A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Why I Love Star Wars


Hilarious video on the origins of Star Wars. If you're viewing this on facebook, you can see the video here

1977. I was fifteen and the family went out to watch Star Wars.

The cinema was teeming. TEEMING. In those days the world wasn't paranoid about health and safety - and this was Manila anyway.

The cinema packed us in, people sat on the steps, sat on each other's laps and in the back, there were people standing, craning to see the screen over each other's shoulders. Those were also the days when people would enter the cinema at any time - sometimes arriving in the middle of the show and then leaving in the middle of the next screening.

I was in the standing only section, with my baby brother, Armand -  who must have been three - in my arms. I found a way of leaning on the rail behind the rearmost seats and half carrying half leaning Armand against it so that he could see. I saw most of the film from behind his sweaty little head.

I guess I must have been impressed by the special effects, I wasn't terribly wowed by Princess Leia's hairdo, I do remember thinking, Han Solo, gosh. "So. What did you like most?" I asked Armand as I stumbled out of that cinema, my arms burning from two hours of keeping him holding him up to see the screen.

I looked down to see his eyes shining. He was still wrapped up in the world of Star Wars.  "Darth Vader," he said. "I love Darth Vader!"

It's a bit magic being there when someone discovers a passion - Star Wars emerged to become a key element of Armand's childhood - and I can see now how much he enjoys sharing it with his own son. It makes videos like this - made with tongue firmly in cheek - make total sense!



Star Wars has shuffled into the realm of stuff that was hot and now is not. In fact, Star Wars is probably naff, uncool, cliche and oddball - adored by the likes of overweight obsessive Comic Book Guy in the Simpsons. But it will forever give me a warm glow in the tummy.

Everyone's got little memories buried somewhere, little blasts from the past that trigger that glow.

I can never hear a Donnie and Marie song without remembering a best buddy from college days who adored the toothy duo. So I watched a recent Donnie and Marie special even though they'd ripened from this:


to this:

 And I don't mind revealing that when I'm homesick, I sit all alone in my writing shed listening to old Hajji Alejandro songs - Hajji Alejandro was a teen heartthrob in 1970s Manila who was the cause of my sister's downfall in Chemistry. Dig those trousers:


The truth about Star Wars and Donnie and Marie and Hajji Alejandro is not that they have been of lasting educational value, or that they imprinted me with any appreciation of the high-blown arts ... it's that they've left me with a blast of happiness that I can summon on blah days - a gift that will last me for the rest of my life.


Christmas raffle! I am giving away one copy of the UK hardback of Tall Story to commenters who are not based in the United Kingdom; and one copy of the illustrated Philippine edition to commenters who live in the UK! I've been collecting the names of commenters since I posted 'I Was a Librarian's Pet and Other Stories'. The raffle ends on the 15th of December. You get a name in the raffle with every post you comment on (one ticket per blog post). If you follow me on blogger, you get an extra ticket! (Desperate bid to boost audience figures)

6 comments :

  1. I'm fascinated by the relationship between the stuff we liked as children and what we enjoy now, and particularly the dwindling intensity of experience I have these days. I seem to find it harder and harder to really LOVE stuff nowadays, whereas everything seemed incredibly vital as a ten-year-old. I think there's something in there about why I write children's books, that desire to really imprint yourself on someone's life. Actually, it sounds kind of creepy put like that.

    My memory of Star Wars is being six years old on the worst holiday ever (caravan in Wales, constant rain) and my mum refusing to take me to see it. So I had to wait for years until it came on the TV! But I'm not bitter. Much.

    Nick.

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  2. oh no, nick, you're totally damaged! you need wookee therapy.

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  3. I wasn't born yet back then, but watched the TV re-runs. Both, a childhood friend of mine and I had a huge crush on Luke Skywalker - despite the actor being old enough to be our dad! Of course, he never aged on film.

    My brother was obsessed by it as a child - he would watch either one of the three originals at least once as a 3-year-old. We had laser sword fights with the cardboard rolls used for gift wrapping paper. And one funny thing: my brother used a nightgown of my mother as a Darth Vader cape, and went into the living room wearing it as such whilst my parents were hosting a party. Imagine my mother's face...

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  4. Ahhhh, the eighties! I have a friend who still has the big hair from the eighties - she's waiting for it to come back. Another friend says all my stories start with 'back in the '80s' (and she means the 1880s!). Love the videos!

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  5. I have to say I was dismayed when the "hipster" came back into fashion (at least that's what we called them in Manila). Never got a warm glow from eighties fashion.

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  6. >love the videos!

    I love the George Lucas take on Shakespeare in Love!

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