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On the passing of Darth Vader actor David Prowse, Yaz Jung remembers a rare interview with the star ten years before he died, reflecting upon the man behind the mask.

“He was much more than Vader.” said co-star Mark Hamill as original Star Wars actor David Prowse passed away aged 85. Prowse’s life was always a more interesting tale than simply that of the man who gave form to the timeless visage of Darth Vader and it is with this thought that I talked to him in 2011 while he signed copies of his autobiography Straight From The Forces Mouth. At the time, shoppers were greeted by a local detachment of 501 Legion, an international group of Stormtrooper cosplay enthusiasts whom had adopted Prowse as their ceremonial leader, helping him with personal appearances. Prowse had long won the enduring love of grass-roots fans by attending autograph signings at the UK’s first ever sci-fi conventions, designed by forward-thinking organisers such as Jason Joiner. …


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Image property of Rob Schamberger

Yaz Jung shares an inspiring conversation with Drew “McIntyre” Galloway about a young lad from Scotland who became the first ever British face of America’s $6 Billion-dollar World Wrestling Entertainment franchise, and the life-changing faces of a performer’s dreams.

(Interview edited for clarity and length)

Professional Wrestling is a much misunderstood art-form that draws upon the earliest traditions of Carnival, Vaudeville and Cinema. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that has spawned the biggest movie box-office attraction in the world, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and is broadcast in over 180 countries in 28 languages. It is a pantomime world of riches, heartbreak and fame, yet little understood. This year, a young man from Scotland, Andrew “Drew” Galloway, became the first British-born performer in the near one-hundred year history of the profession, to become the face of the largest wrestling entertainment company in the world, the $6 billion-dollar publicly traded, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). …


Yaz Jung looks at the transformative power of cultural diplomacy at times of political and military upheaval

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WWE in King Abdullah Stadium, Jeddah

Vince McMahon’s Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment has proven once again, the inescapable power of culture at times of political unrest. During sustained disquiet across the Middle East, WWE has produced a celebration of music, sports and entertainment that has surpassed politics, at the very heart of a cultural discourse unseen by many and understood by few.

For months, some of the world’s most viewed media sites have repeatedly questioned the decision to go ahead with a series of shows that were contracted over a year ago, as part of a reported ten-year deal worth nearly $500m dollars with the Saudi General Sports Authority. Since then, numerous podcasts and editorials have replicated each other in what has become the echo-chamber of popular culture, decrying the power of the almighty dollar and ‘Saudi money’ — divorced from any real understanding of the wider implications. …

About

Yaz Jung

A Graduate of Law and History, Yaz Jung has previously written for Cereal:Geek, Varsity, Sportskeeda and Fast-Rewind.com on movies, music and entertainment

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