Avatar A new book thing

The highly technical online doohickey that lets you read our incredible books was already, of course, basically perfect. Nobody could deny that. But what if it could be more perfect?

As much as we all enjoy starting at the first page of an 80-page book and then repeatedly clicking “next” until we reach the page we want, sometimes, when we’re trying to find something specific, that process is not as quick or as direct as we’d like. What we need is a faster way of seeing what’s on all the pages so we can choose the one we’re looking for.

So I made that happen. Now you can go to any book (including the Mr Smiths) and click “page index”.

You’ll then be taken to thumbnails of all the pages. Clicking one will take you to the full page.

This improvement comes at no charge to you, and completes the latest upgrade to your increasingly brilliant life.

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 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 Even more old news

Everyone – and by that, I mean I assume everyone without having actually checked with any of you – everyone enjoyed my previous forays into old news, looking back at what had happened on various days in May and January. Since I’m low on posts this month we’re coming to the end of another year, this seemed like a good time for a look back at December 19 in the personal history of one Christo M. Fury.

Given that we’re just a few days adrift from Christmas, I was surprised to discover that my camera roll from this day in years gone by does not contain as many Christmassy things as I expected. Let’s see what’s in here.

Read More: Even more old news »

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.

Avatar Making Nostalgia

Let me take you back, way way back. Back to when times were a lot simpler and, as it seems, so were the people.

We all know little Ian was a bit of a weirdo. I could tell you right now about half a dozen stories of instances where I did strange and unusual activities. Being the youngest of four meant that half the time all of the attention was on me and the other half was on the other three (I know the maths doesn’t really check out but that was how it felt three quarters of the time). I must have been under ten, possibly six or seven years old.

Following on from my award-winning post about my first mobile phone, let me present you with a genuine attempt to create nostalgia.

This actually stems from something my brother used to do. He would eat a packet of crisps then empty out the leftovers and flatten the packet in one of the many comic book, Beano, Dandy or other annuals we had lying around. It wasn’t really Christmas without some kind of bumper collection of comic nonsense filling up a suitable space in your stocking. Why did he do this? I don’t know, I could message him now and get an immediate response but no doubt he will be feeling tired somewhere given it’s a Sunday.

I decided to do the same thing because I wanted in on these absurd shenanigans. I remember chowing down on a selection of different crisps and then flattening them straight away. About a week later, little Ian went back to his flattened packets and looked at them. “This isn’t the same as John’s,” he thought to myself, “it doesn’t look as good.” I was doing exactly the same thing and yet for some reason my brother was much better at applying pressure to small plastic bags. Clearly my self esteem was very low even at such a young age; Freud would have a field day.

Looking at them now, yes, why on earth was this something we did? I don’t think my sisters were involved, they were too busy making up dance routines to New Kids on the Block and Mel and Kim songs. The pre-internet days are becoming something akin to the wild west where hobbies, interests and general activities were so different to what is the norm now that I personally don’t really know what is considered to be normal anymore. Is there a normal? Probably not, look what counts as music these days (that’s my grumpy man comment for this post).

Dripping in nostalgia and history.

If you indulged in something a little left field when you were a kid please help me out by sharing here. I want to point at you and laugh.