Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Gift of Rock

What finer gift could there be?! When I was 11, my older brother introduced me to vinyl and to Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation. Frances (all round genius and best bud of 24 years) and I slowly lifted the record player lid, we placed the mystical black circle of music onto the turntable and clicked the play button; the moment the stylus hit the record, we fell in love with rock. I remember saying "this is so heavy!", we'd never heard a bass drum reverberate through our rib cages like that before. 

There was no going back, it was Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Guns 'n' Roses - "and so on and so forth" (along with a love of rock comes a love of Wayne's World) - all the way. But I would never have found the Path of Rock had it not been for one band. My inspiration. My first love. The reason I fell in love with extended guitar solos and rhythmic rock beats: Bon Jovi.

In the early teenage years of infatuation, there's no room for musical snobbery. I heard them, I loved them, I wanted to marry them. Once I had a dream that I met Bon Jovi, it was one of the best dreams ever! I rode in a helicopter and everything. Then I had a dream that one of my best friends kissed Jon Bon Jovi, I was furious!!! How could she?! Now "I'm a little older and a little wiser" and I dream about things that make no sense. But my heart still longs for the day when I can see them, in real life, rocking out like nobody's business.

Little did I know that the letter I sent to Santa in 1996 (when I wanted to see the These Day's tour) got lost in the post, but by some miracle he found it! That's right peeps, Dr Guest must have received an email from Santa! Together, the created a gift jam-packed full of Rock and Christmas Spirit. Here it is, in all it's glory:


Thanks Dr Guest!!! You and Santa have given me the best, ever Christmas present in Banana-history!

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Guest of the Guests: Christmas Special

Merry Christmas from all the Guests! Dr Guest, Mummy and Daddy Guest, Little-Drummer-Boy-Guest, Salsa-Guest and (the literal guests) Wilde-Guest and Banana-Guest.
Merry Christmas!!!
(From left: Raegon, Banana, Mathew, John, John's mum, Dan, Kath and Adam's taking the pic!)

The Guest household is a magical land flowing with turkey and wine. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were crammed full of serious frivolity. People were eating, drinking and dancing to (heaven forbid, don't tell the church elders!) Rock 'n' Roll.

Here's the lowdown on how the Guest-atrons celebrate the Yuletide season...

Christmas Eve: Go to an Olde Worlde pub and drink lots of yummy ale. Walk home, eat pork sandwiches on arrival. Sleep. What a fine tradition!
'The Stump'
(no I don't mean you Mathew, I mean the name of the pub!)

Kath and the Bott-atron laughing...wait...are they pointing at me?!

The combination of Christmas spirit and the snow's white canvas were alive with practical-joke possibilities. Adam and I teamed up and created this classic 'giant bird in the back garden' prank. We are geniuses! But Adam got mad because I couldn't keep it a secret. Clearly, Adam is unfamiliar with my inability to keep quiet...
Sheer brilliance!

Christmas Day: Banana woke up at approximately 08:35hours as she had heard unsubstantiated reports from a certain scientist, Mr Bott, that The Muppet Christmas Carol was going to be broadcast at 8.50am. Everything I'd heard was true; The Muppet Christmas Carol was indeed on. I dragged my duvet downstairs and Dr Guest, Dan and I partook in the magical spectacle of little, felt, hand-puppets telling a tale of hope, of love and of Christmas spirit...

We then proceeded to open presents (under the strict eye of Momma Guest, she operates a strict present-opening regime (no opening presents all at once!)), gobble some turkey (gosh, I do love turkey), drink wine and, to send the day off with a bang, we used  Banana's trademark celebration device: FIREWORKS!!!
Catherine Wheel: wooooooosh!
That little blue light is from Dan's head torch. He's a firework pro!

I then opened the best Christmas present known to man, tickets to see Bon Jovi!!! Oh yeah! I fell in love with them when I was 11. They are the Banana equivalent of a silly boy band. Oh, how I love them.

The night wore on and the time for beddy-bies arrived and Mathew went to bed with his two new friends:
Bert and Ernie

Boxing Day: More wine, more turkey, more fun!!! Plus dancing and a game of GIANT cards (no joke).
John Guest, our resident DJ

'Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight!'

Penny in the pot, penny on a card

Yep, they are that big. A4 to be precise.

We ended the night with a celebration of the past and found these killer photos of Mathew and his family, all for your enjoyment ;)

Dr Guest...before the PhD...and puberty.

The Guest-atron, Dan, Momma Guest and Adam.

Lady Killer on the loose. Watch out.

Peace on Earth, homies. Stay warm!

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Car Crash and a Care Bear (in a pear tree)

I know what you're thinking: "Alana, what kind of crazy-ass events could lead to a blog title like this?!".  Well, there was both a car crash and a Care Bear and lots of other things like snow and breakfast. My partner in crime, Dr Guest, and I travelled over the horizon to a little place full of lakes and mountains and people I've known for between 24 and 27 years. Oh, apart from Edward the baby. He's only been around for eight months. Although technically he came from his mummy's tummy and I've known her for 24 years, so maybe I have known him all this time! Anyway, enough of me being weird.

So we started the weekend in a kick ass B&B called the Ditton Lodge in Papcastle (isn't Papcastle the most awesome name!!! Like a castle full of pap.). It got a rating of five Banana's (full marks, congratulations!!!). This was our fancy-pants room:
Super King with dual electric blanket - sweeeeeeeet! 

The view!

Our first mission was a drive to Ennerdale in the snow. Luckily, I've played Mario Kart an awful lot so the slippery roads were no match for me and my technical karting abilities. However, there was no way my little brum-brum was going to make it up the steep, icy, snowy, treacherous hill to Cathow Farm (the Marrs Family Residence). So we parked by a salt sand bin (excellent thinking Banana!) and waited for the magical 4x4 to whisk us up the hill.

Richard, the roughest-toughest-farmer in the West, arrived with a 'toot toot' and Mathew and I clambered in and up the hill we went, further and further still until we reached the magical Kingdom of Caring. Teehee, not really! Sadly, what actually happened was some stupid Audi driver came flying down the one track lane in the snow and couldn't stop in time so he hit us. Silly driver!!! Luckily for us Bed-time Bear was with us, I think he protected us because no one was hurt. If Tender-heart Bear had been there too I'll bet we would have crashed into candy floss. Clever Tender-heart Bear. 

The main injury Mathew sustained was an acute wounding of the pride when he got out of the car, slipped on the snow and fell on his bum. Oopsies! My leggings sustained a minor tear to the knee and thus they have now been demoted to pyjama-wear. Richard, because he is the roughest-toughest farmer in the West, sustained no injuries because he is a hard ass. His Land Rover, on the other hand, was badly injured. The wheel was crushed, the tyre punctured and the corner of the body was crumpled. Poor Mr Farm-hand 4x4. We salute you and your honorable service! His adversary, the Audi, was only one day old (ouch!) and his injuries were slightly more severe. I would have taken pictures but I'd have felt rather rude going "excuse me, can I just take a picture of your chewed up Audi? It's for my blog you see"; that would have registered as a seven on the richter scale of 'inappropriate social behaviour following a car crash'.

So, we used our little pins and walked the rest of the way to the farm. The whole hullaballo was totally worth it because we got to see this beautiful little fella!:
He is cuuuuuuuuute! That's Mammy Marrs
(aka 'Stephanie', former Currie and all round Domestic Goddess) on the right.

Because he is so beautiful I gave him his Christmas present early:
 "I love you Bedtime Bear."

"Daddy, you are hilarious!"

"Feed me Mammy Marrs!!!"

"Look how cute I can be."

Isn't he gorgeous?! Sadly, we had to tear ourselves away and off we ventured, down the snowy lane back to my pap-pap (aka: car). We then met up with one of my favourite families of all time: the Curries, comprising of my best buddy of twenty four years, Frances; Marshall Amp and Fender owner extraordinaire, Bill; chief casserole maker and my second mum, Cath; and the honorary Curries, Marc (daddy Wood) and Adam (baby Wood). During the course of the evening one of my favourite quotations of the day came from Bill, musical hero and all-round Scottish genius:

Mathew: Are you on Facebook, Bill?

Bill: I don't get Facebook. I'm not even interested in what I'm doing, let alone other people!

On that note...Peace Out Campers!!! And Merry Christmas Eve!!!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Zomp, Explosives and Turning Twenty-Seven

Saturday 11th December 2010: Banana's Birthday Weekend

This had to be the best weekend in Banana's living memory. Mainly because of the extra special guests in residence: the Glynn-Finnegans; Wonder Woman and Angle Man; Tiger Pig; Jade-arooo and Dr Guest-atron. Throw in a game of Zomp, some cocktails and some fireworks and you've got one hell of a party! Here are a few of the highlights...

The very serious academic: Dr Guest.


Adam GF miming, erm, something...(?!?!)

The day began with a trip to Cafe Paradiso for yummy foodies and, as always, it was ruddy delightful. This was followed by a super interesting trip to the Side Gallery to see the current exhibition 'Love Me'. It may sound like an exhibition full of rainbows and tigers cuddling baby koalas but, alas, 'twas not. Here's the blurb:
Over a period of five years Zed Nelson visited seventeen countries across five continents. In Love Me we meet the cosmetic surgeons, the anorexics, the child beauty queens, and bodybuilders, the trainee models, housewives, porn stars, businessmen and soldiers. The compelling images challenge “the narrow palette of beauty... ‘Westernising’ the human body has become a new form of globalisation, and the homogenization of appearance has made ‘Beauty’ into a crude universal brand.” This is the territory of Nelson’s exhibition. 
Duuuuuudes, it was totally fascinating.

But the best was yet to come. We got home, ate a giant La Creuset casserole dish (one of my awesome b'day pressies!) full of chilli (isn't the word 'chilli' weird?! 'Chilly' means cold, like "brrrr, I'm chilly"; but 'chilli' means hot! And just look at the word: chilli. Doesn't it look like a weird word?! Read it over and over again, it'll make your head go funny) and Dr Guest, our resident barman, created all kinds of yummy cocktails:

One of Cameron's many Mojitos!

With cocktails in hand, we enjoyed the firework display from the safety of Banana's bedroom:

Let me tell you, there's nothing like setting huge fireworks off in a tiny garden full of sheds and all kinds of other combustibles. Watching Adam, Tom and Mathew run like the wind away from ignited fireworks was sheer, bottled, hilarity.

We drank some champers, played the best game of Zomp to date and then went to beddy-bies. It was truly supoib! Here is a message, sent by carrier pigeon, to my special Birthday guests:
"I salute you, Special Birthday Guests!"

Over and out.