My secret shame

As far as I’m able to remember, the first film I saw in the cinema was Star Wars. From that point onwards I was a committed fan. I built up a collection of toys, books, comics, posters and other memorabilia. It remains a cultural touchstone, a reference point for me and my friends, and it will always be a pleasure to re-watch.

I was four years old when it was first released, and I remember very little of the experience of actually sitting in the cinema and watching it, except for one small, embarrassing detail – we left early. That’s right – during the final assault on the Death Star we walked out and didn’t go back. Why? What could possibly have justified missing the most exciting cinematic moment of our generation?

I was scared. Not by anything I’d seen in the movie. I was scared that night was falling outside and that my father and I would have to walk back to the car through a dark and menacing car park. Of course, once we got outside it wasn’t dark at all, and wouldn’t be for another hour or so, but I had somehow managed to convince my equally Star Wars obsessed father that we needed to leave while it was still light.

However peeved he may have been at the time, I’m sure he’s forgiven me since, even if I haven’t forgiven myself.

As a penance I forced myself to sit through Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Twice.