Talk at TheOneRing about the book ties-ins to ‘The Hobbit’ has trebled my passion for Richard Armitage to read the book! But I fear it will never happen. More than likely the contracts have been signed, and Peter Jackson, or Harper Collins or Middle-Earth Enterprises, or whoever is considered “the powers that be” have selected a more well-known reader. I so want to be wrong about this, but my infernal gut is rather dismal today. So this post is a vent. Or maybe I’m looking for someone with a positive outlook.
If it would make a difference, I would raise an issue on an LOTR site or two. I suspect they would probably dismiss me as nothing but a rabid fan with little or no objectivity. And to that I would ask: have you listened to the man’s voice?!
Oh well, in lieu of pestering the Tolkien fans, maybe a fake fan letter to alleviate my angst?
Dear Sir Peter or Harper Collins or MEE, Anyone with any sense:
The thought of Richard Armitage reading The Hobbit is sheer bliss only to be exceeded by the thought of his reading North and South…………………. Oh, sorry, I blacked out for a moment. Ahem. You really need to know that every book he’s read is wonderful. I may sound like a silly fan who would be happy with his reading of the phone book, but you would be wrong. On second thought, you might be right since I would be willing to pay money to hear that. You read that right. I would pay bucks for that. There might be a few others who feel the same. :D
And you do know more women buy books than men? I’ll give some documentation if you need it. Somehow I think you already know this. But more than that, have you heard the man reading a book? Then what are you waiting for? He is perfect. Yes, I know what I’m talking about, and someone is going to eventually cash in. Why not you and why not now?
Thank you for considering,
One of Richard’s fans who knows what women like and would love to help you make some money more money.
P.S. I realize you may not be the bottom line, Sir Peter, but hope you have some influence in this matter or at the least could have Richard reading some phone book entries in the next vlog. ;-) Surely that wouldn’t violate any contracts or anyone’s privacy — especially if the names are fake. Hmmm. My mind is flooding with the possibilities. Really, I don’t care what you have him say. Just let him say something in the next video!
P.P.S I’ve never written a post script so long, but hell, this is worth it.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Richard Armitage’s audio work, I have several samples in my FanstRAvaganza pieces from last year including RA doing American, and you can find additional excerpts here and here.
Also, I still have a little stockpile of audiobooks to give away. Some are courtesy of the BBC, and I have to say again how much I appreciate that! Need to get on the giveaway since SO keeps wondering why they’ve been on his desk for over a year.
Note: the wrap-up piece I promised is coming. Since that may be the most important writing I publish on this blog, I want to get it right.
Continuing on with FanstRAvaganza. Hope you hang with me. There’s another surprise if you do. :D
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I assume almost everyone who reads my blog is a fan of Richard Armitage, the actor, but occasionally people who are serious about politics land here looking for some bit of information on the guy who supposedly outed Valerie Plame. I’m sure other RA bloggers have experienced something similar. One visitor in particular, whom I’ll call Tory, was looking for an article about the U.S. State Department official and clicked on the ‘Who the Hell is Richard Armitage?’ post. Her first instinct was to back out, but curiosity got the better of her, and she ended up listening to clips from ‘North and South’ but never made it past those as she was so anxious to load it up on YouTube to watch the whole thing. She is now a fan. LOL! Eventually she sent me a note to share what happened to her, and several weeks ago I asked her to record something for me. She declined as she really is in politics and doesn’t want to make her fascination known. But she gave me permission to share some of her words:
I was just curious enough to press play on the first clip, and then he uttered, “I will be home to dress…” That was the moment I became fascinated. I viewed the entire clip but kept going back to the conversation with his mother. I have never been mad about someone’s voice, but I’m in love with his voice. I’m in love with him! When I knew I was ‘in the bag’ as you say, was listening to the radio play, ‘Clarissa.’ I cannot stomach the book. I cannot stand Lovelace, and I think I despise Clarissa more. Despite this loathing, I willingly sat through a four hour adaptation in hopes of hearing Richard’s Lovelace.
Phew! He does that whisper in his voice to perfection.
For those who have not read nor are familiar with Clarissa, it’s considered to be one of the first novels. Some say it was the first, but I don’t think that’s quite the case. I could be wrong about that. Perhaps one of our resident teachers/librarians will weigh in. Despite its standing in classical literature, I also hate that book! Clarissa is so put upon and silly that it’s hard to really root for her, and this goes on for around 1000 pages. Sheer torture. But as Tory put it, “The best part of the play is hearing Richard Armitage sing!”
When I first heard he was musical and involved professionally in musical theater and before ‘Clarissa’ was produced in 2010, I had been wondering if he could sing, and love or hate Clarissa, it was so worth finally knowing he could. One of the real benefits is that I became a rabid Radio 4 listener. I’m so sorry I did not have the pleasure before. More on this here.
Whether RA could sing or not, from my first introduction to him in early 2008, I wondered what quality it was in his voice that so fascinated me. It took me over a year to pinpoint. Thankfully, in 2009 I decided to stop writing all of my journal entries and record some of them. This helped me capture the thoughts that eluded me when I finally had a pencil in hand. I also quickly obtained some voice to text software so I wouldn’t have to hear myself while transcribing. LOL! Here’s an entry from August of that year:
It’s a wonderful thing about voices…. I was just listening to Sylvester, and I don’t even like those kinds of books….they’re boring, syrupy and talk about Mary Sue?….they’re replete with it. But you know (chuckle), I just love listening to it because of the range Richard Armitage has….It’s finally dawned on me what I really love about his voice. It’s the same thing I love about [SO's] voice and my son’s voice……there’s a melody in their voices, a song, a possibility. They always seem on the verge of breaking into a song or making a joke……or something. SO can’t sing and my son can’t sing, and I’m not sure if Richard Armitage can sing, but they all share that song in their voices. I don’t mean they sound sing songy but rather the modulation of their voices gives an expectation. And…it’s usually hopeful. I love that.
Yes, I was a bit harsh about Sylvester, but my friends, that’s how I felt. That aside, it’s the expectation in his voice that makes me come back over and over again to hear him. If it were just the deep timbre of his voice, I really could get that from Alan Rickman and so many others. But it’s something way beyond his vocal register, and it was so interesting to hear RA’s take on how he thinks of music and the voice and how he actually used music and in particular singing to help him craft his characters for the audio books! From his interview for The Convenient Marriage:
I always love hearing him talking about his preparation! I also have a soundtrack in my head. Almost everything in life is put to music; it’s a rare day when I don’t put everything to a rhythm. I wonder if this happens naturally with everyone. I really don’t know, but I do know that sometimes this is a curse for me. I wonder if that happens to RA.
If you’re enjoying this, don’t forget to enter the Heyer audio book giveaway. Details here.
Oh, and Tory hasn’t heard that interview clip, and I don’t think she’s seen the picture either. So I’m sure I’ll be hearing from her later. LOL!!
And she and I have come to realize that we not only agree about Clarissa and our fascination for RA but have quite a few things in common including some people we know. It’s been such a treat to get to know her, and she’s far from the only person with whom I’ve been developing friendships due to RA. So many of you I’ve had such pleasure coming to know! One in particular is always so pleasant and encouraging, and her joy is contagious. I wonder sometimes if she realizes what a delight she is. Iz4blue (aka Sinjoor):
Yeah, this is totally cool, and it really is all about the love. So well put.
Iz originally hails from Antwerp, Belgium; we’ve just had the privilege of her being part of the U.S. for the last several years.
By the way, she really does know how to ferret out some of the best videos and fan fiction, and there are so many that it’s good to have a guide. She has worked with Eva over at Wattpad to create an Armitage Fan Club, and it’s a great place to find fan fiction. The best thing about it is how easily it can be accessed from a phone, and for those of us on the go (whether we want to be or not), it’s a boon. Iz has also started a blog where she can bring all of the other good vibrations to our attention easily. With the publication of Sexy Back 3, maybe a top ten of RA montage videos? :D
Did we just get another one of RA’s voices? I think we did. I’ll be making another FanstRAvaganza post about his voice work later today, but it will focus on voice work only. Yesterday, we got another wonderful example of it in his screen work. He plays a German! Okay, yeah, I already knew that, but I hadn’t heard him speak with a German accent until yesterday. It’s these kinds of things that really show me how much I’m in the bag for Richard Armitage. The clip of him in the Captain America trailer is what? about two seconds long? And yet I’ve watched it, oh, maybe 50 or 60 times. Of course I have to say 50 or 60 times because anything less sounds like a lie, and anything more might scare you. LOL! But however many times I’ve played it (I really don’t know), I’ve done it all sorts of ways — slowed down, frame by frame, tiny view, huge view, and now I really do sound like a nut. Glad my kids don’t read this blog. LOL! Next time I make a tuition payment and have to chew on them about goofing off, it wouldn’t hold much weight. No, seriously, they’re good kids. One of them carries a 3.9 and the other a 3.85, so I have nothing to complain about, but I’m not going to take any chances. That’s why they have no idea what this blog is called, and if you don’t think that’s been a feat, phew, think again. I’m a techie, and the apples don’t fall far from the tree. If they wanted to find this, they could. I’m just glad they’re so busy they don’t care enough to do it!
Did you see how smoothly I worked in bragging about my kids? I had to say something about them. I am proud of what they’ve done, and I can’t help but talk about it sometimes even more than RA. ;-)
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Man, I cannot wait to hear more of his German accent. I wonder if he will actually speak German. I LOVE the German accent by the way, which is a very good thing since SO’s family are very, very German. His grandmother even spoke with a distinct German accent. Her last name was Schmidt, and her maiden name was Hinman. I dare not tell you SO’s last name. I will say this, it means on patrol, on guard, or watchman. LOL! Oh, sorry. I’m having trouble staying on topic. :D
I wasn’t going to post the new Captain America trailer, but I’ve actually had people ask me about it. I figured most of the people who read my blog are die hard fans who know where to find all the news about RA, but I guess there are some who come here first. Wow. I’m bowled over. So here it is:
Heinz Krüger is on about 1:41. On a slightly related note, I love Tommy Lee Jones. I’ve loved him since “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Before I forget, here is an audio clip of just RA’s part in the trailer:
And speaking of news, is there a possibility that RA could be in this at all?
RSC 50th birthday celebrations see Robin Hood ride into Warwickshire
By Marion McMullen, Entertainment Reporter
Mar 24 2011
IT’S bow and arrows at the ready as Robin Hood rides into Warwickshire as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 50th birthday celebrations.
Family show the Heart Of Robin Hood follows the recent big screen version of the Sherwood Forest outlaw starring Russell Crowe and the BBC1’s TV series featuring Coventry-trained actor Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne.
The new production, written by RSC associate director
David Farr, will be the Christmas special at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and the first large-scale family show to be staged in the recently-opened theatre.
The swashbuckling show tells the tale of the notorious Robin Hood and his outlaws.
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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.