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