We had a fun start to the day today with a geektastic YouTube clip found by a colleague over the weekend. If you are not a geek read on at your own peril. The video was of some old computer floppy disks that someone had put together and programmed to play music. (You know how computer disks can make that strange grinding sound and apparently there’s a lot of scrap ones in circulation.) Here’s the clip, it needs no further explanation suffice to say that the music is called the Imperial March and it is used to accompany the evil emperor in Star Wars, Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

However, the video got me thinking about other instances where I’ve heard the same music used. Someone did a mashup of Pope Benedict getting off an aeroplane to the Imperial March back when he visited Britain in 2010 but I was sure I’d also heard it somewhere else.


Some years ago I was watching the State Opening of Parliament, not something I’m inclined to do each year but in this instance I must have been at home, and bored. I like a bit of pomp and circumstance and there are few things that we British still do so well; so, despite a dislike of what it represents, sometimes I can’t tear myself away.

I found myself watching all the great pillars of the British establishment lining up along red carpets with gold coaches and royalty, titled dignitaries, lords and barons, knights and generals, the whole shebang. While they were all filing through the corridors of power the band on the Dragoon Guards or the Irish Guards or somesuch were playing the pomp and circumstance music in the background. You don’t get to see the band who are presumably standing outside in the rain while it’s all happening on the red carpets inside. I can only guess that the music is a separate sound feed layered over the pictures of the goings on inside the Palace of Westminster.


So here’s the thing. At one point I distinctly heard the Star Wars Imperial March in the background, or at least I thought I did. There was some General Bufton-Tufton greeting Lord Pooh-Bah of the Whatsit saluting or shaking hands all covered in brocade and hats all smothered in scrambled egg. While all the shaking of hands and saluting was going on there, in the background, on the feed from the brass band of the guards outside, was the Imperial March. I say I thought I heard it because later, when I checked, looking for videos or news reports, I couldn’t find it, not a mention of it, not a sausage. At the time I didn’t even realize it was the Imperial March, I just recognized it as being from Star Wars.

Fast forward to today and the hard disk rendition and I mention to my colleague that I’ve heard this music used in other situations and I mention the Pope and the parliament story. I then go on to explain that I doubt myself as I’ve never been able to find a reference to it since. It’s not on any page I can find on the net, or at least if it is I can’t find it via Google. I honestly began to think I must have dreamed it. Or has it been deleted from history?


Then it occurred to me, where do people talk about things on the net with the most immediacy? If it has been mentioned anywhere, where will it have been mentioned? Twitter!

So I searched on Twitter for “opening parliament imperial march” and, low, I found the following two tweets:

Julie Kirk ‏@notesonpaper 25 May 2010
I *knew* I’d heard theStar Wars Imperial March at the State opening of Parliament I’m not mad,it’s here at 0:06.30: http://bit.ly/aRgzBF

Lucibee ‏@_Lucibee 25 May 2010
I did hear the Imperial March from Star Wars at State Opening of Parliament: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00sfk9l (at 6:30)

So I didn’t dream it, it seems it did happen but there is almost no evidence, and neither of these links still work.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions, mainly because I need to get on with something more important while hiding from the black helicopters.