A while back, Nat posted this:
Mark your calendars! May 29th is #RichardArmitage Blog Reunion Day! Like a fam reunion for blogs. ? All are invited. Participate w/ blog posts &/or commenting. Write about anything but please include what you’ve been up to since blogging & your current interests. #RABlogReunion
— Natazukii (@Natazukii) May 9, 2020
I’m not entirely sure what to write that I’ve been up to “since blogging” considering I haven’t actually stopped! Been on hiatus a bit here and there, yes, but not stopped. It’s been a while since I wrote something about Richard Armitage, sure, but this blog never had Richard Armitage as a raison d’être, I just happened to post about him a bit at the time when I first started, but he was never the sole purpose.
When did we fall off the radar? The last FanstRAvaganza stuff I partook in was in 2013 (did it continue after that or did I in effect kill it?), so let’s see, what have I got up to since then?
Brace yourselves, this post turned out to be hella long. #SorryNotSorry
In terms of Richard Armitage, still following his career (and Twitter, and Instagram) but without making much noise about it. There was the final Hobbit Trilogy film, which seems to be the last thing of his I actually reviewed. (Oops.) Doesn’t mean I didn’t watch stuff, just means I never got around to writing about them! There are a few things in the Drafts folder, but unless I re-watch them I guess that’s where they’ll stay.
We didn’t go to London to see this, but as Mr T made me sit through that ghastly Transformers film (the 4th one) at the cinema, he got to accompany me to something I wanted to see – so we saw a filmed performance at our local cinema. It was excellent! The play and Our Richard as John Proctor, that is, although our local Showcase Cinema isn’t bad either. 😉
Into The Storm
This is actually what was going to be my “you made me watch Transformers!” film, but instead we ended up going to Scarborough for a couple of nights and they didn’t show it there. Instead we saw Whitby Abbey and visited Anne Brontë’s grave, which was probably more meaningful than that film, to be brutally honest. Ended up seeing it on Netflix instead. Richard with an American accent is still super weird.
So, uh, this show happened. I hadn’t seen the first two seasons/series of this before jumping into s3, and, well, my takeaway from s3 is that wow, that looked very artsy, wow, that’s kinda weird, and wow, Our Richard sure can act, but I wasn’t intrigued enough to go back and watch the first couple of seasons. Not squeamish about the serial killer aspect – heck, I sat through all seasons of Dexter – but it was just … not for me. Despite Gillian Anderson being in it, which would otherwise work as an incentive.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Is this film even worth mentioning? He wasn’t in it much, and the film itself wasn’t anything to write home about, sadly. I enjoyed the first one, but this seemed to suffer from sequelitis.
Brain on Fire
Interesting film, and an even more interesting medical condition. (Afterwards I read about the woman the film is based on, and it’s really fascinating.) Richard got to play a dad again. I guess he’s now of the age where he gets to be the dad rather than the tall, dark, handsome single man in want of a good wife? (He’s still tall, dark and handsome, of course, and he somehow doesn’t seem to be aging – what’s up with that and how can I get in on it???)
Another weird film with a plot twist on par with M Night Shyamalan, but you could kinda see it coming, if I remember it correctly?
We watched this on a tablet perched on a stool in a ferry cabin. It was late at night and I may have nodded off on many occasions … Does this make me a bad fan? I remember the landscape being pretty and something something backstabbing?
I haven’t seen s3 yet (Channel 4 haven’t shown it yet), but from spoilers I saw on Twitter when it was on in the US I take it things don’t exactly work out. S1 I thought was quite slow, and wouldn’t have sat through it all had it not been for RA being in it. The Berlin setting is different (for those of us who don’t live in Germany, at least), Richard did a pretty good job speaking German and it was probably closer to what actual spy life is about than … all the FUN spy shows (by which I definitely mean Chuck). But at least it was something Mr T and I could watch together, even though I think we both concluded we much preferred Spooks. I thought s2 was a definite improvement on s1.
Another one we could watch together, and Mr T is more into it than I am, so that’s kinda nice. Can imagine RA having lots of fun playing an animated character, especially one that gets to be as grumpy and snarky as Trevor Belmont!
The latest instalment of watching RA absolutely slay it on screen. As a dad again, and this time he actually had a bigger part than simply “the dad”. Solid thriller, if with some very flimsy plot points that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then it also had Anthony Head in it, so who am I to complain?
Anything else made since 2013 that hasn’t been mentioned is because I haven’t seen it. Maybe if it makes its way to Netflix (like most of the above list) or Prime Video, but I’m not in a rush to go and get it. I’m quite happy re-watching North & South … which I may have done.
So. Aside from RA, what has happened?
In 2014 we lost Daisy, my cat since 2003, after a short but brutal illness. It still hurts. In 2015 we were trying to find a place where we could open a café. We found one, had it completely refurbished, opened in 2016 and by the end of that year Mr T had to go back to his former job so we could afford to keep a roof over our heads. So in 2017 we closed it down, sold off what we could and had a far too outdrawn process trying to get other people to take over the lease (a lot of frustration was down to them not hiring a solicitor). Finally got the papers signed by November and at least got enough money back to pay off the bank loan we’d taken out, so that was a huge weight off our shoulders.
2016 was of course also the year where Britain voted for Brexit, and Nottingham as a whole was very much in favour of leaving, so THAT WAS FUN. The country where I had felt at home for the past 12 years suddenly decided it had had enough of us immigrants, and thought we should all bugger off back to where we came from. Thanks, you guys! Up until June 2016 whenever someone asked if I’d ever want to move back to Sweden (which in those days as a part of “ooh, you’re Swedish? Cool! Do you like it here?”), I’d always shrugged and said I wasn’t bothered, because “I live here now”. These days I feel awkward whenever someone notices an accent and asks where I’m from, because nowadays you genuinely can’t know for sure if they’re going to say “ah, cool!” or start shouting abuse at “the bloody forriner” if you admit to being from abroad. Let’s just say Britain in 2013 and Britain in 2020 are two vastly different countries and now I’d be quite happy to move back home.
Anyway. If you’re an easily overwhelmed introvert, opening a café is just about the WORST idea EVER, at least when you’re having to do EVERYTHING yourself because you can’t afford to hire staff. It can get stupidly busy. As it’s customer-facing, me not being a people person, and with the added stress of worrying about a failing business and everything that goes along with it meant that my mental health was in a bad state at the end of it all.
In early 2018 we were finally free of everything concerning the café and could put it behind us and move on with our lives. Mid-April my dad passed away suddenly. While his health had steadily declined over the past decade (as a result of the aggressive cancer treatment he received in the 1980s), it was still unexpected and came as a shock. He was almost 72. None of us had realised how poorly he actually was and then his body finally gave up. 🙁 I miss him.
The rest of 2018 is hazy. 2019 we didn’t do much of anything because the IT contracting market had all but dried up so we had very little money coming in. The odd week here and there. Fortunately, my husband did eventually find a contract that lasted a few months, and brought us into 2020. And here we are now, in the midst of a global pandemic, and neither the UK nor Sweden are doing particularly well, let’s be honest.
Fortunately, we’re introvert homebodies anyway, so we’re not going stir crazy from not being able to go out and socialise. Our weekly roleplaying game has moved from sitting around our kitchen table to everyone being on Discord instead, so we still have our main socialising outlet. We miss being able to go over and see Mr T’s mum and give her a hug and have lunch together like we used to now and then, and I honestly don’t know when I’ll be able to see my own mum in person next. (Flights are hardly running, travel isn’t advised unless absolutely necessary, planes might be an infection risk, the UK are bringing in a quarantine in June, and so on.) We were supposed to have gone to Sweden to see her back in April, and together the three of us were flying to Norway to go on a cruise along the Norwegian coast (something that has been a dream of my mum’s for decades) … but that didn’t happen. 🙁 Hopefully it can happen next year, but we don’t know.
Well, that was cheerful, wasn’t it? So cheerful that I referred myself to a counselling service last year, and after months of waiting I’ve now finally concluded a couple of months worth of telephone sessions and been recommended to talk to my doctor about clinical depression. Which is basically what I tried to do last year (before I found out you could do a self-referral) and got a ten-minute lecture about how I was tired because I was fat, how I needed to eat less and exercise more (since Wizards Unite! came out last year, I actually go on walks now, which I didn’t use to, but hey let’s completely ignore that) and how it was natural to feel down after the death of a parent. Soooooo yeah. That’s where I am at the moment.
(THEY CANCELLED EUROVISION THIS YEAR. WE WERE VERY DISAPPOINTED.)
But on the positive side: I still have Mr T, still have the same two adorable four-legged kids we had in 2013, and (touch wood) no one we know has come down with Covid-19, or if they have, it hasn’t been severe. (We know some people who have had symptoms, but nothing actally confirmed.) We’re hoping it stays that way, and are keeping our distance from people as a precaution, and using masks on the rare occasions we pop to the supermarket.
We want to go travelling again. Don’t think we’ve been on a plane since 2013, because in 2014 we decided to drive to Sweden for Christmas, so going there would feel more like an actual holiday and not just going over to see family. It succeeded, so that’s what we’ve done a few more times, and we really enjoy it. We decided to drive over for the funeral in 2018 to create some nice memories around the reason for going, so that spring isn’t automatically associated with loss. The weather was phenomenal throughout the trip. My dad was really into meteorology so I like to think he had a hand in it, even if I know it doesn’t actually work that way.
Have you seen interviews with Colin Farrell? Turns out he’s adorable. I can’t even remember why I went to YouTube to watch them, but one led to another. It’s really funny because I had him down as a faceclaim for a character I’m writing about on occasion, and when I saw the interviews Colin Farrell came across very similar to the way I’ve been writing the character. Happy coincidence. So that was probably a part of why I enjoy watching them. Aside from writing a few reviews of films he’s been in, I’m not totally geeking out. Which is just as well (he’s been in a LOT of action films), because …
Have I ever bored you with random factoids about Orson Welles? Turns out he lived a very interesting life, and was quite the character. I read the bit on Wikipedia and then got a biography to read more, and I may have got others since to learn ALL THE THINGS. It was supposed to be to understand another character, as I based the character’s childhood on OW’s Wikipedia biography, but I ended up shelving that particular character in favour of totally researching another one and writing something entirely different. (… Okay, I haven’t actually written anything for a long while. I insist on telling myself I’m on the very important Research Stage, you see, which isn’t a lie, it just involves reading some rather heavy books about life in Nazi Germany and the years immediately following World War 2. And Orson Welles biographies.)
Have you seen Sam Neill’s Cinema Quarantino short films on Twitter and/or Instagram? They’re short films made together with friends around the world. The latest one I saw featured Helena Bonham-Carter as his smartphone. His quarantine vlogs are darling too. Highly recommended as a pick-me-up. (Sir Patrick Stewart reads a Shakespeare sonnet a day too, in case you’ve missed it, and Richard Armitage seems to be recording audiobooks from inside an IKEA wardrobe.)
Biggest geek-out right now? Gee, if five of the nine most recent reviews I’ve posted here didn’t give that away … you’ve probably not seen me on Twitter. Zachary Levi. He’s tall, dark, and handsome too, and probably even MORE adorkable than Richard Armitage (gasp). And he’s been in films I actually really like regardless of who’s in them, and I started watching Chuck as a result (currently free on Prime Video in the UK, hint hint), and that show turned out to be SO MUCH FUN! How could I possibly have missed it back when it was actually on TV?! It’s amazing!!!
What’s also nice is that he’s a big proponent of mental health (he’s an ambassador for Active Minds in the US, not to be confused with the dementia charity here in the UK by the same name), and often talks about his struggles and his journey, which has been surprisingly helpful. And because I found out he’d be in s2 of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, I started watching that from the beginning (which I was planning to do at some point anyway because it seemed interesting) and that’s another great show to binge if Chuck isn’t your thing. But yeah, he’s one of the good guys, and I even got my head around Instagram Stories as a result, because he uses those a lot.
Don’t worry, Our Richard isn’t forgotten, he’s still there, and I do love it whenever he posts an adorkable selfie on Instagram, or something insightful on Twitter. But right now, I’m totally geeking out over a raging extrovert posting sunset videos from his Texan ranch on a nearly daily basis. If that’s your jam too, hit me up on Twitter! And if it’s not, I mean … other topics of conversation are available. 😉 (He also has a dog.)
Oh, and I got the blog an Instagram account as well (@area53uk), where I occasionally post short summaries of what I’ve been watching recently, as a reminder that maybe I should try and write a proper review and post it here. Like I completely forgot to do at the beginning of this month. C’est la vie.
Anyway, enough about me, this is now embarrassingly long. How are things with you? What do you get up to these days?