Going through the motions

First day back to work in 2022 and it’s still really quiet. Nothing much happening yet at the university as it’s still the Christmas holiday and therefore also not much work. I’m sitting here in my usual spot at the dining table (we are all still in lockdown here), looking out and relishing the quiet while everyone else in the house is sleeping in. It’s even quiet outside, with the cars all frosty and the sun veiled behind a light, cloudy sky.

Fatigue kicked in yesterday, I think from that Moderna booster shot I had on Tuesday. Came home from my volunteer work at around 4.30 pm, went to bed and napped for two hours. I knew it would be quiet at work today, so I also slept in a bit this morning but here I am, at my work laptop, still feeling very tired and going through the motions of work. I’ve gone through e-mails and chats (there weren’t that many), have checked new service calls (none) and have read the latest newsletters (not that much news). I have a meeting at 1 pm and I think I will just take the afternoon off after that and go to sleep…

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the quiet, staring out the window, typing this and yes, also going through these pictures again. I know everyone has been sharing them everywhere these past two days but I can’t resist posting them here as well. May 2022 bring many more such lovely images!

Enough daydreaming now – back to figuring out what to pick up next at work. I’ve got to say that this slow start in the quiet suits me well, especially because I absolutely do not want to be doing this job at all. Fingers crossed that time will fly until my new job starts!

No. 2 & White Boar & heraldry

I just now opened Netflix and I see that Stay Close is number 2 in The Netherlands today!

Although this is not my favourite Richard Armitage project (see my previous post), I am pleased that it is proving to be successful for him, a nice little boost for his career.

Another boost in the news is Richard’s ‘White Boar Films’ production company going live online. See the website HERE. It sports a nice picture of Richard too…

I’ve heard rumours of the Annie Thorne and the D.I. Jackman projects before, looks like he’s serious about getting those made. Good for him! And maybe they could also produce something Richard III related in the future, as Armitage has been wishing to do for ages?

Yesterday, while Mr Esther and I were out alone for the afternoon, I told him that Richard had started a production company called White Boar Films. I said no more and didn’t need to as Mr Esther, who is an expert on heraldry, instantly grinned and said, “Hey, that’s from the coat of arms of Richard III! It makes sense as Armitage is from Leicester as well.” He remembered that little fact from our summer holiday a few years ago. So, yes, White Boar Films making a Richard III movie would be really cool as well and in a way connects my favourite man with my favourite actor. Let me tell you how I envision that.

Should Richard Armitage ever make a Richard III movie with his production company, they just need to make sure the heraldry for that is right because, according to Mr Esther, heraldry is rarely used properly in movies. For instance, the De Merville coat of arms that Richard had in Pilgrimage had all sorts of things wrong with it. Don’t ask me exactly what, as Mr E is the expert, but from what I understand it was not correct for the time, had all the wrong embellishments and would never have been worn on clothing like that.

Mr Esther is a board member of a heraldic organization, so I hope White Boar Films will consult him, or someone like him, if they ever do make a Richard III film. It’s especially important as the production company is named for a coat of arms, so if they ever use heraldry in a movie, they need to do so correctly. But all of this is just speculation and wishful thinking where I’m imagining sitting in on numerous production meetings between Mr Esther and Richard on heraldry… Not a bad vision, right?

Wishful thinking aside, I wish Richard all the very best with his new production company!

I binged Stay Close

Warning: minor spoilers ahead (including spoiler pictures)!

I wasn’t going to, but in the end I did and I binged all of Stay Close on New Year’s Day. Apparently it was number 6 on Netfix in The Netherlands yesterday.

I won’t go into a very detailed review here because, in honesty, that would mean spending a lot of time on something I don’t feel like doing. I also won’t spoiler plot here but what comes next does have a few minor spoilers and I guess even some of the pictures might give something away, especially if you don’t want to know anything in advance. So, progress at your own caution!

I’m starting with lots of screenshots of Richard as I liked him in the role of photographer Ray and he is what I liked best about Stay Close. Here’s the first batch (click on images to enlarge), there’s some really nice cinematography in many of these…

So, let me cut to the chase: Stay Close was not my favourite Armitage project. It has nothing to do with Richard, though. He is good at playing a tortured soul and Ray is just that. I really felt for him, trying to piece together what had happened in his past. The other actors were good too. Although I felt a bit iffy about the Megan/Cassie character, I thought Cush Jumbo did a really good job with what she had. James Nesbitt as detective Michael Broome, Sarah Parish as Lorraine and Youssef Kerkour as Fester did great jobs as well, as did Jo Joyner as detective Erin Cartwright. I got a kick out of seeing Jo act a few scenes with Richard again, it was a little North and South reunion of the Thornton siblings!

There was even a little N&S dialogue reference between the two when Erin mentions to Ray that her husband “dabbles in photography”. It’s such a pity Ray did not respond with “I’m not sure I’d know how to dabble” as John had done in N&S. Nonetheless, I was just grinning from ear to ear at that little blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference. And seeing James Nesbitt and Richard reuniting again after their roles as dwarves in The Hobbit was also nice.

For all the nice acting, the story was… meh. Just like in The Stranger, I felt there were too many characters and too many storylines and some of them felt very contrived. The central hook of Megan not wanting to expose her former life as Cassie wasn’t that strong to me either and I wasn’t too fond of the messing with timelines. Also, again like in The Stranger, I felt a little too manipulated by all the story threads that turned out to be not so important after all or some character backgrounds that had no real pertinence to the story at all. I guess that must be the Harlan Coben style of storytelling?

Murder mysteries aren’t my preferred genre to watch anyhow unless the characters are really appealing and in this series I just couldn’t care so much for many of the characters or the outcomes of their stories. I admit to a little fast forwarding here and there. Maybe I would have liked it better if it had been, say, four episodes, with only half the characters? Basically, I only watched this for Richard and he was a joy to see in a new role, so I don’t regret watching this. Ray was one of the few characters I could root for. I just don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to watch it again.

Here are some more screenshots, because Richard was so lovely and the camera sure liked him in close up as well.

All in all, if I had to give Stay Close a star rating, I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Not so great but also not too horrible, with some good performances and some nice Richard Armitage screen time.

Throwback!

There’s a new article on Richard Armitage in the Wall Street Journal, where he talks about growing up and finding what he wanted to do in life…

It was nice getting a few glimpses into the young Richard even though I knew a lot of it already. What’s even more exciting are the pictures that were shared. Richard and his mum visiting the Royal Shakespeare Company, in a picture taken by his father in 2001.

I was 31 and either pregnant or had just had my son when this picture was taken. Wow.

Cutest of all was this following picture of Richard with his older brother Chris, taken in 1976 when Richard would have been 5 years old (and I’m guessing his brother maybe 7?). They look so smart in their ties! They also look like boys I could have played with in primary school. In fact, big brother Chris on the right reminds me of John, an English boy I used to have a crush on in fourth grade. I only have one class picture with John in it (boy on the left, the blond girl diagonally behind him is me). His smile in this picture isn’t as wide as Chris’s is and his hair is darker but still that Chris picture instantly made me think of John! His smile is exactly how I remember John’s to be.

The boys look so familiar, it has me wondering whether they didn’t also spend a year or so in Jerusalem at my school… Ah, man, I love such adorable throwback images!

Richard up close

Apparently there was a little item on the Spanish news about the filming of The Man From Rome and someone on Twitter kindly provided a nice clip of that section…

Of course I went screencap happy as it has a few Richard gems that I just can’t resist sharing here. The loveliest of them all are these close ups…

Man, I love that look in his eyes at the beginning, that profile, those crow’s feet, that little smile… Yes, for that alone this little video is worth it. I even made a little gif…

There are more delights…

Such a nice little Richard gift, right before Christmas.