One thing I knew when I decided to become Mr Banana Head was that I could never follow a script and have every party exactly the same as each other. Whilst I understood that I’d have to organise things in a certain order I also needed to be able to react to everything that was happening around me. Whilst that sounds competely reasonable it can sometimes cause problems and occasionally utter chaos.
Firstly I have to contend with the total and complete unpredictability of children who generally have no filter and say whatever they see and think. Secondly I have to contend with my mouth that often speaks before checking with my brain to make sure that what’s coming out isn’t going to result in an awkward silence and swarms of tumbleweeds sweeping in from all directions.
Here’s two unfortunate incidents that highlight both of the above. Both were originally posts on the Mr Banana Head Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/mrbananahead)
2nd August 2015
“I often talk about how 4 year old children in particular come out with the most random things when I’m in the middle of something. I had the two birthday boys up this morning for their birthday trick and I always say something along the lines of, ” As you’re boys and you’re 4 I know your favourite things in the whole world are Cinderella and Rapunzel.” At this they normally shout out “No” very loudly and eventually we get round to who they actually like, (Spiderman and Batman in this case.)
On confirming that they loved Spiderman, one of the boys then suddenly pulled his shorts down to show me and everyone else at the party his Spiderman pants. The adults then burst out laughing which set me off and whilst all this is going on the other birthday boy then decided to pull his shorts down just to show me and everyone else that he didn’t have Spiderman pants, just plain normal ones. Cue more laughing and eventually both sets of shorts got pulled up and we somehow finished their magic trick. Trying to hold the attention of 30 children for two hours takes a lot of concentration, Pantsgate made it even tougher. I love my job and the crazy unpredictability of what the children are going to say or do. I’d never change it for the world.”
9th November 2014
“That was one crazy weekend. Five parties since Friday and my voice is officially raspy. I now sound like Mariella Frostrup (remember her?) During my reacting to stuff ad libbing today I had a humdinger of a tumbleweed moment.
It was Lilia’s 6th birthday and we had 35 children and 25 parents in a fairly small room. About 20 mins into the party when I’m in full flow a boy walks in resplendent in full Darth Vader getup head to toe. I didn’t even know he was a boy until he took his helmet off later on. He sat down right in the middle of the children who all stared at him, partly in awe and partly scared he might destroy them at any moment. He was also the only child dressed up which made the whole situation even more memorable.
I stopped what I was doing, turned to him, bowed and said, “Lord Vader, it’s lovely to see you here. I just want to reassure you that the Death Star will be completed on time. My men are working round the clock to finish it.” I then bowed again and waited for the laughing to start…….it didn’t. The only sound was the family of tumbleweeds blowing in from the north, waving in my face and carrying on their journey. The children and parents looked equally bemused, confused and some constipated. I laughed, part nervously because no one else was and part because I thought it was funny. Never mind, I’d always rather be like that than not react to what’s happening in front of me. I’ll take plenty of tumbleweed moments for the occasional golden moment and multiple guffaws.”