Live Together, Die Alone

“He’s been lost ever since he left his home. He should not have come, he has no place among us.” ~Thorin Oakenshield

Elijah, oh my god guys gif

That’s what it feels like to be a newer fan in an already established fandom, doesn’t it? Or a new commenter on a blog, fan-forum, or twitter thread. You’ve been reading the posts for a few months, even following along in the comments. You’ve laughed, nodded your head; and often followed the suggestions given of things to view, read, etc. in relation to your shared interest.

So many times you’ve wanted to jump in and add your agreement with an “I feel the same! I thought that too!” or sometimes you’re just bursting at the seams, wanting to defend your favorite character in a discussion….but you don’t. What if they laugh you off the webpage for not being informed enough about the subject? What if they make fun of the way you talk?

nerd girl problems, pronounciation

Or what if they don’t respond to you at all ? “I knew this was a bad idea! They all know each other, they all know so much more about the history of this than I do, I don’t know what I’m doing!

smashing computer smiley gif

“Did I not say that you would be a burden, that you would not survive in the wild and that you have no place amongst us?” ~ Thorin Oakenshield

#feels, crying eye gif

We’ve all been there. Some of us longer than others, some of us more than once.

That was my first twitter contact within the RA fandom, back in April. I couldn’t let MorrighansMuse think she was the only one who liked Sparkhouse, when the others were saying they’d heard horrible things about it; sweet John Standring was worth defending!

keep calm, movie boyfriend

My first contact within the fandom itself was on the forums: my required introductory posts announcing myself. There are usually a few friendly folks on any forum who say Hello, ask what films you’ve seen, and give suggestions on what to watch next. This was an area I tried to became diligent in myself when I was a moderator in a different fandom. The intro threads were a safe place for newbies to fangirl a bit and maybe ask a few questions to someone who cared, without risking the embarrassment of posting in the wrong place or asking a question that everyone already knew the answer to.

i_moustache_you

We don’t have this safety net on blogs. Here, you’re out in the open for everyone to see. Here, there tends to be a bunch of random comments in no particular order to reply to. That’s scary for a first time commenter!

Penny, throwing and hiding laptop, gif

The above examples are meant as a reminder and validation that this happens to everyone. Maybe you’ve long since moved past that stage and you’re now commenting, tweeting, and posting with abandon. Maybe you’ve been lurking

(that means following along in silence)

smiley_couch

for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. Maybe you’re still at the timid stage described above, and maybe you have no intention of ever engaging at all; that’s okay. Lurking is perfectly acceptable. Just enjoy yourself, that’s what’s important.

prince Wm. and wife battling with wands gif

A lot of these same stages and worries plague bloggers too. Unfortunately, the statistics page can sometimes hinder the situation. “That blogger has 10,000 hits, I only have 5,000. Do people not like me? I only have 10 followers, while they have 300! What am I doing wrong? No one commented on this post, but 30 commented yesterday. Was it too boring?”

We’ve all thought these things at one time or another.

don't panic

I suggest routinely asking yourself this simple but important question: Why do I have a blog?

To have fun. To share your love of a certain subject with like-minded people who will gush with you about it. To help others find all the info they can on a shared subject. Or maybe it’s a more personal blog where the purpose is to better yourself in various ways through writing it all down and receiving suggestions from others that you may have never considered before. There are various reasons why someone may have a blog.

Hopefully the answer to that question is not: To be the best. To be the most liked. To be the leader.

Those reasons would be unhealthy, in my opinion, and just suck the fun straight out of it. So with that in mind, maybe we shouldn’t give those statistics quite so much weight…

Sherlock #you've killed my brain, gif

If you’re a blogger who is trying to make a name for yourself on a professional level or you’re trying to make money using your blog, then disregard that last bit. I’m talking about fandom, not business.

An example of how stats can be deceiving: a big portion of that “follower” number over there in my sidebar is made up of bloggers who are not Richard Armitage related. They’re either networking (I’ve checked them out, and actually follow some) or they are professional bloggers who want me to buy something. Don’t put your faith in numbers.

inconceivable! gif

“I like the fact that there’s a community out there getting together and enjoying themselves because of something I’ve done.”

~ Richard Armitage

The community aspect of fandom can be a very rewarding experience. Friendships are formed, both virtual and real life, encouragement and support are offered when needed, sounding boards to discuss new ideas are provided; these can all stem from talking about a beloved character, book, actor, or band.

There is discord in every community though. It is essentially a small town, after all. So you will hear gossip when you stop into the Post Office to pick up your mail. There might be arguments about how you were over-charged at the gas station because you used to date the owner’s son’s best friend. Maybe your cousin’s girlfriend never tips you and runs up his bar tab…that doesn’t mean you should spit in her food and slash her car tires.

cat fight- dog breaks it up- gif

Hopefully the only drama that will touch you is from your Saturday morning coffee date with friends that sometimes gets heated when you debate sugar vs. artificial sweetener, or gluten-free diets. This is normal.

perfect conditions

Just as in regular life though, you are responsible for your own actions, Your own words, your own issues.

If you don’t want to know the gossip, don’t linger when you pick up your mail. If you feel you’re being treated unfairly at the gas station, go to a different one instead. If your cousin’s girlfriend irritates you so much, go into the kitchen and throw a few eggs at the wall after she leaves!

Sherlock- psychopath

And remind yourself during those sugar/gluten debates that these people are your friends. You meet them every Saturday because, aside from your dietary differences, you enjoy their company.

cat hugs lizard gif

 

Now before I wrap up this little missive, I’d like to touch upon something that can become a stressful part of fandom, when it really doesn’t have to be. This may seem like a no-brainer, but really stop and give it some thought:

Richard Armitage is not our puppet.

as-you-wish

He is a living, breathing human being. A grown man who lives his own life and makes his own decisions… so relax, and let Richard take care of Richard.

You’re all shaking your heads in the affirmative, saying “Yes, we know this. We have nothing but respect for him and we’ll support him in what ever he chooses to do.”

Then let’s get off his proverbial back about his upcoming projects, okay? This fear for his career does not need to consume us. The responsibility of providing us with conversation topics and visual stimulation should not rest on anyone’s shoulders but our own. That’s not to say we can’t speculate about what will come next or what we would/would not want to see. But it will happen when it happens.

Let him surprise us

it was you the entire time, gif

It is his life, his career, his financial and emotional stability. While it’s only our hobby…and that’s my two cents. peace out,

DJ kitty, gif

Β 

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57 thoughts on “Live Together, Die Alone

  1. Apparently chewing on a nutty energy bar and trying to think coherently about what you’ve just written so well are two things I cannot do at the same time so I’ll have to get back to this post later πŸ™‚

    But thank you for this post though. It’s a gentle reminder about to have fun and not take things too seriously πŸ™‚

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  2. Well, I would like to leave a brilliant comment but my brain is not working properly
    All I can say is THANK YOU! We should put this into practice every day and not just in this fandom. We tend to forget that artists and other fans are human beings like us with good and bad things.
    Besos πŸ™‚

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  3. Oh kelbel! What you have written here *so* needed to be said! I don’t say that on behalf of anyone else but myself. Although we would deny the fact vehemently, I for one have to confess to wishing every now and then that Richard *could* be influenced by his fans, while at the same time sincerely hoping he NEVER is! So many, many thanks for this! I certainly needed to hear it!!

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    1. well of course I want Richard to do the kinds of projects that I want to see *cough* discovery of witches *cough* but it’s exciting not knowing what to expect too, especially when he does something different from what we would normally choose. how many fans have said they would not normally watch something like “Strike Back? a lot! even if those fans didn’t particularly like the story, it would have been a damn shame to miss out on that particular kind of visual stimulation… 😈

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      1. Visual stimulation, umm yes πŸ˜‰

        It’s also easier to get any male friends/family/non-friends to let you watch if you can sell them on Spooks/Strikeback/Ultimate Force (although I confess to not having seen the latter in full).

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  4. Yeah, yeah Mom , I know .
    Love the gifs, esp. those fighting cats and a dog as a peacemaker πŸ˜€ ( my dog belngs to the same rare πŸ˜‰ breed)

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  5. You are such a star. I think I want you to adopt me, please (despite the fact I’m older than you). I do have a proper British accent though if that helps πŸ˜‰

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  6. What do you mean by “get off his proverbial back”? It’s quite possible that i’m missing something (I only regularly read half a dozen blogs and no tumblr, IMDB, Twitter or FB) but i don’t think there is anything wrong with the conversations i see. People are entitled to their feelings and i don’t think there is anything wrong with fans expressing frustration at the lack of information about future projects, or having a bit of fun speculating about what he does next. Being interested in his career and wanting to see him in projects is part of being a fan, and if everyone stopped talking, it would all become very boring and we’d drift off to become Cumberbabes or Hiddlestone-ites or whatever.

    You are quite right – he is a grown man – and as such i am sure he is big enough to take fan chatter with a pinch of salt, if he is aware of the content of it at all. If he has any sense, he will have stopped looking at the blogs and sites ages ago. Of course he doesn’t have a responsibility to provide us with conversation but that doesn’t mean we should stop having the conversations.

    PS: I may have gotten completely the wrong end of the stick (and apologies right now if i have), but i think it is statements like your final paragraph that can make lurkers stay in the shadows. Perhaps they just don’t want to say the wrong thing or break some unknown fan rule.

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    1. there is nothing wrong with speculation, or with voicing frustration in regards to what is coming next. but the tone I’ve been feeling lately seems more than that to me, like Richard’s career must surely be going down the tube if he doesn’t have at least two projects come out a year (one is the norm. every once in awhile it’s okay to even skip a year here and there. what if he had a gap of three years between movies? would you flounce as his fan? some would 😦 ) some fans have even expressed true anger, I don’t know if they’re directing it at him or “his people”; there are many reasons why an announcement has not been made. it’s my opinion, when I see the constant preoccupation with something like this, that everyone needs to just step back and have a reality check; it’s not healthy for us, as fans.
      if you see nothing wrong with that tone, that is your view and you have a right to it, it upsets me though, and so I voiced my concern. call it Armitage Protection Mode or whatever other label you want, but judging from the comments so far, I’m not sorry I voiced the concern.

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    2. I understand what she’s saying. I have noticed that other actors get this too, even if they *are* busy because fans don’t like the project (*this* not that one) or it’s not ‘big’ enough for them or it’s too big.
      Eventually it polarizes the fandom and *that* (speaking as a lurker on all but two blogs) is what makes lurkers stay in the shadows.

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  7. I’m one of those newer fans of RA like you Kelbel, so you had me agreeing with all that stuff about not being sure how to join in and be a fan online.

    I’m with Bolly on the last part though- I don’t see how any of our musings about RA’s future projects are disrespectful in any way. I haven’t seen anything other than good natured speculation and the fervent wish for a successful next step in his career. Yes we’re getting impatient for news, but that’s not going to influence RA in any way, good or bad.
    Since RA isn’t on twitter or Facebook, our only direct contact with him is through fan letters or the recent journalists touting for questions from fans, and naturally the topic of future work would come up. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t be fans.

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      1. Are you referring to tumblr or blogs here? I’ve seen people stating their preferences for what they’d like RA to do next, but they’ve almost always followed it up by saying that they would support whatever project he chose to take on next. I think it’s just human nature to express thoughts on the matter.
        I really haven’t seen any hectoring tone in what I’ve read on this topic on the blogs, and I don’t honestly think you can draw a line and say, ‘this is an acceptable level of opinion stating and that isn’t’.

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        1. all in all, the upcoming projects thing, is more about “us” and less about him. perception is an individual thing, and I am somewhat biased because of my experiences in other fandoms. I am not pointing my finger at anyone in particular saying “you should be ashamed of yourself, this is not the way to act”, I’m simply bringing to light the fact that sometimes we get a little too involved, a little too preoccupied with things that are out of our control to begin with. sit back, relax, it will happen when it happens.

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  8. Great post about how blogging works and why commenting is so difficult initially – until it becomes an obsession :-D. I hope your “lurkers” read and feel reassured. It would be nice to hear their voices, too.
    I am slightly confused about your appeal at the end of the post. Was there anything in particular you were referring to? I don’t much engage in discussing his future projects – I like having fun thinking up projects that don’t even exist, but the wind movie or the Batman stuff didn’t really interest me very much. However – I think that discussion in the fan forums ultimately is *good* for RA, not bad. Since he reportedly does not read this stuff, he should be uninfluenced by it. However, the discussion that we create in fan circles makes its way into the media – and thus can have an influence there. For better or worse? For better, I think, because discussion means exposure. I don’t think the voices of the fans really influence the studios into *not* giving a role to an actor. But hey, what do I know?

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    1. speculating, stating preferences about what he could choose next, is fun. sometimes we moan and groan and say “I just hope he doesn’t die in it; I would like to see him get the girl for once”,etc. I’m not talking about those kinds of conversations. I’m talking about the true frustration, the “what is taking him so long!”, the fear that he’s passing up his chance to make a name for himself; that he only has a small window after the Hobbit trilogy to get his name known. the things a publicist or manager gets paid to handle.
      sometimes it seems to me that Richard is our team in a sporting event, and it’s a “win, win, you’ll never be the best if you don’t push it!” kind of atmosphere. maybe this kind of talk happens every time there is a lull between projects, I don’t know, it just makes me uncomfortable.

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  9. Beautifully put! I really couldn’t have said it better myself, especially that now I’m afraid of coming across pushy or preachy!
    I honestly feel that both bloggers and readers just need to chill, sit back and enjoy the ride. Today is special in this fandom. Know why? Because tomorrow will be different, like the day before was too. We’re in constant flux, people come, people go, so why not just enjoy it, put drama aside and live for the moment.
    I do have to ask about what you said at the end. Was it triggered by any special event or are you speaking in general. We don’t have any direct contact with Richard, so I can’t see us being able to in any way influence him. I actually enjoy speculating about his future parts and I can’t promise to stop.
    BTW, thank you for the image of being on RA’s back πŸ™‚ Yummy, I certainly wouldn’t want to get off ever, I’d climb on and cling like a little monkey LOL!

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    1. yes, sit back and enjoy the ride…on RA’s back πŸ˜›

      the end of the post has just been a feeling of mine that has been building up, no particular incident was at the center of it. the counter-argument is that since he is a grown man who makes his own decisions, then it shouldn’t matter what we say or how we choose to vent our frustrations. but just because he can take it, doesn’t mean we should dish it out. I’m not talking about this from a protective angle, but more what is healthy for us, as individual people. don’t become so obsessed with what his next project will be, where his career is headed, how he should get top billing now that he’s better known,etc. Team RA doesn’t have to be the best! just the best to us πŸ˜‰

      btw, I’m looking forward to your “how to” post on the technical side of what I touched upon here with the new commenters/blogging,etc. your original post and what people were sharing in the comments is what drove me to elaborate upon the “lack of self-confidence when you’re a lurker” angle πŸ™‚

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      1. It’s a wonderful post and I shall be linking it when I write mine. First order of business is getting the word out about My Story Blog:
        http://icepondwitch.com/
        It’s a blog where both fanfic writers and readers can link to fanfiction. The Arkenstone has been ever so gracious to take this idea on board and run with it, and I’m trying to help out in whatever way I can.
        We need content, so if there’s any fic that you’d like to recommend, or maybe someone who is reading this comment would like to share their favourite, please check it out!

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  10. I, too thought the first part of the post directed at the readers rather than the bloggers was spot on, helpful and entertaining as your posts always are for me.

    The tail end: I’m a blogger who writes frequently about future projects, Speaking for myself, I am certainly not angry at Richard Armitage for the lack of information or if this is the case and I hope to hell not, the actual lack of projects. If there’s anger or bewilderment, it’s directed at the people who make casting decisions for not flocking to this man and his talent. I don’t think Richard Armitage is at a stage in his career where he can take a year or more off voluntarily if he wants to achieve what he says he does. I think just about every post, mine and others, as well as comments, all conclude with the hope and sense that something is in the works and for reasons best known to Richard Armitage and others, no announcement is being made.
    The topic is timely and valid,in my opinion and most likely has no affect on RA at all. He’s not going to take a role he doesn’t want or make an announcement against studio wishes because Perry the blogger wrote a fake fan letter.
    In some ways, talking about and waiting for that announcement is like waiting for a new Peter Jackson Video Vlog or trailer – we know it’s coming, we wonder what it’ll be like, we just want it to happen soon and we chat about it endlessly.

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    1. I realize that when there is no “new” news, that talk will turn to speculation about what is coming next. but it seems to me that this is all anyone is talking about lately 😦

      what has Richard said he wants to achieve in his career that could hinder it happening if he doesn’t churn out more than one movie each year?

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      1. I’m not suggesting he churn out more than one movie a year or that movies need be all he does. Most films don’t take that long to complete. Some of what he said is that he’s competing with better known actors for Hollywood or big screen work- so if he wants to be better known than he is in the film field, then more works needs to be seen. Out of sight, out of mind. Personally, it makes no difference to me if he were to go back to television more regularly, but he seems to want the Hollywood, or at least the film, experience where more time and care is taken with each work.

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        1. I wouldn’t mind seeing another television series from him, but then he would run the risk of getting crappy writers who didn’t value his input and research.

          he has said repeatedly that movies give you more time to develop a character, but I wonder if working with PJ has biased that opinion somewhat? depending on the movie, some are finished filming in just a few short months.

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          1. I think even films that are shot more quickly give an actor time for more takes and tweaks when necessary, better budgets and more preparation time. Some TV series result in a new script each week. And they change. But there are so many higher quality, shorter season series these days. think at the time he made some of the comments about films he’d had the Captain America and Black Sky experience, so he had some experience with that sort of work. (Not 100% certain of my timing here).
            I’d also be delighted with a good British miniseries to watch him in. But again, I think he, himself wants to break into films, and if he wants it, I want it for him/

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          2. yes, the takes and tweaks would have more time on a movie. I was thinking more about the character development, I guess. you could establish a character over time in a series, yet not be able to go back and tweak it a bit in editing like you could in a move. they each have there pros and cons, but movies are probably less cut-throat because you don’t have to deal with weekly ratings either.

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          3. I think working with PJ has given him a little bit of a rosy opinion of movies. Ironically movies with CGI and stunts which have the reputation of not having good character development will take longer to film.

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          4. he had such a wonderful set-up, working with PJ πŸ™‚ someone who worked *with* him and solicited his input at every turn in relation to his character, a long filming schedule, ample amounts of money, an established location, and a big recognition factor. all of those factor in greatly to the amount of creative freedom he was afforded; I don’t think that’s normal.

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  11. for those of you following these comments, I would just like to point out that I tweaked that last portion of the original post a bit. I hope it helps clarify some things πŸ™‚

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    1. I found the original post was just fine as it was but the clarification was what I needed to pay heed to! I have to admit I have been guilty lately of letting things get to me. I guess I was feeling rather melancholy after the death of a close friend and even more recently the son of very dear friend was killed in an accident, and I think the sadness transferred into letting myself be stressed over the lack of news about any new projects for Richard. In retrospect I see how ridiculous I was being so have resolved not to let such things get to me in future. It’s good someone like you has the ability to set me straight!! πŸ˜€ I really do feel *much* better today, so thank you!

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      1. it’s definitely understandable that you would latch onto something and throw yourself into it, trying to deal with those particular losses. your situation sounds like the kind of thing I was talking about though, getting wrapped up in something that essentially has nothing to do with us; none of us need that added stress 😦 just think of those who follow musicians though, where it’s years between albums! πŸ˜‰

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      2. I think part of the problem is that we are all looking at different things and so our perceptions are consequently varied. And I don’t feel I have seen any of the anger or mania that you have so that last bit seemed like an unjust wrist slapping. But, at the same time, I could tell something had made you feel strongly enough to speak out and I know you don’t want to point fingers ( quite right IMO) so it leaves us at a bit of an impasse. Perhaps we have to agree to differ.

        Teutcher- you are one of the nicest contributors to our community and I have never seen you speak out of turn. I’m sorry you have felt so unhappy and stressed over real life events and that has impacted on your fun here but, take it from me, your posts are always a joy. Keep them coming!

        On a lighter note, is that Kate and Wills fencing in the gif or am I mistaken? Where on earth did you get that?

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        1. one took place on Perry’s blog a few weeks ago. a commenter said how angry & frustrated she was with the lack of news, so much so that she could even consider quitting blogging because of it. I replied that if a blogger was so angry that she may stop blogging because of it, then she should reconsider why she’s blogging in the first place. that’s the first time I became aware that it was more than light banter, coming from some corners 😦 the others were more frustration than anger, I think.

          most of the other instances I’ve seen were generally of the worry & anxiety kind though, like I’ve stated in the other comments here. the lull or “drought” does not seem that dire to me, that may have to do with my experiences in other actor’s fandoms. so I just wanted to say “hey you, this worry isn’t necessary, okay?” but my own frustrations riled me up a bit πŸ˜‰

          *yes, that gif is William & Kate. I forget where I found it.

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        2. Thank you Bolly! I’m truly touched by what you wrote. I love being a part of this community. It’s hard to put into words just how much good it does me. I know I’ve posted comments over the years that I wish I could have undone, but I have never felt like quitting! πŸ™‚ Looks as though you and Richard are all stuck with me!!! πŸ˜‰

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    2. Yup, I think that added note has actually clarified things *a lot*. (You almost had *my back* up here, because I thought you were engaging in fandom policing and I am rather allergic to that…)

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      1. the original intent was not a plea to quit pressuring Richard personally, but rather to take a few breaths and just let someone else worry about it; let Richard “take the wheel” πŸ˜›

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        1. πŸ˜€ I’ll go anywhere if Richard is at the wheel. πŸ˜‰ I always loved those “stunts” (for lack of a better word) in Spooks when he’d get into a vehicle and go haring off at speed making the tires screech! Apparently when he was being “Pete” he was only required to go a few yards but always managed to disappear and go at least round the block! Such a guy thing to do! πŸ™‚

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          1. Sorry! I was rather vague there wasn’t I? πŸ™‚ Lucas/Richard pretended to be Ros’ /Hermoine’s banker boyfriend/fiance “Pete” in Spooks/MI-5 S7.5 when she was undercover at the bank in order to be able to talk to Ros when they could not contact her using her mobile. I loved that part of the episode when they kiss and she introduces him as her “boyfriend Pete” to Alexis Meynell and Lucas engages in a bit of one-upmanship and says “fiance Pete”!! In the commentary of that episode on the DVD Extras one of the guys calls them “the golden couple” and you can see what he means! πŸ˜‰

            Does that come over as TMI or is it sad that I remember all that info by heart? Obsessed? Moi?? πŸ™‚

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          2. no, not sad at all! I know what episode you’re talking about now & I liked them together in that scene a lot πŸ™‚ and the little story of Richard driving the car just for fun is cute!

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  12. Wow, you’ve got a lot of comments on this post! πŸ˜€ Truly, I just read everything and don’t get upset or angry over anything anyone writes. Coments, blogs, tweets, emails. Just hit delete or change the page if you don’t like ti. Everyone has their own opinions. Sometimes they are very different from mine. I do not wish to tell anyone what they should wrote or that they are wrong to write what they wrote. I hope others tolerate me in the same way. I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. Far from it! I myself feel embarrassed at some of the comments I’ve made, but no one has turned and said that I’m an idiot. So far. πŸ˜€ Thanks for a thought-provoking post Kelly!

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    1. right, so you don’t linger at the Post Office when you hear something you don’t like πŸ˜‰ simple, right? sometimes we use fandom/celebrity to distract ourselves from our real lives as an escape, but then we get so wrapped up in it that it defeats the purpose; it ends up being just as stressful as real life. that’s the point I was *trying* to make, the ending seems to have been misunderstood though :/

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      1. well, people have different levels of tolerance for opinions different from theirs. Fandom is a mixed bag at best. You never know. And I do know, because of my involvement with other fandoms. People have different reasons for being involved or choosing how involved to be. I KNOW I am obsessive, and when I am obsessed with something, person, or place, I want to know what all the opinions are, good and bad. Does that make sense. As far as RA’s next projects, I must say that I haven’t heard a thing that steps over the line for me. Not sure what you have seen. Hugs!

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        1. I don’t have a problem with differing opinions, I wouldn’t learn without them. it just seems like the comments that fans have been making concerning the lack of a next project is one of worry, and too much worrying/anxiety can be stressful. so it’s one of those situations where I want to save others the trouble of going down that path, because I’ve seen this type of thing play out before. is there a “fan protection mode” like the “armitage protection mode”? πŸ˜€ but you’re right, everyone has different levels…so, should I just let people run into each other in the dark, or hint to them where the light switch is? I figure if I mention it, they can either think about it or not. that’s better than not saying anything at all, because maybe it could help at least one person avoid that collision.

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          1. No, I think it’s fine for you to mention it. There are lots of people new to the whole deal. Unlike us seasoned fangirls! πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I think it’s fine to advise those over concerned fans to chill. It’s all good.

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