Thanks to all for your kind comments. Nicholas is very happy you are enjoying his Muppet Adventures!
Now on to Part III...
My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part III:
My Great Muppet Caper
2012 has been a rollercoaster of a year for many, many, many different reasons and 2013 is shaping up to be even better and full of greater surprises.
In February 2012 I went to England for the first time as I travelled with my Dad, he went to remove his kidney stones and I went to buy something which the Disney Store did not ship to Gibraltar. I have a terrible secret to share with you guys… I grew up watching Muppet Tonight before I ever saw a single episode of The Muppet Show. To me Pepe, Clifford, Johnny Fiama, Sal, Bobo Bear and Dr Phil Van Neuter are part of the original Muppet family. I hate the fact that they have slowly disappeared and I just hope they pull a Scooter or Rowlf on us and return back one day stronger than ever.
I have always been a huge fan of Pepe ever since he first asked Gonzo to build him a Jacuzzi.
Pepe is an edgy Muppet which works alongside the rest of the Muppets as his “edginess” does not seem forced as I felt was the case with Clifford. Anyway this is not the trip you guys want to hear about, this was the trip where I purchased my first Pepe and Walter plush plus I collected all the rest too but this isn’t what you guys want to hear. I had gone all the way to England to buy a Pepe toy and little did I know that four months later I’d be returning to meet the real thing.
In April I finally become an uncle to the cutest Muppet Fan on earth who has only just become one year old and already owns his own Fraggle Rock The Complete Collection on DVD.
I was the happiest Muppet Fan in the whole world after being so unhappy for the past four years. When my nephew was born this bright light lit up inside this dark depressing room where I had been trapped inside for the last four years. As happy as my nephew made me feel I still felt empty inside, I actually felt more like a loser now that I was an uncle than I had before. I just wanted to do something that would prove to myself that all my hard work and determination was worth it.
One day in May I walked up the Rock of Gibraltar and just sat there in my happy place looking across the ocean staring at the beauty that is Africa.
I remember thinking “I’m so unhappy with life, I’ve lost love, friendships and even experiences because of my extreme obsession and desire to meet the Muppets”. If I’m completely honest with all of you I was beginning to get pissed off with those idiotic pieces of felt. Then that very night, when I no longer had strength to believe in myself anymore I sat in front of my computer, checked my email and could not believe what awaited me in my inbox. Were my friends teasing me? Was somebody pulling my leg? Was I the victim of a grand prank? Nope it was all very real I had been invited to London to meet The Muppets!
Finally after waiting for what seemed like a century June eventually came around and on June 6I boarded a plane ready for my very own great Muppet caper. The Muppets (2011) had just been released on DVD in America and now it was Europe’s turn and who were coming all the way to London to promote the film? Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn and some dudes called Bill and Steve and I was on my way to meet them all. I still remember when Thanksgiving 2011 seemed like such a long wait and now I’m writing a story talking about the DVD release over a year ago.
After three hours of containing my excitement on the plane my crate was suddenly tossed out… I thought this plane landed in England? Apparently I was wrong, the plane was landing in Italy but I on the other hand was landing in England, that’s what I get for travelling ninth class. Luckily my crate landed in a lake below and after a nice elderly gentleman helped me out and confirmed that I actually was in England, I smiled knowing my great caper had finally begun. I now needed a place to stay and luckily my new very old friend Herbert recommended a nice hotel for me to stay at. The Leafless Tree Hotel and seriously he should have just sent me to The Happiness Hotel… I would have been much better off. I grabbed by luggage, dried myself up and jumped in front of a taxi… guys it actually does work.
I arrived at The Leafless Tree Hotel and was instantly greeted by Mustafa and the rest of the hotel staff just like any ordinary hotel except they introduced themselves musically.
WOW! My first big musical number in London! My Great Muppet Caper was off to a great start and through the use of song Mustafa made everything sound so positive but when the light bulb in my room suddenly fell out of its socket and cut my face I realised… I wasn’t in a musical anymore.
I had been travelling all day, my face was bleeding and at some point I must have stepped on shit because I smelled terrible, I needed a nice warm shower. The bad thing about cheap hotels is having to share bathrooms with the other guests but that’s what you need to do if you want to meet The Muppets. As I walked through the hallway looking for the showers I saw someone who I thought resembled Herbert the old man who first recommended I stay here. Before I could make out if it was him or not I realised I had arrived at the communal bathroom. I opened the door to find myself in a room so small I had to make sure I had not opened a wardrobe instead. In this small tiny room there was a shower, a toilet and a sink, the only problem was there was no room for me to strip out of my cloths.
I went to lock the door and realised the lock was broken now normally I would have been more cautious but I was in desperate need of a warm shower. I stripped naked and jumped into the shower hoping to get this out of the way as soon as possible especially after realising that this hotel required you to bring your own hot water. England was freezing and so was my shower, I missed my bath back home with warm water and a lock on the door. All of a sudden the door opens and there stands Herbert, I was so embarrassed, he must have not known I was in here. Never mind he’ll just turn around and shut the door behind him I thought to myself but I was sadly mistaken. He did shut the door but he remained inside and started brushing his teeth? I thought he was just a crazy old man but when he bent down and tried to grab my penis claiming he was looking for the “shower hose” I quickly slapped him across the face… with what? Don’t ask.
I rushed back to my room, made sure the door was locked behind me and just stood there staring back at my door in fear.
What was I getting myself into? It had only been the first day and I already wished I was back at home but then I remembered…Herbert was probably on the other side of that door, I wasn’t going anywhere. I had arrived on a Saturday and as I shivered with fear in my room Saturday turned into Sunday and I knew that once Tuesday finally came around it would all be worth it for that was the day I would finally meet the Muppets!
The next morning I woke up and for some reason had a peg on my nose and my mouth tasted funny but I didn’t care because now I was that little bit closer to meeting The Muppets!
I decided to go out for breakfast since apparently in this hotel there was no kitchen anymore. I began walking around London becoming familiar with my surroundings whilst at the same time trying to search for a Disney Store. Now even though I had already bought every single piece of Muppet merchandise they had back in February I was hopeful that now in June I might find something new… maybe a Muppet beach towel? During my walk I came upon a giant store known as Hammleys. I doubted they would have any Muppets but I had a nephew now which meant going into a toy store wasn’t just about finding Muppets anymore. As I walked in I could not believe there was actually a toy store bigger than Gibraltar and I was in it! OH-MY-FRAGGLE! Uncle Traveling Matt Soft Toy! I never thought this day would come, first a nephew and now this, I was so blessed. So many cool expensive Fraggles but sadly no full body Junior Gorg… would I finally manage to find one before returning home?
As the day came closer to meeting my idols I began getting more excited and even more nervous at the same time. I had been so obsessed over the fact that I was finally going to meet Kermit the
Frog and Pepe the King Prawn after so many years that I had not properly realised yet that I was also meeting Steve Whitmire and Bill Barretta. Then it suddenly hit me that although Kermit and Pepe were the only Muppets who were going to be there I was actually going to be meeting the men responsible for bringing to life other great characters.
Between these two great performers they have entertained us with the likes of Clueless Morgan, Rizzo the Rat, Johnny Fiama, Wembley Fraggle, Bobo Bear, Bean Bunny, Big Mean Carl, Sprocket, Bubba the Rat, Lips, Angel-Marie, Andy Pig, Dr Teeth, Ernie, Rowlf The Dog, Link Hogthrob, The Swedish Chef, The Muppet Newsman, Mahna-Mahna, Beaker, Behemoth, Statler and even Earl and Robbie Sinclair from Dinosaurs…
I still couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me, you wait for something all your life and when you finally get what you’ve always wanted it just seems like if it’s not actually happening as
though it were just one really long dream. I was so happy at this point in my life that once again my body had shut down on me but this time it was not over depression it was due to happiness.
I think this is something that is really common within the human body, your body knows just how much excitement it can handle and even though your mind might be telling you you’re over the moon with excitement your body is the one in charge. Your body will tell you how excited you’re allowed to become and for some reason it wasn’t even allowing my eyebrows to twitch… not even one. When my Grandparents first told me I would be going to Muppet Vision 3D my eyebrows began twitching uncontrollably, I couldn’t stop it and my whole family couldn’t stop laughing at me.
It then happened another two times, when my nephew was born and when I got invited to meet the Muppets yet two days before meeting my idols I was at my calmest. Sunday night finally came and I was so excited that come Tuesday I would be meeting my idols that I could not sleep. At around four in the morning I decided to take advantage that it was so late and picked up my pyjamas and made my way to the communal bathroom hoping to have a nice shower in peace. I turned on the water and quickly remembered that it would be colder in the shower than if I actually stood outside naked. I had another quick cold shower and as I washed the shampoo from my face I find Herbert standing almost inside the shower with me… DAMN IT! This time I remained in the shower instead of running away and kicked Herbert the Perverted Old Man out instead. It had been a long night where I came to realise that Herbert never slept but finally I was calling it quits and when I wake up next it will be to enjoy the last day before I officially meet my idols.
If you ever decide to try and become a Muppet and for some reason find yourself forced to stay at The Leafless Tree Hotel, I would advise you follow these ten simples rules which will help you survive your stay at what I assume is that actual location Jim Henson and his team had used when coming up with the idea behind The Happiness Hotel.
1) Lift up your trousers before flushing the toilet,
otherwise you’ll wash your face at the same time too
2) If you're overweight make sure to shit before
going on holiday (very small bathrooms)
3) Bring your own hot water
4) The bellhops do not look like Rats, they are actually
Rats. Do not let them near your luggage
5) The black thing resting on your pillow is not a
welcome chocolate mint, do not eat it!
6) Shower in your underwear
7) If you see an old man walking up and down the
corridor do not shower...I repeat do not shower
even in your underwear
8) Sleep with your eyes open… and your mouth closed
9) Do not pay extra for breakfast, unless you like having
breakfast from 5:00-6:30 in the morning
(If you’re on holiday why are you going to wake
up earlier than you do back home to go to work?)
10) Do not ask the cleaners for directions anywhere
unless you actually want to go to Tesco’s
Next time I’m sleeping in the park.
Thanking Nicholas so much for Part III.
My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part IV:
The Day Before I Met My Idols
coming later this week!