Most who read this blog know how much I like fan videos. There’s no question I’m addicted to them. Probably only a few other fans are more obsessed (at least that I know about :D ). Certainly, when fan videos concerning Richard Armitage pop up on YouTube, I check them out. Imagine my surprise when I saw a fan video with a fan literally singing to him. The song was clever and funny. My grin was huge, and I chuckled at the end when the singer giggled.
But watching her video was never going to be enough. I’m infernally curious about everything and people are chief among my interests. I think I’ve said that a time or two. But I’m not curious for the sake of it. People are not specimens to me. They are living and breathing and have feelings and desires, and despite my snark, I always believe everyone has something to contribute. This is what edifies.
Allison of the video had already had a bit of an edifying effect on me. Her seemingly carefree nature throwing caution to the wind with her willingness to drop the mask so many of us wear made something bubble up in me and had me nodding my head and wanting to shout, “You go, Girl!” I immediately sent her a note asking if I could have an interview. That’s one of the cool things about having a blog — it’s media, my friends, so anyone writing a blog can become a reporter and probably have access to people in a way they never could otherwise. If I haven’t learned anything else about reading blogs for the last several years, I’ve learned that! Oh, the possibilities are endless, and I am loving it! I’ve got plans to interview all sorts of people now that I’m a journalist. ;-)
While I was waiting for Allison to respond, I started reading her blog. I read it off and on for a couple of days until I finished it, and some parts I read several times. She is intensely interesting, and sadly, this little blog entry is not going to do her justice. But I have to try.
A little mood music before I begin:
When I loaded up her blog, Al’s Adventure!, I realized she was on her way out of town, literally heading off for an adventure by means of couchsurfing, and it was not the ubiquitous diary of someone’s daily routine. No, this was something more, and I was immediately drawn into her life and Richard Armitage was forgotten. But I’m just jaded enough that if this had been mere blog entries to herald the advent of her vacation pictures, I would have probably stopped reading.
So I went to Ireland with Al where she met up with a guy named Marty Kelly, whom she had never met before, and now I feel like I’ve met and maybe will say hey to if I’m ever in his hometown. No, I probably wouldn’t do that, but it’s fun to think about it. I found myself thinking about all sorts of things as Al was on her adventure. The sense of wonder at discovering new people and things was infectious like her video. Often I could see the twinkle in her eye while I was reading about her pursuits, and her sunny disposition almost had me reaching for my sunglasses.
Al also made it to England, Wales and Scotland, and then was back home in Seattle, but not for long. Several weeks later she returned to Ireland to live and work for three months. This gave her plenty of time to find out the craic.
And when you’re in the land of bards, the craic inevitably includes waxing poetic. My eyes were moist with something :D as I read her “elegy” to Marty Kelly’s dryer on the verge of departing:
Ode To A Tumble Dryer, With The Help Of Marty Kelly
Tumble Dryer you broke my heart
For years you spun my garments dry
One time I left you on too long and the heat was intense
I was chafed for days
And I cried silently with the washing machine
The toaster laughed and mocked me
English muffins never tasted the same again, not even with gooseberry jam
Especially with gooseberry jam
But now you lay cold and untumbling
There is something inside of you that I can’t fix
I cleaned out your lint trap
I changed the fuses
And still you remain silent, sullen
I called the repairman for help
But your parts are too old, unavailable
Tumble Dryer believe me I tried my hardest to fix you
Thank you for the years of toasty clothes
But the garbage truck is rumbling down the street
And it’s time
But Al was not content to ruminate over the appliances with Marty and was soon off on a side trip to Yugoslavia of the former kind. I loved seeing Split in Croatia. Her pictures are clean and inviting. Certainly fitting for a travel brochure beckoning people to lay down some serious cash to come see for themselves.
But I was also moved by the stark reminder of the devastation that occurs from even a wary foot, and how we are so insulated from it in America.
Then Al returns to Ireland and is back home not too long afterward, and I figured the journal would come to an end when the traveling did. There was indeed a respite for over a year, and before I could begin reading the rest, Allison responded to my note. Her honest humility and sweetness at my request was evident — even to my somewhat hardened self. She told me she was surprised by the interest and assumed anyone who commented on her video would tell her what rubbish it is. I did realize she was new to playing the guitar, so I wasn’t thinking it was the best guitar piece I’d ever heard, but her honesty and sweetness even when she was being bawdy came through. That’s what made me so curious.
I finished the blog and learned about her mother passing away during the blog’s silence. She had mentioned her several times, and I felt like I was coming to know her, so it was a bit of a shock. I read about her pets, and for the first time in my life might have had feelings for a rat. I also read about her recent stay with her sister in the Dominican Republic. The imagery of that visit is very well done. I could see and sense so many things — the ominous looking “Watchmen” walking through the yard, Al locking herself out of the house, the food, and the stray dog, Reckless Clive. It was as if I was there just as I’d been in Ireland and Croatia, and she had hardly said a thing.
I wrote my questions as I was reading, and frankly, I had to work hard to come up with one about Richard Armitage. Allison is very interesting in her own right. Thankfully, I didn’t have to come up with those questions although I did ask a couple. Nat sent me a note that she had also asked for an interview, so we decided that she would give most of the 411 on that, and I would be free to ask and write what I wanted.
My questions/comments to Al:
There are so many blogs, as you know, but what I like about yours is that while it’s honest, it doesn’t have a bite. It really does have a genuine sweetness. That’s hard to fake.
Coolness! That’s good to hear. It’s absolutely how I try to live my life. Several of my friends have dubbed me the most non-judgmental person they know. I’m just happy to be me and I’m a hedonist in the true sense – I do things that will result in my happiness. The good news for me is that I’m VERY easy to make happy. I’ve noticed throughout my life that I have a marvelous capability to infect others with my good moods. I also have a deep dark side that I think helps to temper the sweetness. I’m not cutesy with pretty, pretty locks and sunshine and lollipops, I’m sweet with short spunky hair, tattoos and pet rats!
No question your good moods are contagious. I’m still smiling from watching you sing.
And you just sound creative as hell.
My mother would kiss you for that!
I would love to read your poetry. I did read that you write it, and it wasn’t just Ode To A Tumble Dryer? Or did I dream that? Do you write anything else outside the blog? Would love to read it. Your imagery is good. I could see everything in the blog and how it fit in the bigger picture of your life. Well done, and I know some of that was not easy to write.
Holy cow my mother would really kiss you for this. My sister would probably join in too!! They both have encouraged me to write all my life. I do like writing, just not enough to really apply myself. And especially not long things. I think that’s why the blog posts, poems and songs work so well. I do have a good number of poems that I’ve written throughout the years, and personally I think they are spectacular, but I never assume anyone wants to read them. Plus, I lack the motivation to get them published anywhere! I know I could put them on the blog, but it’s always a little weird to put something so personal out there and have no one respond to it – I always just figure I’m boring people. I’ll send you some though, if ya like!
Oh, I don’t think you’re going to bore anyone, and I’ve very much enjoyed the poetry. If I hadn’t, this part of the interview wouldn’t be here.
I also love your pictures. You do good photo. I especially love the ones of Croatia.
Seeing Sarajevo and Croatia was beautiful and intense. As a privileged American I’ve never seen what war does to a place first-hand. I had never seen buildings pock-marked with bullet holes and signs by the side of the road warning of land-mines. My Couchsurfing host took me to a memorial site where practically a whole town had been massacred. It was pretty intense. Thanks so much about the photos!!! I’d say it was a bit of a hobby of mine. It’s by no means a serious hobby, I only have the one small camera – but I’ve had people amazed at some of the photos I’m able to take with it. There are just a lot of tricks that I’ve picked up over the years.
Of course there is your guitar playing and songwriting. The Richard Armitage ditty aside, how are you liking the guitar? After the fingers develop callouses, it can be a lot of fun. LOL! Considering how good your ear is with words, I have a feeling you can hear beats and tones well. This is a big plus for you.
I’m loving playing my guitar (her name is Charlene) I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but guitar came into my life at a time when I really needed a therapeutic outlet, and it continues to be. I love creating music. I was never a very confidant singer, but I find that I can sing much better when I play guitar. I can’t “hear the notes” to sing (as a lot of people have tried to coach me to do) but I can hear the notes within the chords of the guitar, so as a result I’ve become a much better and more confidant singer! It is a little weird to lose most of the feeling in the fingers of my left hand! But for me it’s a source of pride, I’m really impressed with myself that I stuck with it long enough to get the calluses.
I’m sure you and Charlene have a lot more coming. :D
I noticed on the blog that you like the Fratellis. What other music do you like?
Oh the Fratellis are GREAT! Their music is so high energy, and I love the way they borrow from so many genres. So many bands have a lot of talent but all their songs sound the same, so I love the way that the Fratellis mix it up. I’m very into roots music, folk, bluegrass, roots country, and I love hearing how music in America evolved, as the roots stuff began to morph into rockabilly, which then gave rise to punk. So you can listen to Hank Williams and hear so much influence in a lot of more modern stuff. I love vintage soul music, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, it’s just all so good. It’s where we all came from. Going back even further, I love to listen to world music and hear all the similarities. One of my greatest loves is fusion music done right, when artists can successfully combine “different” forms of music into one fluid sound that works and all of it’s levels. Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly are two of my all time favorite bands, and for an absolutely brilliant example of a fusion that blew my mind is The Dharohar Project from Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling. They went to India and created music and it’s just amazing. Right now I’m listening to Gillan Welch, I just love her too. Lordy, I could write about music all day.
I understand. LOL!
And before I forget, I have to ask you about the couchsurfing thing?! I know what couchsurfing is, but I’m wondering about this organization. Sounds wonderful! I would love to hear more of your thoughts about it. Now that the dust has settled a bit from your last trip, what would you say is the best thing you’ve taken away from the experience?
If it were up to me, Couchsurfing would win the Nobel Peace Prize. The experiences I had and the people I met through this site re-affirmed my belief in the goodness of human-kind. Some of them completely astounded me with their hospitality. There is not enough gratitude in the world for me to feel towards these folks. A few of them even helped to teach me some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned. I had a small few whom I just didn’t really click with, but I never had an outright negative experience. The best thing I’ve taken away from my travel experiences (aside from all the brilliant things I’ve gotten to do and the people I’ve gotten to meet) is the ability to appreciate almost any situation I find myself in. If I’m somewhere and I’m cold or wet or covered in sweat, I know that it’s only momentary, that eventually I’ll get warm and dry, or cool down – and then I’ll be really grateful that I’m cozy again because I’ve known what it’s like to be uncomfortable. Also, if the shit is hitting the fan and everything is going wrong – I try to picture myself one day telling the terrible story and laughing about it. I used to think in terms of “if only…” like, if I were somewhere nice but rainy, I’d think, “oh, if only it were sunny, then it would be perfect.” or “if only I had decided to splurge and stay at that nice hotel then things would be so much better.” or “if only I had packed the silver bullets I could defend us against this werewolf, but I didn’t want to lug them around the whole time…” You know, that sort of thing ;)
I’m finally learning that sort of thing. :D
When I was reading about your Irish Adventure, I couldn’t help but wonder about Marty Kelly. I figure there’s more to that story, but maybe I’m reading into it. By the way, he’s cute! But maybe he wasn’t your type?
Marty is one of the most amazing people I have ever known. He’s like a soul brother to me and when it comes down to it, I have a fantasy that when we’re 60 years old and have led whole separate lives of stories and adventures we’ll finally settle down together and own goats and rats.
Do you have any other travel goals?
I don’t have any other travel goals, but I never really did. All the traveling I’ve done has kind of just popped up in my life. The opportunity comes along, and I take it.
I have to tell you that I got misty eyed when I read your mom had passed away since I felt like I had gotten to know her some. Many condolences on that. We’re never prepared for it! I sense there is plenty more to write about Mom. It was obvious you have a lot more to say.
My mom was by far the best and closest friend I ever had. She encouraged me in all of my odd and artistic endeavors. She gave me just enough wiggle room to explore and be free, but never let me doubt for a minute that she loved me entirely and would do anything to keep me safe. I’m utterly grateful for the time I got to spend with her and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.
May everyone have a mom like that!
One more question or questions, and they’re going to be about Richard Armitage since that is the premise of my blog. LOL! I’m wondering what made you do the video? And if he saw it and made it known, how you would respond? :D
Well the song was just written in mid-November, after having watched the last few episodes of Spooks, and first played it for a friend about a week after that. She loved it and was the one who encouraged me to put it on You Tube. If I’m honest, I’m flabbergasted at the reception this song is getting. I wrote it as just a larf, I just thought, “why don’t I write a cutesy song about my crush on RA, but it’ll be kinda funny since he mostly plays dark characters.” I never for a second thought I’d ever be making a You Tube video or that – be still my heart! – he may ACTUALLY HEAR it one day! I have little doubt that he will see the video – which, again, still doesn’t seem real but in this age of technology I’m sure someone will eventually call his attention to it and he’ll watch it and… no, it’s just too much for my poor mind to handle! ;) But if he actually responded, well, that would be… how can I make words describe it – really freakin’ cool. All I can say is that if he does respond, how am I to know it’s really him unless he thanks me in person? Just sayin’, Richard, if you’re reading this and want to shake my hand and be all like, “thanks for the great song, Al” I’d have no problem with that. None at all.
There is so much more to say about Allison. She could no doubt make a book, and during our conversations, she commented that she was humbled and having been something of a reject in her younger days was honored that someone would want to ask her these questions. As she said it, I thought how often those who have endured what it is to be something of a reject in their youth end up being the most interesting people.
Photos courtesy of Allison of course.
Oh, and Al is on Etsy and has some neat looking items. Why am I not surprised by this? LOL!
If you haven’t already done it, go over now and look at Nat’s interview. Fantastic as usual. She is a comic genius!
note: If you’ve made it this far, sorry this was so long, but Allison was worth it, and I had a blast doing it.
Blessings to all. :D