Some ExtRA Questions

Before I get to the “extRA questions” of the title, I need to share another great ode by Kathy with the world. As always, too good to get lost in comments:

Remember, kids: Smoking is bad for you. Don’t start!

 

So, our need for hot eye candy intellectual stimulation fulfilled, I can carry on with my post…

While I was still finishing up my RA Challenge โ™ก, fellow fan SueBC had moved on to her reply to the ever-circling Liebster Award on her blog I’m Feeling This. Some of her own questions for the continuation of the blog award, caught my attention. They would have been interesting as part of the RA Challengeย โ™ก, too, as well as the old Blog Introspection Challenge from early 2015. Sue gave me the go ahead to answer a shorter catalogue of questions, and if you feel in the swing of another little blog challenge, why don’t you answer this, too? (All credit and references back to her, please ๐Ÿ˜‰ย .) As usual, I am particularly interested in the views of the commenters. The comment thread is yours!

Here is Sue’s list of questions picked by me, followed by my answers:

  1. 1. What is your favourite photo ever of your favourite actor or actress?
    2. W
    hat time of day do you usually write and/or blog and why?
    3. Does your avatar have special significance and if so, what is that significance?
    4. In your real life, how open are you about the fact that you have a blog?
    5. What are the boundaries for you in terms of how much of your real life you share on your blog?ย 

    1. Favourite Photo Ever

I love everything about this photo – the colours, the clever placement of the subject against the wall, the relaxed pose, the Lucas North styling, the perspective from slightly above, the off-centre composition, the lighting that creates a bit of shadow on the subject’s face, the intriguing look on the subject’s face, the evidence of strong thighs and biceps, the extended thumb… It’s not too polished, yet shot with the evidence of a professional photographer who knows his stuff. ย I’ll spare you the denotations and connotations of the image (they were not a huge hit when I posted them on tumblr ๐Ÿ˜‚) , even though they are part of the reason why I like this image so much. My love for this picture probably also comes down to my discovery of it at a time when I was hypersensitive to good photography – and to the appeals of Richard Armitage.

2. Blogging Schedule

Two favourite times: Either in the morning, on days when I don’t have much work; or in the evening, when work has been done. I prefer the mornings, though, because I tend to be alone at home at that time, so there is no “danger” of someone walking in on me and disturbing my train of thought.

3. Significance of my Avatar

I better show you my avatar in full glory before I explain.

It may not be self-explanatory anymore because it has been a long, long time since I last wrote an *ooof*. So here we go – when the original picture appeared on the entertainment site click, it caused a bit of hoohaa in the fandom because it was an answer to the question whether he was a cat or a dog person. While the cat lovers in the fandom were slightly put out by Richard’s cheeky two-part answer, the dog people were very pleased:

Guylty (self-confessed dog-lover despite being a cat-owner), however, only focussed on the chosen dog sound – because it fits very nicely with her moniker for her photo analyses… Besides – *ooof*, the man did look pretty hot in his slightly dishevelled early-morning-hair… (If you want to know why he looks that way, read this fan fic entitled “Bed Head” – It’s one of my favourites and I think it argues the case pretty convincingly… Note: It’s NSFW RPF, so if you don’t like RPF, don’t read!)

Anyway, I adjusted the picture sliiiiightly to fit my own agenda *coughs*, and it’s been my avatar on WP ever since. I’m usually not a fan of pictures of the OOA as an avatar (all my other Social Media accounts have a photo of “Armitage House” as the avatar), because there is always a chance that two people may use the same avatar – which can cause confusion. But this one was just too good to pass up…

4. In your real life, how open are you about the fact that you have a blog?

In my RL, a lot of people know that I am a fan, and a lot of my RL friends and family also know that I have a blog. I find it difficult to hide anything – mainly because a) I am not fond of secrets and lies, and b) my blogging activities have tangible, RL effects that I have had to explain to my friends and family. For instance, when my dad died (almost to the day) three years ago, my dear fandom friends and readers organised a fundraising drive in honour of my father which resulted in a massive donation to a cause that had been named by my mother and myself, in lieu of flowers, as well as donations to RA’s JustGiving pages. I felt that that had to be acknowledged by my RL family, and so I disclosed that I was part of a community of fans, by virtue of being a blogger. Similarly, I eventually had to explain to my children and husband why there was a continuous stream of parcels arriving at our house for a while – all thanks to my blogging (and crafting) activities.

So the upshot is that many people in my RL know that I blog. However, I have not told anyone the name of my blog and where to find it. I insist that I am not embarrassed about what I am doing on my blog. The reason I am not throwing that info around is connected to my unwillingness to justify my enthusiasm for an actor to people who may not understand why that gives me any kind of pleasure. Plus, since my work happens on the internet as well, I do not want my professional life as a rather serious, specialised writer to be associated with my entertainment-focussed hobby. That said – I don’t think I’ll be fired if my fandom activities were to be known. I think my bosses would actually find it quite funny. And who knows – it would even open up a completely new niche of specialisation for me?

5.What are the boundaries for you in terms of how much of your real life you share on your blog?

Ooops, caught in the act. So much for keeping pictures of myself out of this…ย Guylty accidentally appearing in the photograph by a fellow fan whose name I unfortunately do not know.

Well, a lot of that harks back to what I have written in the previous question: It starts with keeping my real name out of my blog, as well as my face, for the reasons cited above. I also draw the line at showing my children’s photos (an old habit from when they were young; I think that parents should *never* post images of their children publicly online, and that even includes quasi-private social media platforms such as Facebook.) Respecting the privacy of others is important to me, which is why I don’t name friends or family who are not part of the fandom. Plus, this is a fandom blog dedicated to RA – I write under the assumption that my audience predominantly want to read about Armitage, not about me. The occasional breaches of my own rules tend to happen in the context of photography (when I am posting a slide-show of my holiday snaps or when I have seen an interesting exhibition), when RL has had an impact on my blogging behaviour (such as my dad’s death), or when things happen in RL that may be of universal interest (like elections, or other news). But unless my RL has some kind of relevance to the topic of the individual RA-related blog post, I always keep references out.

Having said all that, I do realise that my RL sneaks into my blog, mostly in asides, or in individual sentences, when I am explaining something. The temptation to write more about myself, is always there – who *doesn’t* like to talk about themselves? – but I try to keep it in check. ย This is a fan blog about RA, and I want to keep it that way.

Now, what about yourselves?

Link me your favourite pics (I could put them into a picture gallery in a separate post), tell me about your blog reading/writing habits, reveal the secret of your avatar, and tell us how much your RL knows about your fan girling activities. I am very curious!

And thanks to SueBC for the interesting questions!

90 thoughts on “Some ExtRA Questions

  1. I am being lazy for a bit and reading the first thing that popped up on the tumblr feed . . . your post.๐ŸŽ€ Love Kathy Jones’ Odes too. They always put a smile on my face. I like the rhythm (as well as insight) of your writing style and it is a nice way to spend a little time relaxing before work. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and challenges Guylty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you on your responses on item 4. Personal privacy guides my actions, too. And the RA fandom is such a wonderful community of giving and caring individuals. They are the icing on the cake that is RA. Hugs!

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  3. So many topics, thank you!

    I love Kathy’s poem. They always please.

    1. I do love the photo you posted. Is the message “No Escape” part of the “denotations and connotations of the image,” or did you just forget to mention that feature–that the message predicts all of our futures?

    2. My absolute, best-ever favorite photo of our guy was taken by a fan (I assume) at one of those Bafta red carpets: from behind, in motion, in all his long-legged gorgeousness. I will e-mail it to you so you can insert here. I will kiss the feet of koolkat, who shot it, should I ever meet her.

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    • 1. Hehe – “No Escape” was subsumed under “clever placement of the subject against the wall”. But you are spot on, that’s what I thought when I saw the image for the first time, too. Forever ensnared, no escape.
      2. Got your e-mail, thanks ๐Ÿ˜˜. If more pictures come in, I will compile a gallery post with all the favourite pictures. Just because there are never enough pictures to look at ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. My all-time favourite photo is the one you took, Guylty, and sent to RA for him to autograph and then auctioned for charity. (And I won it ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜!)

    But I don’t have a digital copy of it! Do you?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, I’m glad you are answering the ‘extRA’ questions. And thanks for linking!
    I didn’t realize the doorway in your other avatar was an “Armitage House”!
    Isn’t the online fandom community great? (At least mostly!) I’ve been really impressed seeing how everyone rallies around when others are in need.
    Thanks for sharing your perspectives on boundaries between real life and blogging. I’m still trying to figure out where the line is most comfortable for me.

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    • I really liked those questions, Sue – they were interesting to answer, too.
      And yes, “Armitage House” exists – and it is not *my* house. There genuinely is the name written on a doorway in a Georgian house a couple of streets away from me. Check this link: https://goo.gl/icTWFf I first spotted it 5.5 years ago because I passed the house on my way to college. I’ve been there a few times ever since, taking pictures when fellow Armitage fans visit me ๐Ÿ˜‰
      As for the lines between RL and blogging – it’s probably fluid, too, and changes every once in a while, or with changing circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A pleasure to read!!
    Hard to tell which is my most favourite pic of RA….. Probably that blue guy with jeans one on top of your post is in the lead…. :D: It’s hot, hot, hot!! This series of pics shot in 2010 is really gorgeous!
    BTW I captured you in Leeds!!! (Sneaky little thing that I am…..:P )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, it is your picture???? Great – at least I can now ask for permission to post it on my blog! Great picture, btw. And virtually the one proof that I have ever been at an event with RA ๐Ÿคฃ

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OMGOMGOMG!!! Another Kathy Jones should-win-the-Pulitzer-for-poetry ode. For a long time I’ve shared them with friends with knowledgement to her, and you if you’ve added the photo. Otherwise, I’ve added a photo.
    I understand professionally why you’d want this obsession blog a secret, especially around people who are clueless of his attributes. I’ve only recently been more open, mainly because of my little Thorin’s FB page, and the fact that his face is on my phone and people will ask me “who’s that?”
    I still don’t know how to link a picture to your blog because they’re on my personal laptop and I don’t think you can access my C drive. But I love what you’ve shared about yourself. And that photo of you with RA hardly counts since, between the hat and the jacket, you are completely incognito.you have no idea how close I came during LLL to standing up in the,theater before the show and calling out ” Is ______ from Dublin in the building?” But you had said you wouldn’t be there for another month. However if I see him in London, I may do that. They’ll just say “oh, an American” and go on. Actually, because my face is on my FB, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, a lot of strangers did come up to me at LLL and say hello because they recognized me, so maybe you’ll be the one to yell for me LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear that Kathy’s odes are making the rounds!
      LOL – no, that was not me in the red coat and hat in the picture, Tommie. (Although the get-up of that particular fans looks suspiciously as if she was trying to hide her identity under a hat pulled over her eyes ;-)) I am the photographer with the big lens, lurking in the background…
      As for calling out for me in a theatre – hehe, chances are I would discreetly slip fully underneath my seat and pretend not to be there, should such an announcement be made ;-). It’s safer to actually coordinate/check travel plans behind the scenes and set up a meeting…
      Oh, and BTW – no worries about importing photos into comments. I researched it – it actually doesn’t work on WordPress. You can only copy a link to a photo; that’s the only way of showing it in a comment.

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  8. Loved the questions and answers SueBC posed to bloggers. I will give some answers as a commentor. I could not find my favorite pic. I think it was a three quarter profile, taken at a
    promo event. No stubble, but wonderful nape curls. Maybe suit with blue shirt. I don’t have an avatar, I am really Kathy Jones. My friends know I am in a fandom. They are not sure what that is. They know nothing about the odes. I treasure the friendships I have made through RA and the wonderful experiences I have had because of those fascinating ladies.You know who you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not badgering, just wondering–looking for advice on how to handle my own non-fan friends, actually–how can they be “not sure what it is?” Isn’t “who is it?” the first question they ask? Do you not tell?

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      • I define what a fandom is first, because I am explaining why I went to NYC or other places to meet girlfriends from across the country and further. So then I explain who the actor is. No one ever knows who he is, ever. So discouraging. In general, friends are more interested in how I bonded so strongly with women I had only known through the laptop. They understand the concept of a fandom, but they don’t really get it. I think they are amused by my weird attachment. Only a couple know about shrines and such. Also, they think R A is OK, but don’t get what the big deal is about him, in particular. You are not badgering at all.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I find that people think “fandom” is the same as “fan club”, which it really isn’t.
          I know now that no one ever knows who he is, although a lot have seen The Hobbit, but they can’t understand why I’m into the dwarf king!
          When I told my sister that North and South was what got me, she said something like, “oh I saw that… I didn’t notice anything special” and I’m thinking, “What??? Can you not see or hear???” !

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know what you mean Sue! I actually have friends who live in Leicester who don’t know who he is!! I was tempted to ask them if they lived under a rock but decided to bite my tongue! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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        • Dito. Most of the time I see the same reaction. “Who???” They may have heard of ‘Spooks’ and ‘The Hobbit’, but no one seems to have been hit by the same flash of lightning as I have, and I find it futile to explain the whys and hows. As I said in a previous post – fangirling is like falling in love. It kind of happens, and it is hard to explain why.

          Liked by 3 people

      • There’s another really interesting question. In my case, when I have let it slip that I am a ‘fan’ and people ask me ‘who?’, I usually deflect the answer by saying ‘Ah, an English actor, he is not that well known. He played Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit.” If there is a follow-up question to that, I’ll say more, but if I can tell that the person hasn’t got a clue who I am talking about, I leave it at that. It usually also means that they have no concept of ‘fandom’…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. ODE TO KATHY’S ODES

    Whenever RA inspiration does strike
    The venerable Kathy steps up to the mic
    With rhythm and rhyme and a well-thought out word
    The odes of Ms Jones just beg to be heard
    So someone please tell the staid Pulitzer folk
    That a prize is deserved for her odes — it’s no joke!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Maybe one-day, I will do an “ode blog”. I don’t think I have the self discipline or creativity to grind them out. I’d much rather have them rescued from comments by you, Guylty. As long as you don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My ever-favourite pic is the one from the DaMan shoot. He is dressed in a dark suit and matching shirt. There is only his face looking directly at “me” with an unfathomable slight smile. He is so handsome…
    I could not resist to use this photo as the start screen and I am delighted every time I look at it. It is really he same thing like falling in love. One cannot explain “why him”?
    With the confession of being a fangirl of a certain British actor, I always get the very same reaction as every other commentator. Nobody knows him or recognizes him as the lead of the Hobbit films. It’s a bit sad, but on the other hand this helps me to keep it secret…
    I usually comment (since I don’t blog) in the early afternoon, directly after returning to home. It’s a kind of routine to start my private life after work and it’s the quietest time of the day.
    The odes of Kathy always make me smile and I enjoy this blog and the different challenges, pictures, roundups and inspirations VERY much.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That smoking pic is slowly becoming absolutely legendary ๐Ÿ™‚
    I couldn’t pic a single favourite picture, maybe a bunch of them But one of my favourites is among the small number shot in the Old Vic in the empty seated theatre with him in it looking so comfortable. There’s something about that whole set which i love ๐Ÿ™‚

    But with a few prompters from you based on oofs i did go wow at this Lucas one! I wonder how long it took to fin the location and to position him just like that? The photographer must be quite experienced i think because his pose looks so casual and comfortable but the composition is just perfect. All those lines literally pointing at him! Head, shoulder, hand, elbow, hip.. it just draws out his best assets and makes his waist look amazing. Because these are all before my time i never really got to look at them in detail, i only come across them when people take them back out But it’s a very very very good photo of him, without him having to do any work for it which is great. And i like the fact that the grungyness of the background makes the way it is instinctively pointing to him very discreet. The tendency with gorgeous men like this is to pose them or display them in quite obvious ways (she shall remain unnamed ;-))). This is utterly complimentary without being obvious or a glamour shot.
    That No Escape really feels like just a coincidental bonus in context. Yes, thanks for putting it out there , i am totally falling in love with it too!

    I’m not fit for anything in the early morning but like mid afternoon if i can escape work a bit perfect writing time, or in the middle of the night buzzed up from a performance.. that’s best too ๐Ÿ™‚
    As for work/blog i too like to keep them entirely separate from each other although sometimes bits of work creep into blogging too. I don’t hide it either and don’t hide my likeness of him, but works makes it easy in some way. However not even at work do people know who he is… so much for that eh :-(( Only 1 person ever recognised him …. utterly frustrating. Locally i tend to drone on and on about how great a stage actor he is and was in the Crucible.. but since people who never heard of him usually also haven’t seen it doesn’t make a difference either. To be perfectly honest the only way that could possibly change is if he either took on a big part in any of the Avengers movies or if he came back to act in a BBC series.So.. i fear we’ll keep on banging about that ‘English actor’ who barely anyone knows for a lot longer…

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    • The ones by Lefteris Pitarakis? http://bit.ly/2sfZb9W Those are great, actually. I liked those straight away, even with the beard in situ. Very very good location photography.
      As for the No Escape photo – you have actually put your finger on several of the things that make the image stand out for me, too. The location is fabulous (although I suspect it was simply a Spooks location, and the photographer had to work with that – but he did so with great success). There is a lot of connotation in the location – a loft vibe that associates cool inner city living, a hipster, creative context, bohemian lifestyle etc. It’s the sort of stuff that I really like in photography – not just content-wise, but also in terms of a photographer creating context.
      And wow – I am slightly shocked that even at the BBC itself the name Armitage is not known. He should have legendary status there, after all he caused the collapse of a whole message board once. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But well, as I commented elsewhere – in this day and age, there is simply too much TV around, and it is hard to keep up with it all.
      I am not sure who said this in a comment, maybe it was actually you yourself, but I actually do not mind that he is not a mega-star. It makes it easier to fangirl in peace and quiet.

      Liked by 1 person

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