When I was very young, my dad would sometimes take me to cinema. My mum would get my brother down for his nap and then the news of the impending outing would be shared with me. I guess if they had told me earlier, my excitement would have been contagious and my poor brother would never have got to sleep. On one of these occasions we went to see Star Wars. I must have been five or six years old. I remember I was in infant school as I also remember playing 'Star Wars' in the playground. I can't remember excatly how the roles were divvied-up in our games, but I do recall many of the girls arguing over who was to play Princess Leia. To my mind, this used up valuable play time, so my own solution to this was to immediately volunteer to be R2D2. On some level, I think I probably did want to be the princess with the long hair and a space blaster to boot, but I was perfectly happy pootling about the playground, making droid noises. I don't actually remember any further interaction in these games, so for all I know, perhaps I just got on with my R2-ing, oblivious to anyone else. It's entirely possible! The other thing I recall is of having a 'swaps card' of Luke Skywalker stuck to my bedroom wall. Mark Hamil, as Luke, was my first human crush. (My non-human and entirely first crush, for whom I still carry a bit of a torch, was Charlie Mouse.)
|What can I say? I like big ears.|
As we both grew older and my baby brother gave up his daytime nap (for a while - I reckon he takes one now), he also discovered Star Wars and pretty much never looked back. I was talking to him the other day, about how - rather tragically, I suspect - we can divide out lives into 'Before and After Star Wars'. I'm pretty certain he was one of the people who helped create the 'Jedi Census Phenomenon' in the 2001 UK census. He collected the original mini figures, which we spent many happy hours playing with.
Anyway, Star Wars has been part of my life for a very long time and I have been looking forward to the day when I could share that fictional universe with my own children. TR recently declared an interest in watching Star Wars, so we borrowed DVDs IV-VI from our lovely neighbours and he and sat down to watch them while his sister was at Brownie Holiday. I admit I was quite anxious about this - what if he didn't like them and I remained the only Star Wars fan in the Ruby household? Mr Ruby has always been more of a Thunderbirds fan. However, I neeedn't have worried - the combination of space travel, laser guns, lightsabers (he's only recently stopped calling them 'lightsavers', little eco-Jedi that he was) and explosions had him hooked from the start.
|May the Force of the low-energy bulb be with you!|
I hadn't watched the films for years (not since my brother's marathon video and dressing-up party, circa 1994) and really enjoyed watching them with TR. I have to say, he was less taken with the 'magic' of them than I was. He kept asking questions like, 'Did he really make the X-wing float up?' and I'd start answering, 'Yes, TR, Yoda used the Force...' only to realise that what he was really asking was whether the X-wing fighter truly levitated. 'Oh, no TR,' I was forced to clarify. 'That's CGI or models or trick photography.' After that, he spent three films saying, 'That's CGI...that's a model...' etc. Mr Ruby walked in and remarked, 'There's no magic in it, is there?'
The day after one of our viewings, we were all sat at the table eating dinner when the Mouse choked on a bit of food. Not badly, you understand; it just went down the wrong way. She choked a little and I happened to glance at TR for a second. There he was, sat opposite his sister and doing the 'Darth Vader death grip motion.' Yes, while she choked, he was apparently using the Force to bring about her untimely demise! On the one hand, I'm obviously a little shocked that he's turning to the Dark Side. On the other, I am quite pleased that he believes in the magic of it after all.
|Han, I love you!|
Small print: while I still feel some fondness for Luke, I can now see that it is in fact Han who is the best looking of the lot.