Richard loves to be alone

Lovely interview with Richard Armitage at the BBC yesterday. Not that much new for an old fan but somehow lovely.

10 minutes wasn’t enough, I felt it would have gone deeper had there been more time, but some nice little tidbits gleaned anyhow. Simon McCoy seemed to be truly curious about getting to know more about Richard and challenged him a bit as well. I loved the critical questions about how planting trees would make a difference in Richard’s performance on stage and whether he is a selfish actor. That little North & South bit made me smile so widely and Richard seemed to enjoy the memory.

meet-thornton

I hope they do get that beer together. And I’m totally with Richard on loving being alone, I love that too, as did Greta Garbo…

In fact, Mr Esther and I are really good at being alone together, like here back in 2008 on holiday at the family cottage my parents used to own.

I think we can fit a third person in for alone time who loves being alone as well…

Mrs Maisel, The Stranger & Uncle Vanya

It’s been pretty busy here with little time for blogging this past week. Besides work and family I’ve been binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which I liked not quite as much as I had anticipated but I still did really enjoy it. I love that it’s all set in Jewish families at the end of the 1950s/beginning 60s and I really enjoy the every day humor (more than the stand up routines). My fave characters are Susie Myerson (played so brilliantly by Alex Borstein, in the left picture on the left) and Abe Weissman (played by Tony Shalhoub) who is Midge Maisel’s (Rachel Brosnahan’s) dad.

Butย Mrs Maisel is really just a side note here. I didn’t start this post to talk about that show, I came to gush about the one and only Richard Armitage and his new projects!

Yesterday a more extended trailer for his Netflix series The Stranger dropped:

I’ve gotta say, it really does look good! After the Berlin Station hype (a show I never really enjoyed despite the hype) I have been cautious to get excited about this project. However, after seeing the trailer I have got to say, my expectations have really risen! The Netflix page is already there, looks like this for me:

Netflix The Stranger RA

Guess I know what I’ll be doing with my evenings in two weeks time. It’ll be the first thing I watch on Netflix after watching and re-watching Anne with an E (which still needs to get renewed! Come on, get with the program, Netflix!).

Not only The Stranger is looking good! Richard’s play Uncle Vanya has opened in London this week and the first whisperings are also sounding very good. It’s looking beautiful too.

2020-0117 Uncle Vanya 012020-0117 Uncle Vanya 03

And some really nice and beautifully dramatic stage stills were released today; I just love the look of that decor and the costumes. Here are the images Richard is in (click on images to enlarge)…

I am also very curious to see Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds. I don’t know Rosalind Eleazar but she does look lovely here.

Servetus has already been to 3 performances of Uncle Vanya, she wrote about them here, here and here. Guylty has written about stage door experiences here and here. There has been some sharing on Twitter, among others by the lovely Linda Sechzig (one of my partners in crime when we saw Richard in Newcastle two years ago)…

And now more than ever I am looking forward to next month, when I get to see all this for myself in London! I will only be going to one show (yeah, just can’t do more, I have a family budget to consider) but one is far better than none, right? This Richard Armitage year is starting out really well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Deadpool & Anne of Green Gables

Yeah, sounds weird but there’s a reason these two are mentioned together. A week ago actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted about Anne with an E needing to be renewed:

I’m not a fan but when I see Ryan Reynolds in something I like him, he’s a huge name and having his endorsement has made the Anne fandom giddy with excitement. What I loved best is all the Deadpool movie references that are being made in picture edits. I haven’t seen Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool yet, even though my son tells me I should, but I am planning to in time. Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne, apparently enjoyed the endorsement as well…

And fans didn’t fail to respond. Some of my fave picture reactions:

There were also some final episode ones that I enjoyed, but I didn’t want to spoil those here.

Today singer Sam Smith tweeted about loving Anne with an E.

Will that result in Sam Smith / Anne fan videos? I’ll check out YouTube soon and see. ๐Ÿ™‚

Balm for my soul

I’ve been a very bad blogger of late, too occupied with other things, just not moved to blog and also not really able to at times.

First off,ย  Anne with an E still holds me in its claws, I’m completely obsessed and feverishly await the next episode. I even made a new fan video that I put up on my Anne with an E video page (if you do happen to watch, beware of huge spoilers!). This past week gave us these scenes (episode 5 of season 3) that are also in the season 3 trailer (and so much more happened, which I won’t spoil here):

When not obsessing over Anne, I try to get life back on track. The dizziness/vertigo is still bothering me and I am only able to work half days. It is dispiriting to have to deal with this but it is what it is and has been improving slowly and will continue to do so more quickly, I hope. Anyway, I work some from home but I also try going to the office, which I have done twice last week by car. Driving is alright if I don’t have to throw looks over my shoulder too much (so I stick to a single lane as much as possible). Which brings me to the reason for this post.

Recently in the car I have been listening to Nina Simone and I have to say that she has become a balm for my soul this past week. Especially on my way back from work I feel frustrated for not being able to do more and this woman just reaches into my soul with her voice and her songs and calms me down. Nina Simone had a beautiful, warm voice full of feeling and meaning and she sang like she could look straight into your heart. I have liked her for a long time, have used a small part of her great song Sinnerman as the background music in my Richard-Armitage-says-Esther ringtone that I have installed on my phone…

… but I haven’t listened to her very much for a long time, until this past week during my drives to and from work.

I am not really a jazz fan, so the more full on jazzy numbers are less for me. However, she has sung some beautiful, melodic-jazzy songs as well and those are the ones that have been the balm during each 30-40 minute drive. One that has especially struck a chord is this one, “I wish I knew how to be free”:

Not that I don’t feel loved and free, but I think it touches on a longing for things to maybe be more carefree? I do realize I have a good life but every life has it’s cares and worries and so does mine.

Another one I adore is ” My baby just cares for me”. It’s the first song that introduced me to Nina Simone back in 1987 when it was used for a commercial.

It’s such a brilliant song and nowadays when I listen to it, it makes me smile because I associate the lyrics with Mr Esther as he too ‘just cares for me’. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I really loved listening to this one this week – “I loves you Porgy” reminds me that I have never seen the musicalย Porgy and Bess and I need to watch it someday. If you only watch one of the videos I post here, watch this one. Simone’s intensity while she performs here hits you right in the heart:

I also loved listening to Mr Bojangles:

… and Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood:

I used The Look of Love in a fan video for A Place to Call Home and Marta Dusseldorp, the lead actress in that show, even tweeted her approval when I posted it last year.

And then there’s the very moving song “Blackbird”. You can hear Nina Simone’s excellent version here but a cover was sung by wonderful and gorgeous actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw in her excellent movie Beyond the Lights that I want to share here:

There are many more great Nina Simone songs (her version of “Feeling Good” may be my fave version out there) but especially these songs I mentioned have carried me this week. It’s good to be alive in world that, next to all the ugliness out there, also holds these treasures.

Anne with an E, anyone?

I have always loved Anne of Green Gables. I first really learned about it when I saw the two TV movies with Megan Follows during my teens back in the mid-1980s (Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: the Sequel). I adored them and over the years have come back to them again and again. I have read the books (albeit a long time ago) and thought nothing could top those 1980s adaptations. I loved Anne and I loved Anne with Gilbert and her long journey to finally realise that they belonged together. Here’s a fan video someone made to refresh the memory:

Then a year or two ago on Netflix I saw that there was a new adaptation called Anne with an E, which I thought could never top the Anne adaptations I already loved. I was curious, however, and decided to give it a chance. It promised to be an adaptation with more grit and yes, I can confirm that it is. Anne, after she comes to Marilla and Matthew, is traumatized by her childhood in her periods at the orphanage and families who couldn’t love her and put her to work. The story is the same, the characters are basically the same, but yet it’s also very different. Also, as this is a real TV series (with 7 episodes in the first season and 10 in the second), Anne with an E has much more time than those TV movies to delve deeper into Anne and her world.

annewithane flower crown

The story of Anne with an E strays from the books, most notably in Gilbert’s storyline at first, but in the rest of the story too. The stories touch on issues of trauma, bullying, sexual identity, racism, loss, feminism and even educational reform and yet also weaves seamlessly back into the Anne stories we already know, with her imagination and love of storytelling at the heart of her character. It’s Anne at the end of the 19th century but also adapated to modern age issues. It’s not a hit with everyone, I understand (considered too liberal, I guess?), but it is a hit with me. Is it better that 1980sย Anne? I honestly couldn’t say! They are two very different adaptations with the same core and I just love them both.

Anne with an E Cuthberts

Amybeth McNulty makes a great Anne, I love Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert…

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and I also love Geraldine James as Marilla and R.H. Thomson as Matthew.

Anne with an E Marilla Matthew

Anne’s bosom friend is of course Diana Barry, played by Dalila Bela…

Anne Diana

… and another friend, naive Ruby Gillis (played by Kyla Matthews), really cracks me up every time with her dreamy mooning over Gilbert…

Season 2 introduced the new character of Sebastian Lacroix, called Bash, from Trinidad (played by Dalmar Abuzeid) who becomes Gilbert’s best friend. He’s a delightful character.

There’s a great New York Times article on the show, with many more insights, should you care to read it. Here’s a trailer for season 1 of the show…

… and for season 2:

I recently checked back to see when a season 3 would finally happen and it turns out that season 3 has recently started airing in Canada! So, I’m tapping into that now with great excitement. The trailer for season 3:

As Anne and Gilbert grow older the story matures for them and so far the first 3 episodes have been so great that I have started making videos again! Should you want to see them (beware of spoilers!), they are over on the separate Anne with an E page I have set up under the Fan videos section on this site. The most recent, third episode was particularly heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. I am now seriously and feverishly awaiting each new episode. With Suits now ended, I guess this is my new obsession!