Richard Hearn is in a galaxy far, far away…
I once met Chewbacca in a caravan. Well, that isn’t strictly true. I wasn’t in a caravan, but he was, and I queued up outside to get his autograph. This was at a village fete in 1978. Queuing also featured when I went to see Return Of The Jedi, and we arrived late at the cinema for The Empire Strikes Back. With films not being shown for ages on TV after they were released, it was another seven years before I saw the first 20 minutes. My memories of The Phantom Menace are too fresh (and painful) to talk about.
“The Star Wars universe is how The Boy measures the future”
All of these recollections are overshadowed by the frequency with which Star Wars has intruded in The Boy’s lifetime. The DVDs came out in the week of his birth – I watched them through bleary-eyed tiredness – and from that moment, the whole galaxy has never been very far away at all.
I owe this column to Star Wars too. I speculatively sent in a short piece about explaining badly to a four year old which order the films came in. The editor said she liked it, and contacted me four months later asking if I wanted to write a column.
Over the two and a half years I’ve been writing Distracted Dad, I’d guess that Darth Vader is mentioned in eleven different columns, Star Wars in about twenty five. Just for comparison, France gets two mentions, and world poverty just the one (in my column on “pastry”).
The Star Wars universe is how The Boy measures the future. He grades his own growing up in terms of lego models that are becoming within his age range, and knows that 12 is when he can – legally – watch Revenge Of The Sith. It is also The Boy’s small talk. Only today, he’s asked me complicated questions about Grand Moff Tarkin as we headed for Southwick Square. I’ve also this week listened as The Boy discussed the pros and cons of minor characters. E.G Kit Fisto (yes, exactly, who’s heard of him?)
Star Wars also marks out the year. Halloween has been influenced. One costume was the Rancor Monster, complete with authentic twig that gets stuck in his mouth, and another costume, Darth Vader (No.1 choice for the last couple of years).
Christmas too doesn‘t get off scott-free. The Boy was lucky enough to meet Father Christmas on a train carriage once. He was silent as Father Christmas asked a number of questions: “Do you have a chimney?”, “Have you been good?” etc, but he did offer up his only two words when asked what he wanted for Christmas. Very deliberately, The Boy announced: “General Grievous”.