Wednesday 29 February 2012

Random thoughts on Tuesday...

Although Tuesday has just about come to an end in my time zone, I’d just like to share a few things that have been on my mind today.
Michael R. Roskam’s “Bullhead” didn’t win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards on Sunday.  It doesn’t matter, really. It’s still an amazing film. If you have a chance to go and see it, you really should.  It’s a beautiful, complex and slightly disturbing film and I was completely overwhelmed by it when I saw it a few months ago.
Matthias Schoenaerts’ performance is breathtaking, his transformation from slick, good- looking actor into this beast is unbelievably genuine and vivid that it left me trembling in my seat.

Matthias Schoenaerts, remember that name. If he plays his cards right, he’ll have a wonderful future in film, hopefully not only in Hollywood where he seems to be ‘hot’ at the moment, but also back in Europe. An American film critic described it like this: “Matthias Schoenaerts turns in one of the oddest, subtlest and confusing performances in memory. He is both the film's greatest piece and its big weakness. He plays a meathead -or in this case, a Bullhead - a slightly simple but far from stupid young man whose identity is lost in a swirling concoction of steroids and hormones. He’s someone who wants to do good but can't, his destiny predetermined by a childhood incident that is shocking and too disturbing to put into words here.”

One of the possible reasons why Bullhead did not win the Oscar is because the story is so completely Belgian. The darkness of the cities, the sadness of the countryside and the cattle farms. The different dialects used in the film that give it so many layers are unfortunately completely lost in translation. So I can understand why an American audience would not be able to identify with the film and its protagonist. It doesn’t matter, really. It’s still an amazing film.

Sonnet 138
When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
 Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
 And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.
I watched an episode of season 3 of Spooks today in which Will quotes Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138 to ZoĆ«.
I never realised that there’s actually a lot of poetry in Spooks. Skully made a list on the Spooks fan blog:

In Stereo: Upstairs Downstairs
I’m watching the first and second series of Upstairs Downstairs at the same time. One is on Belgian TV on Tuesday evenings, the other on the BBC  on Sundays. My husband commented that that must be so confusing, but I don’t find it confusing at all. I’m always reading several books at the same time as well: one in the morning when I’m on the train to work, and another one in the evening before I go to sleep.

Dubstep violin
A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I simply had to share it here. The music is beautiful – enjoy!!
Lindsey Stirling – Crystallize

Saturday 25 February 2012

Shame on me...

... for neglecting my blog for so very long! Don't worry, I'll make it up to you in the coming days, I promise! Starting today with the final part of the 30-day Richard Armitage Challenge. My replies to questions 21 to 30.
As always, pictures were taken from and videos from 

21.A role of his I haven’t seen, but would like to.
I would have loved to see Richard when he was in Cats, just because it would have been so wonderful to see him dance!!
22.Your least favourite photo.
The suit is wrong. The hair is wrong. The shoes are wrong. The moves are wrong. So not him.
Yes, I know I just said that I would love to see him dance. But not like this. Please.

23.A confession.
I love Lucas North. Can’t help it. Gisborne, Porter, Thorin, Ricky, Harry, Standring, Thornton. I love them all, but I absolutely LOVE Lucas North.

24.A cameo role you would like to see.
If they ever make a film of Spooks, I hope there will be a flashback to Lucas North. I love Lucas North. Did I say that before? J

25.An audio book you would like him to record.
The Hobbit, LOTR, North & South (of course!), anything by Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, one of Mo Hayder’s thrillers.
Listen to Richard read a tiny part of the proposal scene in North & South.

26.Your favourite website and/or blog.
My own blog, of course:
Check the ‘blogs I love section’ on the right-hand side for more fantastic blogs!
27.Your favourite gif(s).
Go to Bccmee’s Richard Armitage Vid’s & graphics page for original GIFs, and other fabulously designed graphics work! Don’t ask me to select a favourite, I simply can’t…
28.Your favourite character outfit.
Guy of Gisborne in leather… of course! Especially in Season 2 of Robin Hood.
The belt, the gloves, the Guyliner, the boots, the spurs, the hair, the eyes… indeed, Gizzy looks pretty good!!

29.Your favourite personal look.
Richard tends to dress like the character that he’s playing. We’ve recognised Lucas North’s jeans and shirts in TV interviews and Porter’s leather jacket has also made an appearance.
The discussions about the hair and especially the beard continue with every new picture that is released. I personally like the beard a lot. And the short hair. And I think Richard looks completely adorable in this screencap from Peter Jackson’s videoblog from the set of The Hobbit. So this is my favourite personal look.

30.Your favourite picture.
This is so difficult! I love so many pictures for so many different reasons.
Here’s one that literally took my breath away when I first saw it. It's from the photo and video shoot for Project Magazine.

Thursday 9 February 2012

The gods must be crazy!

That's what I was thinking after 2 hectic days at work. It looks like all the issues will be solved tomorrow, but this detox week is not exactly turning out the way I had hoped. Stress levels are as high as ever, I'm still working long days and my nights are still very short...but I'm actually enjoying myself so I'm not complaining!

I was, however, in urgent need of a serious stress killer!
And look what was waiting for me when I got home...

Richard Armitage for Recognise Magazine

What can I say? My detox week may not be the greatest success, but this cool new picture sure put a smile on my face! It's the beard and the short hair... the perfect combination!

The other pictures that we've seen from this photoshoot have Richard in smart suits that make him look really classy and stylish, but this one is really something else. The casual 1950's style fits perfectly and I think he really looks like a movie star... the movie star that he's about to become...

Anyway, enough of the fangirl 'squeeing' for today: I'm going to follow my own advice and get a decent night's sleep tonight.

Sweet dreams everyone!! :-)

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Survival of the fittest...

The first day of my 'detox week' was not an easy one...

This morning, my train was delayed for 45 minutes. My commute usually takes about an hour in total. So, on the first day of a week when I'm trying to avoid stress because I want to allow my body to properly heal from the ear infection that kept me away from work for most of last week, I arrived at work late. I'm sure you can imagine that I wasn't exactly stress-free by that point!

When I finally got there, and got an overview of all the work that had been waiting for me during my absence... Well, let's just say that it didn't really ease my mind.

On the other hand, I was a very good girl today. Had some lovely tomato soup for lunch and a healthy drink based on green tea. I had fruit in the afternoon and I drank only 2 cups of coffee in the morning. And best of all, I said 'No thank you' when a colleague offered a chocolate-filled treat for dessert.

It turned out to be a long day, but when I got home, my husband cooked dinner and gave me a chance to relax on the couch for a while. In the evening, when hubby was watching sports on tv, I did the flexibility exercises that I had planned and even had enough energy to work with my 2kg weights. With every movement, I could feel my muscles stretching and the stress of the day was gone...

One thing I do want to clarify: this detox week is not about losing weight. I'm perfectly happy with my 173cm and +/-55kg, so that's not the point. So why am I saying no to chocolate and desserts? Simply because I want to eat healthy food and give my body what it needs to feel better. There's nothing wrong with chocolate, and I will be having week! :-)

Now which picture could I use to illustrate this post? I just realised that there are hardly any pictures of RA while he's working out. Here's one from Strike Back!

 John Porter tries to stay in shape while he fights to put his broken life back together again (and what a lovely tattoo!)
Richard Armitage as John Porter in episode 1 of Chris Ryan's Strike Back

Monday 6 February 2012

Giving my body a break...

Here it is… my very first blog post that has absolutely nothing (?) to do with a certain beautiful Brit.
This week, winter finally came to Belgium. And boy, did I know it! I just spent a week at home, in bed, recovering from a rather painful ear infection. That was no fun at all. And did I mention that it was painful? And being ill was boring!
The pain is now mostly gone and I’m going back to work tomorrow (Monday), but this week has made me realise that I have not exactly been kind to my body lately. A lack of sleep, many hours at work, stress, not always the healthiest food, and a lack of proper exercise have made my body weak. No wonder that it caved the second the weather got worse! And I paid the price.
So this week, I’m going to give my body a break. And not even just a break, I’m going to pamper it relentlessly!! I know a week is very short, but it's a start, and I'm sure I'll feel the difference!
This is the plan:
  • Detox: Make time for breakfast every morning, limit the caffeine intake, drink water and herbal tea, stay away from sugary snacks, chocolate and alcohol
  • Exercise: spend 30 minutes a day (or more) on exercise
  • Taking care of the outside: my skin, my hair, my face, my legs, my hands, my nails, my back, my feet,…
  • Getting enough sleep: this is the most difficult one for me as my brain seems to wake up at about 10pm and I find it extremely hard to go to bed before at least 1am. But I’ll try…
I won’t bore you with every detail of my week, but I’ll try to share one of my ‘easy ways to pamper yourself’ every day this week. If you have suggestions, don’t hesitate to share!
I’m officially starting this detox week tomorrow, but I started today with an extremely easy way to pamper myself. After my shower, I allowed my skin to enjoy my favourite body lotion, a super-soft moisturiser for my face and another one for my hands. Yes, you probably do that every day, especially in winter. But today, I applied it more than once, a few times even. And now, my skin feels beautifully soft and healthy and it smells great – and I feel good!!
And here’s a little treat to motivate me... I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist just one picture! Need to pamper my eyes as well! :-)
Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Series 7 of Spooks

Stay tuned for more and stay warm!

Thursday 2 February 2012

The challenge continues...

11. A habit of his which I find endearing.
I like the way he holds a coffee cup (or a tea cup), it always makes me smile because I tend to do the same thing. Mugs don't need handles, I don't use them anyway! I first noticed it in John Thornton, but I figured it was specific to the character. Imagine my surprise when Lucas North turned out to have the same habit! 
Richard as John Thornton in the BBC's adaptation of Elisabeth Gaskell's North & South

There are so many great pictures of RA with coffee cups/mugs, I had a really hard time selecting just a few to illustrate this question. These are my favourite Lucas-North-with-coffee moments from seasons 7, 8 and 9 of Spooks:

12. Something about him I don’t like.
Oh my. This is a difficult one. After careful consideration, I would have to say that the one thing I don't like about him is that he's neglecting his other artistic talents. As a dancer, I know how difficult it is to maintain a certain level of technical dancing skills and I'm sure he's not considering that a priority.
He's admitted to neglecting his music. I personally love the cello and I couldn't believe it when I heard that this beautiful man plays this beautiful instrument!
Luckily, he has been training his singing voice for The Hobbit and I still can't get over how good he sounds in the very first official trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

13. A favourite character quote
I'm staying with Lucas North for a little while longer. The first episodes of Richard as Lucas were very intense. Bring someone back from 8 years of torture in a Russian prison and he'll have a hard time putting his life, and himself back together again. He's confused about who he is and what he's supposed to do with the rest of his life. But the one thing he was never in doubt or unsure about was his loyalty to his country, Harry Pearce and MI-5. I can only imagine that it must feel like you're being stabbed through the heart when the people you trusted to bring you home, don't trust your loyalty.
Lucas North to Harry Pearce:

“Home isn't where you live. It's where people understand you. If I don't have trust from MI-5, from you, then I'll never really be home. I'll just be back in England.”

14. A favourite personal quote
Although I love to see Richard as himself in interviews, photoshoots or at award ceremonies, I thoroughly respect him for not participating in reality TV, celebrity competitions or other stupid things that exploit his celebrity and have nothing to do with his job as a professional actor. That's why I love this quote from an interview in the Daily Mail.
“One thing I can promise you is that you'll never see Richard Armitage on Strictly Come Dancing.”
“Because Richard Armitage will never appear as Richard Armitage on TV.”

Richard Armitage as himself, or not?
From the July 2011 photo and video shoot for Project magazine

15. A role I would love to see him in.
I am, of course, looking forward to seeing Richard as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit.
Richard as Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain
I would love to see him make a dream come true (for himself as well as for many of his fans) playing king Richard III in his own production of the real story of the life of this tragic English king.
I would love to see him on stage, that would definitely be a dream come true for me.
If I had to pick one role that would be perfect for him, I would want Richard to play Raskolnikov in a film based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment.

16. A role I would not want him to do.
James Bond. And Batman, or any other superhero for that matter.
Oh, and romantic comedy.
Richard, please stay away from Comic Books, cheap Hollywood fluff and million dollar franchises. Thank you!

17. My favourite romantic pairing.
This was a beautiful couple. They had an amazing on-screen chemistry together and, of course, the beautiful storyline made them into the perfect romantic couple. 
Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe
in the BBC's adaptation of Elisabeth Gaskell's
North & South

18. My favourite platonic pairing.
Back to Spooks. The perfect team: Lucas North and Ros Myers!
Richard Armitage and Hermione Norris as Lucas North and Ros Myers in Spooks

19. My favourite bromance.
OK, these two were funny together! Level-headed killing machine John Porter and mentally fragile computer hacker Gerald Baxter are my favourite bromance!
Richard Armitage and Ewen Bremner
as John Porter and Gerry Baxter in episode 6 of
Chris Ryan's Strike Back

20. Something I would say to him if I met him
That's easy: “Thank you!”