Richard Armitage goes to Sydney 3

[A report from “me +” reader bollyknickers, who attended the Popcorn Taxi event in Sydney, Australia on May 1, 2013, relevant to the discussion here. The photo attached is hers; I have not edited it except to put her name on it. Many, many thanks to bolly for recording her impressions and reactions!]

***photo***

I never thought I would see Richard Armitage in the flesh. I don’t like crowds and never saw myself going to a red carpet event. Getting up at the crack of dawn to stake a pitch, all that pushing and jostling — good grief, I don’t even go into department stores when the sales are on. I missed him at the ARIAs – though as it turned out, everyone missed him at the ARIAs — because I wasn’t up for standing all day in the blistering heat just for a quick glimpse. My lack of action sometimes makes me think I’m a poor excuse for a fan. I have never had a burning desire to meet him or to own anything he has touched. I don’t want an autograph and I can empathize with the recent “confession” on tumblr that the writer doesn’t want him to see her. In my fantasy world, RA would adore me the moment he met me. He would be utterly and completely besotted. So why would I shatter that fantasy? If I met him and he were simply polite … well, I think I might struggle to keep my adoration fantasy alive. I also seek equality in my relationships, which creates an issue in this case. I love him. If he did not love me, that would be a problem. I know a lot about him while he knows nothing about me — another inequality. He is part of my life, but I am not part of his. So unless I could make a meaningful contact with him, I’m not sure I would want to make contact at all.

But he was coming to my local cinema. How could I not go? I bought two tickets. Mr. Bollyknickers balked at going due to thinking he would be the only male in the audience (“I wouldn’t want to cramp your style”) and, I think, because he knew I might fangirl so much more freely if he weren’t there. But my eighteen-year-old daughter was keen — at the time I got the tickets, more because of The Hobbit and because of RA’s “one degree of separation” from Aidan Turner, although I think she’s coming into the RA fold now. I procrastinated about scheduling time off from work, and then, just as I tried to book the afternoon off to meet other fans, we became short staffed. One colleague resigned; another has Wednesdays off. A third would have covered, but got called away at the last minute. I work in crisis mental health and someone needs to be on call to manage emergency interventions. And on Wednesday afternoon, that was me. I managed to get the person doing evening cover to start an hour early so I could race out at five p.m., barely with time to reapply my lippy or brush my hair. Bechep bought a new outfit — I just sponged the yoghurt spilled at lunch off mine! I picked my daughter up en route and we battled our way down Military Road (which any Sydneysider knows is one of the most congested roads in the state of New South Wales). We looked into cars and taxis and mused that RA was probably stuck in traffic, too. We got there just before six p.m., collected our tickets and joined the queue. A very long queue. A queue that went past Cinema 4, down the stairs, out the fire exit and up a back street. Most of the Armitage Army stood at the front, having arrived at 3 p.m. But after the doors opened, we went in and found places in row six, even though at least 350 people got in there before us. Great seats — right in the middle and opposite RA’s chair. Less than twenty feet away. There is a G-D.

On the interview itself, I will be brief. We will doubtless see at least parts of it at some point anyway, as it was filmed. First, we were warned about inappropriate behavior. Then we watched an “exclusive” short — most of which I have seen on the Internet. Then RA was introduced — “This man literally ran away to the circus” — to an audible groan from the front row where the Armitage Army ladies were seated. A door opened, right next to my daughter and her friends at the other end of my row, and out came RA — much to our surprise, as I had assumed he would enter stage left, as the interviewer had. Loud whoops and clapping! Everyone was on their feet — and RA looked somewhat embarrassed as he made his way down to the stage. My guess, from his very slight stoop, his clenched hands, and his microexpressions, was that he was hating that moment. But the man is a professional and once in his seat, he gave off an air of ease and control. He answered questions from the audience intelligently — amazing me with his ability to find new and interesting things to say about a film he has been promoting for five months now — and sidestepped attempts to blur the boundary between the professional and the personal. He didn’t even answer a question about whether he would see Dawn French as she is also (apparently) in Sydney – he just smiled and said nothing. He was engaging and funny. He spotted Bechep and Meri in the front row and acknowledged he remembered them from that morning. In short, he was the RA we have all come to know and love from Internet clips. During the interview, I learned a bit more about the making of The Hobbit, but apart from his basic admission that he looks at blogs about him, I didn’t feel I learned any more about the man himself. He was RA playing RA.

The end of the interview came. We all stood and clapped and RA more or less bolted from the stage. It was clear he wasn’t planning to stay to hear prolonged applause. But then something happened that I suspect was not planned. He went up the flight of steps next to my daughter and stopped on the first landing. Perhaps someone was supposed to meet him there to accompany him out … and the expected person wasn’t there. Suddenly he was standing in the middle of the audience and looked as if he didn’t know where to go next. A woman from the audience started to run towards him. At that point, he was only a few feet from me so I could see his expression clearly and the look on his face said it all — complete horror. I thought she was about to launch herself at him, but she may simply have been running to the bathrooms and collided with him. Or she might have seen his face, too, and decided the most contact she could make was the pat on his shoulder she gave him before the diminutive PR woman appeared, took his hand, and led him quickly through the audience to the exit.

I wonder why no one else has talked about this moment. I’m convinced it happened. I was within personal distance and I interpret non-verbal communication for a living. My daughter saw it, too. Of course, facial expressions are subjective; perhaps I am layering my own concerns onto my fellow fan’s actions and RA’s fleeting reaction. Perhaps no one mentioned it because it was just a blip on the screen of the pleasurable effect of the evening. RA clearly triumphed during the Hobbit premiere and press tours and the Q & A in Sydney was no exception. Nor did it change my general impression of his capacity to deal with fan attention. Thanks to youtube we can all witness his development from a man who blushed so endearingly during early interviews to the confident, articulate star of the biggest movie of the year — the RA who was present at the Sydney event.

So why did a few seconds of confusion and an unguarded moment leave such an impression on me? Whatever the cause of the expression on his face, that is the moment I will remember — the glimpse of the man who’s just like the rest of us. A man who, I’ve read, was raised to be polite and put others’ feelings before his own, but also a normal person who gets intimidated, lost, fed up, and tired. A man who had been meeting and greeting since seven that morning and, I suppose, had had enough. Who probably just wanted some time to himself. A man who did not need one more stranger hugging him that day. A man who understands these encounters as part of the deal and manages them gracefully but cannot always enjoy them.

RA’s increasing success at making it look easy does not mean it is easy. I think what that moment reminded me was that everyone, no matter how skilled or successful, struggles sometimes. And there is nothing wrong with that.

~ by Servetus on May 4, 2013.

123 Responses to “Richard Armitage goes to Sydney 3”

  1. Thank you for such an insightful and honest account. Media events with journalists and reporters are so meticulously planned, timed to the hour with everyone concerned knowing where, what, who and how. It’s a grueling affair for the performer to be on such a strict schedule that hardly lets up because he is part of the PR machine that is The Hobbit.

    When I did interviews more than 10 years ago for a local paper and covered movies (not mainstream ones but I specialized in indies), I did the press junkets and the movie “Notting Hill” illustrates a press junket quite well when Hugh Grant’s character ends up in the hotel and Julia Roberts, who plays the superstar Ana Scott, is still stuck doing press so Hugh then tells them he’s with Horse and Hound.

    Anyway, with that said, actors like Richard are human just like you and me. And it’s totally alright for them to feel the same feelings we do, even if means that they’re scared or confused and wondering what’s next.

    They’re also doing their job, often bound to a contract. I’m so happy you pointed the expression on his face out and you’re right, maybe you’re the only one who saw it and maybe it didn’t happen, but it still proves that he’s a man who has feelings, and who was probably exhausted after a long day of press and interviews. But it’s RA playing RA.

    Like

    • This is probably the first time i have ever stopped to consider how grueling a promotional tour is as i’ve never followed anyone as closely as i have RA. When you think it has been virtually non-stop since December and he still manages to look fresh and enthusiastic. RA’s professionalism is a gift to The Hobbit promoters.

      Like

      • I sure hope he starts to say no to a few things, even if means that fans won’t have the chance to see or meet him.

        I remember Liv Tyler say in an interview that though you’re told you’re filming for 18 months, you actually give them 3 years of your life because of the publicity machine.

        Like

      • Thanks for your enlightening report, but no, he is very far from having done PR non-stop. He disappeared completely after the London premier and only reappeared to promote the DVD in the UK and now Australia. We got a ton of interviews from that but it only took him a few days in each country. Long exhausting days no doubt, and I sympathize with that, but many of us have long days at work every day or quite often and are in contact with people all the time and have to make a good impression without letting leak that we are exhausted and fed up and all we want to do is run.

        Like

        • Damn that Richard Armitage for not actually being perfect! How dare he?? I think I’ll just stop being his fan, because I of course handle everything perfectly, like a well-oiled perpetual motion machine.
          *distinct odor of sarcasm accompanies this post. I beg your humble pardon*

          Like

          • I also think international travel, changing time zones and living out of hotels is exhausting. And getting up early to do breakfast radio and TV ( are you beginning to suspect I’m not a morning person? ) and answering variations of the same question over and over..

            Like

            • Jet lag is tough on the mind and body. And yeah, OK, some people routinely travel for their jobs and/or work long days.

              But are they also required to be broadcast on the radio, or television or the internet, sometimes four or five or six time or more in a single day, during which they are expected to look and sound appealing, charming and personable at all times, including ungodly hours (NOT a morning person, either) and yes, answer basically the same questions repeatedly while still being appealing, charming and personable? It’s not just getting through it, it’s getting through it with such grace and class and style that I admire.

              I will forgive him a micro-expression or two of discomfort. He obviously quickly regained his composure. And I am sure he will learn from this experience as he has from past experiences.

              Like

          • That’s not what I meant. I’m certainly not criticizing him for showing for a moment that he is human, as I said, I sympathize with it. But I think some fans get overprotective when they pity him for all the hard work he does and the things he has to put himself through. He has basically rested for half a year now, not counting pick ups for BS and auditions and negotiations he may have done. Initial PR was two weeks, and DVD PR only a few days.

            Like

            • OK, I’m not meaning to be overprotective here, Jane. Richard Armitage is a grown man and doesn’t need me to hold his hand (although I’d be happy to do so if he needed me to 😉 )I think there’s been a failure to communicate between us.

              I will simply say as someone who suffers from chronic pain and fatigue and has a difficult time imagining myself nowadays being able to cope with such a schedule even for a few days, hell, for a DAY– I definitely have a lot of admiration for those who can, and who do it with patience, humor, intelligence and good manners. I’ve seen other actors in similar situations who haven’t done nearly as well.

              Like

              • He is certainly doing better then I do on some days. But then, I imagine acting may be more rewarding than other professions, especially if it means a dream come true, like in his case. There may be long days on set or doing interviews but also longer periods of rest than the ordinary employee has.

                Like

            • Hi Jane – I think I hear what you’re saying and can’t say I disagree with it, but each person will usually respond based on their own life circumstances, I suspect.

              I have to say though (as I am generally of similar mind to your observations) that I always appreciate reading your comments. 🙂

              Like

        • I also think we have to give him some space for the fact that this work, even promotion, involves both performance and creative elements. I know from my own life that I can’t just “turn on” a performance. There’s a preparation that has to be done for it, and a refractory period. And trying to hit the perfect space to be creative day after day is hard. Even if you’re not constantly writing, for instance, a book in preparation takes up incredible amounts of energy and emotional space. So I think it’s fair to say that he’s been *working* for the last several months on this.

          Like

  2. Wonderful recount Bolly, thank you so much. Your sensitive description of his departure has me feeling teary for the poor man. From my perspective down the front, as I turned to watch him leave up the stairs, all I could see was confusion then Richard being ushered out quickly. In the low light I didn’t see the woman coming at him.

    Like

  3. I have so much admiration for him as a basically shy, private man dealing with the all the hoopla and mania.

    If it had been me and I saw someone charging at me like that after a marathon day of interviews, I suspect I would have looked panic-stricken/horrified, too.

    I was reminded of a fellow RA fan who had met RA before and had the opportunity to speak to him a second time but resisted it because she felt it was NOT the right time or place.

    We have to respect boundaries and never forget that object of our adoration is still most definitely a human being. One who’s come a long way and grown tremendously in confidence and savvy, certainly; but still, treat him with the respect and sensitivity with which you’d want to be treated.

    Poor woman. I wonder if she was mortified (assuming she wasn’t just fleeing for the bathroom)?
    Thanks so much for sharing, bolly. A fresh perspective!

    Like

    • It’s not really my place to preach at anyone, but I think you make a really good point Angie…there are boundaries that should always be respected…time and place is one and touching is a big one I think. I mean, I can’t imagine my reaction if someone who is a complete stranger to me just walked up and touched me – even a handshake is offered, not simply taken. Common courtesy isn’t it?

      Like

      • Angie makes a great point about time and place appropriateness – i’ve heard of celebrities being approached while visiting sick relatives in hospital etc.. and i can’t understand why anyone would think that was acceptable.

        But i can understand why fans sometimes get a bit over familiar with actors. It’s difficult for the brain to assimilate the actor being very familiar and in the fan’s home (albeit via a TV screen) , but still a complete stranger. I once flirted with Barry Humphries in a Sydney restaurant for about 20 minutes before Mr Bolly enlightened me as where i knew him from. I seriously thought i knew him and if i just kept smiling it would come back to me! Barry didn’t seem to mind.

        Touching is a personal (and cultural) thing. I never touch anyone professionally but i’m really tactile socially. I hugged virtually everybody except RA at the Q&A as i was so happy. So apologies to anyone i mauled!

        Like

        • Oh, I would have been hugging everybody, too, Bolly, LOL, I am my mother’s daughter, but that’s a different scenario than what I mentioned above. WE all have a connection through the fandom and have interacted with one another through blogs, websites, forums, email, etc. There’s a definite sister (and brother! I haven’t forgotten you, Seb!) hood thing going there. I do feel as if you all are friends I haven’t gotten to meet yet (maybe one day) . . .

          When it’s more one-sided–and I, unlike RA, never had experienced this sort of thing before working with the newspaper–well, I just felt uncomfortable with a stranger who seemed so overly-familiar with me and knew my name (I mean, you didn’t realize Barry WAS Barry, right? I think it’s cute you flirted with him BTW) and was kind of–creepy. Anyway, that only happened to me a few times and most people were really nice and polite about meeting the (very very) minor local celebrity. 😀

          As I have said before, one of the reasons my musician/songwriter cousin was so glad he never hit it big was the experiences he saw while touring with Willie Nelson years ago. People followed Willie into the restaurant bathroom to badger him for an autograph. I just think there are certain things one is entitled to do in privacy, you know??

          Rock said personally he’d have never been able to put up with that, and if he has any of his late Uncle Joe’s temperament, I am quite sure he wouldn’t have! Once again, I admire the HECK out of RA for handling it all so WELL. He is one fantastic ambassador for these films and I hope they realize what a gem they have in him.

          Like

          • No, i didn’t recognise Barry. For a start, he wasn’t wearing Dame Edna’s frock and glasses! I think he realised i couldn’t place him and was teasing me.

            Like

            • LOL! Yeah, out of his Dame Edna gear, I wouldn’t have placed him, either. Sounds as if he was having a good time with it all, anyway.

              Like

            • I passed Barry Humphries in the airport terminal Thursday morning before I caught my flight. I didn’t know he was so tall!

              Like

              • I should have said I was pretty sure I saw BH. I could be wrong, but he does have a distinctive face. 🙂

                Like

                • Well he was sitting down when i saw him but i do recall thinking he was taller than i had expected.

                  Like

            • That was naughty of him :). I hate it when I meet people out of context…they clearly know me, but I can’t place them…usually former students, I recognize the face but can’t remember where from. Awkward.

              Like

        • Wow, Bolly, you got to meet and chat with Dame Edna / Barry Humphries??? That is totally impressive!! Without a doubt, the Goblin King was absolutely a highlight of The Hobbit for me.

          Everything about his portrayal (even as CGI) was top-notch. Even his death scene and final comments were brilliant. 😀

          I imagine he must have been very easy to chat to and charming in those 20 minutes?? 😉

          Like

          • No real conversation, UK Expat, just lots of winking and jokes. It was in a nearly empty restaurant on a Monday night and I think Barry just can’t help himself. He was with his partner and she seemed quite at ease with it and the staff knew him well and all came for a chat. I must admit I have a real soft spot for Barry now and I loved him in TH.

            Like

  4. Thanks Bolly! You have really hit upon a bunch of things that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Anyone among us who has worked a long day, been “on” for hours and hours knows what it’s like to have the end in sight and then…not. However much we all adore him, Richard Armitage only human. I give him credit for not totally bolting 🙂

    Like

    • forgot to hit the notify again…done

      Like

    • he obviously has the performer’s presence of mind 🙂

      Like

    • My pleasure obscura – i was worried it was boring! Sounds like you had a very difficult day…

      Like

      • A couple in a row 🙂 I can totally relate to the ” damn, I was almost out” response when one hits an end of day roadblock.

        Like

        • I hope things look up from now on!

          Like

          • Thanks..just end of semester mania, and crap I do in accordance with the articles of indenture my mother holds on me 🙂

            Like

            • Ahhh, the dreaded articles of indenture!!! I feel ya there, obscura. 😉

              Like

              • I’ve tried giving her my firstborn in exchange, but she keeps bringing him back ! 😉

                Like

                • Oooh, that seems like a completely equitable exchange to me too!!!! Too bad it’s not enough to buy you your freedom… 😉

                  Like

                  • LOL. Just one of the unforeseen costs of higher education…inability to say no to the requests of parents who supported one with more than $. :). Although, I still think the boy is a better bargain….younger and stronger and all 😉

                    Like

                    • Hey, you’re preaching to the choir here, lady! Perhaps he’ll have better trade value once he’s got his driver’s license and can play chauffeur? 😉

                      Like

                    • Plan wisely students! DL…he informs me that he’s not going to drive. That will not fly…I’m already compiling the list of errands he can start running for me 18 months from now :D. He can also take over the IT role at my parent’s house any time now too! I love them, I owe them more than I can ever repay, but if I have to program their TV one more time…

                      Like

    • yeah, I think we both definitely know that feeling of relief of having gotten to the end of a lecture successfully and packing up to go and everyone’s gone and you get into the hallway and a student is lurking in wait and you think, “what was my name again?”

      Like

      • Sometimes I wonder if they don’t have a subconscious instinct that our defenses are down in that moment…or is it simply that they don’t want to be bothered to come to the office? For me, it’s the worst time for people to ask me anything, in those moments while my brain is on autopilot since I’d already started a reboot. I always respond, but caution them to follow up with an email since I may well not remember the conversation.

        Like

  5. I want to ask a favor about this and that’s that we as much as possible avoid extrapolating about what the woman described in the post was doing.

    First of all, we don’t know.

    Second, bolly didn’t know and wasn’t entirely sure even after thinking about it for a day, which is part of why this post took a little longer to appear.

    Third, that woman could be someone we know, and could be silently reading this blog.

    Like

    • replying to myself — i.e., what I’d really like to *not* talk about here is “crazy fan behavior” and how we know the boundaries even if others don’t. My only worry about publishing this post was that someone would use it as evidence to say, “see, those RA fans are obsessed and can’t observe boundaries” and we contribute to that when we police in situations where we have as good as no information. That may be the case here or it may not — we just don’t know, and that woman is a fellow fan of ours.

      Like

      • You are so attentive, Servetus. I think that Bolly was tired (she wrote that,right?) it might mark the whole event.

        Like

    • Just to clarify, I wasn’t referring to this situation in particular, just in general…feel free to pull it down.

      Like

      • no, I don’t mind leaving it there. I just know where this discussion might tend to go. If that’s really where it needs to go for everyone to be satisfied, I can live with that, as this wasn’t my post and it’s a topic that’s raised by the post. I’m not making rules for bolly, and she and I talked about this and she has her own ideas on the topic. I’m just marking something that troubles me.

        Maybe I should say that for me the point of the post was the observation about Armitage and his own situation as someone who does this really hard task and still fights to accomplish it. I found that really moving and helpful.

        Like

        • Yeah, I totally get the concern…it’s so hard to convey tone sometimes in digital communication – I’ve been “handshaked” and “patted on the back” within an inch of my life today and this apparently struck a chord. I’m not as successful at managing it as RA has fought to become 🙂

          Like

          • Richard’s experience struck a chord with me because I’ve had people assume because they read my columns in the past they were suddenly my best bosom buddies when they saw me in person.

            People I’d never had any interaction with before in my life.

            Now I am a very touchy-feely kind of woman and when I meet my friends (including ones I have met on internet), I hug. But when someone who is a stranger to me calls me by name and claps me heartily on the back (which is never a good idea to do to someone with FMS) as if we were bosom buddies, it’s disconcerting. I am still polite and friendly, or at least I try to be.

            On one hand, I am really pleased they liked my writing and are happy to finally meet me in the flesh, that is certainly flattering; on the other hand, I, an essentially shy and retiring person, feel a tad uncomfortable with the whole thing. It’s complicated! 😉

            I give Richard total props for handing all manner of situations with such aplomb.

            Like

            • It’s fortunate for me that most of the time when I reveal that I’m only human, there’s no one watching. 12+ hour day yesterday and shuffling back to my car when I realize that because of the time, I can’t get out the closest door and must walk around the building. If there hadn’t been a security camera there, I may well have laid on the floor and yelled, “C’mon! I just want to go home!” As it was, I mumbled a few easily identifiable words and stomped back around to the other door….I hope I livened up the evening for the security crew watching the video 🙂

              People in the public eye really do have to be so much more aware of everything they do. It’s inspiring to see RA handle it with the grace that he does – it can’t be easy.

              Like

              • I am sure they appreciated your contribution to their day. 😉 I hope you get some rest this weekend.
                And you are right–especially now when so many people have cell phones, tablets, etc. easily accessible to take photos/videos any and everywhere, and catch all manner of public behavior, good, bad or indifferent.

                Once again, I have to say Richard is my super hero. A fellow, fallible human being with many superlative qualities to admire. You go, Rich! 😀

                Like

            • We also *all* have been misunderstood fans.

              Like

  6. You can tell Richard was a bit nervous because you can see the ‘thumb rubbing the first finger’ mannerism when you look at his left hand in some photos. I did noticed the PR woman grab his hand to lead him to the other side of the theatre after the Q&A session. As he was lead off, he said ‘Enjoy the movie’. I thought the comment was directed to the people in row G who had turned to gaze up at him. It all happen very quickly.

    Like

    • We must have been quite close to one another Rafaella! If i had seen you, you might have got a hug too!

      Like

  7. Thank you for thought-provoking (and very personal) raport Bolly . I hope he’s got some rest now.

    Like

    • My pleasure Joanna – i’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Lets hope he does get a bit of rest before he starts working on TH again. I’m sure he will be pleased to be back in NZ.

      Like

  8. Enjoyed reading your write up. I’m curious about the mention of Richard reading blogs because I have no recollection of him mentioning that at all. Do you recall what question that pertained to?
    On a separate note, I’m really pleased Richard seems to have been able to get around the city without being spotted by photographers or curious fans-at least I’ve seen no evidence of candid shots posted anywhere. Hopefully this means RA will look back on his visit to Sydney as somewhere he felt welcomed but not swamped and will be happy to come again, slightly crazy interviewers not withstanding!

    Like

    • I’m wondering that, too — what did he say that in response to? I suspect we’re only going to get a “cleaned up” version of the event from the transcripts and vids.

      Like

    • It was lovely to meet you and chat with you, KatherineD. 🙂

      Like

      • mezz, did you blog your impressions on your tumblr?

        Like

        • Not yet serv, still trying to get my thoughts into some semblance of order. I’ve posted a few photos though. I envy the others like bolly who have such a good recollection of the evening. It’s all still a blur for me, I think because I was so wound up and emotional (I had a good cry when I got back to my accommodation) I try to pull up images in my head of seeing Richard but they are elusive, so I’m already relying on photos and ultimately the video to relive it. 😦

          Like

          • I’m good at processing stuff in the short term, but ask me about anything that happened a few weeks ago and i will probably have forgotten. Defragging, i call it!

            I don’t suppose i will defrag Wednesday evening though..;)

            Like

            • At the moment it’s definitely more about how I felt than what I saw and heard, although I do remember seeing Richard as he walked past right in front of me, because he took my breath away.

              Like

          • Hi Mezz, lovely to meet you as well- being new to the fandom side of RA world it was a great surprise to meet by chance someone who’s name I knew from my Internet trawling. I had the surreal experience of reading an account of the evening on the RA tumbler tag and realising that the person referred to as being the “lovely lady sitting next to me” was in fact me! What are the chances in a crowd of 700 people? Small world indeed.

            Like

            • I meant to add that rather than feeling unduly emotional, the whole event for me has taken on an air of unreality. Was I really there, did I really experience that? I think if we didn’t have follow up transcripts and eventually a video as well, it would be easy to convince myself that the whole thing was nothing but a very lovely dream!

              Like

              • it’s an interesting question, how the constant documenting of everything that happens these days influences our memories.

                Like

          • Would you make sure I know so I can link to it, mezz? I have a hard time following tumblr and I want to be sure to read it.

            Like

    • I can’t recall what the question was, Kathryn, but he was telling an anecdote and he said “It was talked about on one of the blogs”. When i get a chance i will go and scan the transcripts although when i looked at one yesterday, the Dawn French question had been edited out completely and so had the little boys rather confused question. Hopefully it will be on the video when it appears.

      It is nice that RA managed to see the city without being photographed – he said in one radio interview that he had done the bridge climb so at least he did a little bit of sight seeing. Having scanned the weekend papers, the Australian media still seem largely unaware of him – too busy reporting what an ex-Big Brother contestant had for lunch!

      Like

      • well that means at least it wasn’t this blog. That transcript was seriously scrubbed, but afaik nothing he discussed in that interview was discussed on this blog. Whew. Thank you. You have made me feel a lot better.

        Like

  9. I totally understand this….I felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I purchased the tickets and worried about the logistics of taking time off work, flying from Melbourne to Sydney etc later. It was such a lovely evening, and as a person that was in the front seat of the second tier, I to had the fortunate case of RA breezing right by me as his PR rep looked to whisk him out of the theatre on the opposite side of the room. Very funny indeed…..There are a couple of photos on my blog….unfortunately I left my good lens in the hotel room thinking I’d go back after sight seeing but there just wasn’t time….The memories are all up here (she points to her head).

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment and for leaving us the link to your day in Sydney (readers should click on Audrey’s name above).

      Like

    • Hi Audrey – i tried to leave a comment on your blog but it kept being deleted (this is because i am a technophobe and is no reflection on your site which was really good!) But i wanted to say that your photo’s are absolutely gorgeous – you showed Sydney off at it’s very best and made me so proud to live here.

      I’m also pleased you also took the plunge and came to see RA. Let’s hope he enjoyed Australia so much he does come back -maybe to Melbourne next time and then i can visit your city.

      Like

      • Thank you so much….I did have such a fun day, it was nice to travel to Sydney for a fun day rather than a work day….I’ve popped up a few more photos that I found on various other cameras and phones, including 3 rather dodgy photos of RA trying to escape the room…forgot I took these on my phone. Enjoy. x

        Like

  10. This is really a fascinating post, thank you – I know I’ll be re-reading it a few times more! And also really thought-provoking comments from everyone… I must admit that I’ve also been thinking lately about the “inequality” of fangirling and repressing my hope for RA to write more frequent posts to the fandom. I completely respect how busy he is and the enormous challenge that comes with celebrity. But there is still a tiny part of me that hopes… dum spiro spero

    Like

  11. [deleted at request of poster — Ed.]

    Like

  12. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts of this event, Bolly: *

    Like

  13. Very late to read and thank you for this great account, bolly, and just taking a brief moment to comment (without having the time to read the previous comments). I loved your initial discussion of the inequality between fan and object of adoration. You’ve put into words how I feel about the issue, hence I am one of those who have no desire to actually speak to the man. At least in a fan context. If we were thrown together in a working situation (you Tarzan, me photographer), it would be a different story.
    As to the “blip” at the end – this is probably the most insightful detail report I have read so far of the Popcorn Taxi event. And it leaves me feeling very slightly uncomfortable and possibly feeling guilty. It brings home what you said. And it reminds us of an invisible line that we should keep in mind, at least when it comes to RL encounters with RA. I feel sorry for *any* celebrity when it comes to the daily encroachment of their personal space. The thought of constantly having to smile and pose for cameras, and to hug and touch strangers fills me with horror. That does not mean that I think any of the lovely, lucky ladies who got to meet him at the event did anything wrong. I think it merely all adds up – what is only *one* special moment in the life of the fan, is an endless series of moments for the celebrity. The fact that RA remains so gracious in the face of that, makes him very professional and special, indeed.
    Thanks again for a particularly interesting account, bollyknickers. Again, you (and the other “reporting” fans) have been a credit to the fandom. (PS: Did you also get one of those special autographs?)

    Like

    • No the autographed photos were being given out to the people who had travelled the furthest. As a friend observed , I didn’t even have to cross a bridge! ( we measure distances in bridges on the north shore of Sydney as we have a few including the big one shaped like a coat hanger).

      I was nearly hyperventilating when they called out the names as I thought they might be back stage passes. I didn’t know if I wanted one of those or not!

      Like

  14. I enjoyed reading your report a lot, especially the preamble! I’m afraid, I feel the same way, you do 😉 I’m a rather new fan of RA and the first thing that came to my mind when I heard of the Q&A event, was: How must he feel about that? Sitting in front of hundreds of fangirls who can hardly contain their “love” for him. Thanks for your honest account!

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment, Susanne, and welcome.

      Like

    • Welcome Susanna – and thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m always a bit envious when someone says they are a new fan as i know what a treat they are in for as they work through his back catalogue. Enjoy!

      Like

  15. Dear Bollyknickers,

    Thank you so much for this report – not only for sharing the event from your exact vantage point that day – but (of far greater interest to me) for sharing with us a slice of your own ‘day-in-the-life’ profession. Thanks also for insight into how the fandom and fantasy already plays such a positive, supportive, and loving role in your life (which in turn, gives you energy to do the incredibly valuable and critical job you do for others).

    Your single sentence highlighting the mostly unobserved and unguarded moment of RA fatigue and uncertainty (possibly even ‘heightened fearful uncertainty’??) is the best sentence I’ve read in a long, long time. 🙂

    I am fairly easily bored when reading material I detect as ‘not authentic’ – hence PR campaigns are a real snoozer for me. But that single sentence of your report was absolutely electrifying in how well it highlighted a basic and common human instinct (am I being hunted? Is my survival in danger?). I imagine RA had a similar look when the director of ‘Captain America’ asked him to re-shoot the underwater scene of water crashing in on his underwater submarine (along with, you know, crying like a baby!). 😉

    The only thing better, I think, is if you had had an extra ticket and had convinced Mr. Bolly to come along. 😉

    Bravo!!!

    Like

    • We didn’t get the report on how Mr. Bollyknickers spent his evening, though, did we? 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you for your lovely comments UK Expat.

      My bolly reports that he worked late, came home to make a scratch supper from the meagre contents of the pantry, watched an episode of Lilyhammer and caught up with the UK soccer results. I think he is still glad he stayed home though.. 🙂

      Like

      • Yay for Mr. Bolly!!! He’s such a good sport!! 🙂

        For some reason this Calvin and Hobbes strip also comes to mind, depicting the shock and horror of finding oneself unexpectedly lost (Calvin’s expression in panel 3).

        http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1988/07/22

        This actually happened to me once in Seattle when a toddler mistakenly grabbed onto my leg, thinking it belonged to one of his parents!! I thought it was such an adorable mistake, but petrified shock is more or less how that poor child looked too. 😉

        Like

        • That’s fantastic UK Expat!

          It’s happened to me too – it must be hard for toddlers when so many people go and wear jeans just like Mums. I remember a child doing it to me and then giving me quite an accusing look as if i had somehow lured them onto my leg!

          Like

          • I did that when I was a small child and I still remember how embarrassed I was when I realised it wasn’t my mum!

            Like

            • Jane, were you only embarrassed and not fearful for your safety when you realized it wasn’t your mum you were holding on to? Was your mum in sight or were you truly lost?

              The poor child that had latched onto my leg looked as though his entire world had come to an end when he realized I wasn’t one of his parents. I thought it was adorable, but the purity of expression of his shock and horror (before an age when he would be taught to hide his feelings) has always stayed with me.

              Like

              • I wasn’t really lost, my parents took me to some event with a lot of people present and I knew she was somewhere.

                Like

          • Yes, I love how Calvin is portrayed in Panel 3 because for a split second he is absolutely petrified at the realization he is lost (kind of like your split second observation) before calmly explaining that his mum looks just like the other lady from the knees down (as we can all attest when children attach to our legs)!

            I think your observations & reflections still apply and are valid, Bolly, I just wanted to share this particular image as it struck me as similar to the situation you described (where are my handlers? you’re not my mum!) 😉

            Like

      • sounds like a perfect evening. So much better than running oneself ragged to see Richard Armitage 🙂

        Like

  16. Reblogged this on Midnight Marsh and commented:
    Some may like the fortune but can do without the fame. Its important not to worship but to merely appreciate. You never know what its in someone’s minds and hearts. When you look at life from that perspective, I’ll take my quiet enjoyment any day of the week. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  17. Wonderful share. Thank you.

    Like

  18. Thanks bolly for this great and insightful report! What a fabulous read. As to this „special“ moment, whom you describe so perceptively (it actually truly moved me to tears), catching this fleetingly expression/glance must’ve been an unexpected and touching instant of closeness. I do quite certain assume that RA has already experienced and undergone such feelings more often before. But it is only recently, that the events and the audiences of eager and hopeful fans that go with it, are getting overwhelmingly bigger and bigger. I wonder what kind of strong vibes must have been in this cinema with all this devoted (loving) and emotionally charged up women?? 😉 For sure mindblowing, but also: hugely emotive and demanding!!

    Like

  19. Well from my perspective the vibe in the cinema was very warm and friendly. It was my third viewing of the film, and my favorite even though it was in standard 2D, because the audience was so enthusiastic.

    Thank you for your kind comments linda60 – very much appreciated.

    Like

    • I agree the vibe was friendly and I think you’ll all agree when you get to see the official video that RA seemed relaxed and happy to be there. I didn’t get the feeling that he was there under sufferance, for which I was deeply relieved- I would hate to think he was coerced into doing this type of event by PR people if he genuinely didn’t feel comfortable with it.

      Like

      • I think all of us, however much we love our jobs, have tasks we like less than others. But it is part and parcel of being a professional. I’ve often heard actors say the publicity is their least favorite part of the job and many do it with a lot less grace than RA does.

        I am not saying for a moment he appeared under any sufferance – in fact one of other fans has suggested he was very keen to do the Q&A having heard how disappointed Australian fans were that we didn’t get a proper premiere and that the ARIA red carpet was so poorly managed. I think that is highly feasible.

        What i wanted to say was that – for me – RA is a great role model to any of us (all of us?) who struggle with certain aspects of our professional lives. When i wrote the piece i was thinking about his fear of deep water and how he has consistently faced challenges head on – doing scenes that would frighten even people without a phobia. Likewise with appearing as himself, rather than in character, i think that is a challenge he has risen to and now does appear relaxed and confident. Most things get easier with practice but i still think he should be congratulated.

        Like

        • I definitely agree that RA handled himself very well as “himself”. It’s an odd thing to sit in front of 700 people knowing they’ve come just to hear you speak, not to perform as such. It probably helps that he loves sharing his views about all things Tolkien related. Less interesting topics might have been more of a challenge.

          Like

        • I think he’s a fantastic role model in so many ways and I really do look up to him in the way he handles this aspect of his career that is not perhaps the most enjoyable or easiest for him. He is an encouragement to me. Once again, he faces that which he fears or dislikes and does it beautifully. Kudos, Rich!

          Like

      • What I liked about Bolly’s post is that it points out the “both / and” qualities of all of this. I read so many accounts that insist it’s either / or — either he hates publicity or he has no problem with it. Most of us live our lives with reactions in between such polar descriptions, so why shouldn’t Armitage?

        Like

  20. Wow! Wonderful write up of the event with RA with lots of great insight of what it was like for him most likely.

    I attend science fiction conventions and sometimes they’re occasions for some direct contact with the star. I never approach since they don’t know me and for all intent and purposes I don’t know them. We’re not friends.

    Like

    • Thank you Little Red – it’s good to hear your perspective. I’ve never been to anything like this and i’m not sure how i would go with a convention but i guess we all have our own boundaries and also guidance from the organisers would be invaluable.

      Are you a Star Wars fan? I saw in the paper there was a ‘May the 4th Be with you’ convention yesterday which made me laugh!

      Like

      • I saw a lot of “May the Fourth Be With You” signs popping up on Facebook yesterday. My favorites were the ones with the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. 😉

        Like

  21. Thank you Bollyknickers for sharing. Thank you Servetus for hosting. I think that in some ways everyone who was there had a little different experience of the event, but since we all see things a bit different that is a good thing.

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting Katie.

      I once heard that if all witness statements to a crime agree too closely, the police suspect collusion. You are right – we all see and interpret things differently, depending on who we are, where we are, what our past experiences are etc.. Putting all the statements together gives us the most accurate picture.

      Like

      • I’m not questioning that you saw this expression but I wonder if he was simply shocked and surprised because that person suddenly rushed towards him? Wouldn’t anyone be if someone appears in front of them out of nowhere? He may or may not be comfortable with fans crossing certain boundaries, but I think that primal fear someone else mentioned may be a bit different for a tall and fit guy confronted with a woman then it would be the other way round. But then I remember an incident when poor Robert Pattinson was filming on a street in NY and was literally in danger to be torn into pieces by fans and the police had to intervene.

        Like

        • *shudders* I hope that sort of scenario never, ever happens to Richard, Jane.
          I remember seeing the original version of “A Star is Born” with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March. In a scene late in the film at a premiere following her husband’s suicide, the character of Vicki Lester is accosted by manic fans on the red carpet (this in the days before giant bodyguards) who are ripping at her clothes for a memento and saying disparaging things about her dead husband. This horrible mob mentality suddenly reigned.

          Always a nightmare moment for me as a viewer as well as Gaynor as Lester. I hate to see it happen to any performer in real life. :-/

          Like

    • What reading all the different pieces of an event that I did not witness except over my computer screen has taught me — especially given that I have known some of the people reporting for a slightly longer time — is just exactly how much what we see is conditioned by other factors. True for me, too, but it’s an invaluable reminder for a historian.

      Like

  22. Bollyknickers, thank you…

    Like

  23. […] of Q & A with open questions from the audience on his own with such physical aplomb? — the possibility that he might have been overwhelmed by some of the publicity tasks set for him again… and made him familiar to […]

    Like

  24. […] is, I have fully accepted that fantasy Armitage is related to but not congruent with real Armitage. Other fans have said things about the role of status issues in making personal encounters undesirabl…, and I think I am closer to that now. Guylty and I talked about that during the afternoon. Why did […]

    Like

Leave a Reply to Susanna Grath Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: