Mania: Now, I understand (Thoughts about the Beatles and Richard Armitage)


Imagine it's "The Hobbit" premiere. Will we feel so very different?

courtesy of

When I was a little girl, the British Invasion was underway. I remember my oldest sister had a wallet-sized rectangular photo of the Beatles. It was in black and white, with a conspicuous pink lip print across it (I think she might have used her Pepsi-flavored lippie when she gave John, her favorite Beatle, a big kiss. I preferred Paul). I wonder if she still has that photo somewhere? Never mind, our affection for the Beatles and their music is undiminished.  A classic is a classic is a classic. And the songs of the Beatles are modern classics.

I can't help feeling sorry for these poor Bobbies. You can't keep an ardent fangurl back for long.

I know exactly how she feels. What I suspect I would look like(inside my head, at the very least) if I ever got to see RA up close and personal.
(Beatles fan photos courtesy of

At age five, I saw the images of girls at the Fab Four’s concerts and public appearances screaming and fainting, trying to scramble over barriers and push past police officers; girls thudding and squeeing and fan-gurlling in a major sort of way. Even Elvis, whose debut on Ed Sullivan was before my time, wasn’t as huge as the four lads from Liverpool, it seems. Even in a world without the internet, Facebook, Twitter and the like, you pretty much had to live under a rock not to know about the latest British import. I liked their music, but I thought those grown-ups had gone a bit bonkers to behave that way. Even when I hit my teens, I wasn’t one to pour over endless copies of Tiger Beat magazine, plaster my walls with posters of celebs or squee alot. Much too mature for that, don’t you know.

I actually do know someone who attended the Beatles’ famous 1965 concert in Shea Stadium in New York. Burke “Sweetie” McFerrin, our retired public librarian, was there. Sweetie called it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am sure that if I ever get to see Richard in the flesh, to actually get to see him perform on stage, I will find it just as memorable as Sweetie found her concert. Just the thought of it makes my heart beat a little faster.

courtesy of

I ask myself, would I be able to keep the excitement, the pure exhilaration of the moment from sweeping me away? I noticed that the Beatles’ fangurlz often ended up crying, sobbing aloud. I once scoffed at such behavior. But if tears came to my eyes the first time I saw Paris in person–and they did–wouldn’t seeing the lovely, dazzling, wonderful Richard Armitage in person likely bring me to cry?

As RA (and The Hobbit) Mania takes hold, can tattoos featuring Thorin and his band be far behind? Although I personally draw the line at getting a tattoo.

(I should add that thought of crying slightly terrifies me, as I cry with my whole head. Seriously. Tears from my eyes, nose, running and drool dripping from the corner of my mouth.  If my ears could weep, they’d be at it, too. Not a pretty sight.)

Perhaps I wouldn’t cry, but would I be able to string together a coherent sentence? Or keep a silly grin off my face? Would I be able to stop talking about it for days, weeks afterwards?  Would I be able to maintain my middle-aged, respectable southern lady dignity? Heck, would I even care? And I am not necessarily talking about meeting him face to face–just being in the same theatre with him, watching him on stage, very possibly from the nose-bleed section, yet knowing I was in the presence of greatness.

Richard signs autographs for fans lining the red carpet at the BAFTAs. Photo by Koolkat.

Some of you have actually met Mr. A, if only briefly, gotten his autograph, taken a photo with him, perhaps even had a short conversation.  Did you feel as if you maintained your composure well?  How did/do you think you would react?

When Thorin arrives in mid-December, larger-than-life and in 3D, no less, I suspect the reaction will rock me to the core.  I may retain reasonable composure on the exterior. But inside? I’ll be just like those squeeing, thudding, sobbing young ladies seen above.

Because the RA Invasion will have arrived. And my particular brand of Richard Armitage-induced mania will well and surely kick in.

Beatles Concert Ticket

Will you save your The Hobbit tickets for posterity? Beatles Concert Ticket (Photo credit: b.reynolds)

25 responses »

  1. Actually, that screaming mob mess was my plan for when The Hobbit premieres!
    This is a really good comparison. I’m not sure how I would really respond and I’ve actually been considering if I’d fly somewhere for the premiere. It’s all really cRAzy for me. I never would have thought of comparing it to the Beatles.

    • Thanks! Well, I compared Guy to Elvis, I suppose I can compare the Armitage Effect to Beatlemania. 😉 I really wish I could be with some other fans when it premieres. It would be great to be at the Hollywood or NYC premiere with a group of fellow fans (I really don’t think I would be able to make it to NZ. Until my injury heals well enough and I can become gainfully employed again, it’s not likely I will go anywhere further than a multiplex with 3D capabilities in Montgomery, 45 minutes away). I have been feeling an unusual surge of creative thought of late. Blame it on the TDHBEW. 😀

    • The people who run have mentioned they are thinking of putting together a special trip for the NZ premiere in December. They will also probably list all the premiere dates and cities once it is decided. 🙂

  2. I registered with gravatar so that I can have a smiling Portah pic next to my name, but that means from now on I’ll be commenting as “jhezser” and not Judit. Ah well. The things you do to have a gorgeous avatar.. I was a HUGE Beatles fan (admittedly in the 80s and not in the 60s) but I could never quite understand that state of hysteria those girls worked themselves into. I always felt rather embarassed for them! And very sorry for the boys.. I mean it MUST have been scary! Can you imagine what would have happened had those crazed fangirls managed to get to them? They would have been trampled to death! For me, it’s just taking things a bit too far.

    • Yes, I noticed your lovely gravatar earlier. 😀 Sure, it seems crazy to us, and I am very glad the over-excited fans never got to the guys (nor would I want poor Richard to have his clothes ripped off, which is what I suspect would have happened to the Fab Four) and yet–I do understand, at least to a certain degree, how they FEEL, whereas I never really did before. Because I never ardently admired any other performer in the way that I do Richard. No one ever got to me in the same way he does. However, I do think Richard’s fans are by and large very well-behaved (at least in public ;)) considerate and respectful, so I don’t think people going hog wild in the manner we see in those photos is likely. I think we have some restraint. Maybe. 😉

      I do suspect things are going to change for him somewhat once The Hobbit is released. He is going to have to get more accustomed to being “known.” Although he is also good at staying under the radar . . . time will tell.

      • Yes, Portah in full charm offensive mode, isn’t he just breathtaking? Far be it from me to judge those girls, I know what it’s like to be so excited about something that you just lose the grip on yourself! 🙂 As far as talking to RA would go, I KNOW I wouldn’t be able to say a single word if I met him in person. Back in 2001 my friend and myself went to see Ralph Fiennes in “Coriolanus” at the Almeida Theatre in London. My friend was a bit of a fan of Ralph (not a crazy crazy fan mind you) so she wanted to get his autograph and a picture with him. There was quite a crowd waiting for him at the exit after the play. When he finally emerged (he was completely covered in blood at the end of the play so I suspect it took him AGES to clean up) he came over and chatted to a lot of the fans for quite a while except us, because we could NOT get out a single bloody word! We got the autograph and the picture of course, but no coherent sentence was uttered, despite the fact that we weren’t crushing on him or obsessed with him! Funny thing is we WOULD have had something to talk about with him as he’d just finished shooting Sunshine in Hungary with István Szabó. We were just too shy to say anything really and watched the Japanese girls enviously who (unlike us) were having no difficulties whatsoever chatting to him about God knows what! 🙂

          • I don’t like any actor as much as Richard either! 🙂 Back then, Ralph was almost considered an “honorary Hungarian” due to his roles as Count Almasy in The English Patient and of course, Sunshine. He learned some Hungarian sentences for the Press conferences for Sunshine and of course that went down very well. 🙂 He was friendly and patient with the fans when we saw him after Coriolanus, despite the fact that he must have been exhausted as it was a very physically demanding role.

            • I loved The English Patient but darn it, so many people DIE in it, I can’t watch it too often. 😦 Good to hear the fans had a positive stage door experience with Ralph. As you say, that’s the kind of role that puts you through the ringer, so props for him behaving like a gent.

  3. I’ll be content with living the premiere vicariously through anyone lucky enough to attend it in NZ or elsewhere (hopefully someone will post a report) unless Richard turns up in Melbourne! Just getting to finally see him in The Hobbit on the big screen is going to be thrilling enough for me, I don’t think I could handle anything more exciting than that! As it is, I have a horrible feeling I’m going to be a blubbering mess. I tend to cry when I’m really happy and overwhelmed.

    • As I mentioned in the post, I also tend to cry not only when sad or distressed, but also when simply overwhelmed with emotion of the good kind. Hence me tearing up as we drove through Paris . . .

  4. I have always said that if I were to meet Mr. A, I would NOT freak out. EXcept that may be what I wish I would do and not necessarily how things would turn out. It is possible that I would be a blubbering fool.

    I would most definitely do a premiere in NY or even LA. I would have done NZ but now I have made plans for the fall and won’t be able to go on another loooong and expensive trip like that. But if any of you fangurly’s are up to attending a premiere together, it would be great fun.

    • If I were single I would be heading to NZ, all things falling into place, but somehow I don’t think I could talk hubby into going, or being happy with me going by myself. He’s a wonderful man, but blissfully RA-ignorant, so trying to explain why I want a trip to NZ for a movie premiere would be very difficult!

  5. I’m a little afraid that I’ll cry my way through The Hobbit, at least the first time. Just seeing RA on film makes me a little crazed! And after this drought of new things from Richard, oh boy! Last night, my dad, with whom I first saw the LoTR’s with, said “When you’re home for Christmas we can see The Hobbit!” I gulped! Will I be able to see this film without making an idiot of myself, in front of my Dad no less! No one in my family know’s about this addiction! I would get teased endlessly!!

    I imagine if I ever saw him in real life I would loose my cool! I would like to speak with him like an intelligent human being, but I think I’d just stare at him with a stupid smile on my face and maybe tears streaming down my cheeks!

    Even though I’ve always loved their music, I’ve always thought those Beatle’s fans were totally off their rockers! Now I am in complete sympathy!

    • I am not nearly as judgmental of hyped-up fans. I still hope I wouldn’t behave in that way–and I don’t think I would–but as I said, I empathize with their feelings.

      MY BIL teases me about RA but I just let it roll off my back. 😉 But I also understand worrying about how you will react to seeing him and how your family would react to your reactions. 😉

  6. Re. “However, I do think Richard’s fans are by and large very well-behaved (at least in public ) considerate and respectful, so I don’t think people going hog wild in the manner we see in those photos is likely. I think we have some restraint. Maybe.” Many of us have had long enough careers, I believe, that the *squee* reflex is under tight control, even with severe provocation. Uder our mental titanium corsets, we may be turning to hot marshmallow goo, but we remain coherent and courteous, if not scintillating conversationalists.

    I went to a Beatles concert live and I hated it. The screaming was so loud, it was impossible to hear the music!

  7. I admit I almost lost all sense and reason when I saw him at the BAFTA red carpet do…… I do remember explaining to this nice woman from Sweden how RA was good to his supporters and I think I may have recruited her (she said she would check out his work) I’m not sure I will ever live it down with my two daughters but I say what the heck we only live once.
    I fear i may have to see the Hobbit alone because i shall be a bundle off nerves i stressed out over the press conference.
    I’m wondering how many times I can see the film before my family think I’m bonkers.

    • Sapphire, I am sure you weren’t the only one to almost “lose all sense and reason” . . . hey, you even managed some recruiting, good on you! 😉 Sometimes you just have to say carpe diem and go for it! 😀

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