User 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.

User avatar My Chair Story

So here is a story I have been meaning to tell for a while. It is a story about my chair, a chair story if you will. The entire story is about a chair so if you’re looking for a tale about something else then I would advise you to jog on, like a couple of sea lions, because it ain’t happening sunshine.

Once I was a person without a chair and without some level of warning I became a one people with a chair. How chairs come into your life I cannot say. Sometimes you get given them, sometimes you find them in shops and they’re the right kind of sitting device, that perfectly compliment your own particular exterior, that you have to buy them or regret it for the rest of your life. So there I was, a young man with a chair, sitting like a sitting person should. It dawned on me though that despite the right level of comfort and chair-intensity that there was something missing.

Typical, right? “Oh the problem with your generation is that you are never satisfied. Look at everything you have and it is still not enough.” Whilst that is true, no matter what I did there was something gnawing at the back of my ears that I could not put my finger on. What was it that I needed? A god damn foot stool, that is what I needed. This chair needed the perfect companion though, I could not settle for any old Johnny two foot-putter.

Fast forward eight hundred years later. After developing the ability to not only halt my ageing process but also travel to the far reaches of space in my custom-built Grimmy 101 Space Hulk Meat Vestibule, I stopped getting older and flew to the end of the galaxy. It took a while, hence the 800 years. When I got there though I was vastly disappointed. Despite plenty of signs boasting about this and that there were absolutely no furniture shops, not even a charity shop with thirty copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ stacked up in the corner. My chair looked even more glum that my poor viso/volto did. I was about to flip the spinsh retractor into reverse when I noticed a rubbish tip at the end of the street. I had nothing to lose so I walked over, fearing the worst yet secretly hoping for the best.

There it was. It was staring me in the eyes (which pair of eyes I cannot recall), a footstool I could not recall every seeing in my extended life. Sure, it had taken 834 years to find it and it was worth waiting for. This the story of me and my chair, my chair story, and it’s also a little bit about a footstool. It’s my chair footstool science-fiction search story. I hope you enjoyed it.

User avatar Quiet Beans

It’s all gone a little bit quiet, hasn’t it?

Since the smash at the end of May there’s been nothing (nothing) to start clogging up the arteries of June. In fact, it is as if everyone has forgotten about June. Why is it so quiet? What is everybody doing that is preventing them from “living it up” right here?

Luckily I am still here to be VERY LOUD and QUITE CLOSE TO YOUR FACE to carry on the tradition of nonsense posts that help to pass the time. I am currently exhausted after my recent jaunt as trendsetter. Trying to keep up with everything that’s cool is an overwhelming and mostly unfulfilling way to live your life. I have therefore decided to return to my sheltered, nerdy existence because that’s how things are. It also means that I can focus my attention on my (recent) life goal of writing a thing. We have all written things in the past (see ‘The Magic Star’ for physical proof of that) although this time it will be a solo flight.

I am going to write a book, using my psychic powers, about the marvels of Middlesex. Yes, you read that right; I am going to channel all of my energy into digging up the real story about the county that apparently does not exist anymore yet that I still know about. Is it only talking to me? Have I somehow managed to create a psychokinetic link to the past? Only time, and around £19.99 when it is eventually pusblished, will tell.

I WILL KEEP ALL OF YOU LOVELY PEOPLE posted on my progress.

User avatar Pay the Toll

You have to pay the toll. That’s the way it works.

In order to get past you have to stump up the money or whatever is needed. You have to satisfy the teller to avoid salmonella. You must grease the wheels to sort out your shady deals.

I am about to venture down South towards the magical, Icelandic borough of Royskopp in order to meet Sheriff Rockingham himself. I have heard terrible, terrible rumours of the gentleman who he currently lives with though. Hushed tones have informed me that Steve Steveingtons is a violent wretch. I once sent him a Superman t-shirt which he loved with all his heart. One day he wore it to the pub, somebody accidentally spilled some lager on it and the authorities are still finding bits of people weeks later, scattered around the neighbourhood. A man with a temper like this needs to be appeased.

So what do you do? I understand that Steve Steveingtons is a big fan of the Trek through the Stars, something from television. Biggles maybe? I have been daydreaming about weird things mashed together and this keeps popping into my head at work. I don’t think my pedestrian drawing skills have done it much justice, and it doesn’t look anything at all like the one in my mind, but I hope that it is enough to stop him knocking me literally into next week.

If this should be my last post let it be known that I regret nothing, not even all the Beans comics I wrote.

User avatar Ian’s Otter Answers

Back in mid April I asked the Beans community to answer five simple questions about otters. It was extremely important.

One of our number, Ian “Hotter Otter” McIver, kept stalling until eventually a month later he asked to post his answers to me because “I don’t want anyone else to know”. I told him that if he posted them to me I would post them to the Beans. Kev pointed out that even if they appeared on the Beans there was a decent chance that nobody would look at them.

Ian’s answers have now arrived, handwritten, by post. I am now, therefore, posting them here, but I am doing so in as conspicuous a way as possible in the hope that at least some people will see them.

Here are Ian’s otter answers

How do you feel about otters?

I have always liked otters. They are very cheery and bring a smile to my viso/volto. My brother, John, is also obsessed with otttttttters. He has a weird statue thing outside his front door with three otters, possibly having a tea party (?)

Baby otters?

They’re very cute although they do have “Desperate Dan” chins and could easily be extras in a low budget British gangster film. Cockney otters? Yes please.

How about this otter, specifically?
What a chirpy little lad or lass! That’s the kind of picture you’d put in your bathroom, possibly framed with tiny flowers, and it would make any house guest tilt their head and squint with delight. It should be a famous otter; here, take my money!

Does this otter change how you feel?

No. I still love all the otters. It does scarily resemble the face I pull at work when the phone starts ringing(and when I recognise the number).

How many of these otters would you like? Note that I will fight you for the otters. I want the otters. How bad do you want them? I will fight you. You can’t have them.

I believe that the kind of person who creates a survey about how much they love otters has a love that cannot be beaten, whether physically of (of?) or emotionally. You win, sir. All the otters are yours.

User avatar As good as new

A while ago I bought a new car, as you might remember. (It replaced a large tin of beans I was temporarily driving, and is in every way better.) I liked driving a new car. The only sad thing about it is that, once you’ve been driving it for a while, it’s not new any more.

I’ve now learned that there is something you can do about this. Here is what I suggest you do.

First, get yourself into a traffic jam, and make sure the car behind you is being driven by an absolute tool. I chose a really solid jam on the M1 back in April, where I could stop in lane 3 with my handbrake on and nothing at all was moving.

Second, and this is more tricky to arrange, get the absolute tool in the car behind you to stop paying attention. Being an absolute tool, he won’t have put his handbrake on, and instead he’ll be sitting there with his feet on the pedals. When he stops paying attention, his feet will slip and he won’t notice his car setting off forward at not insignificant speed because he’ll be looking at his phone.

Third, use the rear bumper of your car to stop the absolute tool’s car from making any further progress. This will result in a small crack across the width of your rear bumper. If your car is anything like mine, the rear bumper will be the only place you’ve picked up scratches and a couple of chips to your paintwork.

Now, speak to your insurance company. They will get some money off the absolute tool which will pay for a firm of professional accident repairers to pick up your car, take it away, fix the rear bumper and return it.

When your car is returned to your home address, it will not only have been repaired, with a new freshly-sprayed bumper replacing the old one with the scratches and chips in it, but it will also have been valeted inside and out, including cleaning all the tyres and polishing all the interior fittings.

Hey presto! Your car is now just like new.

My plan is that, about this time next year, I’ll get another absolute tool to go into my rear bumper so I can have it all polished up again, and I can drive a brand new car forever.

User avatar Where to wee

A few months ago, my department was moved downstairs as we were merged in with another similar department. Now we all sit in the same place. Our new surroundings are in the basement, as befits our status. Engineers do not need daylight, and are not to be allowed to have it. We are so deep in the basement that Bakerloo line trains cause an audible rumble through the walls every few minutes. We’ve calculated that they might actually be slightly above our floor level.

One interesting feature of the sub-basement where we have been hidden away, as though we are some sort of embarassment, is the shortage of toilet facilities. It’s almost like this floor was designed for apparatus rooms and storage areas, and the idea that teams of people might spend their lives down there wasn’t considered by the architects.

That leaves me with a choice of three sub-optimal toilets, as follows.

  1. Toilet One is a single cubicle, self-contained with a sink and hand dryer, located a short walk from our room, but close to other rooms where people work so it’s often busy. If you flush the toilet the sink tap stops running, so you have to wash your hands before you flush or (more often) you forget to wash your hands before you flush so you then stand there for several minutes waiting for the cistern to slowly refill before you can get a trickle of water on your hands.
  2. Toilet Two is another single self-contained cubicle, not much further away, but located at a little kitchen area where people come to make tea. From inside the cubicle you can hear everything people say and do at the kitchen, and I know from experience that people in the kitchen can hear everything that happens in the toilet cubicle. I don’t like that at all. Once I sat in there for the whole time it took someone to make a round of tea because I didn’t want them to hear me having a poo.
  3. Toilet Three is yet another self-contained cubicle, and technically a disabled toilet with one of those seats that feels a bit higher up than it should be. The automatic tap makes a massive noise when you wash your hands, like a siren going off to alert anyone nearby to the fact that you’re using a disabled toilet. It’s a long walk away from the room where I work on the other side of two security doors. Someone once came out of it when I was approaching to go in who gave me a really angry look.

I haven’t yet decided which of these is the least worst, but please keep me in your thoughts as I struggle to find somewhere satisfactory to go for a wee at work.

User avatar Episode 12: Queens

The podcast technically known as ‘Episodes’ is back for an epic second series. And this time it was recorded in a building with more than one floor. Exciting or what?

Episode 12 kicks us off perfectly with happy, nonsensical chat about:

  • Queen Mothers
  • Queens
  • Basketball
  • Queens.