Happy Birthday, Mr. Armitage!

The return home meant one thing for me this weekend: intense preparation for the semester ahead. (I also have got to go shopping for staple foods — given the temperatures here and the potential for insect infestations, I always toss all my food before I leave for the summer.) I’ve got one syllabus done and another drafted, so I’m hoping not to be up all night on Tuesday and also that the resulting potentially sane start to the semester will guarantee me an easier life. So even though I dreamed of posting my best, most inspiring prose in honor of Mr. Armitage’s birthday and jotted down a few ideas — as I sit down to draft this, it’s 10:58 p.m. here, so it’s just before 5 a.m. on August 22nd in London, if that’s where he is — it wasn’t going to happen today. (I’m a bit relieved, actually, that common sense took over. Maybe my CWS isn’t as bad as I feared.) On the other hand, I have 25 more hours before August 22nd is over. The drive down and all of that Uhtred of Bebbanburg got me feeling really emotional, so maybe I’ll get inspired tomorrow.

Other authors in the Armitage blogosphere have written some good stuff, though. I especially like Phylly3’s slide show of pictures of Mr. Armitage smiling. Maria Grazia devoted a very sweet installment of her weekly RA Friday feature to the theme. (Surfing around was a reminder that I have to get my blogroll widget working as I’m losing track of all the Armitage writing that’s going on and I don’t want to miss it!)

Haven’t sent a card, written a limerick, or posted a birthday message at Richard Armitage Net? Mr. Armitage has repeatedly mentioned that he’d be delighted if fans shared their Armitage love with others and donated to some of the charities near and dear to his heart, organizations that help those less fortunate than those of us who have free time and powerful internet connections to sit at computer screens and consume his work. We can do this via his pages at JustGiving. I’ve sponsored British colleagues who were running to fundraise for cancer research before via this page, and it’s easy to use if you have a credit card. Frankly, in these straitened times I’m hesitant to donate to British charities when I see so much need here under my own nose every day — but there’s an outpost of the Salvation Army here, and I’m sure there’s one in your neck of the woods, too. Is today the day for a donation in Mr. Armitage’s honor?

And this is going to sound corny — as I write this I worry that I am stealing Natalie’s thunder here with the practical life lessons — but many people I’ve met electronically since starting this blog have mentioned that Armitage’s personal qualities have inspired them emotionally to contemplate their behaviors on an ethical level. Watching his example of modest generosity has inspired us to try to be more modest and generous. (I can’t resist pointing out that this idea was the central notion of history instruction during the Renaissance and Reformation: students were to historical examples to learn to love virtuous behavior and shun vice. That Renaissance notion is at the base of our idea that we study history to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.)

If that’s the case for you, too, maybe tomorrow could be a day for us all to do something modest, kind, and generous in the vein of an Armitage character.

You can start small, with a gift to someone who will appreciate it, even if he can’t express it clearly:

Paul Andrews (Richard Armitage) offers to buy his stepson Kieran some more beer for his planned party in Between the Sheets 4. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Or to someone who won’t appreciate at first how hard you’re trying:

Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) gives Marian (Lucy Griffiths) a pretty dress to wear during Henry of Lewes’s visit to Nottingham in Robin Hood 2.6 (“For England”). Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Mr. Armitage’s characters seem to run into this problem frequently. But showing generosity to someone who can benefit from your kindness even though they have harmed you is a particular sign of virtue, I think. (As long as it doesn’t turn into stalking, of course.)

Shot from the filming of North & South 3, in which Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) brings a gift of fruit to Margaret’s invalid mother. Source: Русскоязычный Cайт Pичардa Армитиджa

You can invite a crazy friend to dinner and say nice things about him in front of third parties:

A dinner party in Cezanne’s honor hosted by Claude Monet (Richard Armitage) in The Impressionists, episode 3. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Or how about a visit to someone’s sickbed? This is an important mitzvah in Judaism, for example.

Dr. Alex Track (Richard Armitage) checks on the status of a comatose patient he’s treated as he goes off duty in The Golden Hour 1.1. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

You can do something for your friends that’s kind of a pain and use a skill or talent you have to help them out of a difficult situation:

Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) reports to Geraldine that he’s finished doing all of her friends’ tax returns except for those of Owen, who’s reported himself as dead to the tax office in Vicar of Dibley:  “A Wholly Happy Ending.” Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Or you can make an even bigger gift: of yourself.

John Standring (Richard Armitage) tells Carol he’ll marry her and sell the house he inherited from his grandfather and invest the money in her bankrupt farm in Sparkhouse 3. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

You can help out a troubled teenager, which can not only be really stressful, but can also lead to unpleasant life-changing consequences:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) defuses the suicide bomb attached to the teenager As’ad in Strike Back 1.1. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Or give the biggest gift of all: Risk your life to save someone else’s. Since I’ve referred to Judaism, I’ll mention that Christianity also has articulated a strong position on the importance of self-sacrifice on behalf of others. (I’m writing about those two religions because I know them intimately — I’d be delighted if anyone wanted to comment on the significance of selflessness in other religious traditions of our fascinating, diverse world. In these divisive times we need to learn as much as we can about any potentially shared or universal human values.)

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) carries the Pakistani prime minister out of a hotel that’s about to explode in Spooks 8.8. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Really, as Armitage’s roles reveal, the possibilities are endless. And once you start, maybe others will follow. I know Judaism includes a belief in this version of “One Thing Leads to Another,” and it seems implicit in the Golden Rule as well. But even if you don’t want to make the ultimate sacrifice, you might just pass on a kindness to someone who needs one tomorrow in the spirit of our favorite modest guy: the man who insists, stubbornly, that our love for Thornton has nothing to do with him and who mentions every Christmas that he way more than enough to make him happy already and that others can use our help more.

Anyway: I have no idea if he is celebrating happily, avoiding thinking about the day, or doing something entirely different. I’ve found in my own life that celebrating my birthday can be a catch-as-catch can affair, particularly when I am not in Germany, where celebrating your birthday is a social obligation that you owe to your friends. Whatever he’s doing today, whoever he’s with, I hope he’s happy and healthy.

Happy birthday, Mr. Armitage. Many happy returns! (which we say frequently in the U.S., wikipedia notwithstanding). You should live to 120, no evil eye. Though as far as I know, no Richard has a saint’s day on August 22, I’ll still sing you Las Mañanitas.

Or I could sing you my favorite birthday song, the German canon: Viel Glück und viel Segen! I’d sing you the older version, which references material wealth, or the newer one, which wishes cheer, whichever you prefer. That’s actually a good place to stop, as this post is getting verzettelt.

Viel Glück und Viel Segen

Much happiness and many blessings

Auf all’ Deinen Wegen

On all your paths

Gesundheit und Wohlstand [Frohsinn]

May Health and prosperity [Cheerfulness]

Sei’ auch mit dabei.

Be there too.

DEAR MR. ARMITAGE: MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS, BIG AND SMALL, COME TRUE THIS YEAR.

~ by Servetus on August 22, 2010.

158 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Mr. Armitage!”

  1. Gee, for somebody with no time to do a dedicated RA birthday post, you sure managed a super one! 🙂 Thanks for commenting so kindly about my simple slideshow!
    As an aside — I am wondering how you get those great little pop-up windows?

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    • Thanks. I sat down just to check in, and then some more stuff occurred to me, and suddenly it was two hours later 🙂

      the popups are a setting somewhere on wordpress — site preview, it’s called. It can be turned on and off. Not sure how blogger handles that.

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  2. Awww, Servetus, this was really, really lovely. Your focus on doing something for others as a celebration of this wonderful fellow with his modest, generous and gentlemanly nature is spot on. I’m sure it would put a smile on Mr. A’s beautiful face to know this.

    I am still awake at 2:18 a.m. uploading some of the 250 photos I took tonight of the young ladies participating in our Junior Miss program, really needing to get some sleep–but I am so glad you posted this before I tried to get to bed.

    I did post birthday greetings to RA at RANet, but I will say again how very much I admire, respect and adore him on so many levels, and how discovering him really did change my life for the better. And yeah, that may sound corny or hokey to a lot of people, but it’s true. When I count my blessings, I count Richard Armitage among them.

    I hope he has the splendid birthday he richly reserves, and a year filled with success, laughter and love.

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    • You nightowl — hope you did get some sleep.

      Mr. Armitage is a blessing.

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      • Cheers, yeah, I finally did drift off. I am always wound up after covering up a night event, especially one where I am constantly up and down taking photos. I end up hyper and weary all at the same time. Yes, he really is a blessing, and one of the good Lord’s loveliest creations.

        I guess I am also celebrating Mr. A’s birthday with fanfic since I got another chapter of “Truce” posted today . . . so maybe I do serve through entertaining others, as you mention elsewhere.

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        • Making others think or making them enjoy something is also service, especially if you do it with a servant’s heart.

          I’m kind of big on an idea called “servant leadership”.

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          • Interesting you should mention servant leadership, Servetus, that is something our new superintendent stressed during his interview process–getting out there on the campuses and leading by example.

            I was recently doing two “grips and grins” (newspaper parlance for photo poses for presentation of checks, plaques, etc.)and Mr. Douthitt was walking along just behind me coming down the hill between the two schools. Suddenly he started chasing down an errant snack wrapper(the wind was blowing that day so he had to work a bit to get it).
            “I forget I’m not a principal anymore sometimes–but I do like a tidy campus,” he told me cheerfully.

            Little things like that impress me.

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            • I’m big on picking up litter, hence it pleased me to no end when recently my gang made a game of it at the creek by the playground all of their own accord.

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              • That’s great. If you can get them started young caring about their environment, it makes such a difference. I have to give our area schools credit; when I visit the campuses, the grounds and buildings are well-maintained. Pride in their schools is really encouraged. All the schools have service groups, too, that participate in things like planting flowers and shrubs on campus and also going downtown and picking up litter to help keep their town beautiful.

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            • In that specific case and ones like it, I think that’s setting a great example. Why do you expect your subordinates to care about something if you never show that it’s personally important to you?

              I think that a lot of times the efforts of creative people to achieve a great result are seen as either egoistic or at best artistic — but what I see in Armitage’s general vibe is a drive to get it right not for himself or just for himself but for us. I think his focus on his fellow actors in ensemble acting demonstrates this clearly. That’s an amazing kind of servanthood. Seriously inspiring.

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              • Exactly. I hate the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality or people who just pay lip service to their ideals.

                I am sorry to say I don’t feel as if our publisher really cares much about the newspaper, other than the advertising part.

                Fortunately the editorial staff does, and we work hard and produce good, award-winning results, in spite of the rather poor example he shows. And we do it for the community and for each other. We work together on projects and our joint efforts makes us all shine, ultimately.

                Richard is truly a team player of the first order. He has made references to how his audience has let him know getting all the details right is one of the things they enjoy about his performances, and you can tell that genuinely pleases him.

                Yes, I think he does care about his audience and his fellow actors. Lucy G. said he was a fantastic screen partner and I think she learned and grew as an actress from his mentoring. I think he would be a joy to work with as an actor and a director because he is such a professional, so generous and humble of spirit on top of that terrific talent.

                He really is an amazing fellow, our RA. A fine role model in many ways.

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  3. A lovely piece in celebration of his birthday. I posted my greeting on RichardArmitageNet and have deliberately confined myself to just the one message.

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    • Thanks. Just to clarify I am not passing any of this on to him, which I think Richard Armitage Net is doing — so that is the place to go to leave any unique messages. Servetus’s politics still prevent her from contacting Mr. Armitage directly.

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  4. As we’re an international group of posters, I’ll second everything said about the marvellous actor by everyone here by wishing him a happy birthday in Norwegian.

    Kjære Richard! Gratulerer med dagen!

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    • Almost sounds like something Uhtred of Bebbanburg might have said (grin)! Or at least it’s spelled that way. 🙂

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      • It does . . . ah, Uhtred. I would like to hear RA speak so many, many different languages . . . I think he needs to do all language courses on audio, too. Think of how truly pleasurable becoming multilingual would be (not that it isn’t, anyway, but it would only improve, surely . . .).

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        • That would be lovely. I own a few of the Rosetta Stone series. I’d be wo much more motivated to improve my Swedish if Mr. Armitage were the voice!

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      • As Norway was under the Danes for 400 years, their written languages are almost identical. Uhtred would, however, have uttered something far back in his throat, as Norwegians accuse the Danes of doing.

        Wouldn’t you love it if they filmed Uhtred’s story? I would have loved Richard to play him, but I can’t quite see him Viking blonde.

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        • Well, as much as I like Richard with darker hair and prefer dark-haired men in general, taking into account his fair skin and blue eyes and the rosier tone we see in his complexion with his natural red-brown hair colour, I suspect he could even manage to pull off the right shade of blonde hair.

          Of course, I am of the mind he could pull off just about anything successfully. I believe in the Magic That Is Armitage. (On the other hand, Colin Farrell with his long blonde locks looked awful in “Alexander” . . .)

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          • I do not find blond sexy. However, if Mr. Armitage tried it I’d be willing to at least give it a look.

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            • What gives me hope along these lines is the fact I am not big on long hair on men (and then S3 Guy of Gisborne stumbled drunkenly into my life)or tattoos (and then a disheveled Lucas North stripped off his top in the washroom) . . . so, in spite of the fact I am not into blond fellows (can’t imagine my own husband with blond hair), I would be willing to suspend that prejudice and give RA a shot at being our fair-haired boy.

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        • Yeah, I’d love to see that. Though I might self-combust in the theatre.

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        • If they filmed it can’t they be a little hsitorically inaccurqate and have RA keep his dark hair? or maybe just brown?

          I can’t really picture him as a blond, I don’t like blonds either, although I would give it a chance too.

          OML 🙂

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          • Well, if they could give Colin Farrell that hideous dye job for “Alexander,” I don’t see why they couldn’t allow RA to keep his darker locks . . . he would, of course, be required to have extensions again, shades of S3 Guy. Now THAT I would like very, very much. The man knows how to seriously rock the locks.

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            • Oh boy – that hair ! So horrible – it’s been a red flag for me, in terms of watching that movie – I don’t think I can get past it.

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              • The hair was pretty hideous. Looked totally unnatural and didn’t suit his dark coloring one little bit. And then you had the weird assortment of accents, including Angelina Jolie’s . . . I have never watched the whole thing, I have to confess.

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              • My friend who introduced me to N&S won’t watch Sparkhouse precisely because of that awful hair. She can’t stand to look at him “ugly.”

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  5. Alles Liebe und Gute zum Geburtstag, Richard!

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  6. Lang zal hij leven! Gelukkige Verjaardag, Richaaaard!

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  7. A very lovely birthday tribute.

    And from a sort-of bilingual country Bonnes fetes and Many Happy Returns to Mr. Armitage.

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    • That’s what I love: interculturality. World peace and love in Armitage world.

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      • This truly does feel like an international celebration of a very special individual. World peace and love in Armitage World–what a lovely thought!

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    • @Fitz the French influence in my culture cannot be denied hence my sister and I call Richard affectionately by the French version of his name hence the added aaaaaa’s 🙂

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      • Ooh-la-la-la! Reeech-aaard . . . I like it, iz4blue. So would love to see him play a role requiring substantial use of French. *sigh*

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        • *sigh* indeed! I’d be happy with a work of literature too! Hopefully something NOT abbreviated and a bit more substantial. Although I am reading Frederica which is hilarious with lots of lively banter.

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          • I agree. Would love to hear him narrate something modern, as well — not a historical fiction.

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            • Modern and unabridged (although I suppose work schedule restraints make it easier for him to record the abridged novels) . . . actually, a good literary mystery, perhaps?

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              • I just read a new novel that he’d be great at: David Mitchell’s Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

                Of course, I’d also like it to be filmed with Mr. Armitage in the role of the protagonist. Sigh …

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                • My husband ribs me about wanting Richard to play every role in every movie/TV show(oh, dear, I would never walk away from the television) . . . I have heard good things about that book, I should add it to my list of books to read.

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            • Isn’t it interesting that the ways that he reads LOTN and Georgette Heyer are so different?

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              • Absolutely, just another sign of his great talent for me. A completely different approach to these very different writing styles and perfectly suited to each. Man is made of amazing.

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              • Yeah. Not only are the characters in these pieces played as if read by different people, which always floors me — I always forget it’s just Armitage reading — the style is so contrasting. I put off listening to LOTN because I’d been listening to Venetia a lot and thought I didn’t want to repeat that experience — but it’s like a completely different actor.

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      • Mmmmmmmm! 🙂

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  8. Lovely sentiments, lovely tribute. I will ruminate on service this week, thanks for the reminder. At my church part of our convenant is…and service is our prayer.

    I do hope that Mr. Armitage is having a lovely birthday.

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    • Thanks for the affirmation — I was wondering as I pushed published if this post was venturing into sermonizing and I am glad that it served as a reminder but not a reproach. There are all kinds of ways to serve, right? Including entertaining others.

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      • It didn’t seem like sermonizing to me at all; just a really sweet, gentle reminder of the giving attitude of the man this blog celebrates and appreciates.

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      • I didn’t think so I find that when we speak and live from the heart we just can’t go wrong. One of my heros, Mr Rogers, yes Mr. Rogers, had this quote about how we all can minister to each other esp in times of need.

        There are lots of ways to serve…listening, volunteer work, entertaining, blogging. 🙂 I am right there with in on “servant leadership.” So you get a BIG AMEN from me!

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        • I love Mr. Rogers, too. I have a couple of the books his widow put together of his wisdom.

          I do a lot of listening in order to write for the paper, and I’ve found out people sometimes just need someone as a sounding board.

          A compassionate, non-judgmental listening ear. I get told things that never make it into an article, because it’s private between the two of us and I would never betray that trust. So I feel, yes, like I am providing a service in that way.

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  9. Feliz Cumpleaños Richard Armitage 🙂

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  10. wow Servetus!! I realy like your texts but this one was really candid, one of the best.

    and yes Feliz cumpleaños Señor Richard Armitage!!

    Las mañanitas!! Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el Rey David a los muchachos bonitos se las cantamos así despierta Richard despierta mira que ya amaneció, ya los pajaritos cantan la luna ya se metió!! bravooooooo

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  11. Happy B.Day RA!

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  12. Incredibly original post! I always wonder where you find the time to post so long, detailed and well-written texts. You are great servetus! Is that Flemish Dutch or German you exchanged with iz4blue? (I love Belgium. I were in the Flemish area several times. I’ve got nice friends and very good memories of my stays there). Happy Birthday to Richard, of course! And thanks for mentioning my RA Friday post. Cheers. MG

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    • Thanks for your kind words! This one got away from me; I was really planning to go to bed. I think she was writing in Flemish and I know I was writing in German. (I can read and understand Dutch and Flemish but not speak or write them.)

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      • To be exact I wrote in Dutch but I am Flemish. The written language in the Flanders part of Belgium and The Netherlands is the same but it differs tremendously regionally within The Netherlands itself and even more within puny tiny Flanders. In my father’s day you knew someone was from a village over by his accent. And although he insisted on us speaking proper in the household I clearly remember not understanding a word of what was said when visiting his relatives only 1h away.
        Al that to explain the sentence structure might vary slightly between the use of the language but in theory at least it is one and the same language.
        And btw GAH! for some English person centuries ago confusing the two; Deutsch calling German and Nederlands Dutch!!!
        And absolutely love the sentiments expressed with the beautiful pix!
        @fitz

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        • There’s also an interesting phenomenon in English with the use of Dutch in a negative sense, i.e., Dutch courage, Dutch treat, and so on.

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          • Haven’t heard about Dutch courage and I presume Dutch treat is similar to the expression of going Dutch? There is “truth” to that just like the Scots are made fun of that trait as well.
            Perhaps Dutch courage might be related to the fact that they have a history of being world tradesmen and explorers, not as much conquerers? They are not known for being shy and quiet and much more patriotic (and now i am stereotyping) but that is usually the contrast between a Flemish and Dutch person. Will have to investigate the “Dutch courage” expression!!
            Just for clarification I have wonderful lovely Dutch friends who would wholeheartily laugh and agree w/ that!

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            • I just read an interview w/David Mitchell in my LibraryThings newsletter and understand now where you got those Dutch references. 🙂

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            • Dutch courage is drinking to get up the nerve to do something. I think there are a few more negative “Dutch” expressions, but none occur to me at the moment.

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  13. I don’t think any of us would steal anyone else’s thunder by sharing how RA has inspired our lives for the better. 🙂 (Mulubinba has been doing it beautifully on her blog from day 1.) Yay for RA’s b-day! Is it weird that my thoughts suddenly drifted to your newly restocked pantry/fridge and wondering what is in them while reading this post? haha 😉

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    • I always think you’re more for cheer and I’m more for angst, Natalie. 🙂

      This is what I bought at the grocery store: flour and corn tortillas, sharp cheddar, mozzarella, cottage, and cream cheeses, spaghetti, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, flour, sugar, cherry tomatoes, a cantaloupe, popcorn, butter, lettuce, an avocado, two cans of tuna fish, cans of garbanzo, kidney and refried beans, a package of readymade hummus, lentils, grapefruit juice, tonic water, sparkling mineral water, a few packages of microwave rice.

      I am pretty boring. This is mostly so I have stuff to eat in my apartment when I come home late at night.

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  14. @MillyMe, weren’t the Norse often reddish- or sometimes flaming red-haired? Just off on tangents again…

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    • Good point . . .

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    • The Norse were every hair colour under the sun, even very dark-haired. My husband’s family are blondes and red-heads. Of course, most adult women today dye their hair blonder than it really is, but the true Nordic blonde, especially in children, exists. Quite lovely with the berry-brown skin they get in the sun, as opposed to the blotchy English sun-burns I grew up around!

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      • Here’s an American blonde (albeit one who has to , ahem, “assist” her hair colour these days) who knows all about blotchy English sun-burns . . . and having grown up when tans were very in, I got teased a-plenty about my “Casper the Ghost” complexion. Guess I will have to slap on some self-tanner before I go on that cruise next month to keep from blinding anyone LOL

        Actually, we also tend to think of all Latinos or Italians as dark-haired and dark-eyed, but my brother-in-law is Spanish; he was a blonde when young and has very piercing blue eyes, as do his children (and his first wife was also Hispanic). I remember reading somewhere blondes will eventually become extinct.

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        • I can only speak for the ‘latinos’ and yep, most of us are dArk haired with dark eyes and a beautiful skin colour 😉
          Of course there are also white people, with light brown hair or blondes with green or light brown eyes but hardly ‘Casper the Ghost’ like (lol!)

          OML 🙂

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          • And how I have envied that lovely Latina coloring in my lifetime! I always admired actresses with coloring like Salma Hayek or Eva Mendez . . . and there I was, boringly fair, blonde and blue-eyed and with supposed “classic German feet” (gracious me, I feel so sorry for the Germans). I have finally come to terms over the years with being a “snow queen” (a nickname I picked up in college) . . . after all, as I discovered in an airport in Puerto Rico years ago,in some places in the world I am actually “exotic” LOL

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            • I just realized I really do tan, when I was getting ready for work and lay my arm across my bare leg . . . soft golden color versus what hubby calls “fish belly white” LOL
              Yeah, gotta break out the self-tanner before the vacation . . .

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  15. @iz4blue, it took a while to train my Anglo family to pronounce my husband’s as Claude, not the anglo Clod. I’m not truly bilingual, just a bit sensitive to pronunciation. And in the main, prefer French to English forms of pronunciation.

    One example would be Agnes, not a lovely sound in English. But in French, as either male or female, is said as Ahynes. How much more mellifluous is that?

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    • @fitzg,French is truly a beautiful language . . . I love my name (which is actually Angela) and the pet form of it pronounced in French. My sisters, six and ten years my elder, used to “throw French phrases around the room” as the old song goes and I was dreadfully envious. Thrilled to bits when I got to take introductory French in the 4th grade. I was amazed at how much I remembered when I studied it in high school.
      And re Agnes, it’s one of those names that always sounds “old” to me. We had a neighbor named Agnes and I couldn’t imagine calling a child that. Myrtle is another one. Ah, but en francais . . . c’est bon.

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      • I have a Danish friend named the Danish version of Agnes: Agnethe. She was married to a German and all of our friends pronounced her name in German when they first met her, which is pretty ugly: AhgNAYteh. But when pronounced in Danish, I think, it’s really pretty: OwNAYdah.

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        • Oh, yes, that is much nicer sounding . . . I’m thankful our parents gave us “good” names: Deborah, Sara and Angela. Nothing too trendy or bizarre or difficult to pronounce.

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        • In Norway Agnete is considered a pretty Swedish name, even though it is pronounced as the Germans would. But I do agree it sounds very pretty in Danish, too.

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        • That name makes me want to pull out my ABBA album! I bet he would also do very well with the singsong of Italian with some typical Italian handgesturing. Was I the only one feeling ambivalent about Paul buying booze for an unsupervised teenparty?? Thanks again for this beautiful written post
          portraying his generosity on screen. As a family it’s part of our routine to donate locally and nationally.

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          • LOL I thought the same thing, Iz4blue! “Take a Chance on Me” started playing in my head . . . RA would be lovely speaking in Italian and putting those beautiful hands of his to work as well.

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          • I also associate the name with ABBA!
            @iz4blue: as the mother of three boys, I would say that Paul was very naive, and letting himself in for a lot of trouble buying beer for Kieran’s party! I really don’t think the other parents would consider it an act of kindness or thank him!

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            • I’m not sure on alcohol laws in the UK, or Norway I know in Belgium they have youthclubs where beer is served which one is allowed to consume from the age of 16. But it was served by adults or there was always adult supervision. IMO far better than teens sneaking it as often is heard of here.
              ABBA was my only youth fangirling moment before I became a prig and bookworm at least from my sisters point of view. I was always Frieda (was darker), my sister Agnetha (still a real blonde). collected pix which was put in a folder and later decorated a big laundrytub, the ones laundrysoap used to come in?

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            • I am not sure which drinking laws apply in the situation of BTS. (In Germany 16 year olds can buy beer on their own.) I understood it as a way for Paul to contribute to a birthday present and a good time for Kieran — but I agree that I have no sympathy for their night of love being interrupted. If you leave teenagers and beer in an unsupervised house you are definitely asking for trouble!

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          • I think in an interview once he said he loved all things Italian.

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          • Love Abba. But they were SO unfashionable at one point that despite the genius of it all I feel that it’s a guilty pleasure. Luckily my daughter loves Mamma Mia.

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    • @fitz there’s a couple times in the Impressionists where I have to wince at how Claude is pronounced. Such a handsome name in French. I’ve had difficulty w/ the American custom of abbreviating names and creating nicknames on a whim, I find that an too intimate gesture. Luckily mine was already short to begin with. I’ve also in naming my daughter Anna made a mistake in forgetting that it’s not
      pronounced the phonetic or Russian way.
      In this region the A sound in front gets pronounced long and flat almost like an e. We’ve dropped an N attached her middle name which she insist on using which remedied it a tad but often asks me to remind people not to shorten it.

      Like

      • We Americans are indeed guilty of that casual shortening of names . . . I remember when living in the Midwest any woman named Barbara was always called “Barb” . . . here in the South we are not quite as bad, but the habit is still there.

        I was Angela growing up except to my immediate family, who referred to me as “Angie” or in my sister’s case, “Angelita” When I went away to college, my roommates started calling me “Angie” and
        “Ang” and it stuck. Fortunately that has never bothered me.
        I like all forms of my name.

        Here in the South old families are very found of double-barreled names, where the daughters in particular are referred to by first and middle names, with the middle name often a family surname. My middle name is my mother’s maiden name, “Wood,” which did bug me as a child–I wanted something prettier and softer sounding–but as I got older I realized it was simply an old southern tradition. Nowadays I actually use my maiden name for my middle initial. Let’s face it, Angie (or Angela) Killough (pronounced “Kih-low”) Long rolls off the tongue better than Angie Wood Long does!
        And it allows me to carry on my father’s name, as he had no sons.

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        • Oh dear me, Wood made me RLOL considering your alter-ego. I don’t like how under US laws a woman loses her maidenname. It’s not the case in Belgium, A woman might be known as mrs. Long to use your example but will always use her maidenname as her legal signature. There is no loss of identity. Hence less stigma after divorce. The female side of the family will often adress in postage the family name hypnenated: family Long – Killough. Or as a woman you would use the hyphenated name if you prefer. I know women choose to keep theirs here or families hyphenate both or like you use it as a middlename. I’ve kept mine (So not to creat conflict w/passport & greencard & social) although admittedly I was happy to part with it. But in day to day and for the bank even too I use my married name.

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          • *giggle* I quite frankly hadn’t even thought of that! But yes, given my “secret identity” . . .

            Quite a few women I know of do the hyphenated thing . . . between their maiden and married names. I just realized both my sisters also use our maiden name as their middle initial. Again, carrying on our dad’s family name.

            Actually, my life simplified somewhat when I married, as people were continually mispronouncing my maiden name. I had one college professor who asked me every week how to say my name, and every week I told him, and every week–he got it wrong again. *sigh* But as long as I got my “A” I was OK! It’s hard to mess up “Long.”

            But you are right, with divorce it can be complicating factor. My sister has divorced twice; she has kept the last husband’s name even though all the children are by her first husband.

            Given what a disaster that second marriage was, I really think I would have gone back to either my maiden name or even Jim the kid’s dad’s name, but . . . not my decision.

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            • I have a very Germanic last name, and I always said I would change it if I married someone whose name were easier to spell or pronounce. 🙂 Well, I never got married, and now I’ve published quite a bit under that last name, and when I am in Germany, it’s actually great last name to have.

              My middle name is a corruption of my grandfather’s Christian name, but I’ve only ever been called by it when my mother is angry at me (in our family if you’re in trouble you hear your whole name).

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              • Oh, I knew I was in trouble when I heard “Angela Wood Killough” . . . obviously a portent of bad tidings to come. My sisters actually called me “Woodie” as in Woody the Woodpecker.
                Which beat being called “Dodo bird” I have to say. *wink*

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          • That’s interesting about married women’s names in Belgium. I think that here in the UK there is nothing legally to stop you using either your married or maiden name as you choose. But practically certain organisations don’t understand why anyone would do that. I use my maiden name for work and my married name for family and personal stuff and I like that I can have these two personas. But it does cause confusion sometimes especially when I have to supply identity documents. One government organisation I worked at for a while (a client) made me use my married name on my identity pass though I was actually known by my maiden name there.

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            • I also find that my desire to be called in certain ways has changed over time. I’d flip out if anyone called me my high school version of my name now, and it used to be very important to me that students called me by my title — whereas now I tell them to call me anything they want. 🙂

              Like

  16. Also, on the subject of Dutch/Deutche, family tradition had it that a great grandmother was of “Pennsylvania Dutch” origin. Some research indicates that she was of New York Dutch lineage (some relief from mainly English/Irish?)

    If I’m not mistaken “Pennsylvania Dutch” was a corruption of German “Deutche”.

    Like

    • @fitzg,

      You are right. Locals interpreted Deutche as sounding like Dutch, which has since confused little American school children who think those folks were from the Netherlands, when they were actually of German ancestry.

      Like

      • And “German” is a very loose term here, meaning only “German speaking.” Many of those groups were from areas that are now part of Switzerland or Austria, etc.

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  17. @angieK, I do like Angela – a lot! Not crazy about my first name, but anything is better than “Judy”, so I use the full form…

    Like Mr. A, my complexion is dead white, no warm tone, burns, doean’t tan. I envy all of you who have warm-toned complexions; I can’t wear my favourite “autumn” colours. Hair just brown; maybe there are some reddish highlights there, from the mixed Anglo and Irish ancestry, but I would have been red-haired, if anyone had asked my input 🙂 And eyes sort of light-brown-green, more dark than light. Mud puddles, really. Lots of blond, blue-eyed in the family. British heritage from all those those Norse interruptions of the original “Celtic” dark little people? iz4blue?

    Genes are funny things. We have tall people in the family, over 6ft, and pygmies like me!

    Ah well, be grateful, and do the best with what you have. And I don’t mind being short. It can be a bit a bit inconvenient sometimes, but there’s always a way around things, n’est-ce pas, AngieK?

    Like

    • i have been nicknamed shorty! Remember having a HUGE discussion at 12 w/a classmate who with her height and gorgeous looks appeared 16. I’ve appeared younger for a long time not sure I can quite pull it off any longer. My husband is short too but has dark hair and dark complexion luckily that makes it easier for my little ones in the tanning department. I still forget how the sun is so much stronger this farther south on the hemisphere. Can’t quite pinpoint to such degree my ancestry, I mean the Flanders having been invaded for centuries, we must have a bit of everything! Same for the architecture, loved how singular the architecture looked in Denmark

      Like

      • When I go on my cruise next month, I will have to be careful.
        The sun is hot enough here in south Alabama, and once we go farther south into the Gulf of Mexico, it really gets intense. I got a bit sunburned in Mexico a couple of years ago. Sunscreen with high SPF will be on the list . . . don’t want to come back looking like a lobster again!!

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    • I do actually tan . .. but it takes forever, little doses of sun each day to turn a pale golden hue and it’s not even. I had a couple of horrible sunburns in my youth (bearing a distance resemblance to a blue-eyed lobster) and now I have the family age spots coming up on my hands, so I try to be careful and use sunscreen.

      The trade-off is my complexion is really good for a woman pushing the big 5-0. I am the oddball in my family, because I am the only female who actually has a yellow undertone to my skin–my late mom and my sisters have blue undertones.

      My eyes have gold flecks and tend to change colors depending on what I am wearing or the lighting–mainly blue, sometimes green and occasionally grey.

      Sort of the way RA’s change, which pleases silly old me to no end.

      @fitzg, your description of your eye color made me chuckle. A friend of mine, Lisa, says someone once described her hazel eye color as “swamp green.” Not a description Lisa loves!!

      Genes are indeed a funny thing. I am the only lefty in the family; got that from my maternal grandmother. And I shared a congenital anomaly with my dad: extra vertebrae in my spine. So I am 5’6″ but my arms and legs would work better on someone two inches shorter . . . I ended up the tallest of my sisters. And my “classic German feet?” Carbon copies scaled down of Daddy’s. A foot specialist described mine in the above way and it made me chuckle, as I didn’t even think I had any German blood in me (although I could pass, I suppose).

      Hey, remember good things come in small packages, little lady. And there are always giant phone books to help give you a boost *wink*

      Like

  18. Flanders is fascinating, as something of a crossroads in history. More than one queen has been exported to England, not just the odious Tudor’s Great Flanders Mare. Silly old him – I think she ran rings around the buffoon… Katherine (de Roet) Swynford, who became the Duchess of Lancaster….

    The cloth trade. Elements of Dutch/Flemish archictecture along Dame Steet in Dublin. Etc.

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  19. Haha, everyone, and thanks. I don’t mind being small – it actually has some (non-feminist) advantages, which can be trotted out to effect, against my feminist inclinations, when needed. Just a “small” 🙂 weapon in the armoury….when you’re short, anything goes… “Swamp-eyes” is a great description!

    Angiek, very happy to hear of the upcoming vacation. You and “Benny” need this!

    Like

    • @fitzg,

      We have to sometimes use the weapons we have in our arsenals . . . even if they aren’t always PC and go against our beliefs!

      And yes, we both need a vacation. The staph infection seems to be clearing up, finally, although he is still itching quite a lot. I got alarmed today when I started itching like mad myself, being a bit paranoid, but it turned out to be just a couple of annoying insect bites. I told Benny and he proceeded to tell me. “You’re just too sweet,” with that distinct mischievous gleam in his blue eyes. I do love a man who can make me smile.

      Like

  20. @ Servitus. Thank you for this lovely post. RA’s generosity of spirit comes across in his messages and interviews – it was something that attracted me in the first place. I’ve recently been watching another actor’s work, someone who has an impressive record in film, but they don’t interview well and their off stage personality appears to me to be not particularly attractive. I think (from what I have read) that RA seems to be as attractive a personality on RL as he is onscreen.

    Like

    • Richard seems to be a rare breed: a gorgeous, compelling, charismatic on-screen presence who is also intelligent, articulate, charming and just plain nice in RL.

      I tried for a while to find something I disliked about him, trying to cure this huge crush I have developed in my middle years. However, the more I read, listened and watched, the more I genuinely liked, respected and admired him as a human being as well as an actor. I’ve never heard anyone who has worked with him speak a word against him.

      Like

      • The only negative thing I ever heard came from Miranda Raison: he wants to have all the blue M&Ms for himself!

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        • I’ll give him a pass on that LOL

          Like

          • Seriously, if that’s the worst thing people say about him …

            he probably has a dark side, we just don’t read about it. Which is fine with me. I’ll keep my illusions, thank you very much.

            Like

            • He’s essentially a private person and I am sure he does have some dark aspects to his nature; heck, I do and people think of me as Miss Sweetness and Light (not to mention having to play all those angels in church pageants as a child . . . looks can be so deceiving)

              I think there’s plenty of good in Mr. A to keep things balanced, though. And I am quite happy to keep my illusions, too.

              Like

              • Yes, people think I’m nice and good too and I soo have a dark side, maybe I’m just too patient but you don’t want to cross me when that patience has worn out (lol). Everyone as nice and good as you can imagine have dark shades to their personalities, otherwise it’ll be too boring, IMO.

                OML 🙂

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            • It is probably only to match the blue shirts….

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  21. @mulubinba, Mr. A does appear very attractive in his interviews and off-screen persona. I really LIKE him. He might not be quite as disingenuous as we see him. He is, after all, a very focused and ambitious person. But I LIKE him…. and off-screen, he does not disappoint. Is there a lot of Harry there, do you think?

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    • I think there is quite a lot of Harry there, which makes me a happy camper, as my husband has a lot of Harry Kennedy-like qualities and i am mighty fond of the fellow. Women in general adore my husband (“He’s so sweet and funny, Ang!”) from our little great-niece to my octogenarian friends, but guys like him, also. He is a good man.
      Just one more reason for me to thoroughly LIKE RA, too, @fitzg.*sigh*

      Like

  22. @Jane, that was so funny! MR has a lovely sense of humour off-screen. “And he’s very short, and very fat, too”!!:D

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    • That also makes me think of Andrew Lincoln joking about getting buff for SB because Richard was “so tall, and so–wide!” *grin*

      Like

  23. And while he might be a boring DIY “chappie from next door” in RL, perhaps he’s really a lovely boring accountant?

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    • All I can say is, I never had a next-door neighbor quite like that . . . alas.

      Like

    • I’ve been wondering for a while what the repeated articulation of the DIY trope is about or “means.” I’ve been reading it as a way of saying, “I work too hard to carouse on weekends or do anything that requires fancy dress, and I really like my quiet time.”

      Like

      • I’ve thought the same thing, Servetus, and frankly I can relate. After some of my crazy work weeks, all I want to do is relax and read,watch a good movie, play with my pets, hang with hubby (if we ever get the darned green light to spend any time in close proximity again), write my fanfic and muse and meditate . . .

        So if he’s thinking that description of himself is off-putting or makes him sound perfectly boring, not for moi.

        Like

      • Just because you’ve mentioned it…what does DIY mean?

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  24. “And kindly keep your paws off my personal life”? “I’m not the stuff of which tabloids are made”. And amen to that. But he does seem awfully nice…

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    • Thank GOD he is not the stuff of which tabloids are made (I for one am heartily sick of all the pseudo-celebrities here in the states whose dubious claim to fame is appearing on a reality show, not talent or intelligence or hard work, et al), and he is perfectly entitled to have a personal life.

      My gut instinct, which rarely fails me, is that he is a genuinely nice guy.

      Like

  25. My son’s name is French, but we should have spelt it the Russian way, as no no-one pronounces it properly – and we’re supposed to be a bilingual country! So, he shortens it in self-defence…

    I don’t much like my first name, but obviously, my middle name is the Irish side family name, so no option there.

    Something AngieK said earlier reverberates. While Mr. A and Lucy G generated some on-screen rapport, I really had the sense of Big Brother/Little Sister, in that he seemed to stand back a bit, and let young Lucy give it her intuitive all. A team/ensemble player. He seems rather intuitive himself, which is probably stating the obvious.

    Like

    • Soemtimes I’ve noticed it too about in their (LG and RA) scenes. As if he waits for her, ‘studies’ her performance and reacts accordingly to direct the scene…maybe I’m giving him too much credit.
      Still, IIRC, she’s said somewhere he’s helped her and I’m sure he’s said he enjoyed their scenes because he’s seen her develop her acting skill (or soemthing along those lines).

      OML 🙂

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  26. Ladies — Do you think he reads these blogs and visits his unoffical web sites? If so, what do you think he makes of it? On some level flattered, on another level a bit freaked out. I do wonder.

    @Fitz I think most artists are extremely intuitive whether they are actors, writers, musicians, painters. Not sure if they even realize it or not.

    Like

    • Oh, I would think his reaction, if he does indeed ever visit the blogs and forums, would be a mixture of embarrassment, bemusement, amusement, pleasure and perhaps a bit of fear—bless his heart. But I guess celebrities have to get accustomed to that, it goes with the job description. It would certainly take some getting used to . . .
      Agree on the intuitive stuff. My intuition, female or not, has rarely let me down, even when the apparent facts contradicted it.

      Like

    • @Rob if he does I don’t think he would read the comments, dont think he likes to feed his ego, so I think we’re safe. But I suspect rather that his PRteam and possible friends might think it fun and mention the ones that might intrigue him. I would think his PR team to be aware when his fan base increases.

      Like

      • I think that friends would be liable to tease MERCILESSLY about this type of thing. In a way that’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to retreat into closed forum because at least then what is written does not get searched by google.

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        • Oh I’m sure they’ve ribbed him about his army or his leathers for that matter. I imagine actors amongst themselves making fun about how many times they’ve died, married or had children not to mention the women they get to snog!!
          But at some point that gets old.
          “Hey Richie, (please don’t let him be called Dick!) you got to play another John!! To bad you didn’t get a better looking wife! Although that Katie and Danni, must have been hard to remember those lines. What’s with the tight T-shirts, just think how your troops will grow in masses, you lucky dog!
          Mate,I want a gun like that too! Can you sneak one of the
          set?”

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        • I worry about that, actually.

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      • yeah, my assumption is that he has a publicist somewhere with a minion whose job it is to read and summarize fan reaction to his work and pass on relevant things.

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        • Agree. He’s working schedule is too busy for him to spend time on the internet to keep up with blogs/forums/YT vids much less to read all the commentaries (which I know from experience it takes a lot of time :P)

          I just hope his PRteam is more detailed with the things that catch their attention, not just: ‘On JP, they liked the action. I’ve seen more buzz on blogs. They’re excited about S9. Oh yes, they’ve wished you Happy B-day and I think I’ve seen more vids made’.
          I don’t expect them to ask him to sit down and make him go trhough the webs they’ve found interesting, nor read specific commentaries but I’d hope he gets a more detail ‘report’.

          OML 🙂

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        • so we could get PAID for reading RA blogs? hmmm…must figure out how to apply for that job.

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        • so we could get paid for reading RA blogs? hmmm… must figure out how to get that job!!!

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          • Yeah. I want to work for his publicist. I want to BE his publicist. 😉

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          • LOL, wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I don’t want to be his publicist but wouldn’t mind getting the ‘boring job’ of readings blogs, commentaries, fanmail, etc.

            Hey you, yes you PRteam, next summer when you go on annual holyday, I could do that part of your job for a very reasonable pay. As you see, even during summer, we are very dedicatd fans :D.

            OML (Laughing at my sillyness)

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    • I hope he doesn’t read this blog.

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  27. @Rob, hugely embarrassed. Wouldn’t you be? 🙂 But he’s human; a wee bit flattered? but not entirely easy with such in-depth analysis. (I can’t pick even my nose, any more?)

    I don’t think “intuitive” is at all self-conscious; quite the reverse, do you suppose?

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  28. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have people blogging about you and then people writing comments. He would prob tell us all to get a life and that there are far more exciting things to discuss.

    I think most people are intuitive, some more than others and the ability manifests itself in different ways. Most people are just not aware or tunned into it, but it is there. If animals have the ability to sense danager, why couldn’t we? We have just become totally pinched off from our intuition or trusting the gut.

    With creatie types, it goes a bit further than I just had a feeling. When he talks about writing journals about characters, and it just flows through in first peron — that’s intuition. Or when a musician “hears” music in his/her heads. I could go on and on.

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  29. What an intelligent discussion here about intuition. It is such a pleasure to dialogue with y’all.

    Like

  30. And intuition is not “Sixth sense”, not magic. More based on observational powers, visual and aural. When Mr. A ruminates on being a “detailed actor”, perhaps that’s half the equation? With such a background of classical training, though, the less conscious element of “seeing” and observing seamlessly contributes.

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  31. I believe that intuition is a sixth sense, but I do not think it is magic. I believe that creative people are more open and are intune with their intuitive abilities and know how to control and harness them. Sure I believe that talented actors are more observant, etc, but there is something more too it than just that. This of course, is my opinion.

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  32. I think you have said it better, and more accurately than I did, Rob.

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    • Thanks @Fitz. Believe it or not, I have been studing intuition for the last few years. It is a topic I am fascinated with. I find that people have so many misconceptions about it too.

      Like

  33. […] pointed out recently. When I pitch for Mr. Armitage’s endorsed charities, I always include a line about donating at home to the people in our communities first, especially in times of need like this. My mother emailed me this morning that they were covering […]

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  34. […] is my third time celebrating the Armitage birthday. Here are 2010 and […]

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  35. […] Happy Birthday, Mr. Armitage! (2010). […]

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