Thursday 26 January 2012

Crispin's eclipse goes FanstRAvaganza!!

I know, I know... this blog was not supposed to be about Richard Armitage all of the time. That's what I said, you're right. And that's still the plan. But just not for right now. Here's why.

After only a few weeks in the blogosphere, I have been invited to participate in the biggest event in the Richard Armitage fandom: FanstRAvaganza!!

FanstRAvaganza 3 will take place between 12 and 18 March 2012 at a blog near you. A full list of participating blogs will be available soon.

FanstRAvaganza graphics were kindly supplied by bccmee

But for everyone out there whose initial reaction to all this was: "Fanstrawhat!?!?!", here's a little explanation of what will be happening. Instead of trying to explain it myself, I've decided to quote Servetus, who is so much better at explaining these things on her blog me + richard armitage.

"It's an event originally organised at Richard Armitage Fan Blog two years ago to present a special week of blogging on Richard Armitage and, in particular, his fans! It expanded drastically last year, and we liked it so much we're doing it for a third year."

This is how it works!

A team of anchor blogs will drive the event. You will find daily event updates and new posts here:
Event updates will be posted on:
There's going to be a tagteam of blogs (like this one!) These bloggers' work will be featured each day on the anchor blogs and they will link to each other's posts as well. So what will we be talking about exactly? Well, you'll just have to visit one of the blogs in that week to find out. All I can say is this: It's going to be soooo much fun!!!!

Stay tuned for more!

Monday 23 January 2012

I'm cheating! 30 in 3...

This is the 30 day Richard Armitage Challenge created by
Thanks to Delia for sharing the challenge on Facebook.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post one answer per day, so I’m cheating and providing my answers to all questions in 3 parts. Of course, that should not stop you from coming back to my blog every day to read one answer at a time J
The images below were kindly supplied by
The film clips were taken from Youtube.

The first ten questions and answers are below. Here we go!
1. The first role I saw him in.
I first saw Richard Armitage as John Thornton in the BBC’s adaptation of Elisabeth Gaskell’s North & South. A beautiful story, beautifully portrayed. For some reason, Richard caught my attention.
Richard as John Thornton in North & South
2. The role which made me fall for him.
After North & South, I started looking at other things he had done.
This one sealed the deal for me. Sparkhouse is seen as a modern Wuthering Heights, although I think there are too many differences between the stories for that comparison to make sense. The book features prominently in the series and that basically creates the link between the two, but putting Sparkhouse on the same level as Wuthering Heights would be giving it too much credit.
What Richard did with John Standring is remarkable. For that reason only, I would recommend it.
Richard as John Standring in Sparkhouse
3. My favourite character.
That’s a difficult one.  Lucas North (Spooks) is definitely a favourite, but I also love watching Guy of Gisborne (Robin Hood) and John Porter (Chris Ryan’s Strike Back) but I can’t really say I prefer on character over another. At this particular moment in time, I have to say my favourite is probably Robert Lovelace as voiced by Richard in the BBC Radio play Clarissa, the History of a Young Lady.

Richard as Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, as Lucas North in Spooks and as John Porter in Chris Ryan's Strike Back

4. My least favourite character.
The Captain doesn’t do anything for me… I don't like the show, don't like the character.
Richard as Captain Ian Macalwain in Ultimate Force
5. My favourite photoshoot.
2011 Project Magazine photo and video shoot. I especially love this one…

6. My favourite interview.
Definitely one of my favourites is this interview for Series 9 of Spooks.
Richard looks great as Lucas North with the black hair, the sideburns and the 5 o’clock shadow. He speaks so passionately about his work in series 9 in which he was faced with the great challenge of making a very difficult and even contradictory storyline look believable.
And, what can I say: I can't resist a man who speaks with his hands…

7. A scene of his which made me laugh.
The proposal scene in The Vicar of Dibley, The Handsome Stranger. It had me literally crying with laughter!!

8. A scene of his which made me cry.
It takes an extremely gripping story to make me cry, so that very rarely happens, but this scene is very powerful. The proposal and rejection scene in North & South. I 've included the extended version that never made it into the final film, but it touches my heart every time I watch it...There must be a hopeless romantic inside me somewhere!
The fact that this is unedited footage without music, makes it even more powerful...

9. My favourite character pics.
Oh, there are so many favourites!! Today, I would say it's these:

Richard as John Porter in the promo pictures for Chris Ryan's Strike Back

10. My favourite body part(s).
His hands, no doubt.
But I also have to add his back. He used to be a dancer and that shows in his posture, as you can clearly see in this picture from Captain America.
Richard as evil Heinz Kruger in Captain America

Come back soon for question 11 to 20!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Poetry on my iPod...

I'm currently listening to PRELUDES by T.S. Eliot,
as read by Richard Armitage for Symphony of the City on BBC Radio 3 in 2010.
Even though I studied English at university and had to analyse many aspects of English and American literature and culture, I was never really interested in poetry. This poem, however, speaks to me in a way that very few texts ever have. I keep going back to it and love to listen to these beautiful words while I walk to the train station after a long day at work, or on a cold and dark winter morning when the city is still half asleep. Beautiful words, yes, read by a beautiful voice, but not a beautiful subject. And it’s exactly that contradiction between the sad and soulless city and the beauty of the description that continues to fascinate me.

John Thornton (Richard Armitage) walks the dingy streets of Milton in the BBC's adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South

I don’t want to go into a detailed analysis of the poem, but here’s a short description of my own interpretation:
T.S. Eliot wrote the four sections of his Preludes between 1909 and 1911. It describes the degradation and sadness of modern city life.
The first section describes an evening, a rainy day coming to an end with more rain on empty streets.
The second section describes a cold morning. The city wakes up, but the smell of the drunken night before is still in the air. People flock to coffee stands and put their ‘work face’ on, hoping that that will give them the strength to survive another hard day.
In the third section, a woman is lying in bed, thinking about her sorry excuse for a life and the cold world that she has to live in. It seems like she’s not quite ready yet to get out of bed and start the day.
Section four is really the most depressing of all. The hollow, dirty city gets trampled by insistent feet of people who want to get home as soon as possible. They are isolated as they hide behind their newspapers and they only care about financial gain (‘certain certainties’). They want to rule the world, but they don’t care about the person next to them. Although they might think that the world revolves around them, it really doesn’t and life goes on as it always has. People remain nameless, depressed, isolated and soulless.
The morale of the story: Life goes on, so make the most of it!
Depressing, right? Not really, and that’s the genius of T.S. Eliot!

You can listen to Richard Armitage’s reading of T.S; Eliot’s Preludes here:
and here:

Preludes (T.S. Eliot)
        The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

II        The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

III       You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters,
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed's edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

IV       His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

Thursday 12 January 2012

"I sort of know how he thinks" has just published a new interview with Richard Armitage from the set of The Hobbit.
For the first time, we hear about Richard's journey with the film and expecially how he has become so very familiar with the character of Thorin Oakenshield.
A few quotes from the interview:

"It's been the best thing I've ever worked on in my life, by far."

"I think this is one of those characters that always stay with you because you spend so much time with him and it's such a transformation. I'm in the character every day, and I've become so familiar with him. I sort of know how he thinks."

"I think that's the beauty of Tolkien. He does create very well-rounded, quite dangerous characters to play his protagonists. He risks scaring kids."

"I grew my own beard after the first block because I felt that it was restricting my face. The jaw is so connected to emotion that I wanted to have that free. It made such a huge difference."

"When Thorin assembles the quest, he pulls dwarves from all different places to go on this quest. That's mirrored in who we are as actors."

Read the full interview here:

The 13 dwarves with Richard as Thorin Oakenshield

Saturday 7 January 2012

Time to call a spade a spade...

“What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the nature of things.” ~Benjamin Franklin
Starting a blog is relatively easy. Select a blogging service on the web, follow the instructions, adjust a few settings and voilà, a blog is born. The one thing I struggled with was finding a name for it. In my welcome message, I said that this blog will be about anything and everything that happens to be on my mind at a particular moment in time, so when it came to naming the blog, I reached for the two things that were on my mind on that day. I found an interesting detail about both of them and put them together. That’s how Crispin’s eclipse was born. In this post, I will once more separate the two items and explain their origins.

"Any child can tell you
that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble."
~ Dennis Frakes

On this particular day, I had been watching a DVD of one of my favourite TV shows: Spooks. People who know me, know that I have developed a rather addictive admiration for the leading man of season 7, 8 and 9 of Spooks, who portrays the character of Lucas North. His name is Richard Armitage and I honestly believe that he is one of the most (if not the most) talented and skilled actors of his generation.
Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks
Crispin just happens to be Mr. Armitage’s middle name and although I had never really heard this name before I became interested in this man, I think it really suits him. The fact that Saint Crispin is the patron saint of weavers will mean nothing to most people, but fans of Richard Armitage will see the link with his heritage (his father’s family were weavers and spinners) and with one of his most beloved characters: Richard played cotton-mill owner John Thornton in the BBC’s adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North & South.
Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South

As you can probably guess, this man seems to be on my mind quite often, so he will probably  feature in this blog on a regular basis. But I’ll try not to ramble on about him too often… and fail miserably, most likely.

The eclipse
The term eclipse is derived from the ancient Greek noun κλειψις (ékleipsis), which means "the abandonment", "the downfall", or "the darkening of a heavenly body". (Source: Wikipedia)

So now you know who Crispin is, but what about this eclipse? In fact, you could say that it was again Richard Armitage who is responsible for planting the concept of the eclipse into my brain.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
For the second part of this ‘Name that blog’-exercise, I looked for inspiration in the book that I was reading. On page 856, I found this paragraph:

“Shortly before dawn on Wednesday, March 16, Anne was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. She died in midmorning, with Richard and Véronique at her bedside. Church bells were still tolling throughout the city when a queer noontime darkness began to settle over London, and as people watched in awe the sun was slowly blotted out, blackness radiating outward haloed in light. To a superstitious age, a solar eclipse was seen as a sign of God, was seen by all as an ill omen, and by many as proof that Richard had sinned against God in taking his nephew’s throne; for why else, people argued, should the sun go dark on the day of his wife’s death?”

When I was in school, my favourite subject, besides English, was history, and I can only say that this love has grown extensively over the years. I love history, not because I like to memorise important dates or life-changing events, but because history is essentially a collection of stories about people. Real people who, by the lives they lead and the choices they make, shape the world we live in.
The text above is from The Sunne in Splendour, a historical novel by Sharon Kay Penman about the life, reign and death of Richard III who was King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485. This paragraph describes the death of his beloved queen, Anne Neville.
The Sunne in Splendour - A novel of Richard III by Sharon Kay Penman
I have the annoying habit of looking at historical events from the point of view of the women. Anne Neville was daughter of ‘The Kingmaker’, wife of two future kings, Queen  consort of England and heiress of two grand English families (Warwick and Beauchamp) but she is barely more than a footnote in the history books. So while people marvel over the history of the Plantagenet princes (Edward IV, Richard III and George of Clarence), I look at their mother, their wives, their sisters and their daughters who have possibly had an even more influential, and certainly more interesting, role to play in this story.
The reference to the solar eclipse that occurred on the day that queen Anne died, is therefore my way of honouring all women in history and Anne Neville in particular.
Oh, before I forget: What does Richard Armitage have to do with this? Well, he was born on 22 August 1971, exactly 486 years after the day that Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Sunne in Splendour was one of his father’s favourite books (as Richard mentioned in an interview for the Vulpes Libris blog) and he named his second son after this mysterious and tragic king.
And Richard just happens to be working on a project to bring the story of Richard III to the screen in a film or a TV series. With himself in the role of his namesake, hopefully.

There you go: Crispin’s eclipse – Richard and Anne
Until next time!

Thursday 5 January 2012

The time has come...

"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience"
~ Henry Miller
It has finally happened. I have started my blog!
For many months now, I have been planning to start Crispin’s eclipse, and I’m very happy that I have finally had the courage to go ahead and ‘just do it’.
What can you expect to find here?
Anything, really. Anything that is on my mind. Everything that I believe is funny, outrageous, interesting, stupid, newsworthy, beautiful or entertaining enough to be mentioned and discussed. Usually not meant to be very serious, depressing or even clever. I’m blogging because I enjoy writing about ‘things I’ve seen’ and I hope you’ll enjoy my slightly chaotic view of The World.
My posts will mainly be in English but, depending on the subject, there may be an occasional rant in Dutch, my official first language.
And now you're probably wondering what the name "Crispin's eclipse" means.
All will be revealed in my next post...