Why RA?: Part 3 – We’re Moving On Up

[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

12 thoughts on “Why RA?: Part 3 – We’re Moving On Up

  1. I’m finding this series fascinating, especially that you are a sort of “serial fan”, always either in a fandom or looking out for one to join. I think I know who this Mr Crush is, he’s never really fulfilled his potential I feel – a great pity. Do you think that being a fan fulfills some need in you that is not being otherwise met? Or is it just the type of person you are, that draws you to these things?

    • Hmm, I’ve never thought of myself as a serial fan. Several years passed between the last fandom and Mr. Crush in this story. When I think about it, I was so turned off I didn’t really consider joining another group until I saw they were people a lot like myself. That’s what I like the most in a group, the socializing and camaraderie. The crush himself seems to be secondary. Since I opted out of the rat race of my profession, I don’t have much opportunity to socialize in real life. I supposed fandom does fullfill that missing part.

  2. Good morning Judiang,

    Hmmm?  I wonder if I would recognize your Mr. Crush actor’s name were I to hear it–given that you said you don’t feel that he has fulfilled his potential. 

    I’m also interested to hear what you have to say about fan clubs–or “affinity groups” as I refer to them–since I am the admin and founder of just such a group.  So far, we are a friendly cohesive group of ladies who admire and share our thoughts with each other about a certain exquisitely talented Britsh actor.  And I hope we remain that way as our affinity group slowly grows.  Fingers crossed.

    Cheers!   Grati  ;->

    • You might recognise him. He has been the classic example of poor decision making: clinging to the notion of being an “artiste” until it was too late.

      I’ll discuss fan clubs and forums later after I finish laying the groundwork. THAT should be interesting. 😉

      • Interesting given my recent complains that Mr.A’s choices are not artistic enough. I have no idea who this guy is.

  3. Look forward to your next post on the subject, and to ensuing discussions. The role and responsibilities of fans and, yes of bloggers, are an ongoing conversation.  And the conversation benefits from renewal.

    • As I’m writing this history, I feel I’m getting closer to land mines in terms of how best to tell the story and asserting my views on fandom. But I’ve decided to take this one, and I shall see it to the end.

  4. That must have been so exciting getting to meet Mr. Crush and him not being a jerk like the previous one. In your first post you said you still had a lot to learn from the next one (this one?). So far things seem good but given the title of the next part, I guess it doesn’t last. I’m really liking this series as well and can hardly wait for the next installment. I am so glad that you haven’t given up on fandom.

    • It was exciting and crazy, 13 women winging across the pond on a weeks’s notice to an actor who was gracious enough to meet and talk with us. I think the trip lent a sense of cohesivness in that if we could organize that, we could do other things as well. And we did. Yes, thinks started to unravel, from a surprising source. More on that as I decide how best to tell it.

  5. This is really fascinating.

    I don’t have anything to discuss that’s remotely like this, but I can say what you’ve said to me many times, which is that anything that’s “real” is going to make some people angry. In the end I look forward to whatever you have to say.

  6. Hi Judi – I really love this series and am sorry I’ve only come across it today!  Thank you for your courage in sharing your experiences… it inspires me to share how I got here myself, though I worry I will be “outed” as an imposter among you – not a true qualifying RA fan (e.g., I have no idea what the color of Guy’s cravat was for his wedding).  But there is no doubt that I love this supportive community of incredibly creative, articulate, intelligent and hilarious women. 🙂

    • Glad you’re enjoying it. There’s more to come as soon as I can translate from brain to paper, as it were.

      Do feel free to share your experiences. There is a wide spectrum of RA fandom, so don’t worry where you fit in. This group is warm and welcoming.

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