Seven years of The Crucible

Yesterday Richard Armitage tweeted this…

… and I can relate to the feeling old statement. It doesn’t feel like seven years ago that this play was staged at The Old Vic in London and that I went to see it during ‘the summer of love’, a term coined by some Armitage fans at the time due to the outpouring of love for this production and for Richard during that summer run. The Crucible gave me a lot personally as well.

By the time I traveled with my husband to London in July of 2014 to see The Crucible, I had been an Armitage fan for 8 years. I was a solitary fangirl at the time, eagerly slurping up Richard Armitage news and discussions on message boards and on certain blogs, lurking but never jumping in myself. During that summer, Servetus on her blog very helpfully kept a running commentary on all stage door encounters that were shared online, hence making it really feel like a summer of love for me. Check out the archives on her blog for June – September of 2014 if you are curious to see pictures of fans with Richard and read fan reports.

In tandem with this trip I had also been wanting to jump in to blogging on my own blog for a long time. I had started this blog with a single post in 2013 but didn’t know where to go from there as I didn’t want to write a single issue blog, so I stopped again. I was feeling especially inspired by some other Armitage blogs I also read (like Guylty’s blog or Herba’s blog and some other really great blogs that have alas gone silent over time, but popped up again partially during last year’s online blog reunion, see this Twitter hashtag).

Anyway, during this summer of Crucible love I started to feel the pull to also share my Crucible play and stage door experience. I was just a bit iffy about the public attention, i.e. worried that if I did get active, I too would eventually be caught in fandom spats as I had seen happening from the beginning of my fangirling days. I wanted to share but I didn’t want the drama, real life was busy enough. Then in September of 2014 I finally decided to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing, I just jumped in and wrote about my Crucible experience. With that post, really, this blog was born. Richard Armitage in The Crucible and the fans’ enthusiasm had pulled me over the edge and finally got me blogging. I didn’t announce anything about that post anywhere and it wasn’t until a few months later that this blog even started getting any traction but the slow start suited me well.

Not only did The Crucible get me blogging, it also, very importantly, led to my first personal encounter with Richard Armitage whom I had admired from afar for all those years. I can still remember the excitement while meeting him and handing him a little gift and exhanging a few quick words with him. Alas my camera failed that evening (also it was dark outside that stage door) and the pictures are all grainy but I don’t mind so much as the memories are all still there and really do not feel like 7 years ago! I am forever grateful to Mr Esther who helped me get my Crucible booklet and ticket signed and my little North and South poster as well that I had brought from home.

He also took this picture of me with Richard (I look a little manic!), which is now still the lock screen of my phone before I unlock it to reveal Mr Esther and our cats.

What The Crucible also gave me was a renewed admiration for Richard’s acting talents. I’d not been a huge fan of Robin Hood and Spooks and while I did love him in The Hobbit, I longed to see him do a great role without prosthetics. And boy, did I get that with Richard as John Proctor…

Mr E and I were both quite blown away by the production, by the cast and especially by Richard in it. We were mesmerized throughout and feeling quite shaken and drained by the end of it. My husband, who has always been supportive of my fangirling hobbies but always benignly from a distance, was just as much in awe as I was. Richard Armitage on stage is a wonderful thing to behold, he has a big presence there, he feels large and powerful, and when we met him at the stage door after the play he suddenly felt slight and almost shy. He must have felt competely drained.

That Crucible experience stayed with me for a long time (still very much alive in my mind and heart when I finally posted about it a month and a half after I’d seen it) and I was pleased when it was announced that the play would be filmed. When it came to the cinema in early 2015, I took my mother to see it and she too was very impressed. So much so, in fact, that for my birthday two months later she even gave me a watercolour painting she had made of a Crucible scene. It is now hanging above my signed Crucible ticket and poster in our dining area. That painting became my blog header and I also had a phone cover made of it that Richard Armitage even signed a few years later at the Newcastle International Film Festival.

I am glad The Crucible made me able to share some fangirling with my husband and even with my mother and I credit Richard as John Proctor for giving me the push to set me off on this blogging journey that I have really been enjoying these past almost 7 years. The play has been an important catalyst for me and I have loved revisiting it again and again over the years. I still think it is one of the absolute best things Richard has done in his career, he would have really deserved that Olivier Award he was nominated for at the time.

Long story short: happy 7th anniversary to The Old Vic’s The Crucible production, I’m glad you were made.

More brown eyes obsession

As I mentioned in my last post, Yannick Bisson’s brown eyes lead me to re-visit Gabriel Macht’s brown eyes and I’ve been re-watching bits and pieces of Suits, just because I wanted to see those beautiful brown eyes in action.

It’s not only the eyes, that man is truly brilliant as Harvey Specter, deal maker and man of steel, who underneath it all does have a heart that he shows especially around Donna (Sarah Rafferty, also brilliant) and more than ever in the final Suits season…

Added bonus is that some other brown eyes also caught my attention again during my re-watch, namely D.B. Woodside’s eyes. He’s most well known nowadays for Lucifer but he also did a season and later a few more guest episodes on Suits. He can look quite serious and dangerous, but the shape of his eyes and the colour are quite arresting and when he smiles the softness reaches right into his soulful eyes…

And of course I’ve been returning to Yannick Bisson over and over again because, I mean, come on, look at those warm large brown eyes and those eyelashes on the man! He’s a good actor and from what I can tell he seems like a very nice person too, but those eyes, they are in a league of their own (click on images to enlarge, they are worth it). Even behind glasses the eyes are beautiful! Is it possible to ship the eyes alone even more than the man?

I know I’ve been scarce around here of late, but with work, family, vertigo (now all gone, by the looks of it! Woohoo!) and all these brown eyes, blogging has gone out the window a bit. Last night I also started experimenting a little with the ‘Video Editor’ app for Windows 10, trying to figure out how that works, so I think I may remain preoccupied with brown eyes and video making for the forseeable future as well. I’m sure I’ll get back into blogging more again, once this obsession has run its course… Bear with me?

Blogging memories January 8th

Herba is looking back at her posts on January 8th over the past years and that’s fun! So, I decided to join in as well with my own trip down memory lane on this blog, starting six years ago.

2015: On January 8th I briefly wrote about the terrorist attack on a satirical French newspaper called Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the feared retaliation on all Muslims after that.

2016: No post on January 8th, but I did post on the 7th, trying to convince Richard Armitage that cats aren’t so bad. The tweet he had tweeted then is gone and I don’t remember what it said anymore and the video I had shared then is apparently also gone. I still stand by the love for cats, though!

Three days after that post, David Bowie died just two days after his 69th birthday. I went into full on mourning and writing Bowie tributes on blog. Today, January 8th 2021, would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday, so I’m adding a little tribute here now as well, as shared by Ricky Gervais today. Totally worth a watch for a great David Bowie laugh!

Happy Birthday, David!

2017: I didn’t post on January 8th but did post on the 7th and on the 9th. The post on January 7th was about winning something in Guylty’s Christmas raffle, receiving an Armitage puzzle, and speculation about a new Richard project.
The post on January 9th had me dreading the Donald Trump inauguration and mourning the loss of the Obamas. Sadly, all my fears and worse were confirmed by the Trump presidency of the past four years.

2018: No post on January 8th, but closest date I posted on was January 7th when I was very ill with the flu and my cat comforted me.

2019: Again, no post on January 8th, but I did do one on January 7th, writing about the trip we had taken over New Year’s to Hamburg.

2020: January 8th had me discussing Richard Armitage goodies, i.e. interviews because Uncle Vanya was premiering in the theatre and something on the small role he did in the South Korean film Space Sweepers (coming out soon now on February 5th 2021 on Netflix, by the way!)

Thanks for the inspiration to do this, Herba. It also makes me realize how quickly time is flying by. I pretty much remember writing all those posts and some don’t feel like that long ago…

The end of an era

I read in a blog post on More Than Thornton that the C19 message board is closing! I logged in to C19 and sure enough, there was the announcement from a month ago. Oh man, that truly is the end of an era.

When North & South first aired in the fall of 2004, the BBC message boards famously crashed because of an overwhelming desire of fans to talk about that adaptation and, more specifically, about who the hell that man was who had played John Thornton!

When I first watched North & South myself in the spring of 2006, I too quickly developed a thirst for knowledge about all things Richard Armitage. In my online search I soon came across C19, requested and was granted membership, and my quenching of that thirst could begin, with all the wealth of information right there. I just checked, I registered at C19 back in April of 2006 (under a pseudonym)…

I was mostly a lurker at first, then did comment some, but always stayed in the background in the Richard Armitage sections. I did become more active in other sections for a little while, apparently I have 519 comments/posts to my name, but in time it all just ebbed away and I stopped going there, finding other places and sources of information and, more importantly, I started my own little bubble with this blog.

Over the years, I would on occasion go back to lurk and read up on news and see how people reacted to certain projects. In recent years I have maybe logged in 2-3 times a year and while I hardly ever popped in anymore, it was always nice knowing that C19 was there. Of all the message boards I frequented (there were a few) this one has always been my go-to one. And now it is closing down on November 2nd…

Even though I am sorry for the small community that still goes there, I do understand the decision and I am grateful to those who have put in the hard work of keeping it going all these years. May everyone stay safe, well and happy and continue the fangirling in other places. Thank you for the good times, C19!

Guess I really am part of the AA

My name is Esther and I’m a Richard Armitage fan. I should say well-wisher, by decree of Mr. A himself once long ago, but I won’t. So, I’m a fan but only in a semi-public capacity. I don’t gush daily about him (I am over the really gushy stage and have been for years), I don’t tweet that much about him or even write that much about him, I don’t participate in Richard message boards or social media banter and I keep away from fandom drama as much as I can (in fact, I’m quite obtuse and barely notice a lot of it). Privately, I don’t constantly pour over his pictures, or read articles and fanfic, or watch fan videos, or scour the internet for more info and I don’t re-watch his work that much anymore either. I completely skip the audiobooks and it nowadays also takes me quite a long time to actually watch some of his other newer projects (they are not always for me, although, for what it is, I did quite like The Stranger and found My Zoe alright as well, but I have not seen The Lodge and Castlevania seasons 2 and 3 yet).

With all this, you may wonder if I even would still call myself a fan and the answer is, yes, I would. I still love the man from afar, he remains my favourite even if I’m not always vocal about it and I can still get excited about something like winning a Richard Armitage shrine (to add to the few fan items I already have and really cherish) or finding a new interview. Something in his acting and in the way he comes across (warts and all) really connects with me and I am always interested in what he has to say and what he’ll be doing next. His pictures cross my Twitter timeline daily, I am thankful to more active fans who keep up with news so well, I read some Armitage blogs (but even my fave RA blogs don’t blog about him all the time, which I like, as there is more to life than just Richard) and I will on occasion even travel to see him live.

In short, I do my fangirling in my own way (sometimes detached, sometimes immersed) and in my own little bubble here on blog. I also engage a teeny tiny bit on Twitter so that I can stay up to speed with news and that’s it. So, I don’t think my profile is that large or noticeable and until today I think I have stayed under the radar well enough and was never targeted as an Armitage fan by fake Richard Armitage accounts before. But here you have it: today, during my lunch break, I saw that “Richard Armitage” has finally deemed it time to follow me on Twitter!

I have reported the account as fake but oh my goodness, does this mean that after having fangirled over Richard for 14 years, I am now officially part of the ‘Armitage Army’? I’m always wary of being labeled as one thing and I certainly don’t want to be part of an army! I love the man but he is not my ‘commander in chief’ – I fear I’ll be a disobedient soldier because he can’t command me to do anything (no one can, not even my most beloved husband) and I certainly won’t take everything he says or does as gospel to be followed. This Twitter follow makes me realize that I am more part of a wider fan group than I saw myself to be. The Armitage bots (or whoever makes these fake accounts) have finally found me!

So, all this to say – I guess I am now recognized more widely online as an Armitage fan, ‘Richard’ followed me and I have reported him. 🙂 Does this make the Richard-Esther connection more real now? I’m not sure how I feel about that.

(Yes, this is the ringtone that plays every time my phone rings)

(Been typing at this blog post off and on, in between work, since lunch. This means I need to work later than I usually do to catch up again. See? I’m fan enough that Richard Armitage can distract me from work.)