DeRAnged Part 1: An Unexpected Journey to London

[Change of plan. I started writing the whole story here, from the unexpected invitation and the decision-making, moving on to the meeting, then the experience of the play and finally coming to a conclusion. But it occurs to me that you may want to skip the Guylty me-me-me  introspection. I am therefore separating the play review into a post of its own for easier access. Within this post you can jump to the headlines for the stuff that interests you. Review hopefully later today.]

The Run-up

I come from rather frugal and unfrivolous stock. My people up in the North of Germany are serious and self-reliant. We stoically accept what life throws at us and look to ourselves first to deal with the challenges we are faced with. Life is pretty linear – school, choice of career, family, work. It’s like a railroad track that you are set upon as soon as you enter school, and there are no detours. Flamboyancy is seen as frivolous. Eccentricities are a weakness of character, especially if they affect others. It is unnecessary to stand out from the crowd, except possibly with the naturally given talents that we individually have, but any outward signs of deviation from the norm are a nuisance. What will the neighbours say???

Why am I telling you this? To set the scene for the difficulty this escapee from the confines of Northern normality had when faced with an irresistable invitation. Mid-August I received an e-mail from Servetus, with the shocking disclosure that she was going to be in London, and the invitation to join her. Here was the conflict: Northern non-frivolity dictated to decline the offer. I had already seen the play a couple of weeks before and spent time and money on holidaying in London. To see a play twice? Unheard of! What a truly frivolous notion. Especially in the light of the fact that I *had* indeed already organised a second trip to London for the beginning of September where I was going to see the play another time, with another lot of fandom friends. So this unexpected trip would be a third opportunity to do so, involving time and financial commitment – and mostly some heavy arguing in front of husband whose patience already seemed at breaking point regarding the summer of Armitage love. OTOH here was the once in a blue moon opportunity to meet one of my closest fandom friends. Someone who had welcomed me into the blog world, given me a temporary home there, who had inspired me and tickled my lazy brain continuously for the past two years, and with whom I had developed a long distance friendship. Could I really let this opportunity pass?

I nearly did. I immediately checked flights and reeled at fares, then faffed around for a day, communicating Servetus my time and money doubts late on  Friday night. She graciously replied “The universe is in this for the long game — we’ll meet if it’s supposed to be.” When Servetus moved quickly and told me she was going to pass on her spare tickets to someone else, envy reason struck. Fuck the universe, I thought. *I* am the universe, I thought. *I* can make it happen if *I* make the decision. I could make this meeting happen – London is an hour by plane. I can practically do day trips to London! Fuck the money. There is nothing more valuable in life than meeting people who you want to meet. And I also had my late father’s words in my ear who always maintained that it was worth spending money on occasions where you would be together with your friends because those were the memories that would last forever. I booked the flights immediately.

 

Meeting of Minds

well, Meeting of *the* Mind. Servetus’s, that is *ggg*.

armitage airways by agzy

Edit by Agzy

With a certain amount of trepidation good old Guylty stepped on the plane early Tuesday morning. Trepidation not for meeting Servetus, but because of the cancelled show the night before. You see, the universe somehow seems to have a problem with me and potential Armitage encounters. It started in December 2012 after the flights to the first Hobbit premiere were already booked but when Jackson decided to move the premiere a day forward. I had to buy a new flight for the previous day and my RL RA friend D___ could not make it. Then desaster struck in December 2013 when the universe made me sleep through my alarm and I missed my flight to Berlin for the premiere. Before I went to London at the beginning of August, the universe made me pull a nasty stunt the night before my departure – I slipped on a piece of paper on the floorboards in my study and badly hurt my hip/tendons so that I could only walk in pain. And now the universe cancelled the show on Monday, clearly in an effort to discourage Guylty from travelling over. Does someone here think she is the centre of the universe?? Well, I *am* the universe. *My* universe *ggg* But since I had resolved to ignore the universe’s attempts at annoying me, I paid it not heed, enjoyed the luxury of non-budget airline travel (Your all-inclusive breakfast croissants are a triumph, British Airways! And hail to Heathrow Airport and its easy tube connection! I have missed you so much!!!) and touched down in London mid-morning on Tuesday. With every mile I travelled closer to the hotel where Servetus was waiting for me, the excitement grew. I found it all without problem and immediately (a sign that the universe was finally on the same page as me – except for the pissing rain) and arrived at Servetus’ digs at lunchtime.

Was I nervous? Hell, yes. I I didn’t really have any doubts that we might not get along or have nothing to say to each other. But it was strange to think that we had shared so many insights about our lives already, and never to have spoken face-to-face or even on the phone. I actually paused outside the hotel to have a quick fag to calm my nerves. Then I went in and asked for Servetus at the reception. They called her down, and within minutes she strode towards me in the lobby. And that was it – no awkwardness, no pause, no fillers. We just launched right into it, all systems go. There seemed to be so much to say and to discuss that we talked without stopping. It was actually not very linear, jumping from topic to topic (mostly RA-related, of course), and even then we didn’t cover it all. Servetus was of course completely different from what I had imagined her to to be, much younger, much warmer, much funnier even. I felt immediately at ease with her, she is so non-judgmental. And she is just such a warm, compassionate person, with all sorts of wonderful ideas to make others happy. As Servetus already described in her post, we wandered to a restaurant for lunch and talked for hours. Then we made it back to the hotel to get ready for going out and we pottered down the road to the theatre. It was Servetus “first time” :-D, and I left her to take her seat in the auditorium while I attempted to visit the location for the Guidicini photo shoot, i.e. the upstairs bar in the Old Vic. Photo nut me wanted to check out the set up in there and find out whether my assumptions about the choice of backgrounds had been correct. But unfortunately only ticket-holders for the upper circles were allowed up there. So I also toddled over to my seat in the theatre…

Chest HairThe actual experience of the play I will discuss in a separate post later today. For now let me say this: Readers, I sat in the front row, and I nearly died, it was so good. It was no comparison to sitting in the second row. It was immediate, and raw, and not because I might have been choking on my own drool (far from it!) but because I was *in the play*. This was the gift that Servetus gave me. She gave me that ticket and therefore an experience that was unique.

A Preliminary Conclusion

But equally I valued the whole experience of the trip. If I had to quantify it, the play was 40 percent of the attraction. The best thing, for me, however, came free of charge (for Servetus), it was the liberation of acting on impulse and doing yet another “deRAnged” thing, and it was getting to meet a fellow fan. Lest you think I am being dismissive of Mr A’s stunning performances on and off stage – he was, of course, impressive! But well, I had had that experience before. So seeing *him* was secondary. Sorry Rich! ❤ It was simply great to finally put a face to the name. It was great to encounter a kindred spirit, to feel that we get along and have a basis for friendship that would extend beyond the shared appreciation of Mr A. And knowing how much the attendance at the play meant to her, I was also very touched, even chuffed or proud, that she allowed me to share that visceral moment with her.

We parted at lunchtime the next day, after a very late night and other noteworthy events that will pop up in later posts in the “DeRAnged” series :-D. I left London with my head swirling and my heart full. The only reason I could leave so easily was that I knew I was returning within the week. The summer of love was not over yet, and I came away from the flying visit with the knowledge that I had done the right thing, that it had been worth it in every way and I had once again been reassured that the personal aspect of fangirling within a community of like-minded people is one of if not *the* most valuable aspect of this activity – a clairvoyant notion that was reinforced a week later…

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87 thoughts on “DeRAnged Part 1: An Unexpected Journey to London

  1. Love everything about this post. I too have experienced the joy of meeting fellow fans to see a show, and there’s nothing like it for memories. And the multiple shows (smiling broadly here)! Good for you for having the courage to break free and do it. I laughed at the way the universe seems to have it in for you. Maybe you and the universe need to sit down together over croissants and good coffee, and have a chat to clear up this little feud 🙂 Or maybe, given the resounding success of the trip, the universe is now smiling on you…

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    • You know, Linnet, it is always a bit of relief for me when I hear that others have done the same mad thing. There’s always, ALWAYS, doubt at the back of my mind. Which annoys me because all that there is to it is that it gives me JOY.
      And yes, the universe is playing up a bit this year. I think I have ignored it into submission at this point :-D. Or maybe it is only just challenging me – because it knows that I need a good kick up the arse most of the time 😉

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  2. very cool that you were able to meet a close fandom friend, though I hope it has no lasting effects w/Mr. Guylty. I’m too practical to attempt anything like this, so I’ll just live through those DeRAnged enough to do so 😀

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        • *coughs*. No, homely can be attractive (hello Mr Standring *waves*) 😀 I guess I meant homely as in “prefers to stay in and avoids going out”. Which is diametrically opposite to me. I am in all day and can’t wait to get out in the evening. Not possible with him.

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    • I’m tellin’ ya – Ryanair has really benefitted from RA!!! They should pay him commission. 😀 Mind you, I love travelling, and through all this I am beginning to lose my slight distrust of flying. See, it wasn’t fangirling at all. It was flight phobia training…

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  3. I am so thrilled that two of my bestest RA buddies were able to meet in person. Despite all my “woe is me” bleating, hearing your experiences really is the next best thing to being there! (I had wondered how Mr. Guylty was handling it…)

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  4. Hatte mich schon gefragt, ob ihr euch überhaupt schonmal begegnet seid. Kein Bild voneinander? Wie grossartig, wenn dann die letzten Schleier fallen. Freue mich riesig (in echt jetzt!), dass euch das Treffen geglückt ist. Guylty and Servetus united in RL 😀 Wenn da nicht langfristig alles gut wird. Alles richtig gemacht Sxx.

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    • Nein, wir hatten uns bisher noch nie gesehen; ich kannte Serv noch nicht mal vom Foto (sie allerdings mich *ggg*). Und ja, irgendwie musste das sein, Flugpreis oder nicht. Man muss Prioritäten setzen. (In Neuseeland wird nächstes Jahr gehungert…)

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      • Na wenn sie wusste, wer DU bist gehts ja. Ich stelle mir vor, du hättest dich versehentlich einer Fremden an den Hals geworfen 😀 Das muss irre spannend gewesen sein, wenn man so garnicht weiss, wer auf einen zukommt. Hatte das auch schon, als ich im RL Herba traf, sie von mir ein Bild, ich aber keines von ihr hatte. Da ist man schon auf der Hut, wer da plötzlich um die Ecke kommt. Aber dann erst bei euch, mit DER Vergangenheit. *goosebumpfeeling total*.

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        • LOL. Och, ich hab das ja mit fast allen meinen Fan-Meets. Da waren mindestens fünf Damen am Dienstag, bei denen ich keine Ahnung hatte, wer auf mich zukommt :-D. Und trotzdem irgendwie gefunden und erkannt. Und das mit dem “fremd um den Hals fallen” war ich Gottseidank vom Festival her gewöhnt. Da waren übers Wochenende gleich mehrere (angeheiterte) Herrschaften auf mich zugestürmt, um mich spontan zu umarmen. Allerdings mit Vorwarnung 😀

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  5. Gratulation zum Egoismus!!! 😀

    Ernsthaft: Die Entscheidung war auf jeden Fall richtig. Wir sind alle viel zu oft viel zu “vernünftig” – und stehen uns und unseren persönlichen Glücksmomenten damit selbst im Weg. Wenn es sich irgendwie einrichten lässt, ist es meiner Meinung nach unheimlich wichtig, eine gesunde Portion “Ich will das jetzt!” auszuleben. Jede von uns verdient ihre Dosis Happiness,und wenn wir nicht selbst dafür sorgen, dass wir glückliche und unvergessliche Momente erleben, dann stellen wir schlimmstensfalls irgendwann fest, dass wir unser Leben für alles mögliche geführt haben (Arbeit, Familie, sogar über uns urteilende “Was sollen die Nachbarn denken?!” Fremde …) – nur nicht für uns selber.
    Sich selber ab und zu einen Urlaub von Vernunft und Alltag zu gönnen, ist so, so, so wichtig! Danach wieder in die Sicherheit von Alltag und Vernunft zurückzukehren, ist eine ganz andere Sache, als gar nicht erst aus ihr herauszutreten.

    Ich warte jetzt sehnsüchtig darauf, dass Vernunft und Alltag ihre Rache hatten 😀 und dir die Zeit lassen, die übrigen Berichte loszuwerden. No pressure. 😉

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    • Who said that normal is boring? I may be deRanged, but hey, once your reputation is lost, you can just let rip *ggg*. I admit it was all a bit OTT, but hey, I live now. Besides, it was all high culture 😀

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  6. Having as I have a rather (bored? dull? inconsistent?) real life, my best experiences have always been to meet my Spanish-sisters-in-____ (other fandoms, not RA… ‘yet’ ? ) in Spain or in Italy (living in a world known tourist destination helps). it is so a fulfilling experience, I am sure you both had a wonderful time that you will never forget.

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    • For myself it is almost unavoidably imperative that I actually establish personal connections with the people I communicate on-blog. Maybe it’s a replacement activity for the one-way communication with RA himself. Or maybe it is because I am a communicater. Always have been. It is so worth-while because all the people I have ever met through this have been funny, interesting, wonderful, inspiring women. And yes, it brings a bit of excitement into every-day life.
      PS: Hooray, I received a postcard today 🙂

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  7. I hadn’t thought about the northern German aspect playing into this, aber natürlich. My goal wasn’t to pressure you but to make sure the ticket was in good hands, but if I pressured you? All to my benefit. Thank you for being present on and contributing significantly to what turned out to be one of the happiest nights of my life.

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    • Hehe, you did exactly the right thing at the right time. Envy is one of the great drivers of my life 😀
      And yeah, even non-religious casual Proddies like myself have this weird Puritan attitude. I am working hard at losing it 😀

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      • Well, this is the kind of moment against which those Puritan impulses should kick in! I am not that kind of traveler and I have never spent that much on a vacation in my life. I’ve owned cars that cost less than that vacation. Have returned to normal life now, though, wincing at the price of a tank of gas, and rationing my Starbucks visits.

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        • Well, unlike the Puritans I don’t believe in heaven, so I have to make my heaven on earth. My granny used to say “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen” – you can’t take your money with you when you die. Correct. Better spend it on earthly happiness NOW.
          Having said that – I am not a big spender at all. But I have priorities. And I am willing to pay when there is a ROI.

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            • I agree with both of you. Guylty for making yourself the center of your Universe (so hard to do,) And Serv, giving yourself the “happiest night of your life.” I cannot tell you how happy I am to have met you, Guylty, and how happy I am that you, Serv, gave that gift of happiness to yourself. I am cheering inside for both of you. The universe has been very kind to me this week. I am feeling very grateful and sappy about the both of you. Kisses and hugs for all of us. I am working on getting frequent flyer miles for Armitage Airways.

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              • The universe is pretty big. Lots of space, and as of last Tuesday mine contains a notably larger number of people, you included, Kathy :-D. The gift of happiness is in many things, even in a short meeting with someone (and I am not referring to the folly of attending the SD). I am so glad that the Old Vic was faffing around with the announcement of the filming/download release of TC. Because it meant that many people made the trip who otherwise might have stayed home. By delaying the Old Vic provided us with the unique opportunity to coordinate our plans and meet in one place. I am beginning to be quite grateful for their to-ing and fro-ing 😀

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  8. Pingback: The Bubble Rule bursts (sort of): August 26th, part 1 | Me + Richard Armitage

  9. Girl, you did it, and it will take me hours and hours to check all your reports and experiences with Mr A in the flesh. Das ist nun so gar kein gehaltvoller Kommentar, aber glaub mir, Telefon ist ausgestöpselt, und ich werde in alles eintauchen, was mir entgangen ist…

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  10. I love reading your blog Guylty, whether its about you or RA it doesn’t matter, its all good. I’m so glad you went with Serv’ and had a wonderful experience. Something like that you must grab with both hands, its special and may not come to you again. xx

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  11. So happy for you. I have enjoyed reading your account on how hard it was for you to decide to go ( I always over think things)but glad that you decided to go in the long run. It’s hard to pass up a chance to met a friend.

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    • You know, Katie, there was no question about whether I wanted to go or not. I definitely wanted to meet Serv. And if she had been in Dublin, there would have been no question, anyway. It was only because it involved money that it all became a matter of justifying it. Not to myself so much, but to my husband and my kids. I am pretty willing to spend money whenever I feel it is worth it *ggg*. Luckily my hubs is a very tolerant man. he would not have held me back in any case.

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  12. Pingback: The Bubble Rule bursts (sort of): August 26th, part 3 | Me + Richard Armitage

  13. Pingback: DeRAnged Part 3: “De-RA’ed but Be-Muse’d” – A Reaction to Seeing RA Act | GUYLTY PLEASURE

  14. What an exciting experience! I am thrilled and envious at the same time. I think you made the right decision. I recently read an article about what we remember and what makes us happy. It said experiences were the best memories and provided the greatest happiness. I think you spent your money wisely 🙂

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    • I agree, I totally did spend my money wisely. I do not regret a single penny that went into all of this because it will stay with me forever. I am really glad, too, that having a blog means that I am recording it all for my own posterity 🙂

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  15. Pingback: deRAnged Part 7: Stage Door Survived | GUYLTY PLEASURE

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