Let’s Get Personal

PS gold sweater reflection

private eyes they’re watching you, they see your every move

As I continued down my Armitage path, I veered off into the print interviews. I had read those from the North & South era, and so slowly I started to venture into Robin Hood and Spooks territory. Then I came upon the Daily Mail Weekend Magazine articles from 2006(parts one & two). The article gave me a lot of personal information about Richard Armitage, maybe even too much. I later learned that Richard wasn’t aware that the whole conversation would be used for the interview, he thought they were off-the-record through much of it.

interview equipment

                   what are these lights for? is that a camera?

When the specifics of his past and present love lives were being discussed, I was literally peeking out from behind my hands pleading “stop talking!

Lee hotel room invitation gif

          me, tell anyone? never

This brings to mind the age old question of how much is too much for us, as fans, to know? Seeing him talk so candidly gave me huge insights into his personal character. It helped me piece things together and gave me a sense of his mindset in relation to his career moves and how he was being affected and influenced. but it also felt too familiar.

Lucas and Ros fluffy hat

                 you want to feel that fluffy hat, where? T-M-I !!

This goes hand in hand with a blog post I read earlier this week, concerning the idea of fandoms as cults and the dangers of confusing our realities.

Porter eyebrow raise

                         there are realities I’m not the center of?

As a general guideline, I try to prevent myself from obsessing* over the details when it comes to the personal lives of the public personalities I follow. I try not to remember the specific names of the educational establishments they have attended, or the order of their various professional projects versus the actual release dates, and the numbered year that coincides with a particular hairstyle or clothing choice, etc.

Porter takes hostage gif

tell them I hate chocolate, & sound convincing!

This can be tricky for someone who is ruled by curiosity, like me. There needs to be a definitive line that distinguishes between acquaintance and stranger. I don’t actually know Richard Armitage, no matter how many personal deductions I’ve made about him from the available public information, and what that may lead me to believe.

bearded fresh from the shower fan pic

is he fresh & clean as a whistle?

When I become fixated on certain aspects of any one thing, I often miss the bigger picture. So when I read things that Richard has said that I can connect with:

“I was told that I had an aloofness about me, and that really bothered me. Because it wasn’t aloofness, it was shyness. It made me realize that what was going on inside of me wasn’t being reflected on the outside.”

PS leaning against bars

or can sympathize with:

“I’ve been this height since I was 14, so I know what it is to feel like a little boy when people are looking to you for strength.

PS metal garage door

or that I agree with and can learn from:

“I have a very strict moral code. I do believe- whether or not it’s God- that there’s somebody watching me and hoping I can be the best person I can, and that when I stray he’s displeased.”

PS blue t-shirt

I must avoid plugging it into a timeline or marking it off a checklist*. I just casually approach it for enjoyment, then continue on my way. If I walk straight down the path, learning all there is to know in one trip, I’ll get to the end…and then what?

Porter on phone

lost again? do I need to get you a compass?

but if I wander, backtrack, make loops, and take plenty of time to admire the scenery; I never have to make it to the end, if I don’t want to.

Harry "promise of freshness beneath"

              Nowhere in Particular? that’s exactly where I’m heading!

*I am not dismissing anyone who does map out a timeline or keep track of clothes and the like, I benefit from your efforts immensely! It’s just that I must avoid doing so myself, because it will end up consuming me.

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17 thoughts on “Let’s Get Personal

  1. I think one really important thing that you’ve point out is that there are a whole lot of ways of going about this fandom thing, and what works for one, doesn’t necessarily for another, but that doesn’t mean that one way is better or worse than another. Viva la difference! When push comes to shove, we have a lot more in common with each other in our appreciation, despite our differences, than we do with a world that looks in askance at the very concept of fandom….thus, it’s in all of our best interests to live and let live is it not?

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    • exactly, that’s why I included that little note at the bottom; what works for me may not for you, and vice versa. I think it’s a good thing to be aware of ourselves and what is going on around us though.

      I am in no way immune, in my very first fandom I become a bit obsessed with all of the things I stated in the main post above; you live and learn.

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  2. Servetus says:

    There’s a curious paradox at the heart of your post. That is — the article you reference a troubling reaction to is, as far as I know, now behind a paywall at its original site and would have disappeared from the “free” Internet if it hadn’t been for fans. I could be wrong, but as far as I know there are about four places left where we can read it for free and all are administered (and/or with their hosting fees paid for) by fans. The other other thing is that the uproar in response to that was so significant that Armitage’s response to it was near immediate (and in one of the “messages” he used to issue more regularly). The only reason we know about *that* incident at all and have read that message is due to the activities of fans invested in gathering and preserving those messages for the rest of us who came later. There was controversy over that piece such that there used to be other fan sites (not sure if they are still around) that didn’t link to that interview because they didn’t like what it said. The post you wrote would be impossible without those people’s activities.

    In other words, I think it’s fine to say, I take what I like from what I read and ignore the rest, I don’t want to get “obsessive” (that word is really troubling — would we say that someone who researches infectious diseases is “obsessive”?) about my information gathering. It’s fine to say, I want to stay at a level of involvement in the fandom that makes me happy and that doesn’t bother me. No one is making you do anything else. However anyone wants to be a fan is fine. But at the same time, the only reason we even have that option now is because fans were at work who cared a great deal about preserving the entire record of his interview history and making sure it was as accurate and complete as possible. We’re free to say that, in other words, precisely because early members of this fandom worked so hard at setting up welcoming information points to newcomers, precisely because some people cared enough to be “obsessive”. I myself am a huge beneficiary of the “obsessions” of others in the past — many of whom I don’t even know personally — and I am grateful for them and their “obsessions.”

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    • I agree with everything you’ve said here. I was reflecting in this post, reminding myself of the dangers I’ve encountered before and reaffirming the guidelines I’ve set for myself.

      I benefit greatly from the efforts of others and their documentation but for me, unless I’m going to run a major site, I should avoid that level of “researching”. I moderated a fan forum for a different fandom, where I put so much time & energy into the overall board that now never gets used because that fandom’s heyday has passed; I needed a reminder, heading into this new fandom, the pitfalls I need to avoid.

      I did not know the history regarding the article I linked, so thank you for that backstory. I actually debated for a few days whether I wanted to mention the specific article I was talking about, because like I said, I feel it’s too personal. but I was afraid that newer fans like myself would not know what I was talking about.

      and I’d just like to add that I adore the fan letters that RA wrote in the past! I did save those for personal keepsakes 🙂

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      • Servetus says:

        I wanted you to know I read this. I really don’t have any problem with you reading/collecting whatever you want to read/collect and avoiding whatever you want to avoid and I apologize for creating that impression. I just don’t think the danger of becoming confused about the nature of fantasy vs. reality is something that is caused by the available information about Richard Armitage — that is, people who are going to make problematic assessments of reality are *already* going to do that. Armitage is only the occasion — having more information available about Richard Armitage does not cause that to happen to them. And for what it’s worth, my experience of this fandom suggests that the *fear* that that someone could confuse fantasy and reality within segments of the fandom is a great deal more intense than actual instances of it. I think anything else I can say is more prescriptive than I want to be, i.e., I don’t want to enter precisely into the dynamic I’d like to avoid.

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        • no problem, I didn’t feel that you were suggesting what I should or shouldn’t do. I’m afraid I might have come across that way though, hence the disclaimer at the end of the post and some explanation from me in these comments.

          you bring up a very good point: those who may demonstrate unhealthy behavior are going to do that regardless, it doesn’t matter what we do or do not point them in the direction of. and I have been reading a lot of “fear” lately in this fandom about whether or not doing the things that we do is acceptable or normal. I would encourage people to set aside those fears and just enjoy each other.

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          • Servetus says:

            FWIW, and it’s not my intent to sound ancient here — there are waves of it whenever there’s an influx of people into the fandom. I’m not applying any of this to you — I’ve just watched the following pattern twice now, and it’s time for this to happen as we have the film premiere six months behind us and the initial intense euphoria is starting to settle into a calmer feeling of wellbeing for most of us. So we have time to think.

            Step 1: Get transfixed by Richard Armitage.
            Step 2: Totally give in to it because it feels so great.
            Step 3: Realize that it’s having an effect on one’s life and become concerned that one has given in to it too much.
            [Step 4: displacement — start talking about other people’s behaviors because Step 3 has happened. Which happens too frequently, and which I’d really like to avoid witnessing this time — the result intense wave of fan-on-fan policing around the issue of “what’s normal” and “what’s too intense / crazy” — some people get stuck in this step and become permanent fan police. Other people get turned off by the policing and disappear.]
            Step 4: preferred — What I’d like to see is a replacement Step 4, where people assess their own attitudes and behaviors and realize that there’s no really wrong way to be a fan *except the way that makes oneself uncomfortable*.
            Step 5: Jump back in with a renewed appreciation for the fan experience and the incredible diversity of fans out there.

            It would be need if we could make it to Step 5 this time with as many people still on board and happy to be friends with each other as possible and without a spate of policing. That may be impossible, but i live in hope …

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          • that’s what frustrates me really, steps 3 and 4. because I have been a part of other fandoms & have experienced it myself, I want to save others from wasting so much energy on it: “don’t do what I did, it’s not necessary!” everyone has to learn for themselves though :/

            I always seem to come in during one of those “waves”. the “original” fans either keep secrets from the new fans, or have just “been there done that” so long ago that they don’t want to be bothered.

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          • Servetus says:

            I actually think “veteran” fans can do a lot to help by saying gently to new fans, hey, the intensity of your feelings is okay and not inherently dangerous. A lot of times people who are stepping onto the policing path can be gently held back. Not always.

            re: fans who have “been there done that” or don’t want to be bothered — there definitely are those fans in the Armitage fandom, too. The real “veteran” Armitage fans (I am not one of them) are mostly not on tumblrs or blogs, and the ones who are publicly visible have chosen explicitly to be friendly / welcoming.

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      • Servetus says:

        ps — for example, there are people drawing conclusions on the basis of Armitage’s current love life given much less information than is available in this newspaper piece. The lack of information doesn’t stop them — in some ways it actually facilitates it.

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  3. This is so interesting, kelbel75. I read those interviews while I was in my “research my obsession to death” stage. I was kinda shocked at the candidness, not knowing as much as I do about RA now. Now I’m not so surprised. I understand he is a “people pleaser” and has a problem with personal boundaries. I am like that and I do shit like this all the time. I have to watch myself. As far as the appropriateness of fans reading this or saving it or making it available to others – I don’t understand the people who think we should avert our eyes. OTOH, I have found I don’t have the stomach to explore his personal life by speculating or questioning his behavior on my blog. I have reached a point where I am content to leave him to whatever he is comfortable sharing, without comment from me. But I will avidly read any comments he makes and think about them and try to fit them into my image of him. Which is my own creation after all. Thanks for bringing up the topic. It’s great hearing what others are thinking about it.

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    • thanks so much for your comment! I’m feeling a bit apprehensive after writing this, especially now knowing the history *bites nails in nervousness* I don’t want everyone to flock to an article that can be embarrassing to RA himself, but this blog IS about my fan path, and that article was definitely a significant stop along the way.

      I too “research” to death, so I’m not trying to say I’m above it all because I am so not! it’s just like was discussed before: as long as we stay grounded in what is real and what is not, or what is healthy for us personally and what is not; then we can enjoy our time admiring this man together 🙂

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      • Servetus says:

        Everyone reads that article anyway; even though it’s much harder to find now than it was three years ago, people find it because it’s stored in a relatively prominent place (most people now read it at RichardArmitageNet.com, I imagine) when they decide to read through that archive, and then they talk about it and what it means. Us mentioning it isn’t going to accelerate or retard the occurrence of that process — unless the article became completely unavailable, which isn’t likely to happen (because even if it disappeared from everywhere else, *I* have a copy and I’d make it available in order to keep the history of his interviews as complete and accurate as possible). It’s part of the public record of his career.

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        • that puts my mind at ease, because my thinking was along the same lines. aside from the actual information in the article itself, it brings forth a lot of issues that can be discussed. it is a part of his history and so too a part of the fandom. I’m glad it was available for me to read because it told me a lot about him. I found that very candid peek into his character fascinating, along with all of the other information; it’s about so much more than his love life

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