"smirking at his own reflection" [STUD]
As 2015 draws to a close, we have much to be thankful for. It's been a banner year here at I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, thanks in no small part to our growing community of contributors, readers and listeners.
As such, we thought it might be a decent time to reflect on how far we've come and share that progress with you. And rather than take you through the calendar year, we thought we'd divide things up into categories, because that makes for more interesting reading.
By the Numbers"there are the numbers" [SILV]
While it may seem trifling and silly to sum up the team's considerable efforts with a few figures, we thought it might help put things in perspective. You see, when the causal reader sees an email here, a tweet there, a Facebook update there, it's a piece of content that's simply passing by. We don't have the advantage of sitting on a shelf like so many issues of The Baker Street Journal, so the cumulated IHOSE works may not seem as impressive. But we assure you, they are.
- 1,000: we reached a milestone of 1,000 entries on June 4, 2015 (ihose.co/ihose1000) and took some time to reflect on what we accomplished.
- 199: entries we posted in 2015. This is our highest ever — the previous being 160 entries in 2007.
- 44%: the percent of those 199 entries that were written by contributors to the site (more on our contributors below).
- 17: contributors who added their own unique stamp on IHOSE content this year.
- 15: podcast episodes of our audio program, which changed format toward the end of the year. We're now up to 87 episodes since we launched the show in 2007.
- 11: terraces on which we stood for those who passed beyond the Reichenbach this year, although there were many more we chose not to publish because of editorial priorities.
- 10: years since we began this little experiment. Our first entry (still titled "The Baker Street Blog" — the former name of this site before we combined the podcast and site) was made on August 10, 2005.
- 2: sponsors who have been with us faithfully: Wessex Press, which has been a sponsor since Episode 27 (August 2010); and The Baker Street Journal, since Episode 41 (April 2012).
The Technical"mostly of a technical character" [SPEC]
We're pleased to have avoided any major overhaul of the site this year. The responsive design we continue to use ensures that the site is viewable on any type of device, and more of our visitors are viewing our site on mobile devices. With any luck, we'll avoid any heavy lifting in 2016 with regard to site design.
We purchased the ihose.co domain this year, which we've been using for link shortening through the Bitly service. The convention with our podcast is ihose.co/ihose[shownumber], such as ihose.co/ihose85 for Episode 85. Similarly, we've used other abbreviations for frequently referenced links, such as ihose.co/flipsherlock for our Flipboard magazine or ihose.co/221Bstickers for our oval stickers. And we've gotten over our own fear of referring to the site as "IHOSE," as it just makes it easier to refer to.
And in case you'd like to get around the site on your own rather than read through the interminable updates below, here's a quick video to explain how to navigate our written archives:
Our Show"Now, then, listen to this" [SIGN]
If you haven't yet had the opportunity to listen to one of our shows, we invite you to try it out: ihearofsherlock.com/podcast. Don't let the term podcast hold you back. It's simply listening to audio over the web, either on your phone or your computer.
We've integrated the quiz segment "Mental Exaltation" more regularly, with Nick Martorelli as our intrepid quizmaster. We offer prizes to lucky participants on every other show. All you have to do to qualify is answer a question each month here on the site.
A significant change we elected to make was to increase the frequency of the show. Because of the number of topics and interview guests we'd like to cover and interact with, it made more sense. So rather than one show a month, we're now producing two shows a month — one on the 15th and one on the 30th — that alternate between interviews and commentary between Burt and Scott.
One thing that we added specifically for the listeners of our show is an option to support us on a regular basis through Patreon. The system only charges our patrons when we've produced an episode, and gives us a chance to recognize our supporters at different levels.
We're pleased to have Mary Miller and Christian Mongaard on board as top supporters to date.
Our Contributors"and have even contributed to the literature of the subject" [REDH]
Without question, our enterprise has become a team effort. Without the wonderfully unique and different perspectives that our contributors bring, the voice of IHOSE would be limited indeed. In 2015, we had a combination of contributors new and old; of the 17 individuals who submitted material, seven of them did so for the first time in 2015. You can find brief biographies of each our our Meet the Team page at ihose.co/ihoseteam.
But we'd like to acknowledge each for his or her effort here, with three stand-outs below.
- Tac Anderson — our Amazon-employed reviewer got busy with work this year, so his output was diminished. But we're glad to know he's with IMDb.com now.
- Gordon Dymowski — one of our stalwart reviewers, he has a particular interest in comics.
- Tim Greer — we're thrilled to have last year's Morley-Montgomery Award winner as part of our ranks, and Tim is an expert at prodding us with ideas.
- Peter Holmstrom* — Peter joined us once this year to cover the I Am Lost Without My Boswell radio project. We hope to hear more from him on this subject in the future.
- Francine Kitts — dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the IHOSE editorial team, Francine's job is the least glamorous; at the BSI dinner, she provides the obituaries for Irregulars who have passed. We've been working with her to chronicle some of them here.
- Katie Magnusson — always eager with her desire to take up her keyboard to write reviews when we post opportunities, Katie has sometimes missed out on claiming them by minutes. She more than makes up for her unfortunate timing with her excellent reviews.
- Margaret McMahon — long frustrated by the editor's lethargy, Margaret's enthusiasm for reviews knows no bounds.
- Jacquelynn Bost Morris — it's an honor to have the sparking-plug behind Scintillation of Scions with us, and her considerable commitments mean she is limited in her capacity with us. But her position with the Undershaw Preservation Trust is important, and we're pleased to showcase her voice.
- Crystal Noll* — Crystal joined us as an overseas correspondent for the first time this year. We look forward to additional opportunities to collaborate in 2016.
- Rob Nunn* — It's always nice to have teachers with us, and if Rob's classroom enthusiasm is anything like his enthusiasm for our hobby, his students are fortunate.
- James O'Leary — a longtime correspondent for us, James assumed the editorship of The Watsonian, the journal of the John H. Watson Society, this year.
- Bob Stek — an intrepid traveler, Bob has seen a great deal of the world — particularly the Scottish part of the world. His writing supports that.
- Burt Wolder — Burt is more than just a pretty voice on IHOSE; he's a writer, and a fine one who occasionally graces us with his written presence.
- Vincent Wright* — Vincent is always working on something. So we were glad to have him working on a piece for us earlier this year.
The following three contributors are worthy of further remarks, if for nothing else than they've all been writing their own books while making significant contributions to IHOSE:
- Derrick Belanger* — Derrick's output this year has been remarkable. He has written 23 separate pieces for us and many times has been responsible for keeping us on our editorial toes. He has submitted commentaries, event summaries, book reviews and author interviews that are wide-ranging and fascinating. And this is only his first year with us.
- Mattias Boström* — we caught Mattias' enthusiasm in a post-BSI dinner interview which aired on Episode 15; that enthusiasm continues here. Mattias hasn't made many contributions, but those that he has have had an impact. From his recent Sherlock Holmes Christmas Carol to his insightful analysis (below, in the Big Stories section), we have felt his presence.
- Chris Redmond* — "like a fire in a snowstorm" [GLOR], Chris has been another significant force on IHOSE this year. The proprietor of Sherlockian.net — a site that inspired us early on — has posted observations, short scholarly pieces and commentary about a wide variety of topics, from holidays to emotions to fandom to grammar to women and more. His 25 contributions in his inaugural year began with a post on Canonical abbreviations (No Short Sherlock?) and concluded with the editor sending this rejoinder in the form of a limerick:
If the titles are all GREE to you,
(A SIGN is your brain's BLAC and BLUE)
BERY doubts that have flowed;
SCAN a SPEC of the code.
You can't MISS if you STUD like 3STU.
* Indicates a first-time contributor in 2015.
Big Stories"The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution" [SIXN]
There were a handful of articles on our site that popped this year, either because we broke news, had an exclusive, or simply got lucky in our efforts.
Following our breaking news item in 2014 about he discovery of the lost 1916 Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette, we were given an exclusive opportunity to run the trailer for the DVD released this year by Flicker Alley, who also chose to run a giveaway with us.
The second largest item for our site was an interview that Derrick Belanger conducted with Mitch Cullin following the legal settlement with the Conan Doyle Estate (for more, see below). Cullin was quite candid in his assessment of the situation, to say the least.
But the single article that got us the most coverage — including international newspapers and the front page of Reddit — was Mattias Bostrom's article about the lost Sherlock Holmes story found in Scotland. It afforded us an opportunity to follow up with celebrated author Lyndsay Faye, BSI ("Kitty Winter") on what makes a successful pastiche and for Vincent Wright to provide a styistic analysis, before Mattias had a final word.
Events"events which had engaged our attention" [CREE]
As you know, there are many Sherlockian events happening around the world. These include regular society meetings, of course, but also screenings, exhibitions and more. We fanned out this year to cover some of them and asked our correspondents to serve as Holmes asked of the Irregulars: to "go everywhere, see everything, overhear everyone." [SIGN]
We began the year with coverage of the 2015 BSI Weekend, including a multimedia summary of photos, tweets and other updates from a wide variety of attendees. The spring gave way to the premiere of the long-lost 1916 silent film Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette and Tim Greer was on the ground in San Francisco to cover the event. Shortly thereafter, Crystal Noll was our intrepid reporter at a press conference and screening of Mr. Holmes in London.
Margaret McMahon scintillated in her summary of Scintillation of Scions VIII, and reports from the Speckled Band of Boston, the 40th anniversary of Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients (Denver) and the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit followed suit.
Legal Issues"a lawsuit had been going on between you" [REIG]
By now, we assume you're familiar with the #FreeSherlock issue (if not, we recommend listening to our special Free Sherlock episode or clicking the hashtag to bring up all of our previous articles on the subject to bring you up to speed, ).
But there were a couple of items that stood out that we weighed in on this year. Those included the lawsuit brought by the Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. against the studio behind Mr. Holmes, the director, and author Mitch Cullin. We took the time to discuss it on Episode 78: Legal and Leisure Ramblings.
But we'd be remiss if we failed to mention the biggest surprise in the legal doings this year: the discovery that Conan Doyle was suing his own estate from beyond the grave.
Celebrities"Well, well, such is fame!" [EMPT]
We celebrated, mourned and had the opportunity to speak with a number of celebrities of varying sorts this year. The BSI's own Douglas Wilmer marked 50 years since his first turn as Sherlock Holmes on the BBC. And Graham Moore, author of The Sherlockian and our guest on Episode 30, won an Oscar for The Imitation Game and his speech became national news.
We noted the sad passing of Sherlockian icons Sir Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee, Roger Rees, Alan Howard and Leonard Nimoy.
And finally, on our audio program we were fortunate to be able to speak with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about his book Mycroft Holmes; with Nicholas Meyer about The Seven Per-Cent Solution; and with Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue about Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. We hope to add to this roster in 2016.
Entertainment"giving a little entertainment" [CROO]
The world of entertainment — particularly film and television — is rife with Sherlock Holmes news. We mentioned the Gillette film above, as well as Mr. Holmes, of which we provided another review. We also took the time to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of Jeremy Brett, who was an influential impersonator of Sherlock Holmes for a whole generation.
Finally, we saw the excitement mount as the new Sherlock special [ABOM] was announced, teased and anticipated, ultimately leading to our announcement that MASTERPIECE PBS had selected us to host the live Twitter chat during the January 1 premiere in the US.
Books"a line of books" [NOBL]
As with the entertainment category, there was no lack of books this year. We had numerous reviews from our correspondents, as noted above — who provided no fewer than 17 book reviews, by our estimation. On our podcast, seven of our 15 episodes were interviews with authors:
- Sonia Fetherston — Prince of the Realm
- Bob Katz and Andy Solberg — Out of the Abyss
- Zach Dundas — The Great Detective
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — Mycroft Holmes
- Bonnie MacBird — Art in the Blood
- Nicholas Meyer — The Seven Percent Solution
- Otto Penzler — The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
Well, that's it. What do you think? Were there highlights for you that we missed? Or can you suggest a direction or an idea for 2016? Leave us a comment below or send an email to us at email@example.com.
And best wishes to you in all things Sherlockian for 2016.
Photo credit: "Thinking" by Jane Quigley (Flickr)