Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sharpe's Eagle - This Sunday's Episode on Sharpe Sundays

Sharpe’s Eagle

The army is now in Spain.  Arriving in camp is a new regiment, the South Essex and in command is Sir Henry Simmerson, joined by his nephew Lt. Gibbons and mysterious Countess Josefina. Sir Arthur Wellesley has no faith in Simmerson who he knows is there because of his political connections. Wellesley assigns Richard Sharpe and the Chosen Men to the South Essex to see that the mission to blow up a bridge at Valdelacasa is a success.  Things go terribly wrong and due to Simmerson’s incompetence the French make off with the British colours.  What will Sharpe do to preserve the Army’s honor?

Antoine-Denis CHAUDET (designer)
French 1763-1810
Pierre-Philippe THOMIRE
French 1751-1843
French Imperial Eagle of the 6th Regiment of the Light Cavalry. Hundred Days model (Aigle de drapeau du 6e régiment des Chasseurs à cheval. Modèle des Cent Jours) 1815

Fondation Napoléon, Paris

Please join new and longtime Sharpe fans for the Global Sharpe Watch this Sunday, June 30, 3:00pm EST/US, 8:00pm UK, 9:00pm Continent on Tweet Chat.  For all the details and "How To's" go to  Sharpe Lives Movie Club Facebook Page:

Or to Distracted Musings of One Reality at the link below:

In last week's episode we met Major Michael Hogan (played by Brian Cox) who is one of Wellington's Exploring Officers.  Exploring Officers were intelligence officers in Wellington's personal staff who often went behind enemy lines or headed special operations to see what the enemy was up to. 

One of Wellington's real life Exploring Officers was  Lt Col Colquhoun Grant.

National Portrait Gallery (UK) Colquhoun Grant 
by George Jones (1815-1820) 

Grant didn't consider himself a spy as we would today, but an officer and a gentleman. He started out as an artillery officer in the Army  and in 1808 followed Wellington to Portugal and Spain to fight against Napoleon's forces. 

Wellington soon realised that the French outnumbered his forces. He therefore needed to have as much advance information as possible and he developed a network of intelligence officers and local spies. He valued both strategic information, gathered by the interception of enemy letters, and tactical intelligence, gathered by men in the field such as ‘exploring officers’.

See you on Sunday!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Hobbit Heaven and Armitage Bliss

A man may love the truth and practise it,
Beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
To reverence.

But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favorite retreat,
Of loveliness;

Henry David Thoreau

By now I hope all Richard Armitage fans have seen all the photos, and videos, and lovely stories shared by all the wonderful people that were lucky to attend Sir Ian McKellen's show at the Opera House in Wellington, NZ on June 23.  Seeing photos and video of Richard Armitage again after months of not having any news made for a blissful Saturday. 

I thought I would revisit some of my favorite moments so far in the countdown to The Hobbit:

Thanks to RACentral

The Powhiri is one of my favorite Richard Armitage moments. If someone asked me to make them understand why I like him so very much I would first show them this video. 

The Hobbit first press conference:

Thanks to linuxelf1

Peter Jackson's Video Blogs - Favorite moments:

The Hobbit Trailer:

 and listening to Richard Armitage sing

A video of Saturday night at the Opera House in Wellington:

 Thanks to brionyjae

Hobbit Happenings Ahead:

Thanks to news from Sir Ian McKellen those of us in the US, especially the Eastern US, now know that there will be a Hobbit premiere in New York City.  As it happens only a few hours away from me, so at this moment I am planning on being there. But when will it be? 

I signed up for an alert of when Hobbit tickets would go on sale in my area and the date of the opening here was December 13. So, is it opening on December 13 in select cities, and then on December 14 nationwide in the US? It happens with many films. So that is my  fun Hobbit task for the next few months, find out if the New York premiere will be December 12, 13 or 14 or when...and where in the city?  Any of my fellow fans planning on going as well? 

But next for us Armitage and Hobbit fans is Comic-Con in a few weeks!  Exciting Times.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Join the Sharpe Watch - Sharpe Sundays Starts this Sunday with Sharpe's Rifles

Sharpe’s Rifles
It’s 1809 and Sergeant Richard Sharpe of the second Battalion of the 95th Rifles is in Portugal. The British Army is there fighting against Napoleon Bonaparte and the French in the Peninsular War (Spanish War of Independence.) Through an act of bravery Sharpe receives a field commission making him a lieutenant and is given command of the 95th Rifles under Captain Murray. The Rifles, also known as the Chosen Men, are not very accepting of his command because he was raised from the ranks and is not a proper officer.  But Sharpe has been given a special mission by Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) to find a missing agent behind enemy lines and he’s determined to do so despite many setbacks.  But when Sharpe encounters two Spanish guerrilla leaders, one of them a woman, he begins to wander what his mission really is.   

Please join new and longtime Sharpe fans for the Global Sharpe Watch this Sunday, June 24, 3:00pm EST/US, 8:00pm UK, 9:00pm Continent on Tweet Chat.  For all the details and "How To's" go to  Sharpe Lives Movie Club Facebook Page:

Or to Distracted Musings of One Reality at the link below:

In his novels Bernard Cornwell likes to mix real life historical figures with his fictional characters.  In this first episode of Sharpe Series 1 we'll meet two important historical figures:

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769[1] – 14 September 1852), was a British soldier and statesman, a native of Ireland, from the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy,[3] and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. He is often referred to as "the Duke of Wellington", even after his death, when there have been subsequent Dukes of Wellington. 
From Wikipedia:,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington

Nathan Mayer Rothschild

Nathan Mayer, Freiherr von Rothschild (16 September 1777 – 28 July 1836), known as Nathan Mayer Rothschild, was a British banker and financier and one of five sons of the second-generation of the Rothschild banking dynasty. 
From Wikipedia:

Or could be his brother James Rothschild who aided his brother Nathan during the Napoleonic Wars:


Richard Armitage Fans, don't forget Armitage Watch on Fridays and Saturdays. Go to the link below for all the details:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dean O'Gorman: Fili is a Photographer

Dean O'Gorman who plays Fili in The Hobbit is also a talented photographer. An exhibit of his work will be at the Page Blackie Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand, from June 19-23

There are a couple of interesting recent interviews with O'Gorman about his work and about working on The Hobbit.

There's a Q&A with O'Gorman from the No Magazine website- a quote below:

"What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you on set? Every day on The Hobbit is pretty surreal working with Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits. One day I found myself in a barrel floating down the Pelorus river in Nelson."

Photo by Dean O'Gorman

In an interview with O'Gorman talks about his work as an actor, as an artist, and how the war in Vietnam inspired the work on exhibit in Wellington this month:

"At first glance, a viewer could believe that all the photographs O'Gorman will have on show - most are in colour and a few in black and white - were actually taken of American forces in the Vietnam War. Several appear to be candid shots, caught in the moment of battle or on patrol, and are as mesmerising as any of the great photo journalism from the time. There's also a series of posed portrait shots of soldiers, some who look as if they've just come off a battlefield.

O'Gorman wasn't even born until after American forces left Vietnam, so he obviously wasn't there. The next assumption is that he took them on the set of a war movie. But the Vietnam-era United States Army helmets stacked in a corner of his garage, along with bits of uniforms and heavy flak jackets provide a clue. The military items - some sourced cheaply from Trade Me, some more expensive items from collectors - have been essential for what he's created.

Almost like a movie director, O'Gorman dressed and set up the shots himself. He roped in friends to play the soldiers, and fellow cast members from The Hobbit. (One photograph features British actor Adam Brown who plays the dwarf Ori, and another has Luke Evans, who plays Bard the Bowman).

O'Gorman, who fell in love with photography at school, was a big fan of Vietnam War photographers including Larry Burrows and Don McCullin, as well as other war photographers such as the legendary Robert Capa."




I wish I was in Wellington this month to see O'Gorman's exhibit.  I also wander if they have a party to open the exhibit, and I'm sure they will, most art gallery's do, whether Fili's close relatives will be there.

His brother Kili:

and his uncle Thorin:

Note:  Saw tweet from O'Gorman that gallery opening was yesterday June 19.  No photos of the event? 

Hope if you're lucky enough to be in Wellington that you'll stop by and see the exhibit and let us know in the comments what you thought. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sharpe Lives on Sharpe Sunday

Wouldn't it be fun to share some Sharpe Watching this summer? My friend and fellow blogger Sin and I thought so, and we also thought why keep this all to ourselves, why not share Richard Sharpe with the world!

Join Sharpe Sundays on Twitter and Facebook starting June 24 to gather and watch Sean Bean in his iconic role as Richard Sharpe.

Share and Chat about Sharpe with Fellow Fans! 

For all the details, dates, Twitter Chat, Facebook, and more information about the legend of Sharpe and how Sean Bean made the role his own go to DistRActed Musings of One Reality at the link below:

Hope to see Fellow Sharpe Fans on Sundays


Friday, June 8, 2012

RAndom Observations About Hobbit Video Blog #7

Richard Armitage is Hot, Hot, Hot

Thank you Peter Jackson for another interesting and fun Video Blog this week.  After watching the video a few times here are a few moments that caught my attention:

I like Kili's (Aidan Turner) retro hair clip. My mother used those and I'm surprised they are still on the market. 

Wouldn't get too close to him
with that torch. 

We've been here

 I don't remember Bilbo having an entourage in the book. 

Can't the poor man get away from water? Somehow I think that facial expression is what they call method acting.

It's good to be with old friends. 

Looking forward to the next Video Blog in a few weeks. Thank you Peter Jackson.

Screencaps from Heirs of Durin and


More great Armitage Watching this weekend starting with Guy Friday and Saturday with Spooks (MI5). For all the details click on the links below:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mall Walking - Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape at the National Gallery

A few weekends ago I spent the day at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC.  I wanted to see the new Joan Miró exhibit that was organized by the Tate Modern in London and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. (I'll refer to him as JM from now on, difficult to do the accent on my English keyboard). It is not a full retrospective of Miró's career, but takes a frequent image he used in his work that represented his own struggle to represent the turbulent times of his life, World War I, The Spanish Civil War, World War II, Franco, and the world of his imagination.

I was lucky enough to get to the museum just in time to join an excellent Gallery Talk at the exhibit. If you visit the NGA I would recommend going along for a Gallery Talk, it's free and given by one of the wonderful staff lecturers at the museum. I don't always view an exhibit this way, but when I do I always learn so much and enjoy the exhibit so much more than I would just going through the gallery on my own. 

The first room was one of my favorites of the exhibit. It has JM's early work and one of his most important paintings of this period, and one of my favorites, The Farm.

I also loved seeing a wall full of JM's most important and better known paintings known as the Constellations. This series of paintings started as an accident when he looked at a piece of paper he had used to clean his brushes and decided he liked the background effect. He then let it dry and painted over it. JM worked on this series from 1939-1941.

"The story that unfolds is a complex one. Was Miró an activist, a fantasist, or both? Did his art emerge despite or because of difficult times? Miró always kept a figurative "ladder of escape" – one of his favorite images – with him, and he would scale it to flee from harsh conditions into the freedom of his imagination. Yet his ladder was firmly planted on the ground, and he often climbed down to decry oppression. These two impulses, however different, were resolved in Miró's powerfully simple definition of an artist as "one who, amidst the silence of others, uses his voice to say something."
Quote from the NGA website,

This summer, if you're in the DC area or are in the area for a visit, don't miss this wonderful and comprehensive exhibit,on view through August 12, 2012.

Disclaimer: I'm not an art critic, but an eternal art history student and museum lover.
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