When The Jacket™️ was sold in our recent RA50 fundraiser, many of you expressed concern whether the coveted item would be going to a good home. I had decided right from the start that I would not disclose the identity of the buyer or reveal any particulars other than that they were a fan. Over the last while I have been in regular contact with the buyer – over some delays concerning the shipment, and was delighted when they suggested a guest post with some insights into their motivation for their generous contribution. Without further ado, here are their own words…
Let me start with an apology – that’s a very British thing, right? This missive became much longer than originally intended. I often
unwisely fail to follow the advice that less is more. Also, my discussion on why I bid on the jacket has a bit of Public Service Announcement (PSA). Not that it isn’t worthy of a PSA, it’s that you may not be expecting one in Guylty’s blog. But nevertheless, I shall leave it as is.
Why I bid on the Guy of Gisborne jacket
Bidding on the jacket was both fun and meaningful to me. Both of my parents spent their last days/weeks in hospice care. Of course, going into hospice care is one’s penultimate act. Patients are distraught, feel helpless, they’re riddled with anxiety and sadness…the list goes on. Add confused to those with Alzheimer’s or dementia like my mother. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the Swiss psychiatrist and author of On Death and Dying, describes in her book the last stage of grief as acceptance. This is where the patients and families are when hospice becomes involved and it’s an overwhelmingly difficult stage to get to, not to mention scary as hell. Hospice staff and volunteers understand all this and are vital in providing the emotional and physical support for everyone, including the families.
One of the many things I find amazing about hospice personnel is their emotional reserve of compassion and resilience. Regardless of the length of time a patient has left, these workers get to personally know their patients and families and inevitably create a bond with them. Then one day, the patient has died, and the families aren’t around anymore. This must affect them, right? Yet despite their repeated losses, these professionals and tender-hearted people get up the next morning, go to work and start all over again because they know they make a difference. I wouldn’t have the emotional stamina to do their job.
My father died of cancer in 2008, about nine years before my mom died. Gratefully, she was able to help care for him and be by his side when he died in the middle of the night. My sisters and I did our best with our mom, but reality is, as awful it is to say, life gets in the way. It was difficult to help care for and be with her as much as we wanted – largely and oh so sadly, because her death lingered. Receiving honest and uptodate communications from Hospice staff was so crucial because as time went on, our reliance on them became greater.
There are many little things, beyond the basic expected duties, that hospice caregivers do for their patients/families. Below are just a couple of small examples (of many) that I saw with respect to my mom, that in the greater scheme of things seem so simple but actually meant the world to me and my sisters.
As I mentioned, my mother had dementia and died in June 2017 – she stopped eating/drinking because food didn’t “taste good” to her anymore. In the final year of life, mom’s mind deteriorated rapidly. By the last couple of months, she had no true knowledge of who my sisters and I were. Her mind was gone and the words she could get out, were an absolute struggle. Mom had always been a huge dog lover and missed her dog, Sophia, a 3-legged American Eskimo, immensely. One day she managed to express to me her worry that her current two dogs – stuffed animals we gave her that she always carried with her – had neither eaten, nor been walked. I could tell this was causing her significant anxiety. I explained that her (stuffed) dogs were different from her Sophia because these dogs were extra special and only ate air and therefore didn’t require real food nor walks. Her childlike mind happily accepted my explanation – albeit temporarily. When she became anxious and again expressed concern about her dogs to hospice staff, they kindly reiterated my silly little dog-eating-air story, and she would relax. They understood her pestering and anxious childlike mind but of course always treated her with dignity and respect.
As one of seven children, all daughters, my mother came from a very musical family. Back in her day of no TV
or online streaming, singing by the piano and along with the radio was the activity of choice for families in the evenings. My sisters and I were also raised with lots of singing and piano lessons, clarinet, and flute lessons and oy, I even attempted the French Horn, albeit very briefly because I realized I had zero talent for it, it most definitely did not impress the boys and it was heavy as hell to lug around!
When my mother went into hospice care, my two sisters and I made a play list of her favorite songs including some by Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra and Steve & Eydie Gormé* and set up an old iPod in her room on repeat. Even while my mother was sleeping and though she couldn’t remember words nor even speak, she did remember music and would move her fingers and toes to the rhythm. We asked the hospice staff to keep the music playing 24/7 and they did so without fail, and likewise, my mom’s fingers and toes continued to move and kept beat to the music.
On the day my mother died, my sisters and I were able to by her side. We held her hands and stroked her beautiful, silky white hair and whispered “I love you’s” while the wonderful Nat King Cole serenaded her one last time.
That’s my personal my experience with hospice care. I recognize that someday it may be me or someone else I love in their care and why I believe supporting hospice as an essential service is so important. And of course, it was specifically LOROS, because of RA. He is someone whose talent and persona I have come to enjoy and appreciate.
* Public Service Announcement: If you haven’t yet tried cleaning your house while listening to Eydie Gormé’s “Blame it on the Bossa Nova,” you’re doing your hips and home a disservice! It will make you move, and groove and your home will sparkle!
What I plan to do with the Guy of Gisborne Jacket once I get my paws on it
First thing I’ll do is to try it on. I am worried about this. Even though I’m tall, RA still wins in the height department and the sleeves and overall length of the jacket will be too long, understandably.
With respect to the shoulders, well, I am a broad broad. I swam competitively from age 6 to 16 – those important growing years. My best strokes were Butterfly and Breaststroke. Combine that with a 9, 10, 11-year-old lifting weights, and oy…what a sight! Additionally, closing those beautiful fasteners on the chest may be an issue. While “my girls” can’t hold a candle to the likes of Dolly Parton’s, they certainly can hold a pencil or two. (You ladies know what I’m talking about.) Wish me some Irish luck on fitting into it!
The second thing I’ll do is just stare and admire it. Seriously.
How I came to admire RA
Unlike most of you, I discovered RA’s talents only within the last couple of years. I stumbled upon MI5, and it took me about 1.5 Lucas North episodes before I started to really pay attention to him and notice his lovely gaze and voice and thought to myself, yowzah! (I know you all can relate!) I found more of his work and the hook was in. But like you all, it wasn’t just his acting that I came to enjoy. I found him compelling in interviews and realized he was much more than a good-looking actor with a great voice and British accent. He also has depth and brains. Nice.
My Favorite RA characters
Lucas North, of course and Francis Dolarhyde. RA’s portrayal of Francis by using his body to become the Red Dragon completely hypnotized me and still even when re-watching the scenes, continues to fascinate. And now, because I am the lucky owner of a lovely old leather jacket, Guy of Gisborne is also on the top of my list!
Things I must admit to the RA fandom
I have never seen any of The Hobbit trilogy. Please, please don’t slay me! I’m not saying I won’t watch it in the future, but fantasy is a genre that generally doesn’t appeal to me and other than RA plays a dwarf, I know next to nothing about it (never read Tolkien.) However, thanks to his 50th birthday video and the comments, I do now know his sword has a name, so I’m getting there?! Similarly, I must admit that I fast forwarded through all of Space Sweepers to watch only the scenes with RA (sorry…).
RA movie that surprised me
Pilgrimage. Like the others mentioned above, it’s not a genre that usually appeals to me, but on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I gave it a go and am glad I did. RA as a baddie is really appealing to me. I even dug his hair do and the fact that he coordinated it with the bangs on his horse! Same barber?
My favorite RA “look” in a movie/TV show
Hands down, as Dr. Astrov. I found the unkempt mess of his thick shaggy mane, his beard and his (ever-so-slightly) imperfect body to be his sexiest look yet. Maybe imperfection is a thing with me because I really found Francis, hare-lip and all, to be quite a turn on as well… and before your mind goes to the gutter, I enjoyed him fully clothed too. And of course, RA obviously looked great as John Porter in Strike Back, especially in the shirtless scene when he’s tied up out in the sun, but I was far too worried about him getting a sunburn to truly appreciate the visual. PSA: Never leave the house without your sunscreen on. You never know when a terrorist is going tie you up to a stake in the sun!
My least favorite RA “look” in a movie/TV show
Space Sweepers. I’m not exactly sure what it is about the look that didn’t work for me; it was probably too put together and he appeared too rigid and uptight … which he rightly should have as that aptly describes the character. Regardless, the perfectly coiffed hair and bookish eyewear, when combined with the sartorial choices, screamed “I sell life insurance!!” (Apologies to the life insurance sales people out there.) What can I say, I prefer RA high on the scruffy scale!
Things I would ask RA, were I ever given an opportunity
- While he was filming Hannibal as Francis/Red Dragon, did he recall that in one of the first few Spooks episodes he was unpacking a box of personal items to decorate his new flat and one of the items was a photo of the Red Dragon and that Lucas was a fan of Blake’s? Question: Do you believe it to be simply a bizarre coincidence you were asked to play Francis or perhaps, could it have been kismet? Have there been any other similar kismet-like occurrences in any of your other works?
- I’ve often thought that performing any Shakespearean play on stage would be quite a challenge in part due to the length of the monologues and soliloquys. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Shakespeare had a hatred of actors, despite having done some acting of his own, and that writing these lengthy passages was an intentionally devious act to make life difficult for actors. RA has commented that he would like to play Richard III. Question: If you were put on the spot, say in an interview or a dinner party (presuming you weren’t too far into your cups) could you recite the opening soliloquy of Richard III by heart?
- In almost every movie/TV show I’ve seen RA in, at some point, he picks up and carries a woman somewhere. Most of the time he’s carrying them to a bedroom. (How truly gallant of him to carry these women that are apparently so drowsy they cannot walk on their own to the bedroom to go to sleep?)
Must keep this G-Rated.Question: So, Mr. Half-Century man, how is your back holding up?
- As we know, RA likes to write bios for his characters to help him realize the characters’ persona. The director of The Stranger, Danny Brocklehurst, took some of those ideas and added them to the series. While promoting it, RA stated that one of the story lines in the show was something that Richard had experienced himself. Question: Would you be willing to share what experience you and Adam had in common?
- RA has been filmed extensively on horseback. Actors often comment on how hard it is to get a nag to hit its mark while filming. According to the “Equine Actors Guild, **” (EAG) these beautiful stallions are well trained in their craft and their hooves do NOT miss their mark. The EAG suggests it is perhaps the fault of the actor on the back of the steed and not the mount itself. Question: Have you ever had trouble getting your hirsute, four-legged thespians to hit their mark? What about the two beautiful Borzoi in Oceans 8?
- WikiFeet, which I didn’t know was a thing until a minute ago, ranks RA’s feet 4.77 out of 5.0 compared to other famous people from Leicestershire. I am not a foot person and do my absolute best to not draw attention to my own feet and quite frankly I don’t notice other people’s feet, including RA’s. Question: How do inane “news” stories and rankings on such stupid things sit with you? As a shy(ish) woman, it would make me uncomfortable, and quite frankly, would chap-my-ass be I in your shoes – pun intended. At this point in your career, are you numb to
the idiocy ofthis and can ignore it and move on with your day, or does it chap-your-ass as well, or do you adhere to the adage that all publicity is good publicity?
**As far as I know, there is no such thing as the Equine Actors Guild. You impressed by the number of synonyms I got in for horse in just one question?
Thank you to Guylty, and Guylty blog followers/RA Fandom for reading my ramblings. Once I meet the jacket in person, I’ll snap a few pics of me in it/with it and will kindly ask Guylty to post them.
Guylty again: Many thanks for this insightful and funny guest post to „Fan X“ 😉 which I have really enjoyed reading, particularly the bit about your motivations for your bids. Your appreciation of RA and his work clearly comes through in your guest post, and I think we can all rest easy that The Jacket™️ is also going to be loved and cared for. I look forward to seeing those pictures 😉.