Okay, so The Vicar of Dibley was finally back on the telly, but there’s some charming reverend in London who leaves Geraldine off kilter? What?! Oh, dear, is Harry back at home unaware of what’s going on? Or has Harry left the village? What the hell is happening? My world is off kilter! Say it isn’t so, Gerry!!
Geraldine needs a reminder:
Click for larger format
Ah, that’s better.
Divorce my ass, er, my arse.
Note: I love Damien Lewis. He’s one of my favorites too, but I’m not writing a blog about him. :D
Or maybe that should say Mumsnet invades the Vicar? However it went down, Dawn French had a little chat with the ladies at Mumsnet about Harry Kennedy among other things.
Yes, we’ve heard some of this before, but can you hear it too much?! :D
Dawn deep in thought or something like that. I quite like that she’s smiling.
Is it just me who would love to meet Dawn French, and it has nothing to do with Richard Armiatage?
And shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I have been reading the threads on Richard Armitage at Mumsnet for several years. They always make me laugh. I’ve been afraid to let anyone know for fear the ladies would become self-conscious and take their lovely humor away.
Isn’t that what Valentine’s is really about?! Of course it is! Every time February 14th rolls around most women I know start spilling their guts, and I must admit I feel the need to do it as well and drafted a post with great detail about my passion for SO, and how it’s survived despite his refusal to participate in Valentine’s Day. But I thought better of it, and sent it to the trash bin. You can thank me now for that bit of wisdom. I also came with a piece about the music I habitually think of on Valentine’s. Yep, I trashed that one too. And just about the time I was saying valetines shmalentines, up popped some inspiration in the form of a Google Alert (God love Google. :D). “An Open Love Letter to Richard Armitage”, and what a letter it is. Made me feel ever so much better about my addiction, and now I can do what has been on my mind for the last hour — go to bed and get a good night’s sleep for the ides of February.
Night all, and I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
And just one sop to my musician gene; can’t think of a more fitting tune for this frenzy:
I feel for you, since you are a classic case of damned if you do/damned if you don’t. But you did say something, and now I have to make hay of it. Too good to pass up, and my mercenary gene is controlling today.
When I first saw the video of the Graham Norton show, I thought perhaps he had set you up and was in need of some payback, and maybe he is. But I can’t forget that you are a lawyer, and as such you know that highlighting your crazy fan is the perfect way to lay foundation (or continue to lay it) for any legal action should she even think about stepping over a line. Definitely worth some short lived fan angst.
Of course I could be completely wrong, but I wasn’t raised by a lawyer for nothing.
None of that is the point of this letter. I was wondering if sometime you might run into Richard Armitage and advise him — as a fellow actor and certainly not as a lawyer. ;-)
One of Richard’s crazy fans, who is too clever to ever out herself.
P.S. I’m also struggling with Armitage Protection Mode today, so have some pity on me.
P.P.S. I liked ‘The Ugly Truth’. :D
Oh yes, it’s a fake fan letter, and if Richard Armitage doesn’t read all of this crap, Gerard Butler certainly doesn’t. So relax.
A picture for your troubles?
[click to enlarge]
Sweet Harry Kennedy is good for what ails you, and this is in my top five most favorite pictures of Richard Armitage. I’ve got to do a piece on this picture alone. :D
I thought this would never get here! My very juvenile self has been dying to give these books away to people who really enjoy Richard Armitage. Actually, I’m just announcing one of the winners. The other one I haven’t heard from yet, so who knows? Maybe I’ll draw a second time for that one? ;-) No, I have a feeling I’ll hear from them. :D
But I have to confess this has been so much fun that I want to do it again sometime soon. I have two more copies of LOTN and a little stockpile of Heyer books, so I’ll definitely be doing it! And I have to thank AudioGo again for supplying the books in this giveaway. Thank you so much; the gift helps prolong the fun for next time. Until then:
And of course I had to ask Anakris to respond:
These are wonderful news! Coming to work in a rainy day like this and find out that I won this audio book… just made my day!
You asked me to tell you something about myself, so I have to ask you back: “Me, as a person? (…) I have 45 years to talk about”. (I keep feeling butterflies in my stomach every time I hear that). Although I have all those years to talk about (I wont, that’s a promise) I only came to know about Richard Armitage, early this year, through a dear friend of mine who send me a link to a video of The Vicar of Dibley, warning me on the side effects of the expression “well, there you go”. And there I went! From that day on a hurricane of RA information took over my computer, my TV was flooded with new DVDs, films and TV Series, and my MP3 is almost reaching melting point. Venetia as read by Richard Armitage, kept me company while waiting for my children to get out of school, everyday during 2nd period and now Lords of the North will do the same during the 3rd one! Again, all this I owe it to my friend Sandra (who is also a frequent reader of this blog) so I think I should publicly thank her from the bottom of my heart and obviously, I’ll be sharing this piece of melting chocolate voice with her!
Reading to your blog, Frenz, is now part of my daily routine, and while doing it I find myself many times nodding at your comments and thanking you for being so accurate and objective. Talking about RA being handsome, and hunky, and breathtaking, and (I’ll leave it here) it’s easy but I think all of us here agree that RA is so much more than just a pretty face and you really honour that.
Keep on the good writing and, again, thank you for this opportunity!
Anakris so glad to meet you, and thank you so much for the kind words. It’s been my pleasure. Truly.
Something is changing with respect to the popularity of Richard Armitage in America (North America to be specific), and yet ‘The Hobbit’ is still almost two years away! I’ve been encountering more and more people who know RA’s name and have seen him in more than one role. Wow. What a change from three years ago! Or even one year ago. But I don’t think it’s due to his being cast in ‘The Hobbit’. At this point ‘The Hobbit’ is only on the radar of those in the movie industry, the LOTR fans, maybe a couple of other fan clubs and us. Everyone else won’t give a rat’s ass about it until we’re a few months or perhaps a few weeks or days from the premiere.
This recent awareness of Richard Armitage mostly comes down to Netflix. They are the only entity who provides us with a steady diet of RA. When I first started watching RA three plus years ago, there was almost nothing available in this country. The only thing I found was ‘North and South’ on Netflix and some documentary about that other guy. Now there are numerous things to watch, and many of them are ‘Instant Play’, and that’s the key.
Numerous friends scattered around the country who regularly watch ‘Instant Play’ have been discovering this “new” actor and just can’t tell me enough about him. Never mind that a couple of those people are the same ones I’ve told about ‘North and South’, ‘Spooks’, ‘Robin Hood’, etc. LOL! Hey, I don’t care how they discovered him; I’m just glad they did. Even my best friend, who at one point would roll her eyes when RA’s name came up, finally watched ‘North and South’ via ‘Instant Play’. Yea, Tammi!!! Of course she loves it and him. I knew she would! And she could have loved him sooner if she had just watched the DVDs I loaned her almost three years ago.
But I guess there really is something seductive about Netflix saying, “Tammi, rate what you’ve seen to reveal suggestions just for you” while your ass is firmly planted on the couch, and you can merely push a couple of buttons as opposed to getting up and taking the discs out of the case and putting them in the DVD player. LOL! Oh, Netflix has the power! What was I thinking to encourage the viewing of some DVDs loaned from my special collection? I mean here I am Tammi’s best friend, and we love each others’ tastes, but those precious discs just sat on the shelf! In comes Netflix with its heady offering of ‘North and South’ on ‘Instant Play’, and what I could not do for almost three years, they managed in a moment.
Tammi’s conversion occurred last summer, but this phenomenon of Netflix and RA didn’t become evident until last fall. I was going to highlight this sooner but thought it would be boring to you. Yesterday changed that. I was surfing around and found this blogger. It would be interesting to know how long she’s been a fan, and obviously, Netflix is part of her RA love. Maybe sometime she will share how exactly she became a fan, since I’m not quite sure if Netflix did it or just inflamed her some more. However it happened, I never get tired of those stories! Always makes me feel more sane, and dammit, I am sane! :D
In the meantime, as much as I appreciate Netflix being the bearers of so much loveliness, I have a request of them:
To Whom It May Concern at the big host in the sky,
Thank you so much for introducing so many people to Richard Armitage! I can’t tell you how grateful I am. It’s helped my best friend join this wonderful madness with me.
But do you think we could enjoy his loveliness when we do a query on his name? If you would be so kind to give him an avatar, I’m not sure how I would show my appreciation. Maybe send out a few thousand of those trial memberships to my friends.
And if I may suggest, this might be a good picture if you’re not sure which one would be appropriate:
Of course I have no clue about the legalities of using it, but it is the one featured on his IMDb page, so I think it’s okay. But I’ll leave those details to you.
Thank you for any consideration.
One of Richard’s fans and great Netflix lover :D
P.S. How can we get Strike Back on the list?
Oh, and I would give credit to BBC America and PBS for the rise of RA’s star, but BBCA is sporadic in their love of RA, and PBS hasn’t shown much at all with him? Actually, I remember nothing although I have heard rumors that some regional stations have shown ‘North and South.’ Amazing that the network known for embracing period dramas has been almost a non-player of that mini-series, and it’s been necessary to mount a campaign to bring ‘North and South’ to PBS. Yeah, can you believe that? And I’m not even going to mention A&E beyond this sentence.
Note: FanstRAvaganza will return tomorrow; still waiting on something for now.
edit: Okay, okay, yes, YouTube has been instrumental, but it’s hit or miss there and the programs are usually not complete. For that you need Netflix.
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I started to call this post “A Little Hair of the Dog,” but I suppose for me this is “Day 3 FanstRAvaganza?” Yes, I’m behind on FanstRA, but do any of you care? I didn’t think so. LOL! Plus, there is so much to read on the blogs that I doubt anyone processed it all in one week. So I’m continuing on despite my interruption.
What I’m finding interesting about this last week is it’s becoming clear to me I’m at a place in my life where my ability to roll with the punches is imperative. This blog is certainly a reflection of it. Almost every post I had planned has now been turned on its head. Part of me hates this, but part of me gets a thrill from seeing how well I can bounce back. Now if I can figure out how to channel my zest in a way that’s not chaotic and doesn’t make some of you want to tear your hair out, I will, but I’m promising nothing. This is a significant statement from me as my life is filled with promises that I invariably keep or almost die trying. That’s as closely as I’m going to come to speaking of events this past week which temporarily scrambled my mind. Okay, enough of that. Onto more interesting matters.
As some of you know, I’m doing a series of posts about Richard Armitage’s voice work. Last week I started with The Voice. Hope you hang with me as I continue on with the subject.
Obviously, the deep tone of his voice is wonderful and many of us get a shiver listening to it. I’ve heard some say they could even listen to him reading the phone book. Not quite sure I would get much out of that. Maybe. Depends on how he would read it. There are plenty of other actors with deep, rich sounding voices that are pleasing to the ear. Alan Rickman is great, and Timothy Dalton has a beautiful voice, and oh so many others I could name, and I’m sure that Richard Armitage would do very well with just his natural voice. But the natural quality of the voice is simply not all there is to this fascination. In fact, if I had heard him only speaking as he does normally in interviews, I doubt I would have been this ensnared by it. No, this is something more. It is the way he intentionally uses it that’s so mesmerizing, and I don’t like to toss around words like mesmerizing unless I mean them.
Recently, I saw a picture of him where his luscious beard is gone, but contrary to what some think, that was never the significant wow factor in the Hobbit press conference. Granted, the beard was pretty overwhelming — almost with a life of its own. :D But it was not more compelling than his demeanor, which was mostly effected by his voice. He pulled a Harry! “I’m playing Thorin.” LOL! I think his voice dropped almost an octave when he said Thorin, and then he does it again when he says, “Would you like to be a little bit more specific?” I wish I could have seen the reporter’s face when he whipped that on her! It was like a snake charmer with his flute trying to cast a spell over something that might bite him.
This wasn’t the first time it occurred to me that he uses his voice as an instrument. In my initial watching of Robin Hood, I had the distinct feeling of his voice being played. There was something about the way he varied his pitch that almost had a musical quality and was certainly effective in manipulating me to emotions I never thought I could feel for the bad guy. I’m not one of those women who likes bad boys, so it was quite a shock when I was actually rooting for the evil henchman. LOL! When I first had this thought, I laughed to myself at being that far gone about a then very obscure British actor. Thankfully, I began to be vindicated as I listened to his first audio books for Robin Hood Series 1. (For more on Guy of Gisborne, see note below)
His mimicry in these books is great. I love how he conveys one character with a guttural tone and then turns around and gives another character a tinny, almost flat resonance, and every variation in between for a host of other characters. This did much to paint the picture of them with little or no dialogue or description. But I also had some idea of characters from watching the show and was never quite sure how much that affected the picture in my mind. It was listening to his reading of a Georgette Heyer novel, Sylvester, that I realized how very talented he is, and that’s saying something as I was never a fan of Regency Romance books. I tried to read them as a teen, but the potential sugar shock was too much. So it was with great reluctance that I listened to Sylvester. I’m so glad I did! His verbal rendering of the characters had me completely forgetting the book is Mary Sue on steroids. When I finished the first hearing of it, I had a grin on my face I couldn’t wipe away. For five hours I had been immersed in Regency England where I thoroughly fell in love with the characters and literally had to shake my head to bring myself back to the present. Of course I loved Sylvester and Phoebe, but it was the supporting cast that really made the piece for me. Tom was my favorite with Keighley and some others close behind.
The most wonderful part of listening to the book was afterward I could see Richard Armitage as a little boy with his ears cocked to listen to those around him and then using it to entertain his friends and family with storytelling. It brought such a warm feeling to think of it, and all at once I sensed a great kinship with and fondness for him. I couldn’t help it. I grew up with a mother who’s a performer and has a wonderful gift for it. I, on the other hand, never did, but I still adored storytelling and role playing and ended up with SO who has been storytelling and doing voices to entertain friends and family since he was very young. His children are just like him! My oldest child cannot be around someone for any length of time without picking up his/her speech patterns, and it’s eerie how truly she can nail someone’s speech. Her ear is so attuned to how someone speaks that she sometimes has to restrain herself from mimicking them. My other children do this as well, and I have been the recipient of many hours of entertainment because of it. It’s almost as if they have to express the things their ears are recording to get some relief. All of this ran through my head as I sat there basking in what I’d just heard, and I realized that I didn’t merely appreciate Richard Armitage as a great actor but as a wonderfully sensitive person –much more than I had originally thought. How else to account for someone who could so cleverly convey the feelings and thoughts of his characters with little or no speech, and now he had done it with only his voice?! Amazing.
As for his training, I don’t know if his ear for voices manifested as a child, but I suspect someone who has that keen an ear did not just develop it when he was grown. I also know that being a musician does not necessarily make someone a natural for voices. I am a musician, and I did not come naturally to an ear for spoken voices. Conversely, SO is not a musician, and he certainly has a keen ear for them. Maybe one day RA will tell us his experience, and if he already has and I missed it, well, I’m sure someone will let me know. LOL! Thankfully, some of my curiosity about his preparation was satisfied when I heard the interview for his second Heyer book, Venetia, about a year later:
I love that interview. It is one of my favorites. I was already anxious to listen to Venetia, but after listening to that, I could barely wait. Venetia is probably my favorite Heyer heroine of the three books RA read, and Damerel is wonderfully male. I was so glad I wasn’t driving when I got to chapters 12 and 13. :D I have also listened to The Convenient Marriage, and until recently, all three books were on my iPod as beloved traveling companions.
And whatever is the case with his training, the joy he takes in entertaining is evident and infectious.
Look at that face!
This puts a smile on mine every time I see it. I think it might now be my favorite picture of him.
If you have never had the pleasure of listening to any of RA’s Heyer audio books, or any of his audio books for that matter, or if you would just like to have your own copy of one of the books, I might be able to help. Until next Wednesday, March 30th, anyone who comments on this blog entry will be entered to win one of the Heyer audio books — your choice if you win. I plan to announce the winner on Friday, April 1st. I’ve never done a giveaway, so I hope this is a pleasant experience for all of us, but I do have a few rules. Don’t you love it! :D
Note: Guy of Gisborne is such an enigma that I’m refraining from much discussion of him in my series as he would completely take me off topic. Thankfully, other bloggers have chosen to write about him. Avalon at Avalon’s Medieval is covering a myriad of topics from the audio books to fan videos to fan fiction. Two other bloggers are actually fan fiction authors: Prue Batten at Mesmered’s Blog has written Gisborne and Sarah Pawley at From the Quill Tip has written The Tempest and My Lady Gisborne. Both share their stories on blog and Sarah also highlights some other fan fiction authors. I have read both Prue’s and Sarah’s works, and if you’re a Guy fan, you will not be disappointed. Even if you’re not a Guy fan, you probably won’t be disappointed. There are also some North and South fictions featured on Sarah’s blog.
Then there’s Judi at Confessions of a Watcher:
Judi is a fairly new fan and should be forgiven for not knowing every jot and tittle of fandom minutiae. We’ll give her a test later. :D I honestly didn’t snap to on the award for Robin Hood until right before I posted this, and I’ve been through hell trying to post, so I wasn’t going to wait, and I absolutely love her recording. But heck, I think the show should have won an award. If nothing else, RA should have won for making such a compelling character from that cardboard cut out baddie. But take pity on Judi as she’s still trying to work out her fascination for Guy of Gisborne. LOL! You can take the journey with her beginning here.
Please click on the banner to see the list of participating bloggers
What was I saying about the salesman on the side of the bed? Oh man, I really haven’t meant to tease any of you; just had a bit of an emergency, and now things are back to normal, which means they are only somewhat chaotic instead of out and out insane. LOL!
I tried to write a really thoughtful piece about Richard Armitage’s voice, and I hated it. It’s tough being entirely serious when I sit down to write for this blog, and frankly, I’m glad!
So my first real encounter with The Voice was the moment John Thornton had a proper introduction to Margaret. To say I had a visceral reaction would be putting it mildly. Didn’t we all have a visceral reaction? :D I think every cell in my body vibrated. It was almost as if someone poked a stick in my back to make me sit up and take better notice, and it didn’t matter that I typically didn’t like period drama. It didn’t matter that he had not been my ideal. All of my attention was now focused on the guy who had yelled, “Stephens!” several minutes earlier.
Deb (aka November Bride) nails some of my fascination with his voice:
But as much as I loved hearing John Thornton say even the mundane, I still didn’t think Richard Armitage had a phenomenal voice. Yeah, can you believe that? It’s true. I assumed he was phenomenal for this role — larger than life and effecting a brogue and brusqueness that evoked a response from me which probably wouldn’t occur again. It wasn’t until I watched Vicar of Dibley where RA was the congenial Harry, who looked and sounded nothing like John Thornton and certainly didn’t evoke any strong emotion from me when he opened his cottage door, that I began to think I had never seen an actor of his like before. It came when he made his first move (albeit a subtle one) on Geraldine:
That about took my head off. The intimacy in the lowering of his voice and slowing of his speech had me giddy like I was 15 again and some boy I was crushing on smiled at me. Here’s the thoughtful description I gave it earlier, but had second thoughts about publishing: it was like lying on the beach with the sun beaming down and the water washing up on me, and I always want to lie in it, but it’s just cold enough to make me shiver and want to stand up and maybe run away, and I’m never quite sure what to do with myself. The only thing I was sure of was standing there with Harry and Geraldine and convinced Harry was immediately smitten and trying to put Geraldine under his spell, and I was falling under it too. Phew. I think I might have had a bead or two of sweat after that scene. The look on Dawn French’s face says it all. I would give her kudos for acting, but I’ve wondered if she really was.
I wanted so badly to describe his voice after the Dibley experience, but I wasn’t sure how to do it justice, and the perfect description eluded me since I’m not a chocolate lover. Oh, I like it fine, but I’ve never craved it and usually don’t think much about it. I truly can take it or leave it, so it wasn’t until later that I began to associate those beautiful sounds coming out of his mouth with chocolate. Dove Chocolate commercials might have something to do with that. Um, yeah, that’s how I imagine chocolate might sound.
Not too long after I watched Vicar, I discovered the CBeebies stories on YouTube. This was my first exposure to Richard’s voice work, and I thought they were adorable. I put them on my iPod and grinned at the thought of friends and family discovering them there. I also remember Mulubinba talking about using these stories as part of her work as a therapist. I found this infinitely fascinating and have often wondered about the result since I can totally believe that voice could have therapeutic effects. Jonia discusses some very interesting research about the possibilities, and I think she might be right, but I love to hear her voice as well. Enjoy:
And now I can pronounce her name correctly. Don’t ask me how I pronounced it before. LOL! Jonia, you have a beautiful name, beautiful voice, and your English is very good! I’m impressed since I surely can’t speak Polish.
As for Mulubinba, I haven’t had a chance to read her FanstRAvaganza posts, but I look forward to anything she wishes to write about:
Of course RA’s voice is not the first I’ve loved, but its profound effect has puzzled me. Countless times I’ve watched the scenes that move me, and I’m not sure I can quite describe why his voice resonates so deeply. With North and South, the scenes which affected me the most were the ones in which he didn’t speak or barely spoke. I was attuned to his body language and especially his facial expressions, which Musa is making a study of this week:
His facial expressions are a pleasure to study, but with the Vicar of Dibley scene, the emphasis was not on his facial expressions. I find it telling that he’s in profile so that his expressions and especially his eyes could not be the energy behind that scene. It was certainly his wonderful voice.
I will catch you tomorrow when I have a little surprise for you, but in the meantime, I would love to hear about your first encounter with The Voice.
I don’t know what you’re doing today or where you’re going, but hopefully, you can reflect sometime this Christmas season on what it is that really counts. No matter your politics or your religion or what you’ve done right or wrong, can we all agree that we want to love and be loved?
The festive mood of this season has been slow to take root in me, but I really appreciate this community for encouraging me. In particular, bccmee has been great. She’s so upbeat and has such a sense of fun that it’s hard to stay down when you encounter her or her videos. She just sent me one that gave me such a warm feeling:
I may just have love in all of my titles until the end of the year. ;-)
edit: The song is ‘Everybody’ by Ingrid Michaelson
And I forgot to mention that bccmee is having a contest! Here’s how it works:
Try to spot as many special effects as you can. By special effect, I mean something that is different than the original video. Don’t overlook the obvious ones! Whoever sends me (bccmee on YouTube) a direct message with the most special effects listed will be able to choose their favorite Richard Armitage character for a future fanvideo!
This post is for all of you who have recently been introduced to Richard Armitage, the actor, via some poll or celebrity site where he popped up as perhaps the number two or even the number one contender in a contest. But you have never seen him animated and are completely perplexed by his fans’ love. Somewhere, sometime, some of you have uttered that question. I used to ask it myself! Hopefully when you are done with this post, you will begin to understand what his fans see. I’m not going to waste time trotting out his bio. You can read that on IMDb.
I want to gush and draw you the perfect picture of him with my words. To somehow convince you that he deserves the respect his fans give him. But I know it is probably wasted because I’ve been where you are, and no words were going to do it for me. I had seen stills of Richard Armitage before I saw him act, and I was profoundly unmoved and even put off. He just can’t be appreciated from a few pictures. The chameleon quality he brings to his acting helps to make him one of the finest actors, but it sometimes puts him at odds with stills. Seeing him moving and speaking is the key to understanding. If you have never done that, then you don't get it. But you’re in for a treat if you watch him. Not only is he extremely masculine, he is sensitive as well, and the superb mingling of these makes him an utterly beautiful man to behold. As gushy as I am, this post has been very difficult to write. I want to gush a lot more, but I’ll refrain and let him speak for himself.
Unless otherwise noted, he’s in most of the clip.
John Thornton. His part starts about 3:00:
His part starts at 1:20:
Guy of Gisborne:
John Standring, one of my favorite characters:
Thorin Oakenshield, his latest portrayal. His part starts about .45: