Star Wars Christmas present was the best my son - and I - ever had | Simon Carter

This week marks the eighth anniversary of the best Christmas present my son ever received. In all likelihood, the best present he’ll ever get.On December 25, 2011, Ben – then nine – hastily tore the wrapping paper off a large box containing about 4,000 pieces of Lego.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 9:03 am
A BRICK: Ben Carter before and after his Death Star experience

The instruction book was the size of an encyclopedia and the amount of plastic packaging would make Greta Thunberg wince.

Ben was happy, but I was beyond excited. Finally, here was my chance to build the Lego Death Star! OK, our chance. It took us five days, but it was one of the best weeks of my entire life.

During the building we chatted about presents I’d received when I was his age.

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I had a Sodastream one year – must have been about 1982 – that Ben didn’t really get excited about. ‘You mean, you pressed a button and a bottle of water would fizz up? Dad, that sounds rubbish.’

‘But there were some great colourings – the lime green one looked radioactive.’

Ben: ‘Were they nice?’

Me: ‘Not really, no.’

I told my son about the blow football game once left in my stocking. ‘Santa brought you straws and a table tennis ball?’ Ben asked incredulously. ‘Yeah, it was great fun.’

I mentioned the Slinky, another offering from old St Nick. ‘Dad, you had a spring that just went down the stairs?’ ‘Yeah, that was great fun too. And do you know what happened when it got to the bottom?’ ‘No.’

‘You picked it up, took it back up to the top, and let it go down again.’

Ben eyed me a bit suspiciously for a few hours after the Slinky revelation.

‘Mum, dad had some straws and a spring from Father Christmas when he was my age,’ Ben later said at the tea table. ‘Well, he did live in Devon in the 1970s,’ his mum replied.

A time when I could pay less than a pound to go and see the Death Star being blown up on the big screen, rather than shelling out the best part of £400 to build one from scratch.

But whether you get a spring, straws or a galactic superweapon on Wednesday, happy Christmas to my regular readers. I hope you both have a great time.

Cut-out-and-peep: orange spots left my team crushed

Uri Geller has claimed he helped the Tories win the general election by gifting Boris Johnson a spoon he had energised with positivity.


True story: In April 1997 Geller persuaded the editor of the daily paper in Exeter where I worked to print a large orange spot on the back page prior to an important game for Exeter City FC.

Fans were urged to cut out this spot and take it to a home game we had to win in order to avoid relegation.

By concentrating on this spot before kick off, energy would (somehow) be released and Exeter would win.

‘Orange is my magic colour,’ said Uri.

Exeter lost 5-1.

Orange crushed, therefore.

You do need an education if you can’t answer this one

Here’s a question – what do Benny Hill, the Beatles, Mr Blobby, Queen, Bob the Builder, Pink Floyd and, er, Rolf Harris have in common?

Easy peasy lemon squeezie, as we used to say in the school playground. Of course, they have all been top of the pops at Christmas.

I am particularly taken by the fact that 40 years ago this month ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by the Floyd – complete with its ‘we don’t need no education’ warning and an animated video of children being put through a mincing machine – was this country’s Crimble No1.

It wasn’t your usual cheery festive offering, but no doubt it fitted the mood of a country still coming to terms with Thatcherism.