19/09/2016

The One with the trip to Friends Fest

Oh. My. GOD!

*If you didn't just read that in the piercing voice of Janice, you may as well stop reading now.*

I was among the lucky ones who got to visit Friends Fest recently and it was seriously fantastic.  Like, kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck fantastic.

The five-day event at Harewood House, Leeds, was attended by fellow Friends fanatics from across the north.

With everything from Monica and Rachel's apartment, to Joey and Chandler's Barcalounger chairs, to Central Perk and Ross and Rachel's Vegas wedding chapel - it was every Friends fan's dream.

There was also Monica's Moondance Diner - where the waiting staff kept bursting into song and dance every time YMCA came on - and Phoebe's grandmother's cab. As well as the chance to recreate the opening title sequence, learn 'the routine' and try some 'mockolate'.

Could it BE anymore exciting?!

A big screen showing snippets from the iconic show took centre stage; and I have never felt more comfortable reciting all the words to each scene than I did when surrounded by fellow super fans.

I imagine this is what comic book fans feel like when they go to Comic-Con.

My family always joke that they could turn the volume off pretty much any episode and I would still be able to recite, word for word, the entire script.

Barely a day goes by when I don't compare some occurrence, event or happening to something in Friends.

"Ah, this is just like that time in Friends when..."



Whether it be blaming the humidity for big hair, like poor Monica when they go to Barbados.

It's the humidity!!!

Or when I know a secret, and someone else doesn't know that I know.

They don't know we know they know we know!

I can't ever hear the country 'Yemen' mentioned without thinking of 15 Yemen Road, Yemen and I always have to smile when I see a trifle (minus the beef, of course).

I couldn't even hazard a guess at how many times I have seen each episode of Friends.  I have had the box set since I went to uni, yet I still watch it on Comedy Central everyday.

It's like I have a sixth sense when Friends is on.  I'm like Ross with his 'unagi' - I'm always aware.

Ahhh, salmon skin roll.





The attention to detail on some of the sets was amazing, right down to the entertainment centre in Joey and Chandler's apartment blocking the bedroom doors and the black and white picture which hangs there.

There was also the wooden canoe, which famously is the only piece of furniture owned by Joey and Chandler after Joey's boo-boo when trying to sell the entertainment centre.

What did the insurance company say?
They said 'you don't have insurance here, so stop calling us!'

There was also the famous football table and, of course, the chick and the duck (in cushion form, unfortunately).

Wouldn't it be cool if a duck and a chick had a baby? It would be called a chuck.



Into Central Perk there was a Phoebe copycat singing all her hits - from Smelly Cat to Sticky Shoes and even the Shower Song.

Little black, little black, little black, little black, little black curly hair.





We got to pose out front, have our photo taken behind the famous counter, and have our photo taken on one of the most famous sofas in the world.

It was all such a blur.  I felt like I'd jumped into my TV.

Monica and Rachel's apartment was, of course, the star attraction.

For here, you had to book an individual time slot when booking your tickets to ensure it wasn't too over-crowded at any one time.




Again, the attention to detail was amazing.

Nestle Toulouse's cookie recipe was pinned to the fridge (aka Phoebe's grandmother's secret chocolate chip cookie recipe), there were binoculars on the desk to keep a watchful eye on Ugly Naked Guy and there was the famous photo that sits above the TV.

The only slightly disappointing thing was that things had to be glued down.  I'm not kidding.

The cookies, the teapot and the cups were all glued down to the kitchen table.  One of the staff members said this was because people were stealing them, which makes me really sad.

As much as I would love some exclusive memorabilia, I wouldn't take to stealing things.  Especially when things in the shop weren't that expensive.  I got a hoodie for £25 which I thought was really reasonable.  When I've been to some concerts and events I've paid that just for a rubbish programme filled with posey pictures.  Any clothing items are usually well north of £40.



One of my favourite moments inside Monica and Rachel's apartment is when Monica is teaching Chandler about the seven erogenous zones.

Seven, seven, seven, seven, seven..!

When we had our photo taken on the sofa, I held up seven fingers like Monica does in the end of that scene.  Tom, bless him, was unsure of what I was doing so the picture didn't really work out.

Unfortunately, my Friends nerdy-ness just proved too much for him on that occasion.




Although, saying that, Tom demonstrated some Friends geekiness of his own.

Just as we were about to leave home to go he shot off upstairs to get changed.

"I'm dressing as my favourite Friends character from my favourite episode," he shouted down to me.

Being the dutiful, knowledgeable fiancee that I am, I straight away knew what this was.

His favourite Friends episode is The one with the Rumor (rumour, if you're British) - aka the Brad Pitt episode.

I wondered how he was going to suddenly transform himself into Brad Pitt, but he had it all under control.  He'd googled Brad Pitt in that episode and had found an outfit which was almost identical to Brad's.

It was then a case of, when in Monica and Rachel's apartment, recreating a moment from that episode.  Tom chose the bit where he is leaning near the fridge giving evils to Rachel across the apartment.

Come on Will, just take off your shirt and tell us!

So, here it is:





The only thing missing for me was Ross' apartment, I would've loved to have recreated his 'I'm fine' breakdown.

Eeeeee, is for how extremely normal I find it that you two are together.

Of course the sets weren't all the 'real thing', which was a bit disappointing.  I'm not even sure if they will still exist, to be honest.  If they do, I doubt they would fly them over to the UK from America, then take them on tour around the country.  They were a very close copy and it was so exciting to have my photo taken in some of the most famous fictional locations ever.

The whole event was really well organised, I have to say.

By every possible photo opportunity was a member of staff poised and ready to take your photo.  When recreating the opening title sequence the staff were happy to take photos on your own phones/cameras.  At many places there would be 'professional' photographers taking photos and charging you an arm and a leg for a copy; with no option to take your own.  So I thought this was really good.





Ross and Rachel's Vegas wedding chapel was fabulous, with the wedding dresses and Joey's Viking hat.

We got a dry-run at our post-wedding photos as we dressed up.  I think you'll agree from the photos we still need a bit of practice.



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