The real Richard Armitage and the real me

I am writing this blog, I think, because fairly serious other things are going wrong in my life at the moment. The near-obsession I am developing with Mr. Armitage’s work is at least first and most an escapist measure, a fantasy that occasionally distracts me from bigger worries. But it also carries elements about of my work; that is, I offer close readings of texts for a living, on paper and in the classroom, and Armitage is the text that I seem to want to read most closely at the moment. Writing about him is an escape from other writing, but also an act of personal redemption. It helps my fantasy not only that I occasionally see some similarities between him and myself (the struggle to work, the fear of water!) but also that so many of the larger roles he has played have either moral conflict or redemption as a theme.

(Detour: One of the aspects of analysis of appearances is that inevitably one begins to wonder about reality. Most of what I write IRL is about history, about things that are alleged to actually have happened, but first of all, the period I study is so far in the past that it is almost impossible to grasp its “reality” in any meaningful way, and secondly, philosophically I am a sort of limited poststructuralist, so that I am at basis skeptical about “the real.” But I also live in a world where most people agree that reality exists, and I experience my own life as real even as I am skeptical about its reality. Hope that makes sense to y’all. I am trying to say that as much as I would like to leave questionsa bout reality behind, I continue to be tortured by them, both in my scholarship and in my own existence.)

So, I wonder about the relationship of the texts I read about him (whether performed or interviewed) to “the real Richard,” even as I acknowledge (see my About page) that everything I will ever experience about him is a fantasy. As my appreciation of him becomes more significant, I start to put him in places in my mind. I’ve been to Budapest and know what a kolbasz counter looks like; when I see the faded sign that says “Großhandel” on the building where the Hood Academy takes place, I can put it into geographical and historical context; I’ve exited the London tube at Leicester Square; I’ve been to the Dulwich Picture Gallery; and so on–I can see himself and myself in the same places. I can think that London is six hours ahead of my current time and imagine him sleeping in his bed. All of this growing concreteness to my fantasies worries me a bit sometimes. If I start writing fanfic, worry will be at the base of it — it will be an attempt to let the steam off of some of these fantasies. I have so much other work that it’s unlikely I’ll starting writing fiction this year, but if my fantasies about him and his characters intensify, I may not be able to stop myself.

At the same time, I fear that I am not going to be able to stop thinking about the “real” Armitage. And writing about the interface of that “real” person with the fantasy that I experience in the media and that I continue to spin out in my own head.

~ by Servetus on March 8, 2010.

13 Responses to “The real Richard Armitage and the real me”

  1. So sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch. Richard is certainly good at distracting us for our every woes, isn’t he? I especially enjoy getting to know so many intelligent and creative people (like yourself) from all over the world who just happen to be his fans.
    Part of his appeal is trying to nail down, just what exactly is so attractive about him. But he is such a mysteriously rich combination of talent and real life humility and sweetness, that it is heady stuff indeed!
    And so, we keep coming back for more…


  2. Oops … that should be “from our every day woes”.


  3. I’ve just discovered this blog! I also use RA’s work as a distraction from RL events. It works. My trouble now is trying to find new things to watch – I think the only works I haven’t seen are the earlier ones. (Cold Feet; Ultimate Force?). RH3 has not made it out here yet – I suspect it won’t, as RH wasn’t a huge hit with the viewers.


  4. Mulubinba, I think that is part of why I am not rushing to watch all of RH. I don’t want it to be over! Of course, I could do ever more minute analyses of gestures and scenes, etc. And I am looking forward to Strike Back, although macho dramas with guns are not usually my thing.


  5. “Microexpressions” was fascinating. An interesting aspect of Mr. Armitage’s appearance is a strong resemblance to Plantagenets – check out Norman/Plantagenet kings and their effigies! And that really should reconcile Mr. Armitage to possessing an aquiline nose….


  6. Thanks for commenting, fitzg, and thanks for the kind words! You are exactly right about the noses of those early English kings. Also, I LOVE big noses. Maybe he got teased about a lot as a kid, but it is a definite selling point now, and I know lots of people who agree that a striking profile is a great thing. It adds character to his face.


  7. […] noses (and other body parts) fitzg remarked some time ago that Mr. Armitage should be reconciled with his nose given his interest in Richard […]


  8. Have just gone back to your initial posting. Didn’t like to say anything earlier – for fear of intruding. (I’m Canadian eh) but hope the slump has resolved. I eventually, in work life, came to realize that a really bad time wasn’t always just about me, and “tomorrow is another day”. How much comfort is that?

    Don’t share the fear of of water. (happy dog-paddler and back-stroker), But fear of heights, which has occasionally actually produced vertigo. Most of us do have some phobia (shut up Dr. Freud).

    Is all better now?



  9. PS my nose is more like that of Joe Arstrong(AllanaDale) Pointy. Which might explain why I admire, and covet the acquiline version. (a la Audrey Hepburn?) In your dreams, girl…


  10. […] posts (in February and March 2010) drew more explicitly on the theme of dreams and fantasies and my curiosity about random intersections of moments in my life with those in that of Mr. Armitage. Though I […]


  11. […] students, write, grade, administer, with occasional breaks for food. Talk to mom on the phone. When all the crises are under control, walk to car, drive home, pick up food on the way, enter apartment. Slam door, […]


  12. […] Somewhere in London (I assume), where the earth is already a bit further removed upon its daily path, an actor whom I think about all the time also proceeds with his day.  He’s just as real as I am, maybe more real, since he doesn’t write thousands of words in a disguised identity every week. In contrast to me, he knows who he’s pretending to be every day. Does he sleep on his side or his stomach or his back? He wakes up with his own waking dream; I wonder what his totems are. I hope they help him and don’t frighten him. He gets himself ready with all of his own thoughts and eats his breakfast and makes his plans. Did he go out dancing last night with friends? Does he pull on his jeans and stroll out to the corner for croissants and coffee and the papers, or stay barefoot in his robe and put together the English breakfast fry up? Does he wish someone would do his laundry, and discard the idea in favor of something more creative or more productive or more relaxing? Does he walk outside and think how different London looks from Wellington? What rubbish does he see in the gutter, what ads on the street, what looks on the faces of passersby, as he walks to the Tube? Or does he take his car where he’s going? These are things I love to think about. Occasionally it feels like I abuse Richard Armitage; then again, he’s done me the supreme favor of never objecting. Such an understanding man, and the fact that I don’t know him at all allows him to play ever more cooperative roles in my fantasy life. The things we know about him tantalize, invite to comparisons with our own lives, prompt questions a…. […]


  13. […] students, write, grade, administer, with occasional breaks for food. Talk to mom on the phone. When all the crises are under control, walk to car, drive home, pick up food on the way, enter apartment. Slam door, […]


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