2020 at “me + richard”

For comparison purposes, 2019 is here.

The number of posts fell drastically again this year, to 264. We’ll just ascribe that to general 2020 malaise, the situation with dad, election distraction, the pandemic and increased workload. Rather than vowing to do better, my hope this year is just to keep all the balls in the air for as long as possible. I will, however, try to write more often no matter how briefly, or how brittle I am feeling at the time.

Probably my favorite photo of 2020. Richard Armitage as Astrov in Uncle Vanya. Photo by Johan Persson.

 

Given the generally unfavorable context for writing and thinking, the most clicked-on posts I made this year were:

1.Richard Armitage interviewed in The Telegraph.  Screengrabs of a paywalled article written in conjunction with UV that skirted a discussion of Richard Armitage’s sexual orientation in a very oblique way that sort of turned coming out (?) into a non-event. This is something that would merit further discussion, as I’ve had a lot of thoughts about it over the years, but it’s never seemed safe to talk about it openly (I’ve had fan friendships self-combust over this issue, and also see #3).

2. A bit too neat, but wow all the same. Screengrabs of a paywalled article in conjunction with UV with a photograph that I liked. I didn’t enjoy most of the non-role, photoshoot photos this year; a lot of my favorite images from 2020 are screengrabs.

3. Ceterum censeo. My reaction to fans’ reactions to (1). For me, 2020 was the year where I finally said goodbye to the notion that I had much relationship to the Armitage fandom in the aggregate. I have individual relationships with fans with whom I’ve become friends — and I am thankful to all of you whom I can count in those numbers, so I hope no one who’s become a true fan friend misunderstands this point as a criticism of them personally. Perhaps more of those will develop in the future, but the weight of the post-2018 period and a few encounters I had in particular in 2019 and 2020 made me realize that as much as I have identified with the mass of fans over the years, from my side the relationship with the group, and the sort of group euphoria that went along with it, is largely over for me.

4. Uncle Vanya, first impressions [potentially spoilers for the general plot of the play and also for some features of the adaptation] #richardarmitage. Description of the first preview of Uncle Vanya, which I felt privileged to see at the time — and in retrospect, feel even more privileged about.

5. He’s become so sedate. Comment on one of Armitage’s photos from his UV dressing room. Great shins, great socks.

6. Some additional details from the lock-in interview. Summary of important points of an interview on DT+ where Richard Armitage discussed considerations in playing Scrooge. Raised the specter (ouch) of the possibility that Armitage could be planning to play Scrooge in 2020, but it didn’t materialize.

7. Richard Armitage is insanely sexy as Astrov. Rehearsal photos from UV by Johan Persson. One of the best things about Armitage in 2020 aside from Astrov: the hair. OMG, the hair.

8. This kind of leaves me speechless. Discussion of one of Armitage’s awkward tweets. Another development of 2020 for me as fan: spending 95% less time on Twitter (see remarks under #3) and 85% less time updating to see if Armitage has tweeted. I’m just better off if I process whatever he tweets at a time delay. On the whole his tweets do not enhance my appreciation of him either as an artist or as a person, and in 2020 I finally decided to take action on that.

9. Remember how I said Richard Armitage is insanely sexy in this play? Collection of a tranche of Persson’s dress rehearsal photos released for publicity.

10. Twitter does not look good on you, and you do not look good on Twitter. Richard Armitage on the defensive on Twitter. See remarks under 8.

 

This would be up for favorite images, too. Image ref 10542272N. Copyright Rex Shutterstock No reproduction without permission. Please see http://www.rexfeatures.com for more information.

 

Seven of these tweets were directly or tangentially connected to Uncle Vanya, and two related to Armitage’s tweets, which was sort of how the year went for me. Cooperation to transmit proprietary information remains a big theme in this fandom, as two of the Vanya posts, and the remaining post of the top ten related to another piece of information that was paywalled for the vast majority of fans.

What didn’t happen here: The Stranger, My Zoe, and Castlevania 3, which I didn’t watch although I do have copies (zero headspace for anything that doesn’t immediately appeal), and a jazillion audiobooks I didn’t listen to much of, although I did buy a few in an attempt to be supportive.

I’d also like to mention two things that were important to me in terms of fandom:

1.me + richard armitage status report #RABlogReunion. Elucidates my feelings about fandom and our fandom.

2. Christine’s death.

On blog and in my fan life, 2020 was the year of Vanya. Seeing it on the screen will hopefully be a salve for a difficult year. I had thought maybe I would drive into Canada to see it, but that doesn’t look like it will be possible given the current surges.

In the end, however, 2020 will remain the year of the pandemic for me.

Wisconsin COVID-19 stats, 2020

US COVID-19 stats, 2020.

 

And of the election. Let’s hope the wing-nut section of the GOP doesn’t fuck this up on January 6, as they have so many other things this year. I’m starting to lose patience.

 

~ by Servetus on December 31, 2020.

10 Responses to “2020 at “me + richard””

  1. Happy new year Servetus!!
    I hope you will have a more peaceful and calming year and your family will be well.
    I love your recap.
    I hope you will get to see Uncle Vanya soon.

    Like

  2. “zero headspace for anything that doesn’t immediately appeal”, that’s been me this year. it’s not that I don’t have the time to keep up on new projects and interviews, etc. I just don’t bother with anything that doesn’t automatically grab me and pull me in. and what doesn’t, almost seems like an annoyance.

    Like

    • I remember watching every single “Into the Storm” interview and I can’t imagine doing that kind of thing now (even if some of the variations were cute). Maybe it’s an attitude that comes with growing older but I am less than eager to have my (limited) leisure energy wasted.

      What i find odd is that I can’t always predict what will appeal. I was never a huge fan of Ina Garten but this year I’ve watched something like two seasons of “The Barefoot Contessa.” Comfort watch, I suppose.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. First of all a happy new year to you. And secondly congratulations on keeping the blog posts coming, despite many distractions. Sure, I look forward to you getting back to more in-depth discussion etc, but in the mean time it is simply just always good to see a post from you popping up. Kind of like “knowing you are there”.
    The whole topic of “fandom relations” really deserves some in-depth inspection. As someone who always says that that is what is particularly gratifying for me, I am nevertheless not blind to some problem areas. Particularly Twitter has turned into one such for me. (But that’s all something for later discussion.) In any case, I have learnt from you that there is no right or wrong way of being a fan, or that my way of experiencing the fandom, is NOT automatically the right way of experiencing the fandom. I am glad there is diversity of approach – even if I don’t particularly enjoy some of the other approaches.
    Blabla, anyway, what I want to say is that I hope I still count as one of your friends, despite difference of opinion in some areas. I’d rather we’d always agree – but well, that would be so boring, too 😉
    Happy new year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The blog is really important to me, still. And you and I now have a really long history (in Armitage fandom terms, anyway!).

      I think, to speak frankly, that you and I, while we have similar intellects and interests as people (I remember there was a time when some people thought we were the same person), have developed really different approaches to fandom. I very much appreciate the friends I’ve found, but fan camaraderie in itself is not a reason that I’m a fan or a goal of being a fan for me, and I’ve always seen the friends I’ve made here as sort of a separate issue from fandom. (Not that I see a lot of more than superficial fan camaraderie at large nowadays — I see mostly what I have started to call “parting shot Gruppendynamik” in my thoughts — but that’s a separate issue and it’s not limited to fandom.) As I often say to Obscura, I’d like to think we would have been friends even had we never had Richard Armitage or the fandom. When she and I talk nowadays it’s practically never about Armitage.

      The other thing is that I perceive that you have a much larger need for harmony than I do. This is not a criticism as I suspect there are more people in your club than mine. I’m don’t subscribe to the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” principle, and many people find my approach confrontational because I try hard to avoid passive aggression and vague-blogging. But the atmosphere that seems to feed your energies is one that is really hard for me to appreciate. I stick by my basic principle that as long as it’s not illegal or immoral, it’s not my place to police, no matter my feelings about something. I’ve even kept silent over the years about some illegal and immoral things I know fans do. However, I think I also don’t have to pretend that I feel differently about it than I do. And perhaps that sentiment (I’m not going to pretend) is the result of the last few years and a waning of the immediacy of Armitagemania. (Although seeing Vanya very much sent me ass over teakettle on that one; I wasn’t expecting to have quite such an emotional reaction as I did.) But an increase in the atmosphere of low-level aggression between fans certainly plays a role there, too. And I don’t like to comment elsewhere when I am aware that all I am doing is pissing people off; I still do more than enough of that here, I’m sure. Sometimes I can’t restrain myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy New year to you !
    Merci encore d’être toujours présente 😉
    J’espère que 2021 t’apportera plus de sérénité et un peu d’espoir. Bonne année !

    Like

  5. Nice overview of your blog life! And especially good that you have been able to define and live by your fandom boundaries to keep the experience alright for your self. I hope that means we can continue to see you around here. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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