Monday, 22 November 2010

Ecouter aux portes

Ah Paris, the city of love. The place is jammed to the rafters with people smooching, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. Bless their little Parisian cotton-socks (isn't the image of tiny, Parisian-cotton-socks totally cute?!). This was the perfect setting for Alana Banana to get up to her old tricks. The day was Monday and the name of the game was 'eavesdropping' (it was raining, we were sat in a cafe, what else was there to do?!). However, the sneaky old Parisians managed to get one over on Alana Banana with their French-speaking lark. So there I was, consoling myself with an Irish Coffee (which, for the record, was all 'Irish' and very little 'coffee') and suddenly it dawned on me, the people next to me were speaking English! English! Luckily for me, they clearly were French so they had the awesome French-English accent going on (in case I wanted to pretend in my head that they were actually speaking French and by some beautiful, miracle I was able to understand them).

First, let me set the scene. A man in his late twenties is sat at a table with a young, beautiful, woman. They are both drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes like all the cool kids do. There is clearly chemistry, at one point their hands touch, the atmosphere is electric (well, not really, but let's pretend!). Now before you feel all happy inside, you should know that the whooooooooole time he was with this lady, he was complaining about his actual girlfriend. Shock horror! Naughty Parisian. Complaining about your girlfriend whilst flirting with another lady! What followed from this moment, was some absolute conversational gold (make sure you put on a beautiful French-English accent in your head!)... Imagine, he's been complaining for a good twenty minutes and the girl he's with has barely said a word (though she hung on every single word, she clearly fancied the sap) when he comes out with this:

"I don't even work on my music anymore. I come home from work and there is no food in the fridge and I go up to the bedroom and she is drunk and the room is full of smoke and I think to myself 'I can't write music under these conditions'!"

Really? You can't write music because your fridge is empty and your girlfriend is so sick of your complaining she's in bed drunk right now? If you ask me, that sounds like the start of a brilliant song!

"Hello Whiskey, my old friend."

The Eiffel Tower from within the shelter of Jade's
favourite mode of transport, the Batobus.

Our Parisian home!

The classic Paris shot.

Au revoir!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Chips, Lectures and Hope

The night started out the best way it possibly could, with chips. Mmm, chips. Mathew's voice and the dialogue in When Harry Met Sally echoed in the back of my mind while I ordered: "can I have the bowl of chips with the chilli on the side?". Like Sally, on the side is a very big thing for me. Rhianne and I sat drinking our ale and eating our lovely winter warming food whilst graffitiing in Mathew's diary (what's more fun than opening a page in your diary and seeing lovely messages from your friends?! Especially ones ordering you to buy them presents. Classic!). After gobbling down our yummy food, we bravely set out in the ruddy freezing wind and rain and headed to the lecture organized by the Durham Quakers. The author of The Spirit Level was giving a lecture based on the principles in his book:
I love goldfish! I'm sold!

Given the serious carb-overload, I was doubting my capacity to concentrate. Luckily, Richard Wilkinson did not let me down and my thoughts didn't stray on to their usual path into magical lands full of sugar and colours and unicorns. When it comes to what the dude has to say, the evidence is compelling. I found myself turning to Rhianne and doing what all those annoying audience members do going "ooooooooh","we've always said this!" and "you're more likely to die of heart disease if you suffer from stress?!?!?! Shit!" (Ironic how that new piece of information may in fact make me worried about being stressed and therefore make me more stressed! Damn you, Cycle of Doom!).

This is more than a book for the liberal lefties; this is a work of frickin' art. Even if you never touch non-fiction with a barge pole, you need to read this bad boy. AND it's full of colours and charts and visuals! Mmm, visuals. This book ties in so well with the research into friendships and health. Do you know, the closer you feel to your friends and the less strife you have in your relationships the better your immune system and the faster you heal?!?!?! And friends can help you live longer! Wooooooow. Maybe if you become totally awesome at relationships you can turn into a superhero!!! Well, it's worth a try. Although Wonder Woman is already taken... and she's made up with Angle Man! Now there's a turnout for the books!

Hmmm, now what kind of superhero will I be...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Cove

"You're either an activist on an in-activist. I'm an activist": those words echoed through my head as I watched The Cove. This isn't an easy documentary to watch, by any stretch of the imagination. We're talking about the girl who struggles to watch disturbing films because she's generally unable to maintain the believe that it's fiction. Times that by a hundred, and we're somewhere close to understanding how difficult she finds it when she's watching a documentary about suffering. The mechanism that says "it's okay, it's only a film" dissipates and you're left with the sad facts staring in at you from the screen.

It's hard to respond to a film like this without sounding 'over the top'. Perhaps the less said the better. Either way, in the course of watching the film, I found myself in a position where I realised I was sat on the fence with the In-activists. I guess you could say that this is what makes a great documentary, when it brings you to the realisation that you're currently occupying a position that you no longer want. We have to move, change, do.

Short of quitting my job, moving to Japan and facing a lifetime of being arrested I decided there had to be something I could do. This is where you come in: watch the film, sign the petition, donate, write.

Thank you,
Alana Banana