[Change of plan. I started writing the whole story here, from the unexpected invitation and the decision-making, moving on to the meeting, then the experience of the play and finally coming to a conclusion. But it occurs to me that you may want to skip the
Guylty me-me-me introspection. I am therefore separating the play review into a post of its own for easier access. Within this post you can jump to the headlines for the stuff that interests you. Review hopefully later today.]
I come from rather frugal and unfrivolous stock. My people up in the North of Germany are serious and self-reliant. We stoically accept what life throws at us and look to ourselves first to deal with the challenges we are faced with. Life is pretty linear – school, choice of career, family, work. It’s like a railroad track that you are set upon as soon as you enter school, and there are no detours. Flamboyancy is seen as frivolous. Eccentricities are a weakness of character, especially if they affect others. It is unnecessary to stand out from the crowd, except possibly with the naturally given talents that we individually have, but any outward signs of deviation from the norm are a nuisance. What will the neighbours say???
Why am I telling you this? To set the scene for the difficulty this escapee from the confines of Northern normality had when faced with an irresistable invitation. Mid-August I received an e-mail from Servetus, with the shocking disclosure that she was going to be in London, and the invitation to join her. Here was the conflict: Northern non-frivolity dictated to decline the offer. I had already seen the play a couple of weeks before and spent time and money on holidaying in London. To see a play twice? Unheard of! What a truly frivolous notion. Especially in the light of the fact that I *had* indeed already organised a second trip to London for the beginning of September where I was going to see the play another time, with another lot of fandom friends. So this unexpected trip would be a third opportunity to do so, involving time and financial commitment – and mostly some heavy arguing in front of husband whose patience already seemed at breaking point regarding the summer of
Armitage love. OTOH here was the once in a blue moon opportunity to meet one of my closest fandom friends. Someone who had welcomed me into the blog world, given me a temporary home there, who had inspired me and tickled my lazy brain continuously for the past two years, and with whom I had developed a long distance friendship. Could I really let this opportunity pass?
I nearly did. I immediately checked flights and reeled at fares, then faffed around for a day, communicating Servetus my time and money doubts late on Friday night. She graciously replied “The universe is in this for the long game — we’ll meet if it’s supposed to be.” When Servetus moved quickly and told me she was going to pass on her spare tickets to someone else,
envy reason struck. Fuck the universe, I thought. *I* am the universe, I thought. *I* can make it happen if *I* make the decision. I could make this meeting happen – London is an hour by plane. I can practically do day trips to London! Fuck the money. There is nothing more valuable in life than meeting people who you want to meet. And I also had my late father’s words in my ear who always maintained that it was worth spending money on occasions where you would be together with your friends because those were the memories that would last forever. I booked the flights immediately.
Meeting of Minds
well, Meeting of *the* Mind. Servetus’s, that is *ggg*.
With a certain amount of trepidation good old Guylty stepped on the plane early Tuesday morning. Trepidation not for meeting Servetus, but because of the cancelled show the night before. You see, the universe somehow seems to have a problem with me and potential Armitage encounters. It started in December 2012 after the flights to the first Hobbit premiere were already booked but when Jackson decided to move the premiere a day forward. I had to buy a new flight for the previous day and my RL RA friend D___ could not make it. Then desaster struck in December 2013 when the universe made me sleep through my alarm and I missed my flight to Berlin for the premiere. Before I went to London at the beginning of August, the universe made me pull a nasty stunt the night before my departure – I slipped on a piece of paper on the floorboards in my study and badly hurt my hip/tendons so that I could only walk in pain. And now the universe cancelled the show on Monday, clearly in an effort to discourage Guylty from travelling over.
Does someone here think she is the centre of the universe?? Well, I *am* the universe. *My* universe *ggg* But since I had resolved to ignore the universe’s attempts at annoying me, I paid it not heed, enjoyed the luxury of non-budget airline travel (Your all-inclusive breakfast croissants are a triumph, British Airways! And hail to Heathrow Airport and its easy tube connection! I have missed you so much!!!) and touched down in London mid-morning on Tuesday. With every mile I travelled closer to the hotel where Servetus was waiting for me, the excitement grew. I found it all without problem and immediately (a sign that the universe was finally on the same page as me – except for the pissing rain) and arrived at Servetus’ digs at lunchtime.
Was I nervous? Hell, yes. I I didn’t really have any doubts that we might not get along or have nothing to say to each other. But it was strange to think that we had shared so many insights about our lives already, and never to have spoken face-to-face or even on the phone. I actually paused outside the hotel to have a quick fag to calm my nerves. Then I went in and asked for Servetus at the reception. They called her down, and within minutes she strode towards me in the lobby. And that was it – no awkwardness, no pause, no fillers. We just launched right into it, all systems go. There seemed to be so much to say and to discuss that we talked without stopping. It was actually not very linear, jumping from topic to topic (mostly RA-related, of course), and even then we didn’t cover it all. Servetus was of course completely different from what I had imagined her to to be, much younger, much warmer, much funnier even. I felt immediately at ease with her, she is so non-judgmental. And she is just such a warm, compassionate person, with all sorts of wonderful ideas to make others happy. As Servetus already described in her post, we wandered to a restaurant for lunch and talked for hours. Then we made it back to the hotel to get ready for going out and we pottered down the road to the theatre. It was Servetus “first time” :-D, and I left her to take her seat in the auditorium while I attempted to visit the location for the Guidicini photo shoot, i.e. the upstairs bar in the Old Vic. Photo nut me wanted to check out the set up in there and find out whether my assumptions about the choice of backgrounds had been correct. But unfortunately only ticket-holders for the upper circles were allowed up there. So I also toddled over to my seat in the theatre…
The actual experience of the play I will discuss in a separate post later today. For now let me say this: Readers, I sat in the front row, and I nearly died, it was so good. It was no comparison to sitting in the second row. It was immediate, and raw, and not because I might have been choking on my own drool (far from it!) but because I was *in the play*. This was the gift that Servetus gave me. She gave me that ticket and therefore an experience that was unique.
A Preliminary Conclusion
But equally I valued the whole experience of the trip. If I had to quantify it, the play was 40 percent of the attraction. The best thing, for me, however, came free of charge (for Servetus), it was the liberation of acting on impulse and doing yet another “deRAnged” thing, and it was getting to meet a fellow fan. Lest you think I am being dismissive of Mr A’s stunning performances on and off stage – he was, of course, impressive! But well, I had had that experience before. So seeing *him* was secondary. Sorry Rich! ❤ It was simply great to finally put a face to the name. It was great to encounter a kindred spirit, to feel that we get along and have a basis for friendship that would extend beyond the shared appreciation of Mr A. And knowing how much the attendance at the play meant to her, I was also very touched, even chuffed or proud, that she allowed me to share that visceral moment with her.
We parted at lunchtime the next day, after a very late night and other noteworthy events that will pop up in later posts in the “DeRAnged” series :-D. I left London with my head swirling and my heart full. The only reason I could leave so easily was that I knew I was returning within the week. The summer of love was not over yet, and I came away from the flying visit with the knowledge that I had done the right thing, that it had been worth it in every way and I had once again been reassured that the personal aspect of fangirling within a community of like-minded people is one of if not *the* most valuable aspect of this activity – a clairvoyant notion that was reinforced a week later…