UPDATE: Richard Armitage, where’s my Jane Eyre audiobook!?! @audible_com

Well played, Audible, well played. Cheers!

 

Jane Eyre on Page and Screen 5: Rochester Interviews Jane

Richard Armitage Fans are fans of Richard Armitage Fans

BIG FANS

Richard Armitage fans are Fans of Richard Armitage Fans

Or in violent, defensive love of the Richard Armitage fan.

heart-case-iconI’m going to quote Wikipedia here. Before you judge, first note that my reasons for quoting aren’t based on the historically factual definition of a word, but using the aggregate’s best definitions of what the word has actually come to mean in today’s world.

What is a Fan?

“A fan, or fanatic, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody, such as a band, a sports team, a genre, a book, a movie or an entertainer. Collectively, the fans of a particular object or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways, such as by promoting the object of their interest, being members of a fan club, holding or participating in fan conventions, or writing fan mail. They may also engage in creative activities (“fan labor”) such as creating fanzines, writing fan fiction, making memes or drawing fan art.”

Since becoming a Richard Armitage fan—a word and term I wholeheartedly embrace—I have come to feel a wide variety of emotions, some of which I have expressed here and elsewhere. Many of which I have not. Of those is the negative that stems from the judgment that surrounds publicly declaring oneself a Fan.2 heart
I’ve grappled with it. I have seen others ashamed by it. I have trekked through miles of commentary throughout social media condemning, often quite hypocritically, the existence of fans or a Fandom. And I have also seen the media use, or attempt to, those of us who step out (and step up) as Fans.
Even Richard Armitage doesn’t like the word. And I think he should.
Nothing is wrong with Well-wisher. It’s fine. It’s like one of those softer words for sex that you use in public when you don’t want to use a clinical term. But, let’s face it, well-wisherdom doesn’t seem to work, does it?
friends

Photo illustration courtesy of The RA Fan Page on Twitter.

What is a Fandom?

Fandom as a word is neither soft nor hard. If you were to base it on the definition found in Wikipedia, Fandom most accurately describes that which a community-entity (how’s that for an oxymoron?) can truly become, and in the best sense.

 

Substitute the word Community for Person and look what happens:

“A community who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody.”

“Collectively, the fans of a particular object or person constitute its fanbase or community.”

Same for Fan club:

 

“[Fans] may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways, such as by promoting the object of their interest [and] being members of a community.”

love chocWikipedia also encapsulates the literal definition of Fan found in universally accepted publications:

“Merriam-Webster, the Oxford dictionary and other sources define “fan” as a shortened version of the word fanatic. The word first become [sic] popular in reference to baseball enthusiasts. Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1550, means ‘marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion’. It comes from the Modern Latin fanaticus, meaning ‘insanely but divinely inspired’”.

Aside from the association with “Fanatic”, a word associated with “Zealot,” I don’t see anything wrong there as well with the word Fan:

“Marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion” and “insanely but divinely inspired.”

These are definitions I would not be ashamed to attribute to myself in my admiration of Richard Armitage and my support of his career, his life decisions, and most of his character and project choices.
I am often “excessively enthusiastic” (read: very happy), commonly feel “intense uncritical devotion” (read: unconditional love and admiration here) and am often “insanely but divinely inspired” (read: the entire contents of this blog, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the occasional private email or message.

Intense uncritical devotion

In my case, that might well apply. I like to see the better, and emphasize the better, especially publicly. But privately…well let’s just say it often has to do with an odd piece of clothing choice, which, let’s face it, happens to the best of us in our life times. (I too once wore denim culottes and the odd poncho top.)
“Uncritical” cannot be said of even the very best and most devoted of Richard Armitage fans. There are numerous blogs and social media comments by his fans—well-wishers and career and life event followers all—who are not averse to speaking in the contrary on things Richard may do, say, wear, date, befriend, act, dance, sing, film or stage.030118-high-resolution-dark-blue-denim-jeans-icon-culture-heart-double
You know that best friend you have? The one who gives you honesty when you need it and you love them all the more for it? Yes, that one. Same concept.
The thing is—and my real point—no one gets to define what it means to be a fan but the Fan individual. No one else has the right to say what actually constitutes being a fan—or that worst of worst fan-on-fan insults, a “real” fan.

The ugly side

Yes, ugliness happens in Fandoms. Like in any community, or family, disagreements, gossip, squabbles, side-taking, policing and even mini-wars. And yes, some take a turn south, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. They might even cross boundaries (both physical and non) in ways that are meanly unattractive, tasteless, and possibly downright dangerous. But that can’t actually be controlled. Nor is it any one person’s responsibility to police. Aside from the moral aspect of such censorship, in my experience, telling someone they can’t do something will often result in a contradictory action. Also you could produce flames that burn in ways you’ve never imagined. Trust me.
Voicing an opinion is often confused for policing. Opinions are good. Opinions rule the blogs. And they matter not for any Fandom’s sake, but for the sake of the soul who seeks an outlet for the love that dare’s not speak it’s name in public—a FAN.
But it’s the opinions littered with flames, threats and mean-spirited attacks that deter straight, well thought-out opinions. Many won’t speak up, either at all or any more, because they fear being criticized and bullied. The result in the Richard Armitage fandom has been some fans walking away and, worse, deleting their entire blogs.
Photo illustration courtesy of The RA Fan Page

Photo illustration courtesy of The RA Fan Page on Twitter.

The beautiful side

love1Thankfully there are many fans and bloggers who are tenacious. They they do it for themselves. But often, they do it for each other.

Fans of Richard Armitage are Fans of Richard Armitage fans.

In the Richard Armitage Fandom exists an entity of love, devotion, creativity and sharing that I have never experienced anywhere else. I am not just talking for Richard Armitage, I am talking for each other.
Richard Armitage fans give. And they give a lot.
They create and share their art with each other. They take their time to make custom quilts , share ideas and gift them to each other. They give each other books, write poems and songs.
They give for birthdays, anniversaries, and causes.
They are compassionate and show support. They honor each other’s lost loved ones in memoriam and organize in charity.
They craft, go on vacation together, they create joint travel logs, they help each other through hard times, they share their best, watch each other’s backs and generally Spread the Love.
They give in behalf of each other’s children and they give to others’ children. And give. And give again.
They celebrate when Richard gets a new project, wins an award, and endorce and support a project.
The become webmasters or bloggers who go out of their way to be supportive and catalog and share articles and
They donate to charities, both Richard’s and their own to support communities and community wellness.
They share and report on each other’s blogs, interview other fans, create networking opportunities, and watch television together.
They give to each other. They give to each other. They give to each other.
They also fight fiercely to defend other and the community they belong to. (There will be no link here.) One that I call myself a card-carrying member of.
And we don’t have cards. We don’t. We have buttons. Several. And a Coat of Arms. But no cards. Well…maybe.card carrying

You say you’re not a fan

If there is someone out there reading this who has ever caught themselves in the process of slamming, criticizing, insulting, condemning, turning-their-nose-up-at, showing overall distaste for a particular fan or fandom, or are using the word Fan in its most derivative and derogatory form, please ask yourself this:
What actor, personality, film, TV show, sport, sports team, video game, politician, cause, art, music, books, authors, vocation, community, family or ancestral connection or otherwise worthy past-time are you “excessively enthusiastic” about, “insanely but divinely inspired” by, or “intense” or “uncritical” in your “devotion” to?
If you have your answer in just a few seconds, congratulations! You are a Fan!
If you said nothing, well then perhaps you should look up the work “passion” and maybe see about that.
To the Richard Armitage Fans, will you be my Valentine?

crystal heart~ Crystal

Five Fascinating Facts about Elizabeth Gaskell

northandsouth2

“Interesting facts from the life of Mrs Gaskell, Victorian novelist, author of North and South” Source: Five Fascinating Facts about Elizabeth Gaskell

Fireworks Around the World: Happy New Year!

London

Taipei

Hongkong

Tokyo

Sydney

Some wines clearly made with Richard Armitage in mind or Hannibal Happy Birthday to me

500-tall dark strangerTall Dark Stranger, Malbec, Argentina

I’m usually very fond of a Malbec. I was expecting something closer to CarniVor, as far as body and depth, and more fruit as with most Malbecs, but it fell short on both accounts. The name is also deceptive as far as color, as Carnivor certainly beats it out in inkiness. However the “Tall’ may be relative to the long legs left in the glass which are usually indicative to sugar content. Except I found more tart than fruit, and not much else going on. It’s a very dry red, which is normally not my preference. It got a little better as I drank more, so clearly this wine needs to breathe well first. In the nose and palate I detected a little Tarragon, so it might be nice with a chicken (Tarragon?) dish or marinara or meat sauce pasta dish.

500-handsome devilHandsome devil, Malbec, Argentina

Black cherry, berries and spice. Slight fruit. Some black pepper and vanilla in the nose, with a bitter finish. Very close to my kind of Malbec, except for the bitter. Otherwise it’s a pretty handsome red. It paired fair with grapes and cheddar cheese, but adding the fruit brought out the bitter. It’s definitely a red meat wine. And it’s a bit like me – a handsome red, except when I am bitter.

500-love noirLove Noir, Pinot Noir, California

Something for Richard. Although I am not as fond of Pinot Noir as much as I am a Malbec or a Cab, but this is pretty nice. Light on the fruit, but bold. And again, a bit bitter. Black pepper on the tongue and a distant raspberry with a nose of cured meat and the same black pepper. Finishes a little tart as well. Skins were left in for a while on this one I think, as the finish is like that of the last taste of grape skin, but with a bit extra tang. This wine is likely better with a good steak and not casual drinking. It did not go well with the sliced Gouda I had on hand, but might hold up better with cheddar.

500-carnivor

Carnivor, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

And finally, an old favorite. A very bold and very rich, deep fruit Cabernet that is super inky. Blackberry and plum in the mouth and nose and a little spicy. I love it alone, but it is also great with steak and maybe Chicken Marsala or spicy Thai. However it paired just fine with the Gouda Babybel. Warning: stains the mouth purple after one glass. This wine is not for the faint of heart.

A nod and toast here to show-runner Bryan Fuller for casting Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde, and the Hannibal cast and crew for such a fine season and series run.

 

Ladies and Gentleman, Richard Armitage #BeholdTheRedDragon

IMG_20150725_234534

Source: Fernanda Matias on Twitter.

That is all. That’s my post.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 💖

Linnet’s Nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award

There is a very nice list of bloggers here, and I really, really could not recommend Linnet Moss’ blog highly enough. She does me a huge honor that I can not ignore with not re-blogging.

Linnet Moss

Just for fun, I decided to change the “Versatile Blogger Award” rules so that winners now have a choice of displaying either Kit Harington’s abs or Scarlett Johansson’s pecs. 

theversatile-blogger-award-pic

Not long ago I was nominated as a “Versatile Blogger” (many thanks, Perry of Armitage Agonistes!). It was a thrill because I used to worry that my blog was perhaps too unfocused to attract a regular set of readers. After all, how many people out there share an interest in all the things I write about, from rapini to Ralph Fiennes to rosé to ancient Rome?

This award gives me a chance to celebrate ten other versatile bloggers (some longtime favorites and a few newly discovered) and invite them to participate, if they so choose. The award is intended to be an honor, not a burden, so if you do not have time, no worries! Just bask in the…

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Taking Things For Granted

When things change, we are either prepared or were are not.  If we are not expecting it, chances are it is because we have assumed consistency. And when that happens, often there is shock, maybe some pain, and possibly even regret, involved.  This regret can stem from taking for granted that which was assumed would always be there, available, or expected to produce.
I have just learned that the Richard Armitage Fan Page, Richard Armitage Online, will discontinue her updates due to restrictions that exist in the program that houses the website.richardarmitageonline
Having only come into the Fandom a few years ago myself, I am not fully aware of the website’s origins, its creator(s), or its actual time of inception.  All I have really known, outside of the catalog of articles, news, and career chronology, is that the website is/was a source of Richard Armitage’s monthly-down-to-annually Messages or letters to his fans, which were posted faithfully and openly by the website and its webmistress, Annette.
Like Richard’s posted messages, I had assumed that they would always produce and be fruitful, offering pieces of insight into the mind, heart, and soul of the very actor that many of us have come to admire, as a result of viewing his work in some form.
And as with other websites that dedicate themselves to the celebration and archiving of Richard’s bio, career history, press, images, and all things related, Richard Armitage Online has consistently provided Richard’s fan with regularly updated, publicly made, actively available information – and all completely through the work of the websites creator(s)’ own generosity and expense. At least, as I understand it.
In interviews, I have heard Richard make mention of Annette and make reference to the fan sites in general.  I can only speculate as to what this kind of acknowledgement might mean to one who makes such an effort to produce and maintain a website, with only things like sincere admiration or even a desire to be of service, as payment. That and a maybe a desire for an outlet to create as well.
My own true regret is that I have assumed that Richard Armitage Online would always be there.  And that like most any professional looking site which may also be assumed to be commercially funded, I also took for granted that it would always be updated with the plethora of regularly available goods that circulate on the internet for fans like me to enjoy.
richards last letter
Although Annette has indicated in a message on the site that she is not taking it down, but merely discontinuing the site’s updates, it still brings a sadness that such a thing will occur.
From my heart, I simply wish to say to Annette, and to anyone else who may be currently contributing to the site, that I have fully enjoyed and appreciated all the lovely work contained on Richard Armitage Online, and that I now regret that I had not visited and communicated more often.

Richard Armitage, where’s my Jane Eyre audiobook!?! @audible_com

Forgive my passion. I blame it on Linnet…

“For many readers, the most absorbing chapters of Jane Eyre are XIII, XIV and XV, each of which contains a long conversation between Jane and Mr. Rochester. These talks reveal Rochester’s unusual personality traits and establish an affinity between him and Jane, in spite of the difference in their age and social class.” […]

via Jane Eyre on Page and Screen 5: Rochester Interviews Jane — Linnet Moss

A Chess Piece, Knight or King: What Might Richard Armitage Bring

red white

After Twitter confirmation from his UK agency, United Agents, of Richard’s upcoming, the thus far-little-talked-of-cameo in what’s looks to be a fine early summer blockbuster film, Alice Through the Looking Glass is getting some fan speculation as to what his character may be. After the most recent trailer, some seem to center on certain chess pieces that appear to bear an aquiline resemblance to the Armitage visage.

A stretch, to be sure-as resemblances go. But character-wise, the possibilities may not be all that lean. And the actor and creative company he is keeping is pretty stellar as well.

Here’s excerpts from the Chess Maniac Blog containing summaries of Carroll’s references to chess, based on his own fondness. Potential spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book(s):

“Through the Looking Glass has many chess references (none in Alice in Wonderland). In the story, the chess pieces have come to life. In a garden, Alice meets the Red Queen. The Red Queen reveals to Alice that the entire countryside [is] laid out in squares, like a gigantic chessboard.”

“The Red Queen offers to make Alice a White Queen if she can move all the way from the second rank to the eighth rank in a chess game. Alice starts out in the second rank as one of the White Queen’s pawns. She then makes her journey across the chessboard. A train gets her from the second row past the third row to the fourth row. This is just like chess, with a pawn going from the 2nd rank to the 4th rank on its first move.”white knight flipped

“On the 4th rank, she meets Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They point out the sleeping Red King.”

“Alice then meets the White Queen and they advance to the 5th rank by crossing over a broored knight woodk together. She then crosses another brook into the 6th rank and runs into Humpty Dumpty. He falls and “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” come to help, and are accompanied by the White King.”

“Alice reaches the 7th rank by crossing another brook into the forested territory of the Red Knight. The Red Knight is trying to capture the white pawn, which is Alice. She is saved by the White Knight. Twhite king thishe White Knight escorts Alice through the forest towards the final brook-crossing to the 8th rank, but he keeps falling off his horse.”

“ Alice bids farewell to the White Knight and steps across the last brook to the 8th rank. She is then automatically crowned as queen, with the crown materializing abruptly on her head. She then finds herself in the company of the Red Queen and the other White queen. The other queens invite one another to a party that will be hosted by the newly crowned Alice, which Alice knows nothing about it.”

And this:

“Alice arrives at the party where there is chaos. Alice finally grabs the Red Queen and shakes her violently, thus “capturing” the Red Queen. Alice unknowingly puts the Red King into checkmate, and he finally wakes up.”

So there is a lot of interesting interaction both with the White Knight and Red King.

Based on the above detailed scenarios from Lewis Carroll’s book, if Richard’s character were to be a chess piece, what would you prefer to see?

 

If Richard Armitage Were A Drug

The drug I’m thinking of.

The Wandering Poet

I imagine what the dosage recommendations and side effect disclaimers would be if Richard Armitage were a drug!

I think he’d be best marketed as a mood-stabilizer and enhancer. The commercial for which would go like this:

WOMAN: “I used to feel down all the time. I’d lost interest in the things that used to make me happy. Spending time with friends just wasn’t the same anymore and work was, well…work! That’s when my doctor prescribed Richard Armitage!

“A daily dose of Richard Armitage lifts my spirits, makes a good mood even better, and helps me find the joy in life again! Spending time with friends has never been more fun! Richard Armitage has even helped me find the strength to get through even the worst day at work! <cue women playing tennis, chatting happily over lunch, and smiling whilst stuck in a tiny office cubicle>….

…..<cue woman…

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