The Autumn of #LoveLoveLove – Part 4: Thanks

There is something I have omitted so far, when it comes to my series of posts on seeing LLL in New York. I have talked about (some of) the fan fun, but really, there are some thanks due, too. Even though I have got nothing to do with Thanksgiving, as a European, yesterday’s tweets and posts reminded me of that. For those of us who travelled long distances from all corners of the Earth to see a play with our favourite actor man in it, a huge part of the experience was being welcomed – and entertained – by our American sisters-in-RA. This was actually a theme that I observed in many tweets that were posted before and since I have been to NYC myself.

 

NYC is an amazing place to visit, at the best of times. The sights, the cultural programme on offer, the American dream alone, makes for an exciting and eventful stay. But even in a bustling city you could feel lost and alone if you cannot share what you are experiencing. And let’s face it – an Armitage live performance plus SD is *always* a highly emotional experience that is hard to digest just on your own. Someone has to provide after-care in the wake of bursting ovaries… Now, personally, I was lucky to have Linda60 as my travel companion, which was a great relief when I initially arrived. Having made it to NYC a day before me, Linda60 had already sussed out the lay of the land in the vicinity of our frankly rather basic hotel – free wi-fi availability, nearest Pret-a-Manger, and most importantly – quickest route to Laura Pels Theater.

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For someone who travelled more than 5000 kilometers to get to NYC, I felt reassured by the fact that I was not going to be alone in New York, but meeting people I *knew* – even though I had never met them before. The fandom – a safety net for those of us who travelled long-distance. And more than that because not only were we welcomed, but also hosted. Not necessarily in terms of providing accommodation, but for meetings and dinners and tours. So, in advance of my Wednesday-to-Wednesday stay in NYC, I had received a couple of kind invitations to meet with New Yorkers. Those “dates” provided a framework and a rough schedule, apart from the performances of LLL I had booked. Something to hold on to and look forward to, while there.

The first such meeting took place on Friday, lunchtime, with Armitagebesotted. We met in Bryant Park, one of those little parks in the middle of Manhattan, that I found pretty ingenious: The few open outdoor spaces that are there in New York, are public parks, equipped with tables and chairs, where you can bring your own food and eat your lunch. Which is exactly what we did – among much excited chatter about being in New York and seeing Richard perform on stage. But Armitagebesotted had a massive surprise up her sleeve for me. She wanted to take me on a tour of the New York Public Library which is right there at the Eastern end of Bryant Park. Destiny destination #1 – the NYPL happened to be one of the sights I had on my tentative sightseeing list for NYC. Armitagebesotted guided me (and Linda60) through this impressive building, showed us the beautiful reading rooms and even did a quick research on my (in-law) artist ancestor in the reference room. Thank you very much for that, J!

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Thimg_7331-sme next day I had reserved for some quality time with the fandom’s resident antiquity expert, Obscura. Sure, we had spent time together on our little AHA tour of Greece, but with the group shenanigans taking precedence over individual pairings in Greece, now was the opportunity for one-on-one time. Not a New Yorker herself, Obscura kindly allowed me to tag along on her mission of the day – she wanted to visit The Cloisters, a branch of the Met Museum, which consists of a set of several, original medieval cloisters which were shipped from Europe and reassembled in a custom-built museum high above the Hudson River on the edge of Manhattan. Destiny destination #2 – another one from my list of “Things to do in NYC”. We had a brilliant day with culture, history, and lots of chatting about fandom, life and Armitage – and some craft material shopping for our make-shift medal for Mr A.

The same afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Donna – fellow fan, generous supporter of various charity auctions, and fellow traveller on Obscura’s official Greek tour earlier this year. We had missed meeting each other in Athens, but it was fabulous to meet her and her lovely daughter Michelle aka “The Enabler” in NYC, and we had much fun in the theatre and at the SD together.

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You are seeing a rare glimpse of me here with Donna (subject to deletion) after the Sunday matinée, but heck, evidence of our existence has already been captured in various SD videos. (Aside: I even showed Mimi’s video of the SD to Mr Guylty, as an example of what goes down when fans meet RA. He watched silently and only remarked “oh, that’s you”. Ominous.) I have applied a little more discretion to the identity of another lovely New York fan, whom Donna and I are flanking in the picture above. She deserves a special mention because her kindness blew me away:

That day, when I came to take (my favourite) seat in the theatre, C 9 FYI, due to extraordinarily good view of Armitagean fuzzy forearms in Act 2, a friendly woman was already sitting in the adjacent seat. While I was my usual over-excited, giddy self in advance of the performance, legging it over to the other side of the auditorium to have a pre-show chat with Donna, she waited patiently to introduce herself to me. It turned out that she is DaphneHS who has been delighting us with many a report on the SD over on Twitter for the last couple of months. She has also been a generous supporter of my charity auctions, and she topped it off by handing over two *signed* Playbills of LLL for me and/or future auctions! I was stunned! And not only that – when I later expressed my worries to her that I had been tasked with bringing back a couple of LLL posters from NYC but worried they would get damaged in my suitcase, she immediately offered to put them into a poster roll and send them to me, free of charge! How nice was that?! Those were unexpected kindnesses that I am still speechless about. Thank you so much, Daphne!img_9395

On Monday, Perry was in town and had suggested a meeting. Linda60 and I met her in a café around the corner from our hotel where she gifted me the section of the New York Times with the review of LLL (which contains much flattering praise for Mr A!) – and a very naughty mint tin *nuff said*. Perry wanted to show us around her old neighbourhood, which led us past the Dakota Building only to arrive at destiny destination #3: Central Park. The park was lovely in its autumn colours, and we had a brief wander around, from Strawberry Fields towards Bethesda Fountain. A great way to spend an afternoon in New York! Thank you for guiding and entertaining us!

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img_9393Finally, my last fan meeting almost didn’t happen because I had neglected using Twitter as a tool for hooking up with people. When I eventually remembered to tweet, New Yorker Pat got in touch, incredulous that I was in her town. That was Tuesday morning, my last day before leaving on the next. We managed to squeeze a meeting in, and Pat invited me for dinner on my own turf, so to speak – we convened in the German pub around the corner from my hotel *lol*. Time passes, when you are having fun, and the hour we had together was far too short – I had to leg it to the theatre quite fast, in order to make it on time for my last show… But it was lovely to meet Pat in person, and I was grateful that she reached out to me…
During the course of the seven days in NYC, I also had the pleasure of spending time to chat with Zan and Judiang, Chazak, Jazzbaby, in the designated post-show meeting point, the Irish pub across the street. It gives me much amusement that I ended up in Irish and German pubs respectively and exclusive during my stint in New York… As if I was missing home. It was coincidence, I assure you. I also reconnected with Kathy who made her way from the West Coast and wove her inimitable SD spell over us and Mr A. Mimi flew in from Utah, laden with gifts for my currently pitifully dormant shrining enterprise, instigating lots of antics and spreading her trademark cheer. And not to forget the new and nameless contacts with fans from all over the world whom the play, the SD – and most of all the shared admiration of affection for Mr A brought together and with whom I chatted in the theatre and at the SD. It was simply great putting a *real*, unedited and undisguised face and person (!) to your social media handles.

To loop back to the beginning, I would like to thank everyone whom I met in New York. Besotted, Perry, Daphne and Pat made me feel so welcome in their city. As did so many other American fan friends whom I met at the play, welcoming me to your country. You are a credit to NYC, the US, doing your absolute best to entertain us and not feel like strangers in a strange land. Knowing that you were there, made the whole experience of going to and being in NYC so much better for me.  Not only did you spoil me with your time and attention, but also gifts and tours. It was reassuring to know you were there, and I know that you have extended this courtesy and hospitality to many other fans, too. That is the spirit of love love love. Thank you! ❤️

 

 

47 thoughts on “The Autumn of #LoveLoveLove – Part 4: Thanks

  1. Well said, S! Thanks for writing this post. I can’t go to NYC, and you’ve made me feel as if I had been there. I’m glad you had a lovely time on that particular trip!

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  2. It’s more than the icing on the cake 🙂 The perfect trip in all respects and even the weather smiled on you 🙂 Glad you also got to meet some of the wonderful people here 🙂

    It’s my deepest regret .. 2 trips with incredible effort and i seem to only ever manage 1 day or less in what seems like a truly amazing city.

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    • You are so right – we were extremely lucky with the weather. The first couple of days it was so mild, I even took my jacket off. It then got a bit colder, but never wet – until the day of my departure. How very fitting.
      Ideally, long trips such as transatlantic flights, should always be for more than two days. I was lucky it worked out that way for me, but even if it doesn’t for you, it is still worth the trip. I am keeping my fingers crossed, anyway.

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      • I hope it is, i went back down memory lane tonight triggered by dinner with friends. My only visit to the US is some 22 years back now, i was at uni and i just remembered a whole load of stuff… i don’t think i ever told you i’ve been inside the White House… and Congress 🙂 And on top of the Empire State Building… and at the World Trade center.. i have a photograph in the album back home of my flag among all the other ones. And i’ve seen the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell 🙂 And a whole load of museums which were beyond impressive. I remember exactly all the wonderful impressions about the country and the people. Only a very small part of it is NY, my time was spent mostly between Washington and Philly and surroundings. Shocking to think back on how times have changed. My memories have an overwhelming feeling of freedom, nice people and openness about them.

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        • That sounds like an amazing trip. Were you on a scholarship or something like that? You got to see some really interesting places and sights! Incidentally – you must have been in the US in 1994 then – which is when I was in DC, too, on an exchange from my university. Just imagine – we may have passed each other on the Mall *haha*…

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          • Yes it was back in 1994! seems like a lifetime ago:-) I was visiting family, have a British uncle who worked and lived in the States since then, they lived outside Philly at the time so we were lucky to be close to big cities. And he’s a keen historian and knew we’d love to see the sights. In Washington it was just me and my mum but we certainly made the most of our week there, i loved the city. And yes, imagine!! Some things are just Karma! 🙂 I am really glad we got to go in more ‘innocent’ times when there was much less security concern. I had a quick look out of curiosity and these days visits are only possible with special permission/invitations and the like. Sad. We had very very little money, it wouldn’t have been possible to visit if museums and everything wouldn’t have been free and we had not been lucky enough to stay at my teacher’s place while she was away. I remember we ate cornflakes and crackers with cheese and took our own water/tea. There was no eating out 🙂 But it was a fantastic journey and i feel very lucky to have seen all these amazing things. We had similar trip around Europe which is why i remember the difference, there were a couple museums in Europe where only i went because we didn’t have enough money for all 3 of us to go (and my parents had been once before in some cases). But it was so amazing to see the sights, places and so on. But in comparison to the US touristic sites in Europe are prohibitively expensive. At least that was my experience on very low budget traveling.

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            • Sounds like a trip of a lifetime.
              Museums can really be expensive. I confess to being totally ruthless and using my press card to gain free entrance, The Cloisters in New York being the latest example. At 25$ the fee was really steep… In Europe, it really depends on the country. Germany tends to have fees for all museums. But UK and Ireland are great because many of their museums are state-funded. I very much appreciate that gesture and usually leave a donation on my way out.

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  3. I’m so glad we had time to connect one on one…the better to blab with you my dear. I’m also glad you could join me on the excursion to The Cloisters…it was a great day – beautiful weather, amazing museum. Not to mention outstanding company….I’m not sure how I would have passed the time on that rather lengthy subway ride, or hoofing it along the trails in Ft. Tryon park!

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  4. Reconnecting with friends and making new ones was wonderful. I laughed and smiled (mostly at myself) my way through the streets of New York. My visit was too short, but I am so grateful that I had the experience of hanging out with so many lovely ladies who appreciate a certain lovely actor. I hope we can do it again.

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  5. Thanks for this heartwarming post that speaks of the generosity and friendliness of the RA fandom. This was my second SD experience. The first was in London to see The Crucible. I was accompanied by a good friend who really had no clue who RA was but wanted to travel along with me to see London. I didn’t meet any other fans that trip and even though I enjoyed the play and London immensely, it would have been so much nicer had I been able to have that spontaneous connection with another fan.
    Coming to NY to see LLL was a completely different experience as I had my daughter with me (my RA enabler) and the real possibility of meeting some friends/fans I’ve met through social media. This possibility became a reality and I met some wonderful fun-loving ladies. It was great to hang out together if only for a brief moment. I hope we can meet again someday. Sorry this is so long but I’m just really grateful and want to especially thank you and Obscura for looking me up when I arrived in NY and to the other ladies who made me feel warmly welcomed ❤️

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    • You are confirming my impression, Donna, that the whole fangirling experience is *better* when one is not engaging in it on one’s own. It’s nice to share it – and who else to share it with, than someone who *understands*?
      It was a pleasure to meet you, too – I do regret that we missed each other in Greece. But let’s not concentrate on missed opportunities – the future is always brighter. New fan friendships – new opportunities to meet. I would not hesitate to do another such event together with you. Whenever that may be.

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  6. Golly gee! No thank you necessary. It was a lovely afternoon that the three of us shared. That’s a good photo of the iconic bridge ( I misinformed you – it’s called Bow Bridge, not Love Bridge) – even the fall foliage cooperated a little as the sun shone down on us.
    BTW- I think your photo, taken in 20 seconds, is as good as or better than any of these http://www.centralpark.com/updata/Image/attractions/bridge-in-central-park-f.jpg
    It was a treat to meet both of you.

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    • Thank yous may not be necessary, but they are important. If people go out of their way to create nice experiences for me, they have to know their efforts are appreciated. So there.
      And thanks for the photo love – I was working on post-producing my NYC pictures yesterday and was quite pleased with a few pictures here and there. Can’t wait to make a NYC photo book to remind me of the great time I had there.

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      • Did we have a few together or with Linda60? Would love a copy by email, if so. The book will be fab, I know. To all who missed my comment, Guylty shoots with lightening speed – and look at that result!

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        • I am really bad when it comes to taking pictures of people. (My friends always complain about that – I only take pics of buildings and sights.) Linda took a few pics with you and me in it, though.
          And yes – when I am not alone, I shoot quickly and from the hip. Can’t expect other people to wait while I am taking pictures. 🙂

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  7. Great stuff, Guylty. Thank you so much. I ❤️❤️❤️ NYC at this time of year and your post and pics let me see it, taste it, smell it, with a vicarious share in the fan girling atmosphere as well.

    It reminded me of the small taste I had of that at the Crucible — even though I was on my own, I got talking to lovely people each time. I had to smile as we cautiously examined our reasons for being there — with a great rush of relief and amusement on discovering a kindred spirit.

    Sigh…

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  8. Finally surfacing from Thanksgiving festivities and just saw your post–awww, thanks! It was my pleasure, seriously. Love, Love, Love has given me the opportunity to connect with fellow fans and to give a little back to the community which has given me enormous enjoyment, and I feel really fortunate to have met so many wonderful people in the process. For me, it really has been a season of love, love, love!

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  9. It was such a pleasure meeting you and so many other admirers of RA. I do hope we can do this again. Soon. (And it would be awesome if it was on your side of the planet. 😊) Thank you for making an already exciting trip even more memorable!

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  10. Pingback: RA Pocket Shrine 136/? – Awesome Lips | Guylty Pleasure

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