Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bananarama Pajama Drama

As you are by now acutely aware, we Unbelievable types have many friends (moles, contacts, informants) in the business known as show. Some of our more interesting stories involve talented celebrities who requested our assistance in some form or another. This is one of those stories.

Back in the 1980s we were lucky enough to become acquainted with three lovely ladies who went by the names of Siobhan, Keren and Sarah. Collectively they went by the monicker Bananarama. At least, they did after they met us.

When first we encountered the 'Nanas, they were a gospel trio that had hit upon hard times. It was in a little taverna in ol' Piedras Negras, right across the Texas border, that we found what were then known as The Faith Tones, singing their little hearts out and desperately trying to flog the last few remaining copies of their one and only LP Jesus Use Me out of a battered suitcase propped up against a sleeping Mexican drunk (who knew they even existed?) who himself was propped up against the upright piano.

L to R: Keren, Sarah, Siobhan.

We were there on another case involving an aloe-smuggling ring we had uncovered via our great pal, the late great DK - Don Knotts to the folks at home. But I digress.

While sipping the local brew we discussed the merits of the trio of ladies in the corner.

"These kids need help," mused Michael.

"You're not wrong there, bucko, " riposted Clark. "Someone needs to tap them and tell them."

I pondered for a moment and decided we should introduce ourselves, so after another rousing chorus of Rock Of Ages we sidled over and told them who we were.

"Oh wow!" replied Siobhan. "We love you guys - and Jesus, of course."

Sarah interjected, "Oh my Gawd, can you guys help us? We are not doing well here, as you can see. In fact, you could say we're sucking wind. Surely three stylish gents such as yourselves can help us out a little?" Those may not have been her exact words, but you get the gist.

We were taken aback by the charming Sarah's unabashedly upfront approach, and after a short discussion agreed to take the girls under our wing and give them a top-to-bottom inside-out makeover.

We told them to lose the up-do hairstyles and go for something a tad more funky-punky. The uptight church clothes were to be swapped for loose, baggy yet feminine urban streetwear. The clunky pumps traded in for hi-tops and hiking boots. And that name? The Faith Tones? Ditch that and go all out with something silly. The daftest name you can think of. Well, on TV at the time was an episode of ITV's Dramarama - so after playing with it for a minute or two, Bananarama were born.

See how much happier they look? Especially after Keren got contacts.
We used our showbiz contacts to get them some studio time and a few choice session players to back them up, and after a while, the name Bananarama was on everyone's lips.

But that isn't the end of the story. Oh no.

A few years later the 'Ramas requested help from us again - this time to hunt down a bootlegger who was clearly confused, selling tapes of old demos under the Bananarama name, yet decorating his product with pictures of the foul and repellent children's characters Bananas In Pajamas. Eeesh. The last thing the ladies wanted was their good name tainted and besmirched by the talent-free oversized fruits.

Well, we hunted down the culprit - wasn't that hard, actually, ya just gotta know where to look -  and the ladies were so grateful they showed us their pajamas.  Well, not so much pajamas as inflatable bananas really.

And then we naturally dated them all for a while.  Good times, good times...

But this wasn't the only time we've helped Z-listers become A-listers, was it boys?

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