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From Lynnnews.co.uk

This new shop is light years ahead of its time (james marsters mention)

Friday 17 June 2005, by Webmaster

Lightsabres, as any Star Wars fan will know, were absolutely everywhere when they hit the production line a few years back in a galaxy far, far away. Being less clumsy or random than a blaster (see Obi Wan Kenobi for details), they were the must-have accessory for Jedi knights. Now it seems they areselling like hot-cakes in West Norfolk as well, with fans clamouring for replicas of Darth Maul and Luke Skywalker lightsabres. Cashing in on the craze is one of Lynn’s newest shops, which sells memorabilia from classic movies such as Lord of the Rings, Jason and the Argonauts and Star Wars. "There is some fantastic stuff in here but it is the lightsabres which sell out so quickly," says Kev Dack, shop manager at Blades UK in London Road. "It is quite funny watching all the girlfriends and wives dragging their partners away from our shop window everyday. "We have all worked really hard on the business and it has just been brilliant to see it open up and people come in. The school kids make it all worthwhile, they love playing with everything." Trembling with anticipation, I turned from reporter to school kid myself by fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition of wielding a lightsabre. While I played Jedi knight, Kev explained how the shop had opened: "Blades UK has been selling swords and martial arts equipment over the Internet for years but then the shop opened and it was my idea to start selling movie memorabilia stuff. "We have so many things from films such as Gladiator, Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "We are selling internationally and people are forever contacting us from across the country asking if they can come in and look round. I used to be a fishmonger and this sure beats doing that." Kev and his colleagues even run an autograph service for fans, who can ring up the business and ask them to collect signatures at movie conventions. And there are tonnes of goodies signed by celebrities such as David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies, and James Marsters, Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Other items on the shelves include a sword from Lord of the Rings, a Darth Maul mask, original Star Wars figures and a Megatron, from cartoon series Transformers. The Lynn business is now massively popular, securing millions of internet hits a year on its website. And that popularity is already being reflected in the number of people coming into the shop, which opened last month. Mr Dack said: "The whole thing is just fantastic, we have built up lots of contacts on the convention scene which means we can sell loads of great stuff to customers. "We also value people’s old Star Wars toys for them if they come in." Prices range from the high, you will pay around 300 for a limited edition, full-size replica of Sauron’s helmet from Lord of the Rings, to under 10 for a Yoda mug. Customers can also buy a range of swords and martial arts equipment, which are sold under strict terms and conditions. No under-16s can buy a blade over 3in long and only those aged 18 or older can buy without a parent or guardian present - Mr Dack said everyone who appeared under 21 years of age was asked for proof of age. But out of everything in the shop, my personal favourite is the Darth Maul lightsabre, which emits sounds effects when you swish it and lights-up like the "real thing" when it is powered up. A bargain at 95 but you had better hurry to avoid disappointment — may the force be with you.

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