Richard’s Soundtrack – and a New Picture

Oh, this is unexpected…

Photo: An Le

The NME brings a little interview with Richard, entitled “The Soundtrack of my Life”. Yes, exactly what it says on the tin – all the songs that are somehow significant for RA. There are some absolute gems in there – and I don’t actually mean the music! The musical choices are fairly middle of the road (for a man of his age sorry, Rich). But some of the stories he tells… are fun! Read it HERE.

*coughs* The best thing about all this is the photo. I always love b/w, and here we even have a twofer!!!! I like this, even though the romanticherohair is not quite there, yet the beard is too much (for me). But I like a picture for a change, where Richard looks into the camera… Might have to stare at that for a little longer. And also think a bit more about the stories he has disclosed in the NME. In another post, another time.

114 thoughts on “Richard’s Soundtrack – and a New Picture

    • Yeah, I was actually shocked when I read that. Um. Or disappointed? For someone who is musical and interested in music? Oh Richard… you were a bit of a bluestocking, weren’t you???? 😂

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      • I’ve never been to a live rock concert and I’m not a bluestocking by any means. There’s no way my parents would have let me go when I was a teen, the crowd I hung with in college was not into live music (we did a lot of gaming and road trips to weird destinations), and then at the point at which I could have afforded it I didn’t have time. I was hoping to go to Elton John in April but that’s postponed indefinitely (I kept the ticket). I thought that was interesting information because he was asked a question about concert-going years ago and he said he was the kind of person who stood in the mud in his flip flops. So … I guess not, Richard.

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        • The concert issue was surprising for me – just because I assumed in general that for our generation, concert-going seemed to be a big thing for teenagers (in Europe). What you have written about your own experience now and previously, has always astounded me. It is so far removed from my own experience… I attended my first pop concert at age 15. (Nothing cool btw – I was quite the bluestocking myself. That’s what we called “nerds” back then. But I take back that word because I didn’t mean to hurt you or anyone else who has never been to a concert…)

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          • oh, see, to me a “bluestocking” doesn’t mean nerd at all — I associate it with vicar’s daughters who have opinions about 16th c. performance practice or the merit of competing translations of Ovid by the time they’re sixteen. Upper class, esoterically educated.

            If I had to guess — I’d wonder if maybe he just doesn’t like crowds, or the sound quality bugs him. That would be my main issue with it these days. I paid extra with my ticket to get an equalizer / mixer on my phone, which seems sort of contradictory but might improve the experience.

            Driving all the way across Europe to experience the same thing again: now THAT is something I can identify with.

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            • After checking the definition for “Blaustrumpf” just now, I have to pedal back. I got that completely wrong. It’s much the same as what you described – “intellectual women who were considered less than female for demanding equality”. Um. That does not apply to RA at all. And is not quite the slightly more harmless “nerd” or “geek” that I wanted to express.
              I can only guess why he was a very late starter when it comes to concerts. I can’t quite imagine the slight claustrophobia or the sound quality issue – just because gigs are (were?) more than just the band and the music but a social occasion and an event that you could possibly brag about later. But for a social occasion you need a bunch of friends, and it just strikes me that RA was possibly a bit of a solitary teenager. Maybe there was also an element of “false elitism” – as in: he was a musical student, playing classical music, attending an performing arts-based college, and maybe in that environment the students were (inadvertently?) discouraged from engaging with pop culture? Total guesses, of course.
              It would be interesting to get an average age of when people of the same age group and from a similar background went to their first live gig. As I said – it struck me as unusual that he saw his first live gig at the age of 38/39. But maybe I *completely* wrong?
              As for driving 700 miles to see a particular performance – haha, yes, I think *many* of us can identify with that. (Which in logical conclusion makes me wonder why RA does not seem quite as understanding of his fans’ commitment to his live performances despite long distances… Or is he?)

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              • I agree about concerts being more of a social occasion and something to brag about afterwards. I learned early on that the bands didn’t sound as good as they did on their recorded albums/the radio, so unless they had something more to offer, like lights & lasers or dance routines, it wasn’t really worth it to see *just* them. I was 14 when I went to my first concert and although I enjoyed the experience it was a bit too noisy and claustrophobic for me. which is why all of the concerts I went to after were outside in amphitheaters 😉

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                • For me it was the other way round. The live version of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was so very much superior to the album version that hearing it now makes me incredibly sad. I wish Elton had done a live album of that tour. 😢

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                  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is my fav Elton John song, so hearing it live would be a good memory! in my experience the more mellow stuff does sound just as good, if not better, than the recorded versions. the pop and rock bands though are more of a gamble. hearing Kenny G play was a good experience for me, and James Taylor was very enjoyable too. Counting Crows and R.E.M. on the other hand, were big disappointments. the band ‘Live’ was amazing though, as was Lynyrd Skynyrd 🙂

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                    • I think it also had something to do with how his more mature voice suits that song better. It was absolutely, goosebump-raising amazing live.

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                • Live sounds – yeah, for a long time I felt the same as you. I think that was mainly due to the fact that I basically overdid it with the records of the artists. I was so used to the studio sound and the live version simply didn’t match up. (I also suspect that I was listening to some rather artificial bands who were simply not very good. The sound was touched up in the studio, but when they played live, there was no escaping the truth… But that only applies to the bands I liked as a teenager. As a grown-up I developed a better taste 😂)
                  The last live gig I was at was 2019 – Paul Weller, open air, lovely summer night, even in Dublin. If it wasn’t for this stupid virus thing, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to an indoor gig, either…

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              • I guess I can’t imagine that Pattisons was totally averse to popular culture — he was in musicals while at school, then went on from there to a job dancing in West End shows. It strikes me more that they were training people who were going to be in the rank and file of musical theatre / theatre than that they would have encouraged any kind of snobbishness. I think that’s not unusual for music students who often have to switch genres at the drop of a hat. He’s also listed plenty of music that he listened to as a child / young person that tends to suggest he was the opposite of a musical snob: the song from Grease referenced in this interview, Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, the theme from Terminator. Given that he was a Jackson fanboy and copied his dance moves as a teen, you’d almost think he’d have wanted to see a Michael Jackson show. Then there’s that vid of him dancing to a Laura Estefan song with his friend as a young twen.

                He seems like he’s still a solitary person and at least in my case, that’s an issue with concerts. It wouldn’t be improved by going with friends (on the contrary, as i wouldn’t be able to hear them which would be a big stressor). If I’m going to be in a crowd than preferably alone in it. I can’t speak for him, of course.

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                • As always, I find Richard’s interview answers a bit… how to best put it… arbitrary? I sometimes have the impression he just comes up with something that he believes the other person wants to hear. Or that makes him look “acceptable”. (This is touching on much deeper issues than just his taste in music, though…) Yeah, I can’t quite imagine Pattisons ingraining musical elitism in their students, either. Not least because musical theatre isn’t exactly high brow, either. However, I am wondering whether Pattisons somewhat stifled his early concert-going *just* because it was a boarding school and hence it might have been difficult for students to take a weeknight off and travel from Coventry to Birmingham to see some gigs… Or anyway, he may simply not have been into it.
                  I get what you are saying re. being a solitary person and going to a concert. Although I would say that the argument that you can’t hear them, does not work. I don’t think that most people go to a concert to *talk* but to hear the music. The social occasion is the shared experience, including talking before and after, but not during the music.
                  I’ve been to a couple of rock concerts on my own, and even though I usually find myself quite happy in my own company, I didn’t enjoy those concerts very much. Because I had no one to share the experience with, to dissect the whole thing with afterwards, or to dance and laugh with.

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                  • I think, if he’s a real (Jungian) introvert (which I don’t know, but he shows a lot of other signs of being), being in a group, even of friends, at a concert would be a problem. You need to respond to stimuli from other people around you, but you can’t. It’s honestly really difficult for me to even grasp doing that as something attractive, but then again, as I’ve learned in the last few years, going to the theatre with a group of friends would not be my preference, either. It redirects my attention in ways that I don’t want it redirected.

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                    • Maybe that is the reason then for his late trying of concerts.
                      I do understand what you mean re. going to the theatre with friends although for me that does not apply to my normal theatre visits, only to fandom-related theatre.

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                    • I think it surprised me a little — one big reason I go to (or went to, who knows when that will happen again) the movies is to be alone. I wouldn’t have said that was a chief reason for me to go to the theater (because it’s usually more crowded) but apparently it’s a necessary component of the experience for me [shrugs].

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                    • I have certainly found that sometimes, when watching RA on stage, my needs clash with those of the people who attend with me. I might want silence in order to process what I am seeing/have just seen, while my companion has the need to immediately comment. I have found that I quite enjoy *sitting alone* in the theatre – gives me opportunity to process and gather my thoughts undisturbed. But I do like having the opportunity to discuss the experience afterwards.

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  1. Well, if it makes him feel better, I’ve never actually been to a concert (save for an amateur orchestra in Atlanta that a friend plays in).
    That was a fun article and I love the new photo. 😍

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    • There seem to be more people who have never been to a gig, than I thought. I am surprised!
      The article is definitely fun. I actually think there is a lot to be taken from people’s choices in music – both the music they remember, and the music they liked. (Can be two different things.)

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    • Ha, the window is what I like about it – because you get two views in one. The hair is nice – particularly that one lock that is falling across his forehead. Carefully gelled into place or just au naturel?

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      • This is the third recent pic by An Le, no? The one in the Sunday Times, which I basically liked, the one in the green shirt which I actively disliked because it was so obvious he was acting, and this one. To me if you’re going to put a mirror in an image you’re making a message photo and at this point I have a lot of fatigue around it — my main response to it most of the time i see it is that Velazquez did it better. Also, the window is so blurry it’s not like you’re really getting a second image of him. I just saw a crop of this one that edited the right side of the photo out and I find it a lot more intriguing to look at.

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        • Interesting – I didn’t really receive a message from this picture at all. I like the mirroring because it is almost like cubism in a photograph – seeing the same subject, at the same time, from two perspectives. Or purely on a fangirl level: two for one. In this case I find interesting how different the two ‘images’ look. The profile looks older, more serious, than the (main) image. I find that fascinating.
          Tbh, I don’t really see the difference, in terms of acting, between this one and the green shirt one. Both images are posed. In both images the subject *knows* he is being photographed. Admittedly, the green shirt picture came across as much more contrived – the romantic thinker, lost in his thoughts, staring into the infinite distance. Here he is looking at the camera, so at least he is not pretending the photographer isn’t there. But he poses nonetheless.
          Having said all that – I saw the cropped version of the photo in a large size today, and *that* was much better than the small size crops I had seen. Because you could actually see the look on his face.

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          • Yeah, that’s kind of my point. “Mirror in a photo” says “message coming” and there’s actually no message here. So then I think, wow, was the photographer really that naive about what they were doing? It just sets off a chain of frustrations in my brain. I hadn’t thought of the cubism thing but I’m not a fan of cubism except possibly on an intellectual level. It’s an interesting thought (i.e., it actually qualifies as a message, I suppose, or did in its original years) but does nothing for me aesthetically or emotionally.

            Yes, this is posed (like all photos) but it’s not as contrived as the previous one is. When I see obvious, contrived posing I start needing irony as a viewer and that’s also something that’s very far from An Le’s mind. Part of it is that I just don’t believe Armitage is the person in the earlier photo — I actually didn’t see it as romantic at all, to me it looked aggressive — whereas in the latest photo he looks more like an observer, which is consistent with his self-description(s).

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            • I think we agree on the main points here. Although my interpretation of the new picture is slightly different. “Observing” is too neutral imo. I perceive an air of smugness in the way he is directly looking at the camera while leaning back, a cold appraisal of whoever he might be looking at. There is not enough concentration in his look – no wrinkled forehead, no squinting eyes – to be observing imo. To me he looks as if he is on the cusp of a sneer. Not sure whether he *really* is that person, either. (Observer, yes. Cold appraiser – probably not.) The mirror image actually cancels some of that out – what I perceive as somewhat cold, ironically distanced and smug, does not come across in the blurry window. The way he is standing in front of it, makes the angle of his head look as if he is leaning in, interested, observant in a friendly way. The interplay of a highlight on the cheek under his eye, and the darker shadow around his beard, to me gives the impression that he is smiling (which he is clearly not in the clear image). I confess, I like this kind of ambiguity, and the decoding of clues that *I* see. There are many ways of seeing.

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              • isn’t appraisal part of observing? I would never say “observing” is a neutral or a friendly stance, nor do I think it requires signals of attention. I definitely think the observer is a cold appraiser at times (I hope so anyway, that’s who I strive to be when I observe). i don’t get any of that modification of the image from the “mirror” part, though. It’s just an (uninteresting, content-free) blur to me, though, frankly a waste of space.

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                  • Cold appraisal — I think it’s a necessary piece of analysis, trying to strip away the apparatus of reaction. I also think it’s an important life skill. So I don’t see it as negative. This isn’t quite the same thing as displaying cold appraisal (which is adding a layer rather than stripping one away, depending on the actor’s state of mind) but I admire people who can think coolly and try to emulate them.

                    You can read whatever you want: I don’t think that’s true. There are always limits to interpretation. I can read “he’s expressing incredible joy” in the picture but that would be counter to practically every sign in the photo. There may be no single interpretations, but there are better and worse interpretations. Otherwise why discuss them at all?

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                    • Better or worse interpretations implies for me a sense of “you are doing it wrong” or “you don’t know what you are talking about”. It goes without saying that we are discussing nuances here, not a complete misinterpretation such as in your example (“incredible joy”). But the fact that in this instance we are coming at this with two different views on ‘cold appraisal’ already shows that interpretation is based on individual opinion and can’t really be absolute.

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                    • saying “interpretation can’t be absolute” doesn’t mean “you can read anything you want into a photo.” I mean, you can, I can’t stop you, but that doesn’t mean you’re correct. Misinterpretations occur all the time, but they have big consequences, even when they concern trivial things. There are at least three misinterpretations of Armitage’s career that I can think of that have really roiled the fandom. I’ll cite one: the interpretation embraced by many fans that he was a political conservative. That was a case of assumptions based on roles, generally poor evidence-collecting, and unwillingness to look at context and history. Does it matter to Armitage? I doubt it. But it mattered to us — it caused all kinds of arguments, in 2013 it caused people to quit the fandom in tears and recriminations to other fans. So yeah, I do think that there are various qualities of interpretation and it’s important to discard poor ones, especially for the health of a community (if we see fandom as an interpretive community), as violent exits damage all of us. It’s important to challenge interpretations, or a community becomes torpid and eventually dies.

                      I also think it’s a different thing to say “I’m not interested in a particular depth of interpretation” — i.e., if all one wants to do is react (like / dislike — a dynamic negatively fostered by social media). But if I have a reaction I want to know why and that involves examining an interpretation, and that means risking discomfort over competing interpretations until I figure out what interpretations have the best feature. I’m never going to be interested in “just” reacting — but I’m also not interested in a discussion that essentially has two poles: “I like it” vs “I don’t like it.” It’s not really a discussion then.

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  2. Ah, some entertainment for the masses. Yahoo!!

    As I’ve already said on Twitter, I love that he has an ABBA story. Probably the one band that hasn’t got a single song I hate listening to. And a story with Mama Armitage. ♥️♥️♥️

    Next up, funeral. What he’s describing is a jazz funeral typical of New Orleans. Sad, somber music on the way to the funeral, happy music for afterwards. I wonder if he’s aware.

    As for concerts, I’m team hardly as well. I saw Status Quo live in 1999 or so, but that was because of work. It’s not like I bought a ticket. And I saw Elton John Open Air in front of the Residence in WÜ ca. 2010 (don’t quote mein that) during his Greatest Hits Tour, which was a fabulous birthday gift from Mr. Kate. There endeth my concert career. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I would have a hard time answering most of these questions as I lack the (and I quote Miranda Hart) muso gene. I like music, but not to the point of life-altering bliss and the older I get, the more I value moments of quiet, so I often drive with the radio off in my car which I didn’t use to do.

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    • Entertainment indeed. Lots to unpack and discuss here. There are new stories in there, and that is really nice. Some felt very personal. It’s good to see RA open up a little bit. Childhood stories are probably the best to recount.
      I was astounded to read that he was not allowed to stay up for the New Year – until that year when he heard the Abba song. (I have it playing in my mind’s ear right now… a bit of an earworm… )
      Thanks for sharing your “concert career”. This is all very interesting – and just proves the point that one should never assume that one’s own experiences are “normal” or “average”…

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    • Sorry, and I was also going to say I’m like Kate these days, my favourite track is the sound of silence.
      Though the S&G version’s not too bad. 😂
      Oh and I do a fabulous Steamy Windows (Inside my head) I wonder if TT sang that one for him.

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      • I have weaned myself off music… in the sense that I cannot work when I have music playing in the background. And I totally have lost touch with the contemporary music scene (my children tell me 😂).

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    • Yep – it was the cooler end of the music market, right? (As a teenager in Germany, I would every once in a while, when I was in the “big town”, buy ‘Smash Hits’ in the international newsagent in the main train station. The only place where you could buy international papers and magazines. It was a massive luxury, and I felt sooooo cool every time I bought that English magazine 😂

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      • Hättest du damals mal deinen lokalen Bravo-Dealer gefragt … Die haben die ausländischen Mags nicht automatisch bekommen, konnten sie aber üblicherweise beziehen … wenn sie denn Kunden dafür hatten.
        Smash Hits gehörte zu meiner regelmäßigen Lektüre. 😛

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        • Siehst du, das habe ich gar nicht erst zu versuchen gewagt, damals. Aber macht auch nichts – das wäre eh ein zu teures Vergnügen geworden. Ich hatte nicht viel Taschengeld.

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  3. Oh gosh, I’ve been to LOADS of concerts – from tiny club gigs to big stadium extravaganzas! The one I’m most thankful for, is David Bowie at Wembley Stadium when I was 16, I’m so glad I got to see him. I like the picture, however my crush appears to be somewhat on the wane, which after a decade, is sad. If I may be so bold, I’m actually starting to find him a little annoying 😕

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    • Oh, Bowie… That is *one* artist I regret having missed. What a cool concert to have been at, Lady.
      And yes, you may be bold 😂. I am with you – more than you probably thought.

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    • I find him annoying too, particularly when he is virtue signalling, or in luvvie mode or when he’s telling a fib (an occupational hazard as an actor)!
      I’m not that keen on the beardy look – he becomes less physically appealing to me. One of the main reasons I quite enjoyed watching him in TS was because he had no beard! I realise I may seem shallow but hey, that’s how I feel as a fan!

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      • Oh yes! I do wish, if he voices his own opinions, that he stands by them. I don’t think he does the ‘tweeting then deleting’ thing anymore, thankfully (for me anyway!) it’s the tiptoeing around, worrying about upsetting his fan base, and yes, the odd fib. He’s coming across as so…vanilla. I mean, who the f*** are you, Richard?! I’m actually questioning how I was SO obsessed with this man – his lack of personality (IMO) is a proper turn off. I’m sure he’d be crushed to read this 😂

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        • Yeah, he’s become a man without contour, to some degree. Whatever he has revealed of himself over his time on SM, is carefully curated and somewhat lacking in unique points of reference. As much as I sometimes get peeved over things he says, I actually like that better than his attempts at smoothing out any kind of controversial discussion. Having said that, he probably gets a different impression when he looks at the reactions he receives on SM. Not least because those who are willing to engage with him in some sort discussion, are never acknowledged by him. Well, it’s his decision, of course, but I agree with you that it makes him look like a man without much of an opinion.

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  4. Danke für den Fan-Sörwiss, Guylty, das ist wirklich interessant – und garniert mit einem Foto als Sahnehäubchen. Like!

    Die Aussage zum ersten Konzert finde ich irritierend. Ist “I’d never seen an artist live that just pinned me to the wall with that voice.” nicht ein Widerspruch zum “ersten” Konzert? Möglicherweise hat er da eher sagen wollen, dass es das erste Konzert war, wo er gezielt hin ging und sogar für den zweiten Besuch eine ziemlich lange Anreise auf sich nahm? Who knows.

    For the record: Ganze zwei besuchte Konzerte in meinem Leben, DD in Frankfurt und Köln. Mit den Infos, die ich online finde, muss dass´wohl 1987 gewesen sein.
    Konzertbesuche hängen auch davon ab, wie weit am A**** der Welt man wohnt. Von Frankfurt aus kam ich noch heim, in Köln hatte ich eine Duranie-Brieffreundin, bei der ich übernachten konnte.

    Amüsant fand ich das mit Annie Lennox. Kann es sein, dass ich nicht die einzige bin, die von Youtube in eine Nostalgiewelle getrieben wurde? *g*

    Was er an dem letzten Video so hilarious findet, ist mir ein Rätsel. Es hat ein paar nette Stellen, aber hilarious? *Kopf kratz*
    Naja, Humor ist verschieden – und Musikgeschmack auch. Vielleicht spräche mich das Video mehr an, wenn ich den Song irgendwie herausragend fände. *g*

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    • Fotos sind immer gut, oder? Ich mein, selbst wenn es einem nicht gefällt, immerhin sieht man ihn dann mal wieder. Vor allem jetzt!
      Deine Interpretation seiner Antwort zum ersten Konzert klingt auch schlüssig. Er hat da irgendwie nicht so ganz klar geantwortet. Kann natürlich sein, dass er zuvor auch schon mal auf Konzerten war, aber dass er nicht gezielt dort hingegangen war.
      Und *abklatsch* – Duran Duran war ja auch mein Teenie-Schwarm. Allerdings habe ich es nie auf ein Konzert von denen geschafft. Jedenfalls nicht als Teenager. (Ich war dann vor ein paar Jahren mal bei einem Konzert hier in Dublin – ich glaube, das war 2014. Ha, und eigentlich sollte DD letzte Woche hier in Dublin spielen, wofür ich übrigens auch eine Karte hatte… Verschoben auf nächstes Jahr.) Ich war übrigens auch so ein Landei, dass in die große Stadt fahren musste, um ein Live-Konzert zu erleben. Trotzdem war Bremen die Provinz, und die ganz großen Namen kamen da nicht hin. Meh. Deswegen fing das mit dem Konzert-Gehen für mich auch erst später an, als ich Studentin war.
      Annie Lennox… da sieht man dann doch, dass er ein Kind der 80er ist.
      Bei Daði Freyr muss ich ihm allerdings Recht geben. Ich fand das Video auch witzig – dieses steife 80er Jahre Popgetanze, die blöden Pullis, die bierernsten Miene der Musiker – und dann die entsetzten Zuhörer. Ich fand das sehr witzig. Mir gefiel auch das Lied gut – keine hohe Kunst, aber eingängig gemacht. Ich mag den Daði irgendwie – der ist so reduziert und dröge, wie man sich einen Isländer so vorstellt. Und RA hatte ja von dem Lied schon im Februar oder so geschwärmt und das mal weitergetweetet…

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  5. I found that I had a similar upbringing to RA based off some of his interviews including this one.
    I still haven’t been to a live concert yet and I’m 42. I missed Pentatonix in Canada last year which was the only one I’ve been interested in lately.
    Also, since his parents especially his mom was more reserved, it would mean alot of his experiences would have been later in life.
    He did say late he was a late bloomer.

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    • Late bloomer indeed. It’s all fair enough, we all take our own time. It just struck me as unusual because he is a musical person. I also just cannot get my head around how he constantly plays down his voice or his singing. He has basically proven that he can sing; and he was a professional singer during his (short-lived) musical career. So why is he putting his light under the bushel?

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  6. I think I was 16 when I went to my first live rock concert. Don’t recall the band and then went to others while at uni. My most memorable live concerts have been classical concerts. Hearing Yo-Yo Ma play in person is an experience will never forget. It was a peak moment when everything stopped and my world was just pure beauty for 2 hours. Another wonderful live concert was the London Philharmonic playing Brahms. Wow!!

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    • Uni is a great time for experiencing live music. That was one of the richest times, musically speaking, for me, too.
      Re. classical music concerts vs. pop/rock concerts – I suspect I have been to more classical concerts than pop concerts (on virtue of 13 years of subscribing to the National Concert Hall). Yet, I personally find the two experiences so utterly different that I couldn’t say which one has more impact. I agree that classical concerts really go straight to the soul. I have cried in classical concerts, had goosepimples and silly grins on my face, unable to control those emotions. At rock concerts, the music may not necessarily touch the soul, but I always find that it goes straight to my belly. Or my blood. It’s definitely less ethereal but earthy, even primitive. In that sense I don’t think the two are comparable at all. They are both pure joy, expressed and felt differently.

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  7. It’s interesting reading all of our different experiences. I guess the main reason I never went was that most concerts were in Atlanta – a 3-4 hour journey for me growing up. As I’ve gotten older, I just don’t care about going, even though Atlanta & Cherokee (North Carolina) are a little over an hour away now. And we even have concerts here in Hiawassee (Josh Turner, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap, etc).
    Both of my boys have been to ones in Atlanta; my youngest saw Foo Fighters when he was about 13.

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    • I’ve really enjoyed finding out about everybody’s concert histories, too. Not least because it made me realise once again that what I assumed was ‘normal’, apparently wasn’t. I think that a lot of it has to do with accessibility. Living 3-4 hours away from the nearest concert venue, is pretty far. I don’t blame anyone for not being able (or interested) to make the effort of going to a concert.
      Foo Fighters – nice one!

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    • I like that effect too. I was just thinking – it’s like a Cubist photograph. The same person, at the same time, from two perspectives. I also like that a photograph like that clearly shows that the photographer deliberately framed the subject that way.

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  8. First live concert: Billy Joel. As a college freshman in the 1970s. When he was still performing in college venues. It was as easy as walking from my dormitory across a parking lot to the gym. No travel, no parking, not much advance planning, no need to go more than an hour early. Easy and very enjoyable. He’s a terrific performer.
    Second live concert: Bruce Springsteen, 40 years later, after saying to myself, “Why DON’T I go to live music?” (The same “you’re not getting any younger” sentiment that drove me to buy airline tickets and I-won’t-confess-how-many theatre tickets to see a certain actor on a stage in London.) I asked friends if it would be druggy chaos with people spilling beers and vomiting all over each other. Reassured by “Springsteen doesn’t do drugs himself and neither do his fans–who are all old people like us who don’t want beer on themselves either,” I said “yes.” A friend (my age) did all the work: stayed up ’til 4 am to nab tickets that sell out within minutes, apparently, picked me up and drove me there (only 1 mile from my apartment, mind, at an arena in Brooklyn), pre-booked a spot in a parking garage for the car (which is how adults do these things, I learned), and drove me home after. Delightful. The band played for an amazing 4 hours, which is apparently common. The audience was fans from the 1970s (people my age) with their children and grandchildren (look for videos on YouTube of toddlers singing with The Boss), many of whom have clearly been “doing” his concerts their whole lives. Everyone knows every lyric and sings along at top volume. He calls his concerts tent revival meetings of the faithful, and that’s not an exaggeration. It was a spectacular night. I was thrilled to experience it.

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    • Billy Joel – that’s a nice first concert! I had a friend who introduced me to his back catalogue in the early 90s.
      Thanks for recounting that Springsteen experience. Springsteen is actually a performer I would love to see live. (He regularly plays in Dublin but I have never seen him yet. In fairness, the tickets are quite pricy…) And what you describe is actually what a great concert should be about – very much a communal experience where you feel one with the performers and your fellow audience. Love it.

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  9. Him not going to a concert until his late 30s seem to be the most interesting trivia in this article. But him sharing family connections to music was quite touching.
    I don’t really know what counts as to the first time I’ve watched a concert. Do you mean a small gig? a free performance in a mall? If you mean getting to watch an international group perform, it would probably at 10yo (this is in the open area of a mall, chaperoned by an older cousin haha) But by highschool I was able to attend small gigs/events of bands that covered anime songs. Tried attending gigs of local bands at this age (at the height when rock bands were all the rage in our country) but I always ended up leaving early because they performed past my curfew lol and the crowd was getting to rowdy to be watched alone by a girl (my friend left me and decided to read a book in a cafe instead haha). Hitting college I was able to watch more gigs, and watching the annual Uni fair (a week long set of concerts) is one of the memorable times in that period of my life. I remember our photography org got to document on one of those nights, and the crowd got so aggressive they broke down the GI sheets that partitioned the area, and started throwing rocks at people. Unfortunately somebody died 😦 The concert had to end immediately of course.
    I have a lot more stories of watching gigs, because I do love music and try my best to support the local scene (even if it means exchanging beer for coffee in recent years, just to watch the last band perform haha). I guess it’s so intriguing why RCA has watched his first concert so late, when there are many others that have experienced attending these performances. I wish we could learn more of the reasons, but for now we can just wonder 🙂

    I hope you guys are doing okay. Sorry this comment turned out so long!

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    • The little insights into his family life/childhood were very sweet indeed. I was surprised he gave away such personal stories. But then again, childhood memories are somewhat neutral – you can hardly find fault with stories like that.
      Yeah, by “attending a concert” I meant going to a gig that was not just a local band but a group/artist who was well-known either nationally or internationally, and thus played in a big venue.
      The story you are touching on – someone getting seriously hurt – is the sort of thing that probably puts people off going to concerts. Fear of being crushed, or being hit by flying bottles etc. Those are the sides of live gigs that I don’t particularly enjoy. At some of the rowdier events I have been at, I deliberately stayed far back and watched it all from the back of the venue. It slightly tainted the whole experience for me. One of the reasons why I definitely don’t have to see the Pogues ever again. Too much testosterone in the venue.

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      • It’s true. On top that it’s not comfortable for everyone to get squished, or to suddenly be part of a moshpit when you don’t want to be, there’s the danger of getting seriously injured. Recently I don’t go to these big concerts anymore. I go for smaller venues, but it still packs a crowd! Audience behavior has changed in our music scene, though I guess the music itself doesn’t quite call for rowdiness. There are just some people who complain about others who record the whole gig with their phones.
        With Richard sharing parts of his personal life now, perhaps something made him feel more secure or less vulnerable and that he’s willing to tell publicly. Or maybe it’s one way of remembering his mother/family.

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        • Funny, I have found myself going for larger venues lately. That has probably more to do with being so out of touch with the music scene, hence I am not aware of any “smaller” bands that are playing the more intimate venues anymore. Instead, I have only been to arena gigs lately, both indoors and outdoors. The good thing with them is that you can stand at the back and avoid the crush if you prefer.
          That is actually a lovely thought – Richard deciding to tell the story about New Year’s Eve as a way to remember his mum. I like it!

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  10. I can probably count the concerts and gigs I’ve attended on one hand. It’s been more musical theatre and ballet for me, and hubby has never been really interested in live music. Having both grown up in the country, the opportunities were rare and we weren’t into the pub scene. My first concert was at seventeen, for John Farnham (he of You’re the Voice) way back in his Sadie days, Skyhooks at a university ball before they were big, and since then it’s been very sporadic…..Bette Midler in 2005, (a mature) John Farnham again, The Angels (a Christmas gift from our son) and comeback concert tours by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Herman’s Hermits, where most of the audiences were grey haired. Does Jesus Christ Superstar in an arena event count as a concert??!!
    My son on the other hand loves live music – I envy him his Adele and Elton John experiences, but would never have made the effort myself to actually get to those concerts, I’ve never wanted it enough to contend with the ticket buying, the travelling, traffic and crowds.
    I love the sounds of silence – not just the song, but the quiet of my house and car. No TV during the day and no radio. If I listen to anything when I’m driving it’s usually an audiobook. I am totally out of touch with the contemporary music scene too.

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    • Ha, I am definitely out of touch, even though I hear my kids talk about their current favourites. Mind you, the music scene is so much bigger these days. Much more music on offer, a much bigger diversity of styles and genres. (It’s kind of funny, though, that my son is currently big into German Krautrock – which was even before *my* time 😂)
      Living in the country definitely makes it harder to see live concerts. Things only changed for me once I moved to a major city where big, well-known artists played on a regular basis.

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  11. I too was surprised to learn that RA was in his late 30s when he attended his first pop concert. The more of these little snippets of personal information he reveals about himself, the more think how singular he is. I am not sure to what extent he has ever been “one of the gang”. That is not meant as a criticism, just an observation.
    I used to go to gigs in local pubs in my late teens. But my first proper pop concert was when I was 18: a group of us from school went to see Joan Armatrading at the Hammersmith Apollo. The concert was memorable because there were a couple of older ladies in the row of seats directly in front of us making out! The things you remember!
    At University I was a steward at gigs where I got to see a lot of big bands from the late 80s for free: Madness; The Cult; Human League; the Pogues; Hawkwind; the Smiths; Propaganda (remember them?); Lindisfarne. I stayed well clear of the frenzy of the mosh pit!
    I still enjoy going to see live music now, even to see some tribute bands. But for me it is a social event; I tend to go with a group of friends, have a nice meal beforehand and go and enjoy the music.

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    • “One of the gang” – I agree with you, Zigzag. I don’t have the impression he was ever part of a gang. Neither the cool in-crowd, nor the “normal” crowd. With his interest in reading, music and theatre, he may have been a bit of an outlier (until he went to that boarding school)?
      Ha, and I am definitely envious of your cool stewarding job at uni. Those are fantastic bands that you have listed there. Yes, I do remember Propaganda. German band, 80s. A bit avantgarde… – The mosh pit never interested me. There is more space for dancing at the back of the crowd 😉
      Hilarious story about the Armatrading concert!
      And yes, I find concerts very social, too. I remember years ago, I was given a ticket to a concert because my friends couldn’t go. I wasn’t a major fan of the band anyway (Bon Jovi), but decided to go. It felt really weird standing on my own, no one to talk to. I usually dance at concerts, but felt really self-conscious on my own there. (Nevertheless, by the end of the night, I was screaming along to songs that I never knew I knew the lyrics to 😂) Personally, I prefer to share the concert experience with someone.

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  12. I’m astonished by RA’s late concert going but that’s more to do with my perception of him, imagining him going to gigs and music festivals (which I’m sure I remember him saying he attended – although I could have imagined that or he went much later). I wonder if he went from Hungary to Vienna at the tail-end of making Robin Hood. For your survey Guylty, my first concert was Ian Dury & the Blockheads when I was 15 and I’ve been going to gigs ever since.

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    • Same here, J. My perception of him was also slightly different, however much I believe he may have been a bit of a loner in his younger years. I just assumed that a music lover would be all over the concert scene :-). I think Servetus mentioned somewhere that RA had said in previous interviews that he attended festivals in flip flops or something like that. I wonder which is the truth now? *grins*
      Going to Vienna from Hungary would *theoretically* make sense, although Budapest to Vienna is only a mere 250km, not 700km. 🤔
      Ian Dury!!!! That’s a pretty cool gig! Hit me with your rhythm stick… 🥊

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        • I’m just flummoxed by the 700 miles. London – A’dam is about 300 miles. Budapest – Amsterdam is more like 1,500.
          😂 I am laughing about myself here. What the hell am I doing? Who cares how long and from where. 😂 I’m taking this far too literally.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. My first live concert was at 13 to see Paul Revere and the Raiders. ( a poor substitute for who I REALLY wished to see but couldn’t get tickets for- The Beatles) Ugh! Am I really that old?!!! Saw several other live bands over the years but my most memorable was Led Zepplin in 1977. A really fun shared concert experience was taking my teenage Duran Duran obsessed daughter to a concert of theirs when she won tickets from the local radio station. Fast forward to much older me seeing Andrea Bocelli in concert which I enjoyed but have come to realize I don’t really like the large scale arena type venue anymore.

    I enjoyed RA’s stories more than his song choices. I really did like this picture though. Posed or not he is really looking especially good lately – or maybe I’ve just been on lockdown way too long lol.

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    • “Or maybe I’ve been in lockdown too long” 😂

      Haven’t we all? I find that I am actually harder to please)if that makes sense). Maybe because I’m more cranky than usual? 🤷🏻‍♀️

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    • Oh, Led Zeppelin! That’s a band I would’ve loved to see live. It’s a really cool band experience to have under your belt, D! And shared concert experiences, even if it is for bands that you are not a fan of, are special, too. I remember going to a Bon Jovi concert last year with friends. I am not a fan at all but it was fun because we commiserated about the horrific weather conditions and did our best to enjoy ourselves.
      The stories were the highlight for me, too. Some of the early music memories were really fun I thought.
      Yeah, he is looking good. It’s as if he isn’t aging at all, the lucky man.

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  14. I have enjoyed everyone’s responses. In fact Servetus and I first talked about not ever been at a concert a week or so ago. I sure hope she gets to see Elton John. I was not able to go a concert when I was a teenager due to my parents religious beliefs. I was also not able to have LP or cassettes either unless they where religious. I did listen to the radio and did make mix tapes which I would learn years later was a thing, for me it was the only way to listen to the music I liked other than waiting for it to play on the radio. The mix tapes are long gone these days. My music was my rebellion. When I became a young adult my boyfriend at the time now my husband is not a fan of crowds and he did have different musical taste than myself. Now as he has gotten older he has changed his tastes closer to myself. I am a person would would want to go with someone and not by myself. I don’t even like going to the movies by myself. I was close to 18 when I bought a Walkman and 3 cassettes of a group that I would have argued the point about and I was so close to 18 i guess I was looking for that dare. I would like to someday go to at least a couple concerts to say I have done that. The funny thing is I would have like to have seen the bands I am thinking about back in the late 80’s or early 90’s as they each have a band member no longer with them and would have liked to have seen that line up.

    With all that my first memory I have of childhood is a musical memory playing a medal and plastic piano. I loved everything musical and who knows maybe sang my first word. I have however seen the ballet The Nutcracker in Bristol, England when I came to visit a friend. She got the tickets and we when with her parents. It was a great evening. I was pregnant with my middle son and he was very active, but every time I played the Nutcracker at home it was like he was dancing the ballet.

    I know I got thought college by listening to music, while I studied. I am one of those people who becomes more focused when listening to music where others can find it a distraction.

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    • It’s never too late for a concert experience if you are keen to try it out. I completely understand that it’s not that easy to access concerts (and for the near future I think we’ll have to do without them 😔), and it takes planning and financial commitment. But it’s definitely something that can be very joyful and rewarding.
      I have to say that I listen very rarely to music these days. I can’t work while the music is playing, because I get distracted by lyrics and I start singing or chair-dancing *lol*. That’s the reason why I have lost touch with the music scene. Gosh, when I was a teenage, I never would’ve imagined that it would come to this. Music was so important back then. You *had to* know who was in the charts, and the mix tapes you talk about, were part and parcel of teenage education.

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      • I really don’t listen to much to what is new, a little. My oldest liked Queen, Green Day Etc from the the early 2000’s and not sure what he listens to now. My middle likes Celtic and not sure what else just nothing from the charts. My youngest likes march music, Vera Lynn, Frank Sinatra and other music from the 40’s and 50’s. My youngest did however before he was talking much (he has autism) has been known to sing Queen’s Fat Bottom Girls that he heard his older brother play. All three of my son’s did play instruments when they where younger. I think your right it maybe awhile before concerts again and maybe I will be able to find someone who would like to go. It would be a bit as I would have to drive at least three hours one way to see a show.

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          • Yes, for a teenager at the time. He is now 21. He did play violin for 4 years started at age 9. He played for three years then decided that practicing violin and trumpet was to much. He did go back to play his freshmen year of high school (14 years old) but with taking advanced classes thought it was to much with the added school work. Since he has been to Japan the summers of 2018 and 2019 I think he also likes some Japanese music too.

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  15. Taking a lot longer to finish my morning coffee☕️ as I read through all these responses. 😉
    I like the new pic, he is a very pretty man but my fav look has always been his Sir Guy. (Maybe it’s the longer hair.) The beard works for me. Either way, it’s all fantasy, so he can look however he wants as far as I’m concerned. Sir Guy’s image will never change. (Insert inappropriate smirking here.)
    😏
    Been to so many great (some not so great) concerts, some bands easily more than a dozen times, but music, like reading, is one of my favourite hobbies. 🎶 Bowie is a highlight. 🎵

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    • Extra value – all those comments!
      Yeah, even as a beard-hater, I still concede that he looks great underneath all that. But yes, nothing will ever touch Guy. I don’t even care about the mullet – he’s just irresistible.
      Bowie!!! Very jealous!!!

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