Meeting the Richard Armitage DistRAction Challenge – part two

FeaturedLucas

uvm3ryt

This is part two of my answers to Guylty’s DistRAction Challenge.
Esther’s part two is here.

Part one here:

15. Favourite quote of a chaRActer?

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16. Saddest chaRActer death?
Guy of Gisborne’s death because it marked the end of Guy of Gisborne (obviously) and also the happy duel-purpose watching of Robin Hood, with my young son on Saturdays, at 7.45pm. I still get delicious nostalgic shivers at the weekend in anticipation of regular Guy doses at that time .

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R.I.P. Gisborne the Glorious

17. Favourite century?
My favourite century is the 18th but Richard hasn’t graced that time – so far (apart from Clarissa but that was audio). I don’t know – preferably one where facial hair wasn’t obligatory. I love his 21st century personas but it would be nice to see him in a different period – 18th-century highwayman, stern Edwardian, swashbuckling pirate, scheming Plantagenet King (but not with King Oberon’s hair – is that possible?) noble ancient-Roman …

18. Your consolation show, i.e. your go-to show when you need distRAction?
If I didn’t allow myself to only watch North and South once a year on my birthday I would probably choose that for comforting escapism. I don’t tend to watch individual episodes of my favourite RA series. Oddly, it’s probably Hannibal as I enjoy it so much or Strike Back.

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19. Theatre or small/big screen?
Nothing beats the excitement of seeing Richard Armitage live, even being in the same room is enough, but these opportunities are few and far between, so I’ll pick the small screen, as there tends to be more Armitage screen time and I enjoyed the anticipation of seeing him week after week (which I could have had with The Stranger if  I’d been more disciplined).

20. Best costume/look?
No, I really can’t choose:  there is Gisborne’s leather  – any black leather-clad Armitage,  Richard impeccable in suits, particularly with an open necked white shirt, his Berlin Station great great-coat with the turned-up collar,  his so sexy fitted Spooks and Hannibal jackets, the bomber jackets of Berlin Station and The Stranger, the beige raincoat in the latter  …. 

Exhibits 1-6

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But then again ..

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21. Imagine your favourite chaRActer – assign them a colour, a scent and a chocolate flavour

Black,  leather, Black Magic (the dark chocolates)

22. Your favourite audio book?
David Copperfield.  I want to drive through the streets with a megaphone, shake people vigorously by the shoulders, fly a plane with a streamer proclaiming how incredible Richard Armitage’s narration is:  the astonishing variety of his accents is a revelation but also his love for his favourite book shines through in his sensitive and perceptive understanding of Dickens’s words.

23. Your favourite piece of fan art you own?
I don’t own many pieces but those that I have are treasured and made with such kindness, care and consideration that I don’t want to choose one above the others. I did enjoy smirking secretly at my Gisbauble ( from the Flat Ritchie tour box) hanging from my tree this year, hidden in plain sight.EL00dy0XUAAOcKe

24. If you had the opportunity to meet RA, what would you like to talk to him about? I’ve often fantasised about meeting Richard Armitage, bumping into him in the country side, being stuck in a lift together or on a long drive (and I often dream of him when he’s  trying to get away from me, which seems an unfair waste of a dream). nhhh (2)

As I’m rather inarticulate and quiet, I would want to feel on safe ground with my subject. As I love film, and can talk relatively volubly on the subject, we would have lots to discuss (as well as which side of the bed he prefers!).

25. Anything you dislike about the fandom? I like the fandom a lot more than I dislike it. The odious quibbling, divisive party-lines, blind adoration (although I can be guilty of that) is tiresome but expected in a wildly varied group who like different facets of  the divine one.  The thing I do dislike – and I feel really mean saying this – and there are some breathtakingly good pieces, which I admire  –  are some of the drawings and paintings of RA, over the years, where his features are slightly  wonky (and I couldn’t do any better).  Basically I’d rather see the real Armitage rather than paintings, drawings and cartoons. A another personal bug-bear of mine is seeing Armitage cute-sified, but I mean no criticism of others. I just don’t like to see my potent fantasy figure emasculated.

Thanks for reading and thanks Guylty for providing this distRAction!

*I apologise if I’ve used any images without permission. I will credit where I can but I have no idea where some originated from. Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.

Meeting the Richard Armitage DistRAction Challenge – part one

Lucas

uvm3ryt

Wonderful Guylty has provided a fun challenge over at her place as a  much-needed distraction for these difficult days. She is posing 25 questions about the inestimable Richard Armitage (not that I need much more encouragement to be distRActed over RA but spirits keeping up, yes). Esther has answered the call magnificently on her blog here  and this is my contribution – I found it rather challenging, partly because I am incapable of making choices (and I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow).

1. Which series would you like to have seen a sequel of?
Strike Back. The awful execution footage was faked and John Porter returns for more derring-do adventures, looking hunky and lethal and narrow-eyed.

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2. Which film/series do you think is underrated?
Leaving aside the  missing Urban and the Shed Crew, (teeth-gnash) I would like to have seen Hannibal reach a larger audience. Richard’s skilled performance as the Great – Red – Dragon was extraordinary and showcased what a truly great,  versatile, actor he is.

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3. Your current favourite show?  Well I wouldn’t call it my favourite show but for the novelty of its relative newness, I’m still drooling through re-watches of The Stranger – despite my reservations. I am also working my way through Robin Hood on the BBC iPlayer (even though I have the DVDs)  and no doubt will do the same with Spooks (ditto). And I’m also watching Hannibal as a delayed RD5 anniversary.

4. What’s your favourite episode of your favourite show? I can’t possibly pick a favourite show but if I go with my currents, I particularly love the last episode of Hannibal for the homoerotic tussle with Will in the hotel and the lean mean Dolarhyde machine.

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5.  Least favourite episode of your favourite show?
My least favourite episodes, full stop, are those in Robin Hood and Berlin Station 3, when Richard didn’t appear,  for these are devoid of colour, filled with greyness, ashen, desolate, barren, a joyless desert.

6.  Which question would you like RA to answer in a Q&A?
Apart from why Dolarhyde signed his name as John Crane in the Brooklyn Museum visitor book (and I’m not bloody asking that again) there was one question that I really wanted to ask but can’t remember.  As a placeholder question, I would like to know if he would be prepared to live at the bottom of my garden in an Armitage hermitage. No that’s silly. In lieu of the other question I’ll ask what was the incident from his real life that was used in The Stranger. Did he lock someone in a cellar, decapitate an alpaca, bury someone in the woods? We must be told.  Update: I’ve remembered the question. In the fight scene, at the end of the Hannibal finale, which shots involved Richard and which were the double?

7. What’s the best scene ever?  I think the “He was her brother” scene in N&S takes some beating. Nicholas’s casual mention of Margaret’s brother sets in motion the gloriously happy ending.  We see the slow realisation on John’s face and the cloud lifting. Beautifully played. It breaks the tension of  us knowing something that he didn’t and misunderstood badly.

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Credit: north-and-prejudice.tumblr.com

8. Which audiobook would you like RA to read?
I’d rather watch than listen to Richard but I still bend an ear to his audiobooks, as I consume anything RA produces. I’d love to hear RA narrate more Dickens’s works. Fingersmith by Sarah Walters would be enticing.

9. Which show did you think you wouldn’t like but you did?
Strike Back. Soldiers, guns, patriotism, upholding the Establishment, no thank you. Apart from the achingly beautiful Richard, the series had more heart and depth than I expected, the storylines were gripping and RA’s emoting and comic timing were a revelation.

10. Which show did you think you would like but didn’t?
The Stranger. I wasn’t expecting Dostoevsky but I didn’t expect it to insult the intelligence of its audience. Although I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, wearing my RA goggles I really enjoyed certain ‘aspects’ – Richard was a picture of suave, beardless perfection and he gave an affecting performance.  The drama had thrills and it exposed more people to Richard Armitage,  which is fantastic and hopefully will bring him more quality work.

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11. Which episode did you watch more than five times?  I’ve watched most of Richard Armitage’s work more than five times! I don’t tend to watch episodes of the multi -series, like Spooks, Robin Hood, Berlin Station, individually as I prefer to re-watch them as a whole.  Spooks however is returning to the BBCiplayer,  now as a comforting salve of terrorism,  bombs and viruses,  to comfort the nation during the pandemic. I do love Series 7, Ep. 7, when Lucas is in Russia looking glorious. It is absolute perfection of an episode,  a nail-biting, thrilling, shocking mini film.

Credit: BBC

12. Your favourite kiss?
Hmm, which to choose? N&S obviously is one, but perhaps it is too respectful for me (RA’s kisses often seem to be chaste and reverential). I’m rather fond of ‘Pete’ and his  jawline when kissing Ros in Spooks …

Ros and Pete

but I’m going to plump for the snogs between Esther and Daniel in Berlin Station, which are passionate but often have a delicious undercurrent of ambiguity to them.

13. Favourite season finale?
I won’t be alone with this choice,  the North and South station scene. A magical, gut-wrenching, perfect conclusion, with sublime music. It is the Armitage scene that has the most emotional impact on me. Even my mother was crying and she had served during the WWII and never cried. She said afterwards, “Um, what’s the name of that actor, he was rather good!” Yes he was.

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14. Most annoying character?
I don’t find any of RA’s characters really annoying. I didn’t like Craig’s jumper in Casualty, John Standring’s hat-ted hair in Sparkhouse or The Dreaded Beard in any of RA’s guises. Grumpy Thorin would be annoying if he wasn’t so majestic. Myopic drunken sad-sack Astrov is a near contender but then he is an environmentalist and looks beautiful in a waistcoat.

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Perhaps this will count in terms of an annoying character. Something dreadful happened when I was watching episode 6 of The Stranger. When Adam went to visit Vicki, the teacher, he scratched his nose at the door.  I paused the screen to admire the magnificent Armitage downward glance and, the horror!, the freeze-frame had morphed the beautiful one into looking exactly like Mr Bean! It was the raised eyebrows as he looked up. Now I can’t un-see it. Even when I was watching his Astrov there was the occasional expression that suggested MB again. I beg you not to do the same!

That’s it for part one, thanks for reading. I’ll be back with the final 10 questions when I have the answers.

*I apologise if I’ve used any images without permission. I will credit where I can but I have no idea where some originated from. Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.

The Voice – Richard Armitage speaks

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Not only is Richard Armitage exceptionally beautiful but he is a great actor and a funny, decent, intelligent man. In fairness, with these attributes, he should really have a high-pitched squeaky voice, helium-gas high,  to add balance. But he doesn’t. The heavenly one has a rich, labia-twanging timbre, a fantastic range  from roar to whisper  – and if that isn’t enough, he is a master of accents. Capturen

I have little snippets of him speaking on my iPod alongside my music. Every time I hear one I get a little frisson of delight – and here they are, so hopefully you will too.

 

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Gasp at Daniel’s butterfly whisper of “We nearly had something, didn’t we?” from Berlin Station, series one.

Shiver at the understated menace of Raymond de Merville in Pilgrimage.

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Thrill at bad-tempered Lucas’s Russian in Spooks series seven.

And sigh when Lucas has a cravin’.

Thrill as Richard gets his tongue round Old English [me, in my dreams] in the Lords of the North.

Sorry,  I didn’t quite catch that.

Gasp at creepy Francis Dolarhyde in Hannibal, series three. Ooh! Goosepimples.

This is from one of my most cherished RA interviews. Richard is relaxed, funny, a sibilant seductive, Flirty- Gertie, I love the southerny way he says,”No” and there are traces of north-Midlands too.

Here is the interview in full:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZKm3_QGwI8

Richard Armitage says nothing

And my very favourite: I love the way he says nothing – or nothin’.

Update: And with much thanks to Anja who pointed me in the direction of a better nothing, here is a lovely northern example by our Lord of the North:

from the Lords of the North.

Tongue, Swordomy Swordery and the Lash? I don’t think I was supposed to be thinking what I thought when I heard this…

From Voices from History.

I’d love to hear your favourites.

 

Favourite Richard Armitage ‘In Character’ Images

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In her recent Armitage Weekly Round Up, Guylty included a Tumblr  post from Fizzy Custard  of  favourite R.A. ’in character’ pics. Guylty asked ’Which are yours?’
There was a flurry of responses with gorgeous examples of the captured Richard Armitage:
Esther 
Guylty’s own favourites
Mezz 
Widoedm53 
There may be more that I’ve missed.

So here’s my small selection of the Armitage characters I have lassoed and dragged to my lair. It veers off from the theme because I’ve included some screenshots, as these are some of my favourite stills of RA. I am also incapable of choosing just one of each. He is simply such an extraordinarily good-looking man who manages to look stunning in so many guises and somehow I seem to have hoarded over 4000 images of the man over the years.

Some characters are under represented here not because I like their look less, in fact they are some of my favourites, Mr Thornton, John Porter, Raymond de Merville, but because a static image doesn’t capture a shiver-inducing eye-glide or narrowing squint, glowering look or brooding head-turn. Others, like Guy, Lucas and Daniel equally make portraits of beauty.

Favourites also change with my mood but the following images consistently take my breath – and stop my heart –  the brooding, the bad and the beardless.

First up, insolent leather-clad Ricky Deeming. In one scene his look changes from a youthful and beautiful Burne-Jones-like fallen angel  to  an older knowing rather depraved looking individual, who is just as lovely.

Richard Armitage. Netgg42Image credit to the incomparable Abi and her amazing archive at richardarmitage.net.

Next Mr T.  There are not many stills of John Thornton in my collection for the reasons given above but if I have to choose two …

IMG_20171010_072500So often Armitage is shot with his face half in shadow and with the light shining on his magnificent left orb.

Credit: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/hindouxmichelin/north-south-s%C3%A9rie/
The light catches his face by a window as if painted by Vermeer.

Now some Gizz porn. Guy oh Guy – what to choose? You naughty leather-clad man.

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Pic 1: Exhausted, mean, sardonic, dissolute and devastatingly good-looking

Credit: BBC.
Pic 2: Bad, bad, and beauty rising

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Pic 3: Has anyone looked more impossibly beautiful and noble? No? I didn’t think so.

As for Lucas …

Credit: BBC
Pic 1: I love his clear eyes, light and almost greenish in the Russian sun, the scornful look and disdainful smile – all the qualities of a handsome roguish hero.

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Pic 2: One of my all-time favourites, from Series 9, Episode 2. There is something about him in this scene that struck me like a thunderbolt. It crystalises his unearthly beauty, there is his confident manner, the slight bitter smile and intense direct way he holds the eyes. His stillness. Gush.

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Pic 3: Just for the opportunity to see Lucas close-up, pore to pore, and his becoming little frown.

John Porter next. Only one pic, although he is one of my favourite characters.
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There is  something about him being animated,  as when he is tied on the cross and slowly moves his head, that just gets me. But  I love this cool look, his eyes just mean slits. The South African sun brought out a new quality in his eyes.

This is the honorary beard picture. Nearly all his other incarnations here are without that beastly appendage. I’m slightly mystified how people. fell for Richard Armitage through Thorin, what with his furry eyebrows, false nose, forehead and big beard, without knowing what gorgeous-ness lay beneath.  But he did have his moments, a penetrating look, a majestic head toss.tumblr_niug7bARb91sqzjkdo1_500
My favourite image was in the trailer for BOFA, which I’ve not been able to find in the film,  he looks blanched, bedraggled and bewildered but I love the fervent look in his eye.

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Oh I suppose he is not bad here.

And one more bearded-pic,  John Proctor.Credit: Jay Brooks
This is isn’t one of my favourite RA character looks (blame the  beard). I’m including it here because his stare is so searingly powerful, intense and he has a look of such disdain that I feel discomforted looking him in the eye but it appeals to my masochist leanings.

I wouldn’t want to meet Francis Dolarhyde in real life but Mr Evil captivates me as a fantasy drool. Apart from always being drawn to the bad character, like a moth to a flame, from an early age, I’m not sure why Mr D appeals to me so much because he was so difficult to see in the murky Hannibal but these are my three favourites ..001
Pic 1: Evil but sexy. RA’s  powerful acting is evident by the sickness he conveys in those thrillingly chilling eyes.

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Pic 2: Evilly stupendous and supremely  controlled in zipped-up leather.

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Pic 3: It seems perverse that one of my favourites pics shows my beloved RA  slaughtered in character but I am mesmerised by the beauty of this image, not least because of the flashes of flesh shown.

Berlin Station left a lot to be desired but not with Daniel Miller in series one. Clean-shaven (natch) and the noir-ish quality of the cinematography  produced dazzling  supreme Armitage and I have high hopes for The Stranger, as he seems to have a similar look. I simply can’t pick just one of these four.DsqeJ9VX4AANZIwPic 1:  This image fascinates me: his defeated, past- caring insouciance, his man-spreading, the flaunted crotch. He just looks so cool – his watchful nemesis, Mr Cat, makes me laugh too.

7cf100ec3f702eb7b533cd602ccea1dePic 2He really suits a car, don’t he?

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Pic 3:  I have a bit of a love- hate relationship with the up-turned collar. On one hand it looks affected but on the other, he looks so good. Again the shadows, black hair and one beautiful lit eye make a noir hero.

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Pic 4: Smoking hot, oh god, slain. Any of the stills from this scene showing lounging, laconic RA in black trousers, smoking, would do.

And my very favourite pic of all time. I know he is not playing that sort of character but he is in character of some sort.Credit: David VenniThud

*I apologise if I’ve used any images without permission. I will credit where I can but I have no idea where some originated from. Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.

 

 

 

 

We’re off to see the Dragon, the wonderful Dragon of RD5

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Part one here
Sunday
The day began with a terrible panic as I had lost my steward’s card and didn’t think that I could do my stint at the photo shoot. Luckily someone had handed it to one of the staff (which didn’t surprise me as the attendees were proving to be generous kind people).

The queues for photos with the guests started to form. I should have mentioned before that there were signs showing the guests’ names, indicating where people should queue. Seeing ‘Richard Armitage’ on the sign increased the anticipation, before he appeared, and I made sure to hover in his area of the room for my stewarding duties. Richard arrived, dressed similarly to before, apart from substituting his hoodie for a thin grey jumper, and took his position. But, WHAT!!!! He was now giving hugs (or arm contact anyway) to everyone he was posing with. I waved to Guylty, who was in the queue, and we then spoke excitedly about her impending hug but I still felt bitterly disappointed. What a difference a day makes. Then thought, sod it. I’ve spent so much money already, what would £45 matter. Luckily we weren’t busy so I abandoned my stewarding post and flew (I’m over 50 and over-weight, but I flew) to the other side of the hotel to buy another photograph and was just in time. Red-faced and puffing I joined the queue.

We were still told not to touch him, which contradicted his behaviour. This time I made eye-contact with a gimlet stare, so that I’d remember his expression (of resignation, no doubt), obediently stayed on my mark and my dream came true: my arm briefly round his pleather-clad , I think, waist (he felt surprisingly slight) and his hand lightly on my back. Afterwards I was tearful again. Ridiculous. What is it with this man? It was a glorious moment, a memory that will stay with me for a long time.  His change of mind/heart made me wonder what more he would have given if there had been a third day of photo shoots, a tango-style clinch or even a North & South-style snog perhaps.
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Arm dream come true
I have mixed feelings about my consuming desire to touch and be touched by Richard Armitage, which overrode any consideration for his feelings – and much has been written already about Hug-Gate. Yes he is an experienced professional. He chose to do the Con, and presumably was well paid, but that doesn’t stop me feeling uneasy about participating in a paid transaction that he wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about – the beautiful reluctant ‘gigolo’ [Joke, joke, this is a joke. I’m not seriously comparing being paid to be photographed with fans to an act of prostitution, but then again – no stop.]

Richard gave another Q&A in the afternoon and he seemed more at ease. I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask and, as the queue wasn’t long, I joined it – without a qualm. This was an astonishing thing for me to do as I can be crippled by shyness and dread public-speaking.  That I felt confident enough speaks volumes for the non-judgmental, liberating, atmosphere at the Fannibal con, and it helped that no one knew me. The first question I considered seemed so convoluted (about RA getting into character of Dolarhyde during the Hobbit promo in China) that I knew I’d make a mess of it.  It turns out that I’m quite capable of making a mess of a simple question too. When my time came, I made eye-contact and asked him why, as Dolarhyde, he had signed the name John Crane in the Brooklyn Museum register.  A question  Guylty and I had been discussing beforehand. Was it his idea because he had played so many Johns before? For a moment he looked nonplussed and then said. “It was in the book, wasn’t it?”.  Someone in the audience shouted out that it was. Then RA chided, “I’ve read the book!”
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Oh no, not another finger wagging!
Well I’ve read Red Dragon too and didn’t think it was John Crane, but couldn’t remember. I felt a right idiot. A wasted opportunity. When I spoke to Guylty afterwards, she said that it was Paul Crane in the book and she had been shouting this in the audience.

No rest for the Richard. After the Q&A, he and Mads had another autograph-signing session. It is obvious from comments RA has made in the past, that he believes in a strong work ethic. This was evident at the Con, in his patient, [stoical!], non-chatty, conscientious application of his duties and considered responses to questions.

I had two items to be signed by RA: the staggeringly sexy promotional photograph, sold at the Con, of Dolarhyde in his zipped-up black leather jacket and then Guylty’s creation, the Flat Ritchie log book, part of a wonderful fan project instigated by  her, which is travelling the world.

Queuing up for his signature, we were given pens to write our names on our autograph cards so that the guests presumably wouldn’t have difficulty spelling names etc. I toyed with the idea of writing ‘I love you’ after my name, in the hope that Richard would write it automatically without noticing (perhaps I should have written Paul Crane, ho ho).  He did anyway write an approximation of ‘Love’ for many of his autographs that weekend – it looks like ‘Lol.’ (Laugh out loud?). Presumably it’s illegible to avoid him being sued multiple times for breach of marriage promise.

 

Richard’s signature in the log-book seems to end in an ice-cream flourish

Beforehand, Kate and Guylty and I had discussed the best place for RA to sign the log. Kate sensibly suggested asking him to sign the back page as it was flat. I’ve just noticed that he signed the opposite page, avoiding the pretty patterned page.

I have alluded to the Wizard of Oz in the heading but I did feel like the Cowardly Lion approaching Oz, except that this wizard was a 6ft+ hunk not a wee man. I still tugged my forelock afterwards.

When my turned came, I passed the photo and log-book to RA’s minder for approval, expecting him to whip out a thick black marker pen and redact certain passages in the log. He passed the photo of Dolarhyde to Richard and I blurted out, “Please don’t write on your face,” my stupid sense of humour, which he sensibly but thrillingly (masochist me) ignored.  The following account was included in Guylty’s blog but, for the sake of completion, this is what happened when I asked RA to sign the log:

I wish I could recount an articulate and fascinating conversation with him. The truth is that, flustered as usual, I garbled something incoherent like “This is Flat Ritchie, he’s travelling round the world in a box. He’s been to the States twice and round Europe and we’re putting gifts in and taking them out’. He said “Ah, impressive” and then asked if he should address it to an individual or in general and I stammered, “An individual – no, in general”. I wish I had been collected enough to suggest a message. He was poker-faced,  eyes down, but when I said “It would mean the world to us if you signed it” (which he was doing anyway) he looked up and my heart stopped.

I was a bogus Fannibal at the Con. My reason for attending was solely to meet Richard so I didn’t seek out photo opportunities with the other Hannibal guests or attend many Q&As, but I did get Mads Mikkelsen’s autograph. He is a fine actor, fabulous as Hannibal, and I now admire him as a person. Watching him interacting with fans, his eyes and smile would stay on a person – even after they were walking away – and didn’t switch quickly to the next in line. The affection he showed to attendees was truly touching and he was such a good sport. When he was autographing my card, I was flustered with him too and muttered something like “You are so lovely and warm with the fans” (this wasn’t a  jibe at RA’s reserve) and Mads misheard and said “Yes, they are great” and shook my hand.

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Mad’s autograph
My last sighting of Richard was at the closing ceremony. He was sitting, a picture of awkward handsomeness, not apart on a stage but at a table with the other guests, in a very crowded but happy room of Fannibals and Armitage-loving Hannibal imposters. Each guest gave a brief farewell speech. RA spoke of people coming together from all over the world, of the camaraderie, and how he was also a misfit. He gave a shout-out to an attendee dressed as the Vicar of Dibley and two jokers who had used hotel sheets to dress as ghosts, on his suggestion for a costume. Jeremy Knight had also praised the lateral-nature of the Fannibals. And he was right. They are a lovely, inclusive, warm and generous group.  I never for a moment felt too old, too awkward, too self-conscious (except in His presence). I met two lovely fellow fans Guylty and Kate, the latter I was able to witness literally walking on air after presenting a delighted RA with Jill’s Gymkhana to sign, and I made a new friend, Debbie, a fellow steward, bogus Fannibal, and long-time Armitage fan.

Whatever RA’s reasons for attending, he gave a wonderful generous gift of closer contact with fans (which I doubt was his most relaxing experience) and I’m so grateful. If this is a facetious, even carping, account of  three memorable days in February, it is because I am unable to master or channel my intense feelings, on seeing him in the flesh, and put them into sensible words. If Richard does appear at more conventions and you are tempted to go, can afford it and are able to travel there, don’t hesitate – and I highly recommend volunteering as a steward. It was an amazing experience, a rare opportunity to be near to and observe an Object of Desire for a prolonged time. I don’t regret a second of the adventure and am still in a state of bliss.

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We’re off to see the Richard, the wonderful Richard of – um – RDC5

Part one
(Any similarities to other RDC5 accounts, i.e. by Kate and Guylty!, is entirely coincidental. Mercifully my account will diverge at various points and it won’t read so much like a version of Groundhog Day.)

Red Dragon 5 Convention? Pah! I couldn’t be seen dead there. I adore Richard Armitage’s Dolarhyde but wasn’t mad about Hannibal itself – at least not enough to attend a convention. Why had RA agreed to attend? It seemed demeaning. I wasn’t a Fannibal. I’d feel a fraud and might be uncovered and shamed in some grotesque and horrible rite. It was expensive and indulgent. But the devil [dragon?] on my shoulder started to gain the upper hand. “It’s the Armitage!”,  it muttered, “Heathrow isn’t far”. I had also unexpectedly been repaid a large bill. The Con would be a chance to get a photograph with him at last, after previous appalling attempts, and – it’s the Armitage! In person. By the time I’d decided to go, the Gold tickets had gone but there were still Regular tickets. So I bought one. Hannibal himself, Mads Mikkelsen, was announced and, for a while, Hugh Dancy, and I couldn’t wait.

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My memory isn’t good enough to relate all that RA said nor are my photography skills worth exposing. Such wonders have been archived in the RDC5 blogs of Guylty, who captured the experience so well and took wonderful photos, and Servetus who diligently harvested tweets and images. Kate also has written some great posts about RDC5.  Here are a few scattergun reminisces and thoughts of mine.

Friday
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The Con was held at the Renaissance Hotel, which was the perfect setting – the long corridors had the sinister look of those in The Shining (but then I suppose most hotel corridors do).

The first sighting of Richard was at the opening ceremony. One by one the guests came on stage, RA second before last. After some gloriously silly shadow-puppetry, foreshadowing the Red Dragon’s entrance, he appeared, not seeming as tall as expected, and, as if in character, wearing a leather jacket, black jeans and boots, with dark short hair and not too much beard (hurrah). Dolarhyde was back on stage.

shadowpuppet
Hello Dolly!

RA was absurdly handsome – of course – and looked healthier and younger than his drawn and frail appearance in photographs last year. Maybe it was the weird situation of the Hannibal con or my excited nerves but I felt uncharacteristically emotional seeing him in the same room, more so than on a previous occasion in Leeds. Perhaps it was the warm reception of the audience cheering and responding to his friendliness and good-naturedness (on stage).

Saturday
I had volunteered to steward at the event and was luckily given a slot at both the Saturday and Sunday photo sessions. This was a privileged opportunity to spend time observing the Glorious One, although I alternated between neglecting my duties to peer surreptitiously at him and then reluctantly averting my gaze because I felt like a sinister voyeur. RA was dressed in similar dark clothes to the previous day but his manner was quite different: face set, avoiding eye contact and looking stiff and uncomfortable. On stage, addressing the Fannibals, he could play to the audience, be in character; it is not the same as meeting people individually, as himself or a version of himself.

We were told that, as stewards, we could leap in to the photo queues when we saw an opportunity. What! Not queue for ages patiently? I can’t do that! I’m British! I stubbornly joined the end of the queue for Richard Armitage. We had been warned off inappropriate touching or lifting (like that was going to happen with a 6ft+ man). When near to the object of desire we found out that Richard had asked not to be hugged. This was in stark contrast to the other side of the room where other Hannibal guests, Mads Mikkelsen and Jeremy Davies, were squeezing the life out of fans and I had been looking forward to a similar bear-hug with RA. Disappointing but I can’t blame him, whatever his reasons.

When my turn came I just couldn’t look him in the eye, due to my own shyness and awareness of the disparity between my rapture and his likely discomfort.  I lurched next to the Armitage, looked at the camera, thanked him, all of it a blur.

Just as I was leaving I felt a deep voice vibrating really close to my ear as, giraffe-like, Richard had swooped down from a great height to whisper, “You stepped off the mark!”  Small crumbs, I know, but his voice was so intimate and unexpected that it shot volts through me. What had I done? Groped him by mistake?  Was it because my sleeve had ‘accidentally’ touched his? I realised later that there were taped marks on the floor to indicate where to stand.   This wasn’t the first time I had brought out the headmaster in him: at Leeds for the Urban and the Shed Crew premier I had received an admonishment from him for not taking a selfie properly and now here was another finger-wagging.

Finger wagging

 

 

 

 

 

Finger-wagging

 

I still don’t know what the implications of not standing on the mark were – a badly composed photograph or standing too near to a guest perhaps. It was too late to do anything about it anyway.

Here is one of many replica poses by RA from the photo shoot.hhhhhhh

After the photographs there was a Richard Q&A, he seemed slightly more relaxed but still rather diffident. These are the best of my shaking photos, which is not saying much.

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I love the bit of  hair sticking up at the back of his head.

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From my position RA was quite difficult to see, because of the elaborate flower crowns, so my best view was of the enlarging screen at the side.

Most of the Q &A responses have been reported elsewhere so I won’t repeat them but one of his answers struck a chord with something I’d been contemplating over the weekend, and previously. He said that during the run of the Crucible his face changed considerably (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde came to mind) until at the end he thought that he had aged 10 years. He said that when he met Yael Farber in New York later she didn’t recognise him (presumably his youthful looks had sprung back). Having the opportunity to gaze at his ever handsome but mellow features, I could see few vestiges of Lucas, Guy, Thornton etc, Daniel even – although of course he was still playing a role of sorts at the convention.

 

So different: John, Lucas, Guy, Daniel and John, with Richard
I know RA had different hair, lighting etc in these roles and he is older now but not to the degree of making it difficult to believe he is the same man inhabiting these roles. It shows what a truly remarkable actor he is. The many faces of Richard Armitage was further brought home later in my hotel room. Not being able to resist watching the Hobbit for the hundredth-millionth time I marvelled at the strangeness of watching the distanced, filmed, performance of a heavily made-up Armitage in New Zealand when he was in reality at the hotel that weekend.

When the Q&A ended and we were filing out, the screen curiously started showing images of Guy of Gisborne, rather than Dolarhyde, so I had stay and watch.

It’s not like working in a coal mine but these conventions must still be hard work. The Saturday involved hundreds of small interactions with fans during the photo shoots; next came the Q&As then, very soon after, Richard and Mad’s autograph session, which took nearly three hours. The guests must have been exhausted. I certainly felt tired and emotional.

Part two to follow ...

Make yourself at home, Flat Ritchie

Lucas

Good things have all come at once. There was a wonderful surprise waiting for me at  home on Wednesday. The international jet setter Flat Ritchie had come to visit. Then, after parched months with only ears being treated to the magnificent one, it’s raining visual man – Armitage at Sundance.  And there will be Red Dragon con next weekend.

But first, I have to be a good host to FR. I’m not brave enough to include a video as Michelle did so I’m incognito.

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My hair is really like this

And thanks so much Michelle for the kind extra present – I’m wearing part of it (not the candle).

It was nostalgic opening the box as it reminded me of the excitement on Christmas morning finding a pillowcase full of presents and tearing open all the packages. It also brought back memories of the terrifying responsibility of looking after the school gerbil for the weekend. What if I accidentally sit on the shrine or spill wine over the log book?

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It was particularly touching looking at this, it is a beautiful object made with such detail and care by Guylty.  The messages reveal such warmth in our community.

And photos don’t do justice to the  exquisite little shrine, not helped by my truly woeful photography skills and wonky placement of the candles.

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There were so many tempting things in the box and I wanted to possess all the RA items, so it was hard choosing.

But  I didn’t think twice about grabbing a new addition to my Christmas tree, the Gisbauble.

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And I couldn’t part with the postcards of the shrines, in particular the shiny images of Messrs Gisborne, Porter and Dolarhyde.img_20190126_183252

I love the little details such as the stamp on the back and the RA quote, “My recipe for life? Treat others as you would want to be treated. And lots of chocolate ice cream.

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It would have been greedy taking more RA stuff so I chose this little notebook as it appeals to the old Goth in me.
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It will be time soon to send the box on its way, and it does contain a few more items than the official three, as I kept spotting things that caught my eye or made me giggle. It’s been really good fun, being part of a link spreading RA joy around the world. Here’s to the next recipient – and apologies if she has to struggle to open the impenetrable box because of my over-cautious wrapping.

Shy Richard Armitage lurker lured out by Guylty’s A to Z challenge

Lucas

Guylty's Fan A to Z

Continued …

Part One and Two are here:

Hello here are my final responses to Guylty’s A to Z Challenge. I’ve really enjoyed completing the challenge and reading the contributions by everyone – the differences and similarities in our answers were fascinating. It also gave me the opportunity to articulate my thoughts about Richard Armitage for the first time. Such stimulating questions – so thanks Guylty.

R. OTPS – what’s your favourite pairing? Aside from John and Margaret in N&S, Esther Klug and Daniel Miller’s relationship in Berlin Station has convincing tension, passion, and chemistry. I’m looking forward to seeing if/ how it develops.

Mina Tander and Richard Armitage
Mina and Richard

S. What actor would you like to see him paired with in the future? Romola Garai is a wonderful sensitive actor so I do hope that Bridget Cleary will still be made. I would be thrilled for Richard if he acted with Elizabeth Moss as he has spoken of his admiration for her. The real or imagined romance between RA and Lee Pace was a glorious and much-missed (by me) fancy so an on-screen relationship with them would have been amazing – but unlikely. I’ll plump for Sean Bean who is finally getting accolades for his acting. He has a similar understated sensibility to RA, so they would be great paired together as maybe a couple of sparring northern brothers or cat-and-mouse protagonists.

T. First thing ever contributed to a fandom? Does a birthday message to RA on richardarmitage.net count? The second was this rather freaky Frankenstein mash-up, in ‘Virgin Media Magazine’ from April  2013, which I sent to Ali at ‘.net’.

Richard in Virgin Media magazine April 2013
Frankenrichard

U. Have you added anything stupid etc to the fandom? I see Richard’s likeness everywhere, in literature, sculpture, paintings and in ventriloquist dummies it seems, so I did tweet this picture from Channel Four’s Friday Night Dinner, that reminded me of John Thornton.

 

 

An uncanny likeness

V. Your favourite fan artist/ author gives you one request? There have been some astonishing representations of RA but generally I prefer the real thing (i.e. photographs, film or better still in the flesh). The hyper-real photographs by Ann Boudreau are fantastic and cleverly done, so maybe I’ll ask for a new character to be given her special treatment.

Richard Armitage - credit: Ann Boudreau
Yes, even with the beard

WA prompt or AU for a piece of fan art/fiction? RA being dastardly, potent and sexy in a tricorn hat.

X. Is there a fellow fan who got you into delurking or convinced you to contribute? Guylty again – for inspiring this blog! She may have opened Pandora’s Box.

Y. Choose a work of art or song that reminds you of RA
Typically I have more than one: the unearthly beautiful androgynous men painted by Edward Burne-Jones remind me of RA, in particular as Guy and particularly in the painting, The Beguiling of Merlin, c.1875.

 

 

I’m also struck how similar this pose of RA, as the Red Dragon in Hannibal, looks to The Ghost of a Flea, c.1820, by Richard’s constant screen muse, William Blake.

 

 

Z. A chaRActer headcanon you have? I’m not sure that I properly understand this term. If I could use his persona, rather than a character, then I like to think that he has a wicked streak and prefer not to see my fantasy figure in this sense emasculated or made dad-sy. I did enjoy reading (as others did) a sado-masochistic side into the relationship between the Sheriff of Nottingham and Gisborne,  why, I don’t know – “Kiss my ring”, still makes me laugh.

Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham Robin Hood BBC
Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham together

Thank you for reading

Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.

 

 

Shy Richard Armitage lurker lured out by Guylty’s A to Z challenge

Guylty's Fan A to Z

Continued …

Part One is here:

Hello, here is my response to K to Q of Guylty’s challenge.

K. Have you met RA Have you got a photo to share? What did you say to him? I’ve been lucky enough to meet him twice. The first time was after a performance of The Crucible where, sitting together in front row seats, my companion had mortified me by reading the programme from cover to cover, noisily turning the pages, throughout the performance instead of watching the play – and Richard was only a few feet away.  Afterwards I joined the queue at the stage door. At my turn, RA seemed to give me a surprised look (I was paranoid that he thought I’d been the one absorbed in the production notes but he was probably just shell-shocked from his performance). He signed my programme and said something like “Aw, God bless!” in response to me saying how much I’d enjoyed his performance.  This was my best attempt in my nervousness at photographing his face (unsuccessfully – it shows his torso and hand – but it was the highest shot of his body that I took).

Richard Armitage
Richard Armitage’s face

I was so flustered that afterwards I was very nearly killed, near the Old Vic, crossing the busy road when the lights were red.

I also met him, with some lovely fellow RA appreciators, in Leeds at the Sunday afternoon showing of ‘Urban‘. Richard arrived looking tall, thinner than expected and incredibly handsome.  We all shuffled fixatedly towards him like zombies in Night of the Living Dead.  It was Remembrance Sunday and he asked if anyone had a poppy and someone happily gave him a poppy pin. These are some photos I took of him when I was near, ones that are almost in focus and don’t have my thumb obliterating his face through nerves and excitement.

 

 

 

 

[I’ve cropped some people out of these images for their privacy but happy to provide images if required. I think that’s Candida Brady peeping above the phone in the bottom-left image.]

Eventually, he turned the full power of his laser-gaze upon me. He was kind but treated me rather as though I had a learning disability (understandably in the circumstances). I mumbled that I was having problems with my phone for the selfie, as my hands were shaking. He said, “No no, you don’t want to do it like that, you’ll be taking the people in front!” and pointed at the phone settings. He then said something like “That’s right” or “There you go”, or even “There, there,” when I took the photo with him. He stood with his hands resolutely fixed behind his back, rather than clutched tightly around my waist, which I would have preferred (not that I’m complaining, it was wonderful just being near him). We were a large crowd and he gave time to everyone he could until we all had to go in for the film.

When I saw the selfie later it was just of me so, in effect, I’d asked Richard to stand next to me while I took a photo of myself. This was when I contacted Guylty, who had been there, to ask if she might have taken photos of RA that might have included me and gave her a description. She pointed me in the direction of some images that others had posted online – and I found a couple. I’m determined to get a good photo with him one day.

L. What would be a deal-breaker ? I can’t think of anything he could say or do that would be a deal-breaker unless in the unlikely event he became a fire-and-brimstone religious zealot, made racist comments or had far-right views. Pre-Thorin, I would have said growing a beard but that hasn’t put me off – although it is crime to hide his magnificent jaw-line.

Richard Armitage's magnificent jaw-line
Magnificent jaw-line

Perhaps, if by some strange twist of circumstance, he turned out to be a long-lost brother  but even then I’m not sure that would put me off …

M. Russian, German, French – which was best? I don’t know enough Russian or German to tell if Richard does these well. His French is good, with the odd inaccuracy. I love hearing him speak other languages:  Raymond de Merville speaking Franglais and Lucas’s Russian are particularly seductive.

N. Which accent /language would you like to hear RA speak in a future role? I’m hoping for some Hungarian in Berlin Station but I do miss his British accent, particularly his northern accent, and have a soft spot for the way he says ‘Nothin’.

O. Casual RA or dressed to the nines? In leather! (Actually I like both styles, as long as he isn’t too fussily dressed.)

P. RA on big screen or TV? I’ll take either in preference to audio or animation. He’s obviously larger on the big screen but there’s usually not so much of him quantity-wise. I miss the exciting anticipation of seeing him, week after week, in a TV series where he appears in many scenes, so roll on Berlin Station.

Q. Third season of Berlin Station or not? So yes, although it is far from perfect. I found the tone of the second season really quite disturbing in that it gave the far-right characters an easy ride. They also don’t seem to know what to do with the Daniel Miller character. It has been ill-defined so far and so I can’t grasp what it is supposed to be (perhaps this was a problem with the different directors) but he was as stunning as he has ever been in the first season – heart-stoppingly so.

Richard Armitage in Berlin Station

Drop-dead beautiful

Daniel Miller Berlin Station
Heart-stopping

The beard tempered my enthusiasm somewhat in the second season, and I’m resigned to its appearance in the third. That said, I can’t wait to see Berlin Station. I do worry though, as others do, that his commitment is preventing him taking better roles.

To be continued.

Please let me know if I have used any of your images and I will either remove them or credit.

Thank you for reading.