Let’s Talk Damian Lewis

In the beginning there was chaos. Well, maybe not quite so dramatic, but there was something else before this definitely. Also, this is not a proper opening paragraph, so maybe I need to re-evaluate.

First of all, let me say, that Billions Season 2 Finale left me emotionally challenged. It is only the smartest show on television at the moment (sorry, Hinterland) but it also gives the viewers tears, laughter and all the other emotions in a neat bouquet. So, in order to get over the pain that the season finale brought me as well as fill the void (bye, bye Billions Sundays, till the next one!) I decided to cook up another Damian Lewis appreciation post.

Where is Damian Lewis?

Well, these days you can still see him at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London where he stars in Edward Albee’s ”The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” –  a play that will possibly change the way you see theatre.

You can still find all about it here: The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

And if you want to read reviews both from press and from some of the coolest people I have met, go straight to Fan Fun With Damian Lewis blog right here.

But Damian knows stage work very well. He knows how to bring something special for each and every role he plays, and they are all a testament to the talent. Or maybe it’s the red hair.

c668448ddb2958c942997c88b1719475                               Damian Lewis as Hamlet at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 1994 source: LOVEtheatre.com

I take it back, it’s definitely the hair. He is a proud redhead. Now I wish I was around when this performance was in theatres. Hamlet, the one and only.

Lewis’s Hamlet intensely alive, the rest of the show relatively inert. –  Paul Taylor, the Independent

This man knows how to deliver Shakespeare.  The Bard would be quite pleased I think.

Antony in Julius Caesar: ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen’

Someone we like. And their puppy.

I think I have mentioned almost countless times that my first introduction to this great of greats was through the silver screen. Consciously – I blame Major Dick Winters for it. First of all, the man himself was a legend who had this cool exterior, and had a wicked brain. He wasn’t one for loud displays or many words, but his teachings are still used in West Point today.

Professors at West Point have used this action, attack on a battery of four German guns at Brécourt Manor, as a lesson on the proper method of carrying out a small-unit attack. – Christopher J. Anderson, American History Magazine

damianlewisdickwinters                                                                                      BoB Premiere, Utah Beach, source: pinterest

And Damian has one of the best audition stories for his Band of Brothers role. It is one of those roles people remember or get to know this ‘pesky Brit’ from, however, rarely it gets touched upon in interviews now that Damian has reached international and national stardom.

When Band of Brothers celebrated its 10th Anniversary, Ross Owen and Black Sky Radio did a fantastic interview series with as many BoB actors as they could, including our very own Mr. Lewis.

Look the interviews up here: Ross Owen and Black Sky Radio
They have since done a couple more and Ross has his own radio show which you can find here: The Ross Owen Show

 

winters_and_nixon_screenshot_by_espnb.png              Damian Lewis and Ron Livingston portraying Maj. Dick Winters and Capt. Lewis Nixon in Band of Brothers, HBO

Well, he is also British National Treasure. Him and Stephen Fry. I have personally encountered people who are very surprised that the man whom they know as Brody or Bobby Axelrod, is actually British. It shouldn’t really surprise anyone anymore, right?

There are things that cannot be bought

Growing up with detective stories meant I was a huge fan (still am, by the way) of all things Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. And here is another Damian Lewis in his natural habitat… on Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode with the amazing David Suchet.

”Hickory Dickory Dock” sees Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) solving an outbreak of kleptomania in a student residence, which turns into a murder investigation. Damian plays Leonard Bateson, a student residing at Hickory Road, studying medicine and surgery.

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Hickory Dickory Dock, 1995; source: Daily Mail

‘I feel so privileged to have been involved at the chrysalis stage of their careers,’ Suchet said. ‘It’s absolutely fantastic.’  – Jason Chester, Daily Mail

 

Comic Relief

In 2013 Dawn French and her Parish of Merry Men re-united for Comic Relief.  Founded in 1985 by Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry with its highlight – Red Nose Day, it alternates with Sport relief and has become an important even in British pop culture.

Guest starring was none other than our very own Damian Lewis. The sketch was written by Richard Curtis who is the creator of Vicar of Dibley, and it was a great way to reunite the cast. Damian, playing a man of the cloth has fantastic lines in the sketch.

26813                                                                       Damian Lewis and Dawn French. source: Radio Times

Seeing an actor whom you know from a dramatic role take on comedy is refreshing. Besides, comedy is much harder to pull off.

One of the reasons a whole conversation on Twitter started was because on my day off, I was re-watching an old favourite – Robinson Crusoe, a 1997 adaptation of the novel, directed by Rod Hardy and George T. Miller, and starring Pierce Brosnan as well as our very own Damian Lewis.

When I was a kid and watched the film in Russian (because it was on the Russian telly at the time) I didn’t even know Pierce Brosnan, let alone Damian Lewis. And now, re-visiting the film, I fell in love all over again. With Damian, of course.

2                                                                          Patrick in Robinson Crusoe, 1997, Touchstone Pictures

So, the conversation grew and we talked about other Damian’s TV/Film appearances as well as our appreciation of his stage work. If you haven’t seen Robinson Crusoe – go, find it and watch it! One of the first TV appearances for our favourite man.

One more, a little more quirky guest role Damian had was in Phineas and Ferb. For those who don’t know, Phineas and Ferb (voiced by Vincent Martella and Thomas Sangster) is an American animated musical comedy television series about two brothers and their pet platypus Perry (who is a secret agent).

Damian voiced Agent Double 0-0, a parody of James Bond, in an episode called “Elementary My Dear Stacy” ( at least, that is when I first noticed him in the show, so I don’t really know if he has done more episodes than this one, as I don’t watch it regulary).

“I am Agent Double 0-0 from Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” – Agent Double 0-0, Phineas and Ferb, Walt Disney Television Animation

Agent_Double_0-0                                                           Agent Double 0-0, Phineas and Ferb, Walt Disney Television Animation

This is one of those animated shows that is enjoyed by adults and children alike. So, look it up and maybe you can find Damian’s episode. It was kind of weird hearing his voice, but it was a fun episode definitely worth watching.

Some stories have to be written.

He is handsome, talented, plays football and had a cool family. Besides, he is a true Artist.

It is impossible that someone is just so…. perfect, you would say and I would agree. Nobody is perfect, and the reason of me singing these praises (except for the fact that I am, clearly, quite biased) is not to state that Mr. Lewis is Mr. Perfect. Everyone has good and bad days. The magic happens when nobody notices that you are having a bad day. (Like that time when Damian was on stage performing with an ear infection)

I think people sometimes tend to forget that beloved or maybe disliked actors are only human. They are not the roles they play.

I bring this up, because I recently encountered an actor receiving hate on Twitter because of a role he plays. David Haydn-Jones, a wonderful British/Canadian actor plays Arthur Ketch on CW’s Supernatural, and his character is a horrible man. He’s also an assassin with no conscience, really. However, David is an amazing human being and a very talented actor.

I think it’s important that we stop and think for a little bit about that. They are all only human, and they to give their all each and every performance. Could you do it?

However, actors also hold a great deal of influence in their hands, or, perhaps it is their performance that has the influence. It is not only when on stage, but also afterwards.

I was raised in a tradition of bringing actors flowers to a performance I thought I would truly enjoy. Then my mother encouraged me to buy flowers (nothing massive, maybe a rose or two – simple, but elegant) to every performance, because she thinks there is something you like in each and every one.

In UK there is no such tradition, or, at least I haven’t really noticed it happening. Perhaps we should start it. The actors appreciate the standing ovations, but we need something more. Perhaps this could be one of those ‘something more’ things.

If you were born with the ability to change someone’s perspective or emotions, never waste that gift. It is one of the most powerful gifts God can give—the ability to influence. –  Shannon L. Alder

This is a fantastic quote that rings true. I’m now reading the reviews of The Goat one more time, and this quote correlates with the pay (and many other plays for that matter).

 

Thank you, Mr. Lewis for always doing your best and creating unforgettable moments for your audience.  And thank you for always being so down-to-earth and approachable for us fans!

Go see The Goat in London while you still can, and we’re all awaiting the next chapter in the story that is Billions!

Thank you to my inspirations, the lovely people from Fan Fun with Damian Lewis – a fantastic Damian Lewis fan blog which is such an inspiration!

Thank you, Damianista, JaniaJania, Krista and every other fantastic contributor to the blog! I have love to love you as dear friends.

We started a conversation and it grew into this little appreciation post, so I hope you gained at least a little bit of enjoyment out of it.

 

Born On This Day: Eadweard Muybridge

The idea to look at the calendar and find out which artists were born on this day came to me because of a freelance job I’m doing for a client at the moment. Writing about famous artists and their lives, looking at their work and picking the ones that stand out the most for myself. Therefore, my curiosity got the better of me, and here it is. Born on this day (well, yesterday, since this post will be published on Monday),  April 9 back in 1830

Eadweard Muybridge

Optic_Projection_fig_411

Pioneer photographer who worked with studying motion and early motion picture projections.

Born in 1830’s England, more precisely, Kingston upon Thames in Surrey. When he turned 20, he moved to United States – New York and later San Francisco.

Muybridge’s first career was in publishing, and he was working for the London Printing and Publishing Company.

Professional Photography, a new field that had emerged in the late 1800’s piqued his interest while he was recovering from an accident. The artists himself later mentioned that his physician suggested the career change, and he took it.

Wet-plate collodion process (material has to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed in minutes, using a darkroom). He managed to create and secure two British patents, inventing high speed electrical shutter and electric timer which is used alongside a battery.

He took great risks to take his photographs, carrying around a heavy camera. Muybridge went back to America to work in Alaska, San Francisco and other parts of US, taking photographs of wildlife, landscapes and galloping horses.

Muybridge returned to England where he died in 1904 from prostate cancer. His remains were cremated and interred at Woking in Surrey.

Why We Remember

His work in pioneering photography techniques is important to remember, because it has shaped the field of photography into what it is today.

His work with animal photography and landscapes has been in galleries and on displays in US and England (Tate gallery, 2010-2011). There are 68 glass Zoöpraxiscope discs in his original collection, and only 71 known exist in the world. Kingston collection includes lantern slides, collotype prints, rare early albums, his scrapbook detailing his whole career, and even a copy of San Francisco Panorama.

You can find more about the artist here: Muybridge in Tate

As well as here: Influential Photographs

 

 

 

We Went to a Dog Salon

 

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Harry, our five year old spaniel and poodle mix needed a haircut. It hadn’t yet reached catastrophic levels of length, but he was clearly in need of a haircut, because a good brushing wouldn’t untangle all his tangles. And Harry was clearly way too hot in this weather (it’s not yet too hot over here, but it is getting hotter with every day).

Harry and Millie are very well-behaved dogs. They sometimes fuss about each other, but it’s understandable, since they are litter mates, and go everywhere together. Other than that, they are very chilled out pups, and enjoy attention from humans and other dogs. They are naturally curious, and will chase anything from a cat to a deer if we take them for a walk in the forest near by.

Your Dog Will Love Petsworth

Our little village of Watton, in the North East of England (East Anglia, isn’t it?) has several options for everything pet related, but pet groomers are also quite busy around here, so we had to find an option that wouldn’t be too expensive, and yet – would work with our schedule.

After some consideration and juggling, John (my housemate, the owner of Harry and Millie) found the Petsworth Dog Salon in Watton.

Located in  Breckland business park, it was exactly what we needed. Breckland business park is about 5 minute drive from Watton town centre (it took me 15 minutes to walk there), and its owner is a lady named Trudy Dell.

BBP

She had a time slot for us the next day after John gave her a call, and we were only too happy to go.

The salon is open from Tuesday to Saturday, but you will need to make an appointment first.

I drive, but we only have one car in our household, so at first I had concerns. They were absolutely unfounded.

We were picked up by a taxi (thank you, Jayne @ Watton Taxis) so I didn’t have to worry about buses or other ways of transportation.

The unit in the business centre where the business is located is neatly tucked away, but there are clear signs everywhere, and our taxi driver clearly new where it was, because she not only dropped us off, but pointed me to the right door (there are several in a row) and asked if I needed a lift back to the centre.

The owner had a lovely chat with me, asked me how Harry needed to be groomed, and took in consideration all John’s wishes. She said that it is easier to groom them, if the friends or owners do not stay around, so I left the dogs in her capable hands, and went for a walk.

I was back two hours later, had to wait for a little bit, and Harry now looks so much better.

Overall Thoughts – It is a Yes

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Trudy did a fantastic job with Harry. He looks exactly how we wanted him to look, and he feels much better as well.

Trudy took very good care of both dogs, asked all relevant questions before I left them (if they should stay together, if Millie needed anything done)  and even though I had to wait a little bit, I believe in not rushing professionals.

She has dogs of her own, understands, and knows how to encourage them, which put Harry and Millie at ease.

It cost us 30£,which is also the right price range for us – not too low and not too high.

Overall John and myself are very happy with the service ( can I call it a service?) and we will definitely entrust both our babies to Trudy and Petsworth Dog Salon again.

 

 

If you need a reliable Dog Salon, you can read more about Petsworth, as well as find all the contact information here: http://petsworthdogsalon.vpweb.co.uk/About-Us.html

 

Autism Awareness Week

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The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.
– Debra Ginsberg

The A is not Far Away

Monday marked the start of Autism Awareness Week (27 March–2 April 2017). What does it really mean, though? For some it means nothing, but for others it means everything. Even though their lives are not defined by the word, it still is there.

Here in UK around 700 000 people have been touched by the autism spectrum. It is a part of them and unlike the common cold, there is no easy recipe to live with it. It way more common than people thing, so, most likely someone you know has been diagnosed with some form of it.

And, because it is a part of the daily life of so many people, let us call it simply A from now on. It is, after all, like having an uninvited guest around. Constantly.

Who is A?

It is a lifelong disability which has an impact on how people communicate with the world around them, including other people.

We take so many things for granted, for example body language, facial expressions, metaphors…

These things can be confusing and even alienating.

Autism is a spectrum condition, so while people share parts of it, everyone experiences it differently. Some people go to university and work, others – need a lifetime support from loved ones or carers.

Sometimes even making sense of the world is super difficult, not to mention relating to other people and having a social life.

Personally I do not have this condition, but I have been blessed to meet many people who live with it.  World Autism Awareness Week is just one of the perfect opportunities to talk about it and share the experiences.

It is also one of the most perfect opportunities to make people aware just how common it really is.

Diagnosing Autism is important as well, because it allows loved ones to finally understand a little bit more about it as well as find the proper care and support. Parents, grandparents and other loved ones are the people who need this information, because it might finally answer some very important questions.

Should we invite A around for tea?

One of the challenges we face today is stigma. Mental illness and other health related issues have faced a stigma for as long as they have existed. Even though the science and medical research has made progress in getting to know more and understand more about them, the stigma still is there.

There is no cure. I think that is the first big thing to accept. And this acceptance can be hard. Before a diagnosis is officially given, there is always a possibility that it is something different. However, once it is done, it is done.

Overcoming the stigma is another thing.

If a family is blessed with a special baby, they run into problems not only at home, but also in public. Because the society doesn’t know the personal story of each Mom and Dad out there, they might jump to a conclusion that the child is simply misbehaving, undisciplined, and that the parents apparently don’t really care either.

They have no idea, that the child being happy and somewhat talkative could be a big and important breakthrough, a step forward in development.

We as a society have to talk about Autism, to get rid of the stigma which follows around families and individuals. There is no reason for it to exist.

Action and Adventures with A

On that note, the next logical question, of course, becomes – what should we do?

First of all – learn about it, so you are able to educate people around you. It is very easy to remove yourself from the situation, if nobody you know is directly affected. Don’t remove yourself from the situation.

If you can – get involved!

If you do not want or cannot donate money – it is OK! There is a million different ways to get involved. The National Autistic Society invites you to fundraise, campaign, donate, volunteer, work for them and so much more!

Go to an event they have organized, or ask your GP about an event you could attend to raise awareness.

The National Autistic Society was founded in 1962 and is the oldest charity working for people on the Autism spectrum and their families.

There is an online community as well, designated to answer questions, provide information and support.

Myself, I personally plan to organize a coffee morning to talk about Autism in our local church and community as well as talk to school children about what it means to share the life with A.

I invite you to join me.

You can find out more about National Autism Society on their homepage:

http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/about-us/impact.aspx

And the Online community at –

http://community.autism.org.uk/

As well as their social media:

Twitter – @Autism
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NationalAutisticSociety 

 

Adventures of a Postcrosser

Postcrossing1

Back in the day everyone used to send postcards. There were no Instagram and Facebook, so a postcard was a great way to let people know about the holidays abroad or just to keep in touch.

Even though now most people don’t choose postcards as the preferred communication, there is a large group of people who buy, send and collect cards just for fun.

It’s called Postcrossing.

It is a worldwide project, created by Paulo Magalhães from Portugal who wanted to receive more postcards in his mailbox. (Look, here is the entire team from Postcrossing) 

This is how the idea was born. An idea that allows people to send and receive postcards worldwide. It is exactly that simple.  One sent (and registered on the other end)  postcard,  means one back from a random Postcrosser. Each postcard is given an ID number to write on it, so the person who receives it can log on their Postcrossing profile and register it.

To give it a try, you have to follow a few simple steps.

  1. Go to www.postcrossing.com and register your profile, fill out the information requested and ask for your first address (you will have 5 addresses available at first)
  2. mail the postcard to the address (yes, some work and some investment will be required)
  3. wait to receive a postcard (it can take some time, so don’t lose the spirit)
  4. register the received postcard in the system (so the other person can receive a postcard of their own)

The website itself is easy to use and all the questions are either answered under the FAQ tab, or you can contact one of the admins, if your  question is not on the list.

Nobody will see your address unless they have asked for one and yours is randomly selected to pop up.

Here are some of my own Postcrossing facts:

I have been a member (I actually did some maths to get an exact number of months and days) for 5 years 9 months and 18 days (here I am).

It was actually mo mom who saw a little article in a local paper and then encouraged me to give this project a try. Both of my parents have been very encouraging and have always enjoyed receiving postcards, and they allowed me to dig out their own old card collections (some of those booklets of 10 or 15 postcards everyone had from any place they visited)

This project has also introduced me to some amazing people. With some of them we exchange regular mail and it’s not only postcards, but small packaged for Christmas or birthdays.

I currently have  173 sent,  173 received and 3 travelling cards. My outgoing postcards this week are travelling to France, Finland and Russia

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The First Week of Norfolk

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Greetings!

March has come around quickly this year. I don’t really remember much of last March, only that it seems like forever ago now. This is the first step into a series of little snippets from my personal journey in Norfolk.

But let me start from a beginning.

As of today, I have spent 1014 days in the United Kingdom. 1014 days also translate into 2 years, 9 months, 10 days. During this time I have been in several parts of London and then I spent quite some time in Surrey.

When an opportunity arose for me to move up North, I gladly took it and here I am. My first week in Norfolk is complete, and I am looking forward to many more.

So where should I begin?

The whole moving thing happened very fast. I really only had a few days to make a decision and pack up. Well, it wasn’t really a tough decision. I had wanted to live up in Norfolk ever since I thought about moving to UK in the first place.

Although now the future is not so sure anymore, the first week has been dusted and I can honestly label it as productive.

The new house has a garden and two wonderful dogs to keep me company. Besides, they get me out of the house twice a day for walks, and more than that if the weather is nice and we can hang out in the garden.

It is a fantastic feeling to be actually finally building something sustainable over here. It isn’t going to be super easy, but I have the time and the opportunity to do it.

The neighbourhood is fabulous and the closes little village is a gem. It has everything a little village needs – shops, eating places, a post office, estate agents (more than one, oh yes) and more than one pub.

I haven’t yet had the time to explore the public transport links (I do drive, but don’t have wheels of my own yet) but that should not be a problem. Besides, with friends around nothing is impossible.

This is a new adventure and I am ready to take it on in full swing.

Adventure State of Mind