PrintE-mail Written by Jon Towlson

“I can tell you from a combination of personal experience and scientific fact, that ten years old is the perfect and correct age at which to see Star Wars for the first time.” Although this glorious memoir (subtitled ‘Growing up in the UK with an American Cultural Phenomenon’) starts jokily, author and Star Wars memorabilia-ist extraordinaire Phil Heeks may well be on to something. Exactly ten years old when Luke Skywalker et al first came into his and the lives of millions of other children, Star Wars changed the author’s world, setting him on the road to become a lifelong fan and collector of all things from a galaxy far, far away. For Heeks – as for many of us – life can be divided into BSW (before Star Wars) and ASW (after Star Wars), but few of us can detail, with as much wit and eloquence as Heeks does, what it was actually like to watch Star Wars for the first time and to have your universe changed forever.

As a working class kid growing up in Stoke on Trent, raised on TV fare like Space 1999, Heeks first discovered Star Wars via the novelisation given to him by his older brother and published months before the film came out in the UK. At that moment he was already hooked, counting down the days to Sunday March 5th, 1978 when Star Wars opened at his local Odeon. So began the first in a series of agonising waits for each new movie in the saga, while in-between films, to keep the Star Wars universe alive in his mind, Heeks over forty years purposefully built up one of the largest private collections of Star Wars memorabilia around. Waiting for Star Wars tells us the story of this growing obsession, the whys and the wherefores of collecting, and the myriad pleasures of the movies themselves and the plethora of soundtracks, toys, marketing materials and assorted spin-offs. What resulted for Heeks has been a lifetime steeped in the sights, the sounds, even the smells (Star Wars bubble gum cards anyone?) of Star Wars.

Younger readers who want to know what it was really like to experience the excitement of Star Wars back in 1977 (before it became The New Hope) – the tv adverts, the merchandising, the cinema queues and the newspaper hype - need look no further than Waiting for Star Wars; while older fans will – through Heeks’ vivid reminiscences – get to relive it all over again. So cue the Fox fanfare…


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