I went to see the twentieth anniversary showing of Star Wars yesterday. The, no really folks, extra special version with over 4 minutes of extra footage, sharper images and special effects and super-duper sound. I spent $4.99 for an afternoon matinee seat, I had to line up for 45 minutes, after a previous line up to buy the ticket (I know now I was lucky, all the other shows were sell-outs...) I then sat in the theatre with a bunch of kids who were screaming and shouting, wearing $20 Star Wars tee-shirts and flashing laser pointers on the screen. Jesus, I loved it.
Star Wars is not 2001, or Blade Runner or even Alien. It is your saturday afternoon matinee in the local community centre with fifteen minutes of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, featuring Wild E. Coyote, Road Runner, Bugs and the gang, shown as trailers. Star Wars is throwing bits of wet paper at Gerry, who stole your pencil during English on Friday whilst egging on your mates to try and get similar blobs stuck on the screen. It is a dark, noisy, physical experience and I have never envied any kid more than the one in front of me: "Are the space ships really big dad?" Before I could lean over and explain just how big the spaceships were, "like football feilds, no.. like the park, including the gasworks..." dad replied: "Very big, son." Jesus, I loved every minute of that afternoon.
Did it age? How were the special effects and what was the new footage/animals/sound like? Well for the record there were parts of it that were exceptionally dated. I kept thinking of the completely atrocious Spaceballs movie inflicted on us by Mel Brooks, every time I saw Lord Vader (who was a religious figure, not a general or similar, which I now find interesting...) Some of the computer stuff and gadetry inevitably didn't age well and those outfits, I mean really! I know this was the seventies and all, but they weren't completey stupid back then, were they? Yeah, it isn't exactly the same experience, it is different. But when the whole cinema cheered and applauded at the new bits, hissed Lord Vader and simply exploded when Han Solo came to Luke's rescue, I thought, "yeah, it's a bit cheesy, but who the fuck cares, its Star Wars!"
The movie has been so instrumental in nearly everything that happened in my since 1977. From modelling: building airfix kits of the Millenium Falcon to trying to fix the cheap Hong Kong At-Ats that I got for Christmas. It led me from E.E. 'Doc' Smith to Heinlein. After the kids section I graduated to that area of the library which had all those bigger, hard backed and yellow books. In the fulness of time Star Wars led me to Eugene Doherty and Nyree Campbell; I got into fandom and fanzines and well, here I am. Did Star Wars really do all that? Yes, it really did - it gave me the life I have now. On balance, apart from Eugene obviously, Star Wars has been a wonderfully formative experience for me.
So, The Empire Stikes Back in a fortnight, a lot quicker than the couple of years it took them to regroup their forces all those years ago. It was donkeys years, an age, and absolute lifetime, for a ten year old kid, before the next installment came out. As for the Return of the Jedi, when I was a kid I was in my mid teens, nearly a man, and still anticpating that joy. As an adult the two weeks until the next installment seems equally long, given the emotional high I am still on. As for third installment, I know intellectually that it is only four weeks, but still, that isn't much time for the Rebellion to get over their losses and really kick some Empire butt...
I waited eagerly then. Now, older but not much wiser, I still wait. Eagerly.
From: "Westwood, Valerie" <email@example.com>
Loved your account of the Con, it, I think was very accurate. There were many spots that I had a good chuckle at. Only one question what do you mean by Talent? You will have to excuse my ignorance.
((The wonderful thing about cons is that you meet people for the first time, and you automatically become close. Valerie and I had a great time at Confusion and, I shall explain publically for the North Americans, 'talent' is a phrase which means 'attractive people,' male or female. In fact, I think women in the UK use it more than men.))
From: Bernie Evans
Interesting. The con sounds strange, but the BoSH item seems to have been good. His funeral was seriously weird. A perfectly normal funeral, with people weeping and eulogies and hymns and so forth. Then back to the house, where the fans and the family split almost asunder, though there was some mingling, mostly around the food and in the smokers room (back yard). The fans, of course, were soon into their favourite BoSH anecdotes, a stranger at the door wouldn't have known if they were at a party or a funeral.
((Even at his funeral Bob made people have a good time. A sad loss. RIP))
Read the con report - the best one you've ever done and I laughed out loud (hey, but you've got decent life material to use now , so don't go getting cocky) I keep getting this visual impression of the film Fargo...
((It is this kind of back-handed compliment that makes Mark all those good friends he has. Both of us.))
Chelsa knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup 4-2 (Liverpool were superb inthe first half but fell away - John Barnes is too old - a maestro for 45 minutes but then a geriatric in the second half.) Looks like Man Utd for the double again .... fuckfuckfuck
((This is soccer, folks. This is how important it is. It is part of
our lives. This illustrates the social imperiative that... that Godamned
Man Utd don't bloody win again this year...))
From: Damian Kearney <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Great to hear from you Tommy. I'm glad to hear that you're still living
up to your reputation: beer, sex and not attending much at cons. Belfast
is a hollow shell of fandom without your presence ;-)
(("Belfast is a hollow shell," What, the law courts been blown up again?))
Well that is it for another week, not much of a weekend. Went to the local Irish pub on Friday, "The James Joyce," (now owned by Pakistani businessmen - go figure...) and had a good time. Met a guy, Colin, who is a lawyer and we compared notes on who had the worst bankruptcy case to deal with. He actually beat my 78 year old pensioner story... (then again, lawyers, y'know?). Yeah, and a dose of food poisioning from Pizza, Pizza... That story and more next week