Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm not adverse to verse...

A few posts back there was a Haiku contest at Me + Richard Armitage that I had to respond to, and it had me so into making those little verses of 5 / 7 / 5 syllables that I was practically speaking in that way for a day or so!

So here is what I came up with when I thought about Mr. Armitage -- it was all his wonderful roles which I scouted out through the generosity of Youtube posters and other online video sources, after first being gobsmacked with his incredible talent in the BBC's fabulous production of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.

I have decided to illustrate my poem with pictures of him (duh who else?) just in case there are still some people out there who haven't been introduced to the wonder that is Richard Armitage...and the rest of us who know all about him really don't mind looking at the same pictures over and over and over again!

The roles were: North and South 2004, the Vicar of Dibley 2006, Robin Hood 2006-2009, Spooks/MI-5 2008- (also referred to as "The Grid"), Sparkhouse 2002, Cold Feet 2003, Between the Sheets 2003, The Impressionists 2006, The Golden Hour 2005. These were more or less the order that I discovered these programs.

I followed you from
North and South to Dibley and

Sherwood to the Grid.

Guy of Gisborne

On the way, I passed
Through Sparkhouse, seeking some warmth

For Cold Feet, Between the Sheets.

I understand why
The Impressionists paint such

Golden Hours of you.

Servetus was very kind to write a review of my haiku which was very complimentary**blushing** but I won't print it here, there is a link to it on my "Poetry of Earth" posting.
So, poetry month is almost over and I hadn't written a line of poetry in quite a few years, so it was fun to be inspired by my muse, (a.k.a. Mr. Armitage) and by Servetus for posting the challenge.
Even TeeTotallyNot is getting into it -- I see she's posted some limericks today on her blog YI, Mum?

Yep! We've got it BAD!

Friday, April 23, 2010

After the Gold Rush

Neil Young is an acquired taste. I know this myself, as I first discovered him as a prepubescent who was only just beginning to discover my Rock sensibilities. I remember commenting negatively on his high-pitched, reedy (some would say whiny) voice to my older sister when I first heard his Harvest album. Now, of course it is one of my most favourite albums, and except for a strange period in the '80s, (his -- not mine!), I have been a fan of his since then.
The following song has always haunted me, as the lyrics are so mysterious. Is it a fantastical vision of earth's doom? Or maybe just a drug induced dream sequence?
I found an interesting discussion of the lyrics on this forum:

Although I do love Neil's version of the song, I also find this a cappella version so beautifully harmonious, and the video has such fantastically beautiful pictures that I had to share it with you.

Video by feythdemacedo

Now, here are the lyrics with a bit of a different perspective. I have chosen to illustrate them with scenes from various productions from the repertoire of Richard Armitage.  They include: Robin Hood (BBC) 2006-2009 Sir Guy of Gisborne; Spooks /MI-5, Season 7 2008 Lucas North; Strike Back 2010 John Porter; and Star Wars Episode 1, the Phantom Menace 1999  Naboo fighter pilot (uncredited).
If I were more talented, (and had the proper equipment) I would do a fanvid. Anybody out there care to help me with this? "Or do it for me", I think, with a sheepish grin.

Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming

Saying something about a queen

There were peasants singing and drummers drumming

And the archer split the tree

There was a fanfare blowing to the sun 
That was floating on the breeze

Look at mother nature on the run
In the twenty-first century 
Look at mother nature on the run
In the twenty-first century 

I was lying in a burned out basement 

With the full moon in my eyes 

I was hoping for replacement 

When the sun burst through the sky 
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like I could cry 

I was thinking about what a friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie
 Thinking about what a friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie 

Well I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flyin'
In the yellow haze of the sun 

There was laughing, crying and colors flying
All around the chosen one 
All in a dream, all in a dream, the loading had begun 

Flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home in the sun
They were flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home

I should apologize to hard-core Neil Young fans that the lyrics are not quite the same as originally written. I must admit I copied the lyrics from a version done by Dolly Parton! Wow! Who else has covered this song?
I was going to change them back, but I had already made my picture choices by then so... unless someone out there can find a good picture of Richard Armitage where he it looks like he "feels like getting high", I think I will just leave it like that...

Pictures are from the treasurehouse screencap galleries of, and, also a great source was I nabbed the picture of RA with Natalie Portman from Nat's blog --  I'm not sure where I got the other ones! Please let me know if I need to give someone the credit! The last photo is by Tom Raven on

***UPDATE: ***September 18, 2010
I have finally posted a video version of this song, using Neil Young's original song (couldn't find a good version of him singing with the "21st century" lyric which I would have preferred).  At first the video was blocked, but hopefully I have successfully disputed this claim.
Here is the link on Youtube if you would like to watch:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Poetry of Earth

Earth Day is April 22nd so in honour of that and also for the fact that April is Poetry Month I have collected some poetry that celebrates nature, spring, and our shared experience of living on this wonderful planet we call Earth.

Poetry is best appreciated when read aloud. So I was very happy to find so many poems performed on Youtube!

The Poetry of Earth Is Never Dead
 by John Keats (1795-1821)

   The poetry of earth is never dead;
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead.
That is the grasshopper’s, – he takes the lead
In summer luxury, – he has never done
With his delights; for, when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never.
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
 The cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
 And seems, to one in drowsiness half lost,
The grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Don't you just love Jeremy Irons? But what's with the funny hat?
Video by Noxdl.

I have loved the poetry of John Masefield since Gr. 7 when I first read "Trade Winds". He is best known for poetry which speaks of life at sea on a sailing ship, but in this one he is clearly longing for home.
The West Wind
read by the author himself
John Masefield (1878-1967)
Video made by poetryreincarnations
This Youtube channel is a treasure trove of animated pictures of poets reading their works!

Nature poetry can be found in the lyrics of modern songs.
Here is a song that warns people to take better care of the natural world or we might lose it altogether.

Big Yellow Taxi 
words and music by Joni Mitchell (1943-  ),

performed by Counting Crows.
Although I am a great fan of Joni Mitchell, I chose to use the version by Counting Crows, firstly because the visuals suited my theme better, and secondly because I think I think more people would prefer this version. Die-hard Joni fans can still hear her version if they click on the video bar at the end of this video.

John Denver  (1943-1997) was a great nature lover.
His song, Rocky Mountain High
celebrates a special corner of the world that he called home.

WARNING: If you turned up the volume to hear John Denver, get ready to lower the volume for this next video. For some reason it is much louder than the others. (I would hate for anyone to get annoyed by being blasted with the next reader's amazing voice!) And if you are not interested in staring at pictures of Richard Armitage while he reads this poem, just minimize the screen, but don't miss his reading -- the poem is wonderful, and the delivery can't be beat!

Here is a poem from World War II
about guarding the land against the enemy:
Nightwatch for England
by Edward Shanks (1892-1953)
read by Richard Armitage

This is a fanvid by DanielleRCA

By the way, if anyone out there has any information about the poet Edward Shanks I would be very interested. I have become a bit of a fan of his poetry since researching for this post.  (There is very little interesting information that is easily searchable on the net, (so far) or I would have put up a link.)

Here are some other mentions of poetry amongst my blogger buddies.
Nat from Richard Armitage Fan Blog has a couple great limericks.
And Sue from Me + Richard Armitage had a haiku contest!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring is sprung...

Spring is sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is?
The bird is on the wing.
Now isn’t that absurd?
I always thought the wing was on the bird!

-- Anonymous

I remember fondly my Dad quoting this verse and telling me it was by Odgen Nash. Well, I have been unable to prove this assertion (at least by internet research)! But this one is one of his:

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has newly sprung
the hills are full of grass
and along comes a billy-goat
sliding on his overcoat
down the summer pass
~ by Ogden Nash ~

Here is a video bursting with the signs of Spring set to Vivaldi's Spring suite from "The Four Seasons".

This Beatles tune always puts me in the mood for Spring:

And once again here is a painting by Claude Monet, entitled Break-up of Ice, Grey Weather (1880)

Canadian artists were also influenced by French Impressionism. Tom Thomson was a forerunner of the Group of Seven but his style of painting had great influence on them.
Spring, Algonquin Park

Here is another painting by Tom Thomson entitled Spring Ice (1917)
This was finished shortly before he died, mysteriously drowned while on a painting expedition.

Springtime brings thoughts of romance and here are some favourite movie clips with this theme:

I had to find a new clip for The Lonely Goatherd  from The Sound of Music (1965), as 20th Century Fox had a copyright issue with the last clip. Here's hoping no one has an issue about this one! Julie Andrews sings the song on The Muppet Show (1977)

Besides lonely goatherds there have been some lonely shepherds as well:
Alan Bates played Gabriel Oak in Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd (1967) with Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch. His character, like his name was strong and natural as an Oak tree and as kind and heroic as the angel Gabriel himself. One wonders why it takes the love of his life, Bathsheba Everdene so long to figure out that he is the man for her!

Here is a clip from the movie where Bathsheba is singing
at the Shearing supper for her tenants.

This story was redone for television in 1998 starring Nathaniel Parker (from the Inspector Lynley series) as Gabriel Oak and Paloma Baeza as Bathsheba.
Here is a wonderful fanvid by Elva75 of the 1998 version of the story:

As an interesting side note, both of these actors have worked with my favourite actor (have you figured out yet whom that might be?) Richard Armitage appeared with Nathaniel Parker in an episode of The Inspector Lynley mysteries. As well, Paloma Baeza appeared in 3 episodes of Spooks / MI-5 Season 7 as Lucas North's ex-wife Elizaveta.
RA with Nathaniel Parker
RA with Paloma Baeza

Even better, Richard Armitage had quite a Gabriel Oak type role as John Standring in Sparkhouse, which is a modern retelling of the classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Here's a link to my blogger buddy Mulubinba's terrific review of Sparkhouse.

Richard Armitage as John Standring helps tend the sheep on a farm owned by the father of the girl he yearns for, named Carol (played by Sarah Smart) who is madly in love with Andrew (Joe McFadden). Since Andrew's parents believe Carol is beneath him, they foil the couple's romantic dreams and Andrew abandons Carol at the altar. Years pass, and he marries someone else and even becomes a father. One day he moves back home and when he sees Carol again, his passion for her is reignited. Nevermind that she has finally got her life back together and has persuaded the ever loyal and loving John to sell his house, put all the money into her farm and then she will promise to be a good wife to him. Long story short, it's very sad, but not quite as tragic as the original story because really, which guy would you rather end up with?

On the left we have Andrew whose parents hate you and although he professes undying love, he has abandoned you at the altar, married another woman and had a baby with her, all without any explanation for his behaviour.

On the right we have John, who has always been there when you needed him, is willing to make himself over for you, heals your wounds, doesn't mind raising your child by another man, is always kind, gentle and caring, and oh yes, although he doesn't start fights, can do a fabulous job defending your honour.
It's not really a fair choice...for a sane person! Immature boy-man vs. man of any woman's dreams!

Here is one of my favourite fanvids by Neelma, telling the story from Carol's viewpoint. It's set to Fallen by Sarah McLachlan.