Culture vulture

24th June 2005 at 01:00
Chris Willcocks escapes into the fantasy world of Star Wars

Favourite films

I've been a lifelong fan of Star Wars for almost 30 years. I've seen the new film twice in the past two weeks, and also watched Episodes I to IV. I took my dad to Episode III, as payback, because he took me to Episodes IV, V and VI in the 1980s. I don't dress up or anything, but I have seen them dozens of times. I am getting to the stage where I know a lot of the lines coming up. It's just pure escapism: very believable. It sucks you in with its simplicity. It's nothing like the real world. My favourite character is Han Solo, who's played by Harrison Ford. He's cynical and rogueish, a bit of an outsider and basically good at heart. I guess these are all things I wanted to be. And of course he gets the girl in the end. My favourite is probably The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V). It's darker, more subtle.

Episode VI tries to be too cute. The ewoks don't do it for me, I'm afraid.

Best book ever

There are two: Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, which is fiction but reads like a travel book. It's about an American couple travelling through North Africa: you see the scenery, the landscapes, the lifestyles, the clash of the two cultures, as well as them desperately trying to reinvigorate their marriage.

I quite like music biographies: I spent three years as a drummer in various unsuccessful bands. I read a particularly good one by Bill Drummond about the KLF, a very poppy 90s dance band. He has a caustic sense of humour, very dry. I'm reading Gigantic: the Story of Frank Black and The Pixies by John Mendelssohn. The Pixies had a very small audience at the end of the 1980s, split up and reformed last year to huge acclaim.

Treat in store

I am visiting my brother in Australia in the summer and may look for Lord of the Rings locations in New Zealand. I did a Star Wars tour of Tunisia: the desert scenes were filmed there. People live in homes dug out from cliffs and holes in the ground; we saw where George Lucas had taken over a cave and stuck plastic and paintings to the walls, to be part of the homestead where Luke Skywalker grew up. Seeing that was a thrill.

Chris Willcocks, 33, is assistant head and teaches Year 6 at The Duchy primary school in Bradninch, Devon. He was talking to Karen Gold

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