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"Why not give ourselves up to the unrestrained enjoyment of the present?" [MAZA]


Welcome to 2014, where it's still always 1895....In this issue: tips for surviving and enjoying #BSIWeekend, a new documentary titled "How To Be Sherlock Holmes," an explanation of Conan Doyle's resurrection of Holmes, reviews of a variety of new MX Publishing titles, Peter Blau's Scuttlebutt is complete through 2013, "Was Sherlock a drug addict?", 24 misconceptions about Sherlock Holmes, 221B Con announces a special guest, Scintillation of Scions VII announces a line-up of distinguished speakers, and much more in the first Weekly Sherlock Links Compendium of 2014 by Matt Laffey.


I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere put together a survival guide for the beautifully chaotic five days of collective Sherlockian madness alternately known as BSI Weekend in NYC (January 16-19, 2014). In "Tips For Navigating the #BSIWeekend" Scott Monty along with several other members of the Baker Street Irregulars compiled a list of suggestions culled from decades of experience (and, presumably, mistakes learned from) including: the importance of extra carrying devices (all those newly purchased books have to go somewhere); the usefulness of business cards; why inebriation is not recommended prior to giving a toast or lecture; bring a variety of clothing; create a schedule for yourself allowing for travel time; be prepared with maps and apps to get around NYC and use the plethora of online resources available to follow the events live or from home and much more. The official Twitter hashtag is #BSIWeekend - check out @IHearofSherlock's list of Sherlockians on Twitter. It's also not a bad idea to print out the master schedule of events just in case.
The 2009 BSI Dinner, courtesy of Susan Dahlinger

On a personal note, from Wednesday's ASH Dinner to Saturday morning in the Dealer's Room to Sunday's ASH Brunch (hosted by Lyndsay Faye) I'll be posting regularly on Twitter as @always1895​ - and if I can muster up the equipment I'll have a digital recorder and mic with me in an attempt to emulate the great Sherlockian audioist Bill Rabe, responsible for Voices From Baker Street, making Sherlockian-centric field recordings and conducting impromptu interviews, for both online use and posterity. I'm looking forward to seeing those Sherlockians I only get to hang out with once a year as well as making new friends and forging new alliances, so don't be a stranger and make sure to say hello. I'm giddy with excitement and I can't wait for the around the clock Sherlock-o-rama madness to begin!

Canadian Homes Winter 2013/2014 (Volume 36, Number 2) - The Journal of the Bootmakers of Toronto - is now available for download as a PDF and features 36 pages of quality Sherlockian scholarship and news. JoAnn & Mark Alberstat write-up their observations of tourists encountering the John Doubleday bronze Sherlock Holmes statue outside Baker Street tube station on Marylebone Road, Clifford S. Goldfarb & Hartley R. Nathan explore Jewish stereotypes in the Canon (part 2 of a multi-part essay), Elaine McCafferty & Wilfrid de Freitas share some of their insights into legendary Sherlockian Donald A Redmond's work as an author, librarian and Doyle pilgrim, and much more can be found in the latest issue of Canada's premiere journal of Sherlockian scholarship.
[Download the latest issue of Canadian Holmes (Vol. 36, No. 2) from The Bootmakers of Toronto website for free.]

BBC Four announced a Sherlock-centric episode of the documentary program Timeshift titled "How To Be Sherlock Holmes: The Many Faces of the Master Detective" to air at 10 p.m. (GMT) on Sunday, January 12, 2014. "For over 100 years, more than 80 actors have put a varying face to the world's greatest consulting detective - Sherlock Holmes. And many of them incorporated details - such as the curved pipe and the immortal line "Elementary, my dear Watson" - that never featured in Conan Doyle's original stories. In charting the evolution of Sherlock on screen, from early silent movies to the latest film and television versions, Timeshift shows how our notion of Holmes today is as much a creation of these various screen portrayals as of the stories themselves." The narrator of the program Peter Wyngarde is no stranger to the Sherlockian screen having played Langdale Pike in the 1994 Granada adaptation of "The Three Gables" and Baron Gruner in the 1965 BBC adaptation of "The Illustrious Client." Other contributors include Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Tim Pigott-Smith and Mark Gatiss. The Sherlock Holmes Society of London announced on Twitter that their very own Roger Johnson acted as a consultant, a fact that makes me think "How to Be Sherlock Holmes" will rise above the mediocre-to-average Holmes documentaries of the last few years.

[Mark Gatiss who plays Mycroft on BBC Sherlock reflects on Peter Cushing in the role the Great Detective.]

Doyleockian in "Why Was Holmes Resurrected?" demolishes the claim that ACD 'resurrected' Holmes in The Strand due to immense pressure from Sherlock Holmes fans at the time. "Holmes came back only because of money. ACD knew that interest in Holmes was already ramped up as a result of the William Gillette play (based on his original) which had already done very well in the US and was due to d├ębut in the UK that same year. It was a perfect time to churn out a story and capitalize on the extra hype." At a time when the most popular Holmes adaptation on TV is captained by Steven Moffat, an undisputed and committed fan of the Canon, it's difficult to harbor (or even stomach) the thought that the creator of Sherlock Holmes was anything but an ardent believer - in fact ACD considered Holmes a thorn in his side and a diversion from his more important historical fiction. Writing to his mother, ACD said of Holmes: "He takes my mind from better things." I've always thought that the famous Punch illustration by Bernard Partridge (see below) from 1926 sums up ACD's feelings most accurately: ACD is shown chained at the ankles while a Paget-esque Holmes holds the other end of the chains, opposed to being chained-up to ACD. But as Alistair Duncan points out, Holmes made ACD a very rich man.

[Bernard Partridge illustration from a 1926 issue of Punch, a weekly British magazine of satire and humor - coincidentally many early Punch covers were drawn by ACD's uncle Richard Doyle, a noted Victorian illustrator.]
Dan Andriacco recently posted a few book reviews, prefacing his latest post with a humorous analysis of the current state of the online world: "Some readers of this blog may have noticed that it has been something of a BBC Sherlock-free zone. While the rest of the Sherlock Holmes blogosphere and Twitterverse have been consumed with Season Three, Baker Street Beat has taken no notice." Ha! Andriacco is just too cool for school I guess! (I joke.) Instead of rigorously speculating on the meaning of "Redbeard" he reviews The Immortals: An Unauthorized Guide to Sherlock and Elementary (MX Publishing, 2013) by Matthew J. Elliot, an analysis of all of the 2012-2013 Sherlockian TV adaptations including plot summaries as well as "Holmes's notable moments, Notable moments of the police regulars, Identification of material drawn from the Canon, Sex and romantic relationships, Drug references, Logical inconsistencies..." and much more. And for all the Cumberbunnies out there, Andriacco recommends Benedict Cumberbatch in Transition: An Unauthorized Performance Biography (MX Publishing, 2013) by Lynnette Porter. Finally, if pastiches featuring Holmes versus historic villains from literature or history is your thing, Andriacco invites you to check out the graphic novel Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein (MX Publishing) by Luke Kuhns and artist Marcie Klinger. So get off the couch and grab a book and then get back on the couch and do some reading!

[Cover art for Luke Kuhns and Marcie Klinger's Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein on MX.]

Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, Peter Blau's legendary list of Sherlockian news, events, etc., is updated through December 2013. Topics include a conference in Davos by The Reichenbach Irregulars in September 2014, a board game based Neil Gaiman's Sherlock/Lovecraft pastiche "A Study in Emerald," a Sherlock-centric shop on Etsy by Chris Caswell who formerly owned a bookstore in Southern California called Sherlock's Home, Judith Freeman's index to The Serpentine Muse complete through 2013 as an Excel spreadsheet, and tons more from Peter Blau's original Sherlock Links list.
[Click here for a PDF of the Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press for all of 2013.]

Sherlock Peoria in "Was Sherlock Holmes a casualty in the War on Drugs?" considers the relationship between Popular Culture (and stoner bookstore clerks) and the perennial question: "Was Holmes a drug addict?" Brad Keefauver's post was inspired by a recent Twitter post (by one Martin Montague) of a letter ACD's son Denis Conan Doyle wrote to The Lancet in 1937: "Your contributor's interesting notes on cocaine poisoning give the erroneous impression that Holmes was a "drug addict". As a matter of actual fact, my father neither conceived nor depicted Sherlock Holmes as a drug addict. He was represented as one of those rare individuals who use drugs sparingly and occasionally, and who are the masters rather than the slaves of the drug concerned." Keefauver seems to be of the strong opinion that Holmes was indeed NOT a drug addict, dismissing opportunist Nicholas Meyer's novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974) and chastising noted Sherlockian Jack Tracy for his Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson (1978) for portraying the Great Detective as a bonafide cocaine addict. Whether you think Holmes was a hopeless dope fiend junky dirtbag or an intellectual dabbler with Herculean will power - there's textual evidence for both opinions in the Canon - Keefauver's essay comes at a time when many impressionable young Sherlockian minds are watching adaptations of Holmes as recovering heroin addict (Miller in Elementary); Holmes as reckless drinker of embalming fluid (Robert Downey Jr in A Game of Shadows); and/or Holmes as a three nicotine patches at a time 'wink wink nudge nudge' possible drug user (Cumberbatch in Sherlock).

[Denis' letter to the editor of The Lancet from 1937 - this is my first time reading about Denis' stance on the Holmes/addict question and now I need to track down the editor's column that sparked said response. If you're interested, the Denis Conan Doyle letter pictured above appeared in The Lancet "Volume 229, Issue 5918, January 30, 1937, Pages 292 Originally published as Volume 1, Issue 5918" which is available online if you have access to an academic library's online subscription service.]

221B Con - the second annual Sherlock Holmes convention happening in Atlanta, GA on April 4 - 6, 2014 - posted a few announcements and requests this past week: 1) Nicholas Briggs, a producer and actor for Big Finish audiobooks as well as the voice of Daleks and Cybermen in Doctor Who, will be joining the Guest & Performers line-up, 2) 221B Con needs your photos from last year for promotional material, 3) additional comments regarding the 2014 programming list eg. due to the 'mature' nature of some panels like BDSM/Kink there will be a late-night, 18 and up programming section (and since the majority of the conference is all-ages the 18+ programming will not be listed on the general schedule) and 4) information about and a request for help for the 221B Con Tea Party (eg. dietary requests, games, cosplay ideas). Attendees from last year are still raving about 221B Con so mark your calendars, book you plane/train/bus ticket and start sewing your cosplay costume! For a taste of what to expect, check put the edifying and amusing audio recordings from 221B Con 2013 on the Baker Street Babes website.

[Nicholas Briggs as Sherlock Holmes in The Ordeals ofd Sherlock Holmes Box Set on Big Finish.]

Scintillation of Scions VII, happening June 6 - 7, 2014 in Hanover, Maryland (outside of Baltimore), announced the line-up of speakers for their seventh annual gathering of Sherlockians called to order by organizer Jacquelyn Morris. If I didn't have to recuse myself for being among said list, I would be forced to admit that it's quite a distinguished group of Sherlockians, leaning heavily towards Sherlockian Internet/online personalities that you know and love (or 'hate' if you're CBS's Elementary production staff) as well as stellar Sherlockians from a variety of backgrounds. Speakers include: Jan Burke, Carla Coupe, Brad Keefauver, Toni L.P Kelner, Matt Laffey, Scott Monty, Ashley Polasek, Lynne Stephens, Karen Wilson & Stephen Welbourn and Vincent W. Wright. Register early to ensure a place at what is quickly becoming one of the most respected yearly Sherlockian conferences.

[Stay tuned for information on what this diverse group of Sherlockians will be discussing in the coming weeks.]

Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter by author Tim Symonds is the perfect remedy for pastiche fans who are a bit tired of the usual Sherlock Holmes versus 'insert famous historical villain here' tropes; instead Symonds challenges Holmes in new and exciting ways: "The Dean of a Swiss university persuades Sherlock Holmes to investigate the background of a would-be lecturer. To Dr. Watson it seems a very humdrum commission - but who is the mysterious 'Lieserl'? How does her existence threaten the ambitions of the technical assistant level III in Room 86 at the Federal Patents Office in Berne by the name of Albert Einstein?"

[Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter (MX Publishing, 2014) by Tim Symonds.]

Sherlockian Sherlock - everyone's favorite Hungarian Holmes website - not only keeps the memory of the Great Detective green, but is also concerned with keeping said memory true and accurate. In "Common Misbeliefs About Sherlock Holmes" the authors tackle 24 widespread misbeliefs and misconceptions about Sherlock Holmes. Misconceptions dispelled range from serious accusations such as 'Holmes was racist' or 'Holmes used drugs all the time' to the slightly more mundane like 'Holmes was a handsome man' or 'Holmes was untidy'. Slightly more controversial topics tackled include Holmes' religious beliefs and Holmes' sexual orientation; though many are classic Sherlockian topics such as Holmes' ontological status, the origins of "Elementary, my dear Watson" and whether or not Holmes had Asperger's Syndrome. Perhaps the most timely issue addressed is whether adaptations which depict Holmes in a contemporary setting damage or detract from the essence of Sherlock Holmes. Whether you agree or disagree with the various points, you'll certainly appreciate the sincerity and seriousness in which these Hungarian Sherlockians defend their beliefs.

[24 Misconceptions about Sherlock Holmes dispelled by the editors of Sherlockian-Sherlock, dedicated and passionate Sherlockians from Hungary.]
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