"Bazza prepared himself to meet the other RASSMers, somewhere in the sprawling city..." hang on this was no SITH WAR post this was actually happening!! From places as far as Manchester, Macclesfield and other places beginning with other letters of the alphabet, people travelled to take part in this meeting of UK RASSMers, inspired by Snowy and painstakingly organized by Anat. We met under the shadow of a revolving Dark Lord of the Sith, nice touch that!

I, of course, ended up being late (not the most appropriate action for someone who was supposed to be contributing to the reporting of the day, damn that Central Line!)and kept everyone waiting, but there was no mistaking the group that stood outside the Hollywood Superstore, on an overcast Saturday morning. The force was strong with them. The group was made up of the following : Anat (and Avi), James, Inertia, Kim, Roswell, Snowy(and Salacius Crumb, and Kermit) and myself (and Alessia). Those in brackets were dragged along by their RASSM partners, and they deserve your sympathy the most!! :-)

Brief introductions aside, we dashed inside the Hollywood Superstore to avoid the biting wind, and we viewed the Han Solo frozen in Carbonite in awe, we looked closer at the revolving Vader in the shop window (Why was he revolving?? Can anybody tell me?) and slowly came to the conclusion that despite promising to plug the Store for allowing us to take a picture of their Vader (and, hey, I _have_ mentioned them), we'd much rather go to Forbidden Planet.

Dashing outside, and pausing momentarily (well, for quite a while actually, Vader actually took quite a long time to complete a revolution) to take a group photo in front of Anat's "Papa!", we descended upon Forbidden Planet on New Oxford St. Not for the first time that day, and certainly not the last, we saw shop staff look suddenly worried as the nine of us burst through the doors, with that crazed looked in our eyes that said : "Take us to your Star Wars merchandise!".

Forbidden Planet is home to so much cool Star Wars related stuff that it kept us happy for ages, and there weren't many of us who left that shop _not_ clutching a Forbidden Planet carriers. Especially as the SW virtual (Giga) pets were found, Roswell and Kim both decided that they wanted to take one of these little critters and care for them and love them and play with them and (ultimately) have their lives forever dominated by them.. Roswell is now the proud owner of a Rancor, and Kim was rewarded the persistence of searching through the entire stand, by becoming the owner of an R2 unit (which has the advantage that you don't have to clean up an R2 unit after it's finished crapping everywhere! A bonus, IMO. Can you imagine the size of Rancor doo-doo?). I'm not sure how hard these things are to look after for any length of time, but if it's a tough as getting at the little blighters through the packaging, it's gonna be really tough. Thankfully Avi saved the day and overcame the packaging to release the R2 unit and the Rancor from their plastic imprisonment. From that moment on the day was accompanied by the constant beeping of the pets. Err... yeah, thanks Avi :-)

I lost track of time, but we must have spent nearly three quarters of an hour browsing the treasure-trove of trilogy trinkets. The models in there were particularly cool, especially the one of Yoda in a posing pouch , light sabre held aloft. (An early glance of the prequels?? Let's hope not!). Also during this time group "bonding" occurred, as through our interest in the toys, models, books, comics, etc. around us meant a lot of enthusiastic chatting! Quotes aplenty!!

Another hour, and another movie-store later (more purchases made, although thankfully James didn't purchase an over-priced Tarkin figure we found!) RASSMers' thoughts turned to their stomachs. Food was in order! We went in search of Pizza. Anat had tried, earlier in the week, to book a table in the Pizza Hutt (deliberately mis-spelled!! ;-)), however she was told that reservations were "against company policy", however she was reassured that the restaurant could accomodate us (another tilted line?). On arrival at the restaurant, however, they couldn't get us a table, unless we wanted to all sit at different points throughout the restaurant. So we went to find another, decent, restaurant (not that I'm suggesting to RASSMers that Pizza Hut should be boycotted or anything, I'd never suggest such a thing). Finally we found somewhere where we could eat .. Deep Pan Pizza.

Wisely Deep Pan opted to put us in our own part of the restaurant, away from the other diners (but, actually, the view from behind the bars was quite pleasant ;-> ). Potato Skins, Chicken Wings and HUGE pizzas were ordered. And watching us all tucking in to our fast-food was Salacious Crumb, who looked completely normal sat nonchalantly on Snowy's shoulder throughout the meal. There was mountains of food, but a surprising amount of it was demolished as hungrys RASSMers ate, chatted and laughed.

After the meal it was decided the time had come to watch the "Holy Trilogy", so we headed back towards the train station. My flat in Forest Hill was only about twenty minutes away, but invloved taking two trains. As a group we easily filled a third of a train carriage, and bemused passsengers looked on as our manic conversations continued. All through the journey to my flat, I was being referred to as "victim" and "sucker", later on I discover that some considered me a little foolish for volunteering my home to be the venue to watch the films. But how else could we end a RASSMers' meeting?

Snacks!! Drinks!!
That's what we needed before we could begin to watch the movies. It was decided that, as we got off the train, a trip to the local Sainsbury's would be a good idea. I'm sure that staff thought so too, with the nine of us pushing a single trolley (which had a strange flagpole attachemnt on it, upon which Salacious Crumb sat) down the aisles. We selected the beer and soft drinks we needed and then headed to the checkout. As we were placing the items on the conveyer, and preparing to pay, Anat suddenly shouted: "Snacks!!". With the briefest of apologies to the cashier who looked on in despair, we took all the items off the conveyer belt, back into the trolley, and headed for the snack/crisp/sweetie aisle. I sensibly opted to guard the trolley as the other went to select their snack food. We had a relatively empty trolley when they left, but on their return we had masses of crisps, sweets, two different kinds of popcorn ...and a fresh fish????? You have never seen so much junk food assembled in one-trolley. It was the kind of shopping trolley that as a kid you always dreamed of having when you grew up whilst your parents dragged you round the supermarket: Nothing healthy just piled high with sweets, crisps, and snacks!

I fear it may be sometime before I return to my local Sainsburys.

How everyone squeezed into my lounge, I'll never know, but we sat around the tv, curtains drawn and waited for the video's to be taken from the shelf and placed into the VCR...

The watching of the trilogy began. We opted for the Special Edition, not sure why, but we did. The stereo was cranked up loud, the documentary on the making of the Special Edition was fast forwarded through, the 20th Century Fox logo had just disappeared, and then the immortal words appeared on the screen: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away". Blam! John Williams' masterpiece filled our ears as the we began the journey into Episode IV.

We spotted the bloopers, we told Luke to stop whining, we brought up that old chestnut that Luke is more unhappy when Ben dies than when his Aunt and Uncle, James and I remembered the post about the top 10 sexually tilted lines of the films (James, please repost!) and awaited lines such as "aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?" and "they came from behind!", and Anat cried "Papa" everytime the Vader came on screen. Snowy's Kermit puppet mimed R2's lines (and later Yoda's - and this was video taped, I sincerely hope this appears on a Web Page one day!!), much to everybody's amusement, and most of us sat there quietly quoting as the movie went along.

By the end of A New Hope, most of us were ready for drinks and popcorn again, so an interval was taken to fill glasses and bowls before we returned to watch Empire. Unfortunately half way through Empire we had to say "So long" to Kim and Snowy who had to head up the Northern line. Fortunately, addresses and phone numbers and promises to stay in touch had been exchanged earlier in the evening, but it was still sad to see the first two RASSMers have to depart. By the end of Empire (not the end of The Empire, you understand), we lost two more ("No!! That's Not True! That's Impossible!!", Erm search your feelings, you know it to be true), Roswell and Inertia left the flock to head home.

Which left Avi, Anat, James, Alessia and myself ready for the final instalment, ROTJ. Glasses refilled, snacks replenished, lights in their not illuminative state we readied ourselves. Fortunately there were no Ewok fans left amongst us so we could lay in to the fur balls to our hearts' content. Two hours later, the rebellion had triumphed, Vader ("Papa!") had been saved, Luke(who, it was decided didn't know much throughout the entire trilogy, leading to calls for the line "Little does Luke know" to be a subtitle whenever describing Episodes IV-VI) was a Jedi, and Leia had stopped her incestuous ways and chosen Han.

As the final notes of the score played out, the curtains were drawn on a fantastic Star Wars day.

-- Barry Roberts

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