Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thank you message!

Here are some shiny, lovely things from two websites I don't mention often enough here. First, more pictures from the Joe Makgorti photoshoot provided by the amazing Russian fansite:
Then, early this morning (or last night -- depending where you are in the world) was this piece of awesomeness from Annette's marvelous website: Richard Armitage Online -- the latest message from the man himself!

Communication has been restored!
Dear All,
I wanted to post a message to say a huge thank you for your generosity of donations to the Christchurch fundraiser on 22nd May, I gather there was a considerable contribution from members of our little community, which is gratefully received to help a rather larger and damaged community 'rise up' get back on its feet. I am so grateful and proud to see such support from so far away, you really are hugely reliable when it comes to those in need. Thank you. I hope our little teaser want too much of a tease, it is so difficult to give anything away, of the movie we are making but we had to do something; I have resisted signing anything 'Hobbity', until the film is finished (just a little bit superstitious) but I was very proud to add my name to the book for Christchurch.
I had a belated request from a certain Wizard about some cello playing, now as a music lover, and particularly that instrument, I can see how that might be a real possibility and perhaps a joy to hear...if Yo Yo Ma were asked. However, raising money for charity by simulating the sound of a strangled cat whose claws are clinging onto a chalkboard for dear life, whilst someone in another room tries to tune a radio in, would result in a charity deficit, with demands for refunds and compensation to boot. So I may have to decline for now, until I have had time to practice a bit more.
With regards for requests for social media, blogs tweets etc. I have always worried that I will reveal something about the project I am working on that I am not allowed to, added to the fact that I am just about up to e mailing and little more, I may have to abstain for now.
So were are about to depart for our short hiatus and I will be sorry to say farewell to Wellington and NZ, one of the most exciting places I have been lucky enough to live and work, not just a magnificent landscape but a warm, friendly, generous and really cool community, which has welcomed us with open arms. Seriously this place has to go to the top of the Bucket List.
Much Love

I have to thank several bloggers for inspiring Richard's latest message.  Calexora from Befuddled Musings must be beside herself with happiness for having her idea for the Cello Challenge mentioned in the letter.  It was a great idea and probably got many of us thinking of donating something to the Rise Up Christchurch Telethon.   Then Servetus from Me + Richard created her own challenge to the RA fandom to leave a comment on her blog and she would match the comments with a dollar donation.  Frenz from RAFrenzy matched her as well as Judiang from Confessions of a Watcher and probably several more people (who may have remained anonymous).  The total of all donations exceeded $2,000 (US).
Today, I woke up earlier than usual this morning and immediately checked my gmail account.  That is when I saw Jonia's message from Facebook (Jonia's Cut Blog) and followed her link to Annette's site.   What an exciting day today, and all before noon!

***UPDATE*** (Later the same day)

If you are a regular reader to this blog you will know that I usually have a music video on almost every post (if I can think of an appropriate one).  I was looking for a song about giving thanks to people but the ones that I liked didn't have approprate lyrics.  But I just read a comment here by Bccmee about today being such a lovely Sunday and that reminded me of this song!

Daniel Boone / Beautiful Sunday

Thanks Bccmee! It's an oldie but goodie.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rise up RA fans!

Kudos to at least three RA bloggers who have committed themselves to creative fund raising ideas to help out Chrishchurch, New Zealand after the devastating earthquake they suffered several months ago.

Bravo to Calexora for issuing a challenge to Richard Armitage to play his cello on the telethon.  Wouldn't we all love to see that!  Then Servetus decided to raise funds on her blog by matching our comments with dollars, and RAFrenzy followed suit!  What a generous group of people!

I don't really have anything to offer here except that the title Rise Up Christchurch has reminded me of some very upbeat and/or inspiring songs.  Almost anything can make me think of a song, so please excuse me, but here I go again...

Rise Up / by The Parachute Club (1983)

This next song is also very inspiring for anyone, but especially for those who have experienced a tragedy. The Rankin Family's version is my favourite but here they sing on a special television program starring Anne Murray singing also with Rita Macneil and The Men of the Deeps and many more special guests.  It reminds me of those who suffered from the recent Japanese tsunami.

Rise Again

I hope I will have a chance to watch the telethon at some point this weekend.

Sorry about this rushed post, but my daughter is visiting us for her birthday and we're opening up the cottage this Victoria Day weekend, so I just popped by the house to pick up something.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thank you to RA Central for the video of Sir Ian McKellan's interview on the Rise Up Christchurch telethon where he introduces the dwarves in their new costumes.  Richard Armitage Central dot com also has made available stills from the video which is where I snaffled this one:
I never would have recognized him, but for the hands!

Here he is holding up a copy of The Hobbit autographed by the cast which was one of the auction items for the Fund Raising appeal.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

100% Compatibility -- I just knew it!

 Thanks to the link from CDoart who was inspired by Fabolaktuko and Traxy!

 Phyllys Faves and Richard Armitage
Numerological Compatibility

Compatibility level: 100% - A natural fit that usually produces a very compatible relationship.
Phyllys Faves and Richard Armitage make up a creative couple, where Richard has the kind of creativity and sense of humor everybody loves, and Phyllys Faves the warmth and self-sacrificing love for the friends and family members that so easily wins hearts over.
They are probably a popular couple, with an active social life and a large circle of friends. Phyllys Faves has the innate ability to draw from others the kind of loyalty and devotion that lasts a lifetime. The master number 6 is often called the motherhood-, or fatherhood, number. Healing and comforting is second nature to Phyllys Faves, who will spread it around indiscriminately.  
(Hmmm... that makes me sound a bit cheap, maybe?)

Richard - the number three is also a very giving and popular number, more playful and creative, but less grounded and disciplined, and the energy is less directed and more impulsive. Richard does not have a lot of patience dealing with emotional issues. So, Richard can be a great shoulder for people to cry on, as long as the crying does not last for more than about two minutes, probably because Richard's optimistic and lighthearted nature tends to expect from others the same elastic response to difficult times, which is so much part of Richard's make up. 
(I'm lighthearted and optimistic! - and I promise not to cry for more than 2 minutes. But that shoulder! Well, I am sure I can find better things to do with it than cry on it!)

Though invaluable, the energy Richard brings in is sometimes not enough. The 6 makes Phyllys Faves all heart. Phyllys Faves feels very strongly and very deeply, which can also cause Phyllys Faves to be more affected by matters of the heart than Richard feels sensible.
Surprisingly, however, the most common pitfall is not the lack of emotional involvement native to Richard, but the possibly excessive emotional bonds experienced by Phyllys Faves. Phyllys Faves has a tendency to become so involved with the well being of Phyllys Faves' loved ones that they may start feeling smothered. Phyllys Faves wants to do everything for everybody, and Richard can become disenchanted with that, since Richard needs space and freedom, and does not like to be guided and protected by anyone else.
It is important for Phyllys Faves not to try to take Richard under Phyllys Faves' wings, thereby making Richard feel that there is no room to move or air enough to breathe.
(Oh boy! Me smother him? Are you kidding? 
Fly free Richard! -- As long as you come back here to nest. I won't even expect you for dinner.  But a call would be nice, after all, I don't want to make your favourite supper and then have it ruined because you stayed late on the set to run lines with that new actress. What was her name again? Is there a kissing scene?  Maybe you could bring her back for dinner so I can meet her.  You know I used to act once.  She might need an understudy if she gets sick or something.  I hear the stomach flu is going around.... What?  No. That's fine.  See you later! ... I'll just pop North and South onto the DVD player tonight...AGAIN!)

Yeah, I know...pretty scary, eh?  Now I know why he's not married.
What was I thinking!!

Another blogger who took the quiz and got 100% was Cerriwenspeaks .

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wuthering about Kate

Kate Bush has been making her highly distinctive style of music since the late 1970s and 1980s and I'll admit although I had heard of her, I hadn't paid much attention -- until lately, that is. 
She's been a British pop sensation since the age of 16 when she materialized on the music scene with a repertoire of 200 songs which were distilled into her first album The Kick Inside.  Her combination of original talent accompanied by her beauty and grace soon had the attention of the entertainment media.  
This album is listed in Tom Moon's 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.

Here is a short film biography about Kate Bush.

I did appreciate her duet with Peter Gabriel  "Don't Give Up".  I am sure I once saw a fanvid from North and South that someone had made to that video. I don't think I dreamt it.  I thought I would find it on my Youtube playlist, but if I ever saved it, it has since disappeared.

Wuthering Heights was her first hit from her debut album. The 1970 miniseries with Timothy Dalton was her inspiration. I vaguely remember hearing Kate sing this song in my youth, but I don't think I listened well enough to know what it was about.  She was playing in the background of the soundtrack of my life, I just wasn't tuned to her channel.  In 1978 when this song first came out, I had just discovered The Police and Blondie's Heart of Glass was the song that most intrigued me.  Now that I have rediscovered this song, I am almost haunted by it.  Kate's soaring vocals are almost terrifying in their passion.  If you watch one of the videos where she is singing and dancing, she really acts like a ghostly Cathy yearning for her lost love. 
I like how this fanvidder (thumbelina15) has used the song with clips from the 1992 version of Wuthering Heights starring Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes

Richard Armitage fans can't help wishing that he would be given a role like Heathcliff someday.  There was even a fanvideo by EvenstarCrystal mixing Guy of Gisborne into the 1992 version so that he does look like Heathcliff.

At the tender age of 16 Kate Bush was discovered by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.  We have him to thank for launching her career.  Here she is with him singing her hit from 1985
"Running Up That Hill".

I guess I am not the only Richard Armitage fan who appreciates Kate's music.  Here are two fanvids which use a cover version of this same song as performed by the group Placebo.   Miss Hale78 has done a simply stellar job in this video showing Lucas North's struggle with himself in Spooks series 9.  The music is a perfect fit and her editing is very intense.
It seems hard to believe but this same song has also been used for a North and South fanvid by Lotjeknorrepotje.  It works well because of the clever use of the clips she has chosen.

This next video is the song that ultimately inspired this post as it seems as if it could have been written by one of us Richard Armitage fans!

The Man with the Child in His Eyes

This song brings to mind Richard's portrayal of John Standring in a modern version of Wuthering Heights called Sparkhouse. Cathy is named Carol, a wimpy Heathcliff aka Andrew is played by Joe McFadden, and Richard's character is kind of an Everyman who is thrown in to keep it real.

Look at his eyes!  He is so sweet. Who could hurt him?

The more I found out about Kate Bush, the more songs I found to admire.  This one also brought Richard to mind with his early career as a dancer.


Here's the biggest surprise I got from watching Kate's music videos.  She made a filmlike video to her song Experiment IV starring Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and The Vicar of Dibley herself! (Dawn French)

For more of Kate Bush's music videos, visit her official Youtube channel.

I was very pleased to remember to include the following fan video and I am very grateful to have received permission to post it here.  Heathdances was inspired to create a sequel to North and South using Kate's song "Women's Work".  As it doesn't follow the usual plot of the miniseries, here is her explanation of the video:

This is an AU (Alternate Universe) video!! Basically, it takes place after the N&S series has ended. John (Richard Armitage) and Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) get married and start a family. At the train station Margaret is trying to tell John she is pregnant, and is a little nervous about it. He holds her hand and assures her everything will be fine and of course they are very happy about it. During her pregnancy she collapses and goes into early labor. Margaret is struggling with the birth and spends many hours in labor. John is not only concerned but heartbroken and feels like his life with Margaret is falling apart. He thinks back on the good times and bad in their relationship. He doesn't want to lose either Margaret or the baby. Margaret is a strong woman though and pulls through. She has a beautiful healthy baby. John is relieved and they are one happy family. :-)

I don't know where my mind goes sometimes LOL but I have always wanted to make a continuation story for John and Margaret. I can't write fan fiction so this is my way of fan fiction! LOL

If you click on the Youtube logo on the bottom right corner of the video you can watch it from the Youtube page and change it to a higher definition picture.

Thanks Heather! Your video is very creative and beautifully realized. Please feel free to make more musical fan fics. :)

Here's another surprise... I didn't realize when I started this post that after a long hiatus, Kate Bush has released a new album: Director's Cut
 Here is a recent BBC radio interview you can listen to if you wish.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Song for my mother

If my mother gave me anything at all (and of course she did) she gave me a love for music. She was never much for popular music though, even from her own era.  Her passion was for classical music and especially Opera.  Luckily, she also appreciated comic operettas like those by Gilbert &  Sullivan.  Movie musicals were also enjoyed by our family, particularly My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.

Now that my mother suffers from dementia and her communication skills are sometimes next to none, the only really bright part of her life is her music.  When my sisters or I visit and we put on a recording of one of her favourite pieces, she is immediately transported into a higher realm of existence.  Sometimes, even though she can barely talk, or recognize who we are, she will remember song lyrics and sing along.
When I first discovered the singing sensation Paul Potts, star of Britain's Got Talent -- thanks to the wonders of Youtube and social media, I decided that my mother would really enjoy listening to him.  So that Christmas I gave her his first CD.  My mother has always been the most stringent music critic I have ever known, and even more so now, when she would certainly not hold back her opinion for fear of hurting anyone's feelings.  So when I knew that she really liked his CD, it was high praise indeed!

His second CD, which this cover is from is not quite as popular with us, but it does have this song, which is very appropriate for Mother's Day

I believe Paul Potts does a much nicer version of this song in Italian than Il Divo does in English. Here is a translation of the first two verses, (which is the part of the song that is the most meaningful for me).

Mama thank you for who I am thank you for all the things I'm not
Forgive me for the words unsaid for the times I forgot
Mama remember all my life you showed me love, you sacrificed
Think of those young and early days how I've changed along the way

And I know you believed and I know you had dreams
And I'm sorry it took all this time to see
That I am where I am because of your truth
And I miss you yeah I miss you

I hope all you mothers out there have a lovely day! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Cotton milling machines in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
I have lived almost my whole life under the shadow of a smoke stack, not of a factory but very much like one.  So I feel an affinity to the working class factory workers.

 The song "My Little Town" by Paul Simon from his album (one of my all-time favourite albums) Still Crazy After All These Years (1975) so beautifully describes the depressing feeling of a factory town, especially to a young person.  Although I never felt the same hopelessness about my town, so many of the images were similar to my experience and the poetry of the lyrics still impresses me.

In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all
And he used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance to the wall
Lord I recall my little town
Coming home after school
Riding my bike past the gates of the factories
My mom doing the laundry
Hanging out shirts in the dirty breeze
And after it rains there's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same back in my little town

In my little town I never meant nothing
I was just my father's son
Saving my money
Dreamin of glory
Twitching like a finger on a trigger of a gun

Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town (repeated)

More lyrics:
 Here is a nice version Paul Simon singing this song (unfortunately without the harmony of Art Garfunkle).  If you prefer to hear the album version, please click on this link which I was unable to embed. It shows scenes of a factory town in West Yorkshire.


Speaking of West Yorkshire, that is very near the imaginary town of Milton where Victorian age Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South was set. Her novel explored the interrelationships between factory worker and master, rich and poor as well as male and female roles. Her masterful work was made into the BBC's miniseries of the same name starring Danielle Denby-Ashe and (of course) Richard Armitage.

Here is a beautiful slide show by lafillenoir from North and South set to the same soundtrack used in the miniseries.

Here is Margaret's first vision of the cotton mill where she encounters Mr. Thornton at the end.  It was made by lucifmello using the beautiful soundtrack by Martin Phipps.

I was listening to Bruce Springsteen's album Darkness at the Edge of Town not long ago and when I heard the lyrics to his song Factory it inspired me to make this video.  Unfortunately it is very rough around the edges. I don't yet know how to make my own clips so the ones I used were quite low quality.  That's what I get for being impatient and in a rush.  Really I just wanted to put some images from North and South together with the song.