Tea consent, S-F-Richard & Richard

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I love it so much, I’m sharing it here. It starts with: If you’re still struggling with consent, just imagine that instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea…”

Yes, yes, YES on everything in this video, such a great and simple analogy!! Now if only the message would be understood that easily as well… The video is already 3 years old and has close to 6,5 million (!!) views. It may be old news but it’s new to me and so very relevant and important, I think it bears sharing over and over again. I’m showing this to my daughter and, even more importantly so, my son.

Watching this video also triggered a fun memory: it made me think back to Stick-Figure Richard, which may be known to fans of Richard Armitage from some years ago… Stick-Figure Richard was a humourous impression of Richard Armitage; it always surprised me how much could be expressed with him in just a few pen-strokes. Natazukii used to make drawings of Stick-Figure Richard which I thought were genius and I always loved looking at the images. This was way back when, way before my interacting within the fandom days. Nat even made S-F-Richard videos and here are two of them. One about failed New Year’s resolutions which feature a few of Richard’s iconic earlier roles…

… and a spoof on the “Sexy Back” videos Heathra made way back when

These videos still make me laugh! And of course, make me think of Richard, which naturally leads me to real-Richard (every thing is relatable to Richard, apparently!). Yesterday the Berlin Station team shared an image announcing season 3…

Richard is featured very prominently on this for a character I have the feeling will bite the dust pretty soon into series 3. But, that’s OK by me. I mean, doesn’t he just look fantastic here? Here’s a close up (thanks to Veloce on Twitter)…

RA BS season 3

Be still my beating heart! This one’s right up there with my fave ever Richard looks. I still love the beard, combine that with the longer hair and it hits right home. What a lovely pick-me-up. 🙂

MTA: Apparently this is my 500th blog post – yay me!

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Bosworth and Berlin

The other day Mr Esther was watching a documentary on the BBC made by Ian Hislop (of ‘Have I Got News For You’ fame) called The Olden Days. In it Hislop showed how Arthurian and Alfredian legends have been used in different times of history to promote current causes. The Telegraph had a good review for it, should it interest you. I didn’t quite catch all of the programme but what struck me very much was Hislop’s repeated assertion that when Britain wants to move forward, it always looks to the past to do so and more so than many other countries do. I have been pondering that and yes, I think he has a fair point. Parts of the ‘good old days’ get glorified and sometimes that is helpful but sometimes it also stands in the way of progress. I get a sense of that with this whole Brexit crisis. Many British people seem to be saying “we’re better off alone like in the good old days” and in my heart I just feel that those who think that are stuck in the past, not facing the reality of a global world today.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that knowing history and learning lessons from history is extremely important! Many lessons from history really can and do help us move forward and hopefully make us evolve as human beings. I also feel that focussing so completely on the past can possibly also undermine moving forward.

So, what caused me to even blog about these thoughts here? I hadn’t previously even intended to do so! But Richard Armitage posted two tweets yesterday about the Bosworth battlefield outside Leicester that is threatened to be used for development by a Japanese company that wants to test driverless vehicles there.

And there is this message of protest from Richard on the Richard III society page on Facebook, with a lovely photo to go with it….

Richard and Richard III

I never sign petitions blindly just because a favourite person of mine asks me to do so. So, I tried reading that ‘Pipeline’ article Richard linked to and boy is it long and rambling and repetitive. I ended up skimming through large parts but in the article I did understand that the Japanese automotive company already has a technological park there, which already does cover a part of the battlefield. And they don’t want to take over all of the battlefield (which the messages seemed to suggest to me) but they only want to expand into a little corner of the Bosworth battlefield which potentially could be interesting (but possibly also not) to archaeological research.

I did a quick search and found this Telegraph article which shows a map of the area. A map makes things that much clearer for me and I find myself wondering: is that little corner really so essential to the whole battlefield preservation? And if so, why wasn’t the establishment of the Japanese company there deterred in the first place? The company’s property already covers Henry Tudor’s vantage point. I was at the Bosworth battlefield last summer and the area is large, we certainly didn’t take the time to walk over every inch of it. A large part is already preserved and needs to stay preserved, so can’t a little corner be sacrificed? Couldn’t they just do archaeological research in that corner of the battlefield before they build and then display what they find in the Richard III museum in Leicester or at the Bosworth visitor centre? If new things can’t be built over (the edges of) old places, aren’t we stuck? Is this an example of history taking prevalence over future and development? Or, on the other hand, is this really such a very important corner that it needs to be preserved at all cost? If that corner were to be sacrificed, is that giving an inch before they take a mile? I really wouldn’t want that to happen! And does the Japanese company really need that expansion, can’t they do it on the considerable plot they already have? And if it is really so important to keep that corner, shouldn’t the proposal be to also take back that part of Henry Tudor’s vantage point?

I can’t decide one way or the other what to do about this petition, I know too little about this and frankly, I don’t have the time or inclination to go into it in any depth. For me, as it stands now, there are far too many questions. It’s also about history or the future, what to choose? I find both important and I really don’t know! Is there a history AND a future solution? When I sign my name to something, I want to completely be able to support that cause and so, as I am undecided, I haven’t signed anything yet. I have a feeling that Mr Esther would be for signing this petition, so maybe he can convince me once he reads this… or maybe some of you can convince me one way or the other in the comments…

Now that I have written all that down, I can hopefully let it go from my thoughts for a bit and get back to work concentrate on the Richard glimpses in the new Berlin Station trailer for season 3. The trailer, while slick, doesn’t tell us anything about the story, so in that sense I guess it isn’t a great trailer. But it sure does look pretty.

Mat Khal over on Twitter took a few lovely screenshots of the quick Richard glimpses we get, I’ll share my two fave shots here…

RA BS 3 trailer screenshot1RA BS 3 trailer screenshot3

… and now, Richard Armitage, stop keeping me from work while I sit here in our at home office trying to look extremely business-efficient! (Oops, is that Mr Esther coming home, calling me downstairs for lunch? Procrastination, thy name is Esther!)

Say my name, over and over again

Two years ago, when Berlin Station first aired, I got a little kick out of the fact that one of the characters on it was named Esther (played by Mina Tander). And not just any character, but the woman would turn out to be a love-interest for Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage)!

Berlin Station S02E07 (13)

A year after Berlin Station I discovered Suits and got caught up in (binge-)watching that. In season 5 there was a guest character on the show who was also called Esther (played by Amy Acker), the sister of one of the main lawyers on the show (Louis Litt played by Rick Hoffman). She became a fling for the main guy Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht).

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Ever since then I have been meaning to make an ‘Esther’ fan video in which Richard Armitage and Gabriel Macht say my name, over and over again. Now that I have finally finished watching the second season of Berlin Station, I finally decided the time had come. So, here it is, the video I finished making this weekend, featuring my name (said by more people than just Richard and Gabriel)…

When I was a kid, I really didn’t like my name. In time I made peace with it and now, over the years, I guess I have finally gotten used to it; I have warmed to it in such a way that I am now happy enough with it. This video is all silliness, and feels somewhat narcissistic, but it was nice hearing my name on the lips of actors I like and love and it’s been fun documenting it in this video!  🙂

Richard in Berlin Station spam

So, last weekend I finished watching the rest of Berlin Station season 2. Again, I have only watched this series for Richard Armitage, other than that it has not been able to hold my interest. I am not a spy story fan in general and even though I have occasionally enjoyed a spy movie or TV series, they are never favourites of mine. At the time, I also only watched Strike Back for Richard. I did enjoy that series, John Porter remains one of my fave Richard roles, but I was never tempted to watch the rest of Strike Back after Rich left. Berlin Station I have not been able to enjoy as much. It isn’t awful but somewhere in the “it’s an OK series” range. On a scale from 1 (awful) to 10 (great) I would give it a 6.

Let me first go into the negative: what I mostly disliked about this show was the storytelling. There are too many points of view and there is no one to really root for, even if some storylines do touch on personal situations. Most of the time you don’t quite understand why a character feels the way they do or where they’re coming from. The story itself also felt a bit flat and not very insightful at all. I also read criticism about how the German electoral system was portrayed inaccurately but I admit to fast forwarding through some of that stuff, so it never bothered me so much. The fact that I felt the need to fast forward here and there says enough about how the story did not really grip me. But it wasn’t all bad and I did find Berlin Station series 2 far less confusing than series 1…

To me, Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage, the focus of my attention) had a little more of a personality in this second season than in season 1, even though again the show wasn’t so much about him (a bit surprising as he is billed as the lead actor for this). In season 1, when he seemed conflicted, you often wondered whether the conflict was real or just part of the spy act. His relationship with Esther Krug (Mina Tander) felt like that – did he really like her or was he only having sex with her to get information from her? The second season made Daniel seem less dubious to me and more caring. It felt like he really cared for Esther and for his mission. He also really cared for Hector and for what would happen to the character of Lena Ganz. The caring also went a little overboard, though, with the shock over what happened with Otto Ganz (won’t spoil that here). I like that he was emotional (and Richard played it so well!) but the depth of emotion for such a man seemed a little far-fetched to me – Daniel seemed to care too much about what happened to a right-wing extremist he had tried to get into jail and who he didn’t seem to like so much for most of the story so far. But at least Daniel did have a bit more of a real heart in this season, and I liked that.

Another good thing about Berlin Station is that they have secured great actors for it! They gave life very adeptly to a flat story. Apart from The Armitage, I also really liked Richard Jenkins, Rhys Ifans was good, as were Leland Orser and Michelle Forbes. I also liked the addition of rookie Keke Palmer. However, Ashley Judd didn’t really impress me here – I much prefered Richard Jenkins as station chief. They should promote Michelle Forbes to that post next season.

BS station cast.PNGThe calibre of German acting was excellent too.  Mina Tander is good as Esther, although she had less to do this time around; Thomas Kretschmann as Otto Ganz and Emilia Schüle as Lena Ganz were really great…

… and I also really liked Heino Ferch’s performance as Joseph Emmerich.

Those German actors certainly have charisma! Most of all, though, I liked Richard and this is where my picture spam starts (click on the images to enlarge). I will continue on from where I left off with posting pictures, starting with episode 4 of season 2 (episode 3 only had 30 seconds of Richard in a flashback to what we already saw of him in episode 2). Beware, from here on in pictures may contain minor spoilers!

So, episode 4 starts with Daniel (Richard) meeting secretly with Esther (Mina Tander)…

They get very close, but it’s all business talk…

After that, Daniel is back in the field…

Episode 5 starts with Daniel and Hector (Rhys Ifans) trying to make sense of a sculpture. I love their smiles here, which look like they are close to cracking up hysterically…

Berlin Station S02E05 (3)

We have more Daniel in the field…

… with some very close close-ups…

And Richard in plaid, walking away…

Epsiode 6 starts with Richard in the shower and studying himself in the mirror. Oops, I should stop saying Richard and say Daniel…

There’s a knock on the door and there’s something very vulnerable and evocative about Daniel here…

Berlin Station S02E06 (4)

He puts on a shirt after Esther enters…

… and the vulnerability continues (I love the body language here!)…

Daniel and Esther get quite close again…

… and after that it’s back to business…

Daniel visits Esther at her apartment, he’s upset and does a lot of talking with his hands (I love how Richard talks with his hands!)…

… and one thing leads to another…

Episode 7 starts with Daniel waking up in Esther’s bed alone…

… but fear not, Esther is still around. There are some lovely images of Daniel in Esther’s kitchen. I wouldn’t mind seeing Richard in this Esther’s kitchen like that!

There is some very trite romanticism (“I’ll be myself and you’ll be yourself” or some such crappy dialogue), but it does give us some lovely romantic images…

… and a little more cuddling (with a lovely little smile in the last image)…

… and it’s back to spy-business…

There’s a business meeting with Esther that doesn’t go as Daniel hoped it would…

… and that night, Daniel awaits Esther in her apartment, not too pleased with the business side of things…

Episode 8 begins with an early morning disturbance in bed for the couple…

… followed by more spy-business…

In spy-stealth-mode Daniel visits a house at night, looks straight into a nanny-cam and carries the little girl out of the house (awww!)…

… followed by more spy-talk…

Episode 9, the final episode, has Daniel in a car (yet again, lots of car scenes in Berlin Station!)…

… and meeting with Esther (that last half-crinkled forehead look is so sweet) …

… and spying indoors…

… and outdoors…

There’s some final Hector stuff going on…

… and a funeral which, in the light of Richard Armitage just losing his mum, I found somewhat poignant (even though at the time of filming no such loss was happening)…

And so we come to the end. After the funeral, Daniel meets with Esther at the riverside…

… and they walk off into the sunset together…

And so we now await season 3 of Berlin Station. Admittedly, season 2 is not as bad as I had feared it to be and of course, it is great to see Richard in action and he does really well! However, for me, I’m not the greatest Berlin Station fan and a season 3 is not necessary. I’m just not so fond of the storytelling and wouldn’t mind so much if Richard quit this show. It looks like Daniel won’t play a huge role in season 3 (again, this is supposed to be about Daniel Miller yet it is remarkably little about him), as Richard seems to have finished filming a while back while the rest of the crew is still at it. No idea when season 3 will air, I think I read somewhere possibly in the fall? I am sure we will get some answers in time… Meanwhile, thanks for another good acting job, Richard!

Only for you, Richard Armitage…

I’m finally braving it and watching Berlin Station season two. Season one hadn’t done so much for me, even though the last few episodes redeemed the show somewhat, so I have been putting off watching season two.  I am desperate for some new Richard material, so I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and season two it had to be for me. I just finished watching the first two episodes.

Again, I find myself not enjoying the show so much, even though I do very much enjoy Richard-watching. He’s always good, just wish the material was better and his character had more depth. I’ve been freeze-framing to get a better look at him and have been taking some screenshots. Visually it all started nicely with these images (click to enlarge) of Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) on a train…

And Daniel at Berlin Hauptbahnhof…

Berlin Station S02E01 (6)

There was a little interaction with Esther Krug (Mina Tander)…

Some more Richard… er… Daniel in action…

I very much liked these images of Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes)…

There’s Daniel in a car…

And the show finally came to life a bit for me when at the end of episode one the action was transferred to Spain and Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans) came onto the scene…

Episode two sees Daniel in a market…

Daniel in a wine cellar…

Daniel drinking wine…

Daniel smirking and listening…

Daniel intense in profile…

Berlin Station S02E02 (28)

Some more Daniel and Hector action…

And I really liked this following image of Daniel, he’s been showing a little more real emotion under the undercover surface than I remember from season one…

Berlin Station S02E02 (42)

There’s Daniel waking up (look at those veins in his upper arm)…

Daniel walking…

Berlin Station S02E02 (46)

… and talking with Hector at the end of episode two.

Berlin Station S02E02 (48)

So, yeah, it’s been really wonderful seeing Richard in action but after two episodes I need a little breather before I continue on with the rest. Only for you, Richard, only for you…