Friday, 31 August 2012

A Tribute to Pan's People: Ceremony Style

Inspired by my friend Rhianne Jones (who is currently planning what promises to be the most spectacular wedding in the world, thanks, in part, to the originality of Rock 'N' Roll Bride and its amazing contributors - that blog would give anyone the courage to plan a wedding that truly represents the most beautiful and quirky aspects of a person's character), I decided to put my role of bridesmaid to good use and come up with some looks for the Rock 'N' Roll Bride wedding stylist competition

Styling should be just as much fun as playing dress up when you're little, and when I was little, Pan's People were my fashion heroes. I'd never seen such elegance, vibrance and risque dancing on the TV screen before. I must also say, I was a child of the 80s, so missed Pan's People the first time round, but in the olden days when movies were recorded on video, the timer had been set an hour early and it just so happened to record a documentary about Pan's People. It was on before my favourite movie, Dirty Dancing, and instead of skipping forward to the movie, I would watch the documentary every time. 

I think carrying the spirit of Pan's People into a wedding would empower any woman to embrace the qualities that enchanted Top of the Pops viewers at the end 60s and into the 70s. So here they are, my inspiration!

Image from

I would like to dedicate this blogpost and these ideas to one of the founding members of Pan's People, Louise Clark. Thank you for making my childhood so magical, and for making me feel the way I did when I put a pillowcase over my head and danced around the living room, just like an elegant, graceful dancer in a Pan's People routine. 

I'd like to imagine that my Bride is an honorary Pan's Person. Here she is, in all her floaty, magical and edgy beauty.

And, because behind every Pan's Woman is a Pan's Man, here he is, complete with floral shirt, colour block jacket and trousers and brogues (of course...)

And believe it or not, on a £500 budget I actually managed to kit out the bridesmaid too, Pan's Styleeee...

Grand total: £489.50. That's £10.50 change for a double Mint Julep. Fabulous.

If you get a minute, take a look at some of the Pan's People routines and keep the dream alive.

Peace out,
Alana (Banana)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Mat, Cam and a Dinner Jacket

There are few things more confusing than the dickie bow tie. Where does it go? How do you put it there? Why when I wear a dinner suit do I sit like a robot? Obviously, I have little experience, but I imagine those are the things that would go through my head if I was wearing one. Luckily, the master of the dickie bow tie was around to help:

Cameron: the smooth operator.
Dickie bow tie perfection!

For some reason, even though he moves in 'black tie' circles, the Guest-atron does not own a dinner jacket so he has to borrow one from the most hip-and-happening academic in Durham: Dr Stuart Foyle:

Now officially "excellent in teaching".
Clearly, those glasses played an important part in the panel's decision.

Rhianne, Cam and I met Mathew in the pub (a necessary appointment after a totally pap day at work) and before long Mathew whisked himself off to get changed before his fancy lecture+fancy dinner. We begged him to come back to el pubbo beforehand, we've never seen him in a dinner suit! So, uno pinto later, back he comes, dressed up to the nines and walking like a robot (it's the formality you see). So he says: "is this thing on right?", referring to the old dickster (the bow tie, of course!). Now Banana has no frickin' clue about bow ties, what could I do?! [Cue the master of the dinner suit: Cam the man].

The Physicist and the Sociologist: our tax-dollars at work.
Mathew, looking regal.
What is with Mat's arm?
Seriously, what's with your arm?!

Aw, doesn't he look smart? My boss always says that his mum (or was it Nanny Parker..?) always told him "it's better to be over-dressed than under-dressed". Well, in this case, maybe not. Mathew sat down and said, "I passed Simon James on the way here, he was just wearing a suit...maybe I read the invitation wrong". A few hours later I get a phone call, "yeah, it was smart casual." Bless! Well I'll bet everyone else felt silly, Mathew looked like a god among men!

In between the pub and the phone call, Wonder Woman, Angle Man and I headed for another pubster. We ate yummy food, talked about the usual: babies, cave-men, childhood nick-names ('fat man', 'jugs', 'sausage man', 'fairyanne' - but who was who?!), death, heart attacks, kids, technology, jobs; you know, normal stuff. Truly, it was the best night I've had in ages. Totally spontaneous and sporadic (that was the best thing about it!) and totally hilarious. My favourite quote of the night came from future Doctor of Philosophy and world leading astronomer, Cam: [as the sun is shining in his eyes through the window] "the sun is moving down". That's right, the sun is moving down. That is the technical term, people.

Night night, I'll see you when the sun moves up!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Half Baked

Nothing says 'I love you' like a Betty Crocker's 'No Bake' Reese's Dessert Bar Mix. That's right, this was Mr and Mrs Davies' present of choice. When you live in Walnut Creek, CA and you're trying to bring back the most 'American' gift in the world, it's pretty hard to beat a Taco Bell Taco Kit and a I'm-a-lazy-American Betty Crocker dessert.
The Mighty Betty Crocker Dessert Mix!
Look! A convenient pan inside!
For those of you who've had the pleasure of tasting Banana's homemade bagels, cupcakes, and, most importantly, chocolate brownies, you'll know Banana can bake: bake like a Queen! Banana's chocolate brownies have been described as "orgasmic". Holy moly! So putting together some pre-packed ingredients should be a breeze!
The ingredients!
The instructions!
Easy peasy! Open the packets, pour them in, and hey presto: a super-sugary, artery clogging, artificial-flavour dessert! So last week I took up the challenge, only it didn't quite work out... Maybe it was the tiny brownie-maker inside of me or some deep-Freudian urge to keep the planet free of fake-baking, but Banana made a mistake. 
Spot the missing ingredient...
Now, I realise the whole dessert looks like a mistake. Honestly, that was with some careful smoothing too. Surely, this dessert was never made to be eaten. Even less without the essential trademark Reese's peanut butter. A Reese's peanut butter dessert without the Reese's peanut butter. Hmm, interesting. Is it bad that I was relieved?! 

So Mrs Crocker's dessert mix and I parted ways, now it's in the little bin under the sink in the sky. RIP weird dessert thing. Let's hope the Taco Bell Taco Kit is a little more edible...

Friday, 25 March 2011

Make a Date with the Dark: 8.30pm, Saturday 26th March 2011

Think back to when you were a little ankle biter, a young whipper snapper, a lil' half pint, a yard ape (you see where I'm going); you'd be playing with He-man or Barbie (or maybe both! Especially if Santa brought Barbie a Ferrari instead of Ken! Ah, the modern woman.) on a Saturday night before bedtime. Then, all of a sudden! Darkness. A power cut! Aaaaarrrrrgggghh! At first you were a bit scared because you know that monsters only come out when it's dark. But then you remember you're eight, and you're too old to believe in monsters so you kid yourself that you're running downstairs as fast as lightning (slowing to a cool 'saunter' on entering the living room) because you're having a race. Your dad goes to the trusty 'emergency torch' drawer, retrieves the most gigantic torch you've ever seen, and checks the fuse box. Nope. It's definitely a power cut. At this point, your parents are hoping there are definitely candles in the back of the tea towel/battery/'general crap' drawer. If they're smart, the matches are in their too. If not, never fear! The gas still works! So they light the cooker then light the candle - genius!

This is the point at which the magic happens. You're huddled in the living room, surrounded by the warm glow of candles and you do something really special: you spend a night together without the television. Maybe your family find a pack of cards in the 'general crap' drawer and you play Knockout Whist. Maybe you dig out an old board game and spend the evening trying to be the first to buy Park Lane and Mayfair. Maybe you're really brave and you tell ghost stories! Whatever happens, it's magical. 

So I say, let's use this opportunity to re-create it:

Turn out the lights, pretend it's a blackout and let your imagination go wild. Make cocktails by candlelight, read a book with a torch, play hide-and-seek-in-the-dark, play Knockout Whist, or dance to a silent disco with this, appropriately titled, song in your head:

Or, alternatively, take Marvin's advice:

Golly gosh! Did Marvin really suggest that?

Whatever you do, save the world!

Earth Hour: Saturday 26th March at 8.30pm.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Iron, Wine and the Milky Bar Kid

I almost bought Mathew tickets to see Iron and Wine at The Sage but I thought taking him to Hawes (teehee! I'm still loving the pun!) would be much more birthday-esque. As chance would have it, he stumbled across the gig (before his birthday too! Phew! It was a lucky 'you almost ruined your birthday present' escape!) and bought us both tickets.  We started the evening with a yummy dinner at Sixthree courses of scrummy food, stunning views and a delicious vodka martini (mmm, martini...). Then, off we went to The Sage to meet Tom and Jess (aka, Tiger Pig and Piglet). Our rendezvous point was the 'milky bar' lookalike kid:

The rendezvous point.

If you look really closely, and wish really hard you'll see Tom and Jess.

Three courses and one martini later...

Iron and Wine!

The classic 'I'm trying to be arty' shot.

Paparazzo shot.

The gig was like a crazy jazz recital, there was real life jazz flute! Jazz flute, people! Waaaaooooow. And in case you've yet to be introduced: reader of the Bananatapes, meet Iron and Wine; Iron and Wine, meet the Bananatapes reader:

Why not watch this whilst eating a Milky Bar! Gosh, I haven't eaten a Milky Bar in ages. At Rhianne's 30th birthday party we all dressed up as superheroes and her friend Gabriel dressed up as the Milky Bar kid. It made me really want to eat the Milky Bars until I picked one up and it was all melty from being in his pocket all evening. Nice.

An older, slightly more manic looking Milky Bar Kid.

On that note, peace out campers!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Colour me velvet

Every once-in-a-lifetime-or-so something beautiful happens, like a baby being born or a totally amazing hotel coming in under budget for work. I don't know how it happened; the planets must have been aligned in a Banana shape because my two work homies (Simon 'T' Jenkins and Karis 'awesome' Baker) and I got to stay in the most hip and happening hotel in Manchester. It was like a freak of nature, how could an amazing hotel like this come in under budget? Were there some weird secrets lurking in the darkened corridors (or as it turned out, behind a chiffon veil...)? Well, we were going to find out.

We found the hotel without a hitch. We had so many questions: 'just how unique is it?', 'what will my room be like?', 'what if I like your room better than mine?!', 'what if I want to swap!?', 'why am I so high maintenance?!' (erm, maybe the last few were mine...). We checked in one by one. Simon was whisked away into the elevator. Karis was next (minus the elevator). Then me (also minus the elevator). The lovely reception lady, Louise, took me to room number 15. I've never seen anything so unbelievably gothic and sultry.

But what is that behind the purple chiffon? Is it some kind of lovely collage? Let's take a peek shall we?

It's a naughty picture!!! My goodness! Have you ever seen anything like it? I love how it's so raunchy they had to cover it up with some shmexy, purple chiffon. I ran to Karis's room to find out what delights her room held and golly gosh! I thought my wall art was something, check this baby out!:

Simon, our resident photographer, documenting the rooms piece by piece.

Erm, what? A saint, with a devil on it's shoulder? And a knife? And a three headed dragon beast? My giddy-aunt. This place was crazy! Simon's room was relatively normal in comparison to ours. But he did have a monkey lamp:

A monkey in a monkey suit holding two lamps - brilliant!
So, the first night was great...apart from the noise - noooooo! At 4am I was woken up by crazy people talking and laughing in the early hours. Don't they know that night time is for sleeping? Luckily, the lovely reception lady, Louise,  was super awesome and upgraded me to a balcony room so I was sure to get an excellent night's sleep. Saweeeeeeet!

My new room, in all it's glory.

A giant bath and a rubber ducky! What more could you want?!

Where would a room at Velvet be without crazy, sexy artwork?

My balcony, complete with statue.
And if all that weren't enough, we got free cocktails in Velvet Bar too! Yumsies. My favourite moment was when Simon said "cocktails? Yeah, I don't want anything too girly. [Enter waitress.] I'll have the Pear Drop, please." Excellent 'non-girly' cocktail ordering Dr Jenko!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Professor, a Doctor and Wii Just Dance...

As per-every-now-and-then, the Guest-atron and I visit York's famous Barrett family, made up of a super cool mummy (Anna) and daddy (John) and their two twin boys, Sam and Leo. John (the Professor!) is the King of Sustainability, the Creator of the low carbon pathway (that's right, if you carry on being naughty with the earth he's going to kick your ass!) and he's been on Radio 4 more times than you've had hot dinners. Anna is as cool as the Fonz and all round party animal; if there's a cheesy fun-filled game to be played, you can bet your bottom dollar she will initiate it's ass! 

After a yummy, scrummy dinner at Cafe No. 8 we headed back to the Barrett residence. This time, we traded Zomp for 'Just Dance' and Oh. My. Word. Seeing the Guest-atron bust-a-move reminded me why I fell in love in the first place. Just look at him go!

Hold on to your hats ladies, what you're about to see will blow your mind...

Pure, comedy, gold! My favourite quote has to be "who does this to this song?" John: no one does what you were doing to that song.

Now, who says academics can't dance...