Monthly Archives: March 2012

His dark night of the soul . . .

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The interplay of light and shadow falling across the elegant planes of that face, his pale visage framed by a tangle of raven locks, eyes large and luminous, the glimmer of pain and sorrow evident even in the darkness of his surroundings. He looks like a subject that some old master would seek to capture on canvas. A dark angel from whom we do not wish to ever look away . . . a soul in anguish, haunted by past sins.  Lost, but capable of redemption. Alone, but about to find a friend . . .


 

Poll: Who is your favorite RA “bad boy?” (Choose up to three)

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I will never ask you what your least liked Richard Armitage characters are, because honestly, there is something I appreciate about each and every one of them and it sort of hurts my feelings to think of any of them being rejected, yes, even Heinous Heinz.  (This is no slam at Ali and the recent poll at Richard Armitage Net; hey, after a while and especially with an RA drought, you run out of ideas!)

But I am curious as to which of Richard’s  dodgy/rebellious/amoral/ criminal characters is your favorite, and why? I will even let you choose three.

Richard Armitage loves the baddies. And he keeps me from hating them.

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Richard Armitage has said he is not interested in playing floppy-haired heroic types (but, darn it, Rich, we love your floppy tresses!) and when he does play heroes, he looks for their dark side. After all, perfection would be a bit–boring, would it not?

He loves playing the bad guys, and he’s so very good at it.  Because just as he looks for the dark side in the heroes, he also seeks the humanity, the light, no matter how dim, within his darker characters.  And he always finds it. It makes all the difference in how I respond to characters like Paul Andrews, John Mulligan, Robert Lovelace , Heinz Kruger or my beloved Sir Guy of Gisborne.

John Mulligan--"Could you be a devil? Could you be an angel?"
In RA's hands, you are one complex, charismatic baddie.

I find myself unable to completely despise any of the cads, rogues, heinous henchmen or sinister spies he has played thus far. I may reject many of their actions and attitudes and find elements of their characters revolting; still, that glimpse of humanity, that sometimes subtle-yet-discernible struggle between good and evil, allows me to identify with them and empathize in a way I rarely do with other actors when playing the same types of roles.

Heinz, you are a saboteur and a murderer. And yet--I feel the need to know more about why you chose this path rather than immediately condemning you. Would I feel the same if another actor had played the role? Would I even care?

I have asked myself, “Is it because, as Lucy Griffiths quipped on one of the RH commentaries,  Richard makes  ‘such a good-looking murderer?'”

Is it Richard’s beauty and charisma blinding me to the characters’ flaws that keeps me from despising the baddies?  I honestly don’t think so.  I clearly see these are flawed, damaged, sometimes amoral and dangerous men who also happen to possess great looks and considerable charm.  The latter qualities certainly can make them easier on the eye and soften one up a bit.

Sir Guy: vain, temperamental, hungry for wealth and power, the evil Vasey's henchman who has killed and tortured for the sheriff. And yet. We also see his vulnerability, his naivety, his aching need for love, his ability to show courage and chivalry.

Still, it’s what is going on inside these characters that ultimately makes them so compelling for me.  It’s that glimmer of light inside the darkness. It’s wondering where they came from, what molded them into the men they have become and what lies ahead of them. In Sir Guy’s case, it was longing for that redemptive arc, for him to become the good man, the hero we knew he was capable of being. Before Richard, could we imagine a Sir Guy of Gisborne we’d actually prefer over the titular hero of the show?

A baddie in Richard’s hands becomes a three-dimensional, fully-fleshed-out character, a real human being with a mind, a heart and soul. And knowing they are created with such detail and dedication by  this wonderful actor, who works so hard to breath life into each one, makes me appreciate them all, good, bad, and something somewhere in-between.

So, Richard. Maybe what we need is a complex anti-hero role where you start out a baddie, end up a goodie, get the girl and survive past the final credits?  Angst, danger, brooding, romance, heroism and ultimately a happy ending. What do ya think?

"Hmmmm. Better shop that sort of scenario around to some scriptwriters . . ."

Here’s to the Painters of Light & Luminous Smiles

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Berthe Morisot by Edouard Manet-1872

Berthe Morisot by Edouard Manet-1872 (Photo credit: kamikazecactus)

Claude Monet : Rue St Denis, Fête du 30 juin 1878

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Claude Monet’s painting of Rue Saint-Denis on the National Holiday

Several of you have mentioned you share my affection for Richard’s portrayal of the great Impressionist artist Claude Monet and the Impressionist School. Today, when we look at the paintings of Monet, RenoirBazille, Morisot and their fellow artists, we see many pretty, luminous pictures filled with shimmering color.

'La Lecture," a charming painting by Berthe Morisot, a prominent female Impressionist.

Renoir's delightful rendering of "The Boating Party."

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Frédéric Bazille
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Frédéric Bazille (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of the painter Claude Monet

Portrait of the painter Claude Monet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monet's love for capturing the beauty of flowers and water is shown in his many paintings of waterlilies.

But we mustn’t forget this group was revolutionary, downright radical for the times. These artists chose to escape from the rigid confines of the studio and Biblical/mythological subjects to paint ordinary people doing ordinary things such as frolicking at boating parties, enjoying a good book, bathing a child.

They didn’t just paint hired artists’ models; their friends, family and fellow painters were also their subjects. These artists put farmers’ fields of haystacks and flower-strewn meadows with picnicking families on canvas.

They sought and found the extraordinary beauty in the everyday as they strove to be “painters of light.”

Above you see a portait of Claude (is it just me, or does his real hair look like a darker versions of early John Standring?) and of course, I cannot leave out  Monsieur Monet as depicted by the incandescent Richard Armitage . . . sometimes a girl just needs a little artistry in her life.

My husband just reminded me I’m not British . . .

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And I really DO know I am American. I don’t go swanning around using my faux posh bird accent when I pop into the Piggly Wiggly.

I still feel a true swell of pride in the old USA when I sing The Star-Spangled BannerEven after repeated trips to Mt. Rushmore, I would still feel a tear come to my eye  And I say “ya’ll” which is definitely an Americanism of the southern persuasion.

However, I was speaking earlier this evening of a television production on one of the premium channels that had been renewed for a second series.
He cast a gimlet eye at me. “Here in this country we say second season, dear.” Oops.

I suppose he expects his ladywife to start talking of car boot sales, riding on lifts, minding the gap whilst on the Tube and tossing a spanner into the works. Not to mention enjoying a cuppa, having a proper kip, or talking about how many stone I want to shed. Getting my fringe trimmed, varnishing my toenails and avoiding getting my knickers into a twist. And, OK, sometimes I use British spellings instead of American spellings. Doesn’t make me a disloyal American, now, does it?

I have mentioned to him that quite a few of my RA friends are, not surprisingly, British, not to mention the Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians. And a number of other nationalities who studied British English rather than American-style. And I try to write fanfics/fiction with English characters using British spellings and phrases because it seems the proper thing to do.

The fact is, I love my country but I also love England and have since I was a child. I eagerly read stories set in England (one called The Snowstorm by Beryl Netherclift was a particular favorite) and devoured my older sisters’ Agatha Christie mysteries, Jane Eyre, Daphne DuMaurier’s works and assorted and sundry gothic novels, many by British authors.

And then there were the imported British television and films. I started watching Masterpiece Theatre when I was nine or ten–Upstairs, Downstairs, Poldark, and many other British productions over the years. The summer before my 10th birthday, my older sister went overseas as an exchange student for six weeks. She spent four of those six weeks in England, studying at Oxford–was it Balliol or Christchurch? Sis, help me out!–and visiting various places on the weekends.

Christchurch College, Oxford. A sight familiar to my sister's eyes. Or was it Balliol?

I eagerly awaited those blue and white air mail letters and faithfully wrote back each week in those days long before emails. I loved her descriptions of the cities and towns and countryside, the food (she missed ice-cold Cokes, American hamburgers and Hershey bar chocolates) and the people. I knew that one day I wanted to visit there, too, this country I had explored in books, short stories and films.

I got that chance in 1999 with a small group of students. So much of what I saw in London, Canterbury and the surrounding countryside seemed ever so familiar to me.  Of course, these were places I had read about, heard about, seen before in photographs, films and TV; but it was more than that. I felt curiously at home there, as if I had been there before. My sister, who has been back several times, says the same thing.

We speculate that it is some sort of imprint on our genetic memory.  Our ancestors–Irish, English and Scottish–came from the United Kingdom. So perhaps it’s in our blood–or at least, our genes. And now I find myself totally gobsmacked by this brilliant Brit actor who is dead sexy and can act his cotton socks off.

My favourite actor, Richard Crispin Armitage.

Little wonder I am such a thorough Anglophile.  It’s the company I keep. And I love it!

Guy Candy, y’all! *cause I’m a southern gal*

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It really IS the Beauty and the Beast, isn’t it? The Terrible and Treacherous Troll and the Hunky Hotter-Than-Hell Henchman. Lovin’ that pose, Sir Guy!

“Oh, no. The Fangurlz are about to descend on us. You might want to disappear, Bobbin, or they will trample you trying to get to me.”

Oh, Guy--you are so very gorgeous.

Sir Guy, you can rescue me and take me home any old time you want . . .

He’s come a long way, baby . . .

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The idea of being considered a sex symbol may be ridiculous to Richard, but like it or not, that is what our lovely fella has morphed into–a classy, elegant, thinking-woman’s sex symbol.

We talk about “guilty pleasures” but I don’t feel guilty in finding pleasure in my adoration of Mr. A. It simply shows I have the Good Taste Gene.

And look at all that I have learned, the friendships I have made and the adventures I have taken through watching/listening to his performances. And so much, I am sure, lies ahead . . . I can hardly wait.

The Beanpole with the Big Mouth and the Hooter He Yet to Grow Into . . .


In his Cold Feet days . . . definitely morphed into the sexy hunk . But wait! It gets better . . .

He dazzles at one of his earlier red carpet appearances.

Middle-aged? Yes. And also sexier than ever!

 

Richard Armitage: proof that some things do get better with age. An ever more brilliant actor, going from strength to strength, a lovely human being–generous, kind and thoughtful– and one very attractive man.  It’s just marvy to have the GTG!

 

 

 

 

Aside

“He’s got eyes of the bluest skies,

as if they thought of rain,

I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain~

He’s got a smile that it seems to me

reminds me of childhood memories

where everything was fresh as the bright blue sky . . .”

Sheryl Crowe’s version of the Guns n’ Roses song is now downloaded on my iTunes.

I think it will work for that “sweet child of ours” RA, don’t you?

A new video is bubblin’ in my head . . .

Out-of-control Armitage? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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Here’s a quote I found on Caroline’s Tumblr site, recycledvinyl. I have read it before, but Richard’s quotes, like everything else about him, are worth a second, and third, and fourth–well, you know–read/look/listen.

“Do you know what I really love? I love skiing. I love the headlong rush. Because I have this love-hate relationship with control. The good moments, the best moments, are when I’m out of control.”

First of all, I am imagining Richard slipping those ski goggles into place, then setting off down the slope, his tall figure graceful as always, strong thighs flexing as he pivots and bends, a look that mixes focus with sheer exhilaration on his face, cheekbones flushed in the cold . . . it’s a sight I would love to see. Although the mother hen part of me also thinks, “Oh, do be careful, darling. Don’t break one of those beautiful legs!”

And even though I am a born klutz and would likely manage to break my neck on the bunny slopes if I attempted to ski, I can certainly see the appeal and the excitement of “danger sports,” as Richard refers to them.

And then the thought hits me. “Richard. Out of control.” Oh dear.

Now, why do I find that thought so—-arousing? Must be the Spring FeveRA hitting me again.

"I did say my ideal woman had a bit of a naughty side, didn't I?"

(screencap RANet, ski images by Google Images)

Well, there you go . . .

Blue Monday with our blue-eyed boy

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Those beautiful blue eyes of his are so expressive, aren’t they? Tenderness, desire, yearning, fear, introspection, concern, anger, frustration, adoration . . . it’s all there in those bottomless blue eyes.

What people are reading: top posts at TAE

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The Handsome Stranger surrounded by stacks of books as he meets his new neighbors in the eccentric village of Dibley. A funny, sweet, sexy fellow who also loves a good read. My kind of man.  (VoD screencap courtesy of Richard Armitage Central)

I have mentioned in previous posts  the countries where the blog has the highest number of hits and those readers who most  frequently comment. I thought you might also be interested in knowing what the overall most read posts are, so here we go!

Not surprisingly, the home page comes in at number one. Number two is A glimpse at young Armitage, followed by the F3 post, Fanfiction goin’ mainstream; the Paul Andrews BTS post; my essay on my fascination with RA,  Why Richard Armitage?; Guy’s F3 interview with LadyWriter on Sloth Fiction; I’m Just Crazy about Thorin . . . More Pics. More Thoughts; Up close with Luscious Lucas and a shakin’ spy vid; Be Dionysian with the TDHBEW:TAE Word for the Day Pt.2, and Marian, you’re an idiot.

Thank goodness Sir Guy made it into the top ten, or I would have never heard the end of it, I fear.

 
As for lovely Lucas, ahhh–we certainly haven’t forgotten him. Like our other beloved chaRActers, Lucas was Loved Into Being and now has SND status.

The Paul Andrews post actually has the most comments, I believe, of any posts. Nothing like a little controversy to get folks talking. It will be interesting to see which stories come out on top when TAE celebrates its first anniversary in February 2013.

A really lazy Sunday with LadyBlogger and some woozy Guy

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LadyBlogger (as dear Carla has dubbed me)  has had a very, very lazy day. As in studying the inside of her eyelids a LOT.  Mr. LadyBlogger has done the same, it seems, at the other end of the house. A certain fuzzy feline named Puddin’ has kept him company, whilst a charming calico has curled up with her mom.

Poor ol’ Puddie and I both have allergies, and her lovely green eyes are tearing up today just like her mama’s (like mother, like daughter?) If they itch as much as mine have been doing, I truly commiserate.  Ah, Spring! Beautiful, beautiful but it does have its downside. At any rate, this household seems to be channeling a drugged Sir Guy . . . I think I see a certain resemblance.  (screencaps courtesy of Richard Armitage Central and Richard Armitage Net)

Been feeling kind of wooooozy today . . .

Ooooouucccch. All the pain of a bloody hangover without the fun of getting drunk. Just a night spent with Blobbin and his long-lost daddy in a manky wig relivin' a lot of painful memories. Oh, well--guess it's about time to turn over a new leaf, anyway. At least everyone now knows what a miserable little git Forest Boy was back in the day . . .