I started this series in October 2011. It had numerous parts but unfortunately I never completed it or answered the ultimate question. Friends have encouraged me to repost and get on with it already. Since it’s been almost three years with a new influx of fans, I think it merits a new conversation. There are some similarities between and now. Does journeying to see the crush in a play sound familiar? Some things never change.
[I’m telling this story because it represents my background in fandom spanning a period of almost 20 years. All observations and opinions stated are mine alone. This post has been months in the making because it’s been so difficult to articulate and pen. It’s important to know this background so Dear Reader can understand upon what basis I attempt to answer the question of various bloggers in Armitage World: Why Richard Armitage? This series will be posted sporadically as my thoughts gel. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.]
In early 1998, we learned that Mr. Crush would be appearing in play staged in a small experimental theater. British members formed an advance team and attended an early performance. They approached him and told him about our club. He was friendly and shared a drink with them. After much brouhaha, 13 of us from the US, Canada and UK journeyed to London to see the play on 8 days notice. If you can imagine the logistics of the situation, it was an exciting but crazy thing to do. The play was indeed in a small venue. I sat in the first row; I could have tripped him had I stuck out my foot. The intimacy of the theater coupled with it being over a bar helped in arranging a meeting between Mr. Crush and us. By that time, he knew we were an older mature bunch who would be respectful and polite. He was flummoxed we would fly across the pond to see him and was quite gracious in spending the rest of the evening with us. It was a lovely experience plus we got to meet each other, many for the first time.
The high continued upon our return. Mr. Crush’s wife acted as intermediary with designated members and were eventually recognized as an official fan club. List mom set up a website. The group continued to grow. More fanfic and art poured forth on our mailing list. (The contained aspect of the list made it quite nurturing, something I’ll discuss in another post.) Over the next several years, a few of us journeyed to see him again in a bigger production, and a film premiere in Toronto. We also organized a mini two day convention for ourselves also in Toronto. A small contingent began a yearly tradition of attending the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. A few formed close friendships had get-togethers in different cities. In 1999, I averaged a trip every other month.
That’s not to say things were perfect in the club. Periodically we had interesting types join who did not fit in with the club’s laid back approach and they eventually had to be eased out. We had flame wars break about about twice a year usually during the heat of summer or the dead of winter precipitated by personal issues which List Mom decisively doused. We had personal crises with appeals and fundraisers for very serious situations. Overall, it was a pretty cohesive group within. Then problems started without.
NEXT: All good things must come to an end