Sunday, November 27, 2011

I am in need of assistance that only you can give!

(That title is based on something Frank Churchill said to Emma in the 2009 mini-series.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The halls in our house are decked with holly...well, not really, but our decorations are up, and I wanted to make my blog look festive too...especially since most my posts from here on will be something Christmas-based, as I discussed in this post.

Now, as you can see I've already made a new blog top, and I've also changed the link colors to red and green. (The blog top picture is from the 2009 Emma...that's Jane Austen's story that has the most about Christmas, and that mini-series has some great snowy and Christmassy scenes!)

I'm having a little trouble with background though, and decided to ask my readers for their opinions. I've tried several things, and I'll list them here so you can vote on which one is your favorite! Now whatever wins doesn't necessarily mean that's what I'll use, but there's a good chance, and I really want to know what you'd like most to see. =) I'd really appreciate comments too!

These are in no particular order, just whatever I happened to try first. (If you want to see the pictures bigger, just click on them.)

Choice 1: Patterned background/wallpaper

Choice 2: Dark green

Choice 3: Minty green

Choice 4: Very dark red

Choice 5: Dark red

Choice 6: A sort of light gold (at least that's what it's supposed to be)

Choice 7: The current background - whitish

Which Christmas background should I use? free polls 

And I'm open to any suggestions for the background, or anything else to do with my Christmas blog! =)

Also, if you haven't seen the Old-fashioned Fiddle and Guitar Christmas CD or the giveaway post, be sure to check those out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Old-fashioned Christmas Music

Click here to go to the CD’s main page

This giveaway is now closed. 

I am so very excited to be hosting my first giveaway!
Songs from Old-fashioned Fiddle and Guitar Christmas, the wonderful CD I’m helping to sell this year, will be available in sound file format to three lucky people! (I’ll email the files to the winners.)

1st Place
Complete Album
(18 songs)

2nd Place
2/3 Album
(12 songs, chosen by the winner)

3rd Place
1/3 Album
(6 songs, chosen by the winner)

This is the list of all 18 songs:

Joy to the World
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
I Saw Three Ships
The First Noel
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night
Good King Wenceslas
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
Deck the Halls
Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming
Jingle Bells
Away in a Manger
O Holy Night
Good Christian Men Rejoice
In the Bleak Midwinter
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella
Here We Come a Wassailing
How to enter

Mandatory entry: Read the CD’s main page and watch the sample video, then leave a comment (or email me) saying which song clip you enjoyed the most.

Extra entries:
(Be sure to point out whatever you do by commenting, or it won’t count as an entry; for example if you already follow my blog, be sure to mention it so I can enter you in the drawing.)

(5 entries) Write a post about the giveaway on your blog or web site (and make sure to include a link to the CD’s main page.) Leave the link to your post in a comment (or an email).
(Non-blogger option: write a “note” about it on Facebook and tag at least 10 friends.)

(3 entries) Display a giveaway button on your sidebar.
Christmas Music Giveaway 

Christmas Music Giveaway 

Christmas Music Giveaway 

 (3 entries) Follow this blog.

 (2 entries) Display a blog button for Regency Delight on your sidebar or list of blogs.

 (1 entry) Tell about a Christmas tradition you/your family has that you especially look forward to each year.

When you comment (or email)
  • If you have no blogger or Google account, you can comment under ‘anonymous’. Please leave your name (or an alias) so I have something to call you.
  • MAKE SURE you leave a link to your blog/web site OR an email address, however you would like me to contact you if you win.
  • Don’t forget to mention everything you did! 
The last day to enter is Saturday, December 10th. Winners will be announced on the 11th.

Thank you for participating! This will be great fun! :-)

You can contact me at: old-fashionedfiddleandguitar[at]live[dot]com. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Old-fashioned Christmas CD

It isn’t quite Christmas time yet...but we’re getting close. A week from today is the day after Thanksgiving. All the stores are already displaying their festivities, Christmas music is playing on the radio, lights are going up all over the place…and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to Christmas for several months and have lately felt like listening to Christmas music. I am quite enthusiastic about Christmas music, which makes me doubly excited for what I’m about to share with you.

I am so delighted, because of special acquaintance with the musicians, to be “marketing” this splendid CD!

I love Christmas, and as I said, I love Christmas music! Old-Fashioned Fiddle and Guitar Christmas has been a favorite of mine for many years. Expertly arranged and performed, it has a wide variety of traditional Christmas carols – all delightfully old-fashioned – from sprightly songs that make you feel happy and festive, to beautiful slow ones that give you that warm feeling which is often merited to Christmas. The slower ones are my personal favorites; they have that sentimental touch which I adore.

This CD contains the true spirit of Christmas; the songs are played with much skill, taste, and emotion, creating a wonderfully meaningful album. 

Making this sample video was delightful. It was quite hard though, choosing only 6 songs, and including only short clips.
To suit my own fancy and so it will go along well with my blog, I have put a collection of Christmas pictures from some of my favorite old-fashioned movies in the video. It was fun gathering them.
The pictures include: Emma (2009), A Christmas Carol (1984) Emma (1996, A&E), Little Women (1994), and Pride and Prejudice (1995).

And now, I’ll include a little about the musicians.

On the guitar is Bethany. She has a natural gift for the guitar, and plays with a sensitive touch and rhythmic accuracy that sets her style apart. She was 17 when this recording was made.

Bethany’s brother Seth is the fiddler, 13 at the time of this recording. He is a multiple time national fiddle prize-winner and champion. Intensely interested in Classical music from a young age, Seth is now an accomplished violinist, having graduated with highest honors from a private liberal arts college, and was given the place of Assistant Concertmaster in a professional symphony orchestra, where he now regularly performs.

This is the list of all 18 songs:

Joy to the World
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
I Saw Three Ships
The First Noel
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night
Good King Wenceslas
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
Deck the Halls
Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming
Jingle Bells
Away in a Manger
O Holy Night
Good Christian Men Rejoice
In the Bleak Midwinter
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella
Here We Come a Wassailing

The CD is $12 and $3 for shipping in the U.S. 
If you live elsewhere or wish to purchase more than one CD, contact me about it and I will calculate the shipping rate according to your location.
To order:
Send an email to old-fashionedfiddleandguitar[at]live[dot]com. I manage this email account, and will reply to your email with where to mail your check, and to whom you should address it. After receiving the check, your purchase will be mailed directly, and I will keep you updated during this process by email.

Feel free to email with any questions or comments!

Next week, I plan to have a giveaway for the sound files of this album, so keep your eye out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emma and Christmas

Here are a couple updates/bits of information about me and my blog.

First of all, I am reading Emma for British Literature in school. I did not choose it (if I had it probably would have been Pride and Prejudice), it is just conveniently in the curriculum. I’ve finished Frankenstein and the Romantic poets, and have yet to read A Tale of Two Cities, The Time MachineAnimal Farm, and other poets. I wish Animal Farm was something else – some Gaskell or Brontë or Eliot, perhaps – but I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Dickens.

Anyways, back to Emma. It’s quite nice to be reading Jane Austen for school – it feels so un-schoolish, you know. And, oh! With what delight I first read about Jane Austen and Emma when the Literature book first came! Seeing all those familiar names in the text book – Jane Austen, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Elton, Harriet – gave me a silly excitement.

I also liked what the author said at the very beginning of the Emma section:

“Note: Perhaps some of the male readers will be rather distressed when they learn that they will be studying Jane Austen this school year. Unfortunately, many people unthinkingly consider Austen a writer solely for women. In Emma, the main character is a young woman; women carry a majority of the dialogue; and, sadly for some perhaps, there is no physical violence. However, those who are disappointed by the former will be at least as pleased upon learning that, in the novel (and in all of Austen’s other novels), there are no improbable, long-winded, indulgent professions of love and they contain much satirical wit and humor.”

Thank you! You know what, if us girls had to read The Red Badge of Courage last year in American Literature…that’s a war story, and isn’t that supposed to be a boy’s thing? I saw no disclaimers or explanations there.
Anyways, I especially appreciated that because a man wrote it.

The second thing. Sometime between Thanksgiving and December 2nd, I shall turn my blog into a Christmas blog, and it will remain so for about a month. I love Christmas time so very much, I just have to share my excitement here too! I’m planning lots of special Christmas posts. They will still be centered around Jane Austen, etc. but there will be a few other ones, too. The look of the blog will also change.

I am planning a special post for later on this week, quite a Christmassy one, so be watching for it! =)

In the title of this post, I wasn’t trying to connect Emma with Christmas – but have you noticed that Christmas is mentioned in Emma more than any other Jane Austen novel?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jane Eyre: The Movies (Part 2)

Last week I posted my reviews for every Jane Eyre adaptation available to me. As promised, here is the follow-up post, which will hopefully be a little less scholarly, and more fun.  

My recommendations
My movie recommendations depends on who you are and how acquainted you are already with the story.

If you do not know the story at all, I would suggest watching the 1983 mini-series so you can know the complete story, and then the version from 1996 and/or 2011. If you dislike older, slow-moving movies, or you already know the story, skip my first recommendation.
Now, here’s the deal about the ones from…
1996: It’s a fairly good representation of Jane and the acting is good; there is an enjoyable feeling throughout, and just something unaccountable that makes me like it a lot even though the story is much shortened and strays from the storyline too much. Enjoy it, but don’t trust it.
2011: This one is too short as well, but overall I like the actors better, and it does maintain the novel’s storyline. Things such as hair color are observed correctly, and it got some elements and details the others are without (missed a lot too, but…). It’s rated PG-13, pretty much for a painting of a nude woman which Jane sees and later inspects (don’t ask me why). These parts taken away, and I think it would be PG. I’ve heard it’s an old-fashioned, realistic looking painting, and might actually have gotten away with PG in some other film. I can’t tell you first-hand because I fast-forwarded it. If you wish to do that too, I can tell you exactly where if you like.
This version could be confusing because it starts in the climax area and then is comprised of flashbacks.

So, just consult your own taste from my reports and choose accordingly. One more thing – if you watch the one from 2011, definitely watch the deleted scenes called “Badminton in the Garden” and “Bertha Rips Veil in Jane’s Room.” These are rather important to the story and in my opinion should not have been left out. Some of the other deleted scenes were strange, though.

The bottom line is: if the story sounds of interest to you, be sure to read the book. Nothing can tell you the story like it can!!
Watching a movie first could be a good thing or a bad thing depending. It’s better to read it first I’m sure; I didn't, but I knew I’d want to read it when I watched it. For others it might just give a wrong impression of the characters, however.

My favorite
I really cannot decide. There are good and bad points to all the ones I like. The three mentioned above are my top favorites, of course. Maybe my favorite is the 2011 version (un-PG13ed, that is). While it was much too short to be quite satisfactory, it was really a beautiful film and, for the most part, not inaccurate to the novel. Jane wasn’t tall or too old (yay!), Blanche Ingram had dark hair (yay!) and Mr. Rochester was definitely not repulsive. *Spoilers* The main thing I disliked was the Rivers not being related to Jane. To me, that’s a very important part of the story, and shows us more of her character by how she reacts. At least she got her fortune, though. *Un-Spoilers* It did get the part with St. John, Diana, and Mary a lot closer than several others (and most of the main versions).
I’ve only seen it once, though, so this may not yet be enough to proclaim it as my favorite.

And here we have Melody the Trailer Fanatic giving you one for each of her top 3:

Which is your favorite? I’m very interested to see the results of this poll.

Which is your favorite version of Jane Eyre?
2011 2006 1997 1996 1983 1973 1970 1943 1934 free polls 

Other favorites
Just for fun….

Favorite Jane
This is sort of a tie between Charlotte Gainsbourg (1996) and Mia Wasikowska (2011). C.G. is rather too tall and her hair is darker, I think, than Jane’s was supposed to be; but she did have rather ‘irregular features’ – interesting looks, which at the same time did not at all displease me…not really un-pretty. I liked her acting pretty well too, even though I think she should have been a little more passionate a few times.
M.W. was a good enough actress, although she didn’t say things the way I imagined Jane to; she just wasn’t quite Jane. (But then, who can be, but Jane in the book?) By the way, does anybody know what sort of accent she had? It wasn’t the same as people, and the Jane Eyres, usually have on these films – to me it actually sounded closer to lower-class characters – and it bugged me a bit. She was a little too serious, but then most of the movies portray her that way. She is in the book, too, part of the time; but not for all of it. She definitely has a sense of humor, and can say funny, witty things. (Right, Miss Dashwood? haha)

I guess if the tie-breaker is height and hair color, M.W. gets the award. (She’s short by today’s standards I think, but still not short enough in comparison to her Rochester’s height.)

Favorite Mr. Rochester
You cannot know Mr. Rochester at all until you read the book, and even then he takes some deciphering.

I’m not satisfied with any of them, but that’s hardly surprising, is it? That seems to be my answer to everything.

Toby Stephens (2006) might fit the book’s description of Mr. Rochester the best, but for me, there is something wanting. There’s something about his portrayal that I don’t like, and I can’t put my finger on it, especially since I haven’t seen the whole thing.

Okay, down to business. I’ve been delaying my answer: I really do have a favorite this time, and that’s Michael Fassbender (2011). He’s not, in my opinion, un-handsome enough to be accurate, but you know, I prefer that to the other way around. (tehe) I thought his rants when he first came back to Thornfield – banging on the piano, going outside and shooting the air – were a bit strange and nothing like that occurred in the book, but that’s not the actor’s fault.
He was just more likable than others. When they make Rochester dislikable, it’s harder to sympathize with Jane, and half the impact of the story is gone.
He still wasn’t right, but you know.
As always with this version, the character was underdeveloped; there wasn’t enough conversation to know him well enough, etc.

Favorite Mrs. Fairfax
Joan Plowright, 1996. This is probably the easiest one to answer. I thought she was spot-on.
When I first heard Judi Dench was Mrs. Fairfax in the new adaptation, I thought it sounded like a really good fit. Actually seeing her in that role didn’t quite rise to my expectations. She wasn’t cheery enough or…something. Maybe Miss Dashwood is right – she’s just Miss Matty, and there’s an end to it. ;-)

Favorite Adèle
Some people might not consider Adèle an important character, but after all, she’s the whole reason Jane went to Thornfield.

The Adèles aren’t very easily compared, but my favorite is probably Josèphine Serre from 1996. I’m not sure why, but I just remember her the most, and I liked her pretty well. She was too old for the part in real life, though.

St. John Rivers, 1996
Favorite St. John Rivers
St. John (Or “Sinjon/Sintjon” as they say it) is actually a fairly major character when it gets to that part of the book. In most of the movies, that part is way condensed.

My favorite as far as accuracy goes is Andrew Bicknell from 1983, and he was pretty good. Otherwise, though, I liked Samuel West from 1996.

Recognizable actors from all versions
Here’s a list of actors I recognized from each version, and the parts they played in other movies (mostly what I’ve seen).

Colin Clive (Mr. Rochester) – “Henry” Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1931)

George C. Scott (Mr. Rochester) – Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol (1984)
Susannah York (Jane Eyre) – Mrs. Cratchit, A Christmas Carol (1984)

Tracey Childs (Georgiana Reed) – Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility 1981; Suzanne, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

Amanda Root (Miss Temple) – Anne Elliot, Persuasion (1995); Mrs. Davilow, Daniel Deronda* (2002)
Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Reed) – Mrs. Croft, Persuasion (1995)
Samuel West (St. John Rivers) – Mr. William Elliot, Persuasion (1995)
Joan Plowright (Mrs. Fairfax) – Martha Sourby, Return to the Secret Garden

Samantha Morton (Jane Eyre) – Harriet Smith, Emma (1996, A&E)
Ciaran Hinds (Rochester) – Captain Wentworth, Persuasion (1995); Michael Henchard, The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003); Lord Tarleton, Amazing Grace
Deborah Findlay (Mrs. Reed) – Miss Phoebe, Wives and Daughters (1999); Miss Tomkinson, Cranford (2007) and Return to Cranford (2009)
Gemma Jones (Mrs. Fairfax) – Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Rupert Penry-Jones (St. John Rivers) – Captain Wentworth, Persuasion (1995)
Elizabeth Garvie (Diana Rivers) – Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice (1980)
Peter Wight (Clergyman) – Mr. Wilfer, Our Mutual Friend* (1998); Mr. Gardiner, Pride and Prejudice* (2005)

Christina Cole (Blanche Ingram) – Mrs. Augusta Elton, Emma (2009); Nora Rowly, He Knew He Was Right; Caroline Bingley, Lost in Austen**
Francesca Annis (Lady Ingram) – Mrs. Gibson, Wives and Daughters (1999); Lady Ludlow, Cranford (2007) and Return to Cranford (2009)
Pam Ferris (Grace Poole) – Mrs. General, Little Dorrit* (2008); Mrs. Boffin, Our Mutual Friend* (1998)
Andrew Buchan (St. John Rivers) – Jem Hearne, Cranford and Return to Cranford (2007, ’09)
Georgia King (Rosamond Oliver) – Pet Meagles/Gowan, Little Dorrit* (2008)
Charity Wakefield (Miss Temple) – Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility (2008)

Jamie Bell (St. John Rivers) – Smike, Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Judi Dench (Mrs. Fairfax) – Matilda (“Miss Matty”) Jenkyns, Cranford and Return to Cranford (2007, ’09); Lady Catherine De Bourg, Pride and Prejudice* (2005)
Sally Hawkins (Mrs. Reed) – Anne Elliot, Persuasion (2007)

*I may not have seen this (or all of it) therefore I can’t recommend it as a whole; OR could mean I know there’s something in it which I found objectionable. I either recognized the actor from what I did see, or I heard about them being on it, etc.
**I would definitely not recommend this if I had seen it, which I have not.

So, which Jane Eyre movie(s) is (are) your favorite(s)? (Don't forget to vote on the poll!) Favorite portrayals of the main characters? I love to read your comments. =)

Would you rather hear the story...

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