Starburst Memories: The Star Wars Visual Dictionary

There’s nothing that gets Dirk more excited than Star Wars ephemera. A recent bequest to Dirk’s ever-expanding library is Dorling Kindersley’s wonderful Visual Dictionary. After a clear-out of her garage, a colleague’s ex-girlfriend discovered a well-thumbed copyand gave it back to him, and he gave it to Dirk, clearly the memories were too painful.

It has been noted here before that the joy of STAR WARS (1977) was the suggestion of a universe that was merely hinted at during the story. Subsequent films and publications have stretched these hints of a mythological cosmos to a wafer-thin gossamer. The Visual Dictionary, gives a name to everything, and by doing so, acts like a butter knife, spreading the material even further; a stunningly photographed butter knife, but a butter knife nonetheless.

It has been written by a real doctor of engineering who as provided intricate descriptions of the accessories used by the Star Wars characters. The tone that the book adopts is unintentionally hilarious as it tries to be specific, while at the same time avoiding adding any detail that may send the mythology crashing down around its ears. For example, take the story of Sy Snootles from Jabba’s palace:

Sy Snootles has a very inaccurate view of her own potential. As a vocalist she is too weird to make the mainstream.

Dr West Reynolds obviously considers himself like Louis Walsh, “You come from Tattooine, you made the song your own, but you look like a shit muppet.” What is the mainstream in Tattooine? Jazz played on the KLOO HORN in the cantina? How can we be sure that Sy Snootles has any other ambition than strutting along to the tune of a piano played by a blue, elephant cushion-thing, sorry, Max Rebo, the blue Ortoloan:

He may have poor judgement as a band leader , but he is devoted to music and quite good at his chosen instrument.*

Aside from these descriptions, the labels to the photographs add more speculative specifics to random points of interest, Chewbacca’s ‘sensitive nose’, for example, in fact all the animal-like alien’s have sensitive noses. Some of my favourite labels are:

  • Lando Calrissan’s ‘Rank Plaque’ (a badge with coloured washers stuck on it)
  • Admiral Ackbar’s ‘Moisture-retaining fabric’ trousers (they are known for their bladder disorder on Mon Calamari)
  • Darth Vadar’s ‘Boots adhere to artificial limb’
  • Bib Fortuna (Jabba’s schlong-headed doorman) ‘Soft-soled shoes for silent movement’


Now that George has finally taken the advice to ‘Put down your camera, and step away from the franchise’ I am going to hold this book in safekeeping for future generations, as it will reveal everything about the Star Wars universe, but tell them nothing.

* a RED BALL JET ORGAN, in case you were interested.

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