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 Mysterious shed

Picture this:

Two men are sat watching some good old fashioned rock and roll music at a gig. They’ve already had to endure the poor organisational skills of Huddersfield, Wetherspoons meals without the drinks (because the wait for drinks was longer than the food for some reason), rain, snow, sleet, drunk Yorkshire idiots and a winding, zig-zagging queue to get inside.

The support act were fine. The sun came out and the woman took her top off. If only the sound system was decent enough to make what she was shouting about audible but you can’t have everything I suppose.

The first band came on and despite numerous jokes at their expense (not from me), a jolly good time was had by all, especially when they did a rousing cover of ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallic and a soothing rendition of ‘Africa’ by Toto.

The second band began their set with a weird recorded message by some semi-famous actor guy who I recognise the face of but can never remember his name. About four songs in the band suddenly decided to leave the stage.

“What’s going on?” everyone asks.

Cue the stagehands and roadies going backstage and trying to wheel on what can only be described as the world’s most unnecessarily large shed (FYI it looked more like a log cabin to me, Kev’s description is the official description though because he said it first). The shed is so big they struggle to get it onto the stage because a corner keeps getting caught on something. Manoeuvre, pivot, manoeuvre, pivot. A few minutes later it’s wheeled into the middle and the drummer climbs on top.

The band then do a two further songs before sacking the shed off and putting it back where they found it.

Was the shed some kind of protest? Probably not. Were the two songs that the band sung whilst it was there based around sheds? Did they sing ‘Sweet Shed of Mine’ and ‘My Love (How I Shed Those Tears For You)’? No they did not. Did the shed have anything to do with what was happening onstage? Not in the slightest.

It’s times like these that does make you wonder if anything actually makes sense anymore.

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.