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Pete Postlethwaite Photo Memorial February 5, 2011

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Since Pete Postlethwaite’s untimely death last month, I’ve been gathering photos on the web to do a photo memorial entry here.  Below are my favorites of the photos I’ve gathered.

Pete, some time in the 70s

 

Pete with Julie Walters, 1977

Pete in the early 1990s

Pete with Daniel Day-Lewis in "In the Name of the Father"

Pete as Obadiah Hakeswill in Sharpe's Enemy

Pete in undated photo

Pete with Ewan McGregor in Brassed Off

Pete in James and the Giant Peach

Pete as Roland Tembo in Jurassic Park: The Lost World

Pete as William Holabird in Amistad

My favorite photo of Pete as himself

Pete with his daughter, 2004

Pete with his son and Richard Attenborough, around 2007

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Story Notes for “Let This Heart Be Still” December 22, 2010

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Recently, at the recommendation of a couple of friends. I read the Richard Sharpe series of books by Bernard Cornwell and watched the related TV DVDs.  I took to this series like a duck to water, devouring the books and DVDs available from my library in the space of two months or so.

My friends assured me that if I liked Jason Isaacs as Colonel William Tavington, then I’d surely like the equally handsome and audacious Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe.  They were right, I quickly became addicted to the stories taking place in India and Europe during the Napoleonic era.

But completely unexpected to me, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t Sharpe himself, though a thoroughly fascinating character, who most interested me.  No, it was Sharpe’s main nemesis, Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill who drew me in.  I’ve always had a thing for villains; the bad boys of any book, TV show, or movie.

And Obadiah Hakeswill is truly an original when it comes to an antagonistic character.  For those who take him simply at face value, he’s evil, he’s crazy, or feigns being crazy to advance an evil agenda.  For those who look beyond the surface, he’s a man who survived a traumatic childhood horror and despite suffering PTSD because of it, managed to survive in the British army for thirty years by learning how to work the system to his benefit.

In every book he’s in, Bernard Cornwell tells the story of his horrible childhood, specifically that of surviving a hanging at the age of twelve that left him with an vivid purple scar around his neck and a periodic uncontrollable facial twitch.  In other words, the man suffers from a major case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which largely explains how he ended up the way he was.

Cornwell never explains exactly how Sharpe and Hakeswill became enemies, but he tells the reader that Sharpe and Hakeswill came from startlingly similar backgrounds; from the dregs of society where neither man knew his father or a happy childhood.  The main difference between the two men is that Sharpe never was subjected to the trauma of being hanged as a child, and he was able to depend on his charm and good looks to find mentors and friends at key points in his life, where Hakeswill could not.

So, the books made Hakeswill an interesting character to read about, but before seeing the DVDs, I was not inspired to write a story about him.  Indeed, Cornwell had gone above and beyond the call of duty in making Obadiah as physically repulsive as possible.  In the first two books written with him in it, not only was he hugely fat (which seems rather unlikely when combined with descriptions of some of the antics he engaged in), he was dirty, with rotted teeth, lank hair, bad breath, and perpetually with spittle on his chin.  Ugh.

If not for the DVDs, the Sharpe series would have simply remained an entertaining series of books with a more interesting than usual antagonist, but that’s about it.  Before the DVDs, I was not inspired to write a story in this series.

Enter Pete Postlethwaite, the brilliant character actor whom Steven Spielberg once dubbed “the best actor in the world”.  I don’t know who made the decision to cast Postlethwaite as Obadiah Hakeswill, but the man was born to play the role.   And better yet, while not being a conventionally handsome man, Postlethwaite is a vast improvement over the repulsive Hakeswill of the books.

Pete Postlethwaite did a masterful job bringing Obadiah to life, clearly hinting at the damaged little boy buried underneath the unmitigated bastard. He took a character teetering on the edge of being a cartoon bad guy and fleshed him out. In essence, Pete made Obadiah human.

Bernard Cornwell apparently agreed.   He’s admitted that the three books taking place in India, written after Sharpe’s Company and Sharpe’s Enemy had been filmed, had Obadiah written with Postlethwaite in mind.  He’s even expressed regret for killing the character off, as he now considers Hakeswill as Sharpe’s most interesting adversary.

Another Sharpe video, Sharpe’s Peril, reveals that Obadiah Hakeswill left behind a son, who is shown in this episode.  Peril takes place four years after Hakeswill is executed by firing squad in Sharpe’s Enemy.

After learning of his son, who bears his father’s surname and is in the army in his father’s old unit, the wheels began turning in my head.  Because the young man bore the surname of Hakeswill and was in his father’s old unit, it seemed highly unlikely that he was simply the product of a rape.  It seemed logical to assume that there had to have been some sort of a relationship between Obadiah and the boy’s mother, if not a marriage.  I began to wonder how that relationship came about, what the nature of it was, and what eventually happened to the woman who gave him a son.

But it wasn’t until I saw Steshette’s excellent Hakeswill YouTube video, which supplied me with the title of this story, that everything fell into place and I knew I had to write a story about Obadiah.  Even the words of the accompanying song fit Obadiah to a T.  The video can be viewed below.  Readers should note that Obadiah is thirteen years older in this video than he is in the beginning of my story

While Pete Postlethwaite can never be considered the leading man type, there’s a certain quality about him that ignited the chemistry in me and I was hopelessly besotted.  I sometimes have weird tastes in men, having been attracted to the “bad boys” in TV and film since my earliest years. I love Obadiah to pieces. So sue me.

I’ve written this story with the idea that love isn’t just for the beautiful and the popular, but that there’s someone for everyone  Even Obadiah Hakeswill.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill

My Choice for Marcus Tapp November 6, 2010

Posted by Me in All For Love, The Patriot.
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In the last post, I submitted several actors to vote as to who should be Marcus Tapp.  After writing more chapters with Tapp and his relationship with Ruth Moore, I’ve decided that Sean Bean isn’t really what I have in mind when I visualize him.   Sean had the right attitude in the photo from my last post, but Tapp is supposed to be dark haired and have a passing resemblance to Tavington.   However, none of the other actors I submitted quite got it, either. 

After much looking, I’ve found a better candidate to be Marcus Tapp:  Daniel Day-Lewis.   Below are some photos.   He’s also much closer to the description that Margaret Lawrence gives of  him in her books, barring the pale blue eyes.  Tell me if you agree with me in the comments.  

Inspiration From Books September 10, 2010

Posted by Me in All For Love, The Patriot.
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During the course of writing the last couple of chapters, I’ve been reading a historical mystery trilogy recommended to me, taking place in Maine in 1786.  I checked these books out from my library, not with the intention of gaining writing inspiration from them, but merely for enjoyment. I was soon inspired by one character, that of Marcus Tapp.  He nearly jumped off the page at me and I knew I had to incorporate him into my story, as he was such a good fit with Tavington and his dragoons.

The books are the Hannah Trevor series by Margaret Lawrence:  Hearts and Bones, Blood Red Roses, and The Burning Bride, which, for some reason, I’ve been reading in backwards order.

The moment Marcus Tapp first galloped onto the scene for me as the hard nosed Sheriff of Sussex County, I was immediately drawn to him, just as I was when William Tavington did so in the scene at the Martin farm.   The author provided enough description of him and his activities that I knew he’d fit in well with Tavington’s dragoons. Like William Tavington, he’s a rather conflicted man, like most good antagonist characters are.

He’s described as a former mercenary, a libertine, ambitious and loyal to no one but himself, a good horseman, a man “who neither loves nor hates” (though he seems to want the main female character to love him and there is a sex scene between them), sleek and handsome, so I knew immediately I wanted to do something with him.  He’s a bit like Tavington, a lot like Gul Dukat — how could I resist?

I’d also wanted a fleshed out character in the enlisted ranks for some time, so he was tailor made for the purpose.  My only regret is that I’d not read these books sooner and used him sooner, so readers should forgive me for making so much use out of him so late in the story.

Esther (Loves History) and I have discussed which actor we’d have wanted to play him, had he been in the Patriot, and below I’ll include several candidates, after which readers may vote in a poll.

Sean Bean

Viggo Mortensen

Ioan Gruffudd

Clive Owen

Johnny Depp

Two other actors I considered because they have the right attitude and the right mannerisms, but  ultimately rejected because they were too old were Alan Rickman and Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat from Deep Space Nine), as both men are well into their sixties.

Charlotte’s and Mary’s Summer Clothes June 21, 2010

Posted by Me in All For Love, Images, The Patriot.
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Shortgown with petticoat
(This one has a stomacher in the middle, which is an optional feature)

Robe a l’anglaise

As you can see, the above outfit would be somewhat cooler to wear in the summertime.

Tavington’s Theme Song, Illustrated April 8, 2010

Posted by Me in Images, The Patriot, William Tavington.
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There are several songs that remind me of William Tavington at various stages in the movie.  Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die is one because of the lyrics and passages of frenetic chaotic music between the verses that make me visualize an ongoing battle.  This song symbolizes to me how Tavington became the man he was in the movie and of his early dealings with Ben Martin.

Another song is the Doors’, Light My Fire, because the lyrics remind me of the church burning scene.

I’ve previously posted an entry with photographs of Tavington that correspond to these two songs.

But the song I most strongly associate with him is the Rolling Stones’, Paint It Black, which I associate with the battle at Cowpens and the end of his life.  It symbolizes the insecure Tavington, the man who always sought, but could never attain Cornwallis’ approval.

The opening riff of this song reminds me of the beginning of the battle, when waves of dragoons come charging over the hill into battle.  The heavy driving beat signifies the intensity of the battle, with the frenetic, chaotic music between the verses reminding  me of the pitched battle, and the guitar part near the end when they’re  humming the melody reminds me exactly of the sound of swinging sabres.  And the song’s driving rhythm brings to mind the sensation of moving quickly on horseback.

What follows are pictures that correspond to snippets of lyrics, with the complete lyrics at the end.

Also included at the end is a link where you can listen to this song to see if you can visualize what I do when I hear the song.

Waiting to chargeThis picture of the dragoons waiting to charge reminds
me of the song’s opening guitar notes

And when the drums and heavy bass kick in
I am reminded of the charging dragoons

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes

I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars (carriages?)and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back

I see people turn their heads and quickly look (run!)away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev’ry day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black

Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue

I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love will laugh with me before the mornin’ comes

I want to see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky
I want to see it painted, painted, painted, painted black
Yeah!

This photo corresponds to the frenetic, chaotic instrumental parts
between the verses where they’re humming and at the end where
the guitar part sounds like swinging sabres.


Paint It Black

(Rolling Stones, 1966)

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes

I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back

I see people turn their heads and quickly look away

Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door I must have it painted black

Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts

It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love will laugh with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes

I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm,…

I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal

I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky

I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

Yeah!

Listen to Paint It Black here:

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Rolling+Stones/_/Paint+It+Black

More Clothing Notes February 22, 2010

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In Chapter 11, I mention several articles of common 18th century clothing that modern readers may be unfamiliar with.

First of all are stays and jumps.   Stays are the 18th century version of the corset.  Stays were not as tightly laced as 19th century corsets and they gave the body a conical shape, rather than the 19th century wasp-wasted silhouette and, I suspect, were somewhat more comfortable and supportive of the back than their 19th century descendants.   Jumps were similar to stays, but were more lightly boned, thus more comfortable, intended for casual wear.

18th century stays

18th century riding habits were intended to be more comfortable for women riding horseback, while also preserving their modesty.

18th Century riding habit

In this chapter, the farm woman, Mattie Draper is wearing a shortgown and petticoat combo.  Shortgowns were semi-fitted or unfitted long jackets worn with petticoats.  They could be very basic or could be dressed up a bit.

Front and back view of
shortgown and petticoat combo
This outfit actually looks comfortable

Some Wedding Pictures February 15, 2010

Posted by Me in All For Love, Images, The Patriot, William Tavington.
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I thought I’d give you some pictures of Charlotte Selton’s wedding to William Tavington from All For Love.

Charlotte’s Wedding Gown

Charlotte’s Wedding Carriage

And, of course, the handsome groom

Some Photos Illustrating “Innocence Lost” September 8, 2009

Posted by Me in Innocence Lost, The Patriot, William Tavington.
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I thought I’d add a few pictures for Innocence Lost, my second Tavington story.

Patriot-movie-05Anne Howard on her wedding day with Gabriel Martin

BBWMTAV2Tavington at the Pembroke church

BBWMTAV33Tavington shaving at the creek after his “encounter” with Anne

patriot-0The Martins searching for Anne after Tavington kidnaps her

12655_20Tavington propositioning the “other woman” at the party.

tavface

bordtbrennerAnne, with Bordon, her second husband, and Tavington, her son’s father.

Two Tavington Themed Songs August 16, 2009

Posted by Me in Images, Jason Isaacs, The Patriot, William Tavington.
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Following are a couple of photos that perfectly illustrate two songs that remind me of Tavington:

vlcsnap-125424

“What does it matter to you
When you’ve got a job to do
You’ve got to do it well
You’ve got to give the other fellow hell”

–Live and Let Die
Paul McCartney

tavfire“Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire”

–Light My Fire
The Doors