A Day in the Life of a Fangirl


Ok, let’s get this over and done with. The world of A___ has already moved on – to Madrid, and further, I suppose – while I am still stuck in the impressions of my own fangirling experience at the European Hobbit Premiere in Berlin. It takes time to digest everything – to think it over and to come to some kind of conclusion. I’ve written a report for me+richard which focussed on the essentials: observing Mr A at the red carpet, my alienated participation in that, and a first response. However, much more went on. After all, it was a whole day spent waiting for the event to begin – and I am not even talking about the run-up to it, the booking of flights, the designing of a poster, missing my initial flight and the subsequent turmoil. If you want a real look at the goings-on, here is my timeline of the whole day, pretty much warts and all. [Sorry, really long]

8.30 am: A buzz wakes me up. Not a good buzz. It’s the telephone. UtePirat tells me that the queuing has started. I wake my friend D___. Never have we been dressed and up as fast… Thermos with tea goes in the bag, as do a few sandwiches.

10 am: Arrival at Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn station. On the way up into Sony Center I spot a stationary shop. Quick thinking on my feet: Need some sticky tape to fix prepared poster to the railings. Buy some “power strips”, pre-empting Warner Bros thugs to rip posters down from their precious advertising.

10.10 am: We surface from the underground arcades right behind the red carpet railings. A quick scan reveals: All railing spots already taken. Mood plunges down. Where is the German lot? We aimlessly start wandering towards Sony Center centre. I pull out my phone to ring UtePirat, mumbling loudly “I must ring Ute”. A woman standing beside me gives me a suspicious look. It is Ute. Duh.

10.15 am: Ute leads me to the German board spot. Four ladies have bagged a spot in second row *meh* but right beside a bench *yeah*. They’ve held out since 7.30 am already. We make introductions and join them.

IMG_482310.30 am: First re-con of the premiere site. The red carpet is covered under plastic sheeting to shelter against the drizzle. There are security suits everywhere who are friendly enough but can not answer my question regarding the Warner Bros press office sufficiently. Where is German efficiency when you need it? Security man number 2 eventually points me to a black tent. No press people there yet. I take a few pictures of the site so far. We repair back to our fan base.

10.40 am: The German RArmy thinks my poster is insufficient because it is in German. Ha! Deliberately so! I am counting on Mr A’s curiosity. The idea is that he will recognise the words “A___ Army” – and then wonder what the rest may mean. It is a literal translation of the sign that my fangirling role model AwkwardCelebrityEncounters took to the Tornado-movie site where she met RA. It means A___ Army cannot keep calm. But most of all the sign is meant to show him where some of his German fans are placed.

11 am: I want to sit down. But the bench is wet. Nothing that a photographer isn’t equipped for: We always carry a refuse sack in our equipment bag. For spreading on the ground in unfavourable conditions – for instance when making pictures of mushrooms. Or ants. Or covered up red carpets. Also comes in handy when you don’t want to get your bum wet.IMG_4817

11.15 am: Waiting

11.20 am: Linda60 turns up. Yay.

11.30 am: Waiting

11.45 am: Waiting (you get the picture)

12 pm: Four and a half hours still to go. *sighs*

12.30 pm: This is ridiculous. I am far too old for this shit.

12.45 pm: I feel like a teenager. I have been thrown back to my sporting times when I was so excited that I couldn’t eat all day before a race. I can go to the toilet, though. Off to Starbum’s for the loo a cup of chai latte.

12.50 pm: Major crisis. Only one toilet in Starbum’s. And 15 girls queuing. Ah, at least an opportunity to connect with other lunatics fans. A girl from England has made a fabulous Smaug outfit. There are fans from Spain, Holland, all over Europe. Hold on, the loo queue has moved an it is my turn next. Desaster strikes: The loo has run out of toilet paper. Literal bummer. In that case I will not buy a chai latte in return. Starbum’s sends emergency delivery of loo roll. I reconsider my refusal to buy a drink in Starbum’s.IMG_4829

1 pm: Last try at finding the press office. Still no sign of them. That’s it. I have made up my mind – fangirling is more fun among fangirls rather than with cynical, macho photographers who will judge me on the size of my appendages lenses.

1.05 pm: Back at base. Get a scolding from Linda60 and UtePirat who have been fighting tooth and nail for our spot. From now on no more than one person may leave the fan base at any one time. We exercise our elbows and our verbal defenses by engaging the Spanish contingent next to us in a turf war. We were here first. Back off.

1.10 pm – 2.30 pm: We are asserting our presence by surreptitiously edging further to the left and right. I continuously keep my left should defensively stuck into the young woman’s face to my left. Until she sweetly offers me to come closer. I feel bad and start a conversation. “So who are you here for?” A chorus of four voices chimes “R___ A___!” Arrrrrgh – sistahs in RA, and I have been bullying them with my left shoulder. We quickly bond but it takes another quarter of an hour until we realise that I “know” two of them from tumblr!!! I have even exchanged messages with “richards-smile” as she was my secret Valentine earlier this year. Cod, the world is so small. We have a great time chatting and entertaining each other with all sorts of trivia and info about the object of our fangirling.

3 pm: More waiting. I test the suitability of our spot for taking pictures. Strategically, this is the business: I can stand on the bench easily overlooking two rows of fangirls at the railings in front of me. Well, if I am honest, I could do that while standing on the ground – they are pleasantly short. But from up there I get an unrestricted view of anyone who should happen to stand on the red carpet. A row of spotlights is illuminating the red carpet on our spot from above. Great for light. Plus I get a view of who is making their way up from the beginning of the red carpet. Bonus: The other side of the red carpet only has space for one row of people. We’ll be the throng that can’t be ignored.

3.05 pm: Three and a half hours to go.

4 pm: Waiting. A nice, young woman steps on the bench behind me and edges closer, disclosing herself as a Cumberbatch fan.

photo 14.15 pm: If I should ever fly to New Zealand I will make it Air New Zealand. They have sent their air hostesses down the red carpet with free coffee and hot chocolates and they are handing out nice cards for collecting autographs on. Bonus: The image on the front of the autograph card is the House of Durin in all its splendour: Fili, Thorin and Kili. UNF.

5.30 pm: My feet are cold. It is drizzling continuously. I have had it. I am going home.

5.31 pm: Just joking.

6 pm: We’re nearly there. I know that because there are more people vying for our coveted spot. Some nasties have already placed one foot on the bench. I am firmly planted up there, and have made friends with the nice Cumberbabe behind me on the bench. She’s my living, breathing Oakenshield. In return I’ll take some pictures of Cumberbatch for her. The first invited guests arrive. I don’t recognise anyone. Are these just German C-celebrities or have I simply lost touch with the German entertainment business??

6.30 pm: The event is starting. I get my camera ready – a few test shots and I decide to shoot without flash for the beginning, cranking up the ISO instead and deciding later to switch to flash. The German presenters are babbling, and all of sudden there is massive excitement. Martin Freeman has just zoomed past us. What? Where? How? I didn’t even see a flash of blond hair???

IMG_4887And now we are rolling. I spot Dan Hannah, production designer for the Hobbit. Then Philippa Boyens. I am focussed on her and nearly miss Mama A___ and family walking past. Then that must mean… And yes – there is the first glimpse. Elvis A___ is in the building. I spot his dark head ten metres down the red carpet. The realisation hits me like a fist in my stomach. OMG OMG OMG. I click away. Trying to get A___ in my viewfinder. UtePirat has taken on the responsibility of holding the sign. My friend D___ is on autograph duty. A___ comes closer. Chatting to fans, smiling, signing autographs, posing for photos for and with fans.

I click away. Stupid sign is in my line of vision. Who had the shitty idea of making such a big sign? RA keeps his head down, moving along the railings. I am frantically looking through the viewfinder, framing, focussing, holding, releasing the shutter. No time to check on the screen whether and what I am capturing. Whoa!!! What was that? I think he just looked up. He looked directly into the camera. Well, the camera is hard to ignore, massive big thing, plus I am way up above the others in front of me. Clickclickclick, look up, Armitage, look up again, but no, he is keeping his head down because he has to sign sign sign the autograph sheets that are held out to him.

And off he goes. In a flash he is past us. Half obscured by people between me and him, I still click away, without much plan, just shooting. When he crosses the red carpet to sign on the other side, I remember one of Serv’s posts after the LA Premiere – somebody remembered to take a picture from behind. I shoot off a series of shots to catch the peaches cut of the suit.mosaic7a7ceea9c99917db8afadac3abeb26e042376fb7

And then he vanishes from our line of sight, but I am in shooting mode and the line of actors walking up the red carpet doesn’t end. Martin Freeman has returned and does his autograph run now. After him Ed Sheeran. Peter Jackson takes his time and chats and poses. Next up is Adam Brown – what an expressive face. Such a cheerful fella. He looks up at me and smiles widely. Followed by his pal Graham McTavish – very impressive man. He gives Adam a hearty man-hug which I just about capture. Sylvester McCoy. Ken Stott (the man with the most legible autograph!) My countryman Aidan Turner turns up. Erin go bragh!!! And who should be with him but “brother” Deano. Aidan smiles very sweetly at everyone, interrupted by a joking Dean O’Gorman.

IMG_5112And then Benedict Cumberbatch. I take more images of him than of anyone else – even more than A___  – because he takes his time. He makes my evening, btw, because just as he stops in front of me, my friend D___ prompts him to look up at me. He stops, looks up, poses with a smile. As I take down my camera, he sweetly says “Thank you!” I gratefully smile back at him, shaking my head, emphasising “No, thank *you*”, and he insists a second time: “Thank you!” What a charming, man – a media pro, though. Andy Serkis signs away. Finally, the only woman on the show makes her way towards us, Evangeline Lilly. Very pretty, very smily, very nice, reacting to the fans and signing away. I am so focussed on her that I nearly miss Orlando Bloom – but then again, I think he misses us, too.

7.30 pm: Boom, and that is the end. The stars have passed through, the throng very quickly clears. We are all in a daze. Was that it? What is happening now? Interviews have been going on, I have heard A___’s voice over the tannoy, but I have no idea what he has been saying. Someone says something about A___’s suit. And I sudddenly realise that I have no idea what he looked like. In fact I have no recollection of the one minute it took him to pass through my line of vision. At all. I have a vague idea that I noticed his nice hair, and how his eyelashes fanned out on his cheeks while he was concentrating on signing autographs. The others tell me now that Armitage’s assistant had spotted our sign and pointed it out to Armitage. RA paused and looked up. Then asked what it meant. *fistpump* Yes – just what I wanted. Apparently his to female companions took photos of it.

AA sign

7.45 pm: D___ and I are cool. But not in the right way. Cold from the day waiting in the drizzle We just want to get away. Old and weary bones. And a lot swirling around in our heads.

And so the event ends. When we get home, we hardly talk about the event. My brain is only processing what we have just observed and I notice that I find it hard to actually declare whether it was good or bad or what. While I usually can’t wait to pass on my opinion to the RArmy, I feel strangely detached and silent on the issue. But I write a note to myself to commit the fresh memory to posterity:

Berlin – 9/12/2013, 11.45 pm

The main thing is that he has become real – which makes the fantasy figure difficult.There is a living, breathing individual behind the pretty images I see every day, who has moods and thoughts and a life.

I am trying to come to terms with my decision to be behind the camera and work. The Event passed me by – R___ passed me by. I did not live the event, I worked it, and I have no reccollection of the moment he was there, really, apart from the pics on my camrea. At the exact time it was happening, I was concentraitng on shapes and arrangements, on aperture and shutter speed, and I did not think to look up and say “hello R___” or ask him a question or just simply look at him and observe…

I am pleased, though, that he did notice my sign that UtePirat had agreed to hold up. He turned to the red carpet assistant to ask what it meant – no idea whether she translated correctly. And before you ask – yes, it was deliberate that I wrote the sign in German, because I *wanted* him to stop and ask. Preferably us rather than the assistant, though, and certainly not the two foreign girls in front of us who did not have a clue…

I realise I have no idea what he really looked like close-up – because I didn’t see him. I was photographing some skin and hair and blue eyes at the time *ggg*. He did not really stop and interact. Although – he actually noticed me with my camera – I was standing on a bench above the rest of the crowd, and he looked up, straight at the camera. And what happened? Yeah, guess  what – I fucked it up. I am disappointed with my photos – the high ISO has resulted in grainy images, and the large aperture meant that the image is out of focus most of the time because the subject was not holding still. So even in the post-event evaluation the photographer takes over from the fangirl and determines the final conclusion.

And maybe that is why I am so strangely detached and definitely post partum about the event – I didn’t get the pics that I wanted, and that irks me and annoys me. I am not blaming Mr A. Well,  a little bit. He was too fast, he could not get through it fast enough, and that made it doubly difficult… Plus, I am pissed off with myself for having decided on the wrong approach. I was caught on the wrong foot, essentially – he turned up too early, I had not expected him. I was going to do a few test shots with flash and without – but then he was already there and I had no time to rummage in bag and get flash on. Shhitshitshit.

It is only the next day that I have gained enough detachment and equilibrium that I can see the previous day clearly again. It was a truly memorable experience, a unique experience. And not really because I was in the presence of that actor whom I like for a mere two seconds or because I got two good shots out of 420. It was great because I did something that most of my friends would not even consider doing in their dreams. I did something that only served the purpose of sating my curiosity – a luxury. And I got a valuable lesson in event photography, something that truly enhances my knowledge and gives me new insights

In hindsight, I am struck by the weirdness of the event, though. Even while I was there it reminded me of a circus. Or even worse, a zoo. There were the precious, exotic animals on one side of the fence, and on the other side the public, reaching out to feed them and touch them, and flashing their cameras at them. How utterly, utterly bizarre. I kind of understand that the celebs have to take part in that circus – they are promoting a film. But why the hell are we there? Waiting for 8 hours on a winter day, outside, in the rain, for a glimpse – a GLIMPSE – of another human being which also walks and stalks on two feet, consists of 75 percent water like you and me, ok, possibly nicer to look at and endowed with talent, but ultimately – how ludicrously mad!

But would I do it again? Yes I would. Because this was not a wasted day, at all. It was full of good humour. Something that made me feel alive and happy. There could not be a better outcome of any endeavour. Fangirling – a tonic!


69 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Fangirl

  1. Whoa. Even as a second-hand experience, there’s so much to process.
    Bottom line – I’m glad you did it. 🙂

    And the pics are beautiful! All of them, especially Graham and Adam.


    • Yeah, there was a lot going on. At the time, however, it seemed as if time was not passing AT ALL… The anticipation was what kept us going, I guess.
      Adam was so sweet. He has got such a great face. And he and Graham took their time, which was really nice. I wish I had gotten a better look at Dean. It was amusing though, that Dean and Aidan turned up together… Martin was also in good form – quite a friendly face.


  2. Love everything about this. Reading about your experience almost made me feel I was there, and your observations and reflections were hugely interesting. Thanks for sharing!


    • Glad you like it, Hottie 🙂 I am surprised you weren’t there, a resident, AND honourary RArmy member. *tuttuttut* We may have to recall your membership… 😉 Kidding.


  3. absolutely loved this account! I personally could not go through that and not be a total grump (really liked your story of the “turf-war” 😆 ) your reflections of feeling like you missed the event by trying to capture it resonated with me greatly also (I rely on memories vs. pics/journaling for most things, but that approach definitely has pros and cons to it 😕 ) but above all, I’m glad that *you’re* glad that you did it 🙂 sometimes the fact that you were able to experience something is worth more than the experience itself (for me, that would be white-water- rafting…which sounds oddly similar to the chaos that happens when those celebs set foot on the carpet 😉 )


    • You know, it was just too surreal to take it too seriously, I think. I was quite aware of my own fan expectations in relation to RA, and I deliberately kept them at a minimum. My photography expectations not so much – they were what brought me down.
      I think you are right about the *ability* to experience vs the experience itself. Ultimately, any event is what *we* make of it, and even if we only make it something in hindsight. Maybe this was yet another dress rehearsal for the big one *ggg*?


  4. Thank you for sharing your experience, Guylty! I appreciate your pictures and your insightful account so much. I wish Armitage lingered much longer in interacting with fans, giving you a chance to take better pictures but most of all, lower the camera and see him with your own eyes. One thing that I’d like to ask, having seen him in the flesh, from the POV of a writer, would this make your ficlets easier or harder to do?


    • You’ve put your finger on the sorest spot, MM :-D. Having now come face to face with the real person, I feel that something has shifted. It’s not so much that my imagination is stifled. He’s every bit what you see in the photo shoots or on screen. And that feeds the imagination rather than stifle it. Who can resist an attractive human being? But I feel a bit more aware of the individual behind the photos. He’s not quite fair game anymore.
      In some ways my opinion of what he might be like has changed but that does not really impact the fictitious RA that I write about. For me, personally, RPF has always been a slightly tricky issue, although I think my own stuff has been fairly innocent. As an immediate reaction I feel slightly ficlet-ted out at the moment, though. Could be caused by the overload of premiere footage, too.


      • I don’t read RPF except your little ficlets (although I have peeked on AO3 but never finished any stories that I’ve started reading) so I only have your ficlets to go by. I asked only because two actors (Chris Noth and Benicio del Toro) whose characters I used as the muse for stories in the past ended up placing a realistic layer on the muse that I had created after I met them in person, in the end “killing” the muse because I couldn’t separate the actor from the character I had envisioned. I don’t know if that makes any sense but I’ll never forget that horrible feeling of sitting in front of the keyboard and trying to call the muse to play and the actor was the one who’d come out.


        • I can imagine what you mean. I haven’t had any such reaction yet (I only started writing fiction when I delved into my little ficlets a few months ago). But I remember being unable to separate the actor from the character when I saw Ralph Fiennes a few years ago in the theatre. I kept thinking “That’s Ralph Fiennes there”, totally ruining the amazing play I was watching (The Faith Healer by Brian Friel). Ultimately that is the crux for actors – with growing celebrity they lose their power to vanish in a role. Our celebrity culture doesn’t help…


  5. Great play-by-play! I felt like I was standing there with you, cold and wet but warmed by the fellowship of the fandom(s). Glad that you aligned forces with the Cumberbabe. Classy fans of classy actors need to stick together…… ^_^

    It’s tricky, reconciling our fandom-selves with our real-selves and our work-selves and all the rest. Always good to read an introspective take on all this. I think the third time’ll be the charm for you, something tells me….


    • Your word in God’s (RA’s?) ears, ACE!! Third time lucky, maybe. But yes, this was an occasion where my various selves actually all converged: the grown-up woman, the photographer, the fangirl. They actually got along fine and I didn’t think any one of them was out of place. It was actually nice to have them all there, something that is not possible a lot of the time.


  6. It’s hard to imagine 10+ hours of waiting for less than an hour of “action” and even less of the person you most want to see. I don’t think I could do it. I’m also not good in crowds so that is a big deterrent for me. That said, I am grateful that you (and others) are willing to brave the discomfort and expense and share it with us. I particularly like the timeline here and your very honest comments. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us your story.


    • It’s mad, in a way, and I was conscious of that. But I am luckily at a stage in my life where I feel quite comfortable saying “I don’t give a fuck what others think – I am going to be myself”. Crowds occasionally put me off, too. In this case, it was relatively relaxed, although we did have a couple of hairy scenes with people pushing and shoving. What I very much enjoyed, however, was the collective energy that was buzzing around. Everybody was so excited, everybody was so happy, so full of expectation. I found there was an enormous amount of positive energy around, and I really loved that.
      PS: Sharing the story is no hardship. The event has become better in my memory ever since I started sharing it with you all. There is more positive energy being released that way, and I live on that.


  7. Replying late but had to say how great your journey was.You did it, not afraid to out yourself as a fan and the judgers be damned.I thought it was interesting that you seemed to be pulled in two directions, pro phtographer and fan girl.You described both roles very well. Thanks for sharing your day.


    • It’s all part of the journey as a fangirl, I suppose – reconciling your various selves with each other on such an occasion. Whenever I have my camera on me at events, I feel the pull of the photographer. As a result, I generally do not bring my cameras to concerts and festivals anymore because I know that I will miss out on the actual enjoyment of the event if I get into shooting mode. In this case I just *had to* bring the camera – a self-imposed obligation to please the Army. I’d do that again, if I went to another red carpet, though – it is just too good an opportunity to miss. The fangirl was present, too, but more so during the waiting and while interacting with the other fans than when the celebs passed by. Maybe the fangirl is simply a smaller part of myself than the photographer.
      Thanks for commenting, Kathy 🙂


  8. Great report of a ludicrous day, I still can just remember half of it. Need to pinch myself again and again.
    Huge apologies for giving you a scolding 🙂 🙂
    “Ability to experience vs the experience itself” gives me food for thought…
    Aahh, this was just the dress rehearsal (a true bright spark am I), the premiere will happen on another day, what a relief.


    • Hehe, my account is to be taken with a pinch of salt… “scolding” 😉
      Seeing this only as (another) dress rehearsal makes it easier to digest it and feel happy about it, I think. There’s always next year. It’s good to have something to look forward to. “All good things come in threes”!


  9. Everything she said!

    I’m thinking that the rigor of attending these events is like childbirth. In time, your mind blanks out the inconvenience and pain, and you’re left with the glorious product.

    As you wallow in your memories for the next few weeks, don’t forget to enjoy the “euphoria that comes from spontaneous frivolity.” (Thank you Ms. Gigglepants for that wonderful description.)

    You hit the nail on the head with your last three paragraphs: doing it is key, not how “it” actually goes. That we serious, responsible, yes middle-aged women are able to liberate ourselves from our real lives and indulge in these silly, group activities is what we have in common. Something compels us to put aside the “why” and feed an inner need — and we amplify it by encouraging others!

    Guylty, thank you, thank you for writing this up. You’ve hit on so many details I experienced watching the assorted premieres online and attending the Hobbit Fan Event in New York in person — especially being clueless about contemporary celebrities (including the cast, by the way, the only one besides RA whom I knew in advance was Ian McKellen!) to being “too old for this shit.” (The last-minute online lottery for fan event tickets necessitated stressful scrambling for transportation and other arrangements. At one point, I wailed to my ticket buddy, “I’m a grownup. Can’t I just BUY a ticket?”)

    From your story, I now appreciate the biggest advantage of the Hobbit Fan Event even more. Not to rub it in, but…we got to sit in comfy chairs and stare at Mr. Armitage for a whole hour. Dreamy!!!


    • Thank you, Besotted, for your response. I am glad that you can confirm some of my general observations about fangirling in general and events like this in particular.
      I didn’t really mind that attending a red carpet event means having to stand around. The advantage of red carpet fangirling over a seated event is the immediacy of the experience – and the easier access to the celeb. We *could* have exchanged a few words with him if we had wanted to, something that is impossible in a theatre situation such as the NY Fan Event. However, I’d love to experience one of those, too – just for comparison. It’s probably easier to simply sit back and observe in that scenario – mainly because that is all you *can* do. I’d probably not like it as much because it by and large excludes photography. That sounds weird now, after I have been lamenting my lack of engagement due to concentrating on photographing at the event. I guess I like to have the option open to me – and make a conscious decision whether I will or won’t take pictures.
      I had to laugh about your “Can I not just buy a ticket”-moan. I totally second that. 😀 Mind you – it would make these events extra-exclusive if they were all ticketed.
      And to get back to what you said at the beginning – the parallels to childbirth. You are so right – the pain of the day (waiting, standing, asserting our space, boredom) very quickly vanishes from memory, and only the highpoint remains. An hour after the birth of my first-born I already said that I wanted another baby – and much like that I knew right after this event that I would do it again.


  10. Yeah, I reblogged this because my blog is about obsessive behavior, and you certainly have demonstrated it beautifully! 😀 I admire your determination!! I am considering a trip next year to wherever the world premiere will be held. Hope it’s London!! I so relate to your mixed feelings as well. There is a real downside to the excitement of seeing your “crush” in real life. Someone told me it’s a drop in adrenaline. LOL! Glad you enjoyed the experience in the end.


    • Hahahaha, not sure if I am comfortable with being labelled as “obsessed” *ggg*. Yes, I have determination, but changing plans and buying new flights was easy enough – accomodation was free and the flights were budget. I don’t think my “obsession” would go as far as travelling to another continent…
      Interesting – the encounter as an adrenaline drop. I would say that it was actually the opposite. I felt a definite rush of adrenaline during the encounter. And only *afterwards* that stopped. But pretty quickly. In hindsight I am glad I did not have to interact. The experience has confirmed for me that I do not want to do that.


        • Ah yes. I think that is also down to having achieved a goal. Once that has been done – what else is there to do and to look forward to?? I keep wondering whether I am deliberately stalling myself with my fan journey, hiding behind the camera, not wanting to interact – so that I can tell myself I can and will still do that in the future? The fangirl mind is a perverse thing…


  11. Sorry for the delay in commenting. I’ve been in that Kino many, many, many times, I could imagine the whole scene — and I thought, to stand there an entire day to see a glimpse of him from afar? I’d rather just imagine him in the space. Too much rational calculation on my part, I think, but as I’ve said earlier it impressed me that you did this.

    The question of how memories change valence is one that’s always fascinated me (and is present in my research), because our memories are heavily conditioned by our needs at the moment we form them and the changes in those needs as time rolls on. It’ll be interesting to learn how you think about this again in another year when you make your next red carpet decision (or not), and then again in the years after that, what you tell people about it and the advice you give on this basis, which nuances get stronger and which ones fade.


    • Yes, Serv. There is an element of madness in the whole thing. Although I find that applies less to the fact that I was willing to wait for 8 hours but to the whole scenario that I described as a circus. *That* is what I find ludicrous. I suppose I am too old and too egalitarian for situations like that. I just don’t believe in the cult of celebrity – despite my fan activities! The latter are less concerned with RA’s celebrity but more with his talents and with his function in my life. Tbh, it was not really hard to make the decision to go to Berlin. Or to justify it to anyone. My family knows – my in-laws, my kids, my husband. I think they enjoy the fact that I am displaying certain behaviours that are not usually associated with people of my age and situation.
      Memories are fleeting things – and malleable, changeable. My memories of the event are not just my own – I suspect I have also taken on board memories of others who attended, and I have made them mine. Memories are self-censored – we only remember what we *want* to remember. I am actively choosing to exclude some impressions that I had because they do not fit my general view of RA. In a way, memories can’t be trusted. Maybe that is why I choose photography over the camera in my head?


      • Obviously a huge topic — but yes. The camera vs the camera in our heads. I looked at a lot of photos in a hurry the last week of August and I was amazed at what I saw in some of them.


          • I had to put together a collage of photos of mom for the visitation for the funeral (a custom around here — one that’s gradually disappearing in favor of projecting power point slides). I hadn’t looked at a lot of those photos since they were taken and the memories I associate with them are really different than some of what the photos show. In particular — I was a much cuter kid than anyone around me ever let on.


  12. I felt exactly the same after London last year, I should have held the paperback book for the autographs and my daughter the camera. I felt removed from the event. If it’s London next time I’ll know better but then there is the fear that he will not stop, it’s a complex thing being a ‘fan’.
    Saw the film last night and can’t stop thinking about it but don’t feel up to speaking about it. Weird feeling.
    I am glad you went it’s the things in life we don’t do that we regret.


    • Your last sentence! Yes – and I regret nothing.
      As for the reaction to the film – I saw it last night too and loved it. But like you I find it hard to formulate my response. I think I am suffering a bit of an Armitage overload this week. Berlin, then the Madrid premiere, catching up with all the interviews. And finally majestic Thorin. There really is an element of oversaturation here. A bit like having stuffed oneself on a nice meal. I have to work this off first…


    • Great – that’s the intention of my post :-D. Really, it is much fun, but most of it is really in the entertainment the fans provide themselves. RA is merely the catalyst or the bonus. See you in London then.


  13. Even by my standards, i’m late to this thread but it’s been a busy few days and i wanted to reread the post a couple of times as you raise so many interesting points. In particular, the notion that memory is fluid and subjective. I hope that’s something we can revisit when the current fuss has died down.

    It’s a great story and i once again take my hat off to all the intrepid souls who turn out to these events. I don’t think i would – although i can relate to your pleasure at the euphoria in the crowd from my Sydney Q&A experience. I think in the end, meeting other fans and being part of the event was as much a thrill as seeing RA in the flesh. And i can also relate to your ‘flat’ feeling afterwards, as well as the feeling that your perception of the man has shifted.

    Back to THAT photo – i don’t care what you say – it’s become a favorite of mine. I saw it on Pinterest (with you acknowledged) and it gave me such a thrill. As Obscura said, i felt pride in ‘knowing’ you and feeling a personal connection with the photograph.

    Thank you.


    • Dear Bolly – your comments are welcome *any* time. There is no half-life on them – well, from my point of view.
      I think you really put your finger onto it when you said that being part of an event leaves just as much of a thrill as seeing RA in the flesh at the said event. I am not saying that to gloss over my initial confusion or possibly disappointment – it truly was such a memorable day, and even though RA was kind of present for us all day, it was mainly the other fans that made the day.
      What you said about “THAT photograph” makes me very happy, Bolly. Less so because you think it is good (I just can’t overcome my own niggling with it), but because of the things you said afterwards. The pictures have served their purpose. I took them not just for myself, but I had the fandom in mind. I wanted to deliver something back to all of you with whom I communicate on a regular basis and who have been instrumental in my own development as a photographer. I was hoping I could catch the feel of the moment, and that you would see the event through my eyes. If I have captured that, then I have succeeded.
      Thank you so much! xxx


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