Its the start of a New Year so an opportunity to clear out the accumulated rubbish and unwanted tat that has been amassed over many months and years. When I am in the mood, I love doing this. Having a good rummage through the attic, cupboards and other places of stored and long forgotten memories and treasures. I've found quite a few things, some nice surprises and lots of nostalgia laced memories.
The best finds are the most personal ones naturally. For me this has been uncovering various fanzines that I either subscribed too or contributed to in the heady days of the mid-1990s before the Internet seemed to kill off just about any fanzines that were still going. The most precious ones to me are the Jedi fanzines of the British Star Wars Fan Club. The September 1996 edition includes my first piece of Star Wars storywriting that was published. Called 'The Hidden Jedi' it featured the secret daughter of Obi-wan, Alicia Kenobi - the hidden Jedi - and revisited what was in my mind the scene of Vader/Obi-wan's fateful duel. In my story the action takes place on a planet called Tarisha 5 and on the volcanic mountainside of Mount Tinmar. Of course, Episode III explains the real events of that fateful last duel but this was my personal interpretation of what happened before Lucas filled in the blanks for us. Reading it again now I am struck by some of the imagery I used. A brutal death for Alicia on the summit of the volcano that nearly claimed her father and Vader's remembrances of his wife (who I bizarrely called Claris) being strangled by a dark and malevolent hand. Not so different from the eventual fate that would be suffered by Amidala in Revenge of the Sith.
This issue of Jedi was also the one where Gary Tester took over the reins as Editor. Gary and I became good friends through our interest in Star Wars and worked together for a long time on both the successor to Jedi - a short-lived magazine called Eclipse - and later my own Star Wars fanzines, Tales of the Empire and Dark Jedi. Those were happy days and although we only met a few times, more often when Gary moved to Milton Keynes, I like to think that we were good friends.
I still think about Gary now and wonder what he is doing these days. Last I heard he had moved to America, married and settled down. That seems a long time ago now.
I never forget the people that have come into my life and although I am hopeless at keeping in touch with old friends, whether through wilful neglect or thoughtlessness, they're never forgotten. I always remember the good times with Gary and the fact that singularly of all the people I've known, he was the one person that seemed to be on the same wavelength as me. Its difficult to describe that really but it was like we thought the same way about stuff and viewed life with a similar outlook. I miss that opportunity to share those things now.
Another of my fond discoveries has been my collection of Zoids. Somewhere I have an almost complete set of the Spiderman & Zoids comics, which just to prove all things are inter-related somehow, even featured a Star Wars story for a few issues! Zoids were my passion after Star Wars - around 1985-1987 or thereabouts I guess. That would make me 9-11. After Zoids, came Action Force. I think Zoids though was the last thing that both my brother and I were both into in a big way. After Zoids, our interests diverged, particularly as we got older. Even with the Zoids though I liked the Red Zoids while my brother collected the Blue Zoids. There were some exceptions, like the Trooperzoid, which I thought was one of the better ones, although it was a Blue!
My favourite of the large battery operated Zoids has to be Zoidzilla or as he is called in Japan, Gojoulas, which is the version I have. It is virtually indistinguishable from the original Zoidzilla although some of the colouring is slightly different. The two Zoids that I had most wanted as a kid were probably Redhorn and Krark. Redhorn was the leader of the Red Zoid army and the nemesis of Zoidzilla. Krark was an altogether different creature, a winged pterodactyl type Zoid whose aim was to unite Red and Blue and form a formidable force that would then conquer the galaxy. He was definitely my favourite.
There are probably quite a few more discoveries yet to be made as I haven't as yet finished my sorting out. It'll be fascinating to see what other things remain to be discovered.