinese flag”, though in what way that resembled the flag of China, which has no triangles and no red circle, I don’t know. We then recalled that territory was claimed by fastening the flag to the longest pole we could find, and planting that in the ground in various places.

Luckily I have now found my Office Memorabilia CD, so after a year of impatient waiting, you’ll be pleased to know the answer is now with us.

The capital city, which was the Office, was claimed with a hand-drawn flag on a 30cm ruler.

We then moved on to claim the Wildlife Area a few days later, by which point we had a more professional flag on a metre ruler.

I haven’t visited the Scholars Gate housing development to check, but I assume the flag is still prominently flying there somewhere.

For your peace of mind, this is probably all the Zyurisizia nostalgia there is to be had, so next year you’re probably safe from a “twenty two years on” type post. Still, lots of fun was had by all concerned.

Avatar Jousting update

Yesterday we went to an actual castle to watch an actual jousting tournament. Not a display for tourists where everything is choreographed, but actual real jousting, with proper spears, and people in real armour competing for actual prizes.

Norway were the winners. I will not be taking questions. Thank you.

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.