This and that

Just a few bits and bobs before I disappear into the world of TV or movie fiction. It’s been a very busy week at work and I need to relax the mind somewhat before I head for bed.

It’s just after 10.30 pm here and dusk has set in but it’s still light outside! I love long Dutch summer evenings. Picture below was taken at 10.20 pm (and yeah, the grass desperately needs mowing)…

We had a hot day today, the weather is supposed to break with rain and thunderstorms tonight and cool off somewhat tomorrow.

In other news: my younger sister was feeling very ill with a high fever. She went in to the hospital this evening where she was diagnosed with (a new variant of) Covid. She’s been vaccinated and boostered and still feeling so ill, poor thing. She is thankfully home again and on extra strong meds to bring the fever down. Let’s hope she gets well soon! They say the next Covid wave is on the rise here. This pandemic remains serious business.

In more cheerful news: Mandy Patinkin and his wife Kathy will star in a new comedy pilot called Seasoned based on the fun videos that their son posted of them on Mandy Patinkin’s Twitter account during this pandemic. The show will be written by their son and his partner. I loved their pandemic videos that gave a light-hearted glimpse into the daily lives of a couple that has been married for a long time. So, now it will be made into a show.

I hope the show can hold on to the charm of those videos and won’t be overkill. I’m really curious to see this when it gets made.

Friday goodies

Friday goodie number 1: April 1st (no joke!) is the official date where I transition completely to my new job and don’t have to do it 50-50 anymore, like I have these past two months. Such a relief! The things I have been doing for my new job give me so much more energy. I find myself actually smiling at work again and while I do come home tired, it’s the good kind and not the debilitating depressing kind of tired. There are some difficult challenges in the new job but also some really great opportunities that I am getting excited about. The team so far seems great and I just love that I am working in libraries again! In practice, as of yesterday, I’m pretty much doing my new job full time as my old work has all but dried up. Just one more old-work-meeting to do on Tuesday and then that’s it. I did a front office library shift this morning, filling in for someone who was sick, and am working from home this afternoon, but all in library mode. So, Friday goodie number 1 is that I can now say I am officially a Library Coordinator. Yay!

Friday goodie number 2: While working at my dinner table this afternoon, my Father Quart shrine from Guylty arrived that I had bought from the Ukraine fundraiser she and Kate did. It’s a little thing of beauty…

… and I’m really glad to own a little tribute to a Richard Armitage role (in a clerical collar!) that I am actually looking forward to. Even though I’m not a believer myself, I do have this little thing for (good) priests, because I grew up around them and my dad was Protestant clergy. So yes, I’m extremely pleased that I can now call myself the owner of this little bit of clerical Armitage memorabilia.

Friday goodie number 3: A few weeks ago I read the Ronald Colman biography that his daughter Juliet Colman (who was a teen when he died) wrote in 1975. I had looked for a physical second hand copy of the book but I couldn’t find anything cheaper than about €100,- anywhere, so I made do with borrowing an e-book. Not ideal when you are still in Ronnie Colman land and want to look something up and you’d rather leaf through a real book than scroll through 290 pages of e-book. I decided to search again and found a copy on Ebay that was affordable. It cost €24 and with shipping and import cost it came to about €45,- which was way better than any other price I had ever seen for this book. So yes, it looked a little tattered in the pictures but I didn’t hesitate long, I just wanted that book. I ordered it last weekend and to my surprise it already arrived today!

Yes, the cover is a little tattered, the pictures on the inside are coming loose and the pages are yellowing but it really isn’t too bad and very well usuable for me. I also like that it has an inscription on the inside, telling me it was first bought in November of 1975 in Manchester. It’ll make a nice addition on my book shelf and I am ever so pleased!

Friday goodie number 4: Series 2 of Bridgerton is available as of today. I’m looking forward to watching this, it’s just the right kind of distraction.

Will I even be able to tear myself away from Ronnie for that many hours? I think I might if I can find the time this weekend (it’ll be pretty busy) because I’m ever so curious.

Friday goodie number 5: Last fall Mr E decided to plant all sorts of bulbs in our garden and this spring we are reaping the rewards. Even our little Japanese tree is blooming with it’s little red leaves again after we thought that it had virtually died last year after an unexpected freezing spell. We thought the same about our magnolia, but it has started flowering again too and there are daffodils and hyacinths everywhere…

The weather has been very nice here, with lots of sunshine (though still chilly in the shade). Yesterday I even suggested to my new team that we have a meeting outside in the sun and we did. Sunshine and flowers are a great start to my three day weekend (I have Monday off)!

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.

Still wishing…

Two years ago today the announcement came that the excellent Anne with an E was cancelled. The cancellation still is definite, and yet I still wish for that fourth season, even if there is no real hope for that left…

Even The Guardian, in an article from only two months ago, regrets that there is no season four. The petition to renew Anne is at over 1,5 million signatures…

I’ve made fan videos, I still return to bits and pieces of Anne and I still try to stay abreast with what the cast is up to, in the hopes of hearing some unexpected good news. Two years without Anne is far too long, so on this sad anniversary let me just call yet again on the powers that be to renew Anne with an E! Not that the powers that be ever read here, but I can at least put it out there, maybe it can help create some positive karma.