YouTube Giving Some RA Love

I haven’t been on my YouTube account in a while, but I got a rash of requests which prompted me to go over and find out why. It seems that Richard Armitage now has his own channel compiled courtesy of YouTube. I wonder how many other celebrities have their own. I can’t seem to find out how you find these things. The notice was one of my in-box items.

Here’s that lovely place for Richard.

This is perfect since YouTube is where it all started for me. Thank you, Heather. :D

Off to add to ‘Places to Get a Fix’

The Vidding Empire

This post gets the public service tag. :D

If you’ve read this blog for more than a few pieces, you know how rabid I am about fan videos, which I’m defining as videos set to music and starring the object of a fan’s attention — someone or something. They got me started on Richard Armitage, and my love for them has become so intense that I’m wondering when these things will gain much more notoriety than they currently enjoy. For now they are not really acknowledged much by the mainstream media, and a good part of the reason is the history of their illicit nature. In my search on the web, I found one piece from a mainstream media source discussing the significance of fan videos, and that was from 2007. Maybe there are a few more, but the key word would be few. However, at some point soon I think fan videos will have more formal recognition. So far for most people who don’t peruse videos sites and are over the age of 25, there has been no awareness these things exist, but that’s changing as more and more people (even your grandmother) are starting to surf YouTube.

Heck, SO’s almost 80 year old parents get on YouTube regularly, and my mother, who by the way, is considerably younger :D, also gets on YouTube. So if you’re 60 and you don’t ever get on YouTube? What planet are you on? ;-)

Actually, I’m assuming most reading this are the choir. So why did I even say that? Maybe there is one out there among you who has not ventured onto a video site for fear it’s just stuff like this:

and you got your fill of this kind of thing on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Oh, you’ve never seen that show? LUCKY YOU. Really wrestling here with the temptation to go on a rant about why I hated that show when it was on, but one rant a week is enough. The show is still on?! God help us.

Of course this is a cute video, and it’s understandable why it’s in the top ten all-time watched videos on YouTube, but c’mon, after you’ve watched it 300 times, you would think it would get old. FYI: a few weeks ago this video passed its four year anniversary, and I can see its lasting effect with the eventual publication of How to Pay For College: The Advantages of Being a Mischievous Teether in the Digital Age by Charles Davies-Carr. ;-)

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, fan videos. Well, if you’re new to them, and I’m assuming you’re a Richard Armitage fan since you’re reading this blog, there is only one place to go, and my friends, it’s not YouTube. No, it’s a little place on the web hosted by one of the most intriguing fans, Elvira Sweeney. Here are some things I know about Elvira. She is artistic, prolific, a bit perfectionistic, and definitely industrious. Oh, and she likes RA. :D He was the inspiration for what I now think of as the RA Fan Video Empire, or just The Empire. So what is this place? It’s called RAfanvids, and if you have never been there, oh my are you in for a treat. Now the only proviso I will give you is that you must prep the storage on your computer so you can download to your heart’s content when you get there. You’re not sure about this downloading? No, you’ve got to change that notion. You can’t really enjoy some of these videos without watching a download. YouTube, Vimeo, et al will not give you the quality of a 1080 vid. You can only get the real impact of it by downloading and watching on your system or possibly your tv monitor.

Take this video for example:

You can watch it and love the music and the clips, but you can’t get the full effect of this unless you download and watch. It’s the eyes. You almost fall into them. Can’t get that from watching on YouTube — even in full screen mode. Oh, it’s better than the little window, but not nearly as good as watching your own copy.

Or consider this one:

Want to really feel like that leather is within arm’s reach, download! And of course the eyes are also compelling. By the way this video was done as part of Elvira’s “Vidding on the Cheap” series for all those people who think making videos with an old Mac isn’t possible. Guess again.

This is one of my favorite montage videos, and for good reason. I really feel I’m in the room with RA and he’s looking at me when I watch the download:

This was the video that convinced me I needed to watch everything I could from a download copy. Once I got this one on my computer and started watching, I realized that I had missed so much on YouTube, and if a video is not in a large format, putting the player in full screen doesn’t really cut it either. So I downloaded this one and was blown away. I also realized something about Elvira. She can read people. Anyone who puts as much emphasis on people’s eyes and expressions is focused on reading them. I would love to know what she really thinks of RA other than just liking him so damn much. LOL!

And the next two you haven’t really seen unless you’ve watched a download and especially in 1080. You watch these like that, and you will never be satisified with them on YouTube again.

If you still don’t want to download, you can just watch the videos on that site, and there are quite a few that are not on YouTube. So check it out.

One more thing. If you go over to RAfanvids, you may notice something is absent. But no worries, ’cause Elvira’s got it covered over here. :D (note: the link is an archive page and not all pages linked within it are available).

Candid shot from, uh, I’m not sayin’.

Following My Bliss

Spoilers for Robin Hood Series 2 & 3

Two days ago someone posted this video on Twitter:

Pompeii by E.S. Posthumus from their Unearthed CD.

I’ve talked about this one before as it’s been one of my favorites since I first saw it almost a year ago. From its finely done editing to its music, this is one of the best Strike Back videos and all around fan videos. There is nothing awkward in it. No moments when the music sounds incidental to the scenes. Just a tightly knit casting of John Porter’s life coming at you. But mostly what draws me is the feeling he has a much greater destiny than the machinations of an MI-6 agent. The sounds of a celestial choir no doubt contribute to this sense.

After I was done watching that one, I moved onto some others that for two to three years I’ve gone back to again and again. Most of them were set to background or theme music and most of them had a sense of the epic, which is what first drew me to fan videos and eventually led me to discovering Richard Armitage. I’ve had an affinity for this musical genre since I was a little kid and dreamed of writing movie scores for a living. One of my fondest childhood memories is spending hours and hours at the piano picking out expansive tunes and trying to perfect them. It’s still one of my favorite pastimes, and I can spend considerable time doing it.

For years after I was grown, I thought this was something entirely frivolous and hoped I would eventually snap out of it. And I did for a couple of years. But I’m coming to understand in a way I didn’t even come close to doing before that this sense of the epic is part of who I am and part of everyone else, and we are all part of it. We’re all part of something epic going on. We were formed to be eternal people with a destiny, and I find myself reveling in this more and more. Although at some points in my life I have considered the antithesis — that we’re a pale mosaic of organisms which has no purpose other than forming some random picture, but I’m not tempted by that any longer and haven’t been for many years. It’s unsatisfying and frankly, boring. Whenever I did feel myself beginning to take the yoke of that thinking, the cells in my body would go into rebellion, and when I examined what was so disturbing, I realized the random picture doesn’t square with the need to seek out my story, our stories, the story.

And how interesting that stories are so important to most of us, and quite a few reading this blog are especially attuned to them. It’s what holds us together as people and more specifically what holds many of us together in our fascination with Richard Armitage. There are plenty of very good looking actors. Plenty of tall actors. Plenty with a wonderful timbre to their voices. Plenty with pleasing personalities. What sets him apart is his determination to get at the story. Of course just like most of us, he’s done things to ensure he didn’t starve, but it seems he’s trying to get at the story as much possible. Or perhaps I’m putting my own views on all of you and should say that I’m fascinated with dear ol’ Richard chiefly because of his infatuation with the story, and certainly by what it is that motivates him so much to get at it and in a way that’s true. I’ll talk more about this later. For now this will have to continue as one of those loose ends along with the others laying around this blog.

So I’ve spent a couple of days rewatching videos that have a sense of the epic, and of all the videographers I’ve watched, none does a better job of putting a finger on the pulse of the story and bringing it to life for others than Angela (aka Spikesbint or Angelfish69).

One of the first that comes to mind:

“Ashielf Pi” by E.S. Posthumus from Cartographer

One of the first I saw of hers:

“Intro” by Caliban from Small Boy and a Grey Heaven

One that does not involve Richard Armitage:

“Central Park” by James Newton Howard from King Kong Soundtrack

One of her birthday tributes to Richard. Be sure to check out her others, and I hope she does one this year. This one made me cry the first several times I saw it:

“Generations” by Immediate from Trailerhead and “The Loss of Yours” by Adrian Johnston from Becoming Jane Soundtrack

And a masterpiece, which I can wax on and on and on about:

“End Music from Atonement” by X Ray Dog from The Vision

Here are some others who have done a superb job of capturing the story with epic music, but I’m only posting one video from each of them in the interest of not having this post go on and on.

JulietD001:

“The Wolsey Commits Suicide / Finale” by Trevor Morris on The Tudors Soundtrack

One of the first North and South videos that was my favorite, and I still love it. By PoleStar00:

“Lake Constance” by Mike Oldfield from Millennium Bell

One by PhoenixLupin, who has some wonderful Richard Armitage videos, but this happens to be about “The Fall”:

“Summoning of the Muse” by the Dead Can Dance from Within the Realm Of A Dying Sun

I’ve labeled all of the videos with their musical pieces, but unfortunately, not all of that music is easily available to the public. That is slowly changing. Some other theme composers who are used by quite a few videographers are Craig Armstrong, Dario Marianelli, Howard Shore of LOTR fame, Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith, Martin Phipps and Andy Price. There are also artists who frequently can sound epic but do not technically fall into the background or theme music genre. Some of those are Within Temptation, Secret Garden, Tarja, Linkin Park, Muse, and Coldplay.

Oh, and I swear James Newton Howard and Thomas Newman are the same guy, or is it just me who thinks they sound exactly alike? :D

And my mood is expectant as I’m listening to “Unbreakable” by James Newton Howard from the Unbreakable Soundtrack.

Muse and the Man

How fitting to couple Richard Armitage with one of the best bands of the 21st century! I love the fanvideos, and I have a really soft spot for the ones that feature Muse:

Phew. I think that’s all of them.

I love all of these, but those who know me know which one is near and dear to me. :D

edit: Almost all of these videos can be downloaded from Elvira’s site, RAfanvids.

April Fools Spoofs – Bring your smile! (via DistRActed musings of one ReAlity)

Iz4blue is such a delight that I had to share this. You may have seen some of these videos, but she’s always bound to come up with one you haven’t seen, and she’ll always make you smile.

If you like, be sure to comment on Iz4blue’s blog.

April Fools Spoofs - Bring your smile! "What will they come up with next?"Planning is not my thing: except when it comes to travel. I know when and how NOT to miss any opportunities when I have them. Like that time in Paris where I had every whole day planned out included metro stops and packed in as many tourist stops in a few days because precious time is not to be wasted. But even though I knew that I was going to make a list of my fave Spoof fan video's shortly after I started thi … Read More

via DistRActed musings of one ReAlity

FanstRAvaganza will return tomorrow, or tonight if I get industrious.

Good Vibrations

Continuing on with FanstRAvaganza. Hope you hang with me. There’s another surprise if you do. :D

Please click on the banner to see the list of participating bloggers

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

RA Audio clips courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com and RichardArmitageCentral. Thank you, thank you, ladies for all that you do! I could not have done this post without you.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com.

Sexy Back 3

Interrupting my FanstRAvaganza posts for a public service announcement. :D

I’ve said it before: watching Heather’s Sexy Back videos is a rite of passage as a Richard Armitage fan. Some of us have been waiting three years for her next Sexy Back video, and now….


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the wait is over!


If video shows as ‘private,’ reload this page; have a bucket of water handy. Video download available here.

Thank you, Heather! It’s a pleasure to showcase your video, which oh, maybe one or two fans have been wanting to see. LOL!

For the uninitiated, here’s the one that started it all:

And its equally entrancing sequel:

If you haven’t checked out Heather’s channel, do it now. Lots of other things there that are great. I also have an interview with her.

Yeah, the drum roll was cheesy, but I’m having fun with sound files and can’t seem to stop. :D