The crease between his mighty dark eyebrows deepens but his eyes retain their cheeky, slightly bemused and “above the matter” expression.
He studies my face and says: “….hmmm, so you have ….. never?!?”
“Never” is my answer and he shakes his head in disbelief, dark shaggy curls bouncing. I am losing my street credit by the minute – not that I am trying to impress Stuart. The balance of the universe (excuse the pun) is somewhat restored when the conversational topics move into the field of the great British comedy and we agree that it is second to none.
Nonetheless, several seconds later we are back to my culture-deprived youth and the fact that I have never, ever, at my ripe age of 35 seen a single episode of Star Wars! I argue with a weak comment “surely I am not alone” but the disapproving looks, tsk-tsk and head shakes of others who are starting to gather around us tell me that I should not voice my opinion on said subject so loudly.
It is Thursday and with funky jazz tunes and a nice chilled white wine we are catching up on the week’s events and Stuart’s T-shirt is getting thumbs up from all around. I am confused as the graphics and illegible squiggles mean absolutely nothing to me. The majority of folks around us appear to be devoted Star Wars fans and get the T-shirt right away. They become sad when Stuart reveals the origin of his outfit to be San Francisco. Surely, it would not take much for the local entrepreneurs to come up with a decent copy. Would it be a crime against Star Wars I wonder……
I hesitantly agree to take part in a special social experiment – put down my thoughts on life before and after Star Wars. This ultimately means watching the said series – but here I come across a hick up straight away. The self-appointed committee consisting of random friends and onlookers starts to discuss in a heated fashion if I should watch the original series, the remake (yes, NOW I know there was no such thing), starting with episode One or Four – I shake my head and think to myself that this lot has seriously gone mad… the pros and cons of me watching it from Episode One and the possibility of watching ME watching the series to which I categorically say NO. You copy and provide the files, I watch and I write. The committee is bemusedly excited and I wonder why. I am starting to feel like a lab rat and I am not sure I like it.
So here it goes, in a few words, what I think I know of Star Wars – what my sponge of a brain soaked up without trying, realizing or wanting to, the following are mixed up messages and hazy memories hailing from my subconscious mind:
· Star Wars and Star Trek are not the same thing (I should get some points for that)
· The following encounter is most likely a mixture of both for which I apologize ahead
· It’s set in space and characters have funny haircuts and the wardrobe is questionable too
· There is princess Layla and Luke Skywalker
· Something with a sword – a glowing one?
· May the Force be with you is uttered frequently
· Darth Vader – I don’t think he is a very nice man
· Funny V sign which I have tried to master (for whatever reason) but am not able to
· Anything else…..hmmmmm…..Jedi! It’s a religion or so they claim, isn’t it?
Now let’s watch!
I spend the following weekend in a plush hotel bed embraced by super soft cushions and pillows with the curtains drawn creating my own dark cinema room and the flat screen TV is a very decent size, sound system top notch. Chilled bottle of wine is in the fridge and a glass of this tasty grape juice by my side. The room light and temperature control reads 24 degrees Celsius. The lights are dimmed. Perfect.
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....“ appears yellow on black and instantly I am mesmerized by the text disappearing into the open galactic space. I try to retain my indifference and skepticism to the series that have shaped so many lives of people around me during several decades but I feel the strings being pulled already. Little do I know that soon my flesh will prickle with goose bumps and I will feel the sting of tears in my eyes for something remotely resembling a vacuum cleaner my grandmother used to have when I was five.
Here I should mention that I have gone against the current of collective advice and selected Episode I - The Phantom Menace - to start the marathon series. This is, after all, meant to be a unique social experiment and whichever way I’d choose to get immersed in the series would not matter – I would never have the opportunity to experience exactly the same what my fellow thirtysomethings have and go through what they have gone through.
absorbing, thinking, processing…
Now several weeks have passed since I have pushed the Play button on the remote control and life has not been the same since. I have devoured episodes I to III in one single afternoon and then I have gone back in time some days later. I have portioned this goodness of episodes IV to VI in careful slices and sometimes, I must admit, I have dozed off. My work load is to blame rather than assuming that I was bored. No way. I have always gone back and watched religiously where I left (read dozed) off.
Looking back over my initial text I feel sort of embarrassed for my lack of knowledge but at the same time how was I to know without knowing? I still don’t know the topic of Star Wars in any depth and I could not hold a conversation with the experts in the field as names of exotic characters escaped me and I simply need to watch the whole series again. But that’s a result, isn't it?
I observed an eternal battle of good and evil where good eventually wins – until there is time to kching monies from a new episode but I hear that was always the plan, or was it?. That’s fine by me, new entertainment – how well executed? Let’s see.
I saw resemblances with Lord or the Rings but that’s easily explained by the epic take on good versus evil – again. I saw Saruman. I loved princess Leia’s bikini. Wasn’t Harrison Ford a hottie in his cocky young years? Hottie - he was.
While I still have not totally absorbed the new dimension opened to me I am being pressured by the self-appointed committee to finally produce my thoughts on my experience……. So here you have it.
Did I like it? Definitive yes – where “like” is such a mediocre bland word and “love” is something I reserve for chocolate, wine, cheese and whatever else that like does not suffice for. I was touched by it. It mesmerized me and I wanted more. I still do. I felt dizzy from the speed and race games. I adored the variety of worlds still remotely resembling what we know or think we know. At times I found it difficult to follow the plot or remember the names of the exotic characters but I definitely have my favourites – R2 being in the lead without a question. I am relieved to know that I can look up all details online and retrospectively make them fall into place but I will not immerse myself in Star Wars’ own Wikipedia by choice nor will you find me in the middle of a heated discussion involving any of the episodes/characters/battles…..unless provoked.
I loved the cheesy puns throughout and many more jokes make sense now.
Which episode is my favourite? I simply don’t know. I think I need to watch it all again. Now what do you think I should do? Or does it matter? Start from one or recreate the experience most devotees had?
I will quietly re-absorb and enjoy. And then I will do it again – in whichever order I want because…I CAN!
…and as a final thought – because of all the excitement (and/or possibly falling asleep…) I have MISSED Stuart’s T-shirt materializing in the movie….damn it! I can’t believe it!
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.