heard on the wire

Wishful Drinking

I am deeply fond of the Star Wars movies*. Like many of my generation I was whelmed by the heady mix of good versus evil, cute aliens, even cuter robots, handsome, swashbuckling heroes, the best baddie ever and the foxiest leading lady.

So it was with some excitement that, in March 2008, The Becster and I took the BART train from San Francisco, under the Bay to Berkeley to see Princess Leia’s, I mean Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking.

The hugely entertaining show, since transferred to Broadway, is now a book, and equally as warm, funny and moving on the printed page as it is on stage — though you don’t get to stare at Princess Leia, I mean Carrie Fisher, for an hour and a half. The show-come-book is Fisher’s account of her life as the daughter of a Hollywood superstar, Debbie Reynolds, and a philandering crooner, Eddie Fisher, who departed soon after Fisher was born. Reynolds’ subsequent boyfriends and two husbands are a rich source of anecdotes.

When I was about 15, my mother had started dating a man called Bob Fallon, and my brother and I called him Bob Phallus, because he came equipped with exotic creams and sex toys. You know, aphrodisiacs. Well, actually, Anglo-disiacs, because we’re white. Anyway, thanks to Bob, that Christmas my mother bought my grandmother and myself vibrators! As unusual as a gift like this sounds, you have to admit they are the ideal stocking stuffers. I mean, you can fit the vibrator into the long top part of the stocking and still be able to get another cute little gift in the toe!

In 1973, aged 17, Fisher went to drama school in London and it was as a classically-trained actor that she was cast in a small sci-fi movie that both made her and almost destroyed her.

Forty-three years ago George Lucas ruined my life. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. … George Lucas is a sadist. But like any abused child, wearing a metal bikini, chained to a giant slug about to die, I keep coming back for more. … The man has provide Mark [Hamill, Luke Skywalker] and Harrison [Ford, Han Solo] and myself with enough fan mail and even a merry band of stalkers, keeping us entertained for the rest of our unnatural lives — not to mention identities that will follow us to our respective graves like a vague exotic smell.

Marriage to Paul Simon followed, as did the consumption of large amounts of alcohol and other, less socially acceptable, drugs, and subsequent treatment for bi-polar disorder. The end result is as good a “celebrity” autobiography as any you will read. But if you do get the chance — and especially if you’re a Star Wars fan — go to see the live show, for the ending alone.

» Buy Wishful Drinking from Amazon

*the first three, natch.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simon Aughton, Mark Casey. Mark Casey said: RT @smithsocksimon: Wishful Drinking – smithsocksimon http://bit.ly/eSn8KZ A review of Carrie Fisher’s book-of-the-stage-show. […]

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