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...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Say 'Happy Birthday' with Hawes

Ah, that title is so much more fun when you read it out loud. I can't tell you how many jokes the phrase "I'm taking Mathew to Hawes for his birthday", produced in our office. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Planning a surprise weekend away for the Guest-atron required more of my crafty reserves than I would have thought. I had to convince him we were just going for a fancy lunch at the Wensleydale Heifer in the Yorkshire Dales and that's why he needed a waterproof, spare clothes, a newspaper, a book, his iPod, walking boots, etc., etc. I then had the tricky job of trying to get all his weekend gear in the car without him noticing. Brilliance struck: "Mathew, could you do me a huge favour and please hoover the lounge before we go..?" Genius!!! It was win, win! I get a tidy lounge, Mathew gets a weekend away! So whilst he was hoovering away, I ran out into the driving wind and rain and packed all his stuff in the boot. I then realised there were things he'd want to take with him 'for lunch' (the things I'd told him to pack - dammit!), so back out the door I flew; I rummaged through his bag, pulled out the essentials, ran back into the house, packed them into a different bag and then rushed him out of the house with his back of necessities. Phew! 

And off we went. The Guest-atron + Banana + Hawes (teehee!) = happy.

His eyes are saying "stay away from my lobster!"
Mmm, seafood!!!
So, the weather was a little wet. That's actually supposed to be a field...
Mathew thought about taking a nakey swim (like Robin Hood) but thought better of it.
Being stared at by this many sheep was fairly disconcerting...
Playing peekaboo.
Mathew preaching to his followers.
What a weekend! Three days of yummy breakfasts at the Thorney Mire Barn, a trip to the Wensleydale Creamery (mmm, cheeeeeeeese!), lovely walks in the rain, watching all three Back to the Future movies, wine, more cheese, seafood, real ale at the Green Dragon, listening to the thunderous Hardraw Force waterfall, and Sunday lunch in an old Pullman carriage at The Black Bull. Utter perfection.

Happy 36th Birthday Dr Guest!!!