Avatar Happy Slick Voles Day!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have woken up this morning, looked at your Pouring Beans Calendar 2020™, and been absolutely thrilled to see that today is Slick Voles Day.

A very slick vole

Sometimes known as St. Vole’s Day (Scotland), Slick Vole Sunday (Australia and New Zealand), Voling Sunday (Canada) or even Slickvolesday Brought To You By CitiBank (USA and Argentina), this is the day when we join together to reflect upon and celebrate the life of St. Vole.

I’m sure you have your own plans to smother some voles in warm butter, so I don’t want to take up too much time when we should all really be with our loved voles, but I did want to take a moment to share with you my favourite Slick Voles Day Carol.

O Besainted Vole

O Besainted Vole
Thy dark eyes quick
And tail darting fa-ast
Hail to you, O Vole

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

From owl, hawk, falcon flee
From fox and racoon do go
With footness fleet and fur so slick
Evade coyote and bobcat

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

Of marten and bobcat do hide
Of snake and weasel take flight
In safe burrow revel in oils and butter
Slip thee from cat’s claw and lynx

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

Take thine golden teachings
Saint Vole, at the Lord’s right paw
Take thi-ine go-o-olden teachings
And slicken thine self

O Vole
O Vo-o-ole

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 Isolation – North-East Edition

You will never believe what just happened to me! The short version is that I am currently being paid to not work. I am at home right now not working. If I try to work I will be shouted at profusely so I am sat not working on a beanbag listening to the radio.

The year 2020 has been a strange one so far and it continues to get weirder the more we slide through it. The outside world is still there, I can see it, through the big windows in the living room, and it looks fantastic. I reckon that for the moment I am going to stay here and admire it from afar. Besides, it looks a little chilly and I’ve got this patch of dry skin on my hands that the low temperature will not do any favours for.

I have decided to try and do one drawing, sketch or doodle a day for something to look forward to and possibly upload on Twitter (the Book of Faces does not deserve my “talents”) for the world to admire. I hope to have a wall of my efforts with which I can look back on and laugh slobbily, possibly sell to some passing rich aristocrat (they’re always using the footpaths round here) and then retire to the country, doing the same thing I’m doing now, but with a little more style, panache and some hot ladies in a hot tub serving hot drinks.

Look at me and be inspired.

Avatar Luck be a Musician Tonight

I am one of those people who secretly doesn’t know how lucky they are.

That’s a lie, actually.

I am one of those people who occasionally is convinced that luck completely passes them by but, in actuality, it washes up like waves on a beach more often than not. For every instance of not putting one of those new five pound notes in my wallet (everywhere else they jump out and I’m a fiver down) there is something else waiting round the corner, be it a clear run into work on a morning or a one in a mil find on eBay.

Let me tell you about the 23 June 2019.

I am invited by a friend to go to a gig in case someone drops out. I am officially on the ‘waiting’ list so to speak. The closer it gets to the gig it is quite clear that the other person is not coming so the ticket is offered to me, and despite my pleas it is given for free (no, I’m not spitting rhymes over a hot beat, the sentence came out that way). The gig in question is Nick Cave in Conversation at the Sage. I have dabbled in wor Nick and the Bad Seeds over the years with mixed results. This is not the kind of evening that you say no to; you grab it with your sweaty hands and you run away screaming like a frantic, happy loon.

So I turn up and meet the rest of the friends group, who are all rallied round drinking wine, and everyone seems really nice. The usual polite tidbits of conversation are floated round although that doesn’t last for very long because out of the corner of my eye I can see a man approaching. He is coming directly for us.

“How many are in your group?” he says. We all look at each other, we need someone to volunteer as spokesperson. I don’t remember who but a few people stumble up that there are six of us. “Great,” says the guy, “how would you fancy sitting on stage with Nick? You have to be by this door at exactly 7pm (11 minutes time!) and wear these special bands. I’ll run you through the rest of the rules when you’re led to your seats.”

We all look at each other again; what just happened there? There’s not much time to lose though so we all rush to the toilet and head to the door. More stagehands lead us right onto the stage: there are tables set aside with candles on, creating a kind of arc around the middle, which contains a beautiful piano and nothing more. The rules are pretty simple; shut the fuck up, don’t go near him and don’t bother him. Even I, with my primitive brain can handle this.

Nick Cave talks and plays music for almost three hours. He is roughly ten feet from where I am sitting. Nobody is allowed to take photos of him when he is performing meaning that the only memento I have, apart from the ticket and the special band, is a picture of an empty piano with no-one playing it taken about half an hour before it all started. He was amazing, a voice still raw and strong, a plethora of songs all hand-picked on the night, right there and then, whatever people suggest or he feels like playing is done. I have never seen anything like it and I doubt I will ever again.

Avatar Stick

It must be really boring to be a stick.

You spend decades pushing your way slowly out of the side of a tree, looking at the same view every day, sharing your life with the same branches and twigs.

Years later, a bit of wind dislodges you. For a few moments you enjoy the most thrilling episode of your life, as you fall to earth, but soon realise that you’ve ended up lying on the floor with much the same surroundings, only now you’re no longer growing, you’re just waiting to rot down into the ground.

We can’t save all sticks from the monotony of their existence, but we can make a difference to one stick. Ian chose The Stick. This is it.

The Stick spent its whole life on a tree near Royksopp Lido before falling off and lying on the ground for a bit. Thanks to us, though, it’s had a new lease of life.

  • A walk to a pub and then a night on the floor near the pub
  • A trip in a car to Brighton
  • Being thrown onto the bark chippings under the tree outside my flat

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of The Stick and its amazing new life. For now, though: you’re welcome.

Avatar Lemon drizzle

If you ask the question
About what is the best one,
The bakery transcendent,
The cakery resplendent:
I answer it with ease, take
Away your silly cheesecake.
Gingerbread and Eccles
Will meet only with my heckles;
Pineapple upside-down
Meet the deepest darkest frown.
You will find I have no time
For fondant fancy or key lime;
Though partial to a parkin,
There is only one worth markin’.
I tip my hat as witness
To the cake with all the citrus:
Lemon drizzle cake
Is the shizzle cake,
The finest there is,
Lemon driz
Is the biz.

Avatar Tributes and Insults – Christopher Marshall

Look at this big ol’ berk here:

Look at his massive face. Why does anyone need a face that big? What has he done to his face to make it that big? All of these questions need answering and the sad fact that it is unlikely that we will ever get the responses we need.

The worst part about knowing Chris is that he’s always calling on a regular basis asking how I am and letting me tell him all my problems. There I am, trying to sit in my puddle of self pity, and he’s on the phone for about an hour trying to cheer me up. That’s the worst, it really is, however it gets worse than that. There have been times when he has not only encouraged my questionable behaviour but he has also actively joined in, such as the time that we both wrote letters to each other and did it in weird, wonderful ways. I still have most of them in a box somewhere. The most enduring, and awkward, of the letters was the one written on one continuous single line of paper that stretches on for what seems like miles. I’m struggling for space as it is and to have to find somewhere for this is just plain selfish.

I mean I am done with all of this. There is only so much that one person can take and really I have reached my limit. I hope that he is taking note of all of this because it is very personal and I mean every vicious, scalding word of it. You can take your pleasant, jolly attitude and your helpful, endearing friendship and you can shove it right up the puffin pipe.

You utter wanker.