This weekend, I shall be mostly taking the younger Ducks to see Star Wars III, twenty-eight years to the very weekend that my mother took me, as an eleven year old, to see the original film as part of my brother’s birthday treat. Now that’s symmetry. Or something.
It was my brother’s tenth birthday, and we piled into our old Renault 12, picked up his best friend and headed for the Odeon cinema in Marlow, perhaps the poshest cinema in the whole world. The place had a uniformed commissionaire, a dress circle and rude behaviour was ruthlessly stamped out by frightening torch-wielding usherettes. They also played the national anthem after every showing, it was that kind of place. I wouldn’t be surprised if the popcorn came with a knife and fork.
The film: I was completely blown away by it, and still am from the cowboys-and-indians-in-space plot to mind-blowing effects. I'd just started reading 2000AD comic (A big “Borag Thungg” to fellow Earthlets) that year, and was hankering for some "real" sci-fi on the big screen for a change, that didn't look like it was all plastic models with a firework shoved up the back end. And Lucas delivered in spades. Just a shame we’ve had to wait for the best part of three decades for another decent one.
Usually, I’d spend the entire film squirming in my seat, paying frequent visits to the toilet and seeing more of the porcelain than the silver screen. Not so Star Wars. I was glued to my seat from beginning to the end, jaw slack with admiration at what I’d seen.
And God, I had the hots for Princess Leia too. I decided there and then that I’d be the one to disturb her Force. With my light sabre, like. In particular, I’d...
* ‘fly my desert barge’ into her ‘sarlacc pit’
* 'save' her 'home planet of Alderaan'
* 'locate' her 'holding cell on the detention level'
* ‘jab’ her ‘hut’
* ‘wedge’ her ‘antilles’
* ‘Porkins’ her ‘Red-6’
* ‘ride’ her ‘Y-wing’
* 'fly my X-wing' down her 'trench'
* ‘torpedo’ her ‘exhaust port’
* ‘bullseye’ her ‘womprat’
* ‘turn’ her ‘to the dark side’
* ‘probe’ her ‘outer rim’
* ‘orbit’ her ‘forest moon’, and ‘disable’ her ‘shield generator’
* ‘evacuate’ during ‘our moment of triumph’
* ‘r2’ her ‘d2’ and ‘c’ her ‘3po’
* ‘blow my thing’ and ‘go home’
* And ...err... ‘kiss’ her ‘despite being her brother’.
I think you know what I’m talking about here.
The credits rolled on a packed house, and there was the usual rush for the doors. Not us. As I made to stand up, a firm hand clamped down on my shoulder.
“You’re going to wait THERE and pay the National Anthem some proper respect.”
“But nothing. I’m teaching you some manners.”
“But... but... I need a poo.”
But nothing. I was forced to sit there, turtle’s head straining against my pants as the names of the best boy, gaffer and second unit catering assistance rolled oh-so-slowly up the screen. Hell.
Finally, the house lights came up. Apart from the stern-faced usherettes willing us out of their establishment, we were the only people left in the auditorium. And the national anthem played, and we stood, reverentially, buttocks firmly clenched, to attention.
Then, silence. The complete, muffled silence of the kind you only ever get in an empty auditoium of half-dimmed lights and velvet curtains. Until...
Open the blast doors, open the blast doors!
The Force is strong in this one.
I legged it through the nearest door – the ladies - and let forth with an explosion of piss and shit which made the destruction of the death star seem puny by comparison. And all the while the words of Sir Alec Guinness rang in my head “Use the force, Luke! Use the force...”
As you’d expect: doom. I was “never going to be taken anywhere, ever again”. As if I hadn’t heard THAT before.
With grateful thanks to the BoB regulars for their help with the list of shame.
Also: Happy birthday to Nigel who is this: not as old as me, and without whom this site wouldn't be half as funny. That's meant in a good way, bruv.