Let’s End This Year

It’s been a tough year for everyone everywhere, and so much so that I lack some of my usual enthusiasm to write a glowing end-of-year report that celebrates the highlights properly. The highlights seem to pale in significance beside the big negatives that characterise 2020. The global pandemic. The mental, financial and social strains that came with it. The mudslinging in politics across the Irish Sea and the Atlantic. The tragic death of George Floyd and others. Yet all these abysmal lows also resulted in highlights. More community, consideration and care for each other to fight the virus. A vaccine. Creativity to beat the boredom. Election results that give hope for a better future, and broad, international social movements that are fighting for the rights of those that have been marginalised or discriminated against. As 2020 ends, I feel hopeful that it can only get better from here on in.

In terms of fandom, this was an enjoyable year, again. Even if the much anticipated run of Richard’s latest theatre project UV was cut short after just a few weeks, the year has ended with the broadcast of the filmed version of the play on the BBC last night. I have not seen it yet, but there are ways and means 🤐. And Richard has entertained us with his audio books and with some very nice interviews over the months. With hints of a long-form piece of writing being released and his production company taking off, we may look forward to some interesting new things coming out in 2021. That’s something to anticipate with excitement and enthusiasm.

On the more active side of fandom, the resounding success of our fundraisers has made me very happy. After the “traditional” birthday fundraiser in August, you all came together for a second fundraiser in December. In total you raised 4692.82 Pounds. *This* year! That is actually also more than we raised in 2019! In a year that has been a financial strain for almost everyone. If that isn’t a highlight, then what is?

Looking at 2020 from my own, personal perspective, and leaving the strain of the pandemic aside, it has actually been a good year. It started so well with the trip to the first preview of UV in London in January… Of course, I would have loved to see it again as planned, but in hindsight I am fully reconciled and happy with my decision to cancel my trip even though lockdown had not yet been announced at that stage. While the novelty of lockdown life very quickly wore off, and not seeing my friends and family in the flesh has been tough, me and my family made the most of it. We had a lovely mini holiday in Ireland at the beginning of July, and we have kept ourselves busy with home improvements and other domestic “pleasures”. I was also incredibly lucky to find a new regular client for whom I am writing content every week. That has taken an enormous amount of strain off my shoulders. My creative needs are satisfied not only by writing for my client, but also by crafting. My Etsy store has really taken off, and I can’t even express how much fun it is for me to make those little mini books and then even be so lucky as to have people interested in buying them. An unexpected side-effect of the pandemic has been the extension of my time with my daughter. She is now a grown-up, and she was due to move into her own space albeit in the basement of our house at the beginning of the year. But instead of languishing down there on her own, she has moved back into her old room. And so she is around every day as her college classes have *all* been moved online, and I cherish the extra time I have been given with her. It is wonderful to have a grown-up daughter with whom we now have conversations and discussions at equal level. Meanwhile, my son has moved to Berlin and proven that he can live and organise his life quite independently – in a constant struggle with German bureaucracy 😂. However, he gave me a great gift when he immediately jumped at the chance to spend Christmas with my mother. It was the perfect solution to a difficult dilemma. And even though parted, we all had a very nice Christmas with plenty of food and many gifts, both tangible and intangible. Oh, and the undoubted highlight of my kitchen year has been the arrival of our new, colour-changing water kettle.

Time for the customary end-of-year message of thanks to Richard

Dear Richard,

a year like this one truly makes us, the “ordinary”, adoring public, feel much in tune with our celebrity favourites. Because the experience of 2020 with life under lockdown was universal. We all had to adjust to a life in private rather than in the public. Nevertheless, you continued working and increased your already prolific output of audio books. From the glimpses into your life you have provided in recent interviews, it sounds as if you really used the enforced “unemployed” time well. Attempting and finishing your first novel (?) – that is a truly inspiring achievement. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to, also in terms of new projects coming up. Especially with your own production company, the name of which you *still* are keeping under wraps… I was lucky enough to watch you live on stage in the Harold Pinter Theatre. It was a great start to the year, and yet another inspirational experience. Thanks to you and your colleagues you have made the *one* live theatre experience I had in 2020 a good one, with a lasting impression that will tide me over until I can – finally – enter a theatre safely again. 

Even though I wish we had seen more of you in 2020, thank you for the entertainment you have provided, for taking an interest in your fans by replying and liking on Twitter, and for sharing the causes you are interested in. Moreover, I am also grateful for your acknowledgment of the charity initiative helmed by me but executed by your many kind and generous fans. It means a lot to us to know our gift – even though not tangible to you – has been received.

For 2021 all the best for your professional and personal endeavours – a good reception of your work, whether written or acted; success with your production efforts; a happy and inspiring private life to balance out your intense work. May only scripts with fascinating characters cross your desk, and may your wardrobe studio always be busy.

With much love,

Sonja ❤️

And to all of you readers out there

Thank you to you for enriching my 2020 with your comments, support and love. Through the ups and downs of Pandemia, you have been a constant that keeps me reading, fangirling and blogging. As such, you have added to my mental balance, by keeping me curious about what is going on in our fandom circle – and in the world at large. I appreciate your presence here on my blog so much – even though I have been slack with replying and reacting to comments this year. None of this – whether it is blogging, creating and crafting, tweeting, fundraising, RAwatching or simply exchanging silly jokes – would be possible without you. I am grateful that I am not sitting in an echo chamber but that you are here to suggest, contradict, inspire, challenge, entertain, delight or tease me. May 2021 only bring good things to you. You deserve it. ❤️

72 thoughts on “Let’s End This Year

    • It’s been great fun, as always, and it was a great distraction especially during this year. I still want distraction next year, but let’s hope it will be better for all of us!

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  1. This was lovely to read 💗, I´m wishing you and your loved ones a Happy, healthy and successful new year 🎉🥂🌟🍀💗😊!!

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  2. Wishing a very Happy New Year to you and your family, Guylty and to everyone on here. This blog been a constant delight and a welcome distraction from the grimmer aspects of 2020 – like a cosy cafe where you can drop in any time to listen to the chat and catch up with the latest news from Mr A.

    My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed, and to Guylty most of all.

    PS I’m in awe of that kettle. The most mine can manage is a wee blue light on the on switch!

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    • Thank you for the lovely words, Jen. If this blog delights, distracts and entertains you, then my work here is done. Here’s to a better year next year – with more things to laugh about, to discuss and to ponder.
      Oh, and I can heartily recommend that kettle. It wasn’t cheap, but it really is a mood lifter every time I switch it on 😉 Oh, and it also boils water…

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  3. Thank you for the ride. It was some the most fun I had this year.

    Now let’s end this shitshow and hope for better things… in the second half of 2021?? 🤞🏻

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    • Let’s concentrate on exactly that! The ‘shitshow’ does not deserve our memory and thoughts. We’ll look forward, hope for the best, and dream about reconvening – in person – some time in 2021. Thank you for sharing the ride – I’ve had so much fun with you! X

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  4. Happy New Year, been overall a good year for fandom stuff from UV to all the charity fundraising and personally I got to meet a few lovely fan people like Esther, Squirrel, Armidreamer as well as Michele again. I’m glad RA did finally acknowledge the auctions money raising -because it really is a significant event in the calendar each year and just the acknowledgement creates much joy! I also wonder when he’ll share the name of his production company? maybe when he has a website sorted?

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    • I wonder why he has been so secretive with his production company??? I mean, it’s now 2 years since he announced it at RDC, and he said back then that he’d announce it in the summer of 2019 or so, and the name would be recognisable. But well, the dark horse likes to keep secrets 😉
      Definitely a nice year in terms of fandom – in general and on a personal level. You were very lucky to have your meeting at UV with all those lovely peeps. I think this year will have taught us to cherish all moments – they can be taken away so quickly…

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  5. Such a lovely letter your wrote to Richard and thanks so much for your blog. It’s been a bright spot in some dark days this year. I’m excited about some new projects for Richard and for theaters to open again. I think things in the US are going to get worse before they get better as far as the number of people with Covid 19, but hopefully we can all have the chance to be vaccinated in 2 or 3 months. I’ll keep wearing my mask, but I would really like to be only 5% vulnerable after the vaccine, rather than 100% vulnerable now!
    Have a happy new year and enjoy time with your daughter. Children are so wonderful when they become adults and they can share their ideas and inspire us.

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    • Glad you liked my message to Rich – and had some fun on this blog.
      Judging by what is happening here in Europe, the US really must prepare for the worst. We’re in proper lockdown again, only essential services open, everyone working from home, no travel, public transport has been cut to 25%. It’s a bleak start to the year, but it must be done.
      Nevertheless – happy new year to you, and stay safe, Ricky xx

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  6. Happy New Year to Guylty and all who gather here around her always bright and warm campfire. I haven’t had the time to stop by as often as I would like. Maybe I should become a lurker though that goes against my blabber mouth personality. Love you fellow RA fans.

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  7. It will be 2021 by the time this reaches you but I wanted to add to the list of those sending Good Wishes to you and yours. I haven’t commented much for months now but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been around! Thank you for all you do for this amazing “fandom”. I like to think of us as a small intimate group who have known each other for many years now but I know it’s much, much bigger than that. I trust everyone will stay safe and well in this New Year we have entered. Take care and love to all. X

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    • Happy new year to you, Teuchter. It is 2021 indeed, and it has started with a sunny day, a wonderful concert by the Vienna Philharmonic and a walk in the park.
      There is no obligation to comment – and even more so during these times. We all deal with our challenges differently. I am happy if I can provide a bit of distraction. It is like you say – there is a group here of like-minded people, who enjoy the discourse (sometimes deep, sometimes less so 😉), and who have gotten to know each other. That’s what makes it fun. I feel very blessed to have found this outlet – and this group of people. Xx

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  8. Happy new year Guylty. I have enjoyed visiting your blog when I need my Richard fix!
    So glad to hear that selling on Etsy has taken off. I recall you discussing trying to sell your mini books at a local craft fair but without much success. I think I commented about trying Etsy because that would give you the reach and exposure for selling your craft.
    I think we have learnt a bit more about RA through his unexpected little revelations: his first music gig in 2015 to see Tina Turner; unpacking his suitcase straight away when he gets home from travelling before he goes to the bathroom, were two that came to my mind!
    Going forward, I am intrigued by Richard’s mention that he has written a long hand piece….Do you think this could be a memoir or maybe some poetry?
    I remain a fan, not committed, just interested.

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    • You are right, Zigzag – that market in December 2019 really did not go well at all. And at that point, I only went on Etsy because I hoped to “get rid” of the stock of items I was sitting on. And then it took off there. I am very lucky in that regard. The pandemic and the restrictions on stationary shopping may actually have worked in my favour…
      Oh yes, those little tidbits by Richard were fun and new. I love that he can still make me giggle about such disclosures…
      As for his long-form writing – for some reason I always assumed it was not a memoir but something fiction, particularly a thriller. Not sure why I think that – maybe because I just can’t believe that a man as private as Richard would write a memoir based on his own life. Too private. I wouldn’t put poetry beyond him (especially because he *did* briefly post some on his IG – only to delete it again), but I wouldn’t class that as “long-form”. And I am pretty sure he said “long-form” in one of the interviews from his wardrobe… In any case, looking forward to what he has in store for us, but also praying that it is good… I’d hate it if it wasn’t…
      Happy new year to you xx

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  9. Oh, it’s a kettle! Happy New Year to you Guylty, and to all fellow fans! Thank you for the relief in these difficult times 🥂💖

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  10. Happy New Year to you and your family
    I read somewhere that his production company was White Boar productions
    If that is true I can see the connection to RIII however IMO that isn’t a good thing as I think he has missed out on so many opportunities in that arena in the past.

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      • I’m confused: “incorporated on 07/09/2012”

        So he’s been sitting on it for 9 years and hasn’t done anything with it? 🤔

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        • That occurred to me, too. Although I can see how it may have happened – summer 2012 is when he came back from NZ and presumably moved to the US. So on the back of his new place of residence he then signed up his company.

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        • I think what it suggests is that in the summer of 2012, when he moved to the US after TH, he had the need for business protection of some kind in the US. The usual reasons to create a company in the US (aside from doing business) are to create a tax shelter / opportunity for income deductions and/or liability protection. (It was sort of lost in the tussle over Richlee as motivator for the move that the marginal tax rate in the US at his income level was quite a bit lower at the time — and the situation has improved since then.) We also know that he wanted to participate in producing a project well before this most recent announcement (Bridget Cleary), so I can imagine It also may have been related to requirements for that purpose (it seemed likely from a tweet of his that he had applied to the same entity that granted to Pilgrimage and Brain on Fire for support for that project). At that time he apparently did not have the intention to do those things in the UK, or perhaps feel the need. The very late date of incorporation in the UK suggests that his plans may have changed, or he wanted to produce something in UK / US coproduction.

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      • Cheers for that, Serv! I had no idea! The funny thing is that it never occurred to me the company could be registered in the US. Doh. Of course. I actually googled at irregular intervals, looking for production companies – but registered in UK. Makes more sense to have it registered in US, of course, not just because it’s his place of residence, but obviously also because the film industry’s major players sit in the US…

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      • Spero che cominci presto l’era del cinghiale bianco. It’s a song about the white boar, a symbol of spiritual awakening. Well, if he knows Franco Battiato!

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    • I agree that name is a bit unfortunate IMO. Not especially for Richard III connections, but more particularly for the possible play on words should any White Boar productions prove to be less than scintillating viewing for the critics! 😴

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    • Oh man, how come that passed me by? I had no idea. But yeah, White Boar means something… However, I don’t think he chose the name because he wanted to stuff about RIII. That ship has sailed. Many times, actually. But well, it definitely has a connection to him.

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      • Given his comment at the Wellington Hobbit premiere that year, when he seem surprised that a reporter would ask him about Richard III, I think it had sailed for him as an artistic project by 2012. The active phase of the Leicester exhumation project began about a month after this incorporation; the fans got a request to donate at the last second when funding looked like it was going to evaporate, but it didn’t come from him. He seemed at most tangentially engaged in the results of that (while saying he wanted to get involved in this or that project, he canceled his scheduled participation in a second radio interview about it, and turned down the opportunity to speak at the reinterment in 2015).

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        • Yep, agree. The RIII thing is way in the past. Although he could’ve been a bit more active if he had really wanted to. It always surprised me that he did not feature more in the whole Leicester exhumation project. But then again, he doesn’t strike me as someone who would muscle his way in; and if he was not approached by the initiators, then that chance of supporting them passed by, too…

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          • I don’t see how he couldn’t have been approached by them. He’d had a years long association with Philippa Langley at that point, which had included collaborating over a script and trying to sell it in the pre-exhumation period. But he was in NZ during the major period of fund-raising for it, and then in NYC as it was completed, so maybe he thought his career was going elsewhere.

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  11. Late to the New Year’s party here, but want to wish you, your family and all here a safe, happy 2021. Looking forward to another year of Richarding, discussion and fun in this wonderful corner of the fandom.
    *love and hugs*

    PS I haven’t kept up at all with any news of Richard’s production company so was very interested to read the above comments, thankyou all for the info!

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  12. That’s a very nice overview, Guylty (and nice words for Mr A. as well)! How wonderful that your job has been more steady, that Etsy is taking off, that your daughter has been around for you and your son for your mother. Many thanks for all the very hard work (and joy) you put into the fundraisers and for your blogging in general. 🙂 Happy New Year to you!

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  13. Hi have you seen the tweet when he is urging peeps to volunteer for the NHS
    I reckon the filming of Stay Close has been postponed
    Some wag wondered how giving someone a heart attack would be helping lol
    But I reckon he thinks he wouldn’t be recognised behind his mask 😷

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    • Yep, saw it. I wonder what Mr A is going to do as a volunteer? Record an ad for the NHS? I just can’t imagine he’d risk working hands-on – not if he has a job scheduled for some time early this year… LOL on giving heart attacks to unsuspecting patients… We should send someone to the Leicester area to investigate…

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      • BBC Essex radio reports that even professionals have been snubbed when they have tried to get involved
        The latest are the pharmacies who want to give the vaccination
        but have been denied
        Makes me very suspicious that there are supply problems already
        My niece works for the NHS at a specialist centre ( Boris was there on Monday)
        She has no idea when she will get it

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          • Many, if not most, US hospitals have extensive volunteer corps who do the things they’re asking for here — visit people, chat with them, take them from place to place by wheelchair or car. Is this that unusual?

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            • Hm, IDK. My experience is with the German and Irish systems only. I guess there are some volunteer organisations there (Red Cross, churches). I am just surprised to see a volunteer drive *at this time*…

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              • If they need them … ? The NHS is often in trouble in January. Here, just about every place is asking for volunteers as the kind of people who do things for the public good tend to also believe that the virus is real and dangerous, so they are staying home. If we didn’t have the Wisconsin National Guard, it would be worse (the governor has been setting them in place to do a lot of that kind of chore — keeping order at testing sites and so on).

                But I think requests for volunteers also do other things besides generate volunteers: they can create an “we’re all in this together” mood and cooperation with getting the problem solved isn’t a bad thing (something else I wish we would see more of here).

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                • There are probably also lots of people who are eager to do
                  *something* rather than sit at home, so in that sense it serves a purpose. I was just surprised because I kind of feel that visiting services etc. Are not a good idea right now. But other volunteering positions probably will help in the current situation.

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