Avatar Twenty years on

This September we take a moment to pause and look back on a major world event. In September of 2001, Ian and myself helped to found a new country.

Filled with youthful hope for a brighter tomorrow, we joined forces with Chuckie and George, and – deciding that the spirit of the Office would serve as a perfect basis for a nation state – declared independence for a small area of Leeds suburbia. Through a complex system of writing down random letters, we named it Zyurisizia.

Geographically, it faced certain challenges, with its capital city located inside an office in a school building. Most of Zyurisizia’s territory lay across the path between the music block and the sunken playground, and its vast rural hinterland took in the wildlife area, a small field, and a slightly bigger field that we didn’t really go in much.

Moving on from the sixth form in 2002, the four of us bequeathed this fledgling nation to the youth of tomorrow, hoping that it would serve to bring them enlightenment and liberty as it had us, and hoping that one day its boundaries would extend to a worldwide empire where equality, justice and silliness would be shared by all humankind.

Let’s see what became of Zyurisizia in the two decades that followed. Here are the borders of the nation superimposed on modern-day satellite photography.

Satellite imagery © Google. We were unable to source pictures from the Zyurisizian Space Agency for some reason

As you can see, the rapidly developing country has been completely urbanised. It’s delightful to see that the wasteland we left behind has been turned into this sprawling metropolis, known to its inhabitants as “Scholars Gate”, stretching in every direction to meet the borders of the nation. The name of the settlement is a clear indication of a society that prizes education and enlightenment above all else.

One can only assume that the proud citizens of Zyurisizia are continuing to uphold the traditions of free-spiritedness, self-determination, and occasionally writing unsolicited letters to Tony Blair. As a founding father, and a former passport holder of Zyurisizia myself, I could not be more delighted.

Here’s to the bright future of Zyurisizia. If I could remember the national anthem, I’d sing it.

Avatar Further travels with the Pernickety Dickhead

We’ve already discussed, back in February, that I spent a number of years in the early 2000s where my single most prominent personality trait was that I was absolutely insufferable.

It’s not really necessary to go any further to prove that point, but flogging a dead horse is one of the pillars of this blog and its rampant popularity, so flog a dead horse we will. Please enjoy this further example of my absolute arseholery towards innocent people working in customer service jobs, and please also believe me when I say that I am truly sorry for everything I’ve ever done.

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Avatar Results Day

Don’t you hate it when things are about other people when really they should be about you?

Almost seventeen years ago I had a child and he got his GCSE results today. That took the focus away from me which never sits well with me. Technically he wouldn’t exist without parts of me so surely I should have been celebrated as well, it should have been my day as well but it wasn’t, it was all about him. So let’s turn back the clock and (try to) remember when I got my GCSE results all the way back in the year of mega panic, Y2K.

In my infinite wisdom I decided that I didn’t want to go to sleep and that I would stay up all night, and THEN go to school to pick up my results. In order to stay awake I drank at least half a dozen coffees to percolate the shizzels into my bloodstream, heavily peppered with a strong dose of sugar to sweeten the blow. This was the first time I had seriously started drinking coffee and I think it is probably the reason why I drink so much of the morning brown now.

Cup after cup I downed not knowing the repercussions to be felt two decades later. “This is a great idea,” I kept thinking, possibly whilst I shakily poured the next hot beverage.

But what would you do for those twelve or so hours, Ian, to keep your mind focused and stop from falling back into the blissful arms of sleep you may ask? I did the obvious thing, of course; I repeatedly listened to the song ‘History’ by the Verve to learn the lyrics. Then when I had reached an acceptable level of word learnery I then tried to learn the lyrics for the rest of the songs of the album ‘A Northern Soul’ because I was so cool and nobody could stop me.

In hindsight, everything about this was a stupid idea.

In the morning, bleary-eyed (not beary-eyed as I first typed) and groggy, I stumbled my way to school to pick up my magical envelope. Refusing to open it there and then I walked down to Tesco (where it was still situated in the old building opposite Barclays Bank) and revealed my results in the frozen food aisle. And there was much rejoicing.

Remembering is fun. That is, unless I’m mis-remembering and this is what I did the night before my A-Level results rather than my GCSEs.

Avatar Trips Outside – Jarrow

Out in Covid Town, they still don’t like you moving around too much. If you ever think of crossing county lines or hopping on a plane to go and record an album with Jimmy Buffett, because he wants to write a follow-up to his wonderful ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ song, then eyes are most certainly raised. Thankfully, having recently changed jobs, I now have a brand new section of the North-East to explore on my lunch breaks.

I would like to welcome everyone to the breath of fresh air that is Jarrow.

I have only been within the vicinity for approximately two weeks and yet since then I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that would put some locals to shame. Some may call that pitiful boasting, some may call it an outright lie and to those people I ignore anything they say and hand them a banana in the hope that they drop their line of questioning.

There are lots of things to know but given the time and my limited word count there are only four things you (that’s YOU) need to know about Jarrow in case you ever want to take a trip there:

  • Vikings – when the world was young and wireless abbabs were but the stuff of dreams, a large collective of Norse warriors decided they wanted a piece of Britain, hopped on some boats and decimated the coastline of North England for several years. Their only opposition was effeminate priests using gold crosses for weapons. These murderous heroes have been encapsulated in a statue displayed proudly in the town centre. They also got a shopping centre named after them to commemorate all the blood spilled.
  • Shopping – if you want shops, you’re going to get them. There’s a Viking centre full of them and, boy, are you going to be spoilt for choice. There’s a Wilko, a Morrisons, a B & M, a Home Bargains, Greggs, Boots, charity shops, butchers, more bakers, some kind of cafe I haven’t gone in yet but takes up a lot of space, I think a shop that fixes phones or laptops or maybe both and hiding towards the back a Dominos. They have a lovely PA system that forces you to listen to music as you shop so whether or not you want to listen to ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin is not up for debate, it’s happening baby.
  • Pronunciation – look at the name, it all looks so very simple, doesn’t it? Don’t be wandering into Jarrow thinking that it’s pronounced, “JAR-ROW” though, that’s wrong. Grit your teeth. From the back of your throat, it’s, “JAR-RAH”. If you get it wrong, you’ll be thrown out and never allowed back in. I once worked with a posh lash who said, “PRUD-HOE” instead of, “PRUDDA” and where is she now? I’ve no idea, probably sitting on a throne barking orders at lowly cronies. Or in jail.
  • Walking – there are several monuments around the town explaining about the contribution to the war effort back in 1917. The most famous thing Jarrow is famous for though is when, famously, 200 men marched from Jarrow to London to protest against unemployment and poverty because The Man had closed down the primary place of employment, Palmer’s Shipyard, and things were all bad. This is almost a three hundred mile trek. They would have had to trundle down the A1 which would have been very hazardous given all the long haul lorries driving down to London to drop off soaps or whatever it is people down South eat. There wasn’t even a Little Chef on the way that they could stop in for drinks and snacks. It’s bravery like this that makes me feel inspired.

Even though you may have never, and possibly may never, visit the sacred grounds betwixt the Tyne Tunnel, Hebburn and the tunnel under the Tyne that leads back to Willington Quay where I used to live, I hope this very brief tour is enough to explain and display the majesty of the South Tyneside town.

Avatar Pointless Purchase of the Month – update

What I say may cause shock and distress. Viewer discretion is advised.

It is common knowledge that I am known to not only own several copies of the same thing but also sometimes to never open said copies of things. This has been well documented through my own hands over the years. It is a habit that I can see the problems with but very rarely choose to do anything about because I’m an adult and also fuck you.

That said, times are changing. The ‘me’ from many years ago doesn’t exist anymore (the less said abut 2007 ‘me’ the better) and has been replaced with a more sleek, streamlined edition with lots of bells and whistles. I am the go-faster-stripes model of Ian Bonobo Cupcake Mango Ice “Multiple Copies” McIver and I expected to be replaced again within the next few years.

Take a look at this:

Delicious steelbook action

Eagle-eyed viewers (none of you) may remember a post I made in 2014 (see https://pouringbeans.com/pointless-purchase-of-the-month-july/) explaining my reasons for my pointless purchase. Nintendo have seen fit to release an HD version of this game for the Switch. It is no longer a Pointless Purchase (TM) for the following reasons:

  1. I started playing the game on my Wii Mini a few months back before the re-release on the Switch.
  2. I now have the Wii Motion Controller meaning that I can actually play it.
  3. I have a Switch, I have opened the game and I will be starting again from scratch. I can play the game multiple times on two different consoles.

Therapy is no longer needed. Time, as it turns out, is not only a healer but a way of fixing your brain to more acceptable methods in today’s modern society. It’s also a lot cheaper and doesn’t involve telling a stranger why you get movement in your trousers when browsing the fruit and veg aisle at Tesco.

I can see Kevin’s rage dissipating the more I type. It brings me great job knowing that his anger has been abated through my selfless actions.

You’re welcome, everyone. And I even cancelled the order for the amiibo. How’d you like them apples?

Avatar Words of advice

William Cobbett knows more than you do. It’s a fact and there’s no getting round it. Lucky for you, though, he has written down what he knows so that you can benefit from it. He wrote it down in 1829 but I don’t see why that makes it any less relevant.

You’re still young, aren’t you? Good. Let’s see what advice he has for young men. I have divided the advice into five logical categories to keep things simple. Simply direct your attention to the heading that most closely relates to the area in which you need advice.

Trammels

In all situations of life, avoid the trammels of the law. Man’s nature must be changed before law-suits will cease… One good rule is to have as little as possible to do with any man who is fond of law-suits, and who, upon every slight occasion, talks of an appeal to the law. Such persons… are, therefore, companions peculiarly disgusting to men of sense.

Abatements

Nothing is much more discreditable than what is called hard dealing. They say of the Turks, that they know nothing of two prices for the same article; and that to ask an abatement of the lowest shopkeeper is to insult him.

Sotting

There is such a thing as your quiet ‘pipe-and-pot-companions,’ which are, perhaps, the most fatal of all. Nothing can be conceived more dull, more stupid, more the contrary of edification and rational amusement, than sitting, sotting, over a pot and a glass, sending out smoke from the head, and articulating, at intervals, nonsense about all sorts of things.

Divers

By reading the single Act of the 23rd year of EDWARD the THIRD, specifying the price of labour at that time; by reading an Act of Parliament passed in the 24th year of HENRY the EIGHTH; by reading these two Acts, and then reading the CHRONICON PRECIOSUM of BISHOP FLEETWOOD, which shows the price of food in the former reign, you come into full possession of the knowledge of what England was in former times. Divers books teach how the divisions of the country arose, and how its great institutions were established; and the result of this reading is a store of knowledge, which will afford you pleasure for the whole of your life.

Pimps

I hope that your taste would keep you aloof from the writings of those detestable villains, who employ the powers of their mind in debauching the minds of others, or in endeavours to do it. They present their poison in such captivating forms, that it requires great virtue and resolution to withstand their temptations; and, they have, perhaps, done a thousand times as much mischief in the world as all the infidels and atheists put together. These men ought to be called literary pimps: they ought to be held in universal abhorrence, and never spoken of but with execration.

Avatar A moment from history

“Oh dear, English hearts are broken the world over. Mrs Goggins has missed her penalty meaning that England are knocked out by Germany. They will not make it past the semi-finals and Germany will go on to play the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium.

Goggins looks gutted, a world on her shoulder and nothing to show for it. Our thoughts are with her at this most trying of times. There was nothing more she could do. I expect everyone in Greendale felt that.”