Hello Again, So Nice To See You! #RABlogReunion

When Nat tweeted at the beginning of May and suggested a RA blog reunion to find out what people had been up to, I initially did not think the call for the blogging event was addressed at me but at all those bloggers who I remember from my early days in the fandom and many of whom retired their blogs over the past years. Me, OTOH – I am still here, typing away and scraping the barrel for suitable topics for my RA-centric blog. So no real update necessary – it’s all there, at least once a week, for the past six years. And then I realised that those fellow RA bloggers who are now inactive, were hardly going to read up on six years’ worth of collected nonsense courtesy of Guylty. So, what have I been up to?

At the beginning…

Must get that blog post out…

Somehow, my activities in blog world are anti-cyclical. At the time that many of the legacy bloggers were actually scaling back their involvement in the blog world, I was actually making the move from my tumblr presence over to WordPress blogging. It took off here with my fan report from the red carpet in Berlin 2013, and accelerated when my husband made “The Original Portable Shrine” and I later turned it into a pocket version. At the time there were plenty of RA blogs active, and every day you could read a new, original post that was somehow connected to Richard or one of his chaRActers. I have wonderful memories of long discussions over details in his work or even his look, and I fondly remember the excitement collectively experienced when Richard turned up at live events and we all watched it from our various locations all over the world. It culminated all in the opportunity for fan meets that the Hobbit premieres provided in 2012-2014 as well as Richard’s return to the stage in The Crucible in 2014. The latter also brought an influx of new bloggers and fans, but after that blog world seemed to slow down. I put it down to two things – 1) the diversification of social media, in that there were more platforms available in which the fandom established itself in micro-communities, and 2) Richard himself debuted on Twitter and concentrated (and moderated) much of the discourse there. Blogging as a form of SM, was on the way out. The short messaging platforms – Twitter, FB, IG etc. – won over the lengthy commitment required for writers and readers on WordPress, Blogspot, Typepad, as well as boards and forums.

In the meantime…

 

Taking 2014 as the point where many of the legacy bloggers scaled down their commitment, this is what I have been up to: With my children entering their teenage years just then, I had more personal freedom to spend time on my own career and interests. Professionally, I had a run of 3 great years working as a highly-specialised online journalist which required frequent business trips to London. This (and a new friendship with a fellow fan based in London) provided the opportunity to indulge in seeing live performances, and so I developed a strong interest in theatre. Despite a fulfilled work life, the fandom continued to be my main creative outlet in the shape of blogging and making my silly little pocket shrines.

ย Crafting away in the attic…

Something that is a high point of every year, both in terms of fandom and just me in general, is the annual charity auction on RA’s birthday. The fandom probably also acted as my parallel universe into which I could escape away from the demanding relationship with my mother that developed in the wake of my father’s unforeseen death in the summer of 2014. My posting frequency increased. Since my contract with my London client finished, my professional life has quietened down considerably. But that has benefitted my creativity, and I have become a fanatical crafter who is even selling her products successfully online. These days, my frantic crafting occasionally interferes with my blogging interests.

Some time a couple of years ago, I switched to daily posting *whenever possible* because it felt as if blog world had become much quieter and I wanted to keep Richard’s name out there in blog world. But that kind of blogging frequency takes its toll, and I am currently experiencing a bit of a burn out. Well, since I am being honest here, I might as well say that that could also be connected to a slight lack of interest because the OOA refuses to live, work and behave according to *my* expectations ๐Ÿ˜‚. Bad boy, Richard!

Where are you going with this…

I have no idea. I sometimes look at all the blogs that are now defunct, and I almost envy their proprietors because they have moved on. Have they found something, some*one* new which/who fills them with excitement and giddy happiness, just like those precious first few months of a new relationship when you can’t get enough of your new love? Am I being stuck here, on endless loop, in something that neither makes sense nor receives acknowledgment? But then I remember that the blog is just a springboard. A reason for interaction. And that is what I love the most – the interaction. And it almost doesn’t matter why we talk or what we talk about. Richard – has become incidental.

Today’s RA blog reunion unfortunately also reminds me that I am missing the interaction with a lot of wonderful, funny, creative, clever women, whose contributions to the fandom – and my enjoyment of the fandom – I loved. There are many among them that I actually met in person at the SD, spent an unforgettable holiday with, consider friends. Search for the #RABlogReunion hashtag on Twitter and you will find lots of blog posts linked. iI you are relatively new in the fandom, I envy you. You might fall into a rabbit hole, discovering the past posts of these bloggers. *Days* of fun entertainment ahead! Just think the adventures of “the man” courtesy of Judiang, stick figure Richard by Nat, the Australian perspective on Richard by Mulubinba, remembering cool fandom initiatives such as Spread the Love, organised by Funkybluedandelion and Obscura who also posted about Ancient Armitage on her eponymous blog, the hilarious edits and posts by Agzy on Iwanttobeapinup, fake letters to RA by RAFrenzy, catching up on some steamy fan fictions by Angie, opinion and news collected by armitageagonistes, squeeing courtesy of – ha! – The Squeee, King Richard III connection with cdoart… Not all of these blogs are taking part in today’s reunion day, but they were big contributors to the Armitage blog world way back when, so do check them out. Among the newer and also badly missed dormant blogs are: Hariclea’s operaismagic, Jennifer’s preoccupiedwitharmitage, I am sure I am forgetting some lovely bloggers – and I apologise for that and will update and add – and I am deliberately not listing the *active* blogs here, some of whom, like me, are taking part in today’s reunion day.

So have a look at the amazing archive of Armitage blogging of the past. The posts may not be new, but blogging about Richard never gets old. Hooray for and a big thank you to Armitage bloggers past, present and in-between!

Edit by Nat

58 thoughts on “Hello Again, So Nice To See You! #RABlogReunion

    • It is, isn’t it? I was delighted to read from “the veterans” again. They were the ones who shaped the fandom, and I am still in awe of their creativity and wit, all those years later.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I sure miss the olden days, when we were a small, connected fandom. Your blog has never – nor could it be – inconsequential. Thank you for being one of our pillars. What you have contributed to the RArmy is priceless. โค๏ธ

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    • Ah, B – you are always so positive! Thank you for those lovely words. I am rethinking a few things, today of all days, and maybe things will change in the future. All for the better. I will never regret my engagement with this fandom and the community, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Let’s try commenting again … Condoleances on your father’s passing. Seems like a few of us have lost a parent over the past few years (including RA). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I’m amazed that you’ve been posting on such a frequency for so many years, flying the flag for all of us! My blog reading pretty much went down to zero after Google switched off Google Reader, and I can’t even remember which site I migrated all my subscriptions to in order to keep up, and the “new” feed reading site never managed to become part of my daily routine, so I had no idea you’ve been going all this time. Well done you! If you’re feeling a bit burned out from it, though, scale it back a bit to something you’re more comfortable with. You feel bad when you’ve decided on a blogging schedule but can’t keep up with it, so better to scale it back to something that suits you better than keep feeling bad about “not posting enough”. (I’m trying to do one post a month at the moment, because if I can keep to that, maybe I can increase it to two posts a month, and then maybe one a week. I’m nowhere near that yet, though.)

    Crafting is a great outlet for creativity. The blog list sure is a blast from the past. Those were the days, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yes, there are a few more fan sisters I can think of who have lost a parent… I guess, we are coming up to that kind of age ๐Ÿ˜”.
      Well, the frequency wasn’t really quite so ambitious for most of the time. It’s only been the last couple of years that I tried to post more. But as you say, it adds a level of stress that is really counterproductive. And counter conducive in many ways. I am going to scale that back considerably from now on, for everybody’s benefit ๐Ÿ˜
      Creative expression of every kind has been my saviour in so many situations during my life. In a way, the blogs are all creative expressions, too, and yes, what fun we had!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this. I am so glad we “overlapped” before I faded out of the RA scene and that you and Serv have been going strong all these years. I still keep tabs on your sites. (But do it for yourself… don’t feel obliged to keep it up for us.) You mentioning blogging more after your father’s death reminded me that a lot of us blogged for emotional reasons besides a love of RA. (I started after I had a premature baby who needed extra care and medical attention his 1st year. Looking back, I think blogging was a form of theRApy and kept me from sinking into post partum depression with the stress. I also love the term “legacy blogger” because it makes me feel special/important. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that is lovely to know, Nat, that even legacy bloggers (hehe, yes, you are totally important. You invented stick-figure RA and entertained us for many an hour!!!) still check in.
      You have expressed it in neutral terms there – yes, blogging for emotional reasons, not exclusively for crushing on RA. (If anything, I knew right from the start, that there would never be a satisfying outcome on the crushing part. People may call me a silly, one-dimensional fangirl, but it’s not as if I had lost *all* touch with the real world.) I threw myself into blogging at a point where my *other* emotional life was at a low. I never contextualised that on my blog, but essentially that is what happened. And I can totally see how being the mother of a premature baby is a similar strain, both physically and emotionally, that needs some kind of valve, or a safe and happy space where one can be oneself for half an hour every day. I hope everything has worked out well for you and the little preemie!

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        • LOL – just noticing your new (?) handle. “Nat the Legacy Blogger”. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
          And good to hear the preemie came into his own and is now on the cusp of his teenage years. New challenges, new fun for you. You never know, Nat, maybe you will soon need a place where you can distract yourself from the emotional fallout over teenage antics… Just kidding!

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          • New handle is only for your site dearest Guylty. ๐Ÿ˜˜ And I may need a distraction when my girls hit their teens in a few years! (The boys have been fine.) Kinda dreading it but will try to be optimistic. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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            • Ha! I’m delighted to be getting special treatment ๐Ÿ™‚
              Looking forward to providing (and receiving) distraction then. Also want to say: I’m sure your girls teenage years will be fine.

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  4. Wonderful overview of the bloggosphere and your story, Guylty! Thank you for mentioning me ;o) I loved the old times with all the discussions. Things have gone much more quiet for me nowadays, but mostly, because I am not up to date to really take part in the discussions. So your accumulation of events is very much appreciated, though I follow your blog on a regular basis.
    The main reason for me back then to go more and more silent with my blog was, that YT closed down most of my videos and I expected a similar fate for my blog as Germany was even discussing to forbid and delete all not name-based user accounts. Fortunately neither did happen so far and they found a way around the deletion of fan identities by verifying every identity with mobile invoicing data, but the whole discussion greatly diminished my joy in the creative aspects of fandom.
    So it is good to see your creativity and ideas. Keep going !!!
    Have a lovely RA Blog Reunion Day!

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    • Such a pity that the copyright issues on YT impacted you (and subsequently the fandom) in that way. To this day, I love watching the old clips – and would love to see new expressions of “movie” creativity. But well, it is a bit of a grey area, I guess.
      I have really enjoyed the Blog Reunion Day, too, reading from those blogs whose names still mean something to me even though I was not really active at the time. And it sounded as if almost all of the bloggers, even though inactive, still follow RA’s career in some shape or form. That’s to his credit, I think.

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      • The Blog Reunion Day makes me realize how much I have missed the community of fandom and all the creative challenges. Perhaps I’ll manage to come back more often in the future and add some creative contributions again. RA certainly is addictive and inspires creativity ;o)

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        • It would be lovely to see you back! I mean, there is never any obligation to participate or to comment or to blog, and I think our expectations are far too high. Sometimes it’s just good to lurk ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • @cdoart I wonder I ever saw your vids .. Germany is such a pain in the butt when it comes to copyright. Did you ever send them to Elviraโ€™s site which since has closed down ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      • Hello Fanny, your comment made me check all my videos again and as far as I can see, all are online and available again, though the most of them except two were blocked for a while. I think the companies found that fan-advertisement spreads the word nicely without having to spend money and they pulled back their objections. Here is the link to my video channel, if you want to have a look: https://www.youtube.com/user/CDoart

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad to say I recognize all of the names you mentioned, though a lot of them were on their way out when I was just coming in, so I only lurked on their blogs and didn’t really get a chance to know them. blogging only about RA became too much for me, especially when my feelings for him had gotten so confusing, so closing the RA themed blog was the right decision for me. I missed the actual blogging too much though and luckily I’ve been able to keep that alive and going strong on my current multi fandom blog. emotion and creativity are blogging essentials for me, so I just follow where they lead me and I’m okay ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I think we started out at a similar time because I have a similar experience of many of those blogs. Well, maybe I was a tad earlier because on some of the blogs I did comment.
      I have always admired your approach to fandom – and to the RA fandom specifically. Your reflections on fangirling are so worth while to read – they resonate with me more as time goes on and the shine is coming off. I know I should move on, but it is the blogging I would miss. And frankly – I would miss the audience, too, who have all become familiar. And the worst thing: I have absolutely *no one* in mind who could replace the RA focus of my blog ๐Ÿ˜‚. One-trick pony after all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you J! This one dimension has kept me busy enough over the last 8 years. Unfortunately it hasn’t taught me to grow a thicker skin, but at least it has made me less instantaneous with my reactions.

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    • Oh yes, a long way. And quite frankly, not necessarily at a place where I would’ve expected myself to be. At least not when I started. What about you? Did you think you’d get to the point where your blog is now? Not that there was ever a 10-year-plan or anything like that…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was so desperate for relief from my thoughts when I started that that was really the only thing on my mind. And the only milestone I was thinking about at the time was that I knew I’d have to leave Texas in the Spring of 2011 (so about eighteen months out from that point). So yeah, no plan.

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  6. Nice to hear about you and a few others I’ve read today. I was more into pictures and Tumblr but really enjoyed many of the blogs you mentioned.

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    • Hello Tree and thanks for chiming in. Long time no hear! We really should’ve included commentators in the reunion, too, catching up with what you all have been up to…

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      • I saw jazzbaby1 say something about it on Twitter so logged onto WordPress to see what people were saying. I am friends with a couple of RA fans (or former fans) on FB as well. I finally deleted about 10,000 pictures and screenshots of RA a month or so ago.

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        • 10,000 pictures – I bet your computer is much faster now ๐Ÿ˜‰ Congrats! And I think it is lovely that you nonetheless decided to catch up with the event – and that you have stayed in touch with other (former) fans.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Aaah, the memories. ๐Ÿค— This “one dimensional fangirl” is happy you’ve stuck around, I miss those you’ve listed.

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    • I miss them, too. And most of all, I miss the variety. With more blogs around, there was just more fun, I think. And we were sort of all on a similar level. Which also made it easier to be a “blogging fan”. (I am painfully aware that some people despise bloggers who maintain a RA-only blog. As if my blog was the *only* interest in my life… *shrugs* Maybe it makes them feel morally superior to one-dimensionals like me… ๐Ÿ˜‚Fair enough, they probably are.)

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        • A few days later, I have calmed down and feel much less offended by the whole “one-dimensional” slur. There is a difference between “being able to” and “choosing to” blog about one topic only. Just because I *choose* to blog Armitage only, doesn’t mean I am not interested in other things, too. It’s all good.

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      • I am painfully aware that some people despise bloggers who maintain a RA-only blog. Oh boy, this attitude really annoys me. Is it on Twitter? Because I haven’t come across it on Tumblr (or maybe I’m just oblivious!) and my blog is totally RA. We might be one dimensional because our interest is in just one actor, but look how much we have achieved as a community over the years……. fundraising for charities, Flat Richie and other projects, the creativity and the friendships made. Having said that, it’s that “morally superior” attitude that keeps me quiet in RL about following Richard, that somehow shames me as a silly old woman who needs to get a life. Maybe that’s what touched a sore point with me when I read your comment, the feeling that I somehow should have to justify my fandom activity when all those who fanatically follow a football team would never be expected to.

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        • Tumblr is definitely more tolerant of that. I don’t think I have ever heard any such criticism there. And you are absolutely right – your list speaks for itself. I think I was at a particularly low point 3 days ago and reacted like a mimosa. However, I have read such statements before, and it hurts most when it actually comes from within the fandom. Shaming others for a hobby that is nothing but expression of joy and creativity – what a strange attitude. There are certainly other far more shameful activities that are worthy of shaming…
          However, like you, I also carefully curate who in my RL knows about the extent of my fan activities. And mainly not because I feel ashamed but because I am tired of justifying something that should need no justification.

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  8. I remember your report from the Berlin premiere & admire your crafty creativity. Youโ€™re right to point out some of the blog activity was affected, I became less of a blog reader, though itโ€™s there I met fellow RA fans once connected via Twitter & Facebook thatโ€™s where we kept in touch.

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    • (Apologies for my late reply – I was a bit overwhelmed. Menopause brain, I guess ๐Ÿ˜‚)
      Yep, we are going through different phases, all the time. And sometimes we move on. It’s good to hear, though, that there are some lasting friendships. I think that makes everything worth while!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I also remember all those names and what a nice recap and walk down memory lane. I have a word press account but never set up a blog. Then I decided to go to college and no time. It took me from the spring 2012 semester one class at a time till I entered full time Fall semester 2017 but it was worth it. Now to find that job.

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    • Well, best of luck with the job hunt, Katie. And you know – there’s no obligation to blog. What would we be if it weren’t for readers who comment?

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  10. I had never read your account from the 2013 event before! Let’s see… I learned that you used to do sports? And it is very easy with a camera to miss what is actually happening, isn’t it? I did that at my older son’s high school graduation, just with an iphone, but I got a crappy picture and essentially missed him getting the diploma. I swore I wouldn’t do that with my younger son’s… and then I did the same thing again! Oh well.

    Your charity auctions and shrines are certainly a highlight of the fandom. I’m surprised to hear you say that you find the sometimes daily blogging doesn’t come easily, because it seems to me as if you have had a resurgence in blogging energy! I only wish I had time to keep up with reading the posts (let alone writing posts very often).

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