Oh June was an expensive month.
After that initial spending spree, I still had the monetary gifts that came from the rest of my family, and as it was half-term I had a week of shopping ahead of me.
A trip to town, more specifically the book shop was fruitful, The Phantom Menace novelisation and the Making Of books were purchased with no second thought. The soundtrack was next. Even trips to the supermarket yielded results, I managed to get a rather elusive Qui-Gon Jinn figure from Tesco.
I was going on a week-long school trip to France the week of release, so I persuaded my Mum to let me tag a long with Vix’s Dad and younger brother whilst our mum’s hung out and talked about whatever it was parents talked about.
And so, that warm July afternoon (yeah us English had to wait nearly 2 months after America), sweets and drink in hand I was sat in the cinema and those ten beautiful words came on screen.
The music played and the title exploded into view.
And I loved every damned minute of it.
The child, however did not. He actually said he preferred the Mike Myers vehicle, Austin Powers 2. But what did he know, he was 6.
I managed to see it 3 times during the theatrical run.
The rest of July was spent hunting down action figures, whilst Mum and Nanna were doing some catering work one Friday or Saturday evening I was able to run across the road to Toys R Us. There was the hard to find Darth Maul figure. A family of collectors were also there and already had two in their basket. One to keep in box the other to play with. There was one more Maul figure and they helped me hide it so I could run back to my Mum and pleaded for the £5 to get the last Maul on the shelf. She relented, maybe to shut me up. But I got it. Thank the maker.
As school came to an end I was given a present by my Dad for doing well in school. I opened the bag and inside was my holy grail at the time, the Obi-Wan Kenobi figure from Phantom Menace. This was harder to find than Darth Maul in my experience and I was so happy. Finally I could stop using a Luke Skywalker figure as an Obi-Wan stand-in.
That summer we visited my Aunt and Uncle in London, which of course warranted a trip to the biggest and best toy shop in all the land, Hamleys.
As we got in the shop, the beeline was made to the escalators and up to the fifth floor we went and there it was, the Star Wars display and there were new figures I had never seen before (at hugely inflated prices). The Battle Droid commander OOM-9 and Captain Tarpals were added to the ever growing collection.
The rest of the year was filled with playing Star Wars games, specifically the Phantom Menace demo on repeat, I was only allowed on the internet for half an hour a night back in the old days of dial-up and so I used a weeks worth of internet use to download the demo, playing as Obi-Wan on the Trade Federation starship.
After Christmas, I bought Darth Maul’s double bladed Lightsaber. What a grand purchase that was and I had it for years until life imitated art and one evening, during an alcohol fuelled lightsaber duel, they hit the handle of the Maul saber and cut it in two. Although I salvaged it with electrical tape. Days later we welcomed the new millennium and a whole new decade of fandom awaited.