Stephen Walters – “Angus Mhor” than meets the eye.

Like the titles play on words? I promise, it is true.

Every time I send a request, whether it be a current or past cast member, someone in production, close to production or a fan account I always expect them to say no. It’s in my nature to expect nothing, not because I am “suck joy Sherry” but I find this way I will always be thrilled when something good comes from it. Call it handy self-preservation.

I’ve had it in mind to approach Stephen Walters to participate in #TheLOVELANDERProject from the start. He being an original cast member that made us fall in love with Outlander, a part of an ensemble that has become a revolving door for fans.

What held me back? I am going to be honest, intimidated isn’t the right word, I have always had the impression there is something about Mr. Walters that goes…well…beyond. I have watched his career closely since he left Outlander, also digging back for his previous work. I highly recommend you do the same because DAMN. My concern was “Would I be ABLE to interview Stephen Walters? Would I be able to do this man justice?” I suppose, now, you will be the judge of that.

Here he is…as impassioned, authentic and veracious as they come.

You grew up in Merseyside Liverpool, England. What was your childhood like there? I am one of four children. The third of four and so a middle child. I come from a working class background. My parents were both from that generation that never really received what one would deem a “proper education”. From a social and political perspective, it still rankles with me. As a good education should be the God given right of any child. Sadly it’s still not the case. In those days (the 1950’s) young people were expected to go out into the work place and make a living. Mum and Dad made sacrifices for their children. In retrospect it was a poor upbringing on a monetary level but that cliché of ‘but we were happy’ was true for me. My mum particularly was a genuinely spiritual person and I got most of my life philosophy and teaching from her. It’s never left me. My dad was and still is a clown, so it was perfect yin and yang situation. I may not have received inheritance in a typical sense, money, a house, etc. The usual perception of that. However I received something way more valuable than that. A spiritual inheritance that has never left me. There was also an atmosphere of ‘you can do anything’ in our house. I was never not encouraged to be creative, which is so important for any child. It was a tough environment but there was humour and a real community of people. Sadly, that’s lacking more and more nowadays, that sense of helping your fellow neighbour, of being able to turn to someone in times of shortage. I have lovely memories of the mother’s sitting outside on the wall, talking, laughing, putting the world to rights. We were always, as kids, up to mischief, inventing some new game, digging a ditch, swinging in some tree, the estate was like one big playground to me. You could play out and you knew it was safe, everybody knew everybody else. The sense of memory is honestly fond and full up. I feel blessed by my childhood. Sometimes I go back and it’s a shell of what it was. That’s kind of sad to see.

I hear you speak of your childhood and it may not be filled with the fields or beaches of some, it does have have the quality children need. On the surface, it was rough however it was a beautiful nurturing environment. One that obviously encouraged the creativity we have been blessed to witness. When did this performer in you, start showing up? I started to learn guitar at ten years of age. My neighbours the Caulfield’s, were 3 older teenage boys, Kevin, Mark and Chris. They taught me a few chords and allowed me access to their record collection. It’s where my love affair with music and in particular the Beatles started. It really affected me, the sound, the philosophy and the talent. Their story inspired me, in that you could come from a place like Liverpool and ‘do something different’. So the seeds of creative allegiance and creating a better world were formed then.

An interesting aside, I wrote a song about my mother at 17. Sadly she passed with cancer the same year and this same song I sung on stage in New York in 2018. My son was also present. Her spirit, her energy, her memory and her belief in me, was standing right beside me. Sometimes, if your blessed, you have moments in life that ‘you couldn’t write’.

Thank you piscesfel250 for uploading this to YouTube so Stephen to could direct me to it. I’m not crying…YOU’RE crying!

Acting wise, I did the usual nativity at school, progressing from shepherd to Joseph. I remember the buzz of the lights in the church (the play was always performed on the church alter, in the evening). I felt comfortable, at home, escaping into a world of my own imagination. Later, l studied drama at Southport collage and then finally trained at the Bristol old Vic. The latter was tough to get in. There were 15 places in my year and there were thousands of applicants. It was another moment that ‘Mum was watching down on me’. In those days there were educational grants, otherwise there was no way a kid from my background could afford to go. This is no longer the case and in many areas still represents a marginalisation, an exclusion of the working class from the arts. Ironically it never escapes me that I am in ‘a middle class, privileged profession’.  

That is something that stands out for someone living it but will often go over the heads of people who haven’t faced it, tell us more, please…Drama school was full of young people with a plan B. They were mostly from families that had money, or a family business, or another option. I had no plan A and even then I was winging it on the drapes of my trousers! *laugh* Acting and music are part of the same spring well of activity, be it poetry, writing stories/scripts or singing. I can’t act in the shower but l always sing! It’s all expression. Sometimes these disciplines have merged on the screen like in a show I did called “Tin Star” or another called “Ragged” for Sky Arts. In my mind I do not separate these expressions. They are simply different branches of the same tree.

I loved you in Tin Star, you were shady af but we will talk about that in a bit. I want to delve a little deeper into how your journey started. You had your first acting job at 16, that’s impressive…Here’s the strange thing. The first job I ever did was a thing called “Ghost Story” for a series “Dramarama” A lad called Gary Brookes and I both knocked on the door of the only agent in Liverpool at the time, called ‘ART’. It was run by national treasure, Ricky Tomlinson. On this particular day, these two snotty nosed kids knocked on the door and there he was. It was the first famous person that I ever saw. We asked ‘were there any acting jobs going’ and by chance there was a show being cast and he sent us along. I got the job whilst still in my final year at school! I was completely blind to the whole situation. I remember ‘Ghost Storycoming out on the tv and all the family sat round the television screen to watch. It was another surreal, special moment. With my first ever pay cheque I bought mum a ‘brand new red bike’. I wanted to show my thanks to her. Unfortunately she passed away the next year but gladly she rode it for many miles. I still have that bike. 

It does seem like this life was the one that was meant for you, Stephen. The one thing I felt I always had, was good instincts to read a room and people, although I had no formal training to speak of. Long story short, 23 years later, I ended up playing the real Ricky Tomlinson in a biopic about his life on the screen.

Here it is…and it is…once again, brilliant.

Serendipity and synchronicity have always followed me around. The director a guy called, Julian Jarrold, I also went on to work with, in a show with Robson Green called Touching Evil.

That’s incredible when you think of it. I find the way your history webs together fascinating. Not all actors have this ability but you become the characters you portray so thoroughly … often physically morphing into them. Some actors talk about their method, if you have one, can you tell us about it? The method is precisely that. It’s ‘your method’. These things get convoluted and unnecessarily complicated. I have played many accents and different roles, so it’s your job to nail that as best as possible. I think my working class roots, bring me a working attitude, that you are there to do a job. It’s always grounded and informed my approach to the business I am in. More important than this though, is to find ‘the truth of the character’. Without it, the aesthetics mean jack shit. The truth is always something connected to your own life. It helps in order to sympathise with the character, to relate and understand it. That’s why a life outside of what you do is so important. It will feed and seep in to what you do. There is an element of intellectual observation but it has to be married by choices from the heart…from the gut. I also think good acting is brave, it has elements of courage and heart felt desire. Add to that the ‘imagination level’ then somewhere in the mix is your character. 

A storyteller at heart, Stephen, there is no doubt…I love that it’s a process and it’s not set in stone. From a learning perspective this always appealed to me. Some actors are gregarious and brilliant, some are quiet and focused. It’s horses for courses really. My old acting teacher, a method teacher from the old school by the name of Rudi Shelley (he was Russian) always told me …”Stephen find out for yourself”. It’s served me well. I ask questions and I probe. There’s also a mystery element to any character, that you should never explain, a private space between you and yourself. Sometimes a brilliant director unlocks a door and the quality of the script always comes into play. There’s nothing worse than fighting an incoming tide. So many elements make up the whole part.

I have to ask about these complex roles. There is always something ‘behind’ the eyes of the characters you play. I guess I like complex roles. Life is complex. People are complex. Situations are complex. It’s all a discovery of those strands. It’s more interesting to play a multi dimensional character. It’s more of a challenge and if your not being challenged, your not developing, growing as a performer. It’s just the way my career has gone, that I tend to play people on the periphery of things, on the outside, just how I like it. I remember my acting teacher saying once “Stephen stop trying to walk in a room like John Wayne because you will never be John Wayne…walk in it using your physicality”. It’s about utilising your strengths, your physicality, your way. Keep it true.

The more we peel back, the more I see how complex you are, this is all making a lot of sense to me. Speaking of complex characters, let’s chat Charles Manson. You became him in the short film, I’m Not Here. I have to say, it was disconcerting to watch as I didn’t connect ‘Stephen’ to the person on screen…at all. What made you want to be a part of that project? Manson was a frustrated artist. A lot of people don’t know that. He was a talented one too. He was from a broken home and was probably destined for a life of crime. His story is one of ‘what if’? Aren’t all our lives and stories? I know people in my own school year died of drug over doses. My brother Brian passed in a similar manner. He was a brilliant artist, a beautiful mind and no less talented than most people l work with. The sad irony of that a that he understood that. He was my greatest supporter and I always feel his presence around. If your really honest, or your really awake, you know life is never that simple. “There but for the grace of God go I”. There’s a lot of wisdom in those gutters. Anyway, back to Manson. Charles was close to a record deal and it nearly happened for him. There’s also people in our industry that but for a break or a chance encounter, could have gone ‘the other way’. Not necessarily to the extremes of Charles Manson but it’s all margins. There is something interesting to investigate there. Plus we demonise people, label the monsters and put them nicely in a box. We were all children once, from the king on the throne to the guy in the doorway. That’s how I feel and see it. It’s my spiritual out look, that does it’s best not to look up to anyone or down on anyone. 

The outlook you have shared here is one I hope readers can take and use going forward. I believe it may be a piece of this puzzle our world has lost over time. Many of us are able to grow from each of our experiences, good and heartbreaking. What have you taken from each of your experiences on set, in both those large and small productions from your early days to now? That each experience is different from the last one. People who are good at their job, barring the odd exception, tend to be the best to work with. It’s those with opinions of themselves that are not grounded, that are not really rooted into some kind of reality, that are most difficult to work with. Each role one plays is the roll of a dice, there’s a lottery element to it. I think for me, it was always about trying to create a quality body of work. To not look back, that you are only as good as your last job. It’s only when someone puts a question like that to me, that I think about those things. Lovely that it is to reminisce, it’s always about moving onto something else. Other wise it’s like staring down and admiring the same old shoes! *laugh*

I get that, still, I’m going to get you to check out that rear view mirror for a bit longer *smile*. You worked on a series in Canada, not just Canada but in my province of Alberta. In fact, the small town my uncle lives, High River Alberta is where Tin Star was set. What was your time like here? I was in Calgary for about 8-9 weeks. The Canadians are such polite folk and the place is so ‘clean’. I remember canoe rafting in Banff which was stunning. The clear blue water and the mountains. The place looked like a country and western set. I was mostly with a brilliant actor Ian ‘Pulverston’ Davies and we had digs that shared panoramic views of the city. There are many moments like that when I wish mum and brother Brian (or even Dad) could have had. They paved the way for these things to happen to me. You count the blessings and you never take it for granted. I think if you do, the games up. I’ve see that happen to people. You have to hold on to you and the journey that gets you there. 

I remember driving with SatNav (GPS) and getting lost in Alberta too. I remember pulling over on a road to watch a black bear and it’s cubs about 50 metres from myself. I remembered a deer running across my path, as I drove on the road. I loved my character and got to sing/play guitar. In fact the song that plays out the end of episode 3, I wrote. What more can a man ask for?

It sure ticked a lot of boxes, I haven’t even gotten to see a mama bear yet. The song at the end of ‘The Comfort of Strangers’ was hauntingly beautiful. It would be nice to see you not die in a series…I have come to the conclusion, I have seen you die on screen enough.

As much as I loved you as Angus, the role of Thomas Malone in Shetland is my favourite, thus far.  Your portrayal of this misunderstood and complicated character made those watching confused and empathetic. It was a wild ride. What attracted you to this character and why do you think others became so invested in his story? It was a gift of a role written by David Kane. Brilliant show and great writing, with fine actors. A rich six episode character arc, full of plot twists and turns. Thomas Malone is a maligned and misunderstood character. Often in episodic stuff, you play the killer, or the killed, or a filler role and there is no real context. No real meat in the bones. Here’s the thing. It’s much much harder, to make an impact with limited screen time. The more screen time you have, it’s just easier. You can allow a character to breathe, to pace it, to take your time. The camera can ‘indulge’ the character more, watch and observe him/her. This series of Shetland explained and expanded upon why this man was so broken. It delved into why someone is the way that they are. That’s what good drama does.

I was gutted by his death, it seemed so…pointless. What are your thoughts on that? I was shocked when I read the final script but here’s the thing. Things happen out of the blue in life and often to people who least deserve it. It was the final gut wrenching blow to the solar plexus. People still come up to me now and mention that moment. Drama has the power to move, to change feelings, to relate and to fascinate. 

I recall you mentioning in previous interview that writers can describe a character as in depth as possible, but it is the actor that ultimately brings them to life. In playing Angus there were many things you added that weren’t included in the ‘written description’. It’s more an attitude. A lot of that was complimented with Rupert played by Grant O’Rourke. He’s a big fun energy, and it infused scenes before we played them. That’s how I felt anyway. The superstitious side of Angus, was made up from reading a book about a Scotland in that time period. The humour was something that happened more organically than planned. Anyone who visits Liverpool will tell you that everyone is a comedian. Ken Dodd a famous comedian said the Liverpool audience, is the inky audience that thinks it’s funnier than the comic! *laugh*. So it’s in the genes somewhere I think. The more serious you play a character like Angus, the funnier it can be. No matter how ridiculous the situation may be, if you play it straight, something true will always come through it. 

These two butted heads like two alpha rams – I laughed like a fool at them (most of the time).

One of my favourite things about Angus was his erratic nature. One-minute laughing and joking, the next raging and wild. Did you formulate a back story for him that would explain why he was the way he was? I think that’s more the invention side to creating a character. Of acting. There are characters like Angus, from way back in the Liverpool memory bank. Unpredictable, keep you on your toes people and you’re not sure what they are going to do next. What’s interesting about that question is this. Is it by design… or is it they simply don’t know what they are going to do next!? *laugh*

You and Grant O’Rourke seemed to have had a chemistry that was natural and easy. It was said by Ron Moore in his podcast it was because you were so good together it was a natural progression to keep moving in that direction. Was this immediate between the both of you? Like, we got something that could be a lot of fun…let’s do this? Grant like I said is funny…’he’ has funny bones. I can be like that but it’s more personal, more specific. He often entertained the troops whilst waiting for long set ups, in between takes and I admire that. I tend to more fade into the background. Like I say, I consciously plugged myself into that. Chemistry is there or it isn’t I guess, it can only be manufactured to a degree. It’s difficult to be objective but l think we did have ‘something together’ on screen. It was a love hate thing. Angus loved Rupert, Rupert hated Angus! *laugh*

That’s hilarious! *laugh* You two definitely had ‘something’ and it was a joy to watch. Who am I kidding, it is STILL a joy to watch. What would you say were your most enjoyable scenes to film on Outlander? I enjoyed the physical things. The fights were a hoot. The sporting games with wooden bats. I remember one particular day, getting carried away and biting this poor stuntman’s ear and it bled. I was in shock and felt so bad and this big cockney guy stands up and says…*wiping the blood away from his ear*…”Don’t worry mate…it’s all in a days pay!”*laugh*

That sounds challenging, for him…*laugh* What would you say were the most challenging for you? The elements were challenging. The huge set ups, waiting around in the mud, the wind and the rain. There was always someone with a funny story, a joke, something to relieve the boredom at times. Roy Ramsay, God bless his soul, was one of the horseman. He had a neck like Mike Tyson and hands the size of a garden shovel. A big, gentle giant. I loved his stories and his strange mad wisdom. Something of Roy, bled itself into Angus somewhere. I’m always looking for a clue, an inspiration, a fact, a spark that may start a fire. 

I know fans carry memories of Angus and his antics still. Do you have any particular memories from your time on the Outlander set that you feel you carry with you? Every job has a memory I carry. The people and the place I would say. I was lucky enough to film Shetland so north of the border is ‘in the bones now’. Duncan La Croix (AKA La Crotch) was my first port of call on the job. I just remember we spent months just talking. A lovely soul. Andy Gower was special connection. Scott Kyle, Ronnie Goodwin, all good people. Through the conventions, we sometimes meet up and there’s a commonality, a sense of a shared experience. No matter what you do next, these things cling to the heart in some way. 

You have one of the unique experiences of being a part of the cast that created the Outlander universe. Every week more people are discovering this world and in turn, you. Falling in this weird love with this wild character of yours and then being absolutely devastated when he dies. As incredibly sad as Angus’s death was, it was heroic in the same breath. His friendship with Rupert, as humorous and sometimes volatile as it is, at it’s core there was a love for one another. He sustained a blast in order to save his friend, in turn, his own life was taken.

Do you believe that Angus would have done the same thing, had he known the outcome? I think the scene around the camp fire says it all…”what’s yours is mine” etc…they were soul brothers. Had each other’s backs. It’s a friendship that goes through all the 4 seasons, sometimes in one day as the old song goes. It’s a weather beaten friendship, it’s challenged and it’s often fraught but there is love there. That’s the making of any true connection. They would have taken a bullet for the other person. A strange, paradoxical nature line comes to mind…” I can call you a fuck head but no one else can!! *laugh* It’s that sort of thing”

I just know you are going to have fun with this one. If you could describe the following cast mates with one word – what would it be?  Caitriona Balfe-Grafter. Grant O’Rourke-Melancholic. Graham McTavish-Fanny. *laugh* Lotte Verbeek-Exotic. Nell Hudson- Warm. Annette Badland-Sweetheart. Sam Heughan-Tall. Duncan Lacroix Cunt. *laugh smh*. It seems men do that thing too, well, I do that thing with my friends. Gary Lewis-Socialist. Andrew Gower-Tommy.

Speaking of Andrew Gower’s Tommy reference, this was the short film he starred in, that you wrote and directed called Humpty Fu*king Dumpty . It was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that was very well received. You ended up releasing the film online during the lockdown as special gift to the fans worldwide. We thank you for that, as it was brilliant! What was it about Tommy Quickly that made you want to tell his story in this way? Thank you to the fans first. They allowed us the opportunity to physically make the film. That was a really beautiful thing. Tommy has similar parallels to the Manson story, the only difference being Tommy actually made a few records. Ultimately it’s the story of failure, or of when something doesn’t turn as planned. Every project we under take as actors, walks the fine line between flying or falling flat on your arse. It’s part of the joy of it all for me. Sink or swim mentality. It’s a heat instruction for being in the moment. Tommy had the world at his feet and something never clicked. It’s almost like he was ‘in the wrong place at the right time’. Maybe it was a chemistry thing?… Maybe he wasn’t cut out for show business?…Maybe he just wasn’t good enough? However there were people of less ability, who went on to greater platforms. These things are never black and white. What’s important is to ask the difficult questions without ever expecting any definitive answer. 

I am incredibly curious about this production. Could you share with us what went into bringing it to the screen? Passion projects have such rich stories behind the scenes…It started on a late night flight to Morocco. Andrew and I both did a biblical show called AD. It was a chance meeting. We got talking about Tommy and he knew the song written by Lennon/McCartney, “Tip of my Tongue” given to Tommy

Tommy Quickly had been an impulsive obsession of mine for years, almost like a macabre running joke. I started to formulate an idea for a story, then wrote it. Andrew had to play Tommy. I think for what it’s worth, that it’s his best performance. So brave, so nuisanced, so bold. I wanted an actor I knew I could safely push beyond their comfort zone. There’s not many actors that could do what he did in that role, to be so emotionally naked and available. I deliberately stylised the piece as ‘a mini head movie’. Like we are experiencing the protagonists dilemma, his pain, his point of view. I wanted it to feel like a dream, one foot in reality, the other in the subconscious. See, I told you that I love those fine lines. We are in pre production on a feature film, based around the premise of “Humpty Fu*king Dumpty”. We have a producer and it looks promising so watch this space.

I am always watching this space but now I will now be tuned in on the daily. Of course in this world of covid, I have lots on tune in time. Speaking of which, it has certainly changed many things in our lives. What is it that you miss the most about the world pre-covid? I miss going the shop or to work without having to wear a mask. I miss seeing people’s faces. I miss a more innocent time, even though this whole mess kicked off only 9-10 months ago. I missed picking up my son from school. So many things.

Same…Stephen…Same…We do things to feel, well, normalish. During the lock down you started Radio Roger, little blurbs of hilarity on Sound Cloud that adds a glimmer of laughter and…’man, I KNOW that guy’ moments. *laugh* Is there a plan for Roger … what’s the scoop? Roger radio was done on the spur of the moment. I just record it into my iPhone and play the voices. It’s often unrehearsed and in the moment. I’ve always been fascinated by the people who ring into radio stations. I can’t believe that stupidity can reach such levels. I seriously worry for some callers, for their mental health, their observations etc…but the dark side to my humour thinks it’s hilarious too. Roger is also “Mr. Neutral” which bugs me in away. I know it’s the role of the adjudicator to be an ‘unpartisan’ role but it’s annoying, especially when it’s clear to the audience, what their affiliation is. 

It is a relief that you aren’t playing out a segment of your own personality there.*laugh* I think I have a general idea to the answer of this next question but to be honest Stephen, you as a person, are as complex as many of the characters you play. I find you fascinating. I would love for you to tell me what you would say make Stephen Walters tick. Love makes me tick. Life makes me tick. 

That might sound simple, but most of us know, the depth of love and the intricacies of life…that’s a whole lot of ticking going on.

Since you are an incredible musician and actor, this question is a must ask, is there a dream biopic about anyone you would love to be in? I am working on a feature length version of the “Charles Manson” short film I made, “I’m Not here”. (as seen above) It would be a different angle to the usual musical biopic. Paying Bob Dylan would be amazing, or Woody Guthrie his genius predecessor. I would love to play Sam Cooke but that might be a stretch too far.

I mean, you are a great actor but I do think the Sam Cooke idea might be pushing the envelope a tad far.*smile* Now, Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie – I am paying good money to check those out. As for a feature length of you as Charles Manson in the same vein as I’m Not Here? That is going to be dark and delicious. Riding the same path here, are there any people you have on a ‘bucket list’ to work with in the future? I am working on a project right now that has one of my ‘acting heroes’ in. I can’t say much about it but will do when I can. I don’t believe in heroes if I’m being honest, but there are a rare breed of artists that changed the game of their profession, who made the world sit up, who had a massive  ‘impact’ on the senses. 

You for one, Stephen, have had an impressive and consistent resume since you began acting. Between music and screen, is there anything else you could imagine doing? Yes! I have started writing/directing and will continue to do so. I have made about 6-7 short films now. Each has been insightful, instructive and just a treat to be honest. I am developing a comedy right now and I have so many stories I want to tell. Writing is something I have secretly been watering, tending to that particular garden, in the safety of my own privacy. So yes, making and creating my own films, forming my own philosophy/perceptions. I also write poetry, I love constructing words. I love writing lyrics to songs. It’s all expression in the end. We come into the world screaming and I want to leave it screaming. * laugh* That scream is a pure expression of ‘I’m here’…it’s a manifestation of something so deep, it’s a longing to connect and be connected too. That’s in each and everyone one of us.

It feels serendipitous to be in the world at the time you are in creation mode. I look forward to the stories you have to tell.

I have probably exhausted you…but I have three more requests.  I would like you to give yourself a A) Tagline B) Warning Label C)Theme Song.

A. Ragamuffin from Liverpool. B. Beware the Ragamuffin from Liverpool. C. The singing Ragamuffin from Liverpool.

Put your hands together for the Ragamuffin from Liverpool, bringing you his latest…

I might have giggled like I goofball listening to this

As we wrap up this year of complete chaos I must say that custom made Lovelander/Sherry song…was a highlight. I was hoping for a couple highlights this year, thankfully the Universe and you, Stephen came through!

It was such a pleasure getting to know you outside the confines of a character you play. The parallels I see between the childhood you had and the man that you have become are something I believe will stick with me the most. Though rough on the outside, there is a deep meaningful understanding of what is important in this world. It is most certain your Mum, is most proud of you. Putting it as simply as I can, Stephen. Thank you so much for being you. You are welcome. My mum taught me that the most powerful thing to be in this world is to be yourself,

I happily wrap up the last instalment of the LOVELANDER Project for 2020 with pride. What has been a very difficult year, this has been a welcome distraction for me and I do hope, for you as well. If this is your first time reading please see the links below for the other interviews in the project.

Happy Hogmanay/New Year. Take a breath and I will be right here, continuing the LOVELANDER Project until you bore of me…nah…until I bore of myself.

Much Love, The Beav

Sherry

Have you missed Previous editions of – The LOVELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  CastEdition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist  Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour CastEdition 5 Nell Hudson/Laoghaire Cast Edition 6 A Quickie w Kikki Fleming/ Lesley Edition 7 Koko/Outlandish Vancouver Cast Edition 8 Paul Gorman/Josiah and Kezzie Beardsley Edition 9 Chas/ Outlandish Scotland Edition 10 Barry Waldo/ Writer, Producer & husband of Jon Gary Steele Outlander Production Designer

ABOotlander LOve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley

Paul Gorman joins #TheLOVELANDERProject. #Outlander’s Josiah and Kezzie Buy one, get one free!

BOGOs are the best.

Josiah and Kezzie have long held a special place in my heart from the books. I find their arcs, heartwarming and entertaining. I, like many other fans anxiously waited for the announcement of their casting. On November 13 2019 , that happened. Paul Gorman would be playing both roles. This young man’s photo shone from the Outlander Starz page, eyes blue and piercing, jaw set and strong. I did what most Outlander fans do when a new name pops up, hit up the google machine to see what I could see. The face looking back from his InstaGram was very different, smiles so big and bright they literally hit his eyes to make them shine. That expression “Their smile lights up a room” – that’s Paul.

I admit, I felt like I hit a double jackpot when Paul happily accepted my invitation to take part in this project of mine meant to help fans through a very long Droughtlander.

Soooo dry…

Watchers were introduced to Josiah in the first episode of Season 5 but it was episode 3, called Free Will that we first saw Josiah and Keziah together on screen. The performance and the technology allowed fans to see the depth of this young man’s talent and how Outlander was dedicated to showing how important the twins will be to the ridge. It was wonderful to see production weren’t going to be constantly showing them separated.

On screen together, Josiah and Keziah. (Photo lightened to show the character contrast)

I hope you enjoy getting to know Paul as I have. He shows us Outlander casting doesn’t only pick the best actor for the job, they also choose those who fit into the family they have created on set.

Snug as bugs!

Welcome to my little corner of the interwebs, Paul. I’m grateful that agreed to allow me to interview you. Hi Sherry, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of The Lovelander Project!

I want to congratulate you on your graduation from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a huge accomplishment…thank you for the well wishes, RCS has had a massive impact on me as an actor and as an individual which I’m extremely grateful for and I still can’t believe I graduated around this time last year!

Can you tell us a little about where you grew up? I was born in Rutherglen, which is just 15 minutes outside of Glasgow in the south of the city, and between there and Cambuslang is where I went to school. I was raised by my Mum and Dad, and grew up alongside my younger sister Gabrielle who is currently training to be a primary teacher.

Sounds idyllic. Where do you believe those first interests and sparks of performance were lit? When I was younger I was mainly into music and football, it wasn’t until the final years of high school that I began to have a keen interest in acting, I primarily attribute that to my school and the amazing teachers I had there. In my 5th year, they had decided to put on a school show, the first one the school had done. The show was “We Will Rock You” based on the music by Queen. My interest in performing had been sparked by the band and taking Drama as a class in the earlier years of school so I gave the audition a go and got the part of ‘Britney Spears’, the leader of a gang of music rebels who had taken the name from what he thought was a rock legend lost to time. The whole experience of doing the show, from rehearsals to working on the character to that feeling of being part of an ‘ensemble’, being part of a team, working from nothing to creating something palpable and visceral that had an effect on those that watched it – I loved every minute of it. And of course, a high school production based on the music of an 80’s rock band might not change the world, but it offered a sense of escapism and euphoria for everyone in that room for a brief while. After I turned 17 that summer I attended an open day at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and realised I could make a career of doing what I loved, so from then on I decided to give it a shot. I attended college for two years where my passion and adoration for acting matured, and at the end of those two years I was lucky enough to be accepted to the RCS. But I completely owe it to my teachers at high school who organised and supported that first show, without them I would never have discovered what I loved so I’m incredibly grateful.

I found a little something online called “Imperial City” with a pretty sweet grind, with you at the head…I enjoy some punk/grunge…even if my terminology has to be grandfathered in. Oh my God, I can’t believe you managed to track down the remnants of Imperial City, I commend your research efforts!

You gotta love him.

I was around 14 when we first started the band, back then we were called “Post Paradise” but by the time I was 16 we changed it to “Imperial City” due to the fact that there was an Australian band called “Paradise Post” and we didn’t want our many fans (our mates from school) to get confused, so we stole the name from an Elder Scrolls game. I honestly had the time of my life playing in that band, and the band I played in after “Atlas”. As “Imperial City” went, we were most definitely NOT the best punk band in Glasgow but we just had a ton fun: playing covers we wanted to play (mainly Green Day and Foo Fighters), we gigged at our local UC Youth Centre and got to play some iconic venues around Glasgow like the Barrowlands and The Garage and we always had our friends from school turning up to support us. It was honestly just such a good laugh and being in the band was such an informative and thrilling experience, it was a real confidence-building journey for me that directly fed into my turn to acting.

Nothing better for the soul than confidence!

It goes to show you had that drive and confidence much earlier than many, it seems to have served you very well… In terms of music, it was my first year at high school. My Dad plays guitar and he got me into it, then there was a “guitar club” ran by Mr. Miller who was one of the music teachers and along with a growing love of punk and rock music it inspired us to get the band together. The band was so influential in giving me confidence and helping me come out of my shell, I was quite a shy and timid kid, and by being in it helped me find my voice and gave me a positive and creative outlet during my teenage years. The love and passion for acting came a bit later, although I did have an early acting stint at 4 years old when I played a sheep in the nursery nativity so maybe the acting seeds were sown then? No idea haha!

😂 Aww a sheep…I don’t think it suits anymore. Had you heard of Outlander prior to your auditioning for the role? I had definitely heard about Outlander before auditioning for the show! Outlander, both the books and the tv series, has had a massive and profound effect for Scotland in terms of: bringing people to Scotland’s shores for the first time, encouraging discussion all over the world of Scotland’s history and introducing our culture (past and present) to those who don’t know much about us, and so much more! It has also been positive for Scotland’s film and television industry, employing hundreds of crew members and creatives, and has helped many Scottish-born actors break into the industry, so to be asked to join the cast of the show was such a privilege and I’m very grateful for it being my first job.

It’s an impressive accomplishment, you should be very proud. What was the audition process like for you? Tell us all the deets. The auditions I had during Outlander were a part of an incredibly supportive process and were so informative and enlightening for me as a young actor and this is solely down to the devoted casting teams of Suzanne Smith and Simone Pereira Hind. It was my first audition just after my drama school showcase and it involved reading some extracts from Josiah and Kezzie’s story arc. Both casting directors encouraged to explore and play with the text, while also being extremely sensitive and supportive to the work we were doing and it was honestly just such a fun and creative experience. Later on in the recall stages I had to travel down to London and I remember turning up waaaay too early for the audition so I remember kicking about North London listening to David Bowie while running lines for both characters to pass the time, some onlookers were definitely intrigued by the raving, dancing Scotsman playing two characters in the middle of the street. The London recall involved a ‘chemistry test’ with Caitlin, who plays Lizzie, who was amazing to audition with. She was so encouraging and all my pre-audition nerves left me when we started the scene as she is so giving as an actor, completely selfless and full of spontaneity, an acting partner’s dream! We did three scenes in total, continually working on both Josiah and Kezzie with our director Stephen Woolfenden, and that was us done!

We love us some Caitlin around here too, it’s a not so secret wish of mine to have her take part in The LOVELANDER Project, not gonna lie. It quite thrills me to hear you were brought together to test. **And sidenote for all of you reading, of course I asked what scenes they they did in the audition, and of course Paul wouldn’t say. He isn’t going to give up ALL the goods in one interview – he is a sweetheart but no pushover.**

We can’t expect him to give us everything…nope nope nope.

What was that experience of finding out you had earned the role…ummm…roles like? I had just finished a radio class at RCS, I remember checking my phone and seeing I had a couple of missed calls from my agent, so I walked up to the top floor of the building which is usually quite empty, gave him a ring back and that’s when he told me I got the job! I recall just feeling completely overwhelmed, yet so excited to start my first job and also just extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity. I also remember feeling a slight hesitation about accepting as well due to the nature of playing Kezzie. At RCS, I have been extremely fortunate to meet and work alongside many deaf actors as the school offers a BA Performance course in BSL and English, and my hesitancy came from accepting the role of a deaf/hard of hearing character knowing the experiences of my friends struggling to find roles themselves. I met up and discussed with a couple of the actors on the course, along with lecturers who taught on it, about the nature of the role and if it was acceptable for me to agree to it. All that I spoke to gave incredibly insightful advice and noted how it was a unique situation due to the duality of playing both Kezzie and Josiah, who can hear. Because of this they supported taking on the role, and continued to offer help and advice while we were in pre-production and during filming. One of the pieces of advice was to have a deaf adviser on set and that’s how we got Bea involved! That says so much about your character as a human, Paul. Many, I imagine would be so over the moon with their first job, on this huge hit TV show, yet, here you are concerned about others and going to them to confer. Your generation is wise and compassionate, it’s heartwarming to hear.

When your casting announcement was made public by Starz, you had already begun filming, what was that “HERE COMES PAUL TO THE MASSES” experience like for you? It was bewildering! I don’t think anyone can get used to the fact that people you’ve never met in countries you’ve never been to suddenly know who you are! When the announcement came I was welcomed with such warmth and love from the Outlander community, it felt like joining a big family.

The rest of cast all have experience with the fandom so, they must be helpful with navigating those waters? The cast were extremely helpful in offering advice about this new world I was about to step into. Caitlin in particular was someone I’d constantly go to seeking guidance, as we both have had similar journeys in terms of Outlander being our first jobs. She had gone through this herself and knew exactly what to advise me on. She’s been incredible and I owe her a great deal.

Fan engagement can be tricky sometimes… Like I said before, I have been incredibly fortunate that the vast majority of the fans I’ve been contacted by have all been supportive and welcoming and seemed to have really enjoyed the work we made on the fifth season. I try not to engage too much on social media as you don’t want too many opinions trying to shape your performance, but the backing we’ve had in the past year really spurs us on as actors to give the most honest and sensitive performances possible. 

I imagine there are ways that are easier to digest the opinions or critiques of fans, as well. Of course, as actors and artists we welcome criticism, as it helps us to improve our craft and the work that we do, but if viewers did take issue with how a storyline or scene was filmed or executed, the way to do so would to be constructive and in a helpful and supportive manner. This will usually be listened to and taken in positively by those that see it and will be welcomed as affirmative motivation for when they next go to work.

In my, oh so, humble opinion, my job as a fan is to support and enjoy the work you do. You are the professionals after all. There is so much preparation that goes into the whole production. As you mentioned earlier, Bea helped with yours. I’m interested to hear about the groundwork you laid out while forming both Josiah and Kezzie as individuals and how Bea and others helped you with that. Knowing that the show’s storylines are based heavily on the books I thought by reading Josiah and Kezzie’s storyline in “The Fiery Cross” and “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” would be a key source to draw on for the performances. What is so good about the Outlander books, as an actor, is that Diana Gabaldon writes such detailed background stories, so you don’t have to join the dots as much, all the information is there! When it came to the actual performances, I wanted to focus on the features that distinguish the two boys while also finding similarities between them, as they continue to get mistaken for each other by other characters.

Key areas to focus on were differences in attitudes, body language, speech and the skills that each of the boys possess. Josiah is a skilled hunter it was important to think about his posture, while his keenness to prove his worth to the Ridge would show in his focus and his conscientiousness towards certain tasks. As I’m most definitely no hunter myself, it was useful to research hunting methods of the time and tools that Josiah might use, they would then have a lasting effect on Josiah’s body language and were good focus points.

For Kezzie, I focused on his more compassionate nature (looking after the barn cats), so he would have a softer touch to his posture, a willingness to smile more and because he relies much more heavily on his other senses to survive he may run his eyes over objects and people more frequently than others would, in order to gain the information required to assess a situation. To work on Kezzie’s deafness we wanted to approach it with sensitivity and accuracy in order to give the most honest representation of the character as possible. To do so, I interviewed some of my friends on the BA Performance BSL & English course at RCS to hear their own personal accounts and how they might intertwine with Kezzie’s, along with contacting local deaf support groups within Glasgow. What was also important was to try and have someone on set who could advise and monitor my behaviour as Kezzie during filming, so we managed to get Bea Webster, who is an actor herself and graduated from the BSL course at RCS, to be our deaf advisor on set. Bea and Carol-Ann Crawford, our dialect coach on Outlander, worked with me to shape Kezzie’s speech and also helped develop “home signs”, (as ASL/BSL were in its infancy stages during the late 17th century), in order to help the boys communicate with each other. The Outlander team and our directors were again very supportive of this and were happy to assist in helping us be as authentic as possible.

I am always impressed at how Outlander seems to take those extra steps to assist the actors in their process. It something we can easily take for granted because it makes your performance so flawless.

We have fans that know the (book) story arc of Josiah and Keziah, yet there are TV viewers that will have no idea. You mentioned you’ve read “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” (the next book, and what Season 6 will eventually be based on) We all know not every storyline makes it into the show but on a scale of 1-10, how much would you like to see some version of the Josiah/Kezzie story arc in season 6? Oh most definitely a 9 or 10! Such a key aspect of the boys’ personalities is their relationship with Lizzie as it sparks a growth in their maturity as characters, she helps ground them in their new reality and also, they find a sense of peace at the conclusion of their storyline that almost feels needed after the years of servitude and pain they have lived through. So to see the boys storyline realized from the books would be an incredible way to add to their journeys.

I couldn’t agree more. I think it would be epic to see that come to life on screen, you and Caitlin would absolutely slay! I am one of those fans that see the way you and your costars interact on SM and BTS. You seem to have this true camaraderie. What do you attribute that to? I think it’s down to the fact that everyone on set, from crew to actors to directors, are just so incredibly sound and also committed to making everyone feel at home and welcome. It’s a perfect duality between everyone being dedicated to the work at hand and also completely up for a laugh and a joke, which is so important on those late-night shoots. Everyone is also totally respectful of each other’s work and will put in the time and effort to support each other which brought us closer as an ensemble.

Speaking of that ensemble, let’s play a game. Give me the first thing that comes to mind when I say the names of these castmates –

Caitlin O’Ryan (Lizzie) An absolute hero, I learn from her every day whether it be about acting or something new I never knew about the world. Also, she’s extremely and undeniably cool.

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W8in for a m8

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Yup, looks cool to me.

Lauren Lyle (Marsali) Incredibly supportive of everyone on set, so kind and approachable and has excellent banter.

Best way to get in on her banter, listen to She’s A Rec

César Domboy (Fergus) So charming and courteous and also effortlessly cool, even when we’ve wrapped after a long day of shooting he still looks like he’s stepped off a fashion show it’s incredible.

I mean…I see it.

Kyle Rees (JQM) An utter legend, such a grounded and down-to-earth guy, so easy to talk to, always up for a laugh, and always brings a smile to everyone’s face. Never met a man so passionate about rugby.

Really? Down to earth? Makes people smile? A Rugby fan? You don’t say…

John Bell (Young Ian) Such a compassionate and considerate actor and person, intelligent and witty, and made me and others feel welcome on set.

I mean…it’s still a compliment right?

Richard Rankin (Roger) King of the wind-up and the odd banter, but also very considerate to those around him, he’s a cracking actor and I think his work this season particularly is exemplary and excellent.

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Posted @withregram • @ntsonline UPDATE . Due to demand the track from our recent #ScenesforSurvival The Longest Summer, by the brilliant @wearenoisemaker and @rikrankin, will be released on 4 August! . All proceeds from the single will go towards our #ScenesforSurvival hardship fund, which has been set up to support artists and those in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis. . Richard Rankin said: . “It's been a privilege to work on The Longest Summer as part of Scenes for Survival with the wonderful creative team of Noisemaker and director Jemima Levick, and I'm thrilled that the film and song have resonated with so many people already. The song release is a brilliant way to continue that connection, and a great opportunity to raise some cash for a vitally important cause.“ . The Scenes for Survival Hardship Fund is a fundraising campaign launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the McGlashan Charitable Trust and leading Scottish Theatre organisations, to raise money for those in the sector who have been hardest hit financially and are experiencing drastic economic and emotional hardship. . All donations to this fund will go directly to provide support for those most impacted within Scotland, be they actors, writers, creatives, musicians, technicians or any others within our industry. . A sector-wide call out with information and details of how to apply for support from the SFS Hardship Fund will be launched in August 2020. The Federation of Scottish Theatre and the McGlashan Charitable Trust will ensure equitable distribution of the money raised.

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Scenes for Survival was a brilliant way to support Scottish Theatre during this pandemic. If you haven’t watched, I encourage you to check out the whole series of shorts.

Sophie Skelton (Brianna) Such a genial and thoughtful person, super bright and a pleasure to be around! Also incredibly sophisticated and cool like many in the cast.

Sophie-sticated is right…

SamHeughan (Jamie) A true leader, constantly boosts the morale of everyone on set and makes everyone feel valued and seen, he’s both selfless and giving as an actor. Also always up for a laugh and loves his rugby.

Do you think they are talking rugby or fashion?

Caitriona Balfe (Claire) As intelligent, perceptive and intuitive as an actor as she is a person, it’s really inspiring to see her work and command a space with such presence, learnt a great deal from her.

The real deal – it’s so good to know.

Speaking of Caitriona, the last episode of season 5, Never My Love, was a very heavy episode. You were involved in what has gone down as an epic scene, the rescue of Claire, the killing of her captors and those who raped her. I am really interested in what it took to hold up those scenesfrom your perspective. As an actor entering those scenes, what was vital was supporting our fellow cast members. Like our own characters main objectives in protecting Claire, it was our duty as ensemble members to support Caitriona and treating the setting and nature of the scenes with the sensitivity and care that is necessary. The energy, focus and emotional toll required for Caitriona to engage with the experiences that Claire goes through would be extensive and imposing, and it was our job as cast and crew to make the environment and atmosphere as comfortable and safe as possible in order to help Caitriona. And to see Caitriona at work, like that?I thought her performance throughout this season was stunning, but especially in those final episodes her attention to detail and vulnerability she showed as an actor was both heart-wrenching and exemplary, and to see the way she conducted herself professionally and considerately on set should be commended, it was inspiring to see as a young actor.

I appreciate you giving us such a wonderful visual. I am sure you have many but I am going to put you on the spot and ask you what your most memorable time on set was…thus far anyway. Honestly got so many! I think probably the Fiery Cross scene from the first episode, it was amazing seeing all the cast assembled for one scene, and there were so many people involved in the process of making and shooting it, I’d never seen anything like it in my life! Also, the fact it was a night shoot and we were going until 6 in the morning, there was a great sense of camaraderie and also delirium from the tiredness so we had a laugh and amazing time with the cast and crew.

It was enjoyable to watch as well! Outlander is your first TV role, but not your first role. You star in a short film called ‘Tooth’ that will be releasing, hopefully soon. You worked on that film while still in school. How do you feel you have grown as an actor from then until now? So much! Especially in that 3rd year at drama school, you mature and grow rapidly as an actor and a person as you are introduced to the industry. Outlander has been a great catalyst in helping me develop further as an actor. It has allowed me the opportunity to hone my screen acting skills, taught me the process (and my place in that process) of being a part of a television show and also bestowed on me stamina and durability to survive those long shoots (napping is key). It has introduced me to a world I had only known of on my screen, and to see how it works I now have a deeper and more insightful understanding of my industry.

All you have to do is look at this Instagram post. First, this smile – I mean…and then his words. The gratitude he expresses for those he works with and the credit he bestows upon them for assisting him with his brilliant performances is a credit to his character.

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With the season wrapped up, I just wanted to give a wee shoutout to some amazing people who were instrumental in helping bringing the twins to life. We had the incredible Bea Webster who helped develop a language and rapport between the boys through introducing home signs that they may have created themselves in order to communicate with each other. Bea was also on set every time we made the change to Kezzie, helping and advising how his behaviour might be portrayed in certain situations and how we might use the home signs within the scenes. She’s an unbelievably talented individual who’s recently been working on productions with the RSC where you’ll be able to catch her hopefully once everything has returned to normality. In scenes where both twins were featured we had two actors at different points in the year who would act alongside me as the twins and that was Dylan Blore and Daniel McGuire. Two talented, committed and giving actors who were unbelievably supportive during the shoot, always up for a laugh and a pleasure to work with. And also the amazing Carol Ann Crawford who is our voice & dialect coach on the show. Carol Ann was key in shaping the boys voices and was there at the initial stages of developing the twins. With Carol Ann’s help (along with support groups, Bea and a variety of personal accounts), we compiled enough research together to try and make the twins seem as authentic as possible. It was an absolute dream to work with them all, along with the spectacular crew and special effects team who also helped bring the boys to life. I’m forever grateful, thankful and lucky to have worked with them all. So go check them and their wonderful projects out! x

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I don’t think it is possible to be “OUTlandered” but I have asked LOTS of Outlander stuff and of course there is so much more to you. I know the fans will love getting to know you more as I have, let’s talk about some other things that interest you…

Some actors describe themselves as introverts, finding acting helps bring out certain parts of their personality they want to tune into more. Would you fall into the introvert or extrovert corner?I’d probably describe myself as a bit of both or neither haha. I love to be around others but also equally enjoy spending time on my own.How do you think your personality influences your work? I think personality has a direct effect on your job, whatever your profession may be. In acting it can come across in the parts that you play but more than anything else it can show in the way you work. I strive to be a supportive and empathetic person and I hope that is apparent in my approach to acting through ensemble work and being there for others. It sounds so simple and basic to say, but being approachable, attentive and respectful are so key in this industry and encourages others to want to work with you, like any job! If I am these things I do not know, but I always strive to be.

With you starting your career with this mindset, I have this not so crazy feeling your career will be fulfilling. Who would you say has inspired you the most in your life? I have been incredibly lucky throughout my life to have had many people to look up to and continuously motivate me; my Mum, Dad and sister especially have been a constant inspiring force that have shaped me into the person I am today. The way they approach their work, the way they conduct their relationships with other people and how they always put others before themselves is a continuous motivator for how I lead my life, I’m incredibly grateful to have them.

I am sure they are proud of you. It is a blessing when you have a foundation of love and support. You have many of years ahead of you, what kind of projects would you like to work on in the future? Oh anything and everything! I’m at the stage in my career where I’d love to do a variety of different projects of an array of subject matters; hopefully those that are bold, thought-provoking and inspire change, but I’m grateful to just be working and doing what I love. I have a massive yearning to go back to theatre, especially as I haven’t been involved in a project on stage since late 2018, so to be part of a theatre production again would be incredible.

There are so many talented people in the industry, do you have any that are on a ‘dream’ list to work with? Honestly the list is so long, I have so many artists I admire. If I had to choose a director, it would be Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Yesterday, to name a few). He’s an exceptionally unique filmmaker who makes such visceral, layered and entertaining pieces and the narratives within his films always have such a great collection of characters, also the soundtracks as well for each of his movies are always stunning.

With your background in theatre and your love of all things creative, that would be a great fit. I would love to see you in something Danny Boyle creates. Since I’ve shared the informations that you can sing, if you could do a biopic of a musician – who would you choose? Ahhh that is very kind of you to say but I assure you I’m no singer! However, if I were lucky enough to be in a biopic about a musician, I would love to be involved in a film about Frank Sinatra. He’s had such a prolific career but also steeped in controversy in terms of his political ties and his alleged dealings with organised crime, it would make for a great character study.

I was thinking something in the punk world and he goes and throws Frank Sinatra out for the win.

Like many Scottish actors, Paul has a versatile CV, 13 theatre productions under his belt, radio, film and of course, now television, he is becoming the total package.

If you follow Paul on twitter or Instagram, you will see quickly that he is passionate about social justice and also has a very creative eye.

It is easy to see you are drawn to things that move you. What would say your favourite creative outlet is? (Movies, theatre, music, TV) Oh, if I’m honest I don’t think I could pick a favourite! They all seem to affect me in different ways and can suit any mood or feeling I’m having. I can find myself listening to a song or album on repeat, diving into the world of a tv series or film or be in awe of some theatre magic I see on stage. I’m gonna be so boring and say all of them cause I can’t pick one.

That isn’t boring at all, I like when people are honest and don’t make up something. To be honest, I am the same way. I can’t pick favourites for the life of me, I have no idea why I put people on the spot like that. Note taken 😂 The world has changed a lot since filming stopped on Outlander, what have you been doing to keep it together? Any ideas to help me out…It has been a difficult time for everyone, and I’m not sure if I would have any new advice, but I would suggest focus on doing things that make you happy, and especially those things you always put off! I’ve been reading books I’ve always meant to read, learning songs on guitar I’ve always wanted to learn, simple and easy things that are manageable and doable but I’ve always put off as I’ve pushed other tasks to the forefront. I also recommend downloading the app “Duolingo”, it’s free and makes learning a language super-easy, I’m currently making my way up the Norwegian course and about to begin my Gaelic one (a must for any Outlander fan). Simple, easy and manageable goals to get you through the day and also encourages you to learn and try something new!

I know that some reading are going to be thinking “Paul is too good to be true!” So let’s give them a kick rocks moment *smile*. Give me three things you miss most from our pre-covid life.

  1. The cinema. I would try and go as much as I can to see everything and anything. Though saying that, they have started opening up again and I managed to catch our Colonel Fraser be the bad-guy in ‘Bloodshot’, he was terrifyingly good (as always).
  2. Greggs. It’s like a bakery chain in the UK, but has a special place in Scotland’s heart. They do everything from sausage rolls to baguettes to pancakes, literally everything. But again they’re starting to open up, so I’m able to pick-up my empire biscuits nae problem.
  3. The pub. I’m not even a massive drinker, but the experience and ease of meeting up with a few mates in town and going to the pub and having a laugh was missed a lot during these last few months. Will never take it for granted again.

That is exactly it, isn’t it? Not taking things for granted, you are right. I am sure you could give me a list a mile long, I know I have one, but how about you give me three. Three things you have come to be more grateful for during this difficult time?

  1. Family and Friends. They’ve kept me sane and smiling throughout this entire time, I’m extremely lucky to have them in my life.
  2. My cats. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll mention how his cats basically make up his whole personality. Cats in general are just the funniest, most entertaining and beautiful creatures on the planet. Sorry dog lovers.
  3. The NHS. I’ve fortunately been lucky not to need their services recently, but the work they have been doing this year, the years before and the years to come is exemplary and beyond inspiring. We are incredibly lucky to have them.

The cats answer may gain you a whole new following within this fandom and there may be many questions about them in the future. Consider yourself warned. *laugh*.

I know theatre has a special place in your heart and it has been hit particularly hard…The pandemic has brought a wide range of difficulties to the way we all live our lives, and industries around the world have been devastated by it. The entertainment industry has been severely affected by it, as it mainly survives on revenue generated by ticket sales for its performances and the way in which the virus spreads, is of course, halting theatres re-opening.

What can we do to support the theatre industry right now? While theatres remain shut, a way in which you can help them out is if you have a penny to spare, donate to the variety of funds that have been set up by theatres and local charity organisations supporting local arts funding. It is key to support the regional/local theatres across the country, as they have been the hardest hit throughout this pandemic. Understandably, if money is an issue, continue to engage with theatres online on social media and various campaigns they are running and advocating for. Knowing they have your support and your voice can go a long way in shifting governments attention to helping them out!

And one final thing, once theatres do begin opening up and you’re not shielding or suffering from any health issues, I implore you to get out there and see some theatre! Treat yourself to a musical you always fancied seeing, or a Shakespeare or a new up and coming playwright or theatre company! You’ll be giving yourself a well-deserved night-out and also committing to keeping this wonderful industry afloat and inspiring the artists of tomorrow.

Theatre companies are struggling all over the world and the arts are so important to our young people, all you have suggested is worth our attention.

I know I have been spending some time binging shows, Outlander just got the season 1-5 treatment, again. I don’t have a problem. What is the last show you binged? I’m currently watching and binging the show “I May Destroy You” on BBC iPlayer. It is incredible, bold, informative, unsettling yet still manages to be hilarious and superbly acted by all involved! I think it might be on HBO across the pond? Whatever you can get it on, get it watched!

Consider it watched! Now that we are going down the endorsement road, let’s play “Paultimate Recommendations”:

MOVIES1) The Departed   2) Birdman    3) Inside Llewyn Davis

BOOKS: 1) The Shining (Stephen King)    2) The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov) 3) 1984 (George Orwell)

TV SHOWS: 1) Scrubs (Honestly, whatever mood you’re in, it just works)    2) Breaking Bad 3) Fargo

ALBUMS: So these are my favourite albums, opinions may vary 1. American Idiot (Green Day) 2) Puzzle (Biffy Clyro)  3) Take This To Your Grave (Fall Out Boy)

Puzzle is the only one I hadn’t heard of. I popped it on and it has a great mix of heady lyrics and grittiness. I’m not too old for that. I do find much of who we are is developed in our teens, I often think of the advice I would give my teenself if I could. If you could go back and give ‘teen Paul’ advice or words of encouragement, what would you say? Don’t hold back, try everything and anything. Even ABBA.

I’m just going to put that in my pocket and use it now, cuz I might be running out of time.

It is obvious you are intune with the inner workings of ‘Paul’, so I am going to ask you to give yourself a tagline, a warning label and a theme song.   

TAGLINE: With great enthusiasm comes a great number of exclamation points.
WARNING LABEL For best results, add Fanta.

Paul’s Theme Song is Feeder, imagine it playing whenever you see him.

Your kind heart and authenticity shine through in your words and in your performance as Josiah and Kezzie – I want you to know, even if my opinion might not matter in the big scheme of things – I believe you have found your calling – not only for you but those that are blessed enough to find themselves in your circle. Thank you for being exactly who you are. Thank you so so much and once again thank you for allowing me to be a part of this project, it was an absolute pleasure answering your thoughtful questions. It is such a lovely service you are doing for the fans and you and your work are greatly appreciated!!!

It is kind of fantastic when you can say “What you see…it what you get”. This has been my experience with each member of the cast Ive had the pleasure to interview or meet. It’s my opinion the casting department has a great deal to do with that. Like attracts like and all that smart stuff.

It was such a nice escape from my Droughtlander to get to know Paul and I hope you can say the time you spent with us today, did the same for you. From this video – I can say underneath the wig and gnarly looking collar, that’s Paul. Gracious, courteous, humble and kind.

From his answers in his interview here, to my follow up conversations and this W Network video – THIS is Paul

I know you have a successful career ahead of you, as for Outlander fans, once you are loved by us, you are on the radar and will be supported by us, always. Thank you so much once again Sherry it was an absolute privilege!

Sherry

Have you missed Previous editions of – The LOVELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  CastEdition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist  Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour CastEdition 5 Nell Hudson/Laoghaire Cast Edition 6 A Quickie w Kikki Fleming/ Lesley Edition 7 Koko/Outlandish Vancouver

ABOotlander LOve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley

The Kikki Quickie brought to you by the #TheLOVELANDERProject

That’s right, it’s a quickie. Look you bunch of pervs – not THAT kind!

Wash your dirty minds

This quickie is not my typical interview. Kikki Fleming, Outlander fans know him as a loveable, fierce protector. Lesley from seasons 3/4, that poor SOB that was senselessly killed off, not so courteously by that sunnuva Bonnet.

Kikki has already graciously done an interview with me, so I annoyed him until he agreed to play a silly game of “this or that” with me. To be real, I asked, he said ‘happy to’, that’s the kind of guy he is. Of course, Kikki being Kikki – he’s extra. He didn’t just answer with one word answers…he gave it his all. As he is known to do, it might be why I like him so much.

I tried to make sure my Canadian dialect was curbed to his Scottish and – there was one point where – well, you will see for yourself. Both of us thought “Maybe we should leave this out” but know what, the reason Kikki and I get on is…the things we think we should leave out we usually don’t because, fuck filters, things are funnier without them sometimes.(Including my face!)

Enjoy the THIS or THAT of Kikki (and my odd penny thrown in- a UK penny cuz we don’t have them in Canada anymore).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ks.png
Kikki and I, straightfaced and serious! See…ANYONE can do it.

Dogs or Cats – Gotta go dogs. I love both, and loved the cats I’ve had…but that conditional love, arrogant independence that cats show at times- jeez…Dogs just think you’re great, you’re the best, enjoy hanging out with you having fun…and they show it.You can wrestle them, be more physical. I mean they fart, and stink sometimes after being out, but so do I!! They listen to you…kind of…they always look like they are trying to be your best friend, to understand you….cats look at you like they could care less, all about they are getting out the relationship.

Burgers or Tacos – Burgers….even a bad burger can satisfy. Many of the fillings you put in Tacos you can stick on a burger…Burger is like an old school mate – you know where you are with them, and sometimes they can still surprise you. (I get surprised by burgers – especially when they tell me they are gluten-free and they aren’t- BAD surprise!)

Coffee or Tea –I think tea is my favourite drink perhaps ever. Dunking a biscuit (or cookie for you guys!) in a cup of tea at night is one of life’s luxuries…well mine anyway! I have gotten into coffee more in past few years..and I know the places I like. I think there are so many different coffee shops now, there’s no excuse for bad, burnt, over-hot coffee…competition is intense, and it isn’t rocket science. I don’t make coffee at home really, but I know my tea, and which tea bags…M & S Gold Label are great, as is Yorkshire tea and of course, Scottish Blend! (I can’t handle tea, it’s a childhood disturbance though. I’m special like that. I know better than to get between peeps ‘ their tea though.)

Watching or playing sports – As a kid I played a lot of soccer…every day occurrence. But these days not so much. I think the last full game I played was in Connecticut actually, on a public playing field which had nets – and grass. That would never happen here..folk would be off with the nets in a flash – and the grass….hahaha!

Crazy talk!

TV or Films – I think our lifestyles have dictated that our attention spans lean more towards TV, and the accessibility of channels like Netflix etc, mean we can control when we watch stuff now –  bingeing on series and shows. I think the quality of TV has vastly improved and has come to rival that of the movies. Films and movies still hold that magical fantastical element though, and nothing can quite replace that special occasion going to see something on a huge screen and getting utterly immersed in it.

Wet or Dry -Yeah, I know what I’m doing. Thin ice here…..clearly depends on what we are talking about…knowing you, I’ll say …..humour!! hahahaha – dry, every time..good dry sense of humour. Martini – dry definitely. Weather, we all love the dry don’t we..unless it’s not meant to be and we are fucking up the planet. The Rainforest is so-called for a reason….I have been there and was soaking for 5 wonderful weeks…let’s keep it that way…like my -!!! (The man gets me, I tell ya. He took it in every direction I knew he would. Well played!)

Beaches or Munros –As much as I love my beautiful country, I am under no illusion of it’s inability to provide certainty of weather conditions, and being up a Munro as snow, hail, and fog hit, at the height of summer, hold no dewy eyed lure for me. Looking out to the horizon, to the prospect of opportunity and discovery, and then the other way to the cocktail bar, then up to the sun, however ………

Busy city or quiet country – Ye see, it depends – on a lot of factors ..which city, which country, what state am I in, what do I need? I think the company can make even a place like Coventry for instance seem blissful! I lived in London for 10 years, and a wonderful time, at times too much, but it can wear you down. When I moved back to Scotland, I really appreciated having more personal space, and wondered how I had lasted so long down south. Some of my best times have come in bustling cities – New York, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Chicago, Cape Town – but then the beauty and tranquility of the Tuscan countryside, wonder of the Borneo jungle, the escape to a remote cottage on West coast of Scotland – marvellous self-chosen isolation. I think sometimes we are scared of missing out – so I’ll go for the relaxation of the quiet! (I too, had my city years. I sit in my city house and watch the UK show Escape to the Country – so that’s MY take)

Toilet roll: over or under hahaha…believe or not, but when filming in Cape Town, James Kirk and I had this discussion..as in, how do you wipe your arse..do you stand or remain seated!!? Time on our hands , eh! Not poop however! I’m an over with my reach…though, another actor, Kevin Lennon, wonderful man, he tried to put me on to the under method in rehearsal – what is it with actors?!- told me it would change my life. I tried, but, it’s muscle memory and instinctively my method kicks in. I know I’ve not been doing it wrong, but didn’t realise it was one of those personal conversations that would come up now and then!
ps – I just realised what you actually meant, but I like my answer, so I’m keeping it as is!
I sat for a second and then proceeded to laugh until I had tears falling down my face. It’s a good thing he is on a different continent cuz I would have went to his door to razz the shit outta him about that one. TOTAL pun intended.

Slapstick or Dark Humour – Dark Humour…comedy is one of the last things standing from the sanctimonious, sanitising do-gooder mob that is threatening every art form. Good dark humour can actually enlighten us to the fucked up-ness that is currently around us. People get too confused and angry about content/context/target in comedy these days…folk will actually watch an act they know will be offensive, so they can then go and complain they were offended!! How fucked up is that? You get up there and make us laugh then, you lonely no mates arsehole…..a joke is sometimes just a joke, not necessarily a point of view..the comedian may have twisted the truth, or their own personal viewpoint to make the joke work…..and the best comedians are true artists..stop sniffling their work..just don’t watch them! People are dicks...Slapstick…the greats are good..really good….Airplane! is one of my favourite movies of all time…but there is so much horror around in the world these days, it’s hard to ignore. Plus, we have a couple of complete slapstick fucking muppets running supposedly great countries on either side of the Atlantic – who could improve on that!? (Hearing you on ALL levels. Comedians are meant stand on that line in society and bring levity when there is very little – plus – comedians, like anyone else will not please everyone, everytime. We also have to be careful of judging ones from 20 yrs ago on today’s social evolutions, IMO. If they STILL did that material – yeah – not cool. But when we know better, we do better. When it comes to comedy – if you don’t like someone’s humour – DON’T pay attention to them, don’t give them your money or a neat trick, you do not have to like everything someone has to say to appreciate some of the things they do. WHOOOAAAA. How’s that for a concept?! As for the slapstick muppets…dude…you are not wrong! Ocean bookends)

Summer or Winter One of my pleasures, addictions, is buying parkas, coats, jackets….and I love having the cold weather so I can justify having bought them. But there is a nothing pleasant about the imposition of a rotten winter . My favourite time of the day is summer when the sun just starts to set. It’s still light, still warm, but not oppressive. That’s when the cool bats come out to swoop swoop and rock rock! (I was with ya until you said bats were cool…)

Truth or Dare – The truth seems to be such an obscure and rare thing these days, esp from those figures we look towards for leadership and guidance, so a good dose of it is welcome. A dare however…we all need to do something each day that scares us…so Dare..although that will include truth for many. (I’m gonna hold you to that one, heading to Scotland in 2 yrs…)

Heels or flats – Yet again, depends who’s wearing them. I wear a lot of trainers, so I’ll go flats. If my you mean my preference on women, then I don’t mind as I’m normally looking into my partners eyes anyway! (NICELY DONE!)

Straight or mixed – Hahaha…another time bomb question, depending on how I answer….Offended by my choice of orientation at an orgy!! Come one come all…!!Drinks-wise….hmmm…I love a cocktail, you might have noticed esp Whisky Sour, but I’m not really into spirit and coke or lemonade etc….Gin and tonic however….mixed is good though…mix it up, come ooooon!! (Sorry, he didn’t take the bait for the orgy question 🙄😋)

Passenger or driver – depends who is driving, clearly!! I do like driving, but not when I don’t know where I am. Happy to be driven…as long as I’m not pompous about it!

Thriller or Comedy – Great thrillers tend to stick with you for longer…they delve deeper into the soul and psyche…Though Airplane! and Naked Gun are the exception to that rule! (Don’t call me Shirley!)

Work or Play hard – I love my job, when I can do it, and there is a clue in doing something called a ‘play’…we are playing at being other people…..It can be hard work, but as long as that is for the right reason then they both go hand in hand. All work and no play makes Kikki a dull boy.

Intelligence or humour – Sense of humour every time. Some of my heroes, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey..great learned informed minds…world-leaders in their fields of expertise…passionate, dedicated to the cause. They have sacrificed so much for what they believe in…and I hold them in such high esteem for those very reasons.But ye cannae learn a sense of humour…..nothing more disappointing than having to explain a joke, whether it be yours or someone else’s….we all know someone like that – how can someone so bright, appear so thick. (The way I explain a joke…”Nevermind”.)

Save or Spend – Spend – I wish I was better, but hey I still haven’t found the ultimate parka, and I can’t take it with me anyway. (Well, see, how lucky are you that you have a friend like me?)

https://www.ssense.com/en-ca/men/designers/canada-goose – Made of the ANGRIEST feathers known to man.

Day or Night – I like the promise and opportunity of a new day, but due to hours of my profession, a lot of the magic happens at night, so Night it is! (I guess it’s a good thing we all know he is an ACTOR because if we didn’t…)

Piercing or Tattoos – I have none…..never considered a piercing ever, though tattoo yes several…just what to get…John Lennon, Billy Connolly, or the date of the greatest football game in my lifetime, Hibs pumping Sevco in 2016 Scottish cup Final have been the main candidates….Then it’s where will it go blah blah …and never happened. I like the idea of a tattoo, but I’ve seen a lot of shit ones..plus if it’s on yer arm you’ve got to keep then biceps pumped up, or when the skin gets a bit loose Billy or John end up resembling Mother Theresa. (The visual alone. I think you should go for the classic face tat…those seem popular.)

Weird or Crazy – yet again depends how they affect your life. Crazy is good, exhilarating , as long as safety comes into play. Weird is intriguing if it’s as a watcher, but if it’s weird for weirds sake, then gettaefu! Not welcome. (I don’t think you are either but I think you are both. I know I am right. Make sense?)

Sweet or Salty – My partner would say sweet for me, as life’s luxury is cup of tea and a biscuit…but I rarely order a pudding when out for a meal. Starter and main course, just in case anyone was looking at their budget plan for taking me out, so I’d say salty. (You? Salty? Yeah…I see it.😏)


Being too warm or too cold – Too cold…then I could put on one of my jackets….Bingo!!!! (Same! Well, I might have to borrow one of your parkas. I live in a country it gets so cold my face hurts but I only have one winter coat and its not a parka. My trick is…stay the hell at home.)

I am always grateful when Kikki takes time out of his days to chat with me. I have come to more than admire his work or think he is this cool guy from TV. He has shown me genuine compassion and made me laugh til my stomach hurts. The love he has for his partner and his friends shows me, no matter where we go in this world – we will connect with “our people”. They are, indeed, everywhere. I know I already said it to you, Kikki, but thanks again for taking part in The LOVELANDER Project. I might just hit you up for another game…cuz…well…you are you.

Sher xo

The L🖤VELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  Edition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour

ABOotlander L🖤ve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley

A Reason. A Season. A Lifetime. How Ep11 of Outlander took me back.

It’s been approximately 12 hours since I watched Journeycake for the 5th time. I’m still not completely settled. To be honest, I feel like it beat the shit out of me.

*sssh* I know, self-inflicted. *blah blah blah*

As soon as I felt a little safe with a bit of happiness, laughter or joy BOOM – kick in the face with sadness, despair or pure fear.  It may be partially due to my being in a vulnerable state but jeemziz, it was a doodiddlydoozey!

giphy

Do what ya can to get you through it!

I am diving in because if I don’t I will let my mind start wandering and it may never come back.  All the dynamics of relationships were on display in this episode. Good, bad and deep dark-n-ugly.  The beauty of it all, we can identify with each one and that is why they resonate with us.  I want to throw a mental note at everyone, these blogs (even though I’m a book reader), are written in direct relation to the show and what happens on it.

I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Some will fill one of those spaces and that’s kinda the way it’s meant to be. Not everyone we develop relationships with is meant to be in our life forever. Realistically, some who pass through may not have been put there for us, we may have been there for them. A by-product, for lack of a better word, of something they needed, to teach them a lesson of some kind. Meaning the reason may never be known to us.

This thread was so predominant with our characters in this episode.  The opening scene was jarring yet speaks loudly about how people come into our life for a reason. The dying girl, her connection to Roger, lasts mere moments though it will stay with him forever. We will never know who they were but she needed Roger. As she lay there suffering it was his gentle and merciful hands passing by to set her free from the pain. For that reason alone, they were meant to cross paths.

That meeting may have also been a catalyst to Roger’s desire to return to his own time sooner than later. This isn’t something a 20th-century history professor would ever have to worry about stumbling across, is it?

‘Dr. Rawlings’ made his way to Wilmington and everywhere in between, as unintentional as it was, it seems the reason stretched far beyond Claire’s objective. Women were getting medical advice that was unprecedented.  Previous episodes foreshadowed it, where this episode solidified Claire’s life has been put in danger due to her connection with Dr. Rawlings.

Those three minutes on screen with Claire, Rose and Marsali were enough to give the audience a full view of what affects Dr. Rawlings has had. Rose Brown, whose reproductive choices were never her own now had some say, due to the knowledge inadvertently printed in that newspaper.  No doubt saving a child being born to the hands of an abusive father.

We are aware that women have been controlled in many ways over the centuries, reproductively we were on the bottom, which is insane since we are the ONLY ones that have that particular superpower. We can easily assume that Rose was not the only one taking this advice. Whether it was because they were in an abusive relationship, had enough damn kids already or *gasp* simply did not want to have a child. We will need to hold the outcome of Dr. Rawlings as a separate entity from the purpose it may have had for the women who benefited from it.

We have those ‘seasonal’ relationships. You know the ones. They come into our lives and we feel like they are going to last forever, they change who we are at our core and then the relationship ends or changes to something less than it was.

With the MacKenzie’s leaving the ridge, we experienced these heartwrenching but beautiful goodbyes. In the land of the interwebs, we are luckier but we still go through them. A friendship, like Lizzie and Brianna, we feel will last forever. BFFs, we say. Forever is a long time though. We attach ourselves to people in times we have a need, they have a need. When those needs change or we change, often so will the relationship. Sure, sometimes our relationships can grow and change along with us however there are times they disappear with the seasons. We often see this as a bad thing instead of accepting it as a part of moving through life. This doesn’t make them less than, they likely taught us something wonderful about ourselves, pushed us through some harrowing times and created a soft place for us to land.

We often make the mistake of thinking those seasonal relationships of growing apart or ending as bad things. If we accepted it for what it was, we would be grateful for the experiences we shared, thank one another, hope we will cross paths again one day and move forward. Instead, we often end up burning a bridge or two because we aren’t sure how to end a relationship in a healthy way. It seems this is something Ian is struggling with. His desperate need to go back to change things with the woman he speaks of.

Otter-tooth attempted to go back in time to change the fate of his people. What was supposed to be a lifetime relationship became one of the seasons. The connection Otter-tooth ended up having with Claire, saved Roger from the Mowhawk but also become the catalyst of Ian finding a home with them. It was planned Ian would stay with them indefinitely except things happen that we can’t predict. These are the moments when our wishes get blown out like a candle.

Those instances can kick us in the back of the knees, can’t they? We think we have it all figured out. Know exactly what is happening with our life and suddenly something that we have no control over changes the trajectory, instantly. Without warning lifetime people fade into seasonals and the adjustment physically hurts. The ridge was alive with this while the MacKenzie’s said their goodbyes and why there were so many emotional reactions by viewers.

Our characters drove home a crucial point, our lifetime people don’t always have to be in our daily lives. Ulysses comes to mind. He has been a free man since Hector Cameron died yet he stayed as a loyal friend (viewed by all others, as a slave) to Jocasta. Never leaving her side until he was finally forced to. The bond that Ulysses and Jocasta had is not the kind that is lost with time or distance. It will be carried across the sea as it is an attachment that was sealed with trust (and you know, weasel killing).

Jamie may have spoken the words clearest during the scene with Bree. “Though I might not see any of you again, You have made my life whole.” Not all relationships within families are this deep.  With Bree,  Jemmy and yes, Roger, Jamie had been given the full family that he always desired.  Whether he held them in his arms or in his heart, he had them and that mattered the most.

The reason why Jamie’s stalwart nature resonated with me is I had to stop and ask myself why isn’t he breaking? I could feel Claire. She was feeling the grief of her daughter, grandson and son-in-law, being gone from her. Jamie, being bold and yes, moved, missing them but then I saw it. He still held them in the very same spot they were as if he could touch them. Where Claire, like so many of us, have done, when our children leave home, move out of the province or country, saw them as untouchable – he saw them as within.  Not only did it help him with the transition, but it also enabled him to support Claire better through her grief.

We also have those relationships. The ones that never end. Whether the person is gone from this earth or has moved far away. I have friends that I haven’t seen for years, might speak with a couple times a year yet I know, without a doubt, they are my people. The minute we end up in the same room, no time has passed and we are the same two idiots we always were.

Reflecting on the episode Journeycake makes me grateful for the ‘Outlander season’ part of my life.  It has been a hell of a ride thus far. I have no idea how many years we have left on this rollercoaster of a fandom. We can’t even guess who will come into our lives or who will leave over that course of time. I do know that I have met some remarkable people as a result of me sticking my nose in all yer bizznizz and I have a feeling there will be more than a few of you stuck with me for a lifetime.

Don’t worry though, the ones that want to make this seasonal, I am sure you can mute me easy enough. As for the reason I ended up on the other side of your computer screen…that’s all your fault.

Next week lasses and laddies, are ya ready?  I can say loudly – I AM NOT!

Sher xox

Don’t forget to join us for the season finale LIVETWEET event while Canadians tune in on W Network at 7 Pm MT using the hashtags #OutlanderCAN #NeverMyLove

How to Predict the Future. What I picked up from #TheBalladOfRogerMac

I will say that I have started and stopped this particular ‘not a recap’ half a dozen times already.  I even wrote nearly a whole blog with another topic and trashed it. It’s not only because I was struggling with what to focus the blog on but because my thoughts were so all over the place, I had a difficult time wrangling them. I finally gave up and said, “What the hell, I’m just going to start…and keep going until I am done!” So, here we go.  Fingers crossed this shit makes sense at the end.

I don’t have to go into how emotionally draining this episode was because so many others have, I am pretty sure there is online debriefing amongst fans due to the mass breakdown. Which went in a couple directions. I usually pull on a thread that catches my attention in the episode and unravel the why.  This blog is a bit different than that.

The Ballad of Roger Mac came with loads to unpack, at first, I did struggle. I wanted to talk about control and how we truly have none except that over our own self.  I wrote about the breakdown of one’s spirit.  Nearly 1000 words in and I deleted the whole fucking thing because I was depressing myself. I did NOT need to feed to you – especially now. I closed my laptop and watched the episode, again.

Here I sit with thoughts of preparedness for the future. How that is more a concept than anything. We can prepare physically for what may happen but we are never truly prepared for how things make us feel. The wild, crazy ride of life that becomes intensely personal and all ours.

One way we can predict/prepare for our future is to assess our past.  We don’t have to be psychic or psychotic to think we can see what is in our future.  Our past behaviours in similar circumstances can lead us toward that vision.  Often, the lessons we may have learned from situations can be helpful to determine what actions would be logical (or not) next time around.

Roger is attempting to unload a wagonful of burden before leaving Jemmy and Brianna.  Thoughts of his father dying in WW2 enable him to picture himself in both his father’s shoes and Jemmy’s wee booties.  He is more concerned about Jemmy not remembering him than he is about dying.

Brianna knows Roger more than anyone.  She recognizes Roger’s pattern of behaviour. He puts his own safety in jeopardy to help others. “Act first, think later’ Roger. He has this horrible luck of not having a chance to think later because he’s been forced onto a ship, beaten silly, or tossed back into the idiot hut. You know, those things.giphy-3                                          We know, Rog, we know…

The worry Brianna feels as Roger heads out is not just because of the impending war but because she knows him to his core.  He is a pacifist, she knows he will protect those he perceives as vulnerable, putting his life on the line without a thought. Bree knows Roger’s future will be filled with the compulsion to intercede on behalf of those suffering. Which as we have seen, given the closing scene of The Ballad of Roger Mac, may cost him everything.

Caretakers, we see you.  Perhaps you aren’t as ‘idiot hutty’ as Roger manages but getting lost in moments where safety, whether physical, emotional or both are put aside in order to safeguard others, is commendable.

We are seeing this right now, all over the globe. Without proper PPE, tired and frustrated health care workers are going into work, missing their own families, to save the lives of others.  I promise you, the caretakers doing this, their families will tell you, it is no surprise. These caretakers have been reacting to situations their whole lives with little regard to themselves.  Their past predicted their reaction to this crisis, not the crisis itself.

Jamie has been on the wrong side of the law for as long as we’ve known him. In The Ballad of Roger Mac, we saw him move from the flimsy side of the crown to full-on rebel.  Given his history, this wasn’t hard to anticipate. In the past, he turned his body over to save his wife.  He plotted with his sister to give him over to the crown for the good of those at Lallybroch.  As an indentured servant, he extended his life as a stable hand to be around his illegitimate son. He lived under a pseudonym, as a respectable printer to distribute seditious material and smuggle contraband. Jamie created a life of playing the game in order to achieve what he needed or wanted.

Murtagh was a man who was always prepared to die for what he believed in. Yes, he hated the red coats and undoubtedly believed in the regulator’s cause. Above all, he loved Jamie.

It wasn’t the oath that made Murtagh save Jamie’s life or that made Jamie want to save Murtagh’s.  It was love.  Jamie had lost his father – he had killed his Uncle – Murtagh was the last man standing that could show him. Show him what, you might ask. The ‘what’ are those now unknowns that we can never predict. It is needing their guidance of having lived ‘the whats’ and their ability to share them with us.

Even at 50, such a loss isn’t easy.  It is like our foundation is shaken out from under us.  We believed we knew what the world was going to look like and then someone strikes it with a hammer to shatter it into dust.  How do we fix that?  Is it possible to reimagine it? Will looking back help us see the future here?

It is deep breath time. Acceptance that living through it is to know it.  This is the experience to learn from. This is the hurt from which we heal.  Healing does not mean getting over or moving on or any of the thousand clichés we use.  Healing means being present in our grief, giving it room to breathe while discovering our new normal.  Creating a space for a new relationship with those we have lost.

That is how we can predict our future after a loss. It’s never easy. It’s messy and it hurts. People on TV will go through it in hyper speed but us? We need to do it our way.  How we look at our loved ones in life can be what helps define that new every day we establish.

Claire, over and above, is reaching back into the past to straight-up create her future, hers is full of penicillin.  Technically she’s reaching into the future (but it’s her past – it can get crazy confusing – especially for me who is easily confused 😋).  Bringing her knowledge from becoming a surgeon further contributes to her life-saving abilities each day she spends in the 1700’s. There are lives she preserves simply by teaching folks basic hygiene.

How many of our ancestors do you think would still be alive if they didn’t have poop fingers? That’s a legit question, friends.

When Claire sees Jamie off to fight, their departure has a much different feel than Bree and Roger’s.  She is his wife, of course, she has concern for his wellbeing. Claire is also exceedingly pragmatic. She puts complete trust in his word to her.  In order to concentrate on what she needs to do, she puts her worry into his hands.

This tactic is one that many of us could learn from.  Especially chronic worriers. I know they are out there.

I am validating the incredibly difficult times we are in right now.  I am going to urge those struggling to go the way of Claire.  For those overwhelmed by worry about those they love.  Ask questions.  Do you trust their intelligence?  Are they capable human beings? If you answer yes to those. Trust them.

Tell them you are concerned and ask them to share their experiences with you.  We tend to get so carried away with random thoughts we disconnect from the reality.  Claire understands that Jamie has said, today isn’t the day we part for good. She trusts him and his words.  Claire focuses on the things she can control, which are medicine and healing. She can not control each outcome but she does her level best with what she has.  That is all any of us can do.

Imagine we could predict our futures to the letter. Having the information of when we would lose someone or we could foresee falling in love…we could never be truly prepared.  We might picture the physicalities of the situation however the feelings we experience will always be new. Emotion is the element that can not be nailed down.

Claire used her knowledge of how wounds are created, faced off with that skeezy Lyle Asshat Brown. She accused him of shooting Isaiah Morton in the back.  His manbaby ego is battered so badly he smashed her one and only syringe, like a toddler.  Keenly aware of the consequences of his actions, Claire is horrified into silence.

Jamie knew he would be battling against Murtagh in this fight.  He always knew there was a chance his Godfather could be killed, yet, when the moment came that he was. Grief took over.

Brianna wrestled with her fear that something terrible happened to Roger when he did not return to camp before the battle. She knew he was missing.  Her worry was colouring everything in front of her. When faced with her husband hanging from a tree. Shock overcame her.

Emotion. Emotion. Emotion.  It will often be the curve in the path to foreseeing what is ahead.  I believe the key is to feel whatever it is you are feeling.  Anger, fear, sadness or shock. Allow it to take its course, validate why it is there and know it’s all right. The less we suppress or deny our emotions, the sooner we move towards the future we envision.

I am sending you all love and hugs- virtual hugs because those I can give you, up close and personal.

Sher xo

ps. I try to livetweet every Sunday with W Network’s airing of Outlander at 7 PM Mt. using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

 

The Weight of Guilt. My ‘not a recap’ look into Ep05 of #Outlander. Perpetual Adoration.

Outlander continues the story with another fast-paced and visually interesting episode and the whole thing is POPPIN’ for me.  The combination of Perpetual Adoration’s softness and grit was something I found all together satisfying.

This episode was alive with undertones I could have chosen for this blog.  Normally I gravitate to what sits beneath the surface and give it a tug. This time guilt pulled at me from every corner.

Every human (who is not 100% psychopath) is familiar with that feeling. No matter how righteous, how good or well-intentioned we may be, we’ve all felt guilty about something.  Guilt is shown in different ways, as we saw in our characters and we know by looking at ourselves, honestly.

The story of one man’s death encapsulated the episode for Claire. There was a heaviness she carried when Graham Menzie’s died, which spurned her actions to head to the UK and interestingly enough, into the past.

She, of course, couldn’t have predicted his death as all precautions had been taken.  We can’t count on logic to keep guilty feelings at bay, the gut/brain connection just doesn’t work that way.

Plenty of us sit with those feelings. What could we have done? If we had only…the should’ves, could’ves and would’ves that we think may have changed the trajectory of what might have happened.  We hold them over our heads with guilt because we didn’t take the actions that we have had all the time in the world to contemplate after the fact.

It’s really unfair, this game we play. No one ever wins. We can replay as many scenarios as we want, that particular moment has passed. We humans need to learn how to forgive ourselves as fast as we have taught ourselves to take on unnecessary guilt.

When Claire was speaking to Joe, it was apparent. She blames herself for getting attached to her patient and like a good friend, he smacks her with a reality check.  Our lives would be much less complicated if we cut ourselves a break, especially with those things that we can’t control. Particularly after the fact.

Pain is to the body as stress is to the mind, and guilt is to the spirit.

One of the characters I have come to truly love is Brianna. In her, I see the combination of the above quote so clearly, especially in this episode.

She literally feels her guilt, whether it is something we believe she should be feeling, she does. When something is said to her that strikes her deep, she folds in on herself. It’s as if something knocks her in the belly. Next time you watch, you will see Bree react physically to the words that connect to those feelings if you hadn’t picked up on it before. (Kudos again to Sophie Skelton for making those subtle yet strong notes for the character)

Ofttimes when we feel guilt it isn’t because we have done something against someone intentionally.  We end up in a space where we see our choices, as innocent as they may have been, caused pain to someone when we didn’t intend them to.

Bree’s guilt comes from not telling Roger the truth about the visit with Bonnet and all that came with it because it was a lot. Did she have good reason to not tell him?  Yes. Did the guilt gnaw at her? I think that was apparent.  Unburdening ourselves of the things we feel guilty about doesn’t always make us feel better though.  That, my friends, is life. Guilt causes internal pain because it’s messy and complicated. As with all other hurts, it takes time to heal.

Bree’s regret was evident. Telling Bonnet he was Jemmy’s father was something she now wished she could take back. She thought he was going to die and take her words with him.  Since he didn’t, she now must live with him knowing this information she doesn’t want to be true. More often than not, with regret comes guilt. It’s painful seeing her go through this as Brianna deserves to be free. SunnuvaBonnet has done nothing to deserve all the space he takes up in her world. 

How much guilt should we feel when we do something we know is wrong?  Is there a scale? Should others tell us the appropriate amount of guilt we should exhibit by the level of our misdeed?  Also, should we project that guilt for everyone to see?  If your neighbour knows you did a baaad baaad thing – do you make sure you look really guilty or do you walk around like you haven’t done a damn thing? 

We are now talking about Jamie.  He obviously did a pretty bad thing by killing Knox. Did he have a good reason? He thinks so (I agree). He was going to be handed over as a traitor to the Crown, likely hanged and his family/those on the ridge removed to frig knows where. It was kill or have everyone you love scattered three sheets to the wind AND be killed. 

Jamie is no stranger to the murder game. He started his career as a ‘bloody man’ pretty young in life. He killed his own uncle when Dougal caught him being a ‘traitor’.  Traitor might be Jamie’s trigger word. Call him that, he is going to turn off your lights for you.

He has killed his fair share of men in the service of protecting his family and his beliefs.  Does he feel guilt for it?  I don’t think he feels great about it however, I think Jamie compartmentalizes it. Guilt does exist for him but it’s the guilt he uses as penance. He knows what he needs to feel in order to pay for what he has done.  It is a logical pain that he carries with him. Will he show it the same way that Brianna/Claire/Roger does? No, because he married this particular kind of guilt early in his life. If he allowed it to affect him with great waves of emotion it would stop him from doing the things he needs to do. We don’t always need to see someone’s guilt to know they carry it. We only need to know they are a decent human being. 

There are plenty of us out here that have done things, admittedly on a smaller scale than, you know, murder, that we keep close to the vest. We know that our guilt may be the price we pay for the action, the secret or the lie.  That is ultimately our choice and it isn’t always a bad thing. 

People may like to believe the only way to be a good human is to be 100% honest with everyone and share exactly how we feel at all times.

That isn’t the most fitting method for everyone. Once and a while, the best people keep their mouths shut and what they are feeling to themselves. It’s almost a superpower.  

Ultimately, we determine the weight of the guilt we carry. We can also bring in someone to help us lug it around just by talking about it.  It doesn’t have to be someone involved. It can be anyone to help us take a load off for a while.   

That is why Claire had Joe, Brianna had Roger and Jamie had Adso. I mean, that kitten was pretty conveniently placed, wasn’t he?

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Adso, Jamie’s immediate emotional support animal.

And you…me…we have each other. Many of us are spending much more time at home these days so I encourage you to check out other points of view about Outlander. I find other’s views of the show fascinating, especially when put together in a way that is respectful to others and spoken from a place of sharing. These are some of my favourite people who do this in the land of the interwebs, check out their websites/blogs/vlogs/chats.

Outcandour gives a brilliant, deep dive into the episodes. There is always something about the way she dissects the episode that resonates with me. I don’t tap into the same spaces she does, I end up reading them twice. I ALWAYS end up watching the episode after reading her blog, I then read it again after watching. It’s like a loop! So if I seem dizzy, blame it on T. 😘

Beth’s recaps/reflections are very different from my ‘not recaps and I love them because of that. So well written and I adore how she explains her views, helpful for those who see things from other perspectives. To me, that is the point of sharing our thoughts, not to be an echo chamber for people who agree with us but to help one another stretch a little.  Not necessarily to change people’s opinions but to have them see things from another person’s lens. I get to do that a lot with Beth and I admire her.

Erin from Three if by Space covers so many great shows so Three if by Space will keep you busy if you want busy. It’s her reviews of Outlander that I read most of course. I don’t read many reviews bc as you all know, I’m a happy finder. I want happy happy happy, even though Erin doesn’t pull any punches in her reviews, she writes with integrity. I don’t always see eye to eye with her (not just cuz she’s tiny…she IS tiny) but that isn’t the point. She expresses herself with honesty and isn’t a dick about it. I really enjoy smart people. So…I enjoy Erin, very much. 

Blacklanderz ~Vida puts together some wicked conversations, in print, between members of the Blacklanderz community. I find them fascinating. Not only do I see things from more than one perspective but I often learn things. I don’t claim to be anything other than who I am. I am a middle class, privileged, white woman. That is the lens I see through. Do I try my damned best to listen and be an ally to POC? Yes. Do I always get it right? Nope! Sitting with the community that Vida has created here, is pretty damned impressive.

Courtney and Company, from Outlander BTS. Oh, they make me smile.  They are another group of really friggen smart women that get together to talk about the episodes. I don’t always agree with them but holy shit, do I respect them. The beauty of their video discussion is they don’t always agree with each other and like the adults they are they keep the discussion going. I’m not relegating anyone here…Courtney has the most adorable dimples to go with her delightful brain, you just get the best of all the goodness.

I know there are many others, if you have a favourite, please add them to the comments. I think it would be nice to support one another in our Outlander adventures rather than get all wrapped up in things that might not bring us joy. The world is going all kinds of everything out there – we know it, we are doing what we can to stay healthy- maybe this will help us stay sane(ish).

Be well – virtual hugs…6 ft apart eh?

Sher xo

Don’t forget to live tweet with us Canadians while watching W Network at 7pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

 

Are we the villain in someone’s story? A self-examination after ‘Between Two Fires’ S05E02

Between Two Fires, has brought us a very different look than the first of the season. Basically, shit is getting real.  Once the final scene cut to black I said out loud “What? That was an hour?”  You know by now, I don’t do recaps but I do take something I noticed in the episode and dissect it.

Speaking of dissection – yes, I will be talking about Claire and her being elbows deep in Mr. F but I really think we need to start with Murtagh.

There were a lot of people talking about how they hated seeing Murtagh involved in the tar and feathering of political figures in Hillsborough. I was one, then I thought about it. Murtagh is the same man he always was. He decapitated Sandringham, ffs (we cheered), he cracked the skulls of MANY (also, cue us, cheering) and he has killed all manner of men.  We as viewers always saw the other people as the ‘bad guy’.  The villains.  We justified Murtagh’s actions and that was the difference.

This time, we didn’t know these men being tortured. The townspeople and the Regulators did. They know them as the political figureheads that took away their homes and overtaxed them. They are the elitists that live in luxury while they struggle to feed their families.  We sat back horrified that these men were maimed. The reason being, we had empathy for them. Whereas the Regulators, with Murtagh at the lead, were exacting revenge for themselves and those families. To them, completely justifiable.

This can open our eyes to our own worlds. How many times have we gotten into situations where people have thought of us as the ‘bad guy’ when we were only doing what we thought was right and/or the best for our family? We weren’t doing it against anyone but we were doing it for ourselves.  Some have a very hard time separating themselves from other people’s lives and understanding other’s decisions aren’t about them.

Jamie, for instance. The Regulator’s that were imprisoned, he freed them, they still questioned his motives.  They did so because they couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact he let them go because of his own conscience. His need to do something for what in his heart he knew was right.  Ultimately, he doesn’t care what these men think of him. What he thinks of himself is his paramount concern. He is mindful that he is a villain to these men. His willingness to be seen as less than, in their eyes, is what he is ready to do. For Jamie, the end justifies the means. I believe that particular phrase will play very heavily in Jamie’s story this season.

It has been my experience, “There are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle, lays the truth.”  This isn’t because everyone is a liar, it is because people naturally put their lens on and tell their story through it. It is what makes us…us. The story is our truth.

It does give me a chuckle when it is said, “They only told you their side of things”  Well, of course, they did, whose side are they going tell?  There will be instances in everyone’s life where relationships were ended because of horrible circumstances where someone was CLEARLY at fault. The interesting bit, I assure you, is both sides will claim the other to be the bad guy and the clincher will be convincing arguments from both sides. Will one be very skewed?  Unquestionably.

When we think of these instances, we would like to think we would be unbiased when it comes to seeing who is culpable.  Being completely truthful, we often side with the person we care about the most. This will be the one we feel the most empathy for. No matter what the argument is, the story they tell, how convincing the tale told, we will choose to trust the person we want to, not always the person that is right. That is one of those horse-pills to swallow.

A very small moment in ‘Between Two Fires’ gave us a situation in which we can see this clearly.

A man, with his family, taking a break from travelling and stretching their legs. On the road comes a huge group of mostly red-coated soldiers. Not a word is exchanged but the soldier near the head of the pack throws coins at a child’s feet. Insulted by this action, the man spat in the direction of the soldier.

From the man’s perspective. This soldier does not know him or his family’s circumstances,  the assumption he needs or wants the soldier’s coin is insulting. To throw it at his child’s feet takes it a step further to be degrading. This is why the man spits in his direction. It tells the soldier what he thinks of his ‘charity’.

  • Others in this man’s shoes (even Jamie) would feel this insult and understand why this man would be upset by Lt. Knox’s actions. Some may even say they would have done worse than spit at him.  We know the bravado society puts after the fact.

From Lt. Knox’s perspective, a poor helpless family is needing assistance so he tossed them some coin he had on hand. It obviously wasn’t enough for them and the father spat at him. It was ungracious and disrespectful.  His obvious generosity was a caring act to be commended, the man and his family should have thanked him for this good deed.

  • The soldier’s and elitists in Lt. Knox’s company would see the situation exactly as he does. The reason? a) the soldiers because going against what their commanding officer says can pose a problem, so follow and agree. b) seeing themselves doing the same thing Knox has done, would feel exactly the same privilege.

The truth…

Lt. Knox is as thick as a brick so he is offended that this man couldn’t see his generosity. He was literally so high on his horse, he missed the fact this family was asking for nothing. He saw himself as superior to them and he chose to give them money.  Not just ‘give’ it to them but throw it at their feet. This was not an act of kindness but more an act of power.  Expecting thanks and accolades for such a deed is pure arrogance.

There are small instances such as theses in our everyday. Telling someone to smile, not saying excuse me when we bump into somebody, moralizing and proclaiming to others “I don’t see colour”. Sure, using the word “villain” does seem extreme, however, things like those mentioned can really mess up ours, or someone else’s day. The examples were more along the lines of being the type of person that makes others feel better when we aren’t around. Micro-villains, I prefer that.

My mother used to say “If it quacks…it’s a DUCK!” She didn’t waste her didn’t time with “if it walks like a …” stuff.  We know on Outlander, the whole “People show you who they are,” adage can be tricky.

Take Claire, she is working very hard to bring her knowledge of modern medicine into the past. Whipping up concoctions of this weird sounding ‘peniwhosiwhatsit’ that is supposed to cure all sorts of sickness. (I know what it is, I’m pretending to be from the 1700s and hearing the word…work with me)  You can imagine what prying ears might hear. Or, lawd-have-mercy, what they might see. Like the body of a man that apparently was buried, now with his chest cracked open and his giblets laying all over the place.

Claire’s acutely aware that what she is doing would be seen as sacrilegious, macabre and downright inconceivable. Which means, Claire, our heroine, the matriarch of Outlander if standing in the middle of her community being 100% herself would be 100% a villain in the eyes of those around her.  Given the people, the times, their education and knowledge of things that are – their perception would be altogether accurate.

Mrs. Bug thinks the woman is mad, hoarding all this bread to make some magic medicine! Imagine if she saw this poor chopped up man in Claire’s surgery.  What we have to admit, unless you truly love Claire, understand what she does, how legitimately intelligent and medically knowledgable she is, the things she does in the world she lives in would never be perceived as anything BUT evil.

Hard to wrap your mind around it isn’t it? Thinking of Claire as a villain.  While you are giving a go at those mental gymnastics, I want you to think of this – Stephen Bonnet as the hero.

WHAT THE ACTUAL F??? Yeah, me…I said that. I know…I know.  We all know how deplorable the man is and of course, he is a villain. The worst kind. THE villain.

The truth of the matter is, Bonnet doesn’t think so.  Get what I am saying?  Most people who we see as villains have no problem at all seeing themselves as heroes. They have zero qualms with excusing their behaviour as justified and often blame others for forcing their hand.

This describes Bonnet. Seeing him in Between Two Fires sent shivers down my spine. Yup, he has still got IT. That thing that makes your skin want to crawl off of your bones and run away from home. Every nasty thing that SunnuvaBonnet does, he justifies.

Rationalizing behaviour like this gives us permission to a) repeat it b) excuse it.  My point is, frequently those who so many of us see as the villain – will never see it themselves.  That is why they exist in the first place.  Those that have a measure of empathy and compassion – have the capacity to change.

As I sat with my own thoughts on this whole villain concept, I’m conscious of being the villain in other people’s stories. For some, I have made peace with that. It isn’t possible to alter their perceptions of me and for another, I don’t want that responsibility. I would rather be the perceived villain in our story than open the door to the chaos that created the situation.  For others, it makes me sad and embarrassed that I know I could have behaved in a different way. As a consequence, the story may have had a happier ending.

How many times have we justified our actions? Whether they were out of anger, self-preservation or ego?  I don’t know about you but my honest self says more times than I like to admit. Justifying something doesn’t mean we were right to do it, it only means we excused our actions at the time and painted ourselves on the “right” side.

The most interesting things cause us to sit back and look at the world, others and our own actions. This week it was this nugget of how we are seen through other’s eyes.  We can say we don’t care, some don’t. Some, care too much. Maybe if we were all just a little more aware, it would make us a little kinder to one another.

Boy, I hope I find something FUN to talk about in next week’s episode.  I am sure you do too.

Sher XO

PS – Don’t forget to join us as we livetweet to the W Network airing in Canada at 7 pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

Silence can be so loud. What I ‘heard’ during The Fiery Cross. S05E01.

Wow.

That was worth the wait, wasn’t it?  Wedding, weeping and wtf’s. Outlander is back and it means business.

Even though many watched the opening scene over and over again in previews, it took on new meaning once we viewed the final moments of the show. (Yet another reason we fans should reserve judgement until we see all the things in context.)

We can appreciate the deeper meaning when the episode is complete. In the opening we see Murtagh, (beautifully played by Duncan Lacroix) upon his knee, giving his oath, taking the weight of the world from this young boy.jamiemurtagh

 

The episode ending with that boy, now a man, on his own knee, with the weight of the world back upon him.

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Young Jamie said nothing to Murtagh as a child, yet, we knew the gratitude and the love he felt for this man.  When Murtagh and Jamie finally parted, there were no “I love you’s, I will miss you’s, I shall never forget you’s and all you have done for me’s.”  All of these, simply were. The silence between them was loud and busy with all of these things. With no end to the words needed said, best to say none. My poor heart came out of my chest and rolled around on the floor.

We can internalize the gravity of that particular parting. What makes me feel the greatest amount of empathy for Jamie is his loss of his protector.  Of course, Jamie is a capable, responsible and grown-ass man but don’t we all hold onto a part of the child inside of us? Especially those who have trauma in our past?  Young Jamie lost his mother and brother (not to mention the baby his mother lost during childbirth), this is when Murtagh stepped up and into that guardian role to Jamie. This is why the pain of having to release him of his oath was so painful.  Jamie didn’t want to. The child in Jamie still needs Murtagh whereas the man Jamie has become, can’t have him. Once again, proving LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

No matter how old we get, the protectors of our youth are chained to a piece of our very being.  I believe that child remains inside of us, never growing up or having the feelings/logic our adult mind possesses. As a consequence when faced with that loss, it is with our child’s heart, we grieve.  It explains why it is so incredibly painful when we lose those we loved dearly when we were children.

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The perfect visual.      Click for Source

Sam Heughan’s performance in this episode, as a whole was impressive. The last scene chewed me up and spit me out.

Murtagh and Jocasta – the fans lovingly call them #Murcosta. Didn’t we just get these two hot seniors?  They’re perhaps an unlikely pair but I do love them together. They offered one another a soft place to land.  Murtagh, after a lifetime of fighting, his guts/heart and mind are called to it again, this time he is in the driver’s seat. He doesn’t have time to be banging boots with Ms. Jo.  We know, they both get this. 

Jocasta broke the news, rather deliberately, that Duncan Innes proposed marriage to her. Murtagh seemed to be thinking ‘Good time to let her go without too much pain involved’, told her straight up he wouldn’t stand in the way of her happiness. This is where we can give Maria Doyle-Kennedy all the awards. The look on Jocasta’s face only altered in the slightest of ways, the slip of her fingers from his, without a word we knew that Murtagh was her happiness. She would have held on to him had he asked or given any indication that was possible. He didn’t and we felt that because of Jocasta’s silent but instinctual reaction. Maria Doyle Kennedy is so. damn. good.

Lord Yumm Gorgeous. Ummm, John Grey. Excuse me. I get confused, my LAWD that man is beautiful! David Berry is my favourite produce.

We didn’t get to hear too much from him in the episode. That is the whole point of this blog though, isn’t it? Those silent moments that were captured throughout the wedding are what touched us. Unrequited love is something most humans can relate to.  We know that LJG loves Jamie ergo whenever we see him alone and silently observing it can be painful. We know even if he did find love with someone, he would never be able to openly express it. Thanks, backwards 18th-century small-mindedness! 🙄 LJG is intelligent, pragmatic and above all, he knows where he stands with the Fraser’s. He is quite the extraordinary man who allows his own feelings to take a back seat to be the best BFF to them all. 😍

Our last moment had LJG next to John Quincy Myers,  with the latter passing out cold beside him – which was hilarious. The juxtaposition was Lord John, sitting alone in the dark, drink in hand. This wasn’t funny or fun anymore. I felt the urge to cuddle him. Not just because he is a scrumptious yummy bite of sweetness. It was a sad silence that I think many of us want to fill for him.

Even though there are other moments, I want to focus the rest of my attention on Brianna.  Her quiet demeanour, in the beginning, was beautiful and what so many brides go through on their wedding day.  Her silent moments built her strength in this episode. Oh, I know, people may want to slap me for saying that.

Here is a woman, carrying her pain in silence. The question is why?  Is she carrying it in silence because she doesn’t want to burden others with it? Is she carrying it in silence because she has already done a lot of the work and now, she is continuing to process? Is she learning how to function with these emotions? Is this yet another step in the healing of PTSD that comes from being a victim of sexual violence?

We or Brianna can feel safe in answering yes to all of those and would be 100% accurate.  Some may argue, “That is what family is for”, “You need to share with your partner”.  Those arguments can both be defended with  “We do and we don’t”.

We try to do what is best for our own healing. Taking a moment to catch our breath when we have an instance of recall or a panic attack when we need to get back to things, that’s exactly what we should do. That is what Brianna did, she found something/someone that was going to center her. Jemmy. She picked him up and held him close. If his little hand patting her back didn’t clench your heart, I would double-check to make sure yours is workin’, just saying!

I was privy to conversations saying Brianna didn’t get to enjoy her wedding night but I would like to give another perspective on this.

Bree had a moment during her wedding evening when she was facing an instance of recall aka flashback, of her rape. It caused her panic, anxiety and fear. Like a tower of blocks, she was knocked down – just as quickly, she put herself back together. Hastily, maybe not completely steady.  The rest of the evening, she might have been a bit unbalanced nevertheless she allowed those she was with, to hold her up. First, Jemmy.  Next, Roger. There’s no denying the love in her eyes when Roger serenades her, the joy in her face when they dance and the passion when they make love. She wraps around him pulling him as close as she can get him. Brianna did take solace, comfort and love from her family. They held her together and she let them while they could.

When the silence became deafening, Bree lay there with only her thoughts.  On the outside there wasn’t a sound but we know damn well, inside that woman’s head there was noise. A lot of it.  We can only imagine how much.

There, in that noise,  is where I believe she is gathering her strength, not losing it. Is she in pain? Yes. This kind of healing hurts. Scars like this don’t show on the outside so it makes sense we rarely speak of how they feel while they are healing.  These moments are easier to open up and talk about after we have processed some of them ourselves.  Giving these thoughts to others isn’t an easy task, mostly because it is difficult to express things you are only beginning to understand yourself.

To assume that Brianna wasn’t capable of feeling love and joy in the same evening as she experienced pain and healing is to accept Brianna is a one-dimensional person. This implies she is incapable of complex emotions and that theory goes against almost everything we know about this character.

We have to keep in mind, this isn’t the beginning of Brianna’s healing journey. We are walking through it with her.

I applaud Sophie Skelton and her attention to Brianna’s thoughts, subtleties and mannerisms during this process. Her character’s life is always moving forward while she is still healing and dealing. It is a balance and Sophie’s interpretation is en pointe!

What I am going to say now isn’t about Bree but about us humans overall. Many people keep their secrets locked inside because they are aware of how the people in their lives will react.

Common reactions when difficult news is shared;

  • feel sorry for them and pop them on the “I’m worried about you” track
    • this causes them more anxiety because they now worry about someone else worrying about them. The fear of becoming a burden comes true
  • take what they have said personally, get upset or angry (with or for them)
    • this causes more hurt because they will now feel they have to defuse this situation or make things better for others
  • to get involved, try and fix it
    • if they wanted someone to interfere that would have been their first request. Also takes the power away from the person with the problem, they may fear losing control and why they were hesitant to share

We should always let those we love know we are there. No judgements, no advice, just a hand to hold or lots of chocolate to give. “I know something is bothering you. I don’t need to know the details. I only need you to know I have chocolate and hugs. You can choose to tell me what is going on or you can tell me what you need me to say to you, I am here.”

And if they just want to be silent. Trust them but still listen. As we learned by watching The Fiery Cross, that silence still can speak to you.

Sher xo

I would love to hear how much you enjoyed the first episode of season 5! See our live tweet stream by following #OutlanderCAN  on twitter.

**Watch this space for a very special blog with a lament worthy cast member. COMING SOON.**

endjamiemurtagh

 

 

 

BADaptations #Outlanders on the bright side.

I need to have a little fun. The whole world is NOODLES N NUTS!

We are on the countdown for season 5. Everyone is getting antsy. There is a lot of activity on the Outlander Starz accounts. W Network is gearing up for us Canadians. I’m doing Meme reruns getting jacked for the live tweets every Sunday night followed by, what I hope are some interesting blogs.

For now, I’m going into Imaginationland.  There is always a lot of discussion in the fandom about deviation from the books.  If you have read my blogs before you know my stance on the books vs the show. There really is no vs. for me. They stand alone.  I have been reading the books for 25 years, pretty much know them inside and out. The show has to be a different thing, so I can fully enjoy the experience. Others do it their way, that’s cool. That is what makes the world go ’round. Well, that and gravity sciency stuff.

We have all seen movies, tv shows and mini-series created from books that have been slaughtered by the production company once they had the rights.  I still see people claiming that has happened to Outlander.  I disagree with those assessments. Here, I am going to show you what I envision a REAL slaughter looks like.

 

 

This is a GAG blog. A few things I have pulled out of my thinker that Outlander’s writers COULD have done if they so chose to. I’m not sure everyone is aware they could have done whatever they wanted and still had an audience. It may not have been you or I but it would have been someone.

I recall, in the beginning, many claimed Ron D. Moore and the writers had a love affair with Frank. They percieved this odd amount of empathy was given to his character and with too much screen time. He was Claire’s husband, it made sense to me to show his story, however, if they REALLY loved Frank so much they could have made him a much bigger part of the story.

What if? What if at the moment when Frank and Claire were at the stones at Craigh na Dun, appearing at the same time (200 yrs apart), the power of her desire to see him PULLED him through the stones?  Before you say that never could have happened. The writers are all-powerful in their storytelling. They can make anything they want, happen.  We are just lucky they didn’t.

frank feels

We all recall when Jenny was nearly raped by Black Jack Randall. Remember the nasty gossip that Dougal told Jamie?  That Jenny had a child as a result and BJR was the father? That would make for a juicy storyline, wouldn’t it? Almost too juicy for writers to pass up.

Here we could be, Jenny has BJR’s child. Ian still marries her because he loves her and raises the child as his own because that’s what the men on Outlander do, right?  BJR comes to Lallybroch frequently trying to steal the baby, it’s an added side story.  Oh, you know – extra drama! Most writers on TV want drama above all else and this story has years of drama written all over it.

giphy-11It didn’t really happen. Shh…

Ron Moore is currently involved in a super cool show called For All Mankind. The series explores an alternate history showing what happens if the space race never ended and the Soviet Union succeeded in the first manned Moon landing. Let’s put Outlander in that same headspace, shall we?

Since we are clearly aware Mr. Moore isn’t afraid of taking chances, like changing history. We should probably be happy that he didn’t get that itch out of his system with Claire becoming the ‘time traveller that could’. What if that became part of our epic new drama? Hmmm.

Culloden? WINNING! Bonny Prince? Bonny KING, thank ya, kindly. Jamie, no prison for you! You and all the Scots that battled so bravely now have your independence.  That’s a story for the ages, is it not? Yes. This could have been a thing and people would still watch. There would still be blogs. They might suck but they would be there.

I see folks on SM insist that Outlander writers have never read the books. Even though the writers have discussed their process many times of using the books as their outlines. If they never read the books or used them as a reference we could be looking at some crazy shit.

Imagine this. A new writer pops on the scene that has no idea what Outlander core stories are and they decide this –  Frank takes Brianna to a park for the afternoon. The park has this strange rock formation beside it, Brianna is skipping and playing around the rocks. One moment everything is fine and the next moment, she is gone! That’s right, Brianna has travelled through time as a 6-year-old! Frank is now forced to believe Claire after all this time.

That kind of storytelling would match the comments that production on Outlander has gone so far past what the books are about, the story isn’t recognizable.

I could have gone on and on with badaptations for days, it was kinda fun, to be honest with you. I bet some of you reading have ideas of your own. Drop them in the comments and we can have some laughs!

I do admit we all perceive the characters and much of the heart of the stories with our personal filter and biases. That is a completely natural way of enjoying or having contempt for what is happening on screen.  I hope we can look at the brighter side of our experience with Outlander’s adaptation. Yes, there may be some stuff that grinds our gears or twists us up. I most certainly do not take anything away from that. It’s natural for some peeps to fan that way.

The whole point of this little blogscursion. There are some downright horror shows of adaptations. BADaptations.  Granted, those badaptations are creations by people far more talented than I am. Everyone has a vision. I am sure there are people who will love those adaptations just as much as those who don’t.

It is my opinion that Outlander is a RADaptation. (Yep, Gen X’er here)

 

 

I hope you all have a FANtasticalamazirifisome day!

Sher xo❤