Sunday, 6 February 2011

Star Wars - The Weather Strikes Back

Saturday 10 October 1981. Blackpool was experiencing some rather heavy gales. And that means hefty! Mostly when the weather forecasters say "There will be 70mph winds" Blackpool folks say "Yeah? So...?"

The second (now the 5th) Star Wars episode - The Empire Strikes Back - had just been released and the Illuminations featured a fabulous full-sized X-Wing fighter along with a fairly decent R2D2 and a downright dubious C3PO!

The wind had broken the fighter craft in two and had also torn a laser gun from one of the wings.

Because the film had just been released this was newsworthy stuff. There would be no daily papers the following day as it was Sunday and so, like the prepared boy scout that I never was, I found the number of the news desk at the News of the World and told them what had happened and that I'd got some pictures if they wanted to buy them.

I could sense a definite interest and as the chap was about to tell me the local address to take the film I heard a commotion in the background and then he said in a shocked, excited voice "Sorry lad, we've got our front page spread now - a bomb's gone off..." The phone immediately went down.

The IRA had exploded a bomb in Ebury Bridge Road next to Chelsea Barracks. Two people died and 39 others were injured. I may have been the first person outside London to hear of it.

Large versions of the photos: top photo, bottom photo

There are also two more photos of this event at Flickr.

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