Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (October 6 - October 12, 2012)
UTV blogger and travel writer David Gordon shares his experience of his recent trip with the Sherlock Holmes Society of London to the infamous Reichenbach Falls: “To be honest, standing there surrounded by Holmes, Watson, Queen Victoria and all these people in their costumes, virtually living as their personas, it was hard to remember that Holmes was a fictional character. The Society members take their roles quite seriously and obviously use it as an ‘escape’ from their usual life. Members I spoke to included Teachers, Lawyers, Police Officers and Doctors.” On a related note, the SHSL recently put out Return to the Reichenbach: A Sherlock Holmes Swiss Account Book ”produced to mark our 7th pilgrimage to Switzerland in 2012 and features an eclectic mix of articles related to that fateful (and fatal) journey of 1891.” I can’t wait to go on a SHSL Reichenbach pilgrimage on day. Update: The SHSL updated their Flickr just now with an album dedicated to their 2012 Pilgrimage from which the following photograph is taken:
[Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty’s infamous 1891 showdown at the Reichenbach Falls (as related by Dr Watson in “The Final Problem”) is recreated by two Sherlock Holmes Society of London members during the SHSL 2012 Swiss Pilgrimage. Click the image for the full SHSL Flickr set.]
Dan Andriacco in “Sherlock Holmes, Jack Johnson & Al Capone” posted one of the better interviews with a pastiche author I’ve read in a while: “Samuel Williams, Jr. has written a fascinating novel called Anomalous, featuring the thug Steve Dixie from “The Adventure of the Three Gables”” which also includes an appearance by legendary Chicago boxer Jack Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908-1915) and a cameo by Al Capone. Mr Andriacco begins the interview with: “Q: What sparked your interest [in Sherlock Holmes] and how did it develop? A: When I was a student in high school, I read all of the Holmes Canon. I fell in love with Doyle’s style of storytelling as well. However, I was disturbed that the only black male character ever depicted in Holmes lore was a criminal, grafter, and thief. I wanted to write Anomalous and give Steve Dixie some redemptive value.” Intrigued? Read the entire article and then check out Williams’ Anomalous from MX Publishing. Note: Without giving away any of the story, check the dates in which Jack Johnson was heavyweight champion in Chicago (c. 1912) and then recall the movements of a certain British double-agent by the name of Altamount leading up to the events in “His Last Bow”. Lastly, Sherlock pastiche master Philip K Jones posted a lengthy, 4 out of 5 star Amazon review this week: “this is a very entertaining and plausible book. It is informative and intriguing with a close-up view of some very unpleasant aspects of early Twentieth Century racial relations as well as a vivid picture of some extremely interesting characters. The author has taken a great deal of care to keep within the bounds of The Canon. His characters are very well drawn and have a lot of attractive features, even his villains.”
[The character of Steve Dixie is explored in this pastiche set in Chicago c. 1912.]
MX Publishing - the Sherlockian publishers of Dan Andriacco, Alistair Duncan, Charlotte Anne Walters, and Kieran McMullen as well as Max Pemberton’s Wheels of Anarchy and a collection of Bertram Fletcher Robinson short stories - posted a poignant reminder that the fight to Save Undershaw has just begun: “Undershaw will soon enter its toughest phase, the fundraising to restore this great building and now we need to build up the global network of fans that will ensure the success of the fundraising team. The legal battle is reaching the end of the process, but the hard work is just beginning.” You can help out by visiting the Facebook page for Save Undershaw, checking out Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House or any of these six MX books that have royalties going towards the Undershaw Preservation Trust, making a purchase from the Save Undershaw Shop and/or spreading around this excellent video of Mark Gatiss - patron saint of the Save Undershaw cause - spelling out why saving the home of ACD is an important and worthwhile endeavor that you should care about.
[Mr Mark Gatiss, umbrella in hand, looks forlornly at the disgraceful state in which the former home of ACD has fallen.]
Alistair Duncan posted a rather provocative essay this week entitled ”Have We Become Greedy Sherlockians?” which seeks to answer the questions: “Have we as a fan body become so obsessed with Sherlock Holmes that we will consume almost anything that has the name of Holmes attached? Are we in danger of losing the original article amongst all the material (some of it very tenuous) that is coming out?” Mr Duncan is not simply being a reactionary curmudgeon, bent on pointlessly and vindictively raining on everyone’s Sherlockian Parade by suggesting that there might be hidden dangers in the recent flood of Sherlock-themed ‘stuff’ (e.g. TV shows, pastiches, merchandise, websites, commercials, websites, junky iPhone apps, etc.). It’s more than obvious to anyone that’s familiar with Mr Duncan’s work over the last few years that he not only cares deeply about ACD and Sherlock Holmes, but has also dedicated a significant portion of his life to the serious study Doyle qua writer (cf. Close To Holmes, The Norwood Author, Eliminate the Impossible, etc,). Instead of targeting specific examples, Duncan suggests that we spend a little time reflectiong on what makes a particular Sherlock item a ‘Sherlock item’: “if you picked almost any Sherlock Holmes pastiche and replaced all canonical characters with brand new ones that just happened to have similar traits would it still sell in the same numbers? If we’re honest we all know that the answer would be no in the majority of cases.” As an interesting supplement to his argument, an interview with Dame Jean Doyle is referenced wherein ACD’s daughter warns of the potential for “distortions” to Holmes in an environment where “people [take] advantage of the original creation”. Make sure to read Duncan’s entire article.
[Are we in danger of too much Sherlock?]
Brad Keefauver’s blog is quickly becoming not only one of my favorite Sherlockian blogs, but also the Sherlockian blog I’m most excited to read based on his ‘straight shooter’ approach to many of the so-called ‘controversial’ contemporary Holmes topics that many other blogs either politely side-step or completely ignore. Once again, Mr Keefauver continues to disparage CBS’s Elementary, though in fresh and creative (and often hilarious) ways - much to the chagrin of many Sherlockians and Holmes-enthusiasts on the Internet who, oddly enough, don’t’ seem to particularly like or enjoy Elementary themselves but insist that we all keep an “open mind’ because “you know, it might be good or whatever” (I’m paraphrasing). Keefauver has this to say about said position: “While it might be taking it a bit far to say a certain current production’s use of the name “Sherlock Holmes” on its main character could be the beginnings of Sherlockian Civil War, I wouldn’t rule it out just yet. If someone brought a cat into the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and half of the participants called it a dog, the serious dog-loving half might be polite and go along with the delusion for a few minutes, but eventually trouble would erupt. And while Sherlock Holmes fandom isn’t as strict as Westminster (at least in most quarters), I do find myself looking at the comments of many an old comrade like they just brought a cat into the dog show.” If certain Corporate non-Benign conglomerateS (see what I did there?) are committing acts of semantic and/or cultural sabotage (eg. calling a cat a dog and then putting pressure on dog lovers to accept said cat-called-dog as a bonafide cat using the “just give it a chance” tactic, a cynical ploy that unfortunately works best on sincerely open-minded people by taking advantage of and exploiting their open-mindedness) it’s important to stand up to them and say “Sorry, no…that creature you insist on calling a dog is really a cat and therefore can’t be entered in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.” Cats and dogs aside, in order to avoid what Keefauver half-jokingly calls a Sherlockian civil war, Sherlockians need to decide how comfortable or uncomfortable they are with Corporate non-Benign conglomerateS dictating from on high what authentic expressions of Sherlock Holmes are - opposed to the ‘bottom-up’, reader-based culture Sherlockiana has thrived in for the last 100 years.
[If it does come down to all out civil war, I want this crew on my side!]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Radio Times reports on a recent comment made by Benedict Cumberbatch regarding the respect and admiration BC has for Jeremy Brett: “Even when I was younger I was still struck by this extraordinary hawk-like, magisterial, cold disconnect…And this incredible physique, as well - that wonderful beak of a nose, the swept back hair, the lips and those slightly mad eyes, which, sadly, became a lot madder.”
The British Library recently added a scan of the first page of the original ACD manuscript for “The Adventure of the Missing Three Quarter” with corrections, cross-outs and margin notes. I’m a sucker for original ACD manuscripts and this hi-res scan is a thing of beauty:
[Title on the first page of the MISS manuscript.]
Markings, the blog of Ray Wilcockson, cycles through a variety of advice in letter form from one Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to one Mr Benedict Cumberbatch on the topics of proper bicycle deportment, sartorial refinement and ‘tyre’ choice (Palmer Tyres of course!). Great and hilarious stuff! Make sure to follow Mr Wilcockson on Twitter as well: @raywilcockson.
[“Heidegger’s tyres were Palmer’s, leaving longitudinal stripes.” (PRIO)]
NJ News, in a dramatic sign that Sherlock Holmes is reaching entirely new levels of popularity, mentioned an upcoming scion meeting of the Red-Headed League of NJ - “a local Sherlock Holmes society, will be held Friday, Oct. 19, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Madeline’s at 518 Vosseller Ave., Bound Brook, NJ. New members and guests are welcome.” For a complete listing of Sherlockian events in your area, check out the always reliable and always amazing Sherlockian Calendar.
The Baker Street Blog published a submission from The John Openshaw Society, a recently re-booted scion from Houston, Texas. Further information about the John Openshaw Society can be found at their website and on their Facebook page. Even though I live a million miles from the Lone Star state, I look forward to following their development.
[“A group of people located in Houston from different backgrounds, professions, and areas of life. We get together under one common interest: Sherlock Holmes. At JOS, we meet to discuss anything and everything related to Sherlock Holmes and his trustworthy biographer, Dr. John Watson.”]
Tea at 221B uploaded one of my favorite illustrations of one of my favorite scenes by one of my favorite illustrators from one of my favorite stories from the Canon: Frederic Dorr Steele’s drawing of Holmes showing Watson his fine “collection of M’s” from “The Adventure of the Empty House” - Moriarty, Moran, and other nefarious personalities can all of course be found under “M” in Holmes Good Ol’ Index. I would love to acquire a nice print of this FDS illustration one day:
[“Well, well, such is fame! But, then, if I remember right, you had not heard the name of Professor James Moriarty, who had one of the great brains of the century. Just give me down my index of biographies from the shelf.” He turned over the pages lazily, leaning back in his chair and blowing great clouds from his cigar. “My collection of M’s is a fine one,” said he. “Moriarty himself is enough to make any letter illustrious, and here is Morgan the poisoner, and Merridew of abominable memory, and Mathews, who knocked out my left canine in the waiting-room at Charing Cross, and, finally, here is our friend of to-night….[Col. Moran]”]
NYU Local imagines a three-way deathmatch between BBC Sherlock, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and CBS’s Elementary based on the following criteria: Closest to the original Conan Doyle, Most Action-Packed, Most Radical Update, Best Music and Best Sherlock + Watson Pairing. If I had written this article, I would have instead chosen much more pertinent criteria such as: Least likely to have offended Vincent Starrett, Best avoidance of Sherlockisms (cf. Fr. Ronald Knox’s “Sherlockismus”) and longest time period (in minutes) from the start of the pilot until introducing Moriarty; on this last account we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes Elementary to ‘dream up’ some serial killer-cum-super-villain for Sherlock and Joan to do battle (one can only assume sweeps week?).
The Well-Read Sherlockian reviews an MX release entitled Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman by David Ruffle: a fascinating sounding children’s book (!) which features Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson on the case of a young girl’s missing ‘friend’.
221B Con - the “fan con for all things Sherlock Holmes” happening in Atlanta, Georgia on April 13th - 14th 2013 put together by Taylor of the Baker Street Babes - continues to announce the addition of special guests and events to an already action-packed sounding Events and Programming schedule. Don’t forget to follow @221bcon on Twitter for updated information.
Sherlopalooza is the upcoming communal screening of BBC Sherlock Series 2 along with a Q&A with series creatives, happening on November 17th, 2012 in London. Put together by the Baker Street Babes & the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Sherlopalooza already has an interesting buzz surrounding it and is clearly the place to be if you’re in London in late November.
[Sherlopalooza: Nine straight hours of Sherlock awesome!]
Special & Rare On a Stick, the blog by keeper of the Sherlock Holmes Collection at the University of Minnesota Library Tim Johnson, reviews CBS’s Elementary. Click to see just what ‘The Man With the Greatest Job On the Planet‘ thinks of the latest attempt to adapt Sherlock Holmes to the small screen.
Kieran McMullen announced that MX is publishing a book version of Mr McMullen’s ‘The Many Watsons’ blog - a series that should be very familiar to longtime readers of Always1895.net - entitled appropriately enough The Many Watsons with “royalties from this book [going] towards the Undershaw Preservation Trust.”
[Kieran McMullen’s The Many Watsons should prove to be a valuable resource for those Sherlockians (or Watsonians) interested in the multifarious interpretations of Watson on the big and small screens over the last one-hundred years.]
The Chattanoogan announced a fairly comprehensive sounding class being offered this Fall entitled “The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes And Conan Doyle”. As if ACD and Sherlock weren’t enough: “Included in the class fee are tea and a different English dessert each week.”
[These two slackers are clearly taking the class just for the tea and crumpets!]
[Click to see Holmes in all his pipe smoking animated glory!]
- happytogether6779 reblogged this from always1895
- threebeerproblem reblogged this from always1895
- infiniteprotemfandom likes this
- nicserenity likes this
- mxpublishing likes this
- mxpublishing reblogged this from always1895
- semioticsofdeduction reblogged this from curlyfoureyes
- glenbulb likes this
- daysofstorm reblogged this from curlyfoureyes
- astrafteri reblogged this from curlyfoureyes
- curlyfoureyes reblogged this from always1895
- always1895 posted this