Tag Archives: Star Wars

Life update #16: Star Wars/Christmas/New Year

Hello! I’ve been absent from here for a while, haven’t I? Apologies for that. I’ve got a book post from September that should have gone up months ago, but it still hasn’t. However, I will get it up over the next few days, along with a combined Oct/Nov/Dec books post, and one highlighting a recent bookish obsession of mine. However, all to come in the NEW YEAR, for it is indeed the last day of 2015. No look back at this year of blogging, as I haven’t really done that much on here this year. Work has just been manic, and sleep/general lethargy caused by being emotionally brick-like and feeling shit has called me more and more often when I would usually be blogging.


However, this holiday I’ve actually managed to spend the nights reading, so I’ve got a good number of books to add to my ever-growing list of things to review. But it’s been good.


Now, I was going to do a post a few weeks back excitedly counting down to the new Star Wars film, but I never did. However, I managed to go and see the new film on the last day of term before Christmas, and loved every moment of it. I picked out a Sarlacc Pit of references to bits in the other films (Easter Eggs, I think they’re called*), and also a wonderful homage to the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark when Harrison Ford is being chased by a rolling alien creature down a ship’s corridor. I almost cried when Leia returned, and sat agog when [SPOILER]. I still haven’t quite got over it now. A nice point though was when Rey defeats Kylo Ren**, as the entire cinema of Y7-11 students erupted in whoops, cheers and applause. I didn’t expect that reaction. I like to think that it’s due to the school’s entire student body being staunch flag wavers for feminism and ‘girl power’, but something makes me think not***. A wonderful, wonderful film though. I didn’t dislike the prequel trilogy (they were my ‘era’ growing up), but love the way these build on the classic films in their aesthetics. Truly wonderful.

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Image: starwars.com

 


I suppose I should also say a belated “Merry Christmas!” or rather that I hope anyone reading this had a good Christmas. I found on Christmas Day that a work colleague had died suddenly that previous week, so the joy was quickly soured. What a note to leave 2015 on.


*Appropriate in a film released at Christmas. I’ve already started moaning about the Easter chocolates that are out in the shops now, but at least I haven’t seen anything to rival the brazenness of the Tesco Metro in Summertown, Oxford, back in 2011. Crème Eggs on Boxing Day. I kid ye not.

**Autocorrect changed that bit to Roy and Kyle Ren. I think the whole film would be more amusing and yet somewhat less impressive if that were to be the case.

***Perhaps the fact that there was more wolf-whistling during scenes of Roy ascending a flight of stirs, filmed from below, than I imagine there would be if a builders convention had attended the recent Miss Universe 2015 awards ceremony and sat in the front row. I exaggerate, but not much.

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New books: August

Now, I can’t put prices on these as I can’t recall how much I paid for some of them. However, brace yourselves. There’s a few.

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  • Victor Hugo –  Notre-Dame de Paris     50p
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald –  The Collected Short Stories     50p
  • Evan S. Connell –  Mrs Bridge     99p
  • Patrick Hamilton –  Hangover Square     99p
  • E. M. Forster –  The Obelisk     £1.49
  • Evelyn Waugh –  Vile Bodies     99p
  • Robert James Waller – The Bridges of Madison County     20p
  • Mary Shelley – Frankenstein The 1818 Text     20p
  • Roald Dahl –  The Enormous Crocodile     50p
  • Seth MacFarlane –  A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Donald Barthelme –  Sixty Stories
  • Christopher Marlowe –  The Plays

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  • Apollodorus –  The Library of Greek Mythology
  • Herodotus –  The Histories

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  • John Kinsella –  Shades of the Sublime & Beautiful
  • William Congreve –  Incognita
  • Three Revenge Tragedies
  • Anne Fadiman –  Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
  • Brian Friel –  Translations     –     Making History
  • Edwin Morgan –  The Play of Gilgamesh
  • Beaumarchais –  The Marriage of Figaro

These seven were all from the book sale at Webberley’s, the bookshop I mentioned in the July books post.

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  • Jeffrey Brown –  Star Wars: Jedi Academy

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  • Jane Austen –  Mansfield Park
  • Jules Verne –  Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Edward Bellamy – Looking Backward

Now, the reason that I never got this post up in August or September was because in late August I ordered a number of William S. Burroughs books off eBay and Amazon, and Royal Mail being what it is, these took a while to arrive. However, there should have been another book arriving that never did, and it was waiting for this one that held me up. We contacted the seller after several weeks, and they sent another out. However, as I type this, I’m still waiting for either copy to turn up. Luckily, we were able to get our money back, but I was a little bit pissed about it.

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  • William S. Burroughs –  Naked Lunch     –     The Yage Letters Redux     –     Cities of the Red Night     –     The Burroughs File     –     The Western Lands     –     My Education: A Book of Dreams     –     Last Words: The Final Journals of William Burroughs

A slightly pedantic point: the edition of ‘Naked Lunch’ shown here isn’t actually the one that I ordered. The one I ordered was the one from the same series as ‘Last Words’ and the copies of ‘The Soft Machine’, ‘The Ticket that Exploded’ and ‘The Place of Dead Roads’ that I got from Oxford back in June. My wife says that she prefers this cover that came, but I’m not too sure.

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LEGO!!!

You may have noticed over my blog posts that I quite like Lego. I left it when I hit teenage years, but have now slowly fell in love with it again, partly thanks to my children being old enough to have Lego (which my two eldest did at Christmas). Well, last month I bought these off eBay:

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The Lego Book traces the history of the company from its origins making wooden toys, up until 2009, and covers the major themes and sets over the years, as well as other milestones in its history. This allowed me to indulge in a little nostalgia, as I was able to remind myself of all of the sets I used to have, as well as surprising myself with just how old some sets that I had were. It also reminded me of what was my favourite* minifigure from my childhood**:

The robot spy from the 'Spyrius' range of the early '90s. Image: http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/minifigs/large/sp041.jpg

The robot spy from the ‘Spyrius’ range of the early ’90s. Image: 1000steine.com

The other book, Standing Small: A Celebration of 30 Years of the LEGO Minifigure is pretty much what it says, and as such is an entertaining if information-lite (and error-strewn) volume. The section detailing the evolution of the minifigure is something of interest, however.

It’s a shame that the new ‘Minifigures’ weren’t out when the books were published, as these would have made a nice section, and indeed will warrant a blogpost to themselves at some point in the near future. If I had the money to indulge myself, I’d invest in all of the historic figures that have been done over the course of the 13 series. I also quite like the palaeontologist figure that is part of the most recent run:

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It is also nice to see that this is a woman, following on from the female palaeontologist in the Lego Ideas set of female scientists. Happily, our eldest managed to get this in his blind bag the other week, so I get to play with- I mean admire- the figure when he’s in bed.

Lastly, I’m quite excited by this image that appeared on Lego’s Facebook page recently:

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Image: facebook.com/lego


* I suppose that it is joint favourite with the original Lego Star Wars Boba Fett figure from the early ’00s, but I had one of the robot minifigures years before the Star Wars range brightened up all our lives.

** As I Googled for an image of the Spyrius robot, I case across the ultimate nerdgasm and the ultimate in COOL:

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2013- Electric Puppet’s first 5 months in review

2014

Well- it’s New Year’s Eve, and time to reflect on what has gone on over the past year. For my family, this has been a big year, as we left the comfort and splendour of Oxford to return to our home city of Stoke-on-Trent; I graduated from university; I got my first job; we decided where we want to go with our life in the near and more distant future, thanks to an American man and his family on YouTube; I completed my first book of poetry, which had been languishing prior to this summer; I took the plunge and begun this blog, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while; and have got back in contact with several family members that I haven’t seen for the best part of a decade thanks to Facebook. It has been eventful, and had also been emotional and tiring for all of us. Also, with any luck, next year should be just as eventful- beginning work; trying to get my book published; endeavouring to write the novel and short story collection that I’ve been planning for a month or so; and getting married. Yes: my partner and I are getting married next year!

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In terms of this blog, I will be getting up several ‘Thoughts on…’ posts for the books I have read recently- the first two Adrian Mole books, Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’, Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, and Tove Jansson’s ‘Finn Family Moomintroll’- in the new year, and hopefully will get the first few up on New Year’s Day. For now, though, I thought that I would highlight a selection of posts from this blog that have proved popular, may have been overlooked, or are of relative interest for me.

I think that’s enough links to my other posts to be getting on with for now. Anyway- check some of these out if you haven’t already, or have a browse of the blog and see what you come across. Also, you can follow Electric Puppet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

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Lastly, here are a few fellow bloggers that I’ve come across in the past few months that you may find of interest:

Don’t Bend, Ascend

These Bones of Mine

Bones Don’t Lie

A Corner Of Tenth-Century Europe (written by one of my Anglo-Saxon lecturers from Oxford; he has since moved on to work at Birmingham University)

Museum Postcard

Prehistories

Interesting Literature

I hope you have a very happy New Year, and that 2014 will be good for you.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

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Darth Vader Selfie

Nothing really to say about this, except that it is pretty nifty. Anything ‘Star Wars’ is good in my book.

Darth Vader selfie

Image: Star Wars/Instagram

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Thoughts on Shakespeare… and ‘Star Wars’…

Shakespeares Star Wars

Yep. You did see that book cover image right. There is indeed a lost manuscript by Shakespeare that has recently been unearthed titled ‘Star Wars’, which seems to have been in the private collection of a one George Lucas (before he sold the work not to the Bodleian or the Library of Congress, but to Disney) and mercilessly plagiarised in order to make several moderately successful films… Okay, I jest. ‘Star Wars’ has been more than moderately successful…

I’m joking, obviously (…), but there is indeed a book out entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Star Wars’ by Ian Doescher, which reimagines Episode IV as if it were a play by The Bard. My wonderful partner bought me this when we were in Oxford for the Graduation last week, and I devoured it soon after due to the sheer brilliance of the concept, and my mutual love of ‘Star Wars’ and Shakespeare (although my love of the former is somewhat greater than that of the latter…). Indeed, the book is actually ridiculously good (and borders on the ridiculous), as the dialogue is highly convincing as Shakespeare whilst also being so ‘Star Wars’: for example, the famous line “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi; you are my only hope” is kept, becoming this:

“Oh help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, help. / Thou art mine only hope.” Act I Scene 6, Line 73-74

I was also interested to see that several famous Shakespearean lines had been preserved in slightly modified form:

  • “- that all the world’s a star.” Act I Scene 7, Line 98
  • “I do not like thy look. Indeed, young lad, / I bite my thumb at thee.” Act III Scene 1, Line 57-58
  • “What paradox! What fickle-natur’d power! / Aye: frailty, thy name – belike – is Force.” Act III Scene 6, Line 51-52
  • “…We enter swift unto the area / Where should there be great Alderaan in view. / But pray, what madness meets the Falcon’s flight? / Is this an ast’roid field I see before me?” Act III Scene 8, Line 2-5
  • “A plague on 3PO for action slow, / A plague upon my quest that led us here, / A plague on both our circuit boards, I say!” Act IV Scene 4, Line 120-122
  • “Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not, / Yet have I ta’en both uniform and life / From thee. What manner of a man wert thou? / A man of inf’nite jest or cruelty?” Act IV Scene 6, Line 1-4
  • “It hath defenses ‘gainst a large assault, / But like a king who fell for want of horse / This station may be crush’d by smaller might.” Act V Scene 4, Line 29-31
  • “Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears.” Act V Scene 4, Line 65
  • “Once more unto the trench, dear friends, once more!” Act V Scene 5, Line 231
  • “So Biggs, stand with me now, and be my aide, / And Wedge, fly at my side to lead the charge- / We three, we happy three, we band of brothers, […]” Act V Scene 5, Line 248-250

There may be more, but those were the ones that I picked out. I also like the other Shakespearean devices that Doescher employs, such as the use of asides and soliloquy, the clever wordplay, and the way in which C-3PO and R2-D2 take on a role akin to that of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in ‘Hamlet’. It is also clever that within this version of ‘Star Wars’, R2-D2 actually uses English in his asides to show that he is far more intelligent that many of the other characters, and allows us to actually see the droid as a character with proper emotions, thoughts and views. Also, this adds comic value to many of the exchanges between R2 and C-3PO, as the latter is unaware of much that the former thinks, making him seem somewhat stupid.

I quoted above Doescher’s interpretation of the line originally spoken by Hamlet when he is confronted with the skull of the jester Yorick, and just wanted to point out that here, we have an element to the play that is missing in the original film. In this soliloquy, we have Luke musing upon the helmet he had procured from a dead Stormtrooper as a means of disguise, imagining the person that once wore it. In the films, there is no sense of the ‘troopers as people; rather they are faceless soldiers, and so it is nice to see this extra flash of humanity added to make us think for a moment upon the true nature of those who make up the enemy side. I don’t want to dwell on this point, but it would be nice occasionally if this sort of thing was done- not just in film and literature, but in the current news and in our teaching of history (I’m thinking of the killing of insurgents in Afghanistan and the dehumanization of German soldiers in the two World Wars as two examples).

All-in-all, this is a remarkably good book, that doesn’t require prior knowledge of either ‘Star Wars’ or any of Shakespeare’s works (although knowledge of both does improve the enjoyment and the understanding greatly), and it is definitely something that I will come back to again and again.

Image: Michael Sloan/Yale Alumni Magazine

Image: Michael Sloan/Yale Alumni Magazine

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