c.1982? | age 14? Not very funny is it? I didn’t even finish off Solo’s arm.

My First Convention!

For want of something else to write about, do you know that we’re bringing our 4 year old son to a Star Wars convention this Easter weekend? (Written in 2010)

“Oh yes, John” you say “You’re only doing it, to bring him. Rrrrrright.”

No seriously, I’d never go along to it but Johnny loves Star Wars, so hopefully it’ll be a terrific experience for him – and his 5 year old cousin. To be honest, knowing what little kids are like, they might be underwhelmed by it!

“Can I go home now? And watch it on DVD?”
“But that’s Darth Vader–there–right in front of you!”

Even if so, we’ll take lots of photos and he can enjoy it when he’s older. I missed bringing him to meet Ozzy Osbourne last year so this’ll make it up.

Mixed feeings, in advance of the trip

There’s something a bit–I don’t know if I should say it. Is it sad that Dave Prowse and Kenny Baker might be appearing at it? (UPDATE: The late Kenny was indeed there», but poor Dave couldn’t come due to health problems). They might appear (they’ve promised to). I read a fan’s account last month of meeting Prowse and it seemed pretty clear that he never thinks about Star Wars and has absolutely no interest in Sci-Fi. I think he enjoys crime novels! As do I. There’s nothing sad about that, but then I see that he’s coming along to this. I think it’s great that they can continue to make a living out of these things, but I hope they feel dignified and not like exhibits or something. (Did you ever see the film, The Wrestler?)

English comic Justin Lee Collins made an entertaining if quite sad programme called ‘Bring Back Star Wars’ in which he tried to reunite all the actors. He interviewed Carrie Fisher, who was wonderful as ever; but no one else really took part except for Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew who showed up. Fair enough, why should they? Kenny Baker seemed bitter about Anthony Daniels’ treatment of him whilst making the films–and about his attitude to Kenny ever since. At the end of the programme there was an anti-climactic scene in the nightclub featuring the small gathering and I just thought,

“They shouldn’t have done it. It just looks… sad.” I really did feel a bit sorry for them.

So, do we need to get close to them?

Perhaps it’s better to be content with those old films themselves, rather than craving a piece of the people involved in them as well. Fans of various things often say “THEY OWE IT TO US GODDAMMIT! We put them where they are.” I really don’t agree. Obsessive fans obsess because they can’t help themselves, wanting more and more and more. The original object of their love isn’t enough and they get into the whole diminishing-returns syndrome of the expanded universe and the disappointment that goes with it. If an actor appeared in a film in the 1970’s for–probably–a fixed one-off fee aren’t they allowed to ‘move on’?

Never meet your idols?

Another thing, someone said to me years ago: “Never meet your idols”. He’d worshipped a well-known, extremely talented Irish folk-pop musician for years and finally met him after a gig. The star was so obnoxious that his fan could never bring himself to listen any of his music again. But perhaps it was a bad night?–perhaps his mum had died the day before?–maybe he’d just received a scary medical report? He’ll always be guessing as to the real reason for the star’s demeanour, but the associated bad feeling will linger.

That said, I think Johnny will like it, (UPDATE: he did!) and maybe his mum and dad will too. Let’s just hope that the actors, are allowed to–or manage to maintain their dignity. Perhaps I’ll ask Kenny Baker and Dave Prowse to autograph this comic–if they don’t mind of course. At least I can truthfully promise never to sell it on eBay!

So, should our Johnny dress as a Clone Trooper or Darth Vader?

(UPDATE: As it turned out, Kenny did «grace my comic with his autograph. Free of charge too. What a gent. You can read about here»)