Getting in the Groove

As some of you know, I haven’t posted regularly in quite a while. To get back into that, I want, no I need, to post about one of my favorite subjects — MUSIC.

Sometime ago I started a category on this site called “MusicILove.” It is always a pleasure to make posts that fall into this category, and since I want this experience of posting regularly again to be a joy, I’m coming with a music post near the beginning of my reboot, if you will.

For new readers who don’t know, I am a player. No, not that kind of player. I’m too old for that. I mean player in the best possible way. I love to play piano or keyboards (almost any kind). I do play classical music, but I also play just about everything else. Jazz is my favorite. I can get drunk playing that stuff. When I was in college, and was only minoring in music, I was way down on the priority list for using the practice rooms at school, which had wonderful grand pianos. Those rooms were sometimes impossible to get into. But when I did get in, I would stay for hours and literally be dizzy when I left. No weed for me. Just give me a nine foot concert grand in a room with fantastic acoustics. One of the best highs ever.

Playing became such an obsession that at one point in my life I managed to get paid for playing jazz. I have very fond memories of that, and some of it is going to work its way into a published story I hope.

And the reason I’m going down memory lane today is due to a Facebook memory popping up from eight years ago. It’s a YouTube video of a jazz player. I mostly listen to this guy in iTunes on my iPhone, because I downloaded his videos years ago and converted them to MP3 files. So I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even know until this morning that he still had a YouTube channel. But I’m glad he does as his playing never gets old. He’s Nicholas Tam, programmer, gamer, jazz player with the aptly named YouTube channel, Play it again, Tam.

A few of his goodies:

By the way, I have never heard Richard Armitage mention any jazz music he likes. I certainly could have missed it if he did. If so, please school me. I would love to know what, if any, he likes. Thanks!

Rules of Engagement or Man, I Miss This Place

I certainly have great affection for Richard Armitage, which is still a bit weird to me. Not because it’s weird to have great fondness for someone well-known who you don’t know. I’ve had several celebrities whom I think of fondly. Jack Lemmon was the first one. He did so many wonderful pieces. I remember the first time I saw Some Like It Hot. I was smitten with Jack Lemmon. I think I was about 11 years old at the time. I was a fan for life. But I have to confess, I never stared dreamily at Jack Lemmon’s eyes. It wasn’t that kind of relationship. You know what I’m sayin’.

But back to Richard Armitage and this place which can still have me examining my navel. I used to wish that weren’t so, that I could just move on and not wonder how and why I’m even here. But I don’t do that any longer. I’m here (maybe not as much recently), and I’m fine with the continual examination of why I’m here. The day I stop asking myself what’s motivating me or what’s motivating others is the day I don’t want to be around. Motivation is huge to me. Yep, that’s right, I do wonder what drives people. It’s an obsession with me. I admit it! Why do people (including myself) do what they do? I have had that question in my mind since I was old enough to remember anything. My parents used to complain about my incessant questions about everything but most of all my wondering aloud continually at why someone did something or didn’t do something.

SO has said on more than one occasion that I question everything that moves, and if it doesn’t, I kick it until it does. He’s right. I know he’s right, but is that so wrong? SO’s answer was that I needed to be writing about it instead of talking about it. I resisted that because hey, I’m a math person. I’m a techie. I’m a bean counter type. We don’t write. That was the goofy thinking that infested my head. I was also raised by a writer. She won awards for it, and she didn’t think I could write (or so I thought), and therefore, I didn’t think I could write. I was encouraged to do math, because she wasn’t that great in math and was elated that I was.

But there’s something about being a writer that I’ve discovered. It took me a while to figure it out because I was so entrenched in my stupid slot of STEM person. And it’s this — if you’re a writer, you cannot help it. You are going to write. You are going to delve and ponder and discuss. You cannot help it. It’s who you are. You are driven to do this no matter that you adamantly refused to ever, ever, ever associate the word writer with yourself.

So where was Richard Armitage in all of that? He’s the catalyst, man. SO was a little concerned about my Richard Armitage obsession until he realized Richard Armitage was instrumental in getting me to write. And man, am I writing. I’ve been writing and writing and at some point I stopped calling it a memoir for my kids. Oh, I am still writing for that reason as well, but I’ve gone way beyond that. I now want to publish something dammit. We’ll see if I can pull it off, but that’s my goal. And it’s my goal because I am a storyteller. I’ve been doing that for years. When I worked for a large corporation and traveled around to speak to customers or employees, one of my greatest strengths was not just my technical knowledge, but that I could engage the audience with my storytelling. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how technical someone may be. If they can’t talk, they won’t be heard. Truth be told I used to want to think my success at that company was due to my great technical ability. That wasn’t the case. Oh, I do have good skills (not great but good). I’m also a realist and know it was my ability to communicate that allowed me to move up so quickly. That simple. I just got confused with all the technical stuff. But I’ve figured it out now. It was my engagement with the audience and my ability to convince someone to follow what I was saying that made me successful.

Maybe I can do that with fiction. No, scratch that. I plan to do that with fiction.

Bold words? Certainly, but then the timid are the ones who are not in the arena, and the arena (whatever it may be) is where you find the fun.

Should I write a letter to Richard? Nah, I’ll save it for another day. I’m crunched for time this morning.

How ’bout a picture:

Phew. A great screencap of Richard. I snagged this from Twitter, but it’s from Larygo.tumblr. Whoever that is, you, or whoever, did a great job enhancing it. Thank you!

Photo of Jack Lemmon from the movie “Some Like It Hot”, directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon as ‘Daphne’. Initial theatrical release March 29, 1959. Screen capture. © 1959 Ashton Productions. Credit: © 1959 Ashton Prod. / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz. Image intended only for use to help promote the film, in an editorial, non-commercial context.

Richard, I Still Love, Love, Love, You

Okay, so I got that out of the way, or maybe not. I may have a fake fan letter in me before I quit this post.  But in the meantime, I have to say something again (that for strangers reading who don’t understand the magic of Richard Armitage fandom) is the massive key to the fandom’s appeal. It’s about the friends.  Oh make no mistake fandom can be a rough and tumble world. A bully or two exists, and sometimes there’s some weirdness, but all of that is eclipsed by some wonderful people, who don’t want to do anything other than be a friend.  Love, love, love that.  It is the stuff that makes the world go ’round.  And all you need is love, and then you can die happy even if you’re old and decrepit, and a lot of other things have gone to crap.  If you have friends whom you love and they love you, that’s enough.  It makes a person rich in ways money can never touch. Money can never touch it…money can never touch it.

During my time as a fan, I’ve had the great privilege and pleasure to become friends with some really fine people.  And if there is anything that I am thankful for the most in my time yukking it up with other Armitage fans, it’s these friends.  They are all unique, but they do share some things in common that I find highly satisfying.  Of course they all like Richard Armitage. Duh. They all love to laugh — a lot. They appreciate good food.  They all ponder much more than their frequent laughter would suggest.  They care deeply about their family and friends.  They all love going new places and meeting new people, so they are not afraid to talk to strangers.  And that’s where I came in.  They talked to me, someone whom they had never met nor even heard my voice. But we had a point of understanding in our being moved by the performances of Richard Armitage and his continued effect on us and why, why, why were we so affected?!

And we still discuss that today after years of knowing each other. I’m not sure we will ever get the answer, and I don’t know that we ever want to sum it up. It’s too much fun talking about it.  In that interest, one of the friends wanted me to see Love, Love, Love. I told her I her I would try, then I wasn’t sure, and then I told her I couldn’t.  I am a tightwad by nature. I don’t mean being stingy with others, but I learned at a young age how to say no. And so I said no to the Richard Armitage play.  I had a business to run and cash flow to worry about and yes, some horrendous medical bills to pay off, so I could not justify taking a trip to New York to watch Richard Armitage in a play — no matter how lovely the thought.

But one day back in the summer, Armitage Besotted called me up and asked again, “Do you think you will come to New York for the play?”  My answer was the same, and then she asked me what would keep me from it.  Most of it had to do with not being frivolous with money, and she said, “Well, don’t even think about it. It’s on me.”  I immediately said, “No, no, I can’t accept that. I appreciate it, but I can’t accept that.”   I was overwhelmed by this. Seriously.  It completely took me aback.  I was not expecting anything like this, and I didn’t feel I could accept. Then I remembered something my father said, “When a person is moved to give you something out of the kindness of their heart, and you know it’s not manipulated, accept it. To not accept it is an affront. It’s saying, ‘You’re not good enough to give me something.'” All of that ran through my head as she was saying this to me, and I was struggling with it because it was such a huge gesture. In fact, I’m still reeling from it and feel a great need to express how I feel about it all:

AB,

This fan letter is for you.

My friend, you will never know how much what you did moved me. I’m just sorry it’s taken me three weeks to talk about it publicly. I do want you to know that even if you hadn’t done it, I consider you a great friend. Whatever all this Richard Armitage stuff is about, I’m glad we know each other most of all.

And whether you realize it or not, God had a hand in it. I was able to facilitate the resolution of an issue that I didn’t even know existed until I was coming to New York. It resolved rather satisfactorily and in a way that I could never have anticipated it happening. God’s hand was all over it. So you and your big heart were a divine instrument. We can talk more about this later.

For now just know that it was a unique experience to be that up close and personal with Richard Armitage’s chest. And how could I not when I was this close to the stage?!

love_love_love-stage-roudabout_theatre

And thank you for making it possible for me to meet some other fans whom I’ve conversed with online on several occasions and some on many occasions. In particular, thank you for the opportunity to meet Abby aka AwkwardCeleb. We’ve known each other online for a long time but had never actually met until we had dinner before the play. Thank you, thank you! Abby is a sweetheart just like you, and as so many others were who were at our table. I enjoyed you all and wish I could have spent much more time with you!

Love,
Your friend and fellow Armitage admirer

For those looking at that photo, just know I was on the front row (pretty much center) and that the stage was about three feet from my seat, so that the edge of it was eye level, and if I had reached out my foot, I could have touched it easily. In fact, I think I did that just for grins.

I will give my impressions of the play in another post. I look forward to that! But this post is the most important to me.

Just When I Thought I Had Broken Free

I’ve had a relapse on my addiction, which could only be achieved by a powerful trigger — an episode of Berlin Station. I’m in the middle of it, but I had to say that it is such a pleasure to see Richard on the screen again in something I can actually watch without ducking my head under some covers.

richard-armitage-berlin-station

I’m blaming this on Armitage Besotted. Yeah, I’m looking at you, AB, you are cruel! There is so much work I need to get done. There is no time to watch this. Blast! But I’m watching anyway. I’m watching anyway.

Dear Richard:

You hear that?! I’m watching this blasted thing anyway. And why? It should be easy to guess. I’m still addicted to watching you perform. And my curiosity about your “new and improved” accent also got the best of me. By the way, so far, so good.

Gone to droolcritique your performance,
Your crazy fan

A Different Kind of Rippling — RA on Politics Part IV

It’s hard to talk about politics and always has been. “Don’t talk publicly about politics, religion, sex or money.” I do not know how many times I have heard this saying or some variation of it. However you or I take that phrase, it is hard for many to talk about these subjects because we all have an emotional connection to them. But politics is the most difficult to discuss. With religion, sex or money someone can always preface her remarks as only pertaining to herself, but politics by its nature is about us collectively. This makes it impossible to limit any comments we make about it, so when we do speak of it, we’re destined to traverse a gooey mass of opinions.

As for myself, I have never had an issue speaking of religion, sex or money. I was brought up with very few boundaries in regard to discussing those subjects or almost any other subject, gooey mass of opinions or no. If anything, I had to learn some decorum. Politics was another matter. I was hesitant and still am, I can’t get around the fact that anytime politics is brought up, someone is going to be pissed off. Thankfully, I learned this early because I grew up observing a political operative, a master of maneuvers, if you will, who understood people and politics to a degree that still astounds me and others who knew him. I look back now and shake my head and chuckle at some of the things I observed my father doing and how he could get people to do things and in particular give time and money to causes. When it came to speaking politically, he was very circumspect and never lost his cool. I wish I could say the same, but I can’t. He saw politics or any communications about it as a minefield instead of a boggy mess, but he loved a challenge, so he thrived on navigating the potential bombs.

But most of us don’t thrive on the thrill of beating the explosions. We just want to say something and sometimes passionately and hope it will have a good effect, or maybe we’re ranting and not paying attention to how others may be receiving it. We’re just that damn mad. Unfortunately, you can’t throw a rock in a pond and expect no ripples (see how I scaled back that metaphor to something less militaristic? :D). No, seriously, when we speak and especially if we speak passionately, we are going to get a reaction, and if we don’t, I think most of us would be depressed at the thought no one is listening.

stones-244244_1920

Richard Armitage, who recently started making passionate political posts on Twitter, has been speaking to be heard. There is nothing wrong with his doing this. He should be able to do it if he has one million followers or two. But I don’t think he counted on how the blow ups from his tweets would affect him. He certainly expected his remarks to have fallout. He’s not a fool. This is not the first time he’s spoken politically and others had something negative to say about it, so he knew some people wouldn’t like it. But his reaction to the negative response is what I’m referencing. His passion got away from him and he made a crack of a come back, which the kinder, gentler Richard more than likely knew as soon as he’d done it (or very near) that it would rain down holy hell on the fan who had spoken. I believe for that reason he removed his tweet. He thought better of it and didn’t want to create trouble for the person. Yes, I want to believe Richard is this nice. Sue me.

As well, he probably didn’t want to give a platform to the person. But unfortunately, he can’t put a foot an inch in any direction publicly that the fans are not on it. I mean, man, are they on it. LOL!

So Richard, you can’t tweet and take it back. Dude, haven’t you learned by now that the minute (probably the second actually) you say something on Twitter…Wait a minute. Wait. Wait. Wait. a minute. Oh man, I just realized this tweeting and taking it back quickly was not a mistake. Well, a good chance that it wasn’t. Wait, was this planned? If not, then you stepped into something brilliant.

But I’ve got to recap to make this plain (for myself if no one else :D).

You were passionate about your beliefs, and in the heat of passion about them, you spoke very candidly and pointedly to someone who thought you had an unfair advantage in swaying others when you speak (and she is pretty much right about that, but hey, that should not stop you or anyone from speaking), and now you have lots of fans defending you as if you’re helpless. And I did it too! Oh damn. I did it too! APM made a stealth attack on me! LOL!

The APM aside, I understand, the fans are loving your tweets because of how real they are. No spin. Merely you being a person. a real person, being so passionate and getting all hot and bothered and then pissed off at something someone said to you. And it makes it even better in their minds that you were justified. You exhibiting righteous indignation — the real thing and not for some role?! I suspect this was a massive turn on for some who witnessed it. :D o_O

For those who didn’t like it, well, they’re talking about you too!

And there are a lot of others keeping mum, but they’re reading about this. Oh yeah, they’re reading about it!

A seemingly superb turn of events with respect to PR. *high five*

Signed,
A crazy, formerly APM infected fan who’s over it now – at least for this round, but a fan who still loves you. Yep, a fan who is always going to have a soft spot in her heart for you, Richard no matter if you talk about politics and create a brouhaha or not. Of course if you become a serial killer or worse, I will have to re-evaluate.

Okay, back to sanity. Some of you have asked for my take, and in fact, it was those messages to me privately that put this whole thing on my radar. Well, here’s my take. Richard Armitage has the right to speak his mind about politics. I have never thought differently. But I’m ashamed I became part of the clamoring masses trying to defend Richard Armitage’s right to speak. He has more of a voice than most of us, so this idea he can’t speak is laughable. But I do want to make it clear that I understand he is passionate about what is happening in his country and completely understand his compulsion to speak about it. I understand that all too well as I feel the same about what is happening in my country. We have some very serious issues going on in the U.S., and the frustration at the corruption that is happening is overwhelming. Our leaders and our institutions are failing us, but I don’t think that any of you want to hear me talk about all of that on this blog. And you need to ask yourself why you don’t want to hear it? I think most of it is because you come here to either be entertained or talk about entertainment and not to hear me wax on about my political views.

And now to discuss the fan and her response which set off the reaction. She absolutely has the right to have an expectation (of anyone) and to give a response when someone speaks in a public area. We all have that right. And our expectations do not have to be realistic. The only real boundary to expectations is when they translate into harm or illegal activity. Last time I checked, criticism is not illegal. As to the comment, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Not because it’s important in the grand scheme of things, but because of my initial reaction, and what that says about me. I initially saw the remark as an insult and unfair, and it was because I like Richard Armitage. That simple. But I looked at it again some hours later, and it is not necessarily an insult and it’s definitely not an unfair conclusion.

I do wish actors would stay out of politics. They have an unfair advantage of swaying opinions due to fandom. Sad.

Of course it depends on how you read this whether it’s an insult or not. I think many of us took Richard’s cue that it was. As to the conclusion this person made, it’s generally true that (well known) actors do have more of a voice on an array of subjects including politics when they may be no more informed than any of the rest of us.

Things I Sometimes Wonder About — still

Sometimes when life smiles at me or gives me a slap, I’m occasionally curious what Richard Armitage has experienced. There’s no question he’s had his share of ups and downs. We all do, but what were they for him and how did he deal with them?

I don’t wonder about these things as often as I did when I was in the euphoric state of my fan odyssey, but I still wonder about how he’s navigated the sometimes treacherous waters of the entertainment business. Have some others given him a break out of the kindness of their hearts even though he doesn’t fit into the usual frame Hollywood thrusts on us? Does kindness even exist in the entertainment culture? Yes, it’s an old question but still largely unanswered, or maybe that’s just me because I don’t read Hollywood exposes. Let me rephrase the question. Does kindness exist significantly enough to be on the radar of those in that business? My gut says if it does, it’s a blip, but I could be wrong. And not to beat a dead horse, but I really did like Todd Garner. Whether you think his movies are any good, I believe he’s a nice guy. Sure he’s part salesman. That’s how money is provided to make movies. Gotta have the salesman, or nothing will get done. I found out in the course of dealing with him and not too long afterward, that he has had the same core group working for him for quite some time. Doesn’t that say something about him? I know it does when others have long term employees or associates. It usually means someone’s a good guy.

But back to Richard Armitage. Have some in the business just fallen all over themselves at his talents? (yeah, I’m still trying to rationalize this addiction.) Or are they just preening for the camera because baby, it’s all about selling the dream. :D

CZ1-rqyVAAEBaWL.jpg large

Actually, I tend to believe Michelle Forbes. Probably because she seems to be pretty blunt, and she’s 50 something, and could well think, “What the hell! I’m gonna tell it like it is, and dammit, I like Richard Armitage.” Yeah, that’s what I infer from her, ’cause baby, that’s what I want to infer. I’m 50 something too, so yeah, that’s how I see it.

But back to Richard. What is in that head? After all these years of being a fan and hating the word fan and generally being at odds with the whole fan thang, I still wonder what is in that head! Oh, I’ve speculated about what’s in there — much more than I’ve written on this blog (yeah, can you believe that) — and on many occasions thought I knew. Sometimes I still think I know. I’m arrogant that way. :D But if I’m being honest, I don’t have much more than a clue, because niggling at the back of my mind is always the thought, “How good an actor is he really? Is he so good that he’s got me completely buffaloed about what kind of person he really is? Then I second guess myself and think, “Nah, he’s a great guy.” And that my friends, is almost always where I land in my thinking. He’s a great guy. A human being who can get upset like the rest of us, but a great guy in the sense that he is kind and polite and still doesn’t have the demeanor of someone who deserves adulation.

I have more things I wonder, but I make no promises on when I’ll type them out. It seems every time I try to make a commitment to communicate here, something happens, and it’s usually major. I won’t bore you with the details, but trust me, it’s usually YUGE. :D So glad I can grin at the trauma. I guess I can because life is crazy, but somehow, somehow, it turns out. Yeah, I know why, but I’m not going to preach on this blog.

Thanks for letting me snaffle your photo, Ms. Forbes. :D

Trying to Keep Up

I haven’t lost complete track of Richard Armitage but darn near. As some of you know, I started a business, and it’s taken almost everything out of me. It is working, but it’s like being pregnant, giving birth and then dealing with an infant. All things that take the stuffing out of someone in her childbearing years let alone someone like me who is long past that. Yep, that’s my concession that I’m not a spring chick.

The rest of my story is that I have one child I’m still homeschooling, take care of two houses (one’s mine, the other one’s a church house), and I got something dropped in my lap a few months ago which has me driving 1,500 miles a month. Unreal. I don’t even know how I’m doing all of this, but the good news is that it’s paying all of those horrendous medical bills. I do not want to go into my old age owing six figures, and thankfully, I won’t!

And thank God! my youngest child, who is in high school, is independent or there would be real trouble. She directs her days more or less. I oversee the subject matter she studies and do lecture on some subjects, but other than that, the child tells me what’s happening. Most of that is her reading constantly — about four books a week and titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird or Ethan Frome or A Member of the Wedding, and some popular fiction thrown in like Looking for Alaska, which she hated. She said, “I don’t get why everyone [read that as her peers] thinks John Green’s writing is so great. This is my third book by him, and the first two I kept thinking that maybe the next book would wow me. That hasn’t happened. Honestly, Mom, To Kill a Mockingbird is soooooo much better than anything John Green has written it’s not funny.” I replied, “You know what’s happened don’t you?” She looked at me, and I continued, “You’ve been spoiled by good writing.” From there we went onto a very productive discussion of what we both like to see in writing.

So where am I going with this? Lately, discussing writing has stirred up such a longing to write again. Not that the desire ever went away, but it’s more intense these days because time’s winged chariot is kicking my ass, and I want to say something before I’m completely crushed. When I feel this way, I become wistful about this place, because writing this blog freed me up to write other things which I needed to get out or self combust. And I still have so much I want to say. Not sure how I’m going to pull it off, but I need to finish something here.

Other than that, picture me something like this (below) as I go about my day. I’m almost constantly with people. I love people, think they’re fascinating, and I never want to be completely cut off from them. Yeah, you can feel that “but” coming. I’ve got to get in a dark room and coalesce my thoughts instead of forever reacting to others — or feeling like I am.

SunkenTreasure-6-8Nov15

Candid photo snagged from RichardArmitageNet.com