GIFFING Richard Armitage… Yahoo TV Interview GOLD!

yahoo1Was anyone else just completely charmed by the playfully expressive and cheerful Richard Armitage we saw on the Yahoo TV video the other day?

I did enjoy the verbal content, to be sure… but it was really the sight of Mr. Armitage in his sexy leather jacket, with collar askew and hair just a bit disheveled that really made an impression…

 

 

 

 

yahoo2He’s adorable! Yet I couldn’t help but giggle at the gifs as they emerged.

I really have to say that, while his answers were intelligent and showed no indication of a loss of mental acuity, he looks, well, just a bit tipsy at times.

 

 

yahoo3No, thank you, Mr. Armitage. For brightening my day with your demonstrative eyebrows, your forehead crinkles, and your bright eyes. 

 

 

 

yahoo4Just… too cute for words.

 

 

What’s in that drink, anyway? *snickers*

 

 

yahoo5Awwwww. Such an attentive listener.

 

 

But it’s the start of the answer that makes me giggle out loud. OMG.

 

 

 

 

yahoo6Great question, Paris. Who knew he’d self-identify as House of Slytherin?

 

And with such a charming and conspiratorial air. =)

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo7Yep. He’s a-Slither’N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo8I think I may have missed his answer. I was a little preoccupied with the four lovely thumb strokes.

And that neck.

Oh, God. With all of him.

 

 

yahoo9But these facial expressions! Seriously, this interview hit paydirt! Here we have kissable lips, wild astonishment, manly arm-crossing, then a brief flash of tongue… Hot Damn!

Ovarian overload. Seriously.

 

 

yahoo10How engaged was he? I literally want to just… jump him. In a good way.

 

Oh, don’t look so shocked, Mr. Armitage.  LOL

 

 

yahoo11And finally, could we please present him with colorful wheels of live stream fortune on a regular basis?

 

Because that’s just Richard Armitage GOLD.

Richard Armitage, White-Shirted

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I mean, who wouldn’t sit up and take notice?

It has been rather a long stretch since I posted anything remotely related to Richard Armitage. (In fact, you might almost wonder whether I was no longer preoccupiedwitharmitage!) And that’s a fair question, because if I’m honest, I do find it hard to be half so obsessive about the man when Nothing Much Is Happening. For all those who waited it out while he was off filming The Hobbit: kudos to you! I’m having a hard time of it with not much news on the Armitage front.

Have I lost interest entirely? Apparently not. But I do have to say it was an enormous relief the other day when Richard Armitage, White-Shirted, filming in the Canary Islands for Berlin Station, came across my radar.

So yes! Inspired! Finally!

I do believe I became quite breathless when first I saw the image above.

 

 

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OK, so maybe it’s not absolutely a white shirt… but dayum. The man still has it.

And who could blame me? =)

 

With all the talk about how much Daniel reminds us all of Lucas North, I couldn’t help but think he also bears a bit of a resemblance to a different operative… one John Porter… in the image above.

 

Mmmmm hmmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

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Aw, an eyebrow furrow! I’ve missed that!

This look really does it for me. There is just something about a man in a casual white button-down shirt.

 

With heavy stubble as a nice contrast.

 

(Perry even thought it was a beard from a distance!)

 

 

 

 

wet hair

Whew. The stubble, the knowing look in his eyes, the barest hint of a smile. And add wet hair into the mix? Stunning.

Yes, I think we can all agree that this man has always rocked the white shirt and heavy stubble.

*Excuse me while I dash water on myself*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He looks pensive about something here. Inner conflict?

I confess… this type of shirt on a handsome man does make me want to unbutton it.

Hubby, I hope you’re not reading this… but if you are… take notes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

younger

Here’s a young one. Where has all his chest hair gone?

Yes, a white button-down shirt is just begging to be opened further.

Down to where one might stumble across a little chest hair, maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shirt open

No, seriously! I know he has chest hair!

Or a belly button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I wonder… why are you sitting on your hands?

We’d better get you buttoned back up, sir.

Before we all collapse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wasn’t there a great hashtag for this on tumblr? Something along the lines of #acollarsituation ?

Maybe we should even add a coat.

I don’t believe I would have survived this look without that coat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

thekiss

Because I never tire of seeing this one moment.

I’m still not sure how Margaret was able to actually stand up and walk after this.

And the man was wearing his waistcoat.

 

 

 

 

esquire

Because… dayum.

And finally, well… there can’t be a compilation of Richard Armitage, White-Shirted that didn’t include this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, I think it never hurts to revisit this type of White Shirt Situation.

 

Or maybe it does hurt. But it hurts so good! =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Armitage Achieved The Impossible, Or: I Loved David Copperfield

RA narrating DC

Richard Armitage in narration mode.

Yes, so as a huge fan of Richard Armitage, and a huge fan of audiobooks, I was pretty underwhelmed with excitement when the news first broke that Richard was to narrate the Charles Dickens classic David Copperfield. In fact, I expressed my frustration with the choice of material in a spoof in which I suggested that I had previously read the novel, but couldn’t remember much about it. I know I read Great Expectations all the way through, and disliked it intensely, and at the time I wrote the spoof, I really did think I’d also read DC, but now that I really have, it’s clear to me that instead at some point I must have been assigned to read some excerpts… probably in high school English, which is why some of the story seemed familiar to me. However, after the first several hours, I was certain that I had never read the entire book!

There. That paragraph has been in my drafts folder for WEEKS. Why!? I really did love David Copperfield– the narration was superb and it was the best storyline from Dickens that I’ve encountered to date, definitely kept me engaged and eager for more. It took me about 3 weeks to listen all the way through, starting almost as soon as it was released. Which means it’s been about a month since I finished it, and have nothing but good things to say… but I’ve been struggling, really struggling, with motivation to blog lately. And damned if I haven’t forgotten most of what I thought I’d write about.

So let’s see… if I had to pick a favorite characterization (meaning, Richard’s voicing of the character rather than Dickens’ descriptions here) I would have to go with one of the villains. I loved his Edward Murdstone voice- so low, and darkly sinister, and controlled. I particularly loved it when he’d reprimand his sister, the way he’d say “Jane Murdstone” with such careful, vicious enunciation when she’d interrupt him. Fabulous! I hated and dreaded that character to the fullest degree. But then there was also the villain of the latter part of the novel, Uriah Heep. Oh, what a weird, “writhing” and undulating voice Richard created for this character when in the throes of his overwrought humility! I would have loved to see what kind of neck and mouth contortions Richard might have used to achieve such strange tones! (When I try to re-create them I become almost lantern-jawed in the effort!)

Really, there was not one voice that he chose from an enormous cast of characters that was not consistently and instantly recognizable! Another thing I’m pretty sure I wanted to mention was his ability to deliver humorous content- makes me so wish to see him take on if not a comedy, then a somewhat comedic role. I was surprised at the number of times I smiled and even snorted out a laugh. Something about his delivery of Betsy Trotwood’s eccentricities, in particular her war on donkeys! And the ups and downs in the life of Wilkins Micawber… very entertaining… especially the heights of passion achieved when Wilkins Micawber finally blew his gasket over Uriah Heep’s embezzlements.

I was definitely leery when we learned it was to be 36+ hours, but by the time I’d been through about a 3rd of it (the average length of most of my audiobook material), I was fully involved and just grateful to have all that time of sublime narration out in front of me. I think RA himself suggested that he’d been the one to choose this book to narrate, and at the time I couldn’t imagine why, but now I understand. It’s a massive undertaking, but I thought, an outstanding achievement. Bravo! The Audible Editors were spot on to include this one in their list of February selections (and I’ve since listened to several of their list, and enjoyed this one the most!)

Who would have ever thought that the best audiobook of 2016 to date would be a Charles Frickin’ Dickens? LOL

All I have to say is… when is the next one?

 

Richard Armitage Impresses Even The Most Horrible People

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Richard Armitage at Syrian Refugee Center, Berlin, 2016. I wonder if the little girl in the lower left was the laughing “Cinderella” whose sweeping duties were completed by Richard…

 

That’s right. I’m sure everyone probably saw Richard’s lovely, heartfelt account of his visit to the Syrian Refugee center over the weekend, and if you haven’t made time to read it, you should. Apparently, while I was busy being The Most Horrible person I could be, RA was carrying well-meaning balloons to traumatized children, feeling terrible that he’d never considered that the sound of a balloon popping might be a trigger to them, and making up for it by allowing them to crawl all over his climbable frame, impressing them with his artistically rendered punk-rock hairdos, overcoming his aversion to walls by building them with Legos, and taking up a broom after sharing giggles with a little Cinderella over it.

Sigh. I LOVED this tweet, and it reinforced my admiration of Richard Armitage as a deeply empathetic and generous man, with a heart for people rarely seen in the entertainment industry. It also, however, made me feel lower than whale dung, as I’d screen-capped it early in the day but hadn’t read it until after midnight, after we’d all retired. That’s right- I was too busy being the most horrible person I could be, and celebrating my win, to read the tweet when it first came across my radar.

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You see, this weekend was our second (kinda) annual ladies retreat at work, where our fun-loving but horrible gang of ladies leaves behind our pets, our men, and our children and makes for the “mountains” (which are really hills here in Oklahoma) for some time off to recharge. You might think, from the gallery above, that this was an innocent pastime, set in an idyllic lake cottage… but you’d be wrong.

Our retreat WAS set in an idyllic lake cottage, but… well, there’s the alcohol. And the wiener roast. And the hot tub. And Magic Mike XXL with whoops and catcalls.

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Oh, and technically, I suppose we didn’t leave all the children behind. There’s the knocked-up receptionist who swears she “slipped and fell” on, er, something… and ended up pregnant. She didn’t do any of the drinking, but the baby on board didn’t stop her from trading quips about the menfolk, participating in the traditional campfire wiener roast, and it certainly didn’t stop her from competing for the title of “Most Horrible Person”… though that title went to me, and handily.

That’s right. I won Cards Against Humanity, which is the WORST, most politically incorrect, lewd, crude and shocking game for horrible people. Like us.

I won it by a landslide. So ashamed, Richard. Especially after your compassionate, beautiful tweet.

Has anyone else played it? Because while our lovable humanitarian was  laying bare his soul, we were chortling away, answering questions like “When your boyfriend asks you to go down on him, it might be fun to surprise him with _________ instead.” With six players, each person has a turn to read a black card, and the other five play a white card out of a hand of 10. The person reading the black card is then the judge, and the best answer wins the point. In this particular example, I was the judge. Here were my choices:

a. Uranus

b. Multiple stab wounds.

c. Vigorous “jazz hands”

d. Fiery poops

e. Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle.

I mean, how do you even choose? Great, horrible answers, every one!

And damned if I can remember whether I chose “multiple stab wounds” or “Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle”.

Yep. While Richard was pondering the importance of Empathy, I answered “The best way to quell 1.________ is with plenty of 2._________” by playing  “1. the unstoppable tide of Islam” and “2. Queefing”.  I’m ashamed to say, I won that round.

So there were 90 questions, and we played them all. Final score? Well, I had 26 and the remaining 64 were divided between the other players, but I was up by 12. I was definitely in a celebratory mood right up until I read Richard’s inspirational account of HIS day, then I began to feel like the horrible person that I clearly am.

My penance? I made a donation to Richard’s cause of a dollar for every horrible question that was answered in a horrible way. It’s not much, but it made me feel a TINY bit better about myself. Thank you, Richard, for being an inspiration to all of us. I can’t say that I wouldn’t turn right around and play Cards Against Humanity again at the earliest opportunity… but I WILL promise to make a donation on behalf of horrible people, every time.

 

 

 

 

Linnet Has Sent A Richard Armitage Locket Shrine!!

locket shrine 3I’ve received a lovely, lovely surprise! And I must say, it really couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous moment, as I was up to my ears in tax documents trying to get everything together for the accountant, which is never any fun, and it was the last thing in the world I expected when they brought the mail in. In fact, I studiously ignored the mail for a couple of hours, not in the mood for any more bills. Imagine my surprise when I finally cleared some space on my desk, and reached for the stack of mail to go through and make sure there weren’t any last-minute “Important Tax Document” envelopes to be added to the file box I was compiling… and there on the top of the stack was a padded envelope! What a huge boost to my spirits!

locket shrine 2It contained the first Linnet Moss Richard Armitage Locket Shrine (so honored to be in possession of the first!) and it is a completely unique and beautiful gift. This is the coolest thing! The locket opens up, and little tiny charms can be interchanged to create a whole different look. In the photo, you can see how tiny they are in comparison to a ball point pen! She included two larger photos, one of John Proctor and one of myself with RA at the Stage Door, and on the back side of these, she’s put a screencap of my preoccupiedwitharmitage blog tag cloud. If you remove one of these larger photos, you can insert a variety of the smaller charms and gems, including a faceted Peridot gemstone (RA’s birthstone). She’s miniaturized the “Iconic Man” edit that Guylty and I worked on recently, as well as a black and white version of Proctor, then an eye photo (love, love, love!! My personal fave!) and another facial front-shot in color. There’s an itty-bitty Hobbit book (inside cover of which shows RA as Thorin) which is just incredibly adorable, as well as an “Arkenstone” and a filigree gold clasp. Just one piece of gold, to appease the dragon-sickness!

Linnet is a talented jewelry artist and has shared details about how she constructed the locket shrine, along with better pictures and tips for anyone who might be interested in creating their own, over at her blog. It contains a little bit of me, a little bit of Linnet, and several little bits of the beautiful man who has inspired our fandom.

I absolutely adore it, Linnet, and will treasure it! Thank you!

My Two Cents on Richard Armitage Deleted Tweets

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Richard Armitage has been deleting tweets again! As an interested observer, I actually find it rather an intriguing feature of Richard Armitage’s “online” or “social media” personality. I don’t pretend to know what to make of it, but it does secretly amuse me, and it’s kind of fun to predict for myself about how long this post or that one will stay up. (I didn’t expect the A. Wank joke to last more than a day or two.) Of course I have absolutely no insight into his thinking process, or perhaps the thinking process of his presumptive PR-team, but nevertheless I entertained a fanciful picture of him reading that later, then suddenly his ears turning pink as he wondered if his mum saw that! LOL

But wow, what a discussion, replete with various levels of disappointment, sorrow, panic, and blame-placing! I don’t know what to make of all these deleted tweets other than that for whatever reason, Richard Armitage (or his PR team) second-guesses him(self) on a pretty frequent basis. It seems pretty straightforward that if he’s going to tweet this joke or that political/social statement, he has to expect and understand that he will draw responses from those active on Twitter, and not all will be positive.

That doesn’t mean that the people tweeting back at him, however much we may agree with their sentiments or disagree with their sentiments or applaud them or cringe at them, don’t have a right to tweet (or as I sometimes think, bleat) away, and I don’t think we can fairly place blame (i.e. Richard will leave Twitter, or Richard will from now on only tweet work-related posts) because of perceived “ugliness” directed at him on Twitter. Even if that is totally true or partially true, ultimately Richard (and/or his PR team) are going to do as they see fit. He has every right to take a tweet down again later if he wants to, just as I can, or anyone can.

I don’t believe I’ve  deleted any of my own (rare) tweets as of yet, but I sure have deleted a Facebook post or two in my time… but that was down to me, not the fault of anyone else. And yes, I have changed my mode of Facebook posting over the years. There was a time years ago when I would put up a political observation and have huge, long comment threads (of 50-100 comments) in the discussion of political issues. Most of the time they were remarkably civil! Still, once in a while I would myself become frustrated with what I considered to be completely ignorant “talking points”, and eventually, I began to be irritated at people I love. I decided it was better for my peace of mind to stay away from making political posts, and now I mostly stick to funny things the kids say and do.  While I don’t get comment threads of 50-100 anymore, I can read my comments with a smile and a light heart.

My decision to stop putting up political posts wasn’t the fault of those who disagreed with me, though. It was just what felt right to me and gave me peace of mind. I’ve since had a number of people mention to me that they missed my political comment threads, that they were fun and one of the few places where they could express political opinions with other civilly-behaved, if not like-minded, intelligent people. Sometimes I miss that, too, inasmuch as there are few places on the internet where political commentary isn’t full of insults and name-calling… and I’m sorry that my politically active friends were disappointed… but I still don’t want to talk politics on Facebook or any other social media site, and that’s my prerogative.

I suppose it’s entirely possible that just as I moved away from posting political thoughts on Facebook, RA may gradually evolve or trend in some direction or another in his social media platform… but that’s ok. If it happens, and that’s a big if… I know I’d miss the jokes and the awesome hashtags, but it’s not as if we don’t get glimpses of his humor in other forms, such as interviews and Q&A’s. 

Anyway, a long-winded way to say, I’m not convinced that RA is going anywhere or changing his ways completely, or planning to never ever post jokes, pictures of himself, or compliments to colleagues, etc. But if he impulsively posts something, then doesn’t have peace of mind, for whatever reason, he’s probably going to delete it. 

Be quick with your screencaps, I say! It’s like as not to disappear!

 

Richard Armitage Strikes an Iconic Chord

berlinale cropped

I’m too sexy for my shirt…Too sexy for my shirt… So sexy it hurts

Several new photos emerged over the weekend featuring Richard Armitage at the Berlinale film festival, looking mighty dapper. But while I appreciated all the photos, something about the more candid photo captured here just pushed all the right buttons for me. What I wouldn’t give for a full length shot of him in this pose. There’s just something so casually sexy about his stance, and my caption notwithstanding, it gives every appearance of being an unstudied grace.

I’m loving that hand in his pocket. I’m loving the hint of stubble. His eyes have just a touch of the heavy-lidded appearance that makes my pulse quicken, and the cut of his jaw line… very nice, indeed. I’m forever a sucker for those forehead crinkles. And as we all know, it just never hurts to see Richard Armitage in profile.

 

 

 

berlinale posterized

Posterized edit.

It being a slow day at work, I played around with this image in my photo editor, and couldn’t help but notice that this image could easily be sort of an iconic man image.

I like this one. “Posterized”. It would be even better if I could crop the other guy out of the background, but maybe you see what I mean. Wouldn’t that be cool, printed on an old-fashioned tin and framed in my office?

 

 

 

 

 

 

berlinale IR

Infrared edit.

I also like this one. It’s kind of a black and white, but the filter is called infrared. I like the detail in the suit that the IR filter picked up.

Yes, this shot of the clothes somehow makes me want to get as close as possible and really… inspect them. Every inch.

Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 * * *

berlinale-posterized (3)

Oh, this is so going on my wall!!!

Update!!

Ooooh, the lovely Guylty has up and edited the posterized version for me!

LOVE IT!

I have all kinds of ideas, now…. =)

 

Richard Armitage in Clarissa. Just… Wow.

SinisterLovelace

This man. So sexy. So sinister.

Last week we had a nice discussion about Richard Armitage’s narration of The Chimes, and the topic of his performance in the BBC Radio adaptation of Clarissa came up in the comments section. For as long as I’ve been a fan of his narrations, I’ve been wanting to hear this production for myself, so I delved in 3 days later after finishing the audiobook I was listening to, and I have to say, if it weren’t for the Super Bowl, I’d likely have finished it in one sitting. Spoilers (and maybe triggers) below.

Since I haven’t read the 18th century novel, I can’t really judge how well it was adapted, or how well it captured the source material. I can say that I was riveted. Every performance, I thought, was outstanding. I guess I hadn’t really realized that it wasn’t actually a narration, but a collaborative dramatization with an entire cast. Tops was Richard Armitage as the villain Robert Lovelace. More on him later.

Some of the other standouts, for me, were:

Clarissa Harlow, portrayed by Zoe Waites. She managed to make the heroine sympathetic, which at least in my opinion, was a bit of a challenge. Not that I didn’t like Clarissa, because she was one of those people full of grace and kindness. However, she was so very virtuous, so naïve and often ineffectual, that she ran the risk of becoming ridiculous at times, especially to my modern sensibilities. There is a phrase for that in critiquing circles for the heroines of romance novels: TSTL (Too Stupid To Live)… and Clarissa was, literally, TSTL. Yes of course it was a different era, and perhaps there were circumstances explained in the novel that were not fully explained in the dramatization… but it seems to me that once she was well and truly “ruined”, even if her family had disowned her, she could have done something, anything, other than what she did do, which was essentially lay down and die. Yes, she fell into despondency, and who wouldn’t, after the despicable way her family treated her and the even more reprehensible actions of her tormentor, Lovelace? But damn it, Clarissa, there were other options! With her rigid morals, she had, if nothing else, a perfect temperament for entering a convent. She was educated. Perhaps her lovely friend might have helped her to create a new identity for herself and find work as a governess. I thought she had an inheritance… why not go to her property, take the reins, and live out her life as a modestly wealthy spinster? If all else failed, she might even have found it within herself to attempt to forgive the one who despoiled her, marry him, and make the best of things. I find it hard to believe that the tiger would have ever changed his stripes, but many men can, theoretically, be “managed” if nothing else. Instead, she essentially stopped eating and became weaker and weaker, then ill, then died.

Dorcas, the servant in the house of ill repute, portrayed by Lisa Hammond. Her performance was amazing leading up to the rape scene, when she was the one who gave Clarissa the milk laced with some type of tranquilizer. She clearly knew Lovelace’s dishonorable intentions, yet despite her obvious sympathy for the girl, she carried out her duties for fear of losing her situation or facing Lovelace’s wrath. Her voice during this scene, so detached and yet so shamed, really built the suspense for what was about to happen to Clarissa. Later, Dorcas was overcome with self-loathing for her part in Clarissa’s downfall, and made another outstanding performance of the moments leading up to Dorcas’ own suicide.

Allison Steadman, who played both Lady Harlow, Clarissa’s mother, and Mrs. Rawlings, who lived in the same boarding house as Clarissa where she’d fled to escape Lovelace’s clutches. As Lady Harlow, the performance was laugh-out-loud funny as she kept mispronouncing and confusing the word “libertine” as it applied to her daughter’s suitor. As Mrs. Rawlings, the performance was once again humorous as she first fell prey to Lovelace’s laughable explanations as to how he came to arrive at the boarding house wearing a false beard in the guise of a doddering old man, and why it was that Clarissa, his “wife”, was so dead set against seeing him! And later, when the cold-hearted snake convinced the heavy-set older woman to do her best to impersonate the young and beautiful Clarissa in order to intercept a letter that was supposed to be delivered only into Clarissa’s hands…

Mr. Solmes, portrayed by Steven Critchlow. As the middle-aged, gluttonous gobbler of cookies whose marriage settlements Clarissa’s family found so desirable as to force her into marriage despite her disgust of him, Solmes was quite convincingly loathsome, and most certainly made Robert Lovelace’s “gallantry” seem infinitely more desirable in episode 1.

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An absolute bastard.

And last, but never least… Richard Armitage as Robert Lovelace. I’m definitely biased, but wow! He was really quite amazing. Oh, his silky tones and the yearning in his voice as he pleaded with Clarissa to allow him to protect her! A rake, a scoundrel, a libertine… not necessarily the worst thing in the world when he looks and sounds like a fallen angel. I was well on my way to falling in love with him myself… even after he rather viciously engaged her impudent brother on the doorstep at swordpoint… right up until his snide and conniving tones were first revealed in his letter to his friend Jack.

That was like a bucket of ice water on my emerging lustful fantasies for Robert Lovelace. Even as he boasted of his deceptions, and repeatedly exposed his total lack of honor in his letters and in the conversations he would have with his confederates, refusing to ever say for sure whether he actually intended to follow through with his ardently professed desire to marry her, there would then be moments of such convincing and loving words and attentions that I would slip back into favor with him, only to smack myself moments later when he was again outside of Clarissa’s hearing.

The bastard’s motivations were very slippery for me to grasp. At times I thought Clarissa was nothing more than a game, a challenge to his ego, but there were other times when I’d wonder if he was truly searching for that elusive quality of virtue that he believed was lacking in the feminine soul. It was almost as if it was some twisted crucible of misfortune that part of him wanted to put her through, hoping that she would emerge untarnished and incorruptible, to reverse his misogynistic worldview, and somehow then love him. The other part of him, I think, wanted nothing less than to systematically dismantle that virtue, to make her turn to him, fallen and broken, so that he could then be the one to turn away in disgust, and destroy her.

He lied. He refused to listen to her. He spoke soulfully to her one minute, then intimidated her the next. He cut her off from all communication and created elaborate subterfuges to lead her along his path, he forced his amorous attentions upon her, and then relentlessly pursued her when she ran from him. He was an 18th century stalker and charming sociopath, easily convincing even well-intentioned bystanders that she was a flighty and mentally unstable wife rather than his helpless quarry. And then he drugged her, and raped her.

Whew. As much as my psyche recoiled from Lovelace during the totally nonconsensual intercourse, if I’m honest, his voice still managed to turn me on. And that was almost as alarming as anything I heard. I thought the scene was written well, and oh man, Armitage delivered it masterfully.  From the malevolent tones in which he addressed Dorcas before she left the room, to the tender words and shushes spoken to a drugged yet weeping Clarissa, swiftly transitioning into that low, sharp insistence that she tell him she is willing. Then low, guttural tones, as he repeats the word “Mine!” and penetrates her. I was tremendously disturbed and emotional after this scene, and had to take a break. There is a prevailing theory that rape is not so much about sex and lust as it is about power, control and dominance. And this was the essence of the performance delivered with hot and cold precision by Armitage.

I liked the ending, but would have greatly preferred it if Lovelace had sought his death while Clarissa found both peace and the strength to move on. She did remain true to herself, but I would have rather seen her create a “new” self. As to Robert Lovelace, I’m still not sure that even in seeking his own destruction, Robert Lovelace showed true repentance. Did he really seek redemption, and offer his life as atonement… or did his disastrous obsession merely compel him to pursue Clarissa beyond the grave?

Still thinking about that two days later… and that’s the proof of a moving performance.

 

 

On The Chimes as Narrated by Richard Armitage.

Well, hello there! I feel like I’ve been pretty remiss lately. (So you call yourself an Armitage blogger?) Yes, well… it just seems that there’s not a whole heck of a lot going on at the moment, and when I was racking my brain trying to think of non-quilt-related topics, the best I could come up with was that, although I’ve listened to it twice, I haven’t commented on Richard’s sort-of recent narration of The Chimes by Charles Dickens. I think it’s a little telling, the fact that I have listened to it, more than once, but haven’t had much motivation to talk about it. Every time I’d sit down to write my impressions, I’d find my mind wandering back to my quilting.

So let’s start with why that is. On the one hand, I LOVED the narration. Totally, and unequivocally. Richard has never yet let me down in one of his narrations, and this was no exception. On the other hand, as much as I’d love for his narration to have made of me a “Dickens convert”… I just can’t say that he has. Luckily for them, Richard Armitage and Charles Dickens together have another crack at that coming up in less than a week, when his narration of David Copperfield is due to be released by Audible on Feb. 9. Naturally, I’ve pre-ordered that book and I’ve every confidence that I will, at the very least, enjoy one aspect of it. Richard.

I’m not the only one looking forward to David Copperfield despite it being, well, David Copperfield. A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from Audible with a link to the “Editor’s Select: Books We’re Most Excited About in February.” Here’s what I found when I followed that link: “There are some authors whose genius is so legendary, whose body of work is so vast, and whose renown in the literary world is so immeasurable, that to make a step into their catalogue becomes a daunting task. For me, this was Dickens. What if he didn’t live up to the hype? What if I didn’t get it? To make the plunge, I needed some assistance. Enter Richard “Ear-Candy” Armitage, as he’s become known around the Audible office. As always, his narration is immaculate, bringing Dickens’ extraordinary tale to great heights and voicing its diverse cast with unmatched verve. But Armitage succeeded in bringing David Copperfield to life for me and I can’t wait to dive deeper into Dickens’ brilliance.” — Doug (Audible Editor)

“Ear-Candy” is right. Stepping into Dickens’ catalogue as “a daunting task” is also right. For me, at least. And that’s why I haven’t had the motivation to blog about The Chimes. Can I recommend it to Armitage lovers? Absolutely. I think it’s safe to say that 3 hours of listening to Richard’s voice, in all it’s many nuances, bringing to life such a wide variety of characters and such a scale of emotions, through peaks of happiness and joy to valleys of loss and desolation, will appeal to most of the fandom. Can I recommend it to friends and family? I doubt it. I loved the performance, but the story, for me, was a bit of a struggle.

I listened to it primarily at the sewing machine. I tried to listen to it at other times, (packing for vacation, on the airplane, etc.,) but I just kept getting distracted and losing the thread of the storyline. I needed to be a captive audience in order to stay focused, and the sewing machine provided that. Even so, I would find my mind wandering, and have to back-track. Or I’d get caught up appreciating the voice Richard was doing, picturing his facial expressions or hand gestures as he sat in the studio, and have to back-track. I had to back-track so many times that by the end, I wasn’t even certain exactly where the story had gone. I had a vague notion that an alternate universe had been entered, in which the lead character, Trotty Veck, had died, and the supporting characters had gone down unfortunate paths into ever-more-impoverished circumstances, but I don’t think I had even completely grasped certain details, like the little girl (Lilian) had ended up as a prostitute.

Therefore, I decided to listen again, and that time I was able to stay more focused on the story itself, and recognize the cautionary themes therein. I think what I took away from the actual story was something along the lines of “it is best to trust in the goodness of humanity, the importance of loving relationships, and the hope for a better future, or that better future will be lost” … and this theme was very so-so for me. Not that I disagree necessarily, I just had trouble navigating and wasn’t entirely compelled.

I did love a few parts, entirely due to Armitage’s narrative capabilities. The scene where Trotty Veck’s daughter, Meg, brings him a surprise- a warm meal on a cold winter afternoon- and wishes him to guess the contents of the covered basket on smell alone. Lots of smiles and warm-fuzzies on my part- just a heartwarming scene, and Richard’s ability to bring the scene to life, the deep inhales, Trotty’s eager guesses, Meg’s giggles- it was lovely! Another stand-out scene for me was later in the story, in the alternate universe, when Meg’s former fiancé (Richard), now a broken wreck of a man, comes to visit her on behalf of Lillian, who has evidently fallen from grace but wishes to give Meg some of her earnings. RA’s portrayal of the middle-aged, alcoholic version of Richard, imbued with disappointment and broken dreams, but with a husky undertone of tenderness still reserved for his former love, was just brilliant.

All in all, it was a wonderful performance of a somewhat lackluster story. The fact that I listened to it twice, basically just to relive the joy of Richard performing in all his many voices, bodes well for the upcoming rendition of David Copperfield. Whether I love the story or not, I’m sure to appreciate Richard giving his best to his craft.

So bring it on!

My First Richard Armitage Thrill in Weeks!!

Yes, so as you know, we’re super busy and I’m getting down to the line, leaving for Vacation in just about 48 hours… my PreoccupationWithArmitage has been comparatively non-existent. So much so that I’d actually forgotten, until Perry pointed it out, that there was the annual Richard Armitage Christmas message to be anticipated, and although I now remember seeing a tweet from Richard himself that he was narrating a short piece for Audible, I’d apparently forgotten about that, too.

61dkG0t-ZVL._SL300_This morning, I’d slept in a bit, and when I woke up, reached for my phone. There was a Twitter notification from @RCArmitage and, because my PreoccupationWithArmitage is down but not defeated entirely, it was the first thing I opened on the phone. A link to a free holiday promotion for members… 3 hours and 42 minutes, a Charles Dickens Christmas short story, The Chimes. And narrated by none other than the most talented narrator with the most deeply sexy voice that I have ever known!

I tell you, it was as if I’d received an early Christmas gift, and one I’d always wanted, and because I stumbled upon it from His tweet first, it actually felt like a gift from him to me!!!!

Re-energized me and gave me quite the Armitage Boost, which I’ve needed but not known I’d needed! I’m so happy to have discovered it this way- glad RA or his team was on the ball with that tweet. Now that I’m up and about, I see that there are a myriad of ways I could have found out about it, including blog mentions, forums, and even an e-mail from Audible with a link to open my “Free Holiday Gift For Our Members”.

It just felt special to find out about it from Richard, himself.

It’s downloading as we speak! I know what I’ll be listening to as I pack those suitcases today!!