Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 1 - January 4, 2013)

Welcome to Always1895.net in 2013!! Mr Ray Wilcockson started the new year with a bang by announcing that the calendar for the year 1895 is identical to that of 2013, a happy coincidence which I hope to make use of throughout the next 365 days. Observe the calendar for 1895 below and then compare it to a calendar for 2013 (eg. Vincent Starrett's birthday, October 26, falls on a Saturday on both calendars). Now all I need to do is find an intact vintage calendar from 1895 and hang it on my wall.  

Every year around this time I enjoy re-visiting various accounts of the history and culture of the BSI. Classic texts written by Sherlockians include: Steve Rothman’s The Standard Doyle Company, Jon Lellenberg’s BSI Archival History (Vols. 1-5) and Edgar W Smith’s Profile By Gaslight. On the audio front, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere has recorded a few excellent BSI Weekend-centric episodes containing reviews by and personal reflections from hosts Burt Wolder and Scott Monty: 2010 Weekend In Review (Ep 23), Michael Whelan, Wiggins of the BSI (Ep 14-15) and Peter Blau (Ep 6-7). The Internet, not surprisingly, contains some choice contemporary blog posts: “A Curious Constitution" looks at the BSI’s constitution composed by legend Elmer Davis, Brad Keefauver’s satirical essay on the underlying logic of admittance into and quotas for the BSI “Who’s Getting Into the BSI”, and finally, Ms Lyndsay Faye’s “Inside the Baker Street Irregulars" is an invaluable and fascinating look at what exactly happens during BSI Weekend from an insider’s perspective.

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[1895 = 2013.]

Baker Street Journal created quite a stir with their announcement of a new edition of the BSJ archive. The new e-BSJ adds 55 issues (from 2001 - 2011) covering 1954 to 2011 as well including the BSJ Xmas Annuals. Improvements include fresh PDF scans with more advanced OCR and increased search reliability, particularly in regards to the somewhat problematic issues from the 1950s. Priced at an extremely reasonable $149.95, the entire set is contained on a single DVD (opposed to 4 CDs). For information regarding the new archive along with details on how to receive a $100 discount (for a limited time only), download and read this PDF which explains the BSJ CD-ROM Trade-In/Upgrade Program. After subscribing to the BSJ and attending meetings of your local scion, I consider owning/using the e-BSJ set as one of the most essential aspects of being an active Sherlockian. I dream about getting a new iPad Mini and loading it up with full runs of the electronic versions of the Baker Street Journal, the Sherlock Holmes Journal, Baker Street Miscellanea and whatever other Sherlockian journal/chapbook scans I can find - and then head out to a cabin in the woods for a month. For the future of Sherlockian e-publishing, check out publisher George A. Vanderburgh’s Battered Silicon Dispatch Box (e-books) and Barbara and Christopher Roden’s Calabash Press (click for available e-books).

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[Who knew that so much, written by so many, for so few would be less than 5 gbs?]

No Place Like Holmes has become the virtual host for The Howard Ostrom Holmes & Watson Collection: “For over 30 Years Howard Ostrom has been determinedly creating an unrivaled collection in his home in Winter Springs Florida of a gallery of autographed photos of all those actors who have played the Great Detective and Doctor in some form or another. From well known ones such as Hollywood blockbuster’s Downey and Law, ‘The Holmes To End all Holmes’, television’s Jeremy Brett, war time cinematic legends Bruce and Basil to such rarities as William Gillette, the first actor ever to play the role [of Holmes who] went on to perform the play over 1,300 times.” You need to see this collection to believe it.

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[Just one of the one hundred or so framed pictures with autographs and other memorabilia. The above image features Buster Keaton in the classic silent film Sherlock Jr. (1922), a parody.]

Baker Street Babes re-posted mid0nz's essay “The Most Beautiful Object on the 221B Set” about the binoculars on BBC Sherlock’s desk as well as the object below “designed in 1897 by León Bloch who in 1912, with Edmund Bloch, invented “Le Sherlock Holmes,” a stealth camera disguised as a small briefcase!” Make sure to read the entire piece and follow the links for a fascinating look at Edwardian Era brilliance. Also, I kind of really want one of these for myself now.

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[Two Inventions by León Bloch: binoculars and briefcase camera.]

Sherlockian.net - one of the oldest and most respected Holmes-centric websites whose Canadian proprietor Christopher Redmond has been a player in the Sherlockian world since he was in his mid-teens - announced his first annual award for “the best Sherlockian book I read” during the preceding calendar year (in honor of Marlene R. Aig, a Sherlockian who departed this mortal coil in 1996). For 2012 the winning book is Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman. Imagine the Canon if it was seen and described from the perspective of Col. Sebastian Moran (nickname: ‘Basher’) as he goes about the nefarious and sordid daily business of being the Napoleon of Crime’s right-hand man, engaged in blackmail, assassination, revenge, robbery, and all manner of assault, intimidation and ruthless skulduggery. A remarkable number of famous Victorian literary characters - or what, according to Mr Redmond, Christopher Morley called “Victorian corn" (eg. The CreeperRaffles and BunnyDr Mabuse) - make cameos along with minor characters from the Canon (Stamford, Irene Adler). Make sure to read Redmond’s review and then run out and buy MoriartyNote: Don’t forget that Kim Newman is giving the 2013 BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecturer.

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[Sherlockian.net’s Chris Redmond names Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles as his top book of 2012.]

Sherlock. Everywhere. announced the imminent release of the The Wrong Passage the “eighth book in the BSI Manuscript Series which reproduces the manuscript of “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez" and includes scholarly chapters on the manuscript, Conan Doyle’s writing of it, its publication, and other interesting aspects of the story." Edited by Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andy Solberg, I can’t wait to add this volume to the ACD manuscripts section of my bookcase. It will be available for purchase during the BSI Weekend and afterwards at bakerstreetjournal.com.

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[Looking forward to picking this up at The Merchant’s Room and then having Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andy Solberg inscribe it.]

Quick Sherlock Links:

Maria Konnikova counts down the days until Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.is released (January 3, 2013) and posts advanced reviews from Kirkus ReviewsPsychology Today, and Scientific American. In you’re in the NYC area on Monday, January 7, 2013 check out Ms Konnikova at BookCourt in Brooklyn reading from her, hot off the presses, Mastermind.

Dallas Morning News ran a profile on Don Hobbs (along with an excellent photo of Mr Hobbs among his collection), a Sherlockian who is best known for his insanely huge collection of books from the Canon in translation. Read a former colleague of Hobbs Mr Brad Keafauver's response here.

Sherlock Peoria considers whether or not the net is building better Sherlockians. I particularly enjoyed the following: “As this blog is really an extension of an ongoing Sherlockian commentary that started in a monthly newsletter in 1983, I don’t really consider it a part of the new age of online Sherlockian fandom. There are far too many cranky old guy notions floating around my Sherlockian brain, so I’m always delighted to see fresh work from new folk.”

Doyleockian mentioned that The Passengers’ Log, journal of Australia’s Sherlockian society The Sydney Passengers, recently reviewed his An Entirely New Country

Doctor Who (*spoilers*) recently aired it’s 2012 Xmas special “The Snowmen" which took place in Victorian London and wouldn’t you know, Mr Sherlock Holmes makes an appearance! If you are at all familiar with the latest incarnation of the (the 11th) Doctor, you’ll notice that the Great Detective is actually the Doctor (played by Matt Smith), but it’s still one of the most enjoyable three minutes of TV I watched all Christmas (view the scene here). Again, if you’re familiar with Doctor Who you’ll know that the show’s main producer/writer is Steven Moffat who also just happens to be the producer/writer of BBC Sherlock, which makes this scene all the more satisfying.

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[Matt Smith as Sherlock Holmes.]

Kafers reflects on her last two years as a Baker Street Babe and as a Sherlockian: “Without the Babes, I often wonder if I would have stagnated and never tried to reach for something more. Maria, Ardy and Kristina, as well as a lot of honorary Babes and some other friends who have come and gone, gave me some of the best experiences in my life to date.”

Digital Victorianist published a piece “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Repeat Prescription” comparing the current Beechams ad campaign (“Shorn of his deductive powers by a troublesome head cold, Holmes only regains his crime-solving abilities thanks to a timely dose of Beechams Ultra All In One”) to a series of Beechams Pills advertisements from 1893 which also featured the Great Detective. The contemporary commercial is almost too painful to watch (“Aha! It was the Butler!” Really?) and the 1893 advertisements are rather predictable, but I was shocked to learn that the original Beechams Pills were in production up until 1999 - as far as fake medicine goes, patent medicine is so much cooler than the boring contemporary homeopathic craze. For an excellent survey of Sherlock-themed advertising over the last 100 years or so I highly recommend Bill Blackbeard's Sherlock Holmes in America.

Contact Music dropped a bit of a bombshell this week when announcing that Dame Judi Dench has been contacted to play the role of Mrs Hudson for an upcoming TV adaptation of Sherlock Holmes: “The Oscar winner is in talks to portray the super snoop’s loyal employee Mrs. Hudson in a new show based on her journals, called A View From The Landing At 221B Baker Street. The script has been penned by British comedy writer Barry Cryer and his son, Bob, and the pair is adamant the Bond actress is the perfect person for the job. Cryer tells Britain’s Daily Mail, “It’s all at a very early stage but it would be brilliant if Dame Judi were to play Mrs. Hudson. She would be ideal.” For more information about A View From the Landing, check out this BBC Sherlock Fan forum thread.

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[The future Mrs Hudson.]

Better Homes & Gardens reviewed The Crucifer of Blood featuring Charlton Heston as Sherlock Holmes. The 1991 film is based on a Paul Giovanni's play of the same name which featured a pre-Granada Jeremy Brett playing the part of Dr Watson in the 1980 Los Angeles production.

Dan Andriacco wishes The Master an early Happy Birthday: “After all, according to Vincent Starrett’s beloved sonnet 221B, Holmes and his devoted friend Dr John H. Watson “never lived and so can never die.” Some Sherlockians may disagree with the first assertion, but none would doubt the second.” I couldn’t agree more.

Markings looks at “the good doctor’s contribution to our appreciation of how and why Sherlock Holmes solves the case of “The Blue Carbuncle”” by breaking down and analyzing a number of features of the story including: the Reminiscing Narrator, the Dramatic Narrative, An Intellectual Problem, A Practical Case, the Application of Advanced Skills and Perfectionist & Professional Pride along with notes on writing like Watson. Another fine post by Mr Ray Wilcockson.

National Review conducted an interview with Loren Estleman, author of Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula on Titan. Listen to the 10 minute audio interview here.

My Tin Dispatch Box gave high marks to Sherlock Holmes And The Lyme Regis Trials by David Ruffle in her review of the third volumes in the Lyme Regis Trilogy.

Twyla, a Twitter web app that organizes your Twitter posts into a very readable web magazine-looking thing, was recently brought to my attention by Mr Joe Riggs. Check out the sharp-looking Twyla version of his Twitter at: tweets.theworldofjoeriggs.com.

Victoriana Magazine has an excellent primer to Victorian Balls including Victorian dress for men and women, comportment on the night of the ball, at the ball and after the ball is over. Just to give you a taste of what’s involved: “In a private Victorian ball or party, it was proper for a lady to show reserve, and not manifest more preference for one gentleman than another - she would dance with all who asked properly. Ladies would avoid talking too much during the dance; it was also in bad taste to whisper continually in the ear of her partner.” For anyone planning on attending the Baker Street Babes' The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball, this guide to proper behavior will be essential, I’m sure.

Bookish Adventures posted a series of animated GIFs of classic Paget-inspired scenes brought to life by Granada’s Jeremy Brett and David Burke. 

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[Click the above image for a series of animated GIFs featuring JB and DB channeling Paget.]

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