Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My First Crush

Today as I woke at around 10 o'clock in the morning, I made my usual cup of coffee and then read Facebook and checked my email, like I usually do.

"Carrie Fisher is dead", it said.


Well, on Christmas Eve we had two Ricks buying the farm. Status Quo's guitarist Rick Parfitt and Watership Down author Richard Adams. Christmas Day George Michael went out in ironic style. Then, it turned out that Carrie Fisher's heart attack on 23rd December while flying to Los Angeles was more serious than we were initially told.

She died on the 27th of December.


With 2016 being the year of the celebrity obituary I genuinely couldn't have cared less. Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, even Lemmy....not something that did more than give me an interesting bit of news to browse over breakfast.

Carrie however...well, where can I begin?

I was 6 or 7 when I saw Star Wars (none of that A New Hope crap back in 1977, it was just a good movie that caught the public's imagination. All else is retconning). I remember going with my parents and the queue was so massive that we had to leave (with me in tears) and come back the following week. Queued up again, got in and (like literally tens of thousands of other impressionable little boys) my mind was blown.

For the next few years nearly all playground games consisted of playing Star Wars. I remember huge arguments over who got to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker (the former was cool, but the latter was closer to our own ages and fought with a light sabre). Also maybe we'd try and rope some hulking, ginger kid into being Chewbacca and if you were lucky some girl with no friends would be up for playing Princess Leia (and have to be told that, despite Leia being able to kick some serious bottom in the films...this time we got to rescue her and she had to just let us do it).

The toys were required Xmas gifts, and also for birthdays. I remember getting the first UK edition of Marvel Comics' Star Wars, which had a free cardboard Star Destroyer (which you had to put a penny in for it to fly straight). The figures were much sought after (especially the Darth Vader as it had a cape and light sabre up one sleeve) and retailed even then for 99p each. As my pocket money was 50p a week, they were an almost impossible dream for a child with the patience of a hungry cheetah.

As I was so young I thought Princess Leia was lovely but I had no conception of what sex was. I felt a bit uncomortable when she kissed Luke Skywalker just before they swung across that trench to avoid the stormtroopers (kissing? UGH!) Me and loads of my peers wanted to marry her.

She was the perfect wife for us. Brave, pure, pretty and with a nice dress (hairdo was a bit pooey though). We were in love, in that blind, pure, innocent way only pre-pubescent little kids can be. I wanted to rule the rebellion with Princess Leia by my side. It never once occurred to me that she might have a vagina. I mean....BLAH!!!

When The Empire Strikes Back was out I was about 10 or 11 and starting to show a fledgling interest in girls. Princess Leia was still pretty and my future wife for all intents and purposes but seeing her not only kiss Luke Skywalker BUT PUT HER TONGUE IN AS WELL!!!! I think I cringed so violently at that scene that I wore holes with my elbows in the armrests of my chair.

Later on her unrequited love for Han Solo is reciprocated by a kiss on the Millenium Falcon. This was the sci-fi equivalent of that scene with Rick Grimes and Elizabeth Swan in Love Actually (soppy git in love with his friend's wife). The line "you could use a good kiss" wasn't funny until years later when we realised that the film was ultimately for children so a kiss was all they were going to give.(although by The Force Awakens, 37 years later, he'd presumably shagged her as they had a son).

Revenge of the Jedi became Return of the Jedi, Luke and Leia turned out to be brother and sister (PLEASE GOD NO, SHE PUT HER TONGUE IN HIS MOUTH IN THE LAST FILM!!!) and fucking teddy bears defeated the Empire. However the film had its saving graces, not least being the fight on the second Death Star and finding out that Luke's berserk button was threats against his sister. Not to mention Leia in a gold bikini to help me out in later years.

As the years went on, those of us who are First Legion fans had our cherished memories but it was only in around 2010 that it became chic to be geek. The prequels were, in the main, fucking awful with only Revenge of the Sith being decent. George Lucas kept buggering about with our childhoods by tinkering with the films (Han shot second, Darth Vader verbalises his negative opinions on the Emperor hurting Luke). Nevertheless we were back to being hyper excited kids again when The Force Awakens came out in December 2015. 

Carrie Fisher was no longer marry-able as she was 60 but she was a legend and seeing the original crew back on screen was a joyous moment. I even got 200 pounds off the Sun newspaper for the story of getting my toy lightsaber confiscated at the premiere by some acne-ridden teenager.

Princess Leia was my first crush. 

But this loved burned as brightly as a Sith warrior's light sabre** and was the pure love of a starstruck little boy.

Carrie, thank you for the memories.


** UK English spelling. Meaning I called it a "light sabruh" for about a month until corrected.

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