À la recherche du temps perdu — not

•April 3, 2023 • 43 Comments

[Not about PINTER/Proust. LOL. Assumes awareness of this article. I have not watched the Obsession trailer — yet. I watched the short preview, saw Armitage’s thumb on someone’s throat, and was — dare I say it — turned OFF. And slightly surprised about it.]

On Friday, an Armitage friend — ok, let’s be honest, I’ve known her thirteen years, I’ve only met her once, but we’ve had enough frank conversations about intimate and indeed grave matters that she is solidly in the “friend” category nowadays, though she’s shelved her Armitage fandom — dropped me a FB message to say that she had seen the Obsession trailer and she was really glad she didn’t have to ride this out in the fandom.

I agreed. Some of it’s expected. Every new project spawns a group of more or less vociferous “I’m sitting this one out” fans. Each time, a few fans even become frustrated enough with the continued stream of mediocre projects that make us think “he is so much better than this material” that they quietly move on to other crushes. Admittedly, I had underestimated the impact of the latter effect until very recently. Outrage about a project is still a symptom of love, but not caring about something enough to express yourself about it at all? Nothing could be a stronger sign of the death of a crush than indifference. No one wants their crush to be “somebody that I used to know,” even if Armitage said in 2012 that he liked the song.

I wrote about desire, sex, and fantasy quite a bit back then, and in my experience, debates on these topics have always operated around a huge open chasm around cultural and discursive differences in the Richard Armitage fandom, with a sort of label above the abyss — “being respectful” — that is equally a bridge and a weapon. Some resonances certainly came to mind (there are probably more), and this stuff is what my friend knew she wouldn’t miss.

Like Guylty, I do miss the times of intense discussions but not the punishing arguments, and increasingly, these go hand in hand. Right now, I don’t experience fan drama unless I seek it out and my curiosity has fallen to an all-time low. I hadn’t planned to write, but reading other bloggers’ thoughts (Guylty; Esther; Kate) has reminded me of a recent recognition that sex as an identity issue has really changed for me. This blog had its origins in re-claiming my own identity, and that (identity) would be the main reason to continue writing, with or without Richard Armitage. And if I continue what I hope will be more regular blogging, I will have a lot to say about sex.

In the short term, first, to the article.

Like many of us I was surprised to learn that Richard Armitage pitied people who hadn’t had an “overwhelming, indescribable physical obsession” because “everyone should feel that.” Or that one is not fully human who has not experienced an all-consuming orgasm. For readers familiar with the history of academic psychology, his claim is going to sound a lot like a vulgarization of Erik Erikson’s statements about mutuality of heterosexual orgasm in Childhood and Society (1950) — if psychologists thought this way at one time, those days have ended as the influence of Freud and the Oedipal complex on psychotherapy gradually and thankfully wane. Perhaps it’s worth a reminder that well into our lifetimes, respected professionals still thought of male homosexuality as a type of psychological disorder, a sort of immature, pre-genital fixation on pleasure. Since I assume that Armitage would characterize himself as fully human and sexually mature, though, I was idly curious about who played the role of indescribable physical obsession for him, and whether it might have been Lee Pace. I also thought it was mildly paradoxical to say that everyone should experience an uncontrollable obsession, but that he wanted his characters’ on-screen sex lives to be choreographed. Obsession for thee, but not for me? We’ve seen that before, too, back when he was trying to change our tastes.

There’s a pattern there, though. It’s like saying he prefers to spend his life in control, but that he likes to ski because then he’s out of control. Or that it’s uncivilized to cry uncontrollably in reality, but he longs to do it during acting. In short: Armitage regularly appears to be the sort of individual reluctant to know “what would happen if [he] let his appetites overwhelm [him].” Or one who would be glad to let his appetites overwhelm him, if only he could control the process. There would be something worth teasing out at length here through a decade of interviews, especially in light of some fans’ assessments that Armitage’s career hasn’t taken off further because his performances don’t dare very much. It’s the kind of thing people say as they’re walking out the door, and I don’t necessarily share this view, but I have heard it expressed more than once. It fits with his oft-alluded-to horror of auditioning, and I’ve wondered recently if the reason for the kinds of projects he does now relates to a reluctance or refusal to audition. Years ago Armitage didn’t like the idea of one man shows, but as an audiobook narrator he is increasingly involved in them. Does he even like acting? Lately, in light of the publication of his own book, I sort of wonder. It’s all stuff that it’s much easier to be in control of than acting.

Whatever his remarks mean, of course, they are certainly about him, just as my interpretation of them is about me.

Things I thought of

•April 3, 2023 • 24 Comments

This is just a list of stuff I thought about while writing the main post and then cut out because they weren’t directly relevant.


  • Fights that preceded my appearance and continued for quite a while after about raunchy Guy of Gisborne fanfic, in the wake of Armitage’s request — in turn provoked after a group of fans complained to him about the fans who wrote the problematic fiction — to keep them away from the eyes of young people. (They led to the creation of a protected site where those of us who weren’t worried about the children could cultivate our more explicit fantasies — and that still has updating authors, but has been mostly forgotten except among people in the know a decade ago.) From my perspective, the disputes on this issue bordered on insane: one fan threatened to report another fanfic author for copyright violation; the author published a very popular fanfic that has now been rewritten for a non-fan audience.


  • Arguments that erupted intermittently for years about whether Armitage only did Between the Sheets for the money and professional (cough) exposure (discussion in comments). Press at the time he made it reported he had no regrets, said he hadn’t really read the script, and told his mother to make some tea during the parts of the show she didn’t want to see — although he later made a comment somewhat agreeing with the idea that he did it to be working, not because he loved it. I wondered when reading his comment about sex before intimacy coordinators if he was specifically thinking of Between the Sheets. Armitage’s alleged self-distancing from the explicit parts of Between the Sheets may be drawn into question again after Obsession. Who IS Richard Armitage, anyway?





  • The whole discussion about RPF that recurred here repeatedly and was eventually unmasked as hypocritical after it turned out that while other people were okay to write RPF, I was specifically not supposed to do it. And then A03 made everything everywhere okay all the time anyway.

Richard Armitage to star in epic 3-part BDSM drama

•April 1, 2023 • 21 Comments

April Fool!

Oh, wait.

[the only joke I could think of — something to do with Armitage and Toblerone — was preempted by reality. That happens a lot lately in a world where real life news is like The Onion. I hope you are well, and that you don’t get fooled too often today.]

Thirteen’s the charm?

•February 27, 2023 • 85 Comments

Thirteenth blogiversary. So strange.

I owe myself a post, but it’s late.

So how about this? My ranking of the Oscar nominated films from worst to best.

10 – Avatar 2 (didn’t see)

9 – Top Gun 2 (didn’t see)

8 – Women Talking (really boring)

7. -All Quiet on the Western Front (clichéd, and why did they change the ending?)

6 – The Fabelmans (too long, self-indulgent)

5 – Elvis (fine, but nothing special apart from the leading performance)

4 – Tár (good but VERY cerebral)

3 – Triangle of Sadness (I really liked this, but occasionally felt it was a little slow)

2 – Everything Everywhere All At Once (I loved this, esp the first half hour or so)

1 – The Banshees of Inisherin (Loved this, and it was slightly easier to follow than #2)

What say you?

Oh, wait, the Velveteen Rabbit dies

•January 23, 2023 • 6 Comments

Hopefully, Armitage has figured out his dumpling dilemma!

Happy lunar new year to those who mark the season!

Bessert euch drauflos

•January 1, 2023 • 34 Comments

Three things that happened in 2022 appear remarkable in retrospect: first, I went back to work full-time for the first time in five and a half years; second, I went to a doctor for myself (well, actually, urgent care) for the first time in twenty; third, I finally joined a synagogue (first time in twelve). I don’t know if those are all the big changes but they are significant.

re: the second — I had been feeling inexplicably dizzy for several days in ways that concerned me. Verdict: I do not have heart disease, a-fib, or congestive heart failure, and I did not have a stroke or heart attack or COVID. I left with a mild blood pressure medicine as my blood pressure was really high. They did not know why. My health is not something I talk about all that often, but if you know me well you know I regard this as the first step down the garden path. Still, I took the pills, so it’s my own fault. Another reminder (along with the arrangements around dad’s estate) that I’m in the last third of my life now. Almost no one on my mother’s side of the family lived past the age of 72 in the entire twentieth or twenty-first century. What will I do with the last (maybe) twenty years?


re: the first — not unrelated: According to my boss, I am really successful. At the same time, I don’t know if I want to stay in this kind of role for that whole time. Although I can’t imagine retiring, either, as the five and a half years with dad were very frustrating in that regard; I was not cut out personality-wise for that task, no matter how important it was and how much I was praised for doing it. I do feel like I am doing something now that not just my clients, but also people in general find important (way more important than being a professor, anyway). I have helped roughly thirty people find work, and most of them are still in the jobs they took. As word about the program spreads, more people call for assistance, and we’ll be starting a new outpost in a public housing setting in the new year. I’m really pleased for clients and proud of the steps they are taking to change their circumstances. But their problems are often really severe, even in situations where they are not contributing to them, themselves, and the emotional toll on me is high. I do not know how to detach, and am not confident I will learn. I miss both the hopefulness of teaching young adults, and also the creativity. In any case, this was a huge step forward but more thought will be required. Side note: I spend way too much time driving.

re: the third: I won’t get into the reasons why I delayed doing this, but now was the right time and after the frustration of this year’s Rosh Hashanah / Yom Kippur celebrations, I decided I needed to set myself up for success in future. It’s been a great experience, and I feel a strong sense of belonging, although some of my reservations were immediately confirmed. In any case, I have been warmly received and after only two months, asked to join a number of committees and groups. Most notably: the ritual committee. I imagine I will eventually have a lot more to say about this. Inevitably the decision to join a Jewish group was going to lead to the excavation of a lot of my feels about religion generally and Judaism specifically.

Resolutions for 2023:

1. Stop buying things in plastic bottles.

2. Strongly consider employing a cleaner.

3. Be more creative / blog more.

2022 at “me + richard”

•December 31, 2022 • 16 Comments

For comparison purposes, 2021 is here.


New marketing image for The Man from Rome. I bought an Australian DVD copy. Hope I’ll be able to read it when it arrives!


Here’s the annual recap of “most popular posts written in 2022.

10. I prefer full price Richard Armitage (March 21): response to snarky comment in Vulture’s weekly recap of season 2 of Sanditon.

9. Maxwell Smart usually makes me think of something else (October 25): Armitage insta about a new project based on the novel, The Boy in the Woods.

8. This looks like a new project (March 17): Armitage tweets a cast photo from the set of Damage (now Obsession). I ordered a copy of the novel but have not found time to read it.

7. Richard Armitage moves into lucrative NFT market (April 1): Annual April Fools joke. But really, given what happened with crypto this year, it’s fortunate that it was a joke.

6. Richard Armitage moves into Area 51 (August 22): Annual birthday post.

5. Whose dadbod? (May 2): Screencap from a trailer for The Man from Rome as pushback against Armitage’s (boringly predictable) comments about the state of his middle-aged body.

4. Richard Armitage always has good shoes (October 18): an attempt from me to be polite about a disaster outfit at one of the Spanish premieres of The Man from Rome.

3. The Queen is dead, long live the King (September 9): reference to the death of Elizabeth II. Another watershed event, and the funeral spectacle was unchallenged. Tangentially: I watched season 5 of The Crown over the last few days, and it’s a fascinating document. I did not love Imelda Staunton in this role; Jonathan Pryce grew on me; Elizabeth Debicki was a disaster — and I think the best performance was probably Dominic West, although again it was mimicry rather than acting, something that seems to be increasingly prevalent these days. While not up to the standard of previous season, still I thought it was much better TV than it got credit for being. I also want to say: almost as interesting as the show itself were the various critical and political reactions to it. But it’s hard to imagine people would still care as much as they do about the Diana episode if it weren’t for Megxit.

2. I’m sure I’m the problem here (March 3): my criticism of Armitage’s solicitation to give to an unproven charity. I’m sure I posted this in the wake of numerous problems I’ve had with his charity suggestions over the years. Here’s an update on the progress of the 1K project — but / and the point about giving without checking stands.

1. The dream ends (August 22): Lee Pace acknowledges that he’s married.



Interesting to me: the most concentrated spate of blogging I did in 2022 (the recaps of Stay Close episodes) did not hit the top ten. It was fun for me, but the practice of binging has kind of killed that particular audience experience. The other thing: that I didn’t blog when Armitage finally “came clean” (because that’s really what it was) about his sexual orientation. Although I had a lot of thoughts.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say in what necessarily has to be a short post today. I don’t think I’ve ever posted less than I did in this year, and yet I don’t have the feeling that “me + richard armitage” is dying (I may be kidding myself). I still have many relevant reflections that don’t make it as far as this screen, some due to other bad habits I’ve developed in the atmosphere of working full-time in an emotionally demanding role, some due to questions I have about whether the themes are important any more (see above under: I had a lot of thoughts). But I still want to post, and I probably still will.

In that light: a million thanks to everyone who still reads here, in particular to regular commentators, and — in case it doesn’t go without saying — to Richard Armitage.

Two Richard Armitage intersections in one day

•December 30, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Vivienne Westwood has died.

Richard Armitage wore her work twice that I’m aware of, in 2013 and 2005 (the photos are here under Spring 2005).

You can buy a paper copy of the latter appearance in Another Magazine for £100 at ebay.

Adeus Pelé

•December 29, 2022 • 2 Comments

The King of Football has died.


Merry Christmas

•December 24, 2022 • 24 Comments

It’s really cold here (I’m sure it’s all over the news). I was planning to go to Minneapolis on Wednesday to visit my cousin and see the Botticelli exhibit, but there was a horrible storm forecast, and then my right front tire / steering started making a funny noise. Couldn’t get an appointment for it till Tuesday, so decided to stay here and have been at home since Wednesday. Shoveled five inches of snow on Thursday, then yesterday it started blowing around. Really high winds. It didn’t affect me too badly (I’ve figured out how the snow has to be banked in this house to prevent the wind blowing what I’ve just shoveled), but the mail carrier got stuck yesterday afternoon in the snowbank that was forming in the street. I ran out to help her, and we got the mail truck out of the snowbank but then I fell into it! Urgh. Came into the house to dry off and warm up. Then in the early evening an emergency alert went out that we all needed to turn down the heat — one of the gas providers had “an equipment malfunction.” I only had the house on 64F, but I dutifully turned town to 60F (55F is the point at which I would have needed to drip all the faucets). This morning things were back to normal, so I turned the heat back up inside, but judging by the view through my window and from FB, the outside is a catastrophe. My street is partially drifted shut. Whole north-south roads are drifted shut and the highway is glare ice.

So I’ll stay here, snug as a bug in a rug.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. Above a “Richard past” graphic for your delectation.

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