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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 14 July, 1999, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
So you think you're a Star Wars fan
Star Wars
You may love Star Wars but the Force is with these real fans. Mark Roberts, Nick Brooke, Lincoln Gasking and Lou "T-Bone" Tambone are fighting the dark side of the film industry and doing what it takes to be there for the opening of Episode I, The Phantom Menace.


Name: Lou (T'bone) Tambone
aka T'Bone Fender of T'Bone Fender's Star Wars Universe located at www.starwarz.com
Age/Marital status: 29, married. I have a wonderful wife who will kill me if I say anything . She really let's me get away with a lot because she knows how much the Star Wars Universe and computers mean to me. They keep my brain active and moving and don't let her fool you...she loves the stuff too. EVERYONE knows her as Mrs.T on the web. Our unborn child is already known as Little T.

You must be cool to have a name like that, where did you get the nickname: Cool? Well, I may be a little more hip than your average computer geek but I'm not cooler than anyone else really. I think "cool" is a matter of opinion.

T-bone is a nickname my friends use for me. When I decided to do a page, I was a little paranoid about the Net and giving out my name so I made an alias and T'bone fit the bill. The Fender part is funny. I said, "I shall be T'bone," but had no last name so I looked around the room and said the first word I see will be it. There was my Fender guitar amplifier staring at me. That was it.

Bet your wife loves this... Don't let her fool you - she likes the stuff too. She and some of my friends wives have met and spoken. I suppose they have a lot in common although we all live in different parts of the country.

So how many times have you seen Star Wars 4, 5 and 6: If you think I can actually give you a number - you are nuts. There can not be any way for me to even estimate this. hundreds and hundreds...sound OK?

I really have no idea - you don't count that stuff. If you're keeping count then you miss the point - it's not a game or a track record. ENJOY the films. When I stop enjoying them, I will stop watching them.

Where will you be on May 21?
in ecstasy
in all my glory
in a magic world once again
in a galaxy far, far away


Name: Lincoln Gasking
Essential information: Age: 21; Native land: New Zealand; Job: Countingdown.com guru

What's Countingdown.com? It's an Internet site for film junkies. We provide all the latest information on upcoming movies like Star Wars and facilitate fan ticket queues. I'm obsessive, if you couldn't tell.

That aside, what's this about ticket queues? We are organising 60 lines around the world - ranging from 30 days to overnight - to help fans get tickets on opening day. Right now, I've been in the line for 12 days. Most of the lines are in America but after the big day we'll move to Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, France.

How did this all get started? In 1998 I met Tim Doyle of countdown2titanic.com and we expanded it to a more general movie site, Countingdown.com, together with Phillip Nakov. Now there's Star Wars. The Star Wars site has been a success because the film is a tradition. If you like movies you have to like Star Wars.

So movie buff, what are your favourite flicks? Star Wars, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Pulp Fiction, Titanic, The Professional (Leon), Dances With Wolves, Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur.

What else do you do? We get people in touch, recruit sponsorship and help arrange with sleeping arrangements, security, food and access to the Internet, which has made all this possible. We're also hoping to launch CountingDown TV, a live stream of the queues in different parts of the world to record the action.

Oh, sponsorship. So you're making money off all this. Not a cent. My parents own a bed and breakfast and I was living with them before LA. Now I'm on the street!


Name: Nick Brooke, 17
Age/Cyber alias: 17, Skywalkermb

So, Luke is your favourite character? No, Luke's cool but I don't realy go for the mainstream characters. Like a lot of people my favourite is Boba Fett. You don't see much of him in the films but what you do see is great, you really need to read other books and stuff to understand his character, but when you do you realise he's cool.

Number of times you've seen Star Wars 4, 5, 6: I don't know exactly but I'd say I've seen ANH [A New Hope, the original film] 50+ times, Empire 75ish and Jedi about 50 times.

Number of miles you'll travel to see Episode I on opening day: London - New York =3471 miles

That will cost a pretty penny. I would like to go to Los Angeles and see the film at Mann's Chinese theatre but unfortunately this looks unlikely due to financial problems (I am an unemployed A-level student). A weekend trip to New York to see Episode I at the Ziegfield theater will also be stretching my funds but I am willing to go into debt for STAR WARS!

Will once be enough? No. I am also going to be queuing up at the Odeon Leicester square in July for the British release and visiting the premier showing. (I won't be able to see it there, but the atmosphere will be good.)

Your friends must be envious. I'm trying to get some of my friends to come with me wherever I go, but most of them think that I'm crazy and I'm wasting my money!


Name: Mark Roberts
Age, Nationality: British, 32

First time you saw Star Wars? 1977 at the Odeon in Aylesbury which is still there.

Number of times you've seen Star Wars 4, 5, 6: 50, 20 and 40 (approximately)

Distance will travel to see Episode I on its opening day: London to LA = 5278 miles by air + 400 driving miles

So does that make you mad? Well yes but the Phantom Menace is not getting its release in the United Kingdom until July - two months after it is released in the States. I realise this is not actually such a long time when you consider Star Wars fans have eagerly awaited this film since 1983 much like a devout Christian awaits the second coming.

The second coming? Knowing there will be devotees across the pond who have seen the damn thing, I'm not waiting two months before I am likewise blessed. It would seem an eternity. I want to be part of this event rather than read about it for 2 months and just see it at the UCI in High Wycombe.

Still, isn't travelling to LA extreme? No. The Mann's Chinese Theatre is probably the most famous cinema in the world and was where Star Wars was screened for the first time back in 1977. R2-D2 and C3-PO (Star Wars droids) have their "footprints" in concrete outside the theatre.

Well, it will be an adventure Yes. We have no guarantee of tickets at the moment and no guarantees that we won't all end up in prison for loitering (or worse!!!) on the Hollywood streets but who cares? (Remind me I said this when I phone the British Embassy asking for help.)


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