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 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 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 From the archives: Constantly Falling, the series

Back in about 2005 we thought we were brilliant at writing scripts and making videos, and presumably sooner or later someone from, I don’t know, Paramount Pictures would be along to tell us they’d seen a bootleg VHS of NiSH and they wanted to commission us for a five year run at a million dollars an episode or something.

That never happened. What actually happened was we kept having half-baked ideas in which we all played basically ourselves, wrote two pages of script, and then lost interest.

Let’s look at another of those stupid projects now.

Read More: From the archives: Constantly Falling, the series »

Avatar More old news

Here we are again, starting a whole new year with the unnerving feeling that if we go outdoors for any length of time we will cause the immediate and irreversible end of all life on earth. Staying in and doing nothing has its charms of course, not least the fact that I can wear the same pair of pyjamas all day long for a whole week. But there’s not much to write about.

Back in May I posted a series of photos taken on that day in previous years, and it was so well received, and I was showered in such huge volumes of adoring fan mail, that I decided to do it again. So, let’s find out: what was Past Chris doing on this day in history?

Read More: More old news »

Avatar Thank you

So, what was 2020 to you? Was it a unique opportunity to develop your skills in a new working environment? Was it a chance to take some time off, away from the humdrum 9 to 5, by sitting at home and scratching yourself in places you forgot were there whilst being paid 80% of your usual wage? Could you remember a time before this when standing in line at the cinema or your train being ten minutes late was the biggest inconvenience in your life (or 30 seconds late for some people given that they don’t exist in the real world)?

Let me pull back the blistering skin burn that we call this year to highlight the people and mostly inanimate objects that have helped this bag of meat and bones get through the last twelve months:

  1. Wappy the robo puppy – if bowing and slightly turning your head to the right was a skill then Wappy would win 2020 paws down. With his sleek futuristic blue and white design, his blank expression and limited move set have seen me through some difficult times.
  2. Flat (Tiger) Kitty – the fun-loving prankster has been up to all kinds of hijinks. For the last few months he has remained perfectly still wearing a baseball cap and pointing his Nerf gun at the door to the living room, ready to protect my flat at any costs. That crazy orange and black stuffed animal.
  3. Mr R. Brek – despite expiring four years ago (wait, no, five years ago… ten years ago?!), Mr Brek still continues to fill my life with warmth and love. He’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and last thing before the lights go out at night. A constant inspiration to prolonging a joke that was never funny in the first place, there will always be a place for him in my heart.
  4. Bri4n – a recent addition to the crew, the novelty robot has spent his time staring out the window at various passers-by. Whether raising his hand to salute dog walkers or keeping his arms aloft like a raging looney, there is still a lot of mileage left for this gimmick of gimmicks.
  5. Ted – though his physical presence was a hundred miles away, Ted was the only person (from memory) who actually sent me a letter this year. I also got some socks which was a cheeky bonus. I may still be puzzled as to whom Messy Monster is, and why I should share my socks with them, nonetheless his heartfelt message was one of the best things this year. Hopefully 2021 will provide the means of sending sausage rolls though the post safely.

Runners Up: Daisy the cow, the small collection of toys in the corner of my kitchen (who may have been acquiesced by a spider now they’re covered in webs), my tattoo of Archie the Badger from ‘Grandville’, my Pop Vinyl of Bob Ross and a tiny raccoon.

Oh and some other guys whose names I forget, Keith Harrup and Chas Millington maybe? You know who I mean.

Avatar Underneath my car 2

It’s almost two years since we all joined hands and took an emotional journey underneath my car. Two years of laughter, tears and general wear and tear. Two years of usage in all weathers.

There has, naturally, been a clamour from people of all nationalities and faiths to know what’s become of the underside of my vehicle in the intervening time. And who am I to stand in their way? So a couple of weeks ago, I returned my car to the same garage who made the first weird video and asked them for a full service.

Service completed, another weird video of the underside of my car was duly texted to my phone, and I have spent an afternoon trying to download it from a website that has been very specifically and cleverly designed to prevent videos being downloaded. I then set it to stupid music.

Here we are then. Join me once more as we go… underneath my car one more time.

Underneath Chris’s Car 2020 FAQ

Q. The tread depth looks a bit low on the front tyres, is that OK?

A. Yes, I know. But they have at least another half a year on them so it’s fine. I’ll get them sorted later.

Q. Why was there no Underneath My Car video in late 2019/early 2020?

A. I don’t know. My car had a service but they didn’t make me a video. I was genuinely a bit disappointed about it.

Q. How did the MOT go? This was its first MOT wasn’t it?

A. Yes it was. You’ll be pleased to know that my car passed with flying colours.

Thank you.

Avatar The Pouring Beans intellectual property portfolio

It occurred to me the other day, when Kev trademarked the name “Metal Horse™”, that we’ve trademarked quite a few terms over the years, and the terms that make up our intellectual property must now be quite substantial.

I have, therefore, conducted several exhausting days* of research to discover just how wide-ranging our various trademarks are, and I can present the results to you now for the first time. So here are all of the Pouring Beans trademarked terms, every last one, in chronological order.

Read More: The Pouring Beans intellectual property portfolio »