Status Report

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Academic Year 2014-15: 1
Obscura:  0

That is all.

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My Richard Armitage Gateway Drug

For some unknown reason, the universe decided to leave me more or less unencumbered on Friday evening…what to do with all of this free time AND custody of the iPad?  (Mini Me’s recent birthday resulted in her very own Kindle Fire which further resulted in my iPad occasionally being out of her clutches)  I thought that I might go back and watch the Hannibal Great Red Dragon story arc on Hulu, but alas, only the final three episodes of S3 are currently available.  Drat.

Fine.  I’ve been idly thinking about starting a Lucas North fic, so I thought I could stand to re-watch some Spooks (titled MI-5 here in the US).  DAMMIT.  Netflix seems to have dropped MI-5 from its offerings.  (I have since found it for purchase on VUDU, so suck it Netflix!)  Foiled again.  I’d better check one other thing….

**I feel silly even doing this, but um..spoilers below…if you haven’t seen North and South yet (?!?)**

north and south

Whew!  Four well spent hours later, as I was “rewinding” the final scene, I was recalling what it was that drew me in.  I’ve always been a sucker for a crinoline romance, and this is a good one.  The dialogue sequences between Margaret and Thornton are great, but it is the moments of silence that are simply killer.  Daniela Denby Ashe’s Margaret Hale snips and snaps at Thornton, but her luminous eyes and plush lips say something entirely different much of the time.  Is it any wonder that Richard Armitage’s John Thornton runs the gamut between infatuation and indignation in almost every conversation?

The level of detailed emotion that he conveys solely through his facial expression is something that I noticed first in North and South and have continued to marvel over in each and every performance since.  Here though, the marriage proposal scene in episode 2 is spectacular.   Thornton goes from hopeful but hesitant, to surprised, then slighted, and finally insulted and irate in the space of minutes. Even without his bursts of dialogue, the visual emotion that runs across the planes of that beautifully angular face communicate volumes and are incredible to behold.

Episodes 3-4 are a tour de force of angsty facial expression action.  Though he is stern and harsh to her face, even coldly announcing at the end of episode 3 that he is over her and “looking to the future,” Thornton can’t seem to shake her off when she can’t see him.

look back

Even when he thinks the absolute worst of her, he still pensively pines after her and urges her to “Look back” at him as she leaves Milton…he thinks forever.   GAH!!

swoon smile

Don’t even get me started on the tiny smile and swoon inducing tenderness in the gaze when he sees her on the train platform and then as the sit on the bench.  Where’s my hartshorn?!

*Ahem*  Where was I?  Ah yes, North and South…I don’t watch it often, but like any good gateway drug does, it opened a door to a plethoRA of addictive Armitage performances!

I was going to say something about the pining Roman poet Catullus in here somewhere, but re-watching those North and South sequences did me in.  Below is Catullus’ version of what Thornton might have scribbled in his super secret journal at the end of episode 3:

Advice: to himself

Sad Catullus, stop playing the fool,

and let what you know leads you to ruin, end.

Once, bright days shone for you,

when you came often drawn to the girl

loved as no other will be loved by you.

Then there were many pleasures with her,

that you wished, and the girl not unwilling,

truly the bright days shone for you.

And now she no longer wants you: and you

weak man, be unwilling to chase what flees,

or live in misery: be strong-minded, stand firm.

Goodbye girl, now Catullus is firm,

he doesn’t search for you, won’t ask unwillingly.

But you’ll grieve, when nobody asks.

Woe to you, wicked girl, what life’s left for you?

Who’ll submit to you now? Who’ll see your beauty?

Who now will you love? Whose will they say you’ll be?

Who will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?

But you, Catullus, be resolved to be firm.

#cRAftingForCharity – in Aid of the Syrian Children’s Relief Fund

Auction starts tomorrow!!

Guylty Pleasure

It is now five years that the Syrian civil war has been raging. Since 2011, more than half of Syria’s population of roughly 18 million people have been forced to leave their homes – and are either taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in search for safety and peace, or have become displaced and vegetate in the squalor of make-shift camps. It is a matter of urgency – and of human compassion – that we help the most innocent victims, the children, whose heart-breaking pictures have been going around the world. I cannot get the image of Aylan Kurdi out of my head – and I never EVER want to see something like his tragic death again. Therefore I would like to pledge the proceeds of the #cRAftingForCharity auctions to the Save the Children appeal for Syrian Child Refugees.

Save the Children Syria Source: Save the Children

Save the Children has been working…

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FYI Red Dragon Fans re. #cRAftingForCharity Auction

FANtastic hand crafted items about to be auctioned for a great cause!!

Guylty Pleasure

+++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++ T E A S E +++

You may want to tune in next weekend (19th to 22nd September) because there will be a few essential Red Dragon fan items going on auction here. A fantastic opportunity to get your hands on hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces that have been lovingly crafted by talented, fellow fans of yours. What is even better, is, that you probably know those lovely ladies – so not only could you auction something that will remind you of our wonderful Mr A, but also of his creative fans…

Such as…

Nancy aka Sinnamin. I probably do not have to introduce her – I have mentioned her frequently in the past…

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It’s a Richard Armitage Curriculum InfiltRAtion!

When I was a youngster in the fandom, I reflected on potential “world collision” when RAA (Richard Armitage Affairs) spontaneously intersected with my daily life “worlds”   I suppose it it becomes more common as an individual fandom evolves and integrates into the normal routine.  For a while, I even toyed with engineering an intersection with my professional life.

I often write new classes to teach in the shortened winter and summer sessions to mix it up a bit, and once upon a time, I seriously considered writing a class on industrialization and social class systems in 19th century England which would allow for a full screening of North and South.  That has yet to coalesce in real time, but lo and behold, last night I had my first organic Richard Armitage infiltRAtion into a course.

I am currently piloting a course on the History of Popular Culture using comic books as a jumping off point…that is, how comic books affected and in turn *were* affected by American cultural trends.  One of the things we’ll be looking the role of the recent surge of comic book inspired blockbuster films within the larger cultural and historical context of the medium.  Last night we began the discussion of superhero comics in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

00_Action1_Cover

We talked about the social, economic and political climate that gave rise to Superman, Batman and a host of others, but as we moved into the 1940’s, with no conscious ulterior motive, the superhero that I really wanted to have them compare comic book origins to film adaptation was Captain America…a character who was “born” in 1941, only months before the US entered World War II.  Unlike Superman and Batman who had long been box office gold, Captain America’s previous venture onto film in the early 1990’s ended up in a direct to video release that was universally panned by critics and fans alike.  This made the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, a part of a growing Marvel film juggernaut, almost virgin territory.  It doesn’t hurt that it is ready available for less than $5 on various streaming services (we will not talk about how it was previously available on Netflix…WAS.)

And so it happened that I put Captain America: The First Avenger on the “reading” list for the course, asking the class to watch it carefully and analyze where it is faithful to the original comic book superhero formula, where it diverges, and why.  It’s all about the superheroes after all…but then I remembered…

Richard Armitage as Hydra agent Heinz Krueger

Richard Armitage as Hydra agent Heinz Krueger

I believe this calls for an assignment revision –

“It occurs to me that we should also examine the comic book villains versus their film counterparts”

I’ll be very interested to hear what they say.  Golden age comic book villains tend to be a fairly one dimensional crew.  I wonder if an “objective” audience will detect any of the backstory that Richard Armitage is known for weaving into his characterizations.

I will report back….

This message will self destruct in 3….2…..

BLAM!_logo

Help Needed

This is a great idea…I’m thrilled to contribute!

Guylty Pleasure

Dear friends, sisters-in-RA, fellow human beings,

over the weekend, no doubt you have seen the heart-breaking image of a little Syrian boy, washed ashore in Turkey. For me it has highlighted the urgent need for all of us to step up to the plate and do something about the current humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, as have the images of hundreds of people welcoming the refugee trains in Austria and Germany, with food and gifts. Tbh, I am put to shame by the efforts of some of my friends who are actively helping on the ground. A friend of mine is organising shelter in Regensburg (town in Southern Germany), directing the logistics of sheltering refugees, collecting items and welcoming the first busloads of refugees. Another friend in Austria is collecting items. Even in Ireland my German friends are active. A crafty friend of mine has pledged all proceeds…

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