Thursday 29 March 2012

Random thoughts on Tuesday: John x 5

OK, this post is completely random and just a little present for myself after a long day.
Let's have a look at Richard Armitage characters named John!

Ah, John Thornton, the TDHCMO himself... By the way, if you don't know what that means, you have not watched North & South often enough!

John Standring from Sparkhouse. So shy, but so very strong in love at the same time. I love this character because it gave Richard a challenge as an actor and his performance is overwhelming! Just like Guy of Gisbourne become almost more important than "Forrest Boy" in Robin Hood, John Standring is what keeps me coming back for more in Sparkhouse...

John Mulligan doesn't look like a bad boy, does he? Nooo, he's cute, he's sweet, he's kind and generous. Not to mention incredibly S-E-X-Y! Too bad about the whole drug dealer thing... Fortunately, it's always a pleasure to watch Richard Armitage play the baddie!
And just for your info: one of the reasons why I like John Mulligan is because he looks like Lucas North from season 7 of Spooks which was filmed around the same time as Moving On (designer stubble, anyone?).

"Just so you know...I'm going to kill every single one of those bastards."

Need I say more? John Porter... I would willingly put my life into his hands. If you have not seen Chris Ryan's Strike Back, go watch it - right now!

I'm still in denial about John Bateman. In season 9 of Spooks, we find out that Lucas North is not really Lucas North. He's John Bateman and John is not exactly a nice guy... Although I thought the 'downfall of Lucas North' twist was completely unbelievable, I have to take my hat off to Richard Armitage for the way he portrayed the slow transformation from Lucas, the hero, into John, the killer. In every single picture from Spooks 9, you can clearly see the difference between Lucas and John. I can't exactly put my finger on what the differences are, but they seem to be two completely different characters. That, ladies and gentlemen, is real talent!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little chat about 'the Johns'.
Pictures were found at

Sweet dreams!!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Before Jane Eyre...

I've always found Charlotte Brönte's Jane Eyre (1847) to be one of the most intriguing stories I have ever read. Jane lives a strange and hard life and yet she finds the courage and compassion to open her heart to Edward Rochester. And he's the real reason why this story is so intriguing. I don't even know how to explain why this isolated, selfish, unloving man is so very interesting that as soon as he appears in the story, my attention goes to his every move, his every word... and Jane Eyre becomes secondary.

Charlotte Brontë (1816 - 1855)

Another intriguing character in Brontë's novel is Bertha Mason, the 'madwoman in the attic'. In fact, she is Edward Rochester's wife, and the reason why Jane and Edward cannot start a life together. Have you ever wondered who this woman really was? How did she meet Edward Rochester and how did she end up as a mentally ill, suicidal madwoman in the attic of Thornfield Hall? So did I, and I never knew that the answer already existed.

In 1966, Dominica-born author Jean Rhys wrote The Wild Sargasso Sea to act as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. It tells the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Antoinette Cosway (later named Bertha Mason, as Mason was the name of her stepfather). Antoinette is a white Creole heiress who meets Edward Rochester, although he is never named in the novel, decides to marry him and follow him to England. Racial inequality, the harshness of relocation from beautiful Jamaica to dark and dreary England and her unhappy marriage cause her already frail health to worsen and she eventually descends into madness.

The novel is only one person's interpretation of who Charlotte Brontë's madwoman in the attic could have been, giving the anonymous, isolated woman an identity and a history. The story has spoken to the imagination of many, and Rhys' novel has tranformed for the screen more than once. One of the most recent TV adaptations was created in 2006, starring Rebecca Hall as Antoinette and Rafe Spall as a very young Edward Rochester. You can watch it on Youtube:

I'm not completely convinced by this story, probably because I can't imagine that Edward Rochester was ever as young as he is here. In my head, Mr. Rochester will always look like Toby Stephens...

Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens as Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester in the BBC's adaptation of Jane Eyre (2006)

Thursday 15 March 2012

He's so fine he blows my mind...Hey Ricky!

Welcome to Day 4 of FanstRAvaganza! Check out Fabo's White Rose blog today for another post in the Fandom chain. Did you miss yesterday's posts in this chain? Go to Fedoralady and Rose Gisborne. On Day 5 of FanstRAvaganza, you need to visit jazzbaby1 for another post in the Fandom chain.

Hey Ricky!

This is my first post in the Fandom chain of FanstRAvaganza 3 and the very last one on this blog for the week. I can't believe the week is almost coming to and end already!

Today, I wanted to talk about a picture of Richard Armitage as Ricky Deeming from an episode of George Gently. Here it is:

Richard Armitage as Ricky Deeming in George Gently
 I know this was only a minor role for Richard, but I love this picture. It shows so many of the reasons why I love Richard, aside from his incredible talent and the fact that he's an intelligent and thoughtful man.

Richard's haircut and facial hair are a constant subject for debate. I personally love him with short hair and his The Hobbit beard, but the hair and 5 o'clock shadow in this picture are simply irresistible!

I love the intensity in his eyes. It reminds me of one of my favourite characters: Lucas North in Spooks. And it's a great reminder of the intensity and dedication with which Richard Armitage takes on every single acting job, no matter how insignificant the role.
His beautiful blue eyes continue to mesmerise me!

Richard looks good in leather. Anyone who has ever seen him as Guy of Gisborne will surely agree with me. But that's not all. He looks good in black, and that just happens to be one of my favourite colours.

The white scarf lights up his face and shows off his blue eyes. To me, it symbolises his kind and considerate character, his good heart. The best example of that kindness is the way he always finds the time to send little messages to his fans, showing his appreciation for our support, no matter how hectic and busy his life can get.  

One of Richard's first experiences on stage was in The Hobbit. I can see why he played an elf: the mouth, the nose, the ears. I was initially very surprised that he was cast as Thorin Oakenshield, a dwarf, and I was worried that the face prosthetics that would be necessary for his transformation into a dwarf, would cover up this beautiful face. Imagine my relief when I finally got to see Thorin, but I could still see Richard underneath!

Richard has beautiful hands with long fingers. This picture shows them off perfectly! The elegance and grace of a dancer...

The way Richard is photographed here, clearly shows his past experience as a dancer. It's a strong but elegant pose, his back is straight, his neck is long, but the shoulders are down. This is clearly a man who is very much aware of his own body, he knows exactly how to move his body to convey an emotion. I have some experience as a dancer myself, and it's so beautiful to see that elegance and grace in Richard. 

There you have it. Although Ricky Deeming is not that important as a character, I adore this picture as a symbol for the talent that is Richard Armitage.

What's your favourite picture?


This was my last blogpost for FanstRAvaganza 3. I hope you enjoyed it. I can now focus on reading all the post of my fellow bloggers!
Be sure to check out Fabo's White Rose blog today for another post in the Fandom chain. Did you miss yesterday's posts in this chain? Go to Fedoralady and Rose Gisborne. On Day 5 of FanstRAvaganza, you need to visit jazzbaby1 for another post in the Fandom chain.
Remember, all events in all chains of FanstRAvaganza 3 are listed here, so you don't have to miss anything!

Wednesday 14 March 2012

FanstRAvaganza 3: Is Peter Jackson colourblind?

This post is part of FanstRAvaganza 3, a week of blogging fun to honour our favourite Brit, Richard Armitage. Also posting in the The Hobbit chain today (Day 3) is Ana Cris at La Loba. More info about previous and upcoming posts in this chain can be found at the bottom of this page.


Since Peter Jackson decided to direct The Hobbit, he has expressed his concern about the fact that there are 13 dwarves in this story. Besides Thorin and a few others, the dwarves are not really that important in the original story and most of them don't even have anything to say. Imagine how difficult it must have been for Peter Jackson to create 13 different, interesting characters with so little information from the story to help him! How can he make sure that the audience identifies with the dwarves and doesn't spend the entire film thinking "was that Fili, or Bombur, or was it Gloin after all?"

On the other hand, the lack of information does give him enough freedom to create the dwarf characters from scratch and make them work well in the films. I thought he would definitely use the one clue that Tolkien's story does offer: the fact that the dwarves all wear coloured hoods. Surely that must give him a starting point for their specific characters. But...apparently not. Looking at the pictures of the dwarves that were recently released, the colours are not there. Only Thorin's sky-blue is obvious, although not in a hood, but in his armour. Is Peter Jackson colourblind?

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, King Under The Mountain, in The Hobbit

Let's go back to Tolkien's The Hobbit and take a look at the coloured hoods that the dwarves are wearing when they arrive at Bilbo's Hobbit hole. In order of their arrival:

Dwalin: Dark green
Balin: Scarlet red
Fili: Blue
Kili: Blue
Dori: Purple
Nori: Purple
Ori: Grey
Oin: Brown
Gloin: White
Bifur: Yellow
Bofur: Yellow
Bombur: Pale green
Thorin: Sky blue with a long silver tassel

These are mainly informed guesses. Tolkien doesn't specify exactly which dwarf wears which hood after the first few have arrived, but he lets Bilbo tell us about the hoods that are hanging on the pegs, every time another group of dwarves has stepped through his door. Now what can these colours tell us about the characters of the dwarves?

Thirteen dwarves, quite a challenge for Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit

GREEN (Dwalin and Bombur)
Green is a relaxing colour, it's easy on the eyes. It reduces stress and brings a feeling of tranquility. It represents fertility and balance. Wearing it inspires harmony in others and restores your energy. Green symbolised faithfulness, unity and hope, dependability and tactfulness. People wearing green are quick to help others, even at their own expense.

RED (Balin)
Red is the colour of love: it stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It makes someone wearing red look heavier. Because it is such an extreme colour, it won't help you in negotiations or confrontations. Red things are popular targets for thieves.

BLUE (Fili, Kili and Thorin)
Blue is the colour of the sky and the ocean and it causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful blue colours cause the body to produce calming chemicals so people wearing blue are calm and level-headed. Blue symbolises loyalty, productivity and strength.

PURPLE (Dori and Nori)
Purple is the colour of royalty. It symbolises luxury, wealth and sophistication. It is also considered feminine and romantic. On the other hand, because it is only rarely found in nature, purple is also often regarded as fake or untrue.

GREY (Ori)
Grey is a combination of black and white and it's the most neutral of all colours. People who wear grey are conservative and prefer to fade into the background. They are neutral about life and like to protect themselves from the hectic world outside. They prefer a secure, safe and balanced existence.

Solid and reliable brown is the colour of the earth. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather and represents durability. It is considered a masculine colour and can also be seen as sad or wistful.

WHITE (Gloin)
White represents innocence and purity, even sterility. People who like white tend to be neat and immaculate in their homes and clothing. They are cautious buyers and shrewd business-people. People wearing white are considered critical and fussy but the colour also represents youth and simplicity.

YELLOW (Bifur and Bofur)
Yellow is a sunny and reflective colour. It grabs the attention. People wearing yellow are considered to be positive and optimistic but they tend to have explosive characters. Yellow can be overpowering next to other colours. It enhances concentration and speeds the metabolism.

And what about Thorin's silver tassel?
Silver is associated with prestige and science. It represents intuition, imagination and illusion. People wearing silver are considered to be sophisticated and wealthy but also cold and balanced. Wearing silver shows that you have a need for truth, honesty and a clear understanding of your purpose in life.

There you go. I hope this was useful and at least slightly entertaining.

And, Peter Jackson, if you're reading this: You're welcome!!! :-)


The The Hobbit chain was started on Monday by Mrs E.B. Darcy and La Loba. Yesterday, Mrs E.B. Darcy and The Queen treated us to more posts on this topic.
Be sure to check La Loba for another Day 3 post in this chain.
I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's posts from Antonia Romera and The Queen.
To make sure that you don't miss out on any of the fun, all events of FanstRAvaganza are listed here.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

FanstRAvaganza 3: Richard III - a biography

This post is part of FanstRAvaganza 3, a week of Richard Armitage blogging fun. The King Richard Armitage chain was started yesterday by Maria Grazia on Fly High and will continue tomorrow on Fabo's White Rose blog.

“The most mighty prince Richard by the grace of God King of England and of France and Lord of Ireland by true matrimony without discontinuance or any defiling in the law by heir male lineally descending from King Henry II”

If you’re a Richard Armitage fan, you surely know about a little project of his: telling the story of one of England’s most controversial monarchs, King Richard III. Richard was named after the king by his father and he was born on 22 August, the exact day of Richard III’s demise in the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
Richard started speaking about this project as early as in 2007. In his message to fans that year, he said:
"Richard III is still very much in development, I am weighed down with history books in my determination to unvover as much fact as possible before we embark on telling this story, which will ultimately be a fiction!"
Since then, the fans have tried to follow in his footsteps to find out as much as possible about what seems to be a project that is very dear to RA's heart. To show fan enthusiasm for the project, a group of fans have started the Richard III for Richard Armitage project, including a petition, a website and a Facebook group.

Visit the website here

In my ownsearch for details about the King, I stumbled upon a biography, Richard III, written by Michael Hicks, a Professor of History at King Alfred's College, Winchester.
According to the book's back cover blurb, Professor Hicks "has written extensively on medieval England and is regarded by many as the leading expert on the Yorkist dynasty".

In this biography, Michael Hicks provides a scientific look at the life and reign of RichardIII. By focusing on Richard's reputation during his lifetime, Hicks tries to provide a balanced account of the history of this controversial king, instead of looking back upon his usurpation and his reign with our 21st-century expectations of what a "good and fair king" should be.
"Richard was a hawk rather than a dove" page 107
I have serious doubts about Michael Hicks' objectivity towards Richard III and this biography is not the most compelling read, but it offers a great insight into 15th century politics and society.

Hicks uses this image of 15th century England to show Richard as "an egotist, whose own interests took priority over his brother, consort and son". Claiming that Richard, although he probably did genuinely love her, married Anne Neville as a way to realise his ambition to establish himself as the true heir of the Earl of Warwick ('The Kingmaker'), bringing him the wealth and lands of the old Beauchamp and Despenser families. Even before Queen Anne's death on 16 March 1485, Richard was supposedly getting ready to replace her with his niece Elizabeth, daughter of his brother king Edward IV.
"Crowland reports that at Christmas 1484 Richard stopped sleeping with his queen and dressed her and princess Elizabeth in similar clothes." Page 244

According to this biography, Richard's marriage to Elizabeth did not take place for the simple reasons that the Northerners objected to the discarding of queen Anne and the clergy objected to the marriage between an uncle and his niece. In my opinion, if Richard had really wanted to marry Elizabeth, he would have found a way to make it happen.

Instead, everything that I have read about Richard III has made me believe that Richard was a good king who had the best intentions towards his wife, his family and especially his country. In that respect, Michael Hicks' biography is a disappointment, as it does not validate this belief. Instead, under the pretence of objectivity, it provides questionable evidence for the way the king was portrayed by Tudor historians: as a cruel and ambitious king who would go to great lengths (even so far as to murder his nephews, the Princes in the Tower?) to win the throne and establish himself as the rightful ruler of England. An ambition that finally led to his demise.
"Just as he had engineered his accession, so his own actions determined his fall." Page 272
The chapter about Richard III's usurpation of the throne is certainly worth reading as it offers different views of the events in the structure of a trial. Hicks' presents the case for the prosecution and the case for the defence of Richard III and he presents a 'star witness': Dominic Mancini, an Italian member of the clergy who visited England during Richard's accession and wrote the story down in great detail. The fact that Mancini's account was written down as the events were taking place makes this an extremely important piece of evidence as all other surviving accounts were written many years later.

But Mancini did not understand a word of English and had to rely on the translations that his friends and other clergymen (whose loyalties we cannot check) would provide. That is indeed the greatest weakness of the star witness, so we still do not have 100% conclusive evidence of what took place in the months and days leading up to Richard, Duke of Gloucester becoming King Richard III.

You can probably tell that I could go on and on about this biography and about Richard III, but I'll leave you to make up your own mind. Anyway, whether Richard III was good or evil, devil or angel, a murderer or a protector, a usurper or a rightful king, it doesn't really matter. His life and the mysteries surrounding his reign make this extremely interesting material for an artistic interpretation. And our dearest Richard Armitage would do an excellent job portraying this extremely layered and controversial character, leaving him enough freedom and artistic liberty to fill in the blanks. He already looks like royalty, don't you agree?

Richard Armitage looking like royalty as Sir Guy of Gisbourne in season 3 of Robin Hood


This post is part of FanstRAvaganza 3, a week of Richard Armitage blogging fun. The King Richard Armitage chain was started yesterday by Maria Grazia on Fly High and will continue tomorrow on Fabo's White Rose blog.

To make sure you don't have to miss any of the FanstRAvaganza fun, the full list of events is available on this site.
Description of Richard III in The Rows Roll

Monday 12 March 2012

FanstRAvaganza - Here we go!!

In the beginning, Richard Armitage made scores of fans -- and he keeps on making them! To kick off the fandom chain, Didion converts friends to Armitage love • Phylly3 reports on her fandom experiences • In the Hobbit chain, Ana Cris writes on her recent film location visit •
Mrs. E.B. Darcy speculates about what our hero will do in An Unexpected Journey (spoilers!) • King Richard Armitage chain begins with Maria Grazia on a film adaptation of Richard III • Beginning the fanfic chain, fedoralady explains fanfic's mainstream appeal • Annie Lucas woos us with a Guy of Gisborne one-shot, "One Chance" • In the freeform chain, Fabo files an eyewitness report on Richard Armitage's visit to U.S. accent school • jazzbaby1 wonders "what were they thinking?" re: Lucas North's women • and ChrisB opens the Armitage Alphabet, with "A is for Action" • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day.

Saturday 10 March 2012

The final countdown... FanstRAvaganza 3!!

For those not familiar with the concept: FanstRAvaganza is a week of fun, friendship and fandom and especially a lot of blogging about our favourite Brit, Richard Armitage.

Richard Armitage at a 2011 photoshoot for Recognise Magazine
Never heard of Richard Armitage? Don't really see what the big deal is? No problemo! You'll know all about him from his fans all over the world if you join us in this week of extravagant RA blogging fun.

I've already introduced the core team of FanstRAvaganza bloggers, and you can find them in a list on the right-hand side of this page. This year, there will also be a team of bloggers, the tagteam, who will post throughout the week and will link to previous and upcoming posts so you can easily surf your way through the RA blogosphere.

I'm extremely honoured to introduce my fellow tagteamers (in alphabetical order).
Be sure to check out their blogs!

- A is for Armitage
- An Obsessed Fanatic
- Avalon's Realm
- C.S. Winchester
- Cerridwen Speaks
- Do I Have a Blog?
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Country Life
- Feminéma
- Fly High!
- Funky Blue Dandelion
- I Want to be a Pinup!
- Just Another Armitage Fan
- La Loba
- Me, My Thoughts & Richard Armitage
- Melanie's Musings
- Mr John Thornton
- Musings & Other Enigmas
- Phylly's Faves
- Searching for MY Mr. Darcy
- Something About Love (A)
- thearmitageeffect
- y que iba yo a contar
- White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts

FanstRAvaganza hits the blogosphere from 12 to 18 March 2012. Enjoy!!

Wednesday 7 March 2012

"Tête Pressée" by Kevin Panozzo - A review

It has taken me a long time to write this review, because it took me a long time to read the book. Not because it was too difficult or badly written. On the contrary – it was beautiful. So I read it twice.

Reading and objectively reviewing a novel that was written by someone you know and whose talents you find remarkable, whose breathtakingly beautiful artistic endeavours awaken a specifically scary, but exciting sentiment in a distant, dark corner of your heart, is not easy. Not easy at all.
Want to see for yourself? Check
Kevin Panozzo is a beautiful, kind and generous man. I still remember the first time I met him: he walked into our office and was introduced as our new colleague, quite a few years ago. My female colleagues were amazed at the sight of this beautiful specimen of a man who was so extremely different from the boring business suits that usually populated our offices.
I also remember one evening, it must be about 5 years ago now, when I had my very first conversation with Kevin about writing. Halfway through that conversation, he casually mentioned that he was working on and struggling with a little project of his own, a novel based on his time in Nice and Barcelona, something very personal and dear to his heart. Not once did he say that the story in the novel was in fact real, but now that I have finally read it, I can’t help but wonder just how autobiographical this story really is.
Kevin spoke with great passion about his project, the challenges of the writing process and his sheer inability to stop typing and say: “It’s done”. Every time I would ask him how he was doing, he would usually have started another round of editing. Not just a few tweaks in a few chapters, mind you. He would start from the very first sentence and work his way right to the very last page. Again, and again. And again.
It took Kevin just about 6 years to finalise the novel: “Tête Pressée”, and it shows. This was truly a labour of love: every other sentence is an absolute jewel and the incredible attention to detail is apparent throughout the entire novel. That is probably one of the reasons why I wanted to put the novel aside for a while and then read it again: I wanted to be absolutely sure that I hadn’t missed a single detail.
This is how Kevin describes his novel in the back cover blurb:
Calvin committed to memory his history in hopes of sparing himself the devastation of its repetition. But in the final analysis, was he any less doomed? Having persevered through personal trauma, he found contentment in Southern France, where he established a holiday-like existence, based largely on avoiding the traditional barbs of modern life. Then he met Klarysa Pavlichenko, the precocious granddaughter of an eccentric Ukrainian vintner. And everything changed. Set on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the twentieth century, Tête Pressée follows a rowdy cast of characters in various states of obsession and pursuit, and offers a heady glimpse into the progression of a breakdown. With his highly ambitious, flamboyant first novel, Panozzo has betrayed an inner obsession to rival that of his tireless, raving characters. By turns aggressive and critical, sympathetic and forgiving, sober and brimming with drunken lunacy; ever poetic and scenic, Tête Pressée is a cracking work of literary fiction with enough whimsical banter and florid prose to bring Nabokov to full titter and grin from the grave.

“Tête Pressée” is difficult to describe. It doesn’t really fit into any specific genre: it’s a literary masterpiece that evolves from mystery novel over love story and from road movie to spy novel. I personally don’t see the resemblance with Nabokov that is mentioned on the back cover – that label is too restrictive, it doesn’t encompass the depth and width of Kevin’s unique novel. If I have to compare “Tête Pressée” to anything I can honestly say that the first few chapters reminded me of J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”. Calvin Stony could easily have passed for an adult version of Holden Caulfield. When Kevin’s descriptions of the world around his protagonist are replaced with an outsider’s look into Calvin’s thoughts, his hopes and dreams, I was reminded of the intensity in one of my personal favourites: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”. In Calvin’s trusting, but heartfelt obsession with Klarysa and in his encounters with a certain woman in white, I was not reminded of any other novel or author, only of Kevin’s very own sincere, pure heart that shines through in the mesmerising words that he has put on paper.   
“Tête Pressée” is one of those novels that you cannot describe in a way that will do it justice. Everytime I thought that I knew where the story was going, some new character would walk into Calvin’s life and turn it, and the story, upside down. And every time I thought I had Calvin figured out, Kevin would take me on a trip down Calvin’s memory lane that would send me right back to the drawing board. And I would be more intrigued than ever. I guess you’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
Just one more thing: I sincerely hope that Kevin does not make me wait another 6 years for his next novel!
Discover “Tête Pressée”, buy the novel on Amazon