(Bi)-weekly obsession update — international travel edition

It’s been twelve days, so keep that in mind, i.e., I didn’t do all of this in seven days.

  • spent much of my free time for several days looking in detail for and at pictures of Mr. Armitage in casual and semi-formal men’s suits and spent every second of that time in delicious agony. Oh, the sorrowful sweetness of always looking and never being able to touch!
  • Strike Back, all the way through, twice, with much repeating of parts of 1.2 for the captivity scenes with Orla Brady. John Porter, save me!
  • pre-ordered SB DVD was delivered to my office, where it will await me in August
  • ordered The Golden Hour, Ultimate Force, and Cold Feet series 5 from UK amazon and remembered to use Richard Armitage Online affiliate link. Delivered to my office, since paradoxically I only have a region 1 DVD player at present.
  • ordered book of Strike Back to be delivered to Germany. Should be here June 23.
  • intense rewatch of Spooks 8.4, 8.5 on the web (much backwarding and forwarding).
  • North & South once, in the background while packing suitcases.
  • read The Convenient Marriage in book form. I’m pretty sure I didn’t read this particular Heyer as a teenager.
  • pre-ordered Convenient Marriage audiobook and Spooks 8.
  • dozens of rereadings of “Truce” by fedoralady for the sex scenes and the father-daughter love. Chapter 7 went up yesterday!! Our beloved MillyMe is now consulting on the British idiom.
  • and of course, the discovery of Burn-Out yesterday that led to posts by RAFrenzy and me. I link to a comment I made over there, in case I don’t have time to write about this issue over here.

~ by Servetus on June 20, 2010.

26 Responses to “(Bi)-weekly obsession update — international travel edition”

  1. Wow you have been busy!
    Lucky you, I am still waiting for the SB DVD.

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  2. Just a short comment on the German fanfic you find so fascinating. Usually you could contact to ask for her permission to post a translation the author via the fanfic site but as far as I’m aware she is not online for the next two months due to other commitments.

    Your take on that fanfic and why you regard it as typical German is interesting, in fact it amuses me. I’m German and I happen to know the author though I cannot speak for her.

    If you look around at that fanfic site you will find that she writes really a lot of fanfic, most of it about Matthew Macfadyen and his characters but some about RA. First and foremost she is an ardent fan of MM who does arguably more highbrow stuff than RA and that is where she comes from. The “cultural elitism” she attributes to RA is really her own point of view and those who have discussed RA’s career with her know that. I agree with you that most likely RA does not share this view and can assure you that some German fans share it but most definetely not all!

    It has never occurred me that being motivated by the fear to be out of work is typically German. Quite the contrary in this case I think it comes directly from RA’s interviews, for example this one:

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/showbiz-news/celebrity-interviews/2009/10/24/i-rarely-turn-down-work-after-years-of-struggling-says-spooks-star-richard-armitage-86908-21770162/

    I’m not sure if the respect he shows to the traffic lights is typically German either. This is about the guy who has repeatedly described himself as “square” and thinks that the British people’s greatest achievement is their ability to stand in an orderly queue. 😉

    As far as I’m aware, what triggered this fanfic with this brooding and aimless wandering around was a sentence in RA’s Christmas message where he said that the last year was a difficult one and seemed to be in a pensive mood. It was not clear if he meant it was a difficult year for him personally or for for the world in general.

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    • Hey, jane! I really appreciated this comment. My point wasn’t to say that the whole fic was wrong or even that the author was wrong about Mr. Armitage’s mood, but that it was an interpretation of information we have that was elaborated on in ways that seemed very typically German to me. What stunned us as U.S. readers about this is that there’s a small but vocal segment of the Armitage fandom that intervenes viciously whenever they read anything like it.

      I should maybe say the following about my perspective: Due to my education adn then my job, month for month, I’ve spent slightly more than 50% of the last fifteen years of my life in Germany, had a German SO for more than a decade, kept a German household, navigated the German residency and university bureacracies, etc. But as an academic that means I get access to a particular segment of German life. Someone said to me once that all of my friends in Germany were either promoviert or penniless Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and that’s not far wrong, so that colors my perspective and may explain my take on the preference for high culture in Germans, though it’s my general view that even people I talk to randomly in cafes or restaurants express a great deal more respect for German high culture than people in the same class would for U.S. high culure in the U.S. I’ve also spent much more time in Anglophilic northern Germany than in Italienophile southern Germany, for what it’s worth.

      On the unemployment issue: I agree that Mr. Armitage has mentioned repeatedly his concern with not working. However, I think that those statements mesh really strongly with what I know about fears of unemployment among my German friends — the idea that one could think one would be temporarily employed and then suddenly one is “Weg vom Fenster,” or knows someone to whom this has happened, is something that could have come out of the mouth of any of my German friends. The perceived need to keep working that Mr. Armitage has expressed thus meshes deeply with what I read in Germany as a fear about the consequences of a break from the Arbeitsmarkt of any kind. This fear may be particularly acute among German academics and highly educated professionals where the job market is not especially open and not very strong. But the way this gets expressed is totally different from how it works in the U.S., where the job market works quite differently and until recently no one I knew was seriously afraid that they could be out of work for years or have completely wasted their education and never be able to work in a profession that suited them.

      I certainly won’t disagree about the British fascination with lining up (except to note that the German lack of same is a source of no litle frustration on my part), but I thought it was interesting that the author put it just at a Strassenampel as opposed to locating the character’s conformity to order elsewhere. Den Kindern ein Vorbild!

      There was something else that I forgot to mention in that litany of “things German,” which was the appearance of the author’s emphasis toward the end on the tension between conformity/consensus and artistic freedom. The longest I’ve lived in Germany in one continuous stretch was three years, and I’ve done that twice. Both times along about 24 months the emphasis on consensus in German social and political life — which is actually something I value at least theoretically, esp. the shared sentiment of social solidarity that used to be so pronounced — started to drive me crazy. It’s at that point that I always start to feel most American.

      Schöne Grüße aus Südostniedersachsen!

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    • Hello Jane, can I ask you respectfully to pass on the information to your author friend that I enjoyed her realfic. Moreover I hope that other such works find their way unto the english fanfic world. What I find fascinating about such works is the interpretation of his persona from his audience. And as such almost make it as if this make-believe relationship is real which of course it isn’t.
      Thank you for passing on my gratitude.
      Fangrrls got to stick together.

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  3. It just struck me that you labelled almost everything in that fanfic as typically German that in my opinion comes from everywhere but not from the author being German. We may have a different perspective because I regard as normal what you notice as different from what you are used to from the US.

    RA’s expressed fear to be out of work (that may or may not result in him taking up work he does not find artistically satisfying) has I think to do with long years of struggling (as he says) but also with his rather “square” middle-class upbringing he seems to have never shaken off (“Junge, lern was Vernünfiges!).

    Am I right that you have spent most of you time in Germany in university towns? If that is the case, you cannot project the atmosphere and attitude expressed by people “on the street” on the whole country.

    This real fiction genre is a tricky thing. I personally don’t feel comfortable with it as it is conceited to get in to someone else’s head and I don’t want to imagine a real person’s intimate thoughts or imagine them in intimate situations. I feel like that about any kind of real fiction and this genre is actually quite popular in many fandoms. But it is decidedly fiction and those who read and write it know that. I don’t think the author of this piece claims that this is what RA in her opinion thinks and feels. I know it is a no-go in big parts of the RA fandom but it is not the same as speculation and spreading rumours about the real person.

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    • Doesn’t everyone think her perspective is the normal one? 🙂

      I’ve really had a good assortment of domiciles over the years. I’ve lived in some university towns (e.g. Erlangen, Göttingen), some places with universities that I don’t think of as university towns (Berlin, Mainz, e.g.), and a few places with no university at all but where there are important libraries (Wolfenbüttel, Gotha). I definitely agree that my perspective is skewed by my association with academics, but I am not so sure about the places, except for the greater exposure to northern Germany. The main German social settings I am unfamiliar with (with the exception of those in Ostfriesland, which is probably my favorite German region, and which is hard to navigate by train) involve communities not easily reachable by regular public transportation. In the U.S. I came from a rural, farming community, but in Germany I’ve never had to live in one–or probably would refuse to. The way Germans drive scares me. In all these years I’ve never driven a car in Germany.

      I had never encountered the genre before and was fascinated. In general I’d rather analyze fantasy than admit to my fantasies, but realfiction really seems to offer fertile ground for that.

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    • Oh, and yes, don’t disagree on the middle-class parents issue re: Mr. Armitage’s upbringing.

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  4. I got my SB DVD last week and watched all the extra’s but only the 1st episode. It looks great on the widescreen!
    I’m rewatching RH S3 (from the library) w/ my little SO’s and got to do the Spooks rewatch S7-4 tonite.
    I’m glad you mentioned the convenient marriage so I can request it but now I’m off to read the rest of fedora’s fic! Nice there will be Britt input!!

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  5. You should try modifying your dvd player – to make it region free – before you by a new one. http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks.php Of course I’d try your cheapest dvd player first. 😀

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    • Thanks for the advice, cesta. At home I have a region-free player, but on this trip I only have the player in my laptop, and it only allows five changes between regions. I’ve used them up and am stuck on region 1. I could buy a region 2 player here, but it’s only for two months, and then I’d have to store it with someone or give it away. It’s fine. I’ve got all my region 1 dvds with me, so I can just replay them. All 3 seasons of RH, for example!!!

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      • If you use VLC player on your computer it will play anything and you don’t have to switch regions. If your computer is stuck at region one you should at least give it a try.

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        • Thanks for the tip. It’s certainly worth a try. I hadn’t tried it on this computer because I’d tried it on my Mac desktop at work without any success, but this is a PC laptop, so maybe it would work.

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          • It depends on the DVD drive. Some will accept VLC without wanting you to switch regions, but other drives won’t. It never hurts to test it out.

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  6. I’m a bit scared to order The Golden Hour as having seen a few clips I am very much afraid it was one in a long line of mundane fairly low quality British drama series, usually built around a challenging profession such as medicine, or fire-fighting. I just seem to have seen so many of these and they rarely impress me because the regular characters seem to take a back seat to the ‘story of the week’. I don’t count Spooks in this category, though I do include Casualty (a programme I cannot bear to watch – unfortunate, as it seems to run all year round and can be hard to avoid).

    Ultimate Force I will get around to once there seems to be nothing more interesting to do. Cold Feet was a very popular ITV show which ran for years and seemed to rise above much of the other ITV drama output, but I confess that beyond a few episodes of the first series I did not watch it at all. I’ve watched all the clips on YT though.

    Yesterday I accidently caught a bit of an older show from the late 1970s/early 1980s called The Professionals starring Martin Shaw (yes he of George Gently) and Lewis Collins. This was a very popular show which ran for several years and was greatly missed when it stopped, so much so that Sky1 even attempted to resurrect and reboot it a few years back (a dismal failure which contributed to Sky’s poor drama reputation). Anyway I was struck with the thought that Spooks is really a successor to The Professionals and I was also reminded that I read interviews with Martin Shaw where he described how much he hated working on that show as he felt it was unworthy of his talents, and the character (Doyle) bored him after a short while. So I wondered if Mr A felt that way about GoG, perhaps? Because I certainly feel that it was. Or maybe his success as GoG was that he reinvented that character in order to keep it interesting for him to play, something that MS was unwilling or unable to do with the Doyle character in The Professionals.

    Sorry if this is a bit off topic.

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    • TGH et al.: re TGH–I think you are absolutely right, and I see my willingness to buy my own copy of this as a sign of a rapidly increasing addiction. (It’s also very cheap from British amazon, and I don’t pay VAT when it’s sent to the U.S.) I’ve watched 3 of 4 episodes on youtube, and it’s pretty dreadful, not least because the actors all seem to recite all of the medical jargon in complete sentences as their patients are suffering / dying. I was a huge fan of the U.S. series “ER,” which really defined emergency room drama in the U.S. in the 1990s and 2000s, and it has a quicker tempo, better integration of the medical aspects of the story into the general plot lines, and is much more exciting. UF is the kind of thing I would NEVER watch voluntarily, but I’m interested in any connections to SB either in script or characterization. And CF is the sort of thing I’d potentially watch but not organize my life around. I bought it basically because I got a lot more insight into Paul Andrews from seeing all of BTS, not just the clips available on youtube.

      I can’t comment on The Professionals, not having seen it, but the phenomenon you describe (taking a role that one thinks has potential and then either not getting the right scripts or exhausting the potential and becoming bored) must be a common one. GoG would certainly qualify from my standards, although Mr. Armitage persisted in saying in public that he felt protective of Guy. One aspect of Armitage’s professionalism that I really respect has been his absolute refusal to run down either his own projects, even in a tongue in cheek way, or the work of his fellow actors. Really refreshing in comparison to most U.S. actors.

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  7. The US version of The Golden Hour (Miami Medical) has recently been cancelled too. Ill-fated or what?

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  8. NOT striking gold! 🙂 I saw all of the 4 episodes on YouTube and just checked, they are still there. I bought the dvd mainly because it was so cheap and i was ordering from Amazon UK anyway to get Sparkhouse and the Impressionists. The script didn’t bother me as much as the repeated flashbacks of the same event from different people’s point of view. Seeing an accident graphically once in slowotion was enough for me. But I liked the banter between the 4 main characters. (3 good actors in their own right) The introduction of secondary characters was solid enough that they didn’t feel like a waist of screen time. Highlights: the tickle scene which is used in so many fanvids (not more to it than what they use) and my favorite is in the last episode. I’m not going to spoil it but you will know!!
    About UF: I got the torrent and do not plan to buy it. Same as for Cold Feet. Maria just posted a review of it and it’s spot on. What you need to see is on YouTube. The intro of his character is the best, followed by the towel scene.
    What I’ve made out from his interviews is that he respects everyone involved in the process of movie or tv production. He has no control over script, editing and sound. So I believe he is thoughtful of all those people’s hard work. I’m guessing his mother raised him with good manners. 🙂 I also wonder whether he enjoys the whole process of acting to such an extend that the process is enough of a satisfaction for him rather than thinking about choosing the right roles to further his career. Anyway all conjecture on my part.

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    • I think he thinks about his career, though maybe not in a totally self-centered way. I do think artistic merit is one thing he considers along with being employed, etc. And he does certainly appear to have and value good manners.

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  9. A new Ricky Deeming fic http://whatcatydidnext.livejournal.com/20204.html
    Enjoy!

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    • Wow, so Ricky is Russian *and* heterosexual. That explains a lot.

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      • Dang, you got farther along than I did! I thought he was bi? There is a one page before she started the Road that introduces him. I send you where I was at, Sorry.

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        • I read it really quickly, but I thought the Ricky in the story said he was interested in women except for one incident or something? Maybe I should reread it.

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          • This is what I read in part 1: “His ambiguity about his sexuality stemmed only from one incident when he was doing National Service and a couple of hours with Billy Lister three years previously. There were those who had assumed for years that he was queer. His friendship with a male English teacher hadn’t helped. Writing poetry hadn’t helped. Being bloody minded hadn’t helped! But Ricky Deeming would rather walk on hot coals than do what others expected him to.” I read that as, he doesn’t think he’s gay, but others do.

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  10. Thanks for putting me straight, I think I will finish that tonite.

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  11. […] friction in strikingly different ways from American culture. Later, we got into a discussion about what is typically German from the insider vs. the outsider perspective. I found out that she always has an opinion and it’s always worth exploring it with her. […]

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