all a bit sad, really.
would think someone of my age (43 at the time of writing) would know
better, perhaps spending my spare time learning a foreign language
or discussing world affairs - but no. That would be too easy.
I took a strange, unpredictable and decidedly weird road into a world
I had never dreamed existed, a world populated by delightful lunatics
to whom the phrase 'Must be a chick thing' means twenty minutes of
unadulterated hysteria, and whose hearts palpitate at the mere mention
of Dylan Thomas.
I never meant for this to happen. Honest. I blame Bill Gates.
actually, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit, so perhaps I should explain.
- I am a Ronaholic.
Ron fan. A person addicted to Ron. You know the guy - Ron Perlman.
Big fella with beautiful blue eyes, a white, toothy grin that sends
your heart thudding into your feet and a voice that you could bottle
and use as an aphrodisiac. Oh, and acting talent that fills that big
rangy body of his all the way from his lovely curly hair to those
size thirteen boots - oh dear. There I go again. I really must get
started innocently enough, as all addictions do.
this is where Sean Connery comes into the equation, because - along
with Bill Gates, whose involvement I will explain in due course -
I put the blame squarely on those broad Scottish shoulders. If he
had not made a film called 'Name of the Rose', a medieval murder mystery
that instantly aroused my passion as an amateur medievalist and lover
of illuminata, then said Mr Perlman would never have impinged on my
knew the book well, and I was curious as to how the hunchback Salvatore
would be portrayed, so I waited patiently in the flickering darkness,
enjoying the atmosphere and grim reality of the film, and then
there HE was. Salvatore. A shambling, babbling wreck
of a man, half-mad, snaggle-toothed, scrofulous, his cackling cry
of 'Penitenziagite!!!' had me riveted to the screen. I watched the
film open-mouthed, the sheer presence of this unknown actor knocking
me breathless. As the final credits rolled, I feverishly searched
for a name.
heard of him.
definitely a name to be noted. I wandered home, delighted and amazed,
and swore I would look out for Mr Perlman in anything else I could
find. It took me a year, and the next time I saw him I knew I was
new television series called 'Beauty and the Beast' began; a bit of
an oddity, we the viewers were told. A strange half-man, half-beast
living in the tunnels beneath New York City, a scholar, a poet, gentle
and kind, yet with the ferocity of a lion and the heart of a great
warrior if anyone threatened the innocent and the weak. His name?
Vincent. The very name conjured up an anguished soul, and anguished
Vincent certainly was, this handsome, noble leonine character whose
love for his Catherine, a beautiful Assistant District Attorney, transcended
all earthly barriers. And she loved him too.
the romance! The music! The classical literature! The sheer sexiness
of the thing had me glued to the screen. It ensured my rapt attention
for three years, and there he was - Ron Perlman. And I still didn't
know what he looked like, dammit.
Beauty and the Beast ended, and I slipped back into Real Life, totally
unaware that somewhere out there in the world beyond was a swell of
Fandom that persists to this day - but more of that later.
so, dear readers, I puttered along, carrying on with my life, my very
tolerant husband and I settling back into a Perlmanless routine, and
enjoying our shared love of all things cinematic. Life was good.
1997, that is. The beginning of my downfall was waiting in the shadows,
and the name of that downfall was Crewman Johner.
fans of the 'Alien' series, Hubby and myself dutifully turned up to
see the film, a little sceptical that it would be any good because
the third film in the series had been abysmal. But as the theatre
darkened and the opening credits began to come up, I noticed a name.
Ron Perlman. Oh-ho! This was a turn-up for the books! My Hubby poked
me in the ribs.
that the fella from Beauty and the Beast?" The stage whisper
had members of the audience shushing him in irritation.
it is, so be quiet! I'm finally going to see what he looks like!"
the film unfolded I carefully searched the screen for someone big
with blue eyes. Nope. Not him. Eyes are brown. That can't be him
voice is too light, and anyway, he's too short. Hmmm. Where is he?
And then I heard the gibbering ape noises, and my heart plummeted.
Everyone else had already been on screen, so this had to be Ron. The
camera panned up, and a figure resolved from the shadows - big, certainly.
Muscles all over the place. But
but he was ugly!!! Scarred,
his hair cropped short and suffering from a severe attack of patchiness,
Johner was a foul-mouthed, abusive, snarling, non-PC thug.
within five minutes I loved him to bits.
was so deliciously appalling. Over the next two hours or so I watched
not only Ron, but the effect he had on the audience - watched how
they straightened every time he made an appearance, laughed at the
succinct one-liners, and delighted in every scowl, sneer, leer and
expletive he came out with. That big, powerful frame was used to frightening
effect, he invaded the other characters' body space with threatening
ferocity - why, he could even make a wink appear menacing! He dominated
the screen with his presence and, quite frankly, acted the socks off
the rest of the impressive cast. I was hooked.
after Alien Rez he did it again. Disappeared from view. Gone. Vamoosed.
Little did I know that Ron was working away like a beaver in the States
on movies and television guest spots, none of which saw the light
of day here in the UK.
I was bereft once more. Ronless.
this is where Bill Gates comes in, for it is on his doorstep I lay
the blame for the whole sorry mess.
was finally dragged, kicking and screaming, into the twenty-first
century with the purchase of a computer with Internet access, and
after figuring out how to switch the contraption on, I was off like
a greyhound out of the slips!
tackled glitches with gusto, learned what 'de-frag' meant, and began
to surf with a vengeance. At that point I was an innocent, blessing
Bill Gates for inventing all of this stuff that enabled me to see
the webcam at Loch Ness and learn about dairy farming in Hokkaido.
This was terrific fun!!!
then the whispers began, those teeny tiny voices that start somewhere
in the ol' grey cells that have something to do with obsessive behaviour.
" they said, insidious and conniving,
"loook for Rooon
" The voices were very persuasive.
So I typed Ron Perlman into the little box thingy - and just
about fell off my computer chair. The list of Ron Perlman related
sites was endless!!! So, well-trained archivist that I am, I began
to sift through the list in a methodical fashion, and became intrigued
- he had been in another TV series called 'The Magnificent Seven'!
A western series! My favourite!!! And then I discovered fan fiction!
Ohhhh!!!! Lovely! I soon became a devoted fan of Josiah Sanchez, erstwhile
preacher, gunfighter and tortured soul, without ever having seen the
so I began to write. My first story went on-line, and then I was invited
to join a mailing list for Josiah's character. I wrote some more.
Made friends who also went THUD! at the mention of Ron's baby blues.
I was on the long, downward spiral towards Ronaholicism. It grabbed
me tight and wouldn't let go. It was wonderful.
I became hungry for more information, and one of the list members,
Val 'Knower of All Things Ron', took me firmly in hand and fed that
hunger with a steady stream of videos of Ron's work, interviews, Con
appearances - you name it, Val threw it at me to ingest. We would
chat (and still do - it costs us a fortune) on the phone about the
Big Guy, and email each other constantly.
Val, ol' Pal o' mine, said in an aside one evening -
should talk to Pat Paone. You know Pat - does Ron's site, the Perlman
gasped in admiration. THE Site. I gibbered to myself. I had always
been far too shy to contact Pat, who so lovingly follows Ron's career
and makes sure we're all up to date on what he's up to.
for goodness sake, stop gibbering," my dear friend said. "I'll
mail her and tell her you can write."
strictly forbade her to do so. Val being the sensible lady she is,
ignored me and contacted Pat anyway. Pat, bless her heart, took me
under her wing and set me to work doing reviews, knowing full well
that I was only happy, quiet and less troublesome if I was contemplating
Ron and his career.
so my final descent began. The inexorable slide into total lunacy
that has changed me from a staid, sensible, rather boring historian
into a shuffling, muttering nutcase - a woman who spent four and
a half months hassling her local video store to sell her its only
copy of 'Primal Force', and then spent another two weeks trying to
figure out what kind of weaponry Ron's character Frank Brodie used
for a web site review.
sat there, winding and rewinding the tape, my Jane's Infantry Weapons
of 1986 clutched tightly in my hot little hands (the book was a present
from my dear Hubby, who tolerates my obsession with barely controlled
amusement). Was that an M16-A1 or A2??? Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions
that's the situation so far. I must admit to being deliriously happy
in my madness, although I have far more grey hairs that I used to.
Now those I can blame on Ron and no one else - I think I'm getting
ahead on reviews and suchlike, and heave a sigh of relief when they're
all up to date; then what does he do? Makes another film, that's what!!!!
Doesn't the man ever stop working?
I can't complain really. I've walked the ruins of Stalingrad with
Koulikov and slurped hooch laced with battery acid with Johner; I've
read Great Expectations with Vincent, laughed myself silly at Cliff's
impersonations, and been entranced with the sympathetic monster that
is Jerry Paul; I've listened to the whales sing with One, seen Josiah
fight against his inner demons, and I've yelled at the wonderfully
sexy Frank Brodie to get up off his backside and get into the damn
boat more times than I care to mention.
have made wonderful friends, all of whom are card-carrying Ronaholics
like me, and I sincerely haven't laughed so much in years. It has
been - and still is, thank God - tremendous fun.
if you're ever in Aberdeen, Scotland, and see a tall, shambling wreck
of a woman tottering along Union Street wearing a tee shirt that says
'Hey, I'm not the mechanic here, ironsides - I mostly just hurt people!',
don't worry. I'm harmless. Mostly. In fact, stop me for a chat if
you have a mind to, as long as you don't mind talking about the latest
Ron Perlman movie.
friend - what do you think of Ron's gun in Blade Two, then? Pretty
what I mean? Sad. Totally, irrevocably, undeniably sad
Feedback welcome at MASKS2003@hotmail.com