Avatar Newsboostnight

Newsboost is going to be 11 years old this year. I watched it again recently and I’m still pretty pleased with it now, but back when we made it, it’s fair to say it was the crowning achievement of my life.

Obviously we wanted to do another one, and for a while there was a short-lived plan to follow up the news bulletin Newsboost with a late night current affairs programme called Newsboostnight.

It was going to be a special programme looking in depth at a scandal surrounding The Papples. This was when the only Papples album was “Masterpiece”, and we’d realised that all the songs on that album basically had the same tune.

Since there’s nothing in my life at the moment, and I have nothing much to write about, I thought I’d post the three pages of script that were written for Newsboostnight so you can enjoy them.

Read More: Newsboostnight »

Avatar Pointless Purchase of the Month

You know what? It’s been far too long since I’ve annoyed everyone with my huge stack of tat and as it is overdue, and I still have a quota to make up, let’s take a look at what I have been throwing my money away on. Take a gander at this juicy goosey:

In the top left-hand corner we have the original gameboy classic ‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’. I didn’t buy purchase this recently, this is merely to amplify the ridiculousness of it all. I bought this in 1994/5, I opened it, played it and loved it like one man can love some plastic on a tiny grey and green screen.

The one next to it with the nifty black cover is the deluxe edition released some years later. I acquired one of these because I needed it to help finish my collection. It’s pretty much the same game but with some extra bits thrown in and parts of it in (very limited) colour. I haven’t played this one yet. I should also mention that I have a digital copy of the game downloaded to one of my 3DS consoles, which I have played through.

In the same month I bought the deluxe edition I also bought the two below it, which are the remastered, re-imagined, re-done whatever you will for the Nintendo Switch. It is exactly the same game albeit with fancy graphics and souped up music. I finished it in under five hours because I have the game committed to memory. So you can really feel the punch I bought the standard edition and the limited edition version, the latter of which I haven’t opened yet and probably won’t do. You know, because that’s me through and through. I bought them on the date they were released at full price.

So now I own (including the digital one) five copies of the same game, one of which may stay in its house forever and one which I won’t bother using because I have it downloaded ready to play whenever I want.

Oh and look, I got a free cleaning cloth for buying the limited edition boxed copy. That was well worth the money. I’m also keeping the cleaning cloth sealed.

Avatar An Apology of Sorts

Dear Everyone,

(And when I say “everyone” I mainly mean Chris.)

I have let you all down. Look at me and feel disappointed right down to your very core. For the last eleven months I have managed to crack out a steady rate of four posts per month in line with the rules decided by the Beans Board. I am not permitted to go past four posts for fear of what may come forth from my subconscious; we all remember that December where I posted something new every day and almost lost my mind in the process. That can never happen again.

At the end of October I was three posts in with only one left to go. I was on the verge of slipping one in on the last day to earn that mighty, mighty bean and keep the count going. In fact it started a few days prior, I watched the calendar move from 29th to 30th October and then the last day was on the horizon. Each evening I was poised to finish what I had started and for some reason I couldn’t. It wasn’t as though I was stuck for ideas; I have several brewing for this month, not great ones but enough to reach the quota. In the words of that Papples album title that never was, “Ticking the Boxes”. So why not?

It was two reasons. The first is simple: I was tired, I was still getting rid of my sinusitis and I couldn’t find the energy to do anything let alone type words and stare at a screen. My face stung like a blunt wasp’s nail file (it’s fine now). The second is also simple: I was struck by the quality of Chris’ posts that I didn’t believe I could come up with anything that was as good. After laughing for several days upon seeing my book covers not stacked in a pile, ready to be thrown on the bonfire, but displayed for the world to see my brain took a leap and gave up. It decided that three was enough for this month and the streak was over.

The time for giving up is over though. I am back on the horse and ready to take flight yet again. I am honking all the geese at the same crossroads. It’s going to be nothing BUT quality from hereon in. November and December are going to be BELTERS.

Before that though I am going to have to be punished for my transgressions. It is only fair for letting everyone (?) down. I am going to ask Kevin to administer this for my failure to do my job properly.

All the fun of the fair

Ian McIver

Avatar In one vole and out the other

In a move that Kev will find outright baffling, I’ve just published another Book of nonsense generated earlier this year. This one is titled I Bought this from Steve for a Double High Five, mainly because that’s the first thing written in it.

It was written (ha! “Written”!) in June this year by just Chris and Ian, on a weekend where Kev was not present. That’s a break with tradition, to be sure, but it’s still a valuable record of many insightful conversations and groundbreaking ideas, and deserves to be placed online where the whole world can read it and learn from it.

Among other things, it includes:

  • MC Jellybowl spittin’ rhymes
  • Potential titles for Ian’s forthcoming book on the history of Middlesex
  • Nicky Campbell spinning the Wheel of Vittles
  • All the Tenniversary nostalgia, including the Poignancyometer

Heaven only knows what it looks like to someone who wasn’t there. Maybe Kev can tell us.

You’ll find it on the Books page.

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 Smokin’ Jo Cool

I have recently been tidying up and I found some of my old writing pads. I had kept them because I was convinced they contained so much gold, so many beautiful ideas that the thought of throwing them away was absolutely idiotic and so I put them somewhere safe all these years. What the sensible part of me should have done is actually opened them up and read what was inside because, damn, they were chocked full of rubbish. Utter bollocks. There were half-finished poems not good enough for a GCSE English class, lists of songs and budgets for months long since gone. Do I need to remember how much I set aside for my phone bill in 2009? No sir, I do not.

I did, however, come across a series of cartoons and sketches that I had done. They started off with Mr Cloudy Misdemeanour, a particularly miserable misanthropic so and so, and ended with an un-printed and mostly incomprehensible comic strip called ‘Nigel Doesn’t Want to Kill Any Vampires’. The real “gem” if you can call it that is a one-off about a pig who… is fighting a war against some ice cream cones?

Don’t look at me like that; 2008 Ian was clearly working on another level, one which I have long since left or possibly ascended from into something just as depraved but slightly more serene. Nonetheless, here is the priceless ‘Smokin’ Jo Cool’:

Avatar Potato Nostalgia

Around this time of year a lot of people get nostalgic. They remember years gone by, people who have left us and happy memories sitting next to your toxic gas fire, using the flames to make toast, rather than getting up and using the grill, like the little fat bastard you are (or I was).

Whilst I was rummaging around in some old papers I came across this little gem:

A single tear flew from my eyelid and hit the ground, no doubt causing a tsunami half a world away.

Pots Tatoas were my very convoluted and confusing way of asking Chris if he wanted to get a baked potato for lunch way, way, way back in the dim and distant past when we both worked in Leeds city centre.

Sadly we all missed Pots Tatoas Day this year but I hope that everyone puts it in their diary so we can rally round and stoke the oven (?) in time to enjoy its merits next year.