Just a few weeks back I heard of an event that sounded and looked amazing, a bookshop had all sorts of characters dressed up and the actual legendary actor and now author Dave Prowse attend and had hundreds of 'Star Wars' fans come along. This was right up my street, after all I am the exact age of the biggest 'Star Wars' fan ever, as we went to see it when it first came out and still love it. This is really the point, after 35 odd years it is still the most amazing experience we have ever had at the cinema and beyond. There are conventions and re-showings and as we found out fans in the hundreds of all ages.
I emailed 'Darth/Dave' and he actually rang me the next day!
We seemed to persuade him that Formby (we did drop Liverpool as we are near, into the pitch) was a worthwhile location and that we would have fans and make a special effort to make his trip worth doing.
He did point out that he has just had an op on his knee and couldn't drive so I offered to collect and ferry him and he was ok with this, so we progressed...He also said why do one day when it was a bit of a trip so we decided to do a weekender!
Plan now....go get..hit the hotspot of 'Sith' and 'Force' followers that is Formby, Dave dropped in that he has 'helpers', the awesome warriors/bodyguards that are the 'Stomtroopers' and they have a Garrison near us!
So now things were hotting up along with the weather at last.
I persuaded Vicky (deputy manager extraordinaire) and Holly (dark haired ( you will see) Saturday super server) to enter into the spirit and glam up for the occasion.
There was a minor issue of what to do on the Sunday as we don't usually open...errmmm
Then Patrick from our media helpline www.southportreporter.com said...why not go to the 'Southport Flower Show', they have loads of customers and plenty of space to send the 'Stormtroopers' out to rally the fans, so that was sorted.
Then he also said, well why not do a little evening event in a real 'Underground bar/restaurant'. He is pals with Eric Clarke the self titled 'Extreme Chef' as he does cook the most unusual and delicious treats to eat for all and includes many Hollywood stars in his previous exploits when over the pond.
So, all set...now we hit the hyperspace mode..contact the press, send emails, design and print posters (Holly/Vicky), use Facebook and Twitter and do my little spot on BBC Radio Merseyside.
We started to feel like this was a great idea and would be a fun filled weekend.
I drove down to get Dave and sat as he did a superb live interview with Sean Styles and we drove slowly up to Southport. Booked in and went for a nice steak and mussels dinner and chatted about his incredible life and met some lovely staff at Roberto's on the Ocean Plaza.
Saturday we were met by Trooper Ken and went to the Conference room at 'Formby Pool' to meet loads of fans of all ages and Dave was kept busy for three hours!
We popped and grabbed a lovely bite with Cathy in the 'Tea Rooms in Derbyshires' and then after Vicky had adorned the shop, loaded up videos to show and set the 'Star Wars' music rolling we were met by about 100 fans and had a real good time.
Dave and I had a nice Chinese and arranged to meet for the Flower Show on the Sunday, we now had Colin and Grant from the 'Stormtroopers' and Holly back as 'Leia' and joined Julie from Broadhursts at the Book Tent, bar torrential rain we had a superb time and again Dave had hours of fans of all ages meeting him and getting decidedly incredible photos of 'Star Wars' scenes and his autobiography 'Straight From the Force's Mouth' signed, we went to see the 'Iron Men' of Antony Gormley grabbed a quick drink and butty and then got ready for 'The Cellar'.
We had real fans travel from as far as Rotherham to come and listen to Dave tell all for nearly two hours and enjoyed the most awesome food. Patrick took loads of images and videoed the event which will be up on Friday 24th August on www.southportreporter.com
I would wholeheartedly recommend any bookshop to book Dave for an event, he is a real star and a legend and can draw a crowd. His Stormtroopers are superb professionals and if you get a few staff dressed up you get a real 'wow' for the pictures. If you can sort an evening out I hear Dave has a real eyeopening 'Darth Does' show with unseen images and stories to really shed light on the 'Dark Lord of the Sith'.
I also was treated to a superb homemade meal by his wonderful wife Norma when we hit London and cannot wait to have another visit from the huge star that is Dave Prowse.
Ok now we have images a plenty!